Article

A WIN OR LOSS FOR RUBERTO ON CREATION OF MORE CITY HALL BUREAUCRACY?, plus, AN ALTERNATE VIEW OF THE MUSEUM’S CHASE OF STUART

BY DAN VALENTI

Peter Marchetti, where were you? Your friends on the council’s Gang of Seven could have used your vote. You could have helped them hit the taxpayer in the wallet again and at the same time grow local government into a more unwieldy bureaucracy.

MAYOR RUBERTO: Spotlight on creation of new positions. Was 7-3 vote a win or a loss?

Be honest, my Right Honorable Good Friend. There’s no way you would have supported the taxpayers versus the Fat Cats Tuesday night. There’s no way you would have decided for common sense, reasonableness, and fiscal constraint and by voting against Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s plan to fatten the office of the mayor. Is The Planet right? If not, let us know.

Our reasoning is that since you almost always side with the Big Bad Guys against the little, ordinary citizens, you wouldn’t have done it on Tuesday.

For those keeping score at home, the Council’s Magnificent Seven on Tuesday night (Feb. 22, 2011) thought they had wrapped up the gift for their master, the mayor. Uncle Gerry Lee burped the Ruberto Groupies (Krol, White, and Lothrop) while hearing confession from the Malleable Others (Yon, Ward, and Capitanio). The Theraputic Three (Mazzeo, Sherman, and Nichols) argued correctly that the 7-3 vote to create a Director of Administration post was either illegal, wrong on the merits, or both.

What Does the Law Say (not that Such Matters in Pittsfield)

The mayor’s enablers will likely need Marchetti to get a required eighth vote when this comes up again, since city ordinance requires a supermajority (eight) to create new positions. Peter, remember, if you vote against the Little Guy this time, it will defeat you in November.

Let’s go to the record book, and this amended charter act from March 1981:

Chap.  10. AN    ACT    PROVIDING    THAT   THE   AFFIRMATIVE
 VOTE OF AT LEAST EIGHT MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL SHALL BE REQUIRED FOR THE PASSAGE OF ANY ORDINANCE CREATING A NEW POSITION IN THE CITY OF PITTSFIELD.
 Be  it enacted as follows:
 SECTION 1. Section 21 of chapter 280 of the acts of 1932 is hereby amended by striking out the fourth paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph: “
All final votes of the city council involving the expenditure of two hundred dollars or more shall be by yeas and nays which shall be entered in the records of the city council. On the request of one member any vote shall be by yeas and nays, which shall be entered in the records. The affirmative vote of at least six members of the city council shall be required for the passage of any order, ordinance, resolution or vote; provided, however, that the affirmative vote of at least eight members of the city council shall be required for the passage of any ordinance creating a new position. SECTION  2. This act shall take effect upon its passage. 
Approved      March 6,1981. [The Planet’s italics]

Was there anything going on in 1981 that would have required a supermajority vote? One of The Planet’s best gumshoes did a media content analysis of the back pages from 30 years ago. Agent Z-12 filed a report. We can share this paragraph from Z-12’s secret cable:

Sorry for not phoning up the articles for you on a flash drive but I didn’t have one with me, so jotted down some head lines to sort of give you an idea what was going on. You might recall [the Vested Interests were trying to convince taxpayers that] ‘the sky was falling’ at that time. Prop 2 ½ was coming. They asked: ‘How could we possibly run a city without the revenues we need’? Sort of like the Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana thing, isn’t it?  But, if you can make any sense of these headlines, I think the crux of it was that the cities and towns were in trouble and couldn’t look to the state to bail them out. They were going broke. They panicked. Some of … the same things we’re dealing with now.

What our secret agent means is that, knowing that this year’s budget will induce angst and agita, and knowing that the Fear Tactics of the Special Interests will be playing soon at a budget near you, the administration is trying to get this government lard voted in right now — you know, the old hurry hurry hurry. Don’t bother with questions.

Mazzeo, Sherman, and Nichols Get It

SHERMAN: An independent voice

SHERMAN: From the Way Back machine, a growing independent voice.

Mazzeo, Sherman, and Nichols had done their homework prior to the vote. They read the charter. It’s there, in black and white. With the vote, Sherman cements a growing reputation for independence and political maturity, probably obtained courtesy of the Way Back Machine. The glowworm Lothrop, sucking up as always, argued that since the job already exists [dubious, at best, and only on the more transparent of technicalities], a simple majority is all that the Gang needed. Councilors referred the matter to city attorney Rich Dohoney. The city’s barrister said he would rule before the next council meeting.

