April Surprise Petition Circulating

Ward 4’s Mike Ward is first in officially and on the record, posting on his Facebook page to my question that he likes the moves since it give the city two fine candidates “on a trial basis.” The Planet has talked off the record with other councilors to get a feel for their reaction to Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s April Surprise.

There’s word that a petition is circulating and will be on the agenda for the council’s Tuesday, April 12 meeting, that will enable members to discuss the April Surprise. As you may or may not know, under the council’s archaic rules of order, a member cannot discuss items or issues that are not on the agenda, unless the member steps down from the dais and speaks during the open mic portion of the meeting.

We haven’t seen the wording of the petition, but it’s a reasonable guess to say that its purpose will be to debate and deliberate the mayor’s move. As an aside, The Planet hopes the new council gets rid of Demeter’s Rules of Order and institutes the more flexible and citizen-friendly Robert’s Rules of Order. It would make a vast improvement of how issues are formally debated in Pittsfield.

We have heard though reliable sources though not confirmed with her that Melissa Mazzeo has approached the office of attorney general Martha Coakley pertaining to some aspect of the personnel issue, which surely will now include the April Surprise. The Planet doesn’t know what approach Mazzeo is taking, but perhaps this will become clearer during Tuesday’s meeting.

What Will the Fallout Be?

One source that generally finds favor with Mayor Ruberto’s policies criticized the mayor for “recent missteps.” The concern is that Ruberto is undoing a legacy built up in seven years by his action in the eighth and final year, his year as a lame duck. The source says it gives the opposition too much justification for criticisms that otherwise would have no reasonable basis.

Worth confirming is the nature of the understanding between Ruberto and city consultant John Barrett. The mayor announced extended Barrett’s service to the end of this month, with Barrett taking over as acting public services commissioner. What is Barrett’s status as of May 1? Is he gone from the city, or has some other arrangement been made? That needs to be clarified, and The Planet urges the council to do so on April 12, in front of the cameras.

Taking the mayor’s side on the April Surprise, he has eight months left in his term. He had to fill the positions of public services commissioner, maintenance director, and director of administration. He has done so. Moreover, he has done so in spectacular fashion. As councilor Ward points out, the new appointees have eight months to prove their worth. After that, it’s up to the new mayor to keep them or not. Citizens can look at it as a “test drive.”


April Surprise Has the Town Buzzing

We have talked with several key people involved in and affected by Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s April Surprise to the city council. These include councilors, city hall employees, and a host or ordinary citizens. The reactions range from disbelief to admiration, outrage to bemusement, apathy to alarm, hope to hysteria.

It would be impossible to average it all and present a cogent view of how this is playing in the royal boxes, the cheap seats, and everything in between. It would be like taking a guy with $2 million and someone with zero and saying that, on average, both these chaps are worth a million bucks. Both would be unhappy with the characterization.

We will make the following observations:

* The Planet was first in of all media on this story. The Boring Broadsheet, again, was snoozing. Not only did they not have this in the paper but, as of this morning, nothing online. It is truly a paper than isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. It’s a steal at 50 cents a day, and the buyers are getting robbed.

* The Planet had our story on this breaking news posted moments after it happened, last night. We put in the hours they didn’t. David fells Goliath. We are much smaller than the BB but much more adept and faster. Nonetheless, it’s THEIR job to break news, not mine. The Planet will when we can, of course, but our prime directive is to offer hard-hitting, honest coverage of the events that affect Berkshire County and particularly the county seat. We don’t need to be first and cannot be expected to be, but it’s true we often are because of the sad state of media news in Berkshire County.

* The Boring Broadsheet has also dropped SteroidsGate following Conor Berry’s bolting for a job at the Springfield Republican. We wish our colleague CB nothing but the best. While that doesn’t directly relate to the April Surprise, their dropping the case offers the evidence that the BB is floundering with poor management, poor direction, a misuse of staff, and a muzzle on the news that matters. It is a scared paper that refused The Planet’s offer to debate the new nature of news in the cyberage. It is timid, losing money, with an insolvent former parent.

