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.

Mayor Bianchi did not have time to respond to THE PLANET’s questions. He was attending to urgent city business. Here, he presents a certificate to a tyke. (PHOTO: Berkshire Eagle, Jenn Smith)

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.”


PLANET: “Well?”

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.

After presenting a certificate to a six-year-old, Mayor Bianchi still couldn’t talk to THE PLANET. He had to rush to this vital ribbon-cutting ceremony, to open “Hey Diddle Diddle Land.” (PHOTO: WAMC)

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?

Nowhere, man.


“He’s a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.”The Beatles, 1966.




  1. Levitan
    April 17, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    The salaries commanded by public service is disheartening – shameful.

  2. Rafael
    April 17, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    I guess if your Italian Bianchi will hire you regardless.

  3. C. J.
    April 17, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    John DeAngelo, once again protects the behind closed doors and the taxpayers don’t need to know attitude of the now morphed into the mystery zone of Pittsfield City Hall.
    Excuse me, but as he has been quoted in the press, he is simply protecting the virtue of “OUR COMMUNITY”, (his own words); even though he pays taxes and lives 30 miles from “our community”.
    His role in the saga of the Kolburne School closing may never be truthfully revealed.
    Another outstanding City hire. Import them all to Pittsfield, as Pittsfield taxpayers are altruistic, forgiving, and flush with cash.

    • danvalenti
      April 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

      “Another outstanding City hire.” That about says it all.

  4. Scott
    April 17, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Transparency??? It’s not like Bianchi champagned on that principle otherwise he’d be a liar. Oh wait…

  5. MrG1188
    April 17, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    First, let’s be honest, this IS a personnel issue and the HR guy really can’t comment on it beyond confirming the facts; the person in question has been suspended with pay while issues are being investigated. Linking his appropriate “no comment” to previous issues in his own career isn’t really…fair. That said, it is incumbent on Dan, and the other less-able newspaper (did anyone read THEIR article on this today?!?), to do the digging and due diligence to discover and inform the public as to why the facts are as they are. Finally, I am surprised Mr Bianchi hasn’t been able to find and install a “Valenti detector” at all entrances to City Hall that sets off an alarm when Dan gets within 30 ft.!

    • danvalenti
      April 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      There is a “Valenti Alarm,” but our scientific masterminds have found the way to neutralize them.

      • levitan
        April 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

        Groucho glasses?

  6. Pat
    April 17, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Another great investigative story Dan. As usual, we heard it first from you. Where is the transparency of this administration? They are more secretive than Russia.

    • danvalenti
      April 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

      Thanks, Pat. Not only did PLANET readers get it first, but they got more of the entire story. The BB’s lame piece was forced only by our work.

  7. C. J.
    April 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Again. A Planet News Scoop. On March 31st Dan Valenti revealed the name of Mary McGuiness’ replacement. Kudos Dan, you were right on. She goes before the Council on Tuesday. The Fix Is In ,was what you called it. Way to go Ole Swami !

    • MrG1188
      April 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

      No WAY!!!! Was the job ever posted? was there any serious consideration given to other candidates…or was she “hands down simply the most qualified for the job?”!! Wow

      • danvalenti
        April 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

        THE PLANET had this weeks ago. We were entirely correct. The job was “posted” only as a technicality. “The Fix” came about as we predicted. It reeks with the redolence of a sham, fit for a charlatan such as the mayor.

  8. Matt
    April 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    On Mr. Monterosso’s first day at Berkshireworks he reportedly poked the security guard in the cheek and made a personal comment, to which the security guard replied, “Don’t touch me.”

    In the balance of his first day on the job Mr. Monterosso decided that Berskshireworks ddid not need a security guard, and the individual was fired the next day.

    • ed shepardson
      April 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      Male or female?

    • ed shepardson
      April 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

      And how do you fire someone, essentially on the spot, who works for the city, county or state, or works for a company that has a contract with the city, county or state? Matt, I anxiously await your reply.

    • danvalenti
      April 17, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

      Yes. Do you have details? If you wish, send privately.

  9. amandaWell
    April 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Looks like Monty was taking no prisoners, that’s if all this gobbledygook is true.

  10. Teecha teecha
    April 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Everything aside, one cannot deny your captions on the photos are, as usual, priceless. I need directions to hey diddle diddle land too. Planned to take the kids there saturday

  11. Beauty
    April 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    The security guard was working thru a private contractor?? I do not think they are state employees

  12. Dave
    April 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    Just looked at Tuesday’s city council agenda….guess what’s back!!! Obviously someone is changing their vote or Degnan will give them all a pass by giving an opinion that councilor Caccamo can vote on the issue. Either way, I can’t wait to see what our new buses look like!

  13. Dave
    April 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    If the councilor that changes their vote uses the PHS baseball bus breakdown as their excuse I will puke.

    • danvalenti
      April 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

      “The Fix is In” Part II. If it goes through for any reason, Pittsfield citizens should … oh well, guess if they don’t care, neither should we.

  14. Spider
    April 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    My guess is this…..Tully will change her vote….Morandi and Simonelli will not.

