Article

BW-MONTEROSSO MESS, MAYOR’S CREEPY GIFT, BIANCHI’S 40% PAYHIKE FOR HIMSELF, COUNCIL, SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING: ONLY THE PLANET HAS THE STORY OF ALL OF IT

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014) — Welcome to May Day, everyone, and that would seem to be an appropriate message for taxpayers and ordinary citizens to send as The Suits and Special Interests continue to team up against them. Only one outlet stands for The Little Guy in this unfair fight, and it’s THE PLANET.

We shall cover several issues today and tomorrow. First is the outcome of the meeting yesterday involving state and local job officials, as they gathered in the mayor’s office in a hush-hush over Dan Bianchi’s fair-haired boy, embattled Berkshire Works director William Monterosso. Second will be the unsettling, bizarre gift the mayor made to city council president Melissa Mazzeo at the most recent council meeting. Third will be additional information on the egregious retroactive pay raise Bianchi has put in for himself and his cronies — city department heads, managers, and exempt employees. Finally, we give you exclusive coverage of a procedurally inept joint meeting last night between the city council and the school committee. Subject: The finances. Hold on to your wallets.

Each of these items shall be taken up in greater detail later in the day. Only THE PLANET  is on top of this information. Without us, you wouldn’t have the story on any of these four items.

Berkshire Works Mess — THE PLANET broke this story. You wouldn’t have known about it if not for our coverage. The mayor desperately wanted to keep this quiet. He thinks ducking us prevents us from accessing information. What a dope. Actually, it makes it easier.

Bat Happy — The bullying mayor presented the council president with an inappropriate gift that seems to contain a threat.

Pay Hikes — Truly? The mayor doesn’t realize it, but his blatant grab at a near-40% pay hike for himself  may have planted the seeds of his own political demise.

School Committee and council Meet — You won’t believe the procedural violations that occurred last night. Only THE PLANET will dare tell you about it.

Bottom line, ladies and gentlemen: Under the failure of the worst mayor in city history, the wheels have come off the body politick, stopping the city dead in its claw tracks. These are desperate times. At stake:  the literal survival of the city. The only action that can address the situation will have to exceed the desperation — triggered by the inept mayor — that has the city fighting for its economic life. Citizens unite: You may soon be called upon to roll up your sleeves and take back your government.

Be sure to check back later today as we present more information on each of these four issues.

——- 000 ——-

PLANET BACK AGAIN WITH UPDATES, AS PROMISED, ON THE FOUR ISSUES:

 Monterosso Mess: Just as THE PLANET told you, the mayor met with local and state jobs officials. They concluded their deliberations without a disposal. As of this writing, the embattled William Monterosso is still drawing his $94,000+bennies per-annum salary while on “administrative leave.” Notable and new from yesterday, though, is the presence in the meeting of Tim Dooling, state general council to the Department of Career Services. Having the lawyer there could mean any number of things, but his presence, along with that of Career Services chief Alice Sweeney, is notable. State officials hate having to travel west of Route 128 if there isn’t a free junket to Tanglewood involved.

Meanwhile, our moles at Berkshire tells us the office is “in a of suspended animation. Silence from city hall on William Monterosso. The Boston contingent (Sweeney, Dooling) apparently came and went with no outcome announced.” Sources tells us that the fear and uncertainty has all but crippled the local jobs office — just what the many out-of-work folks need.

You can thank Dan Bianchi for that one.

Bianchi Goes Bats for Melissa. This has to be one of the weirdest, creepiest actions performed publicly by any Pittsfield mayor. (Photo: Screen shot, courtesy of PCTV)

Bianchi Goes Bats for MM: No, “MM” isn’t Maris and Mantle. It’s Melissa Mazzeo. At the most recent city council meeting, the mayor presented a customized baseball bat to the council president, joking around that it would help her keep the council in line. That’s pretty funny, considering the controversy and chills generated by credible allegations that Mazzeo’s husband Tony threatened at least one councilor (John Krol).

THE PLANET has heard from several sources who were more than upset at this tacit threat by Bianchi to councilors, a threat to “play ball or else.” As one source put it, “The mayor gave [Mazzeo] a baseball bat with her campaign emblem on it and insinuated strongly that it was to keep the council in line, you know, if case some kneecaps need to be busted.”

“It was weird and creepy,” said a council insider, “but what’s clear is Bianchi’s mentality regarding the council and the relationship. This is strange, because he’s supposed to have seven of them in his pocket. Clearly, some (Amuso, Connell, and Cotton in particular) seem to be getting sick of this pathetic mayor.”

That’s all for now, folks. That leaves two topic with which to deal: (a) The 40% pay hike Bianchi wants for himself and (b) the procedural disaster that was last night’s joint meeting of the city council and the school committee. THE PLANET shall be dealing with these in detail on tomorrow’s post, because they are related. Only we, apparently, among all local media, have spotted the connection.