So we don’t know if the first vote will be deemed a victory or defeat for Ruberto. If Dohoney does his job and interprets the law in a fair and impartial manner, the first vote will have failed for lack of a supermajority. The matter would be considered defeated. If Dohoney caves and abets this sneakery, the vote wins and the new position is created on second reading, March 8, when Uncle Jerry gets the rubber stamp from the drawer.

There was some scuttlebutt that the city solicitor could declare the vote null and void, but The Planet finds not basis to believe that will be the case.

The Council Slips on Its Rubbers

The rubber stamp is the council’s version of a prophylactic; Uncle and the Enablers slip on their rubbers, thus preventing the new life that might come from if they actually started listening to The Little Guy.

The Director of Administration. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It refers to the senior secretary’s job that Krol first held under the mayor. When the city had 60,000 people, there the mayor had one secretary. The city managed OK. Now, with a population under 40,000, they want to turn the mayor’s office in the stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera.” The stateroom on board ship is so packed with people that when an unsuspecting waiter opens the door, people pour out in a waterfall-like tumble. That’s what’s going to happen when one opens the door of the corner office if this goes through.

Voice of a Toadie

J-LO: Mr. Sellout sells out again. Tough, taxpayers. Shut up and re-elect him.

Lothrop — a man who has sold out to Da Man for a set of Davy Crockett iron-ons — argued that a position created in the prehistory of the Dobelle Administration and not filled since is still on the books. The Planet has heard of a toadie carrying the star’s water. We’ve heard of sycophant that sniffs the hero’s jockstrap, but we had yet to hear of a flunkie sniffing the guano of ancient history. Ah, J-Lo, you never cease to amaze.

As for Krol, he tells the Boring Broadsheet’s Dick Lindsay, “This is a way to shape City Hall and make it more efficient.” Fair enough of a statement, and that case could be made, but don’t you just love the way the BB style sheet calls for the capitals in “city hall.” Oh, the Reverence! Oh, the Kid Gloves! Oh, the Dick Lindsay!

City Hall: Cap C, cap H, whereby the BB indicates its fawning adoration of the Status Quo by making the building a proper noun! Lindsay also has this cute bit in his whitewash story: “If both measures are approved [creating administration and personnel positions], the net annual increase to the city budget at most would be $15,000.” [The Planet’s underline and italics]

“At most,” this so-called newsman writes. The phrase reveals that he’s shucking corn for the Massas at Marse Dean’s Plantation in S. Church Street. The Planet responds:

Who says the increase to taxpayers would “at most” be $15,000? Lindsay doesn’t provide where he got that figure. We challenge him to publish the data.

Where did he get “at most.” Is that a quote? Is he editorializing in a straight news piece?

In plain English, what does the modifier “net” mean above? Does it mean, “Taxpayers, hold on to your wallets”?

How could the copy desk at the Boring Broadsheet allow Lindsay’s editorializing in what is presented as a straight news piece? (Is that why the BB doesn’t dare assign Conor Berry to cover city hall? Is that why they have dry-inked his capable pen?)

Mazzeo made the essential point by noting that, since Ruberto is a lame duck, why not wait until the new mayor is elected and see then what the preference is. What’s the big hurry?

The Planet, and no one else, has answered that. The “hurry” is the fraud that is about to be committed at budget time.

“The sky is falling.”

Come budget time, we will be hearing this over and over from the Suits, the Establishment, the Vested Interests, the Special Interests, the Big 3 Unions, the Pittsfield 100, Mike Supranowicz, and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver: “We are in a financial crisis. Give us our pay raises, or the schools will close, crime will run rampant, and buildings will burn down. We are out of money, therefore, create new administrative positions in city hall.”

Some logic, eh? And how, and WHO, you might ask, pays for all this? If you are a Pittsfield taxpayer — Gotta mirror?

———————————————

Museum Chases Chase: A Board Member Speaks Out

CUT TO THE CHASE: Museum Board member has a differing view of director's soon-to-be exit.

The Planet has more on the soon-to-be-gone-but-not-forgotten CEO of the Berkshire Museum. A source connected to the museumboard said Stuart Chase got off on the wrong foot with his first purchase. Chase, the source reminded indeed us, commissioned an expensive photo shoot whose end result produced what was intended to be an iconic shot of the North Street and Columbus Avenue intersection and make Pittsfield famous.

