Article

SIMONELLI SHARES FACTS ON SCHOOL BUSES: IT’s MORE COST EFFECTIVE TO PRIVATIZE … TULLY EXPLAINS HER VOTE ON BEHALF OF TAXPAYERS … CACCAMO SAYS HE HASN’T DISENFRANCHISED ANYONE

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

[ED NOTE: What's up at Berkshire Works? Has the "new" executive director, William Monterosso, been placed on paid leave after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were reported to Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi and city personnel director John DeAngelo? That's what reliable sources are alleging. You will recall that Bianchi dumped John Barrett as head of Berkshire Works in favor of Monterosso, a man Bianchi sold to citizens with gushes of praise, a man who has been on the job only since Jan. 21. Now sources claim Monterosso is in hot water. Is there anything to this story? THE PLANET is on it, and we will share what we learn after we complete our initial investigation. Stay tuned.]

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014) — The helpless flapping in the bus water by the Pittsfield School Department, the school committee, and Mayor Dan Bianchi could have been avoided simply by doing the breast stroke and recognizing economic common sense: Privatizing bus service is (a) less costly while (b) removing the burdens for personnel, upkeep, and the rest of the anchors that otherwise keep taxpayers submerged.

Going with a private bus company takes the school department out of the transportation business, where it has no business being, and into a more solitary focus on the education of young people. It leaves the purely mechanical function of transporting children to the pros … or to parents, which is virtually the same thing.

THE PLANET needn’t remind you that by almost every metric — academic, administrative, economic — the Pittsfield Public School Department hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire, much less starting a brush fire in a sandlot. It would have at least an even shot of improvement if the burdens of running and paying for a bus company were removed from the equation.

During the most recent city council meeting, our Right Honorable Good Friends defeated Mayor Bianchi’s blinded-by-a-blizzard request to borrow almost $3 million to purchase new buses — this while the city still owes $1.2 million on the current fleet. Since you can’t sell what you do not own, the city would have to settle the books for the current bus fleet before it advances one cent in purchase of its replacement.

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The measure went down, 7-3-1, needing a supermajorty of eight votes. As THE PLANET told you last week, the “1″ indicated a recusal, when Missing-in-Action Nick Caccamo had to spit in the face of his Ward 3 constituents. As we say, Caccamo had no choice, as this site presciently predicted last year during the election. Caccamo is an employee of the PSD. He cannot take part in any debate, discussion, or votes involving the department.

Wanting to know how he can in good conscience continue on the council, THE PLANET sent Caccamo the following message:

In light of your inability to represent Ward 3 constituents on matters pertaining to the school department, have you given thought to reconsidering your council position? You have, in effect, disenfranchised Ward 3 citizens when it comes to a department that consumes 70% of the city’s budget. I would like your thoughts on this. 

I have written about this on THE PLANET and intend to do so again. I would welcome your thoughts.

Caccamo answered this way:   “Yes, [I] cannot cast a vote on the school department budget when it comes before the City Council. However, my position does not stop me from attending meetings, working on subcommittees, returning calls and emails from residents, or learning about the issues. Which are the core of being a City Councilor and in no way disenfranchises the residents of [W]ard 03 [sic].” 

THE PLANET reminds our Right Honorable Good Friend that he is young and has much to learn about representative government. If you can’t vote, you are in a gunfight without any bullets. Private citizens can “attend meetings.” Private citizens can “work on subcommittees” via their input. Private citizens can make as well as return “calls and e-mails.” Private citizens can “learn about issues.”

Caccamo says, these “are the core of being a City Councilor and in no way disenfranchises the residents of [W]ard 03 [sic].” Yes, he did use “ward 03.” THE PLANET has never seen a councilor write out his or her ward designation without capitalizing the “w.” As for “03,” we have never seen a single-digit ward with its number preceded by a zero. A small detail, we’re sure, but could there be a bit of a Freudian slip in it? Could it reflect Caccamo’s realization that without a vote, he’s no more of a councilor than Mary Jane or Joe Kapanski?

Good Lord, man. Is this Caccamo’s understanding of the job? Does he actually believe the activities he gave represent the “core” work of his position? Earth To Nick … Earth To Nick: Private citizens can’t vote. Only councilors can vote — except for you, when it comes to matters that involve 70% of the city budget. Your inability to vote on the biggest slice of the gravy train’s pie most certainly does disenfranchise your constituents.

