Article

!! PLANET EXCLUSIVE !! SOURCES: PITTSFIELD FIREFIGHTER SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY FOR ALLEGED THEFTS IN SUPPORT OF DRUG HABIT, MONEY PROBLEMS … SEARCH FOR NEW SCHOOL SUPER IS NOT ADDING UP … plus … PLANET BOWS OUT OF KROL-MAZZEO DISCUSSION

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, FEB. 28, 2012) — On what is three out of every four years the last day of February, THE PLANET has a few  interesting items to share with you.

SOURCES: PITTSFIELD FIREMAN  SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY FOR ALLEGEDLY STEALING TO SUPPORT HIS DRUG HABIT

Not long ago, one of our regular commentators, CONCERNED, asked if anyone heard of a fireman being caught up in some kind of internal scandal. We hadn’t then, but we have now after some investigating.

We have it on good authority that a Pittsfield fireman is currently suspended, without pay, for stealing from his brothers on the force. The alleged thefts appear to be of the desperate kind, the kind associated with a drug habit and an urgent need for money.

Here’s what we have confirmed, according to sources, including high-ranking members of the Pittsfield Fire Department. They spoke to us on condition of anonymity:

Fire Fighter Alan Catalano Suspended Since January Without Pay; Source Says Police Charges Pending

According to sources within the department, fireman Alan Catalano, 34, has been suspended since early January, without pay, for an alleged series of thefts. The alleged thefts included stealing from the firehouse coffee money, theft of old equipment (brass couplings, hoses, etc.) from the firehouse basement, and an outside job of stealing from the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club.

According to sources, internal suspicion began with the alleged coffee fund theft. When a local scrap yard confirmed that it had received stolen equipment, signed for with an ID, Catalano was suspended without pay, pending an internal hearing on the case. THE PLANET contacted union president Tim Bartini about the case, but Bartini would not comment for the record. The same is true for acting chief Bob Czerwinski. Catalano could not be reached for comment.

One high-ranking firehouse source says the Pittsfield Police Department has notified Catalano of impending charges. That could not be independently confirmed as of press time. The source says that Catalano, who’s been a member of the force for four years, is the son of a former deputy chief at the fire station. Catalano, according to sources, has been in trouble within the department prior to this.

Sources: ‘He has money issues. … Drugs are involved.’

Sources say Catalano was called in before chief Czerwinski  for prior issues stemming from concerns about domestic violence. Sources say Catalano has four children from three different women. THE PLANET doesn’t know if he was married to any of them. Sources say Catalano allegedly has a substance abuse problem, which they speculated may have been behind the thefts. Sources say the department had repeatedly tried to intervene and get Catalano help. He is reportedly now in a 24/7 rehab facility, although one fire source says Catalano has been spotted “out at night.”

“He has money issues,” the source said. “Drugs are involved. He hangs around with the wrong crowd.” Another department source said of Catalano, “Nobody wants to work with him. We don’t want this guy on the force. We don’t trust him. I don’t feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for his parents. It’s humiliating.”

To be clear, Catalano has not been formally charged with wrongdoing by the police. Legally, the presumption of innocence must apply. He is currently on suspension, without pay, pending further action based on internal allegations. Asked for an opinion about the disposition of the case, qualified sources say it appears “near certain” that Catalano will either be fired or given the option to resign.

For Firemen, Gaining and Retaining the Public Trust is of Prime Importance

One source said, “We are a Band of Brothers. We must rely on each other all the time. There’s no way I will work with Alan. You don’t cross your brothers the way he has. We have a good reputation in the community, one that I think is well deserved. This kind of thing is a slap in the face to all of us. Believe me, there are a lot of upset guys [in the department] right now. I don’t envy [chief Czerwinski] his job in dealing with all this. We all deserve better — his parents, the department, and the public.”

In a Pinch, the Bond of Trust Is Imperative, as Fire Fighters Well Know

THE PLANET agrees with our good friends in the department. Fire fighters literally go into people’s homes, enter into their lives, often at crucial and  heart-breaking moments. They are first responders to what are often the last things anyone would want to happen to them. People need absolute trust in the firemen, and for the most part, they can invest such trust in the Pittsfield force.

We will also say that We The People, who support the fire department as generously as possible, cannot afford to have one deadbeat on any force, be it professional or voluntary. A bad apple will show up from time to time, human nature being what it is, and when it does, they have to be tossed out of the basket.