The photographer needed about 15 years and 25 truckloads worth of equipment to get the shot you could take with your $98 digital Panasonic. It resulted in Pittsfield being mocked and panned as a dead city in the international press. The source (TS) didn’t know what the museum paid for the photo.

It’s the Bottom Line, Baby

TS cited bottom-line issues as a factor in Stuart’s move. In a year (2009 to 2010), the museum’s summer attendance dropped by a third. At the same time, the budget rose by $200,000. That’s not a good combination, as TS laconically observed. Other complaints included the exhibits: not dynamic enough, not publicized enough, and did not revolve with enough frequency.

TS claimed Chase created an atmosphere unfriendly to locals, adding that Chase never got the pulse of the city.” Also mentioned:  Chase reduced staff by one-quarter (the museum now employs 21)

Museum Source on BB: Another ‘Wallpaper Job.’

TS called the Boring Broadsheet’s coverage of Chase’s resignation a PR piece. TS questioned the claim in the story that it was a friendly parting. TS said it appeared otherwise but conceded it would be hard to judge with certainty.

The Planet is not familiar enough with the politics and intrigue of the Berkshire Museum to make a judgment one way or the other on Chase’s exit. We publish TS’s views to present an alternate take and in the interests of the marketplace of ideas.

—————————————

AND SO WE MOVE ON, A PLANET AGAINST THE CURRENT, BORNE CEASELESSLY INTO THE FUTURE. LOVE TO ALL.

51 Responses to “A WIN OR LOSS FOR RUBERTO ON CREATION OF MORE CITY HALL BUREAUCRACY?, plus, AN ALTERNATE VIEW OF THE MUSEUM’S CHASE OF STUART”

  1. Dee
    February 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Re: The council meeting.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, and I’m sure someone will, but by my understanding this proposal failed to meet the super-majority at first reading. Since this failed (if the law is properly interpretted) then it will not go for a second reading and Pete Marchetti is off the hook and won’t have to pick a side. It should be a dead issue.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this continues to play out. Mr. Dohoney – your credibility is on the line.

    • danvalenti
      February 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Agreed, especially the part about Mr. Dohoney.

  2. Mike
    February 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    I’m not on the board so I can’t speak to fiscal management but as a customer I have been very happy with the direction of the museum under Stuart’s watch. The exhibitions have been interesting, varied, and well promoted IMHO. My friends and relatives from out of town are always impressed when we take them to the musuem.

    • danvalenti
      February 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      MIKE
      There was no suggestion of fiscal mismanagement from my source.
      Let’s be clear on that. The source did question some of the art that Mr. Chase purchased.
      Not having the prices, it would be pointless to speculate on whether or not the Museum got its money’s worth. Besides, that’s ultimately an aesthetic matter. It just seemed to be an internal clash going on, but even that isn’t clear. As you know, every organization has its backstage politics.

  3. Jim Gleason
    February 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Iwrote a letter to the editor asking all the same questions you just did which ran on Tuesday. I was then chastised byLew Markham for writing letters and complaining about ruberto all of the time. Markham said I wasn’t qualified to write or complain because I’d never run for office and to either do so or shut up. My response to that is that my thoughts and writings come from my own mind and my heart, while Markham’s are those which are told by others to feel and speak. I’m sure some of you heard him and I on the adio that day. The biggest butt kisser in the city telling someone not to speak their feelings. Maybe he’d be happier in Libya with Khadaffi, where if you protest, you get shot.

    • rick
      February 25, 2011 at 7:10 am #

      jim, lew must have forgot its a free country, give him a break, hes an old pissed off guy, thats why hes not sitting with the yes boys on tues. nights, the meetings run to late. need his sleep

  4. No Reply
    February 24, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    dont know what the deal is with Jim G and Lew Markham, but I will side with Jim here. I’ve found marklham to be a toxic presence glad the city is rid of him. Jim: Keep speaking out which is your right as a citizen. Markham: Smoke another pack of unfiltered camels you creep.

  5. Ariste
    February 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    I watched hte council mtg on tv. thought sherman and mazzeo were great. lothrop is all you say here on the planet. the city doesn’t need to be growing govt right now. bad move. thanks for this site. a regular reader and fan (of dan). we are a group of girls who are dan groupies! better than being ruberto groupies, right fellas?