* We don’t know why Dick Lindsey, who covers city hall, did not get this story. Is he muzzled? Is he just a 9-to-5er with no passion for his job? Does he care? Who knows? The readers, know, that’s who, when yet another big story escapes their agenda, but for this site.

* People are quick to label this as a triumph for Ruberto in his personnel battle with the council. Perhaps, but the argument can be made that actually, he relieves a lot of pressure on the council for having to act (or not act by the limbo-phantom zone of tabling) on the appointments. As someone asked, “Who snickered whom”?

* It bears watching the reaction of councilors, particularly Peter Marchetti and to a lesser extend Peter White and John Krol. My trio of Right Honorable Good Friends will each be running for re-election and in Marchetti’s case a first bid for the mayor’s job. Each has been painted and perceived, unfairly or not, as a safe Ruberto vote. With Ruberto a lame duck, they can (and probably need to, politically) begin to distance themselves from him. The Planet and the reset of the city that’s paying attention will watch their reaction to this closely. They would do well do speak from the heart, not parse words, and slam this move in measured terms.

* Marchetti made a large misstep when he told the BB that his agenda would be the same as Ruberto’s. This issue might be his last chance to correct the mistake. Politically, he can do that by slamming the mayor’s action.

* One has to admire the maneuvering of Mayor Ruberto. Free of the burden of re-election, he’s now getting away from pure policy and more into pure politics. On some level, being he competitor he is, he must be enjoying this. He is moving at another level not yet seen. Despite what some will say, it is possible that this will be GOOD for the city rather than BAD.

* We also have to remember that THE MAYOR, not the council, is the appointing authority. Ruberto wanted these three because he thinks they are the best people for the job. The council has the job of approving or not, up or down. We’ll switch analogies and turn to football. Ruberto’s the head coach. His department heads are his assistant coaches. Doesn’t he have the right to appoint those who in his opinion feel are best for the job? What is the role of the council in this? One could argue they represent the people, who are the owners of the team.

* What are the legalities of the April Surprise? We haven’t examined verse and chapter of city code, and will leave that to others, but our best determination is that as of now, the mayor acted legally.

* This move becomes an ink-blot test for each city councilor except for Chrstine Yon, who is recused by virtue of the fact that her husband, Greg, is one of the stealth appointees. How will they react? Such are definitions formed.


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, April 5 into 6) — It’s blockbuster time, ladies and gentlemen. Hang onto your fedoras and bonnets.

The news happens fast and furious on The Planet. We just learned of a decision by Mayor Jimmy Ruberto to withdraw all three appointments for commissioner of public services, director of maintenance, and director of administration.

Flynn Out; Yon, Farley-Bouvier, and Barrett In, by Fiat

Killian Flynn, Ruberto’s appointee for public services commissioner, withdrew his name from consideration. Ruberto appointed Gregory Yon acting director of maintenance and Trisha Farley-Bouvier as acting director of administration.

By appointing Yon and Bouvier as acting directors, Ruberto bypasses the council. Both appointments are effective immediately. The mayor also announced that city consultant John Barrett III “will be retained through the end of April, 2011, heading the Department of Public Services.”

Thus, in the last few minutes, you, the taxpayers of Pittsfield, have a new (acting) maintenance director and a new (acting) director of admin.

Ruberto vs. Council: Chess vs. Checkers

If he’s playing chess, the council is playing checkers. If this is about The Game, you have to admire the gamesmanship. Ruberto used the rules and left the council coming out of the lavatory with their flies open or with TP hanging from the waistband.

Now let’s see if My Right Honorable Good Friends on the council are happy with that. We know some of them are busy preparing public statements on SteroidsGate, especially former chief Uncle Gerry Lee (yeah, right!), but we hope councilors can weigh in on this end run by the mayor, which The Planet believes is legal, by the way.

Once Ruberto took the names of the three candidates out of consideration, he took it out of the council’s hands. Brilliant, as a beer commercial might put it.