—————————————————————–

SCHOOL COMMITTEE PLANS HURRY-HURRY-HURRY IN SUPT. SEARCH, BUT SOMETHING’s NOT ADDING UP WITH THE ‘WHY?’

On “Good Morning, Pittsfield” yesterday, host John Krol had school committee member school committeeman Terry Kinnas as his guest. Krol asked “What’s new?” and Kinnas told him. Kinnas broke the news that, apparently without any public input, the school committee has approved an ad looking for a new school superintendent. Kinnas criticized the lack of public input.

He also said that he, as a committee member, did not find out about it until after the decision had been made. Apparently, school committee chairman Alf Barbalunga decided to get an ad out there and begin the search for a new superintendent, ASAP. Kinnas said the ad asked for replies by March 14 from those interested in the job. March 14 gives about two weeks. For a top executive job such as this, this isn’t enough time.

Distant Rumblings: Will Eberwein Stick Around Until the End Of June, and If Not, Why Not?

We have calls into Kinnas and Barbalunga on this. Kinnas said our remarks were accurate. Barbalunga did not respond to us by press time.

THE PLANET had earlier advised a more deliberate search for a new super. First, by his own word, lame duck school Supt. Jake Eberwein will be staying on until the end of the school year in June. Second, the committee will be making use of an executive search service offered for free by the Massachusetts agency for school committees. Third, it behooves We the People if the school committee has an open discussion about and agree upon exactly what they are looking for in the new person.

A mad rush to advertise and hear from candidates is a mistake, like a wine sold before its time.

THE PLANET has heard distant rumblings that might explain the rush. It involves a scenario under which Eberwein leaves his position far earlier than previously indicated and not for the best of reasons. The reason for such a hasty exit, should it occur, would be of important concern for the public and the school committee that represents it.

Even if Jake had to leave the job tomorrow, though, there would still be no need to get a new person hired instantly. Don’t We The People have Assistant and Associate Superintendents coming out the  wazoo averaging $100,000 a year in pay? Couldn’t one of them take over as “acting” super in the meantime? Moreover, don’t We The People have a say in this process via the entire school committee and at least one dedicated public meeting?

Something’s not adding up with this picture. We have a series of dots that need to be connected. What kind of picture will it produce?

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PLANET BOWS OUT OF KROL-MAZZEO DISCUSSION

As best that we know, the discussion THE PLANET set up between councilors John Krol and Melissa Mazzeo will occur Wednesday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — without THE PLANET. We wish the show well, but we shall not be in the studio.

The idea of a public discussion between the two councilors began when the two conducted an e-mail exchange centered around the Jeff Ferrin St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. In one of her e-mails to Krol, Mazzeo suggested having a public discussion moderated by THE PLANET. We responded positively to this idea, as did both councilors.

We  basically fished out two possibilities: Conducting a three-way between the two councilors and THE PLANET on PCTV or do a three-way on WBRK as part of the Bill Sturgeon Show. When we informally mentioned our intention to Sturgeon prior to our taping of “Out Front TV” appearance a week ago today, he said he wouldn’t not make two hours of his show available unless he could serve as co-moderator. We thought that was reasonable.

The Sequence of Events, More or Less

Backs and forths among and between us four (together and in pairs) took place during the week. We agreed in principle, finally, to the Wednesday time slot. For THE PLANET’s busy schedule, that worked fine (but barely) and also meant a far easier option for us than to line up and produce a show on PCTV right quick. We do have lots of other slices in the toaster, you know.

On Thursday, Feb. 23, we sent this e-mail to Sturgeon:

BILL

Thanks for the opportunity.
I want to be clear: JK and MM will be the guests, you and I will be co-moderators.
We will bill the segment as a joint production of your show and Planet Valenti Dot Com.
I would like my website mentioned as much as we can.
I told PCTV I would be getting back to them on Monday. My first choice is to do it as part of your show.
Any questions, let me know. 
Again, thanks,
DAN 

The Fat Man responded with this:

Hi all – I want to be clear about the show. It is not about Dan or myself. This show is a discussion between Melissa and John and their issues. I don’t see the hosts having a very active role in this production.  I believe that my listeners want to hear from Melissa and John not Dan or me. I really don’t care who gets the production credits. 