In the meantime, be seriously thinking: Recall. Specifically, the initiation of a recall of Mayor Daniel Bianchi for Podunk’s version of high crimes and misdemeanors. Who’s up for the recall effort? Who’s willing to “got to bat” for The Little Guy?

————————————————————————-

“Ah wella everybody’s heard about the Bird, ba ba ba bird bird bird, bird is the word.” — “The Trashmen,” (1963).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

50 Responses to “BW-MONTEROSSO MESS, MAYOR’S CREEPY GIFT, BIANCHI’S 40% PAYHIKE FOR HIMSELF, COUNCIL, SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING: ONLY THE PLANET HAS THE STORY OF ALL OF IT”

  1. dusty
    May 1, 2014 at 12:22 am #

    I think one of the first things we need is a pro bono lawyer to help us understand the recall process. And if this process begins will we see the council rally behind the mayor out of fear for their own vulnerability?

    And though it is hard to believe we could be worse off who might take his place?

    • B
      May 3, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      Mazzeo would take his place, she is next in line.

  2. Spider
    May 1, 2014 at 5:14 am #

    I voted for the mayor each time….what a mistake! You bet I want a RECALL!

  3. Gene
    May 1, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    I will work hard for any recall effort.

    • DowagerHat
      May 1, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      I’m in.

      • danvalenti
        May 1, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

        THE PLANET finds it remarkable the number of people who have expressed interest in supporting a recall. It includes many on this site and many elsewhere and else-way who have expressed the same. It’s interesting to see the push-back beginning. That, too, is another measure of the possible strength of the recall desire.

  4. MrG1188
    May 1, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    “Well don’t YOU know about the bird? Everybody knows that the bird is the word! Paaaaaaaaaaa papapapapapapapa oooo mau mau pa pa ooo mau mau mau. ”

    One of my all time favorites…great covers by the Ramones, the Cramps and many others!!

  5. Ron Kitterman
    May 1, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    I was listening to WBEC 1420 this morning and heard that Tom Conklin is going to do a call in show of some sort tomorrow at 11:30, also you can email questions to: WUPE.COM , The Honorable Mayor Dan Bianchi is going to be a guest tomorrow. When I heard this my car was driving from a pot hole to a space of smooth road the big red machine didn’t have a chance to get to yet, but maybe some questions could be made to the program to see if it is just a rumor concerning the pay raise issue or if in fact the Mayor intends to seek another term of office for example.

    • danvalenti
      May 1, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

      They should call this show: “The Wimp Does Softball Radio.”

  6. Pothole
    May 1, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    He presented her with a bat??? I’m sure it was his idea of humor, but in the current state of affairs with this administration, I don’t think the time is appropriate for his humor. He should be a professional. His lack of self control when things don’t go his way is a gleaming example of how under qualified he is for this position. I remember one comment he made to a councilor about how he wouldn’t trust him with his accounting after the councilor questioned his measure. He is a vindictive, unprofessional, manipulative mayor who is an embarrassment to our city. There seems to be no end to his ego.
    On a brighter note… some of the potholes that were “patched” lasted a couple weeks. I wish we could have predicted rain would happen here and foreseen them being washed away after not being at least rolled flat and compacted with a water drum.
    Disgusted and embarrassed by our reality.

    • Gatos
      May 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

      Was that bat worth more than $50? If so, she can’t keep it.

  7. Rafael
    May 1, 2014 at 9:30 am #

    It was completely inappropriate for the mayor to be giving any gift at all to anyone on the council. And completely inappropriate for Mazzeo to accept it. Quid pro quo.

  8. Rafael
    May 1, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    In regards to potholes, saw some public works employees doing a terrible job patching some last week. Just whipping the blacktop in the hole, and doing such a bad job stamping it down there were loose stones flying all over the place. Where was the famous pothole machine when they needed it? And the street they were doing – Dorchester – did not have any large potholes and should not have been that high on the priority list.

  9. Spider
    May 1, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Because he wasn’t challenged the last time, the mayor believes he is invincible. Being a part time mayor is working well with his business and add to that a sizeable increase in his salary (if the council approves the raises)…..well, all that adds up to his running again. Hey, why not….he’s got everything going for him including a council he controls.

  10. matt
    May 1, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    You have my support

  11. Scott
    May 1, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    I’m in. Recall mayor photo shoot I refuse to roll up my sleeves though cause I wanna get shit done not just impose the illusion something is getting done. The biggest obstacle is the lop sided voting pool. By the time unions and other public employees are done voting. Maybe it’s time to walk around the city pleading with people to vote and get involved. Even the lazy entitlement crowd should want better for thier kids in PPS. They just need to be educated on the importance of thier involvement in our communities and exposed to what’s really going on.