Parsing the People

Flynn must have gotten wind of what Pittsfield politics are like and said, “I’m outta here. Yur all nutz!” He goes back to his job at Allied Waste, and he won’t have to take a drastic paycut to $85,000 a year after all.

Yon, now acting director of maintenance Yon, enters a job that’s tough by any standards, especially filling in the large muck boots of Ernie Fortini. Is he qualified for the position? Will the personnel in the department accept him? Respect him? We must wait and see. We wouldn’t want to be in that spot, but he apparently does, and we wish him well.

As for Farley-Bouvier, Ruberto rewards her for loyalty, but, since he took the matter away from the council, will he be able to grant her the pay raise (between $10,000 and $15,000)? We don’t know how that aspect of the acting appointment will shake out. The Planet believes that the council will at least retain control over the compensation.

‘Go for It,’ We Said. He Did.

Ruberto told The Planet on Friday he was contemplating such a maneuver. We told him “go for it” if that’s what he wanted to do and thought it best. Let’s be clear. The mayor wasn’t asking The Planet’s advice. That’s not how our relationship works. And please, spare me any of the hysterical “Planet Tell Mayor What to Do” baloney. That’s not what this was. Grassy knoll us no grassy knolls.

How much of the move is because the mayor believes these Yon and F-B are necessary for the new posts and how much of it is to shove it down the council’s throats also remains to be seen. Ruberto believes in these two people. He’s also as competitive as bantam.

Council Reactions

We can’t expect certain members — Mazzeo, Nichols, and Sherman — will take this quietly.

Sources tell The Planet that Mazzeo had prior to this new development inquired with the attorney general’s office about the appointments, and we can reasonably guess that this new move by the mayor will hasten her daybook with Martha Coakley, woman to woman.

Maybe someone will wake Lee and Paul Capitanio out of their comas and tell them that Jimmy Carter is no longer the president. Same for Jonathan Lothrop, also we guess that J-Lo will have a pin-up made for his bedroom of the mayor’s Bobby Fisher king-takes-pawn maneuver.

Look to see if John Krol, Peter White, and Peter Marchetti will be more strident in their criticism of the mayor’s April Surprise. Mike Ward will likely sit this one out, a bow to his lame duck status. Christine Yon of ward 1 and wife of Greg will say nada, since she can take the high ground and recuse herself.

We have word even in these early hours of the story that City Hall is abuzz with word of the April Surprise. It’s going to be an interesting building in which to be tomorrow.


Steroids and Cops

We post this excerpt from the March 2011 issue of “Police Chief : The Professional Voice of Law Enforcement.”

“NEGLIGENT RETENTION: Agencies have a duty and a right to maintain fit officers and to  protect the public from impaired officers. They must exercise reasonable means at their disposal to ensure that officers are fit. Both national and local standards regarding the use of [anabolic steroids] support the idea that officers abusing such substances could be at risk for impairment and could even be involved in criminal activity related to the use of these substances.”

We hope that if Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn does not subscribe to this industry journal, that he do so immediately. The Planet will be sharing more from this eye-opening article shortly. The article is titled, “Anabolic Steroid Use and Abuse by Police Officers: Policy and Prevention.” It is written by Commander Kim R. Humphrey, Phoenix, Ariz., police department.




  1. Dee
    April 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Unfreakingbelievable!!! That’s one way to skirt the issues and do exactly what you want. Guess it got way too hot for the Mayor. Heck, why should he answer to anyone, much less the city council. He makes decisions based on his feelings and whims. Guess what Pittsfield, you still have another eight months three weeks of Jimmy “Lets see if we can bankrupt Pittsfield” Ruberto.

  2. Scott
    April 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    How about we just cut out the middle man and make Barrett mayor? At least we’re getting our money’s worth out of him.

    • Brian Gilbert
      April 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Scott what did you get time for ? You said your a felon.

      • Brian Gilbert
        April 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

        Scott your almost as nuts as Heller!!!

        • Brian Gilbert
          April 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

          Scott maybe its time to get a job instead of being like Heller and on the blog all day!!!!