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The three dissenting councilors — Ward 1′s Lisa Tully, Ward 2′s Kevin Morandi, and Ward 7′s Tony Simonelli — gave the city a rare victory against The Special Interests and Suits. The former would include the lackeys running The Boring Broadsheet, who, in the second of two contemptible editorials, actually wrote that Pittsfield “is not a poor city.” If there was ever any doubt that The BB management were any more out of touch with actual Pittsfield, let it now be put to rest.

The BB editorial lambasted the courageous trio of councilors, of course, and puked up more of its noxious non sequiturs. The editorial was unsigned, probably written by Bill Everhart.

As a lad at Wahonah High School, Everhart was not what you’d call a home-room homey. He probably said three words in his high school career, preferring to hide out without notice. He thus found the perfect landing spot — writing lame, anonymous editorials at a dying newspaper from bullet points dictated to him by his bosses, who themselves have had their “minds made right” by The Suits and the GOB.

What else can we say of The BB? What can we say of a newspaper that continues to publish the broken-down gas bag Alan Chartalk, whose idea of thought provoking editions of “I, Pretentious” include sucking up to south county restaurants so he can eat for free and giving rhetorical head to every liberal loon politician this state, county, and city can muster. Other columnists of the stinking rag including the decrepit Milt and Ruth Bass, shells of their former shells who at this point can only gum mirrored echos of columns long ago. We shall mercifully stop there.

THE PLANET contacted Simonelli on his game-changing vote. Here is what he told us (the underlines are those we have put in, for highlight:

“First and foremost, as I stated at the Council meeting, I am philosophically opposed to the Pittsfield School Dept. owning their own bus fleet. When I asked Ms. Behnke, she confirmed Pittsfield is the only district in the County that does).  Beside my philosophical belief we should not [be in] the transportation business, I would like to provide you some facts.  

“According the the school department line item fact sheet, FY14 anticipated final expenditures are…bus drivers: $743,262; supervisor: $41,208; mechanics: $120,634; operations & maintenance: $249,600; handicap transportation: $88,322; gasoline: $287,248.  (I may have overlooked other expenses).  My understanding is that bus drivers, monitors, supervisors & mechanics all receive various benefits/pensions as well (cost?). As we know, these expenses will certainly go up.

“According to Ms. Behnke, in 2005 the auditors stated owning our buses would be cheaper than privatizing. While no study has been taken over the past 9 years, the auditors felt the same results would occur, if they performed another study today.  According to Supt. McCandless, if the City owned 40 buses or less, it may make sense to privatize.  The school committee is looking to purchase 43 buses, (close to 40?). Doesn’t this warrant another look?  In addition to these expenses, the City is currently responsible for paying off over $1.2 million for the current (53) buses that the Committee wishes to trade-in.  Should we bond $2,766,075 when over $1.2 is still owed?  FYI: bond payment for the $1.2 million isn’t due until 2020.

Ms. Behnke stated the plan was for the school dept. to include $550,000 in the budget for the next 5 years in order to pay off the $2,766,075.  I believe this to be an “addition” to the school budget, not reducing the budget by $550,000 … and putting it towards the buses.  So with the addition of $550,000 on top of the anticipated $1.5 million for negotiated raises, the school department budget for FY16 would automatically be a $2 million increase over “whatever” the budget will be for FY15, and continue on until payment is complete.

I believe it is important to note that at no time did Ms. Behnke (or Supt. McCandless) say the buses were in critical condition, putting the children in danger. The reasoning was basically the buses were 9 yrs. old, and to get the best trade-in value by doing it now.  I believe it was actually stated that the current fleet could last several more years.  My question is, why couldn’t the school dept. hold on to (at least) 1/2 of the current fleet, and stagger the purchase of new buses, as was originally promised several years ago?

Regarding your question if I had been approached by anyone to change my position, the answer is no.  On the contrary, I have received several phone calls and emails as well as people coming up to me in support of my vote, including several former City Councilor/officials.

Read his response again. Put it on your refrigerator door. Send it to your friends. Simonelli, a former long-time school administrator, sees and tells it like it is. For once, Pittsfield, you got to experience what it’s like to have honest representation.

