PERSONNEL DIRECTOR DeANGELO STRICTLY D&D WHEN IT COMES TO MONTEROSSO … CITY HALL HR DIRECTOR WAS EXEC DIRECTOR OF KOLBOURNE SCHOOL WHEN IT SUDDENLY WENT ‘KAPUT’ … SOURCE SAYS BERKSHIRE WORKS HAD TO CHANGE LOCKS ON DOOR TO KEEP MONTEROSSO OUT AND ENSURE WORKER SAFETY … MAYOR, CITY WILL NOT RESPOND TO QUESTIONS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014) — Tuesday, we ventured to city hall to see who would fess up to the apparent mess created at Berkshire Works by the necessarily enforced suspension, with pay, of Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s chosen one, the fair-haired William Monterosso.
First, let’s get at that phony business of “with pay.” THE PLANET believes in the bedrock legal principle of innocent until proven guilty. That would apply to Monterosso, obviously. Nonetheless, there is nothing about suspension without pay that would compromise the principle. For Monterosso to have been ordered off the job by Bianchi, there had to be reasonable cause. Monterosso was Bianchi’s boy. In fact, the evidence we have compiled suggests Bianchi, when first advised of possible bad mojo going on at Berkshire Works, tried to bury the evidence and the situation — you know, the old “culpable deniability” tactic.
One source told THE PLANET that the mayor essentially told Monterosso to lay low so that the controversy would “settle down.” Another source says staffers at Berkshire Works were threatened with dismissal “if they didn’t keep their mouths shut.” THE PLANET tried to ask Bianchi about this and other matters connected with l’affaire Monterosso, but the mayor has ducked all inquiries.
On Tuesday, in city hall, we were told the mayor was “presently occupied” and would be the rest of the day. Coincidentally, we did note that Staples concurrently announced a run on blank certificates and ceremonial ribbons — so it had to be true!
One of our stops at city hall brought us to the personnel office. We were met by a young woman, who politely asked us if she could help. THE PLANET mentioned our name and explained our mission. After turning 50 shades of gray, she dutifully summonsed personnel director John DeAngelo.
If anyone had the scoop, it would be the HR guy, right?
Pulling the old “Sgt. Schultz” Bit: He Will Say ‘Nnnnnnnothing!”
DeAngelo lives in Sheffield. Bianchi hired him following the 2012 closing of Kolbourne School in New Marlboro. At the time of the closing, DeAngelo served as Kolbourne’s interim executive director and HR chief. Based on news reports at the time, the school closed suddenly, without public notice (sound familiar, North Adams?). Despite the closing, the school bizarrely advertised for additional staff, including instructors and registered nurses! Remember, DeAngelo was at the helm when the school closed its doors after 65 years. That wouldn’t seem be a reason to appoint him as Chief Custodian of The Lollipop Guild, let alone as director of personnel for the city of Pittsfield, but then again, we’re not sophisticated in the ways of the world the way Dan Bianchi is.
When we introduced ourselves to DeAngelo, we could feel his handshake grow clammy. The “heebie-jeebie” levels in the room hit red on the dial.
“We’re here to ask you about William Monterosso of Berkshire Works,” we said.
“Yes,” DeAngelo answered.
PLANET: “We sent you an e-mail.”
DeANGELO: “Yes, you did.”
DeANGELO: “I am not at liberty to comment on any personnel matters.”
PLANET: “Can you at least tell us of his job status? Is he active or not?”
DeANGEO: “As I said, I cannot comment on any personnel matters.”
PLANET: “I suppose I could stand here all day, and you still would not comment on Monterosso. I know the game.”
DeANGELO: (SMILING) “You could stand there until roots ground out of your shoes and into the ground, and I would tell you the same thing.”
PLANET: “Okay. Thank you very much for your time.”
Of course, THE PLANET continued our visits in various offices up and down, and if wasn’t long before we found a city hall employee who confirmed the Monterosso story. This person did not want to be identified, naturally, because of the climate of fear and retribution that hangs in the air at the Allen Street HQ like the redolent remnants of a chemical spill.
DeAngelo, we should point out, is a character in the never-ending Pittsfield soap opera. The Sheffield resident has a speaking part in a two-act drama spurred by a complaint filed by Rosaura Roman, who works under city solicitor Kathy Degnan as executive legal secretary. In a filing before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Roman claims that a position in DeAngelo’s office was improperly posted. This, she alleges, prevented her and others the opportunity to apply for the job, which pays $15,000 more than what she makes in the solicitor’s office.
Roman said that when she attended a meeting about the opening, DeAngelo told her that “someone had already been hired for the position.” Roman claims the job was never posted. If true, it would be yet another case of “The Fix Is In,” but that is a matter for MCAD to decide. The job, which has the title “personnel technician,” went to Michael Taylor, a young, white man. Roman is 55, Hispanic, and female.
Source: Berkshire Works Had to Replace It Locks to Keep Monterosso Out
Yesterday, THE PLANET heard from a source that last week, Berkshire Works had to change the locks on the door for the safety of workers. “Matt” posted the following:
Last week after a staff person reported staff fears to state officials the locks on the office doors were changed to prevent an unauthorized return by Mr. Monterosso.
Staff reports have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with people trying to do their jobs helping others in a hostile work environment. To think that staff would collude to make sexual harassment allegations to foster the return of John Barrett is ludicrous..
No one should have to go to work frightened of the people in power over them and unprotected by the organization which hired them.
The silence of the Berkshire Eagle is remarkable in its failure to report the placement of a city official on paid leave under investigation.
Bianchi hired Monterosso after the usual nationwide search. Yeah, right. New evidence suggests it was the rush job’s rush job. Monterosso apparently had the most desirous of all traits: “He’s not John Barrett.” It doesn’t look like Bianchi did much due diligence prior to hiring Monterosso. It would appear likely, then, that he called in North Adams Mayor Dick Alcombright and Richmond Town Manager Matt Kerwood having given them the opposite impression. Kerwood told THE PLANET as much, that he assumed that when he and Alcombright received the names of the three finalists, the city had thoroughly vetted the candidates.
Bianchi couldn’t dump Barrett fast enough. He welcomed Monterosso back to Pittsfield for the position at Berkshire Works, which was advertised with a salary range of $86,000 to $94,000. It appears Monterosso was hired at the high end of that scale.
THE PLANET has to ask another question: Why would Monterosso leave a high-ranking statewide executive position in Kentucky for a dinky non-profit post in Podunk. Admit it: Makes you just a wee bit curious, eh? What happened to Monterosso in Kentucky?
Finally, What does this episode tell us about Bianchi’s disposition? Where has he shown integrity, honesty, or transparency? Where has he shown that elusive quality — elusive especially for our dear city — leadership?
“He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.” — The Beatles, 1966.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.