    She was strongly supported by the mayor in her election….need I say more!

  15. amandaWell
    April 17, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    The Planet will be watching, for sure! Go ahead,be stupid, change your vote.

    • danvalenti
      April 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      The vote changer, if any, will not want the forces of justice at THE PLANET to get on his or her case, that’s for sure.

  16. dusty
    April 18, 2014 at 12:54 am #

    Hopefully at least one of the councilors who has voted for the buses has had the time and true concern about the issue to look deeper into it.. And maybe one of them will have a revelation that yes, they are not a fearful sheep following orders from their master, and change their vote to no. Who knows, maybe all ten of them will truly represent the taxpayers and vote no

    But just in case Dan maybe we should go over that recall process because obviously there are people elected by the citizens that have forgotten why they are there. Are there double agents on the council secretly pushing the bloated budget? Do any of them talk like they might be?

    • danvalenti
      April 18, 2014 at 8:12 am #

      I’m hoping that, too, DUSTY. There’s been a lot of information introduced that establish the folly of purchasing a new fleet: Its economically irresponsible, especially given the millions owed on the existing fleet; Its mechanically unnecessary, given that the current fleet is in good shape for at least another three years; It’s politically ridiculous, given that this proposed purchase is all about giving the PSD what it wants; and it’s morally insensitive, given that it would run roughshod over the vast majority of citizens, who have to tighten the belt and want, for once, the city to do so as well.

  17. billy
    April 18, 2014 at 3:50 am #

    Tully never saw the abstaining coming.She figured it would pass and she be off the hook.Tully will flip her vote or the solicitor will give her personal opinion not a legal one why Caccamo should be able to vote.

    • danvalenti
      April 18, 2014 at 8:08 am #

      Well, she faces her crucible. It will provide voters with a good chance to see where she, and the others, stand: With them or with The Suits and Special Interests.

  18. Scott
    April 18, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    A man in an infinity with NY plates impersonated a police officer and tried to get a 12 year old boy into his car last night. After about an chase/search they had him pulled over and arrested by sims on dalton ave. I was hoping it would be in the eagle this morning…

  19. billy
    April 18, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    I’m not surprised about the Berkshire works issue at all. The mayor doesn’t focus on doing his job properly for his 84000 dollar job and pension .He doesn’t want opinions unless they are his own. Dan nobody will answer questions inside city hall they will fear suddenly seeing the door. The mayor works at getting his way or getting rid of those who ask the tough questions or disagree with him.Bianchi and his minions publicly worked ousting Krol,Clairmont,Yon, in the last election. Then the council president put them on committees where they would not stand in the way of group think by Bianchi&Co, but that has worked against Mazzeo and Connell ,they never seem to have a grip on the rules of the council.

  20. Nota
    April 18, 2014 at 4:34 am #

    Au contraire billy, one of the Councilors wanted to send and item to ordinance and rules. Madame President Mazzeo quickly corrected the request, which was sent to another committee.

  21. Spider
    April 18, 2014 at 5:02 am #

    Question: If Degnan should give her opinion that Caccamo is eligible to vote, will any of our long term and respected council members (i.e. Lothrop, Clairmont and Krol) officially “challenge” that decision or will they roll over and play dead?

    • GeoSims
      April 18, 2014 at 5:15 am #

      Lothrop has already stated here that he felt Caccamo was eligible to vote on this issue.

    • danvalenti
      April 18, 2014 at 8:07 am #

      That “opinion” would be purely political and would have no legal standing. We would hope the council would not, as you suggest, roll over and play dead.

  22. Thomas More
    April 18, 2014 at 5:24 am #

    It was Linda Tyer who proclaimed imediately after the election that Caccamo was elected under the old charter and could serve. Was this an opinion or did she know the law? Does anyone know if he’s getting paid for being on the council? The new charter reads that a person cannot be issued two city paychecks.

    • Spider
      April 18, 2014 at 6:06 am #

      Tom: Does the old charter state that he MUST abstain from voting on issues such as the bus contract?

      • danvalenti
        April 18, 2014 at 8:05 am #

        Under both old and new charters, he has a conflict of interest and cannot vote on school matters.

        • levitan
          April 18, 2014 at 8:47 am #

          Not really a Charter issue though, is it. I thought it was State law.

    • danvalenti
      April 18, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      Linda Tyer shared an opinion, a judgment. That is all. An alternate reading of that law, and a better one, suggested that he could not run for office. Again, look at THE PLANET’s coverage of this during the election.

  23. Nota
    April 18, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    Can or does Caccamo ?…take council pay and or insurance from the City (Palookaville) …Can he vote on any school related issues? And are these viable questions under the new or old charter? …seems to be a conflict here amongst many.

    • danvalenti
      April 18, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      By law, he cannot take two salaries. He must forgo one. That would be the council pay ($8,000 vs. the money he makes with the school department). The law says no. He cannot vote on any school-related matter. THE PLANET had this thorough discussion during the election season, and we predicted the very events that have unfolded. He cannot vote on school matters because he would either be receiving a personal benefit or his employer would be benefitting: That is clearly a conflict of interest, punishable by statute.