PAY RAISE OF 26%? + ANOTHER OF 16%? AVERAGE COMPENSATION $86,200? WORK A HALF A YEAR? YOU MUST BE A PITTSFIELD TEACHER … GRANNY WARREN AND THE BUM KISSERS … plus … COUNCIL TRIES AGAIN WITH SCHOOL DEPARTMENT (SNUB IS IN THE WORKS)
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JAN. 10, 2013) — Did you receive a 26% boost in wages in the fives years from 2005 to 2011? Is your average salary, including compensation for benefits, $74,298.75? Does your work year consist of six months? Do you have six months off? If so, you must be a Pittsfield teacher.
The $74,298.75 average compensation does not include the recent 16% pay raise given to the 600 or so teachers in the recent contract signed by Mayor Dan Bianchi and the Pittsfield School Committee with the United Educators of Pittsfield. It means that at the end of the 2014-15 school year, the average compensation will be around $86,200.
Two Types of “Teachers” in the UEP
Most of the teachers in the United Educators of Pittsfield work hard, earn their keep, and are grateful for the generosity afforded to them by taxpayers. They are the silent ones, who will not speak out against union leadership for fear of retribution. You can spell “heart” without that kind of “teacher.” THE PLANET speaks for them. A fraction of the unionistas, however, are of “the world owes me a living” variety. They are the loud ones. They complain about their lot, and, while you pay them close to $80,000 this year, also want you to feel sorry for them. They are the few bad eggs that control politicians and spoil the rest of the batch. You can spell “treacherous” without this type of “teacher.”
This latter type of “fiscal prudence,” which has become a speciality under Mayor Dan Bianchi, drips with the juice that spills upon it from the Gravy Train, a sauce made from the moldings of taxpayer wallets and purses. Financially, the School Department has become the single-most problematic issue for the city of Pittsfield at this juncture, the beginning of a municipal election year. In one generation, the city doubled the number of teachers, tripled the number of administrators, halved the number of students, exponentially raised the compensation packages, and did all this while presiding over a severe decline in quality, achievement, and performance.
The School Department:
* Now eats up 70% of a $133,000,000 municipal budget.
* Has an unsustainably high level of compensation for both teachers and administrators.
* Occupies sainted status in the moribund politics of the city. It’s the Sacred Cow. “Can’t Touch This” is its theme song.
* Allows out-of-control children to run its classrooms.
* Rewards failure.
* Fails to prepare far too many young men and women for life after high school.
* Bears a large responsibility for keeping jobs out of Pittsfield by (a) failing to produce an educated work force and (b) throwing cold water on the aspirations of any company that might want to consider moving to the city. Companies research school departments thoroughly before making a move. They don’t rely on the rosy bromides provided by the Vested Interests.
* Has an inept School Committee that worries more about masturbatory politics than it does about kids’ educations.
* FAils to acknowledge the seriousness of its problems.
THE PLANET points this information out because as this election year progresses, the GOB will once again rev up the Propaganda Machine, and tell us how swimmingly peachy things are in the classrooms.
GRANNY WARREN TRA-LA-LAS THROUGH A GARDEN OF BUM KISSERS
Speaking of Peachy Keen, did you love the Boring Broadsheet‘s fawning coverage of Elizabeth “Granny Clampett” Warren‘s visit to Pittsfield.
“Senator Elizabeth Warren generates optimism in trip to Pittsfield” boasts the headline. The derelicts wet themselves, we bet, as they covered themselves with a BB blanket from their perch in Persip Park.
You’ll have to read scribe Jim Therrien‘s political correct fluffernutter yourself to get an idea the gagging sweetness of the story. Warning: Diabetics should not read.
“I’m so Glad You Won Exclamation Point”
We are told that as Granny Warren walked with Mayor Bianchi, state lawmakers, supporters, and assorted other coat carriers and bum kissers, she heard shouts such as “I’m so glad you won!” and “We were rooting so much for you!” Exclamation point, exclamation point!! North Adams Mayor Dick “Do Right” Alcombright chipped in with this gem: “I’m so glad to call you our senator.” As opposed to what: our grand goomah? Our halitosic ‘ho? Our playmate of the second?
Warren shocked the world in a brief press conference at City Hall. Stop the Presses!! Astounding Announcements! She says she is for — are ya’ sittin’ down? — improving education (like the rest of us are not), wants more training (of what? The suckups who did not scrape and bow low enough for her regal tastes?), wants to “address infrastructure needs,” and — can you believe this — is in “favor of economic development that would benefit the middle class.” She’s a regular Joan of Spark, this one.
Bianchi and Alcombright, hitting their cues beautifully, also favored “infrastructure and education funding, economic development, and job creation.” The parrot must have gotten loose again in Pittsfield. As they said this, Warren drank a glass of water. Good Gosh.
Why doesn’t someone, for once, tell one of these Boston big shots to leave us the hell alone. Then, maybe, they will realize how seedy things have become in the city of Pittsfield.