          • Scott
            April 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

            I worked until 3am last night and and then went in and worked from 10-2 I may pull a double tomorrow too so I can take Thursday, Friday,Saturday and Sunday off how’s things going for you?

          • GMHeller
            April 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

            @Brian Gilbert,

        • Scott
          April 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

          You mean informed…

      • Scott
        April 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

        Learn the difference between your and you’re please. No more free b’s.

        • NFM
          April 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

          Learn the difference between the letter “b” at no cost and freebies, please.

    April 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Inside trading lol

    • Scott
      April 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      I’m actually offended you think I’m in law enforcement go figure.

        April 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

        You might not be in law enforcement but might????? you work around law enforcement

        • Scott
          April 5, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

          No sorry.

  4. Scott Laugenour
    April 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Maybe presidents should start declaring ‘acting’ wars instead of going through quaint Constitutional channels. Oh, yeah, they don’t go through those channels anyway. We’re besieged by rampant rampaging executives at all levels, I’d say. Well, it’s the product of our votes, until we change the way we vote.

    • Scott
      April 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

      I agree it’s not as black and white as people make it.

    • danvalenti
      April 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      This says it best. We get the government we deserve, especially when turnout and involvement is paltry.

  5. just saying
    April 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Appointments without votes? Nice. How’s that going to feel pittsfield voters? Not to good if history is correct.
    And mayor junior is going to be there for how long??
    Citizens; you must stand up against this.

    • Brian Gilbert
      April 6, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Does anyone really care who the head of building is? Does this keep people up most nights? [besides Heller]….

      • GMHeller
        April 6, 2011 at 10:45 am #

        @Brian Gilbert
        As usual, you chime in with a snide remark.
        We’re still waiting for you to contribute an intelligent comment.
        Feel free to start anytime.

        • Brian Gilbert
          April 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

          Well its true your the only one who cares who is the head of building! And by looking at the time when you post you don’t sleep much do you? Time to get a life Heller!!!!!

          • GMHeller
            April 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

            @Brian Gilbert:
            Another complaint, but just what is your contribution, angry Brian Gilbert?
            Do you have an opinion one way or the other on any of the subjects Mr. Valenti writes about today?

          • Jim Gleason
            April 7, 2011 at 4:39 am #

            I most definitely care who the head of building maintenance is. We had an incompetent in Fortini in there up until now and he cost the city millions in bad decisions and letting employees such as Tony Stracuzzi work unlimited overtime. One of the requirements for the job is to have a license in a trade, such as plumbing, electrician, carpenter, or be a licensed contractor. Greg Yon has none of the above and is therefore UNQUALIFIED for the job. ruberto is again making a travesty of Democracy the way it’s set up in Pittsfield. I hope some of the gutless wonder’s stand up to him, but I doubt it.

  6. Ron Kitterman
    April 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    All in favor signify in the usual manor, the motion is passed without opposition.

  7. Jeff Ferrin
    April 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    I heard of this today as well. Yes Dan I believe it is within his power to do what he did. However I am not so sure he can do what he did with regadrs to Yon as he was not a city employee and never tapped a qualified inside source to the acting position which would be standard practice, like he did the acting personnel manager which is a job that does not exist and he did for TFB and the acting highway superintendent Mr. Bruneau when Mr. Foody was put into the clerk of the works job All three of those individuals were existing employees. Mr. Yon is not qualified has zero experience in the trades, schools or parking garages let alone an understanding of local, state and fedral regulations with regards to the above mentioned. He has not worked for the city until this happened. So why did Jimmy not look inside at more qualified individuals for this job? Imagine having to train the boss? If I was under him as an employee I would refuse to train my boss in knowing the job he was hired for and less confidence that he will make the right decision. these are not cheap paying jobs and for the salaries paid the candidates should be able to walk in knowing the job. Patronage is apparently the only qaulifications required.
    Mayor Jimmy Ruberto does not care one bit about due process or the effect all these decisions he chooses to make will have on the tax payers of this city. He pulls these stunts when his back is against the wall and he knows what he wants will be voted down because he is wrong. I guess we should just eliminate the council and the voice of the people. I am openly discusted at the fact that he continues to blatenly disregard anything we have to say in this city and has taken his power trip to a new high. What is most disturbing is that he will never get in front of the public and answer with total honesty and transparency, the very questions he knows will be asked about his actions and disregard for the tax payers of this city.