——————————————————————————–

“The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of our command.” Led Zeppelin, “The Battle of Evermore,” (1973).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

61 Responses to “SIMONELLI SHARES FACTS ON SCHOOL BUSES: IT’s MORE COST EFFECTIVE TO PRIVATIZE … TULLY EXPLAINS HER VOTE ON BEHALF OF TAXPAYERS … CACCAMO SAYS HE HASN’T DISENFRANCHISED ANYONE”

  1. dusty
    April 14, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    I always wondered who the anonymous editorial writer for the Eagle was. I assumed that most of the anonymous material came from city hall and no one at the Eagle wanted their name on it.

    Tony Simonelli is a breath of fresh air. I believe he and Morandi and Mrs Tully understand that they work for and represent the citizen taxpayers. Mrs Tully is my ward rep and I was wondering how she would represent. I feel better now.

    In Mr Simonellis review of expenses I did not see storage of the buses. Not sure who owns the land now but it used to cost big bucks to store the buses on a private lot owned by Petricca. Does this by any chance have any thing to do with the city owning buses?

  2. Mark
    April 14, 2014 at 3:10 am #

    Excellent point Dusty. I’d like to know the monthly cost to the City, paid by us taxpayers, for that whole place where the buses are kept, plus the building there. Barry and JLO, get cracken on that issue.

  3. amandaWell
    April 14, 2014 at 4:18 am #

    One of the sticking points by Councilor Morandi was the conditions of the roads and the beating the buses take. CHECK OUT the potholes at the entrance to Herberg, awful. Superintendent should be notified at once.

  4. pothole
    April 14, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    One of the councilors had a great idea, one that many of us would do personally if given the same set of circumstances, to keep the buses with fewer miles and lower expected maintenance needs and replace the buses that are expected to cost more in repairs than they are worth. To replace buses with very low miles seems outrageous and irresponsible. I agree with today’s letter to the editor about the school committee in that they do not seem to care about the budget and what it does to the taxpayer. The number of administrative positions are too high and to threaten to cut parts of education as a strong arm tactic is absolutely an insult to the city’s voters. Many people do not pay attention after the voting season is done, life is simply too busy, but to vote on name recognition alone is not the way to vote. We need serious change and we need it fast. Upgrading our schools should be our number one priority, not increasing the budget to get the same performance or worse than in the past. The second priority should be the infrastructure of our community. Many of our roads need to be replaced and rebuilt not just patched and repaired. Thirdly, the downtown parking joke, can we please just make it diagonal parking and get rid of all the ridiculous curb bump outs and just MAXIMIZE the number of spaces available for customers. We have already moved route 7 to First street so lets show some REAL support for the downtown and IMPROVE the parking instead of all the fluff. Make it better and then fancy it up.

  5. Spider
    April 14, 2014 at 5:34 am #

    We parents will be holding our breath …..waiting to see which sports or other program/activities will be dropped to make up for the $1 million. You know that will happen…..VINDICTIVE is the way they have always played the game.

    • Pat
      April 14, 2014 at 5:53 am #

      I believe this vindictiveness on the part of the school department when they don’t get what they want was mentioned in a letter in todays Berkshire Eagle.

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      SPIDER
      Yup. They will resort to blackmail, again.

  6. Pat
    April 14, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    Pittsfield does look like a bombed out war torn city what with the roads in such deplorable condition. Repair costs for buses due to the terrible road conditions would also be better handled by privatizing school bus service.

    Three cheers to Tully, Morandi, and Simonelli. They have made the right and logical decision.

    I have been calling to have the massive potholes on my street fixed for over a month. I also noticed that lower income neighborhoods such as Wahconah Street and the streets off of Springside Avenue still have their dangerous potholes while if you take a drive to some of the more high income neighborhoods the roads are nowhere near as bad. Is this also a situation where certain people are put on speed dial to have their streets fixed while others of lesser means and influence need to wait?

    All of this filling of potholes, however, is just a bandage on a gaping wound as the Pittsfield roads and those in many parts of Berkshire County are so bad that many of them are now on life support.

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

      It’s funny how the city has plenty of excuses for the egregious condition of its roads but few preventions. It’s also funny how the byways of so many towns in south county are so many version of “the miracle miles.”

  7. ed shepardson
    April 14, 2014 at 5:58 am #

    Pittsfield’s Population

    1970 57,020 −1.5%
    1980 51,974 −8.8%
    1990 48,622 −6.4%
    2000 45,793 −5.8%
    2010 44,737 −2.3%

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      Anyone see a pattern here?

  8. Levitan
    April 14, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    DV, my deranged friend! This is the very first edition that I wish I had written myself. Hats off!

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

      When we draw blood from a stone, LEV, we always count it as a great day! Thanks.