State Reps. Gail “School Marm” Cariddi, D-Exasperation, expressed that she has “every confidence” in Sen. Granny. To do what? Continue to tax the middle class out of existence? Continue to spend our money like the Mayan calendar was a month off?
Leaving city hall, Warren smiled in approval as State Rep. Tricia Farley Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Schlossberg, D-My Kids Don’t Go To Pittsfield Schools, and state Sen. Ben Downing, D-To Be Married Soon, bobbed their heads up and down, in unison, to the beat of, “Funky Town.” Bianchi did a jig with Sherrif Tom Bowler after Warren said she would not only build a new police station for Pittsfield, but would send the city a Monopoly game that replaced all the Chance and Community Chest cards with “Get thrown into Jail Free” cards.
“We’re all in this together,” Warren gushed as her limo pulled out of Palookaville. Another daze. Another of your dollars.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
‘Warren and What Is NOT the Source of Optimism
To THE PLANET,
The front page article [in the Berkshire Eagle] on the optimism generated by Elizabeth Warren’s visit to Pittsfield is very instructive. The optimism is about the new senator’s willingness to spend other people’s money. The list in the article is:
2. job funding
3. life sciences
4. internet access
5. solar power
6. police headquarters
7. infrastructure (unspecified)
8. economic development
Notice what is not the source of optimism. There is no demand for her to support economic freedom, or fiscal responsibility, or even just stable taxes. There is no demand for her to keep Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid solvent. There is only a demand to use money from others in far away, irrelevant places (for people in the Berkshires) like Indiana, for local goodies. Fortunately not every public official is evaluated solely based on the benefits they can extract from other parts of the country. Some actually have to respond to the interests of all Americans, if not the world.
James and Virginia Cozad Professor of Finance
Kelley School of Business
THE PLANET thanks Prof. Trzcinka for his commentary.
SIX IN LINE FOR SUPER GRAVY TRAIN GIG
Hold on to your wallets, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. School board member Kathy Yon, who chairs the board’s superintendent search screening committee, has delivered the bad news: She, Kool and the Gang, and the others have whittled down to six the number of candidates vying to become the committee’s next Head Partner in Crime, otherwise known as “superintendent.”
In Pittsfield, the superintendent must learn to pad the payroll with buddies; see, hear, and speak no truth; and look the other way when an associate superintendent greases his secretary with a free new house. It also helps to cover up when $9,000 in prom money is stolen from a teacher’s desk. Wait long enough, and — Poof! — it just goes away.
Status Quo Plays Well with These Jokers
What? You don’t think for a second that the School Committee would ever let anyone survive who actually wanted to come in here and put a stop to the Robbery Done in the name of “The Children”, do you? There’s too much money at stake ($90 million and rising) to get a reformer in Dodge.
Now if this super search was on the level, the best procedure might be to throw out the screening committee’s six finalists and instead to with the dozen that the committee chose to bypass. You know if the Dirty Dozen weren’t good enough for the screening committee, they probably showed too much independence and smarts. Better yet, they could take the short cut and just hire Christine Canning Wilson, a track-proven reformer who knows how to get the job done.
But no. This is Pittsfield.
Ms. Yon and the others: Here are some suggested questions for the superintendent candidates:
* What is your view of robbery? (a) Robbery of taxpayers? (b) Robbery of prom money?
* Do you wear bow ties?
* Do you know the meaning of the Latin phrase, “Aliam excute, quercum“?
* What do you get when you cross a slush fund with a fib?
FAT CHANCE: COUNCIL INVITES SCHOOL DEPARTMENT TO EXPLAIN THE MOOLAH
Did you hear the one about the City Council and the School Department?
No? Count your blessings.
At the council meeting Tuesday night, our Right Honorable Good Friends tried again with the Ivory Tower Folks. You might recall the council unanimously voted to get interin supt. Gordon Noseworthy and the head of the United Educators of Pittsfield (whose escape names me) to explain why the teachers put the skids on $20 million in federal money. Naturally, the teachers having just been granted by the council the extra funds needed for their 16% pay raise, told councilors to fudge themselves.
Only they didn’t say fudge. They said what John Boehner said to Harry Reid. Noseworthy pretended not to hear.
So what are the odds that school officials will actually present themselves to councilors to explain school budgets?
Councilor Barry Clairmont pointed out that councilors do not have line-item review of the school budget, and this is true. Nonetheless, he and his colleagues know that the council controls the overall, bottom line number. They could easily vote on any given mayoral budget to throw the school department’s bottom line number and say, “Nope. Not this time. We want 10% taken off here. Let the school department find the cuts. If they can’t, we will.”
Away, away! with these self-lving lads, whom Cupid’s arrows never glads.
“WE INNOCENTLY MET. NO SIMPLE WORD / THAT SHALL BE UTTERED AT OUR MIRTHFUL BOARD / SHALL MAKE US SAD NEXT MORNING, OR AFFRIGHT / THE LIBERTY THAT WE’LL ENJOY TONIGHT.” — BEN JOHNSON, CLOSING LINES TO “INVITING A FRIEND TO SUPPER.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.