EQUAL PAY FOR SCHOOL COMMITTEE, COUNCIL SHOULD ADD UP TO NOTHING, BUT THE GOB IS OUT TO CHANGE THAT … FOR EXAMPLE, THE PLANET LOOKS AT THE LATEST PROFILE IN COURAGE, KATHY YON OF THE SCHOOL BOARD
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY JAN. 13, 2013) — Quote: The Pittsfield School Committee “should be paid equal to the city council.” — Kathy Amuso, school committee member.
Kathy baby, we agree. The school committee is manned — oh, excuse us — “peopled” — on a volunteer basis. These are public servants, all, giving of their time, their talents, and their treasures, expecting … everything in return. Well, not everything, just $8,000 to $10,000 in compensation for their veddy part-time efforts.
They expect us to love them.
They expect us not to question them.
They expect us to accept their word as if it were the word of God.
They expect that we feel sorry for them for all the hard work they do on our behalf.
They expect us to believe they have the best interests of The Little Guy at heart.
They expect us to ignore every signal, and their are plenty of them, that they exist mainly to fetch water for the Special Interests.
And now …
They expect to be paid.
The School Committee: The Frozen Chosen
So Kathy, we agree with you. The school committee and the council should be remuneratively equal. You guys get nothing, and we take away the compensation for councilors. How’s that work out for you? Consequently, we can honestly state that you have a great idea there. Kath, this is the first positive idea you have contributed since you’ve been one of the Frozen Chosen, also known as the Pittsfield School Committee.
Sure enough, the advocates for giving school committee members the same dough as councilors fall back on the same, tired, old playbook. They bring up ad infinitum ad nauseum, all the vast amounts of time these people spend in meetings, doing research, taking and making phone calls, and getting civic manicures as part of their jobs. It’s the “oh, woe is me” strategy.
Well, THE PLANET answers, what about it? You spend time in meetings? So what? It’s the job. We expect you to serve in this manner. You knew that when you ran. Why do we have to compensate people for the privilege of participating in self-government?
Has self-governance turned into this? Yes, my friends, in the city of Pittsfield, it has. You have a government of mercenaries.
Why can’t we weed out the mercenaries and those who are in it for the $8,000 to $10,000 large for doing as little or as much as they wish? Remember, the job of mayor, city councilor, and school committee member is not defined by charter, law, or any other rule. The job is open to interpretation. You serve and work to the extent that you feel like doing. You work as much or as little as you like. The $8,000 to $10,000 stipend for limited, part-time service is not a good idea.
It goes against the grain of democracy’s lifeblood.
Yon told the Pittsfield Gazette‘s Jonathan Levine about “the dozens of meetings” she has to attend as a board member. “Tears on my pillow. Pain in my heart.”
“The work we are doing is crucial,” Yon told Levine. Yes, Kath hon, your work is crucial: crucial to the secretary of the assistant superintendent of schools, who rigged the vo-tech work-study situation so that his secretary, out of the vast universe of potential applicants, and saw that his secretary got free labor to build herself a house.
In point of fact, the work IS crucial. The school committee controls 70% of a $133 million budget.
We don’t think this is how Yon and her colleagues think of the the job … with the notable and noteworthy exception of Terry Kinnas, that is. Kinnas, time after time and vote after vote, action after action and idea after idea, has advocated strongly for Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski.
Alas, Kinnas is the lone voice, crying out in the wilderness, although THE PLANET has reason to hope that will change following this year’s municipal election. The final score, for those listening in at home: Kathy Yon, Lynn Whitney, and the GOBs 1,001. Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, 0, as in zero.
The Skinning of the Taxpayers
Yon is the kind of unimaginative, lackluster person we have been electing to public office, year after year. She has a certain amount of competence, just enough so that you know she knows better. She has a certain supply of independence, just enough for you to shake your head when you see her, time after time, voting from fear rather than conviction. The fear, of course, stems from a need to be accepted.
In public servants such as Yon, there seems to be a paramount desire to be accepted by the GOB, by the Status Quo, by the Special Interests … call it what you will. For example, Yon could have voted against Contractgate, but no. She could have voted NOT to reprimand the only member of her committee who understands the job and take the job seriously, but no. Yon could have stood firm against the school department’s annual skinning of taxpayers at budget time, but no. She could have been a voice of reason when the United Educators of Pittsfield sought approval of a 16% pay hike over three years, but no.
The Kathy Yons of public life, the Dan Bianchis of public life, are too timid, too tenuous, too afraid to take on the Special Interests, to vote with integrity. They think they know what’s on the minds of We The People. They think they have their finger on the pulse.
Well, they do. They have their finger on the pulse of a large, corpulent pig, who has his snout continually buried in the public trough.
The solution is to encourage new blood to get involved in city government, from voting, to attending meetings, to writing letters, to running for office. More people need to come out of the woodwork and begin to participate in government on the local level. At stake is nothing less that Democracy itself.
Do you want THE PLANET to explain why? Let us know. We shall be more than too glad to oblige.
NEMO DAT QUAD NON HABET.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.