    I will say and am sure many will agree with me that there is absolutley no surprise in his behaviors and actions he continues to take towards not only the process’s but the slap in the face to the council and good people of Pittsfield. Nothing has an open process when it comes to his office and decision making and he hides behind executive privledges to get what he wants regardless of the cost or who it hurts. These acting appointments are just another example of such behavior.

    I do hope that as a result of his actions in eliminating the council from the process which is supposed to be the voice of the people that they hold up any raises for any of these jobs. I am also hopeful that the council finds a way to recind the large pay raise the acting personnel manager is getting since the pay was based on the proposed job that has not been approved with the money coming from the contingency account. That bleeding needs to stop. This is something the head of the finance comity should be addressing and putting a stop to.

    • GMHeller
      April 6, 2011 at 2:01 am #

      @Jeff Ferrin:
      You write:
      ‘I guess we should just eliminate the council and the voice of the people.’

      With its declining population, maybe Pittsfield should consider going to a selectmen form of local government.
      Is having a Mayor and City Council actually working?

      • Jeff Ferrin
        April 6, 2011 at 6:15 am #

        I believe that any elected body can work. However to your point. I have to say that no the current elected body is not working. We do have a select few that are very in tuned with what is right and wrong and fight for it and us. So many that just want to get it done without consideration for the consequences, expense or anything else. The real question to be asked is this.
        Do we have any individuals who really want to serve as a puplic servant and do it for the right reasons? Do we have anyone who still believes as I do that there is still time to recover from what has repeatedly transpired by power hungry selfish individulas and bring this city to where we need to be in the future? It will be a hard sell to have people believe that there are still good people left that want to serve the community they live in for the good of all.

        A select board would not work as the checks and balances still would be a problem.

        These are just my opinions.

  8. rick
    April 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    the council is now a ship of fools in jimmy eyes.

    • GMHeller
      April 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm #


    • danvalenti
      April 6, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      This is one of the interesting angles. What does this mean for the mayor’s relationship with the council going forward through the end of the year. Throw in a campaign, and it’s going to be never a dull moment. Council futures will be on the line as well as the mayor’s legacy.

  9. Dusty
    April 6, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Someone is not playing with a full deck…and it is getting kinda scary around city hall

    April 6, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    What does Charlie Sheen and James Ruberto have in common??? At least in these moves!!!!!

    • Scott
      April 6, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      They’re both winning?

    April 6, 2011 at 8:30 am #

    However I do think it would be best for the new Mayor coming in. Because they would be acting and the new Mayor could just dismiss them if he/she wishes. I believe that to be true, however not 100% sure.

    • danvalenti
      April 6, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      Excellent point and agree. As I understand it, you are correct. When the mayor pulled the appointments off the table, they were out of the council’s purview. Of course, “Acting” means that the council has not OKd these people (Yon and T F-B) for these positions. The mayor is not bound and cannot be bound by an action the council never got a chance to take, i.e., approval.

    • Jim Gleason
      April 7, 2011 at 4:49 am #

      The new mayor can dismiss almost anyone from any position in his administration, including these positions, even if they were approved by the council and permanent employees.

  12. Quetza Coat All
    April 6, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Woah! Didn’t think anything could know SteroidsGate off the plant’s front page, but this does. the mayor pulled a fast one on the council all right. they put his appointments off the table. he withdrew the three, making then free agents, and signed the two (yon and tfb) to lucrative 8 month deals. i didn’t think ruberto had it in him to play at that level to use dan’s chess analogy. grandmsater.

    • danvalenti
      April 6, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      I, too, marvel at the move. The council may say that they forced the mayor’s hand, but even so, if that’s what they were doing, he called their bluff. If that’s what they were NOT doing, he outfoxed them. As a political move, you gotta love it, and please, people, don’t jump on me for that. I’m speaking of loving it strictly from the p.o.v of political theater.

