As a way to introduce them to members, the MMA is sitting down for interviews with the new presidents of the member groups who took office in January.

Lisa Blackmer

For Lisa Blackmer, president of the Massachusetts Municipal Councillors’ Association, public service took root in western Massachusetts, where local government makes a big impact, and where neighbors help each other out.

Born in Pittsfield and raised in Williamsburg, Blackmer moved in 1986 to North Adams, where years of volunteering led to the City Council, of which she is currently president. There, she embraces the region’s sense of community.

“When someone’s down on their luck, we all step up,” Blackmer said. “I’ve seen people show up at a spaghetti supper, or a chicken dinner or some fundraising event, when I know that they really don’t have anything, but they still show up because something happened to somebody in the community.”

Since January, Blackmer has been the school business administrator for the Northern Berkshire School Union. She was previously the treasurer and collector in Buckland, town administrator in Sandisfield, and human resources and accounting manager for the Wheatleigh Hotel in Lenox. She earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and completed the MMA-Suffolk Certificate in Local Government Leadership and Management program in 2019.

Blackmer served on the City Council for a decade starting in 2008. After a two-year break, she rejoined the council in 2020. She has also served on the North Adams Planning Board since 2018.

She became more involved in the MMA about a decade ago, when she joined the Policy Committee on Municipal and Regional Administration. She served as president of the MMA in 2016, has been president of the MMCA since January 2020, and currently serves on the MMA’s Fiscal Policy Committee.

In terms of her MMCA goals, Blackmer wants to provide followup training for new councillors, after they’ve had a few months of experience. She also wants to alternate between remote and regional meetings, to increase access for members.

Councillors, she said, have one priority in their communities: “Funding, funding and funding.”

Blackmer lives with her husband, Bill, and their cat Charlie. They look forward to traveling again, to Ireland and the beach. Closer to home, she finds refuge in the vegetable garden that she and her husband grow.

“I guess it’s my happy, quiet place,” she said.

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