  9. Bill Sturgeon
    April 14, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    In my opinion. Before making a judgement about the public or private school bus transportation issue I would like to have a public hearing where each side presents its fact to included real numbers.

    If when the facts are presented it is the decision of the public and the City Council to privatize the transportation of Pittsifled’ school children I have a few of suggestions:
    1. The City hires and outside consultant to develop the RFP with the assistance of School Bus Transpotation Committee.
    ( we don’t want any “hidden pits” found, etc.)
    2. The City assembles a adjudication committee to evaluate the bids when they come it.
    3. The City hires an outside attoney to draft the the actual contract.This contract should be very in-depth with very plain language and must include fines for failure to perform.
    4. The City MUST insure that there significant fines for breaches in
    the contract.
    One of the the Ward Councelor’s in the City Council where the school bus issue was discuss show his total ineptness and knowledge of Public-Private Partnerships when he stated that if they don;t have the driver that their problem. No it is still our problem!!!!
    Pete White where are you now when we need you???

    • Ed McClelland
      April 14, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      Billy; Are you okay ?

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      BILL
      That’s just it. With all the “hang time” given to the bus topic, the PSD STILL HAS YET to give us “the real numbers.” Councilor Simonelli’s figures come close. Fact is, the PSD has buried the true costs of public ownership and distorted upward the cost of privatization.

  10. Wilson
    April 14, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Strange that $3 million is so controversial when millions are put into fluff projects like the Common or “streetscaping”, millions are spent every year on recently added no-work positions and raises for non-performance, and many tens of millions are about to be dropped building a high school. Should hook Simonelli up to a polygraph to discover whether he’s working for the teachers cartel or the busing contractors.

    • Shakes His Head
      April 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      It is clear Gerry Doyle isn’t working for the bus contractors, or the vote would have never made it to the floor!

  11. Nota
    April 14, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    This is why we are…. PALOOKAVILLE.

  12. Linda
    April 14, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    DV, great positively great column today. So glad we have The Planet to give us little guys at least a chance.

  13. maxwell edison
    April 14, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    ” sucking up to south county restaurants so he can eat for free and giving rhetorical head to every liberal loon politician this state, county, and city can muster.”

    LMAO

    • Scott
      April 14, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Maxwell, and that’s putting in lightly and being very generous.

  14. Scott
    April 14, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    I would think anytime you privatize something you get better savings because then as you stated it’s in the companies best interest to do a good job maintaining thier buses to keep thier prices at least somewhat consistent while mainting profits and not loosing the contract to a lower bid by another company. This whole big govt mentality only fosters waste and neglegence because there’s no competition and when you own the majority of voters due to lucrative public salaries and the only yellow news outlet it’s easy to pass off your corruption and rationalize what your doing by using children as human shields. Anyone peak at Bill E’s live political blog? I’m not sure my stomach can handle it.

    • Levitan
      April 14, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      That blog is a right wing Statist rant, so no, I can’t say I am, able to stomach it either.

      • Scott
        April 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

        I think you meant left wing statist rant…

        • Levitan
          April 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

          No, I mean right wing rant. We could argue the point, but what for? Exploring the political mind of Bill Everhart would be like studying zombie ants.

          • Scott
            April 15, 2014 at 4:22 am #

            Oh ok gotcha you mean he rants about the right it didn’t feel right “correcting” you sir I don’t want to argue or contend.

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Privatization means better service at a lower cost. It’s a no-brainer, which means that in Pittsfield, it’s a yes-brainer.

  15. Johnny2Shoes
    April 14, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    DV,

    I like the way you take the BB to the mat! Bruno Sammartino would be proud of your submission moves that you apply to the BB !

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

      Nice to kow all those hours spent watching Bruno, Andre, and The Black Orchid weren’t put to waste!

  16. amandaWell
    April 14, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    Yes indeed! The
    Planet is the Ultimate Warrior!

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

      Merci beaucoups.

  17. Gene
    April 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    DV you’re teaser on the trouble with the head of Berkshire Works is right on the money. Keep on the story. Theres a lot to it. The mayor working overtime to keep it from coming out.

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

      We shall have a story on this tomorrow, GENE.

  18. Bill Sturgeon
    April 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Ed Mc., yes I am OK and thanks for asking.

    Councilor Simonelli (Is a good friend of mine – Full Disclosure – Open Meeting Law – Not a blood relative – I think I have covered it all) made cogent argument for his