Dan, if this is different from production you have in mind perhaps you should go with PCTV. Just let me know by today.
Bill

This is how we answered:

BILL

I had a different production in mind. Go ahead with my blessings to do the Wednesday show with MM and JK. I only ask for a credit in my role to bring this meeting about.
I will follow up with PCTV to do something on my own, if there is a need.
Thanks,
DAN

BILL replied:

Dan, I really don’t care for the way this event is developing. If you are going to be part of the event then let me know. if you are coming to report for the Planet, then I will invite other print media. Please let me know if you are coming and in what capacity (participant or reporter) by noon tomorrow. I think that is the only fair and professional thing to do.

Bill

Not the Time, Not the Place, and Not Room Enough on Talk Radio for Four

THE PLANET responded, “We won’t be there.” Sturgeon answered: “Once again, that is your decision. It’s too bad I think that it will be an exciting event.” We also did not like the way things were proceeding, and thought, therefore, that it would be best if we did not participate.

We can’t say whether it will be an exciting show or not. We have no control over that. THE PLANET can say, however, that two hours is an hour too long to basically let two councilors talk without adequate moderation. Also, with the Ferrin case having lost some of its sizzle, many in the listening audience will be asking, “So what?” well before the first hour is up.

Here’s one case where Bill and THE PLANET can respectfully disagree.

We disagree with this: “I don’t see the hosts having a very active role in this production.” An inactive host invites two ways for the candidates to act: shouting heads or lots of fluff without substance. The host’s role is to keep the conversations moving, keep them on target, and insert the pointed questions that will otherwise not be asked. The other pragmatic reason for not making a two hour show is that it will take a four-hour chunk out of a mid-week day with a lot on the plate.

Thinking all this through, THE PLANET has decided not to participate in Wednesday’s show. We believe the better forum will be on a non commercial medium with a length of one hour.

THE PLANET retains an interest in producing a series of community discussion on hot topics. These we see being held at live venues, where the public can attend and ask questions (for example, the auditorium at the Little Cinema or the small auditorium, K-111, at BCC), and/or on live TV.

We welcome your thoughts.

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THAT’s ALL FOR NOW. HE THAT IS DOWN HAS NO NEED TO FEAR FALLING. SHE THAT IS LOW WILL NOT SUFFER FROM PRIDE. THE CURIOUS AND INFORMED HAVE THE PLANET TO READ, WHILE THE HUMBLE HAVE GOD TO GUIDE.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

63 Responses to “!! PLANET EXCLUSIVE !! SOURCES: PITTSFIELD FIREFIGHTER SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY FOR ALLEGED THEFTS IN SUPPORT OF DRUG HABIT, MONEY PROBLEMS … SEARCH FOR NEW SCHOOL SUPER IS NOT ADDING UP … plus … PLANET BOWS OUT OF KROL-MAZZEO DISCUSSION”

  1. Bill Sturgeon
    February 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Dan:
    Thanks for good wishes for the “radio” show. I wish you success with your TV production. Oh, FYI WBRK and PCTV could never do anything together. WBRK is for a for profit station and PCTV is a non-profit organization. When I did my first TV show last year for the GOP show I was yelled at by a PCTV employee for showing a sign that said Mid-Day Live 1340 AM WBRK.

    Best of luck,

    Bill

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

      BILL
      Many thanks. We hope you have a great show, and we will plug it tomorrow. We will have members of the Secret Squadron tuning in! You are a man of honor and integrity.

  2. Joe Blow
    February 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    In the real world if you are caught stealing from your employer………you get fired immediately! He is not the only fireman or cop doing drugs! I know this for a fact! Time for Bianchi to take a stand and push drug testing for all city employees…enough is enough! While most police and firemen live by the law there are more then a few bad apples and it’s time to get rid of them because they are spoiling the bunch.

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

      JOE
      Yes, but this isn’t the Dreaded Private Sector. This is a case where the accused is protected by the contract his union negotiated with the city. Agreed: Most of the cops and jakes are good people. The bad apples, though, must be ferreted out and jettisoned.

    • SarahD
      February 29, 2012 at 5:08 am #

      This guy wouldn’t have been a fireman if not for his father. Why is everyone not screaming undue influence of the GOBs here?

      • danvalenti
        February 29, 2012 at 8:15 am #

        We have also herd from fire department sources that the fact that he was a veteran weighed heavily in the decision to hire him approximately four years ago.

  3. holy cow
    February 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Dan,

    I disagree that two hours is too long when an hour and a half
    will be commercials and/or sturgercials. But in Bill’s defense
    he is correct WBRK is a for profit station.