  6. Ron Kitterman
    February 25, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    I also have to agree with Jim Gleason on this one too. Heard him on the radio and read his well articulated letter to the editor. The eyes of this voter will be watching Peter Marchetti very closely. It will also be interesting to see how our money is being spent on Attorney Dohoney, seems to me a simple interpretation of the city code.

    • danvalenti
      February 25, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      The Planet agree with Jim Gleason. Jim’s comments on the air and in print were well expressed and reasonable. Markham was out of place in his objections. Also agree that Mr. Marchetti had better tread carefully. The electorate is fickle right now, more so than we’ve seen in a long while. He is not the sure thing he may think he is. Not to say he won’t win … or lose for that matter. He may have to finally declare himself: Where does he wish to stand: With of against We the People?

  7. Mike Ward
    February 25, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I believe this to be a simplistic, not to mention sensational, framing of the Director of Administration debate. Let’s try for one moment to imagine that as a city councilor I took an oath to represent the interests of my constituents. And perhaps I actually live in a world where every vote I cast is not a toady-of-the-mayor litmus test, but that the proposal is actually considered on its own merits. I know, that’s a lot to ask but humor me for a moment.

    And allow me to offer a viewpoint that might be contrarian to life on The Planet. Maybe the Director of Admission proposal is not about a creating a new position but rather changing a job description from phone answering to management. Maybe we don’t need two people answering phones in the corner office and maybe one of those people has already taken on larger projects to the benefit of the office and the city.

    And maybe it’s a slightly cynical viewpoint to assume that a more effective mayor’s office is necessarily a bad thing for the little guy. Maybe that’s an anti-government viewpoint based on the assumption that anyone in the corner office is going to be bad news so let’s limit his or her ability to advance anything new.

    • danvalenti
      February 25, 2011 at 8:44 am #

      MIKE
      Thanks for fleshing out your views. Our readers will find it helpful.
      We would only add that in a city with a shrinking population, the management task of the mayor — from our perspective — does not warrant additional management. Basically, this is creating a chief of staff position. This will add a layer of insulation between the corner office and the people. By definition, it can do nothing other than that. It will also add politics into the mix. Is the move necessary, in a time where you and your colleagues will begin warning us that we are in a “fiscal crisis”? We think Mazzeo raised the essential point: Shouldn’t we wait to see what the new mayor wants? Shouldn’t we therefore let this emerge as a key campaign issue for all those running, thereby letting your constituents and others say if THEY think the mayor’s office needs this expansion and added cost? The Planet doesn’t see it.

    • editor
      February 25, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Mike, Why bother explaining yourself to the” I hate life ” blogers? They don’t want to hear anything that goes against their opinion

      • Jim Gleason
        February 25, 2011 at 10:49 am #

        When has any person on this site said they hate life? Your kind are the ones who don’t want to hear alternative views and solutions to problems presented. Why not have the guts to put your mane behind your words so we “life haters” will know who’s criticizing us?

        • Nichols for mayor
          February 25, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

          Using a name doesn’t make your views smarter. You are a perfect example.

          Using your name doesn’t elevate you, it only puts you into a crowd of wackos like, well, Jim Gleason.

          Like anybody wants to hear “Oh, you are John Doe. You post on that blog with Jim Gleason.”

          That’s an embarassing social disgrace.

          • Jim Gleason
            February 27, 2011 at 8:20 am #

            OK Colleen. Because you use Joe’s name doesn’t mean you want him to be Mayor. You aren’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.

      • Joetaxpayer
        February 25, 2011 at 11:01 am #

        I have to agree with Jim also every taxpayer in the city has a right to speak there mind.Even silly people like editurde,I mean editor.How dare anybody go against the mayor and the council,who do we think we are.I find it funny how many are jumping off the council.I think they see the writing on the wall and they don;t have the cashews to make the cuts that are going to have to be made.Teachers are owed almost 1 million,pensions are not being funded also building new high school and planning on renovating another.The math is a little fuzzy.No more Obama bucks less state funding,time to leave.

    • Joetaxpayer
      February 25, 2011 at 10:53 am #

      Mike as a resident of ward 4 we as a city must stop spending money.The fact that Mr. Ruberto is leaving after this term is even more reason not to make this change.You and your council should be pro-active not reactive to the budget.I would hope that all of you are already trying to come up with some ideas to make cuts with the least burden on city services.I would hope you change your vote,and that the mayor roll up his sleeves and work alittle harder,with less.We as citizens are making ends meet with less I’m sure he can.There is no reason for the city to wait for the state to come out with there budget we all know we have to make cuts.