  12. Kevin
    May 1, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    I never thought I would agree with something like that but if there is a serious move to recall this mayor, I’m also in.

  13. dusty
    May 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Perhaps the city lawyer could go over the recall procedure at the next council meeting, on TV. Does she work for the people or the mayor?

    • danvalenti
      May 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

      The recall procedure isn’t that difficult to understand. See THE PLANET’s column from Feb. 21, 2014. Available in “Archives” in the yellow tool bar, home page, under “Blog.”

  14. Still wondering
    May 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    The entire neighborhood where I live has not seen one pothole fixed. One street has a punctured water main that has been flowing down the street for MONTHS (Clarendon St.) I have given up on our city to fix anything.

  15. Rafael
    May 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Whereas I’d be happy to vote to recall this mayor, there is zero chance of that ever happening. He has too much support. Both from his cronies and all the uninformed voters in this sad, sad city.

  16. Jonathan Melle
    May 1, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    How can Dan Valenti write that Dan Bianchi is “the worst mayor in city history”?
    Mayor Dan Bianchi has been Mayor of Pittsfield for about 2 years and 4 months. That is less than a 3 year car loan. How can Mayor Dan Bianchi change Pittsfield politics is such a short period of time?

    Mayor Dan Bianchi deserves to be given a fair shot at running Pittsfield politics. Dan Valenti has every right to dissent and criticize Mayor Dan Bianchi. I just wish my native hometown of Pittsfield would change for the better for once in my life.

    • Scott
      May 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      That’s the point JM though he’s inherited the mess he’s not doing anything to make it better just like Obama isn’t doing nothing to make anything better.

    • Johnny2Shoes
      May 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      JM.

      Don’t you recall his speeches? He was going to make things better ASAP? Hell, Roberto and Doyle never cut so many ribbons combined!

      • Donald
        May 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

        Atleast they were cutting their own ribbons. The only ribbons Bianchi is cutting are for things Ruberto initiated. Is anyone really surprised that this mayor has produce nothing? Even as a councilor he never proposed ANYTHING. His whole schitck was being a pessimist. Guess that doesn’t work so well when you’re the one “calling the shots” and have no one else blame. Aside from ribbon cuttings, has Bianchi done anything? Seriously, what has he done? I can’t think of a single thing aside from defending his own. It’s blunder after blunder. Unreal.

        • danvalenti
          May 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

          Thanks, DONALD. Spot on.

  17. Pemetina
    May 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Don’t blame me, I voted for Dan Valenti. I’m in.

    • Jamie
      May 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Me too, Jamie. I voted for Dan V. If there’s a recall effort, I will participate. I disagree with the comment above that says a recall would for sure fail. That the type of defeatest thinking that has put the city in this jam.

      Let’s try it. See what happens. There’s a ton of anger and upset with the mayor.

  18. Deb S
    May 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    I am in, whatever it takes.

  19. Scott
    May 1, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    The planet must have a letter from suzie q by now stating him and the three people who read his blog will never overcome a man as charming and good at posing for photos as the mayor…

  20. ed shepardson
    May 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    A recall petition for a short term mayor is nothing more than an angry mob. Besides, you all would have to use your real names on that recall petition. And that petition would be delivered to the city clerk’s office. Don’t see that happening. But maybe I’m wrong. Start using your real names here. No bullshit about fearing retribution this time if you’re will to sign a recall petition.

    • danvalenti
      May 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Au contraire, ED. A recall petition, properly understood, has nothing to do with the term length of the office holder, short of extremely short term. Bianchi still has 20 months of a 24-month term to serve. That’s not “short term.” Such a procedure is anything but “an angry mob.” It is a charter-supported process employed by citizens to force change in an administration that has become tone deaf to the concerns of We The People.

      • ed shepardson
        May 1, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

        I’m not sure, Dan, but I think if you look at the time it would take to initiate and execute a recall petition, the time frame would narrow considerably. And then, if the recall vote was successful…the process of choosing a successor? In 20 months, the democratic process will be put to the challenge again.

        • danvalenti
          May 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

          The recall mechanism in the city charter says it can be used as long as the office holder who is targeted has more than six months left in office. Bianchi has 20 months. After the initial petition asking for a recall is approved by the city clerk (500 voter signatures), the recall team has 28 days to gather 6,000 signatures or more — actually, 20% of the # of registered voters. We would probably be looking. That’s enough to get the office holder pulled from office. Council would then schedule an election, to be held no earlier than 64 days and no later than 90 days after the recall. So, just playing with a schedule, the whole thing could be settled by September. That would give the new mayor (or transitional mayor) a year and three months in office before the 2015 general election.

          • ed shepardson
            May 1, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

            Dan, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending the mayor but, the democratic process, the same process that elected the Mayor not long ago, will, once again, decide who will be mayor in November of 2015. That’s just a heartbeat away. Opponents of Mayor Bianchi would be better served using this time finding a suitable candidate to run against him. If you could get the 6,000 signatures, and that’s a big if, it would cripple our already limping city government.