      It’s still amazing to me how the Boring Broadsheet could manage to miss this one. Unbelievable but we have to believe it.

      • Dusty
        April 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

        I don’t think he outsmarted the council…it was probably Lee who suggested it. And it takes all the pressure off those who would have rubber stamped the mayors appointments…the mayor is leaving..he could give a shit what the people think of him….but some of the councilors need to be around to carry out the GOB doctrine….so now they don’t have to look bad by voting in favor of the appointments

        you give Ruberto too much credit….he is not a smart man…he is a bully…he is sneaky….but he is not smart

    • GMHeller
      April 6, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      Not to worry about Steroidsgate.
      You think the users have stopped using?

      • danvalenti
        April 6, 2011 at 11:26 am #

        When “knowers” don’t know, the guessers must guess whether the users are still using.

  13. marcus Borealis
    April 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    I think the mayor pulled one over on the council. He;s not worried about them having to vote on these appoitnments. He wanted to show them for having tabled it. If the council had taken a vote at the meeting stright up, it would have passed 8-3. disagree with you Dusty. .. the mayor is a smart cookie

    • GMHeller
      April 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Yeah, real smart.

    • Jim Gleason
      April 7, 2011 at 4:54 am #

      His wife was smart, he is not, ne’s dumb as a stump.

      • Jim Gleason
        April 7, 2011 at 4:55 am #

        Sorry, he’s dumb as a stump, misprint.

        • Brian Gilbert
          April 7, 2011 at 5:11 am #

          Aren’t you the one with a stump?

          • Jim Gleason
            April 7, 2011 at 7:01 am #

            No, I have two amputated legs but nothing associated with me is a stump. Maybe if you had a brain instead of a rock in your head you’d realize that.

          • danvalenti
            April 7, 2011 at 8:02 am #

            Thanks for taking the high road. You are one class act, my good friend.

  14. Steriodsgate Stoppers
    April 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Ok this is just ridiculous

    1. 5 off us cancelled our subscription today to the Berkshre Rag. It does not report anything anyway. They hide to much and are not a true newspaper. So done are we.

    2. The mayor is a fool and anyone who aligns themselves with him better not run for any office. Pittsfield has had enough.

    3. The big drug dealer in the PPD drug task force needs to step down. Everyone know his name and his time is limited along with the metermaid and fire fighter. We have had enough. You can just push us so far and slap us in the face with your criminal activity. You will be stopped.

  15. rick
    April 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    some how roberto found out that the vote would have been against the appointments( thats how pitts.politics roll) and thats why he put them in as acting….give then a job now and hope marchetti gets in as next mayor, if not their outta luck. marchetti said the first thing he would do as mayor,, he would give tricias job an even better name, “executive poobah.” about yon… she voted yes so many times i wish i met her in high school. of course the hubby gets the job.

  16. Joe Pinhead
    April 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    With so many “actors” we might get another theater… The James Ruberto Theater for the non-performing department heads. I guess he finally realized he wasn’t getting a school named after him.

  17. DJ
    April 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Ethics, ethics, ethics….they know Ruberto well and skirted the last ethics complaint when he hired Barrett (there were three active complaints that I know of).

    He’s making it easy for the next mayor, as soon as they take office, clean house. Farley-Bouvier was worth what they were paying her except for her ability to run the mayors campaign while as city employee and not get caught.
    Yawn obviously bought and paid for, and Barrett well let us just say there is a kick back coming.

    • GMHeller
      April 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      If Ms. Farley-Bouvier retires when Mayor Ruberto leaves office, how much pension is she in line to get?

  18. GMHeller
    April 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    The following statement by Michael J. Wynn, Acting Chief of Police, City of Pittsfield, was released late this afternoon.
    Police Chief Wynn appears not to have taken any questions from reporters following the release of his written statement:

    April 6, 2011

    For the past several weeks, the Pittsfield Police Department has been the subject of a variety of stories fueled by rumor, innuendo and speculation. Despite the department’s efforts to remain above the sensationalism by responding only to those stories and those inquiries that we could address with fact, the speculation has continued. I believe that the men and women of the Pittsfield Police Department deserve to have an official response made for the record.