    • Dee
      February 25, 2011 at 11:13 am #

      Since you are offering a different viewpoint, could you please explain why after seven years this change is needed. It appears as though the office is more than fully staffed as it is without a bump up to management and change of job description. More and more it sounds like the job is being done (and has been done for the last seven years) and now financial compensation is being offered. I think we would all like a change in job description and a raise for doing the job we already do, but this isn’t feasible in today’s economy.

      The Mayor’s responsbilities have not changed in the last seven years and in fact in the last year with the addition of Mayor Barrett have actually decreased. Mr. Ruberto mentioned that he wanted time to “sell Pittsfield.” Well, what has he been doing for the last seven years that he can’t continue to do now? Hasn’t he already been “selling Pittsfield” (unfortunately no one is buying) with the time and staff allotted? Also since Mayor Barrett commented that he attended the meetings with the senators regarding bringing additional jobs to Pittsfield, it is obvious that Mr. Ruberto wasn’t needed for that job.

      So, since the number of department heads directly reporting to the Mayor has not changed and the job description of the Mayor has not changed, and he has done this job for enough years to know what the position is and entails, again explain why this “change in job description” is needed (along with the reported sizable raise TFB is to get).

      • Joetaxpayer
        February 25, 2011 at 11:39 am #

        Dee,very good points,sounds like the Mayor is giving a going away present to a loyal employee.

      • Mike Ward
        February 25, 2011 at 11:46 am #

        Oh, right — the seven-year-thing. I suppose we’ll have to vote ‘no’ on anything proposed for the next ten months on that basis that if it had any merit we would have seen it before now. Thank you for that guidance.

        • Joetaxpayer
          February 25, 2011 at 11:54 am #

          I think your missing the point Mike,we as a city have to do more with less this up coming budget is going to require massive cuts.Consider your no vote a 15,000 dollar cut for the budget.I would also like to thank you for your time and service on the council,anyone who runs for office has my respect.

        • danvalenti
          February 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

          MIKE
          No one said you have to vote no on “anything” that comes up in the next 10 years. The fallacy doesn’t apply, as well you know. It means, though, that on the merits, the case has not bee made to add this position to an amply funded and staffed corner office.

          • Mike Ward
            February 25, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

            It is quite possible that the position could be revenue positive under the right leadership (think grant writing) but unfortunately the council cannot legislate good leadership. I know how I would use the position if I were mayor, and I choose to be optimistic that the next mayor will “get it”. To me it’s not about the exact dollar amount but what we’re getting for that dollar that matters. I can understand that some people just want to batten down the hatches but I’m not one of them. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

          • Howie Carr
            February 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

            Mike only Joe Nichols votes NO on everything!!

        • Dee
          February 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

          Mike – a very knee-jerk reactive response. If you read what I had posted, I was questioning the reasoning behind a position name change and the added revenue to fund this new/altered/reinstated position.

          My point is that the office has run very well over the last seven years and that no additional staff has been added to the supervisor role of Mayor Ruberto. Hence, the staff that he currently has, doing the job they are currently doing does not justify the additional funds being allocated in an economy of budget cuts, reduced funding, grants that are going to be next to impossible to obtain and a government which just announced that Community Development grants will be severely cut.

          If this person was/is intended to be a grant writer then perhaps the title and duties proposed should be amended to reflect that and put into the department of Community Development.

          As far as the next mayor “getting it”, shouldn’t we allow that incoming administration to decide who and what positions he or she wishes to fill?

          • Mike Ward
            February 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

            You seem to have knowledge of the workings of the mayor’s office and you are obviously satisfied with the staff consisting of two secretaries. That’s great.
            I think there is an opportunity for reform, and that the reform could yield better service delivery and lower cost for taxpayers. We vote and we move on. That’s life in a democracy.

          • Jim Gleason
            February 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

            Mike, I don;t think the next mayor, if the one I will be voting for wins, will keep this position. There is no need for it. As I said in my letter to the Eagle, if ruberto didn’t want to do his job he shouldn’t have run. Also, the person who will be getting this job, if approved, is NOT capable of doing it and because she is a riend of the mayor doesn’t make her qualified.