    • Nomad
      February 29, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      “sturgercials”….LOL.

  4. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    February 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    too bad the Planet is not moderating this event. I was planning to tune in but now I will not. I know many who share my sentiments.

    • Dawn
      February 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Agree. Bill should recuse himself from this debate.

    • Molly aka Nancy
      February 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      Same here…

      • Joe Pinhead
        February 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

        I too was planning on tuning in until this news. I have only listened to Bill’s show a few times but each time I am amazed at how little respect he gives his audience. I’m not sure who makes up his “facts” and hands them to him but he should put some sort of rationale test to them. Example he was saying one day that he couldn’t speak to the Nilan case because of some FCC rule, in the mean time anyone with an ounce of a brain asks themselves does CNN run the risk of losing its credentials because of Nancy Grace? Many a pundit made a living off of the OJ case and the Rodney king case. These issues were discussed before the trial during the trial and after. Ask anybody over the age of say 30 who is Judge Lance Allen Ito? Oh and there was a case in Florida that just played out nightly on TV we haven’t all forgot that case yet have we? Now I am certain that CNN, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC manage to slip under the FCC’s watchful eye because it is trained on Bill and WBRK.
        That you can’t or won’t or even have no interest in speaking about any issue is fine, but please just say you’re not interested in subject xxxxx making allegations or coming right out and saying that your forbade from doing so by the FCC.
        No offense, but an FCC license does not give one creative license with the facts.
        Just one guys opinion
        Just sayin
        :-)

  5. ambrose
    February 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Alf and Kathy are most likely smarter than all of us – They realize that they have the perfect candidate right under their nose – a man with a vast educational background, years of management experience in industry and property management. IMHO TERRY KINNAS is perfect for the job. He has shown through the years his capacity for work and his understanding of the problems facing our city. Please don’t let him slip away.

    • Molly aka Nancy
      February 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

      My bet is Mrs. Malkas (sp?). Mark my words – that’s who Barbalunga wants.

      • danvalenti
        February 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

        MOLLY aka NANCY
        She would be a lousy choice for head of the Pittsfield schools.

        • Molly aka Nancy
          February 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

          I really don’t know much about her, but I did hear Barbalunga say something (like a slip he didn’t mean to state) in either the 1st or 2nd meeting where he was the chairman, that made me think at the time, “ohh – he wants Malkas for this position!” Which would make sense with the only 2 weeks to apply – it’s merely a way to have locals, already in the school dept., apply before they end up going to an expensive head-hunter. And using the Mass Schools one, there are SO many districts looking to fill a Superintendent position, that it might be difficult to go that route. And if they’re highly qualified, then I’m all for it. But would have to look into them first to know that since as I said, I really don’t know much about her. So I’ll start with you! Why do you think she’d be a lousy choice? Not good leadership skills? No vision? No guts? Doesn’t work well with a team (school committee, staff, etc.)? Likes to spend a lot and on “nothing of real benefit” things?

          I think this appointment will very much be a “key appointment” and we really need someone who is really good in there – look at all the items coming up – the possibility of building a new Taconic and remodeling PHS (and now a number of the grammar schools, too), moving vocational to PHS (how will they ever build things like the auto shop at PHS?) – there are lots and lots of issues to be dealt with… We need a top-notch person in there!

          What are Terry Kinnas’ qualifications? Does he have a PhD? Has he taught in the schools? He seems pretty good (and very interested and involved) in the School Committee meetings, but again – I don’t know anything about his background.

          • Joe Pinhead
            February 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

            Regarding the Superintendant issue, Mr. Eberwein has announced his departure and will be moving on and I wish him both happiness and success in whatever endeavor he undertakes. Now would be the time for the Citizens of this City to take stock of and evaluate a number of key concerns in the schools.
            Looking forward do we have the right mix of educational programs in place? Have we adopted and adapted to changing technologies? What are the strengths and the weakness’s of the current system? Have we accurately and adequately identified the needs of the business community with the educational programs? Now is the time to answer these and a zillion other questions, If we answer them now we can select a new super who possess the correct experience and skill set to guide us closer towards the goals. An important question that needs to be asked and answered in the affirmative is: have you overseen a comprehensive construction project to the size and scale of a new school that we might be looking at? Have you guided a community through the phases of a project of that scope? How much time would you need to identify both the pro’s and the con’s of building a new school or repairing the current inventory? If we as a community do not have answers to these questions along with academic program questions and questions regarding the impact of the ever changing demographics of the community and its needs, meals, social services etc how can we expect to identify someone to come in and guide us? Does Mr. Barbalunga simply wish to maintain the status quo? Here is the chance to have a major impact on people’s lives I hope the School Committee sees this as more than an agenda item to fill the position.

