PITTSFIELD, Mass. — If Andrea Harrington wants to make the reforms to the criminal justice system that voters elected her to make, it is going to require the right team of staff members.
Here’s an excerpt from another thorough piece by iBerkshires’ Andy McKeever:
And that’s what Harrington has been spending her last month or so looking to build. The district attorney-elect defeated incumbent Paul Caccaviello in the November election and since then has been focusing on finding people she believes in to take leadership roles in the next incarnation of the district attorney’s office.
“The people who voted for me voted for me because they believed in the vision that I articulated. In order to enact that vision, we need to have the right team in place to do that and supports that. We are building a team that supports the vision of the campaign that people voted for and that will necessitate some changes in the office,” the Richmond Democrat said.
“That being said, there are a lot of wonderful, dedicated public servants in the district attorney’s office who want to remain and will continue to do that work. It is going to be a mix of people who have the institutional knowledge and experience of the office and people who are coming with different experiences and different perspectives.”
She brought on the well-respected Francis X. Spina, retired associate justice of the state Supreme Judicial Court, to help smooth the transition from Caccaviello to Harrington. Spina is a Pittsfield native who served in the Berkshire County district attorney’s office, then as a Superior Court and an appeals court judge before taking the bench on the Supreme Judicial Court.
“He has an interesting perspective because he helped put together [former District Attorney] Tony Ruberto’s administration after he won his race in 1978. And he’s been a Superior Court judge, an appellate judge, he’s been on the SJC, he really has a very high level of expertise in terms of criminal law. He was also very involved with the board of bar overseers, so he has a lot of expertise around ethical issues,” Harrington said.
“We have been looking at the organization structure of the office. We’ve been looking at what Dave Sullivan does in Hampshire and Franklin County because he has a different kind of organization structure that supports what I would call a more progressive vision for the office.”
At the same time, she brought on Karen Bell to oversee Superior Court cases. Harrington had put feelers out to the legal community that she was looking for a strong prosecutor and Bell’s name was routinely mentioned.
“Immediately we clicked. Karen has been a prosecutor for 20 years. She is in the homicide division in Hampden County. She has some specialization in cold cases. And she has a reputation for being a tough prosecutor but very fair and completely ethical,” Harrington said.