          • Jim Gleason
            February 27, 2011 at 8:23 am #

            Joe votes no on things that need to be shot down while most of the others are rubber stamps. I wish more of the council had guts like Joe and Melissa to oppose ruberto’s stupidity.

    • PCP
      February 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      Mike, you have not provided professional documented support for your position. What are the responsibilities/tasks and the associated time needed for each responsibility/task? What are the measurement criteria for the tasks to be “effective”? I want to thank you for making a written response. Maybe this blog can be utilized to actually have an open discussion on issues.

      • danvalenti
        February 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

        PCP
        Excellent points. The supporters of this dubious measure to fatten the bureaucracy has failed to quantify the need.

  8. Jim Gleason
    February 25, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Excuse me, put your name behind your words.

    • Nichols for mayor
      February 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      Excuse me, once you stop posting on this site we’ll be glad to reveal our names. Until then, people don’t want to get grouped into a category that includes Jim Gleason.

      • danvalenti
        February 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

        Using real names or nom de plumes is up to the poster. We’re OK either way. We will allow the most spirited of discussions. We will NOT allow the ignorance of the sort that shut down the Eagle’s posting engine.

      • Jim Gleason
        February 27, 2011 at 8:26 am #

        I went to a very large party last night and was approached by at least a dozen people congratulating me on my letter and ones in the past. I think your kind are the ones nobody wants to be associated with, therefore no name.

    • Jim Gleason
      February 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      Dan, I didn’t write this post. Please, again, don’t let this turn into Topix.

      • danvalenti
        February 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

        JIM
        I’m doing my best to keep this from degenerating in that way.

  9. Jim Gleason
    February 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    I’m referring to the one asking for a name. I didn’t write that.

  10. Joetaxpayer
    February 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Mike,thanks for bringing up grants.Alot of this grants cost the taxpayers,when we have to match them,for things we cannot afford.Also when hire firemen with grant money,under the circumstances that after the money runs out we cannot get rid of them for a few years.Not all grants are good.

    • danvalenti
      February 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      Grants are often fool’s gold. You get a grant to add some program or position that you don’t actually need. The grant funds it or them for a couple years. Then what? When the city tries to cut back, the Special Interests cry that the sky is falling and how dare they “reduce” the size of govt. Grants and grant writing is a largely (not fully) a scam.

      If the justification for the unneeded position and extra expense is grant writing, forget it. That’s as weak an argument as can be made.

  11. rick
    February 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    everone has to understand, we have no money, were broke, and we are not alone, just about every city and town around the country is in the same boat. unions arent stupid, they see it, and the teachers….police….fire and city workers etc see it too. in good faith i feel they will do whats right and understand the financial crissis we are in. with that said, trying to push thru raises under any circumstance makes me think that the folkes saying yes arent paying attention to what is going on in the country.maybe its a good thing they arent going to run, and i thank them for it. holding office today is grueling and we need people who are up to the task. the days of saying yes to everthing the mayor brings up have to be over. nichols and mazzeo are proving that.

    • danvalenti
      February 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

      RICK
      Yes, the elected officials prove their disconnect with We The People every time they try to push through pay raises, add positions, and grow the bureaucracy. Those looking to win re-election or election for the first time had better show evidence that they will address this looming fiscal crisis. We must be there, Rick, this campaign season, reminding them. If necessary, we must get in their faces.

  12. pjmh
    February 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    Excellent dialogue. Mr. V continues to bring up topics on a weekly basis that should be addressed, and people are getting engaged. Pretty cool that Mr. Ward will jump in and mix it up. I don’t live in Pittsfield, so I just observe… and let me you as an outsider I find all of your “politics” for a city of 40k+ very fascinating.

    Mr. V, I would be interested in your sites growth from day one to YTD, and don’t expect you to share. However, just from word of mouth and casual conversation, regardless of what the haters may say, people are reading.

    Disqus… whatever.

    Thanks.

    • danvalenti
      February 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

      pjmh
      Thank you. yes, Mike Ward and I have agreed to agree, agreed to disagree, and disagreed to agree. We have never disagreed to disagree. He’s an honest and fair man, willing to listen, willing to debate. He will be missed in Ward 4. As for this site’s growth, it’s been a revelation. I’m essentially an analog guy working in a digital environment. The amount of business on the web is staggering, at times. The hard numbers of our growth show that people are reading and that this site is having an impact.