  6. baby baby
    February 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Face it Dan you are out because you can’t promote your website the way you would like. It is all about you and you know it. Deep down you hope the production is a flop. Then you an say I told you so, glad I didn’t participate.

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      BABY
      We thank you for your opinion.

  7. Four in one
    February 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Dan you made the correct call in my opinion. Two hours with 3/4 of it commercials? I respect your judgement on this one. Also admire how you posted the emalis (you and BS), everything up front. When you posted the emails from Krol and Mazzeo, John seemed not to have any conditions where Melissa seemed to have conditions. As did BS.
    On the superintendent I agree with ambrose Terry Kinnas would make a great superintendent. I’m serious where ambrose is trying to be a wisea**. Terry is the best informed. I saw him on Krols show yesterday. He made excellent points. Thanks.

    • ambrose
      February 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      how is that diffrent then what i said 1 under 4. i know terry well and he knows where he’s coming from. show me another city pundit who’s done his homework like terry – the rest of that committee doesn’t have a clue

      • Four in one
        February 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

        ambrose, yup its the same as you said. I like the “1 under 4″!
        As for the suspended fireman I am sad to hear that the city employs people like that if even half the stuff is true.

        • Molly aka Nancy
          February 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

          As DV said, in any large group of employees, there are always a few “bad apples” that need to be weeded out, and it appears that they are doing that. The problem is that these few bad apples shed a really bad light on the entire forces (this on the fire department and the steroid-gate on the police dept) — I know that on both departments, the overwhelming majority are hard-working, law abiding and very honest people. Yet one bad apple ruins the entire perception of the departments in general. And as the fireman said, these jobs RELY upon being able to trust one another completely, and that’s a really big deal as well!

  8. Dee
    February 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    I agree with Hilly. I was looking forward to this, hoping it would be an active conversation. It seems as time goes by Bill is getting more and more locked up in his own inaccuracies and accusations and often wanders down memory lane to the detriment of his guests. Two weeks ago it was actually painful to listen to city council agenda. So many stories, very little agenda.

    I can already predict what tomorrow will bring. At the start of the segment we will get 10 minutes of the following: Mazzeo’s menu, and of course what he had for dinner there the night before. Then we will hear about Joe’s place and how they have the Billy burger which he had the day before (but don’t tell his doctor). Then, we will hear about how horrible the state is for taking away Dragon’s license (even though they clearly did more than forget to dot a few i’s). Then we will probably be enlightened by a few courses of “they’re coming to get you, you might as well turn yourself in” like the robber would actually be listening to his show. Finally at about 10:45 he will have to break for 5 minutes of commercials.

    Then the fun will begin. He will be unable to keep any semblence of order. A conversation which quite honestly I feel is moot at this point. What are these two going to do…… argue that their way is the best. Krol will bluster thus causing Melissa to perceverate. At least if Dan were involved it would keep the conversation on point and advancing rather that what I fear will happened. Nothing.

    One can only be thankful that Bill has announced that there will be some changes to morning radio though i’m not sure if he is just cutting back or perhaps leaving. I think his time is coming to an end on the radio. The show used to be insightful and interesting but unfortunately it has degraded into a three hour commercial with power points of negativity aimed at many aspects of Pittsfield.

    • Molly aka Nancy
      February 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      I literally find it painful to listen to. Try as I have, I just find it to be such a huge waste of time and truly awful. Even when DV is on there (nothing against Dan – it’s just the format, etc.). I wish Dan was able to do it on PCTV, but the issued seems to have settled down quite a bit and I think he’ll be voted in when they take the vote anyway. But would’ve enjoyed hearing Melissa going after them!!!

    • Jim Gleason
      February 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      The reason it’s painful to listen to the agenda’s is because Markham is a moron. He likes to throw people under busses and thinks he’s being funny. As Robert Plant sang, Lou, Your time is gonna come.

    • holy cow
      February 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      he is going soon

  9. Bull Durham
    February 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Mr. Sturgeon’s blanket comment that WBRK cannot work with PCTV is true, but it doesn’t mean that he cannot appear on PCTV and act as a co-moderator or host, just as Larry Kratka regularly does. Also, agree with you Dan, a host has an obligation to keep the discussion moving and not just sit there and act as an observer. The host should always try to keep an objective role, but the show will always be more interesting when he or she is making sure the guests answer on the most important points and not just use the time to make their own small political points.