          • danvalenti
            May 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

            ED
            I understand where you’re coming from, and your objections make a good stone against which we can sharpen our thinking on the recall process. The point is, the mechanism is there. It allows a recall attempt for anyone office holder with more than six months remaining. The mayor has triple that amount. I would think getting 6,000 signatures to remove him from office would help city government by (a) stopping the bleeding (b) and providing a resounding victory for the democratic process. It would energize a dormant and apathetic electorate in the way nothing else could.

    • dusty
      May 2, 2014 at 12:34 am #

      Bottom line is that the voters need to at the very least send a strong message that they are paying attention and have had enough. A rouge mayor can do a lot of damage in 20 months and this guy seems to be going rogue to me. If it does fail at least we have greased the wheels and will be able to get it up and running quicker the next time. The recall was put into the charter for a reason and the mayor pushed for this charter.

      (I am sure the Eagle will have a big article very soon on why this is such a bad idea. They still feel that they can influence the ignorant among us. Will it be written by the shadowy figure in the clock tower or will it originate at city hall?)

  21. BerkshireSwami
    May 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    Hiring update: Swami says the Mayor again chose a person for a position, this time Director of Cultural Development, before the job announcement went out, and is only pretending to consider others. Initials S.E.M. And the word is that the same is true for the Director of RSVP…

    • danvalenti
      May 1, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      S.E.M. Can the Swami be more specific?

  22. Spider
    May 2, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Ed: Ii don’t know how a RECALL could hurt our “already crippling city government” any more than it already is. Not to mention the lowest morale among our citizens in ages! Doing nothing only encourages more of the same.

  23. Pat
    May 2, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    The RSVP agency is extremely political. I attempted to get just a regular office job there once and the woman who was the director at the time went on and on about how she was real close with Dan Bianchi. Obviously that was how she got the job. “Oh, he listens to everything I say”, she kept repeating throughout the interview that is when she wasn’t trying to talk me out of the job. It was like she and Bianchi already had somone in mind for the position and they were just going through the motions.

  24. Ron Kitterman
    May 2, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    Ed Shepardson brings up a good point about the recall. I’ve been getting signatures since I was 13 for various candidates and can speak with some experience. The 500 wouldn’t be a too much of a problem. The 6,000 in 28 days would be a lot more difficult. Dan Bianchi isn’t Rob Ford or Chris Christie, but then again he didn’t exactly impress us like JFK or FDR either. The 6,000 number would have to grow to at least 7,500, you would have to minus off all city employees, Police, Fire, city hall workers, teachers, bus drivers, unions, and their families add to that senior citizens that have tax abatements. That doesn’t exactly leave a very large pool to work from. Is it impossible NO, probable, I just don’t see an angry mob with pitch forks out there yet, but that’s just me. What a country huh?

    • Evian
      May 2, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      ron, you raise good points, but I am in favor of at least trying. As long as it isnt impossible, it should be done. The difficulty will only get us to work harder.

    • B
      May 3, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Maybe we should just get a crowd in front of city hall and march with pitch forks, maybe he will get the hint.

  25. Nota
    May 2, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    Yes Ron, we would have to have a leader for the start up for this initiative. The powers to be bank on apathy to get their agendas confirmed, the lazy voter will say wait for the next election. Gee, wasn’t there a councilor who always said he wasn’t in it for the money? And also stated one shouldn’t be in politics as a catalyst to make money,hmmm!

  26. amandaWell
    May 2, 2014 at 5:07 am #

    Hey,Silver Lake is about to have fishing (catch and release) um, it’s a no brainier….release.

  27. DowagerHat
    May 2, 2014 at 5:08 am #

    It was done with the Civic Authority, so there is hope. More hope than “we the people” have under the Bianchi administration.

  28. pothole
    May 2, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Although the mayor couldn’t possibly be doing full time work as his position outlines it must in the original city charter, a detail suspiciously removed from the actual charter that was approved, removing him from office would put our city in a more auspicious position. The citizens of the city voted him in, we should live with it for now and hopefully have a more skilled leader in the future. Not venting your dissatisfaction to the council members who represent you about the current request to give him and many others a pay raise in the challenging times would be another mistake. Please tell your friends about the raise request and encourage them to voice their comments to the appropriate people of power.

    • Scott
      May 2, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks pot hole I’ve emailed every council member on this. You can tell the ones who are in and the ones who are out. It doesn’t look promising I would hope it is at least amended and not made retroactive and doesn’t include the mayor. Raises should be justified and earned. The finanxial state of tax payers should be considered.

  29. Ben Weldon
    May 3, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Just remember this: The next mayor will be elected to a four year term. If we get a dog, what then?

    Ben