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Housing Authority agrees to diversity training in wake of racial slurs charges

GREAT BARRINGTON — A diversity training program is in the pipeline for the Housing Authority following last week’s special meeting to discuss a board member’s alleged misconduct.

At the Sept. 10 meeting, Housing Authority member Jackie Sinico was publicly accused of using racial slurs when referring to minority tenants at Flag Rock Village. Sinico denied the claims and then later walked out of the meeting in protest when requests for public comment were denied by the chairman.

James Mercer, chairman of the board, told the board at the Tuesday, Sept. 17 meeting, held at Flag Rock Village, that he had reached out to a state-recommended program as well as a local resource at the Berkshire Resources for Integration of Diverse Groups through Education (BRIDGE) to provide the training.

“I think all of us could benefit from diversity training,” said Mercer.

Mercer said he had reached out to the board’s attorney before the Sept. 10 special meeting.

“I know that everyone was very concerned there wasn’t citizen speak time at the last meeting, and that was under the advice of counsel … that was a special meeting,” he said.

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