    First, I would like to point out that during this entire course of events, the city and Police Department have responded to every media request as quickly and completely as possible. While the timing and content of some of these releases has drawn criticism, we are constrained by law in what information we can release and when we can release it.

    Whenever some members of an organization are cast in an unflattering light, it is easy to paint the entire organization with the same, wide brush. Such gross generalizations are unfortunate and unfair.

    The Pittsfield Police Department consists of approximately 120 hard-working and dedicated professionals, who provide high-quality police services to the city of Pittsfield, every minute of every day and every day of every year. In addition to the high-caliber police services that our personnel provide, we are also extremely involved in the community. Department members regularly give of their own time to improve our community. We are coaches, teachers, mentors, scoutmasters, and board members. We are active in our children’s schools and in our churches. We provide the same energy and passion to our off-duty activities as we do to our professional performance.

    The public should be assured that sworn officers of the Pittsfield Police are held to an even higher standard than the people they serve and protect. We have one of the most robust Internal Affairs Policies of any local law enforcement agency. Decisions regarding matters of internal discipline are evaluated against several factors including an evaluation of both criminal and civil service law, an analysis of the department’s rules and regulations and policies and procedures, cases of prior discipline against the officer and findings for similar cases in the past.

    While I am professionally disappointed by the recent actions of Officer David Kirchner, I think that it is important to point out that prior to this incident, Officer Kirchner has enjoyed a reputation as a hard-working, dedicated, and proven member of both the Department and the Berkshire County Drug Task Force. He has consistently accepted difficult and dangerous assignments to protect our community, been commended and decorated for his performance on numerous occasions and is committed to his family and our community.

    Immediately upon being informed of the allegations against Officer Kirchner, the department took steps to confront the allegations and contain the impact of the allegations on current operations. Officer Kirchner was relieved of his duties and informed that he was the subject of an administrative investigation. When confronted with the allegations, Officer Kirchner accepted responsibility for his actions, volunteered to accept appropriate discipline, and waived his due process rights to appeal the discipline imposed.

    Based on the information provided by the investigating agency, I conferred with members of the command staff and the department’s labor attorney and I imposed appropriate discipline on Officer Kirchner. This discipline (suspension coupled with loss of assignment), is the most severe discipline that I can impose as a chief of police, given the nature of the allegations and Officer Kirchner’s lack of prior disciplinary findings.

    This punishment was based on the mere allegation of wrong-doing and a limited amount of physical evidence. It exceeds the punishment that most nonlaw enforcement personnel would receive under similar circumstances. Officer Kirchner has not been charged in connection with any criminal investigation, yet has already been administratively disciplined. This certainly does not indicate any preferential treatment for department personnel.

    Finally, in regard to this matter, there is no indication from the ongoing investigation, that any other member of the Pittsfield Police Department is implicated in this probe. Should that prove to be the case at some point in the future, each of those potential allegations will be handled with the same intensity and thoroughness as this one.

    The men and women of the Pittsfield Police Department continue to provide quality, professional police services to the residents of our city and beyond. We will continue to do so during these trying times and after they are behind us. As the department’s chief of police, I stand behind our personnel and their performance. In those rare instances that our people’s performance is less than ideal, we have a history of investigating those instances fully and disciplining appropriately. We will continue to do so in each and every case brought to our attention.


    Michael J. Wynn
    Chief of Police

    April 6, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    I commend Chief Wynn for the above statement. I would just hope he learned that it would have been a lot better if he would have made the statement a lot earlier. We do all learn as we go on with our lives. Also I agree with him that the men and women in his department are doing a professional job in these hard times. To all these fine men and women thank you and stay safe.

  20. GMHeller
    April 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    That City Attorney Richard M. Dohoney sure knows how to write a compelling brief.