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      Thanks, BULL. For these and a lot of reasons, including schedules, we determined that the best use of our time would be elsewhere on other duties. My idea of a host on a show like that is different than Bill’s. He wants a less active host, and to me, if the show is to be run that way, two hosts would be overkill. It wouldn’t make sense to have two guys as mere observers when one can do that job just as well. Stay tuned, though, because we might have something to announce in terms of media.

    • JUST SAYING
      February 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Mr. Kratka is a class act. I don’t always listen to Up Front, but when I do, the program is quality.
      Sturgeon, not so much.

  10. Scott
    February 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    “Sources say Catalano has four children from three different women.”

    LOL

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Except that, if true, it’s not funny and all too common in The Pitts. When that is the family situation, you can count on a lot of human heartache and misery.

      • Molly aka Nancy
        February 28, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

        Totally agree, Dan. The kids suffer in a terrible way and there’s so many of them now. And yet we keep wondering “what has happened with these kids in this day and age?” It seems that either they are basically abandoned or they are spoiled to the extreme… Of course, not ALL kids – we tend to hear about those two extremes and not much about the good kids, that I’m sure are out there.

        • Scott
          February 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

          Also don’t forget the double standard if a woman had four kids by three different guys she would be looked upon even worse in society.

          • Joetaxpayer
            February 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

            Scott very true who does this guy thinks he is a NBA player.

        • Jim Gleason
          February 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

          Molly, there are a lot of good kids out there. I worked in the schools for 15 years as a custodian and found 95% of the kids to be great people. You just have to treat them with as much respect as you want back from them and they’re not hard to be around. It’s unfortunate that the 5% get all the attention.

          • danvalenti
            February 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

            Good points, Jim.

      • Scott
        February 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

        You’re right it’s really not funny it’s sickening and sad.

  11. Joetaxpayer
    February 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Planet Valenti = Bare fisted in the Octagon.Bill Sturgeon = Sitting down eating cream puffs.I could see why this was not going to work.

    • HB2IW4
      February 29, 2012 at 1:00 am #

      Exactly Joe..

  12. CONCERNED
    February 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Dan: I pretty sure Catalano was arrested at the Sports Club, and there was an article in the Eagle.

    • danvalenti
      February 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

      It is my understanding that the Boring Broadsheet had but hid the information about the suspect’s connection with the fire department.

      • truth
        February 29, 2012 at 9:34 am #

        Actually I think it was on the front page of the boring broadsheet, it just didn’t mention his status as a firefighter in the headline (it did in the article).

        • Molly aka Nancy
          February 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

          If it was ever on there, it certainly is nowhere to be found now – did searches on the BB website on all possibilities (fire fighters name, Sports Club, theft, robbery, burglary – everything), and nothing comes up at all.

  13. CONCERNED
    February 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Dan: Could the rush on new Superintendent be because of trouble with the present one. This is from good source. Allegedly, he has been caught having an affair with a principle of one of Pittsfield schools.

    • HB2IW4
      February 29, 2012 at 1:03 am #

      How good a source Concerned?

  14. tito
    February 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Hey Jonathan,the question of Council approval of Peda board members was omitted by the previous administration, why the concern now?

  15. tito
    February 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    It is clear to see that councilors Clairmont and Lothrop have an agenda, and are doing everything possible at nausea, to make it difficult for the new administration. The mayor shouldn’t have to answer to many of the menial inquiries that have little or no impact on the direction of the City, other than to prolong the time of the Council meetings with meaningless inquiries, that sometimes includes others as well. Lothrop needs to stop yelling shootings without asking the President for permission.

  16. tito
    February 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Shootings..I was thinking of the armed robbery the other not in his ward.

  17. tito
    February 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Shout outs was the word, sorry!

  18. tito
    February 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    The most pleasant surprise to the Bianchi Administration has been the new City Solicitor.