  13. Craig Swinson
    February 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    The number of people in Pittsfield have shrunk.
    The tax base has shrunk.
    The number of positions have gone up,
    Ruberto has created the “deputy mayor” position which is absolutely absurd.
    How much work does this guy NOT want to do, and if I understand it he hasn’t taken a pay cut.

    If Ruberto can’t handle having 18 or 20 or even 50 people report directly to him, he should LEAVE OFFICE NOW.

    I agree, maybe you don’t need two people answering the phone in the corner office so get rid of one positions entirely. Don’t upgrade a position to “make work”, increase the long-term benefits costs (doesn’t that position come with benefits and some form of pension/retirement plan?)

    Yes I agree with Mike Ward, there might be a chance for some revenue with a position like that via grant writing, but hey guess what you can get CONSULTANTS to write grants who get paid based on the grant and its success. No need to add a permanent position in government at this point.
    OR
    Maybe after Barrett drives around in a town vehicle, doing part of the Mayors job or the DPW guys job, he can take a pen to paper and file some grant applications.
    OR
    Since Ruberto now has all this free time with a Deputy Mayor, maybe Ruberto can take on some grant writing.
    OR
    Maybe concerned citizens or councilors who have an interest in some of the projects out there can write the grants. It isn’t like it is a magic process anymore. Most grants are fairly straightforward in their application process and most financial data can be exported from the accounting system at City Hall.

    And make no mistake if the grants require matching dollars from the city, you best make sure they are needed.

    Maybe the smartest thing is to go back to all those private concerns that have benefited from tax breaks, see if they met their required goals of job creation ( let us hope someone was smart enough to attach some strings to those tax gifts ) . If they haven’t suspend the tax breaks, get the revenue and learn the lesson that probably needs to be learned.

  14. Mike Ward
    February 26, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    I think we can agree this thread has been a success for The Planet. And I consider it a compliment that my retort to Dan was met with a barrage from the Planet faithful. Children of the ‘80’s will remember a video game called Missile Command where the objective was to protect three cities from an ever increasing number of incoming ICBM’s. It was not unlike this exercise, except that it was possible to win:-) But I’m game, and I campaigned on the notion that internet provided new ways to communicate with and represent constituents.
    Some quick fact checking. Barrett is not a deputy mayor — a term that has been repeated so many times that it has taken on the patina of fact — but he is the interim Director of Public Services, a department that was created when the DPW was divided in two recently (read the Gazette or Eagle archives for details on that).
    And when I wrote “(think grant writing)” that was ONLY an illustration of an activity that is revenue positive. It is NOT the proposed job description of the Director of Administration, OK? And to say that grants are “often a scam” is another way of saying that sometimes they actually are a good deal that allows us to make an investment for pennies on the dollar and has no downside whatsoever. Really.
    I appreciate the feedback and I’m always willing to explain my votes as some people on this thread can tell you because they called me about this last week.

  15. Uncle Albert
    February 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Well done, Mike Ward. You took on The Planet. It’s a no-lose position for a pol because so many are afraid to do so. Valenti is an acquired taste. I used to loathe him for getting under my skin. A change in circumstances for me changed that. Noe I appreciate what he’s doing. In a debate he’s a steamroller, true, but as you jsut proved, he respect independent thinkers like you. Mike, you shal lbe missed

    • Joetaxpayer
      February 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      Maybe because he is not running again he is speaking up?

  16. rick
    February 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    mike, these grants come from the tax payers, wether it be state or federal, the people are still getting wacked . as long as grants are written the tax payer is paying the bill, we need to live within our means, because i dont see taxes going down and if we spend it all now, were screwed. no need to add any positions at this time. when the economy strengthens then the issue can be addressed. and as others have stated, in 10 mos. a new mayor might come in and shake up whats already there, those jobs might be done away with. and come on,7 yrs.later, i think we all know what this is all about….

    • Joetaxpayer
      February 26, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      rick, I have to agree with you,all of the kool-aide drinking eagle reading folks wanted the us govt. to stop the defense spending.Once they caught wind of the general dynamics navy contracts the changed there tune.You are disgusting too bad it is not downtown!

      • Jim Gleason
        February 28, 2011 at 11:53 am #

        I heard from a person who works at GD that only around 100 of those jobsare going to be in Pittsfield, therst are going to Alabama and only a few locals will be hired out of the 100. So much for 500 jobs.