    April 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    GM Heller Great question about Farley-Bouvier getting a pension. Doesn’t she get one for being a City Councilor already??

    • Jim Gleason
      April 7, 2011 at 5:02 am #

      Unless one is an employee for ten (10) years on the city payroll, one receives no pension after retirement and is not eligible for city insurance unless they want to pay the full cost, I believe. I know I’m right on the pension and pretty sure about the insurance.

        April 7, 2011 at 5:59 am #

        thanks JIm

  22. marcus Borealis
    April 7, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    chief wynn is in a dicey spot. he is by law severaly limited in how he responds. i can see wwhy he wanted to say away from the only mike wallace-type journalist we got around here valenti. I know mike wynn. Hes a good man and a good cop.

    • GMHeller
      April 7, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

      Were Chief Wynn the “good man” and “good cop” you say he is, would he have totally ignored journalist Dan Valenti’s bona fide requests to attend Mr. Good Cop’s press conference (the one which ultimately took place at the offices of The Berkshire Eagle conveniently attended by only Berkshire Eagle editors)?
      ‘Good’ public officials don’t pull sleazy stunts like that.
      Plus Chief Wynn knows very well that people go to Dan Valenti’s Web site for news about a scandal the chief would plainly prefer be kept quiet.
      Is this Good Cop really ready to go from acting to chief?

    • GMHeller
      April 8, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      @marcus Borealis,
      We keep hearing from different posters, politicians, and even from Chief Michael Wynn himself that, as you say, “he is by law severely limited in how he responds.”
      But let’s examine that proposition.
      Can someone please link to where it stipulates in state law the specific limits to which the chief of police is limited in any of his responses to questions from the public?

  23. rick
    April 7, 2011 at 3:02 am #

    did they do a p test, when the steroid thing first came about??? or drag this thing out till its out of his system….

  24. PCP
    April 7, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    The highest 3 years pay with some extras added at times. There should be a line item transfer that needs to be approved by the council.

    • danvalenti
      April 7, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      The council uncapped pensions in the early to mid 80s, when Joe Ryan led the council. That opened a pandora’s box that taxpayers will be saddled with until doomsday. Point is that the mayor and council could, if they wanted, restore the pension cap at a reasonable level. It can be done. Just needs political will and a set of backbones.

  25. Brian Gilbert
    April 7, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    Dan you got dissed pretty good by Chief Winn!! Look out Chief Winn Your on Dan’s !@#$ List now!

    • Scott
      April 7, 2011 at 7:25 am #

      Of course but only because the truth hurts I also thought it was nice how he stroked the Eagle he pretty much said thanks guys for helping us cover this mess up it makes one wonder what else is going on down there that we never hear about…

      • Brian Gilbert
        April 7, 2011 at 7:34 am #

        Scott Are you a dispatcher?

        • Who cares
          April 7, 2011 at 10:10 am #

          Brian: Scott does have the knowledge of a dispatcher or gets info from someone in that field or Officer ummmmmmmmm

  26. GMHeller
    April 7, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Is there any doubt, after reading acting police chief Michael Wynn’s press release, that had it not been for PlanetValenti’s revelations and for Berkshire Blog’s initial report confirming the fed’s anabolic steroids probe, that this entire matter would NEVER have been publicly acknowledged by any of the organs of power in Pittsfield?
    Does anyone seriously think Chief Wynn would have unilaterally issued ‘his’ statement on his own had news of the scandal not surfaced?
    And does anyone seriously think The Berkshire Eagle would have reported any of this had the newspaper not had to catch up with PlanetValenti and Berkshire Blog?

  27. notho
    April 8, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    Markhan wasn’t a very nice guy calling this site crazy blogger.

    • danvalenti
      April 8, 2011 at 6:37 am #

      As they say, consider the source. When you do, it’s a high compliment!
      Now what I would do, if I were Lew and J-Lo, is I would invite The Planet
      on the show and eviscerate him in person. Oh, but then it would be to his
      face, and he might, you know, give it back 2-for-1.

  28. notho
    April 8, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    Is my new user id name.