  19. Molly aka Nancy
    February 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Has anyone seen the 2012 School Budget yet? This is only the Pittsfield portion (and I assume not the benefits, etc., that are part of the Pittsfield City budget) and does not include what the state contributes and the federal grants. Here’s the link to it:
    http://www.pittsfield.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/file/6_8_11%20Line%20Item%20Budget%20ADOPTED%20FY12.pdf

    Here’s a quick breakdown of a few of the bigger expenses:
    944.15 employees, total salary of 46,774,837, a 3.16% increase in 2012, avg. pay of $49,542

    Operations & Maintenance: 56 employees, total salary = 2,551,916 , avg. pay of $45,570. PLUS a $3,383,409 budget. And this doesn’t include the Custodians! 49 Custodians, 2 supervisors, O.T. of $88,874, Substitute Custodians of a Whopping $229,700.
    Total For Custodians = $2,246,162. PLUS Total Ops & Maint. of $5,935,325 = $8,181,487!!! And this does NOT include Custodial Services, another almost 3.4 million!! OH MY GOD!!!! Yet Taconic needs to be torn down already, PHS is falling apart, as are a number of our Grammar Schools. What gives with this? A total annual maint. budget of almost 11.5 million dollars??

  20. Sandy
    February 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Someone said they did not know about Terry Kinnas and his background in education. Terry taught many years at North Jr. High School which became Reid Jr. High School . His wife, Mary, was a teacher in the Pittsfield School System as well as her both of her parents. Terry knows our school system inside and out, you can ask him about where our schools stand in the state, which school scored the best in what subject (for example) and he knows the answer. There is not much that gets past Terry in the field of education or in ways to improve our city.

    • Molly aka Nancy
      February 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

      Sounds great! As I said, he seems to offer a lot at the meetings. Does he have at least a Master’s Degree? Is he eligible to be licensed as a Superintendent in Massachusetts? That holds a LOT of requirements… Just asking…

  21. dusty
    February 29, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    I think Terry should be given due consideration for the position. Has he has even expressed an interest in it? But, my guess is that Alf is the head of the school committee to make sure no financial watchdog gets the job of superintendent. That budget is a slush fund that needs serious auditing and I am sure some people are going to fight hard to prevent it ever happening.

    • Steve wade
      February 29, 2012 at 6:23 am #

      Has he worked in the last 10 years? If he has not then why not?

  22. Anytime
    February 29, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    School supt = Would agree Terry Kinnas would make a great one, fiscal conservative, on top of data
    Suspended fireman = Important story, thanks DV. Sad to see anyone but espec police officer or fireman on the take. Trust is all
    Radio show = Agree with Dan. That show is not right venue. W/o Dan it will be anear waste.

  23. Sandy
    February 29, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Terry Kinnas I am sure has his master’s degree and would not apply to be superintendent if he did not have the everything required to be a superintendent. He certainly would know where every penny of the school budget was being spent and being spent wisely. It would be being spent on the children of Pittsfield to get the best education possible. He has been retired for a few years from teaching. I am not sure how long as I lost track of him and his work. Hopefully someone else in here knows what Terry did after teaching.

  24. Molly aka Nancy
    February 29, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Not guilty pleas entered by driver’s attorney in alleged hit-and-run

    PITTSFIELD — Meredith Nilan waived her right to appear in person for her arraignment Wednesday morning in Central Berkshire District Court, but a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf.

    Shugrue said he plans to file a request to dismiss the case.

    http://www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_20069459

    • Scott
      February 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      The article has everything we know from following DV’s reporting they don’t like people talking about DV in their comment section but they sure don’t mind plagiarizing and stealing from this site. The bottom should have read Staff writer Tony Dobrowolski contributed to this report based on information taken from planetvalenti.com.

      • Molly aka Nancy
        February 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

        I don’t get the message from the BB Comments (Disqus) that I’ve been blocked, but every single time I try to post I do get the message that my comments need to be approved by the Moderator and then they NEVER get posted! They end up in Eagle La-La land somewhere. So what’s the difference other than more manipulation and vagueness when dealing with me? It’s irritating! As long as the comments aren’t rude or vulgar, then why have comments at all if they are all going to be censored and only one way of thinking (the BB’s way!) is allowed?

        • GMHeller
          February 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

          Nancy/Molly,
          Welcome to the pre-Internet world inhabited by the incredibly lame editors at The Berkshire Eagle.
          Molly, being blocked by editors at the The Eagle is a mark of honor.
          That’s why The Eagle editors get the real news off Topix, PlanetValenti, and Berkshire Blog.

          • Scott
            March 1, 2012 at 8:36 am #

            I certainly take it as an honor. There’s always topix and you know people read what’s being said even if they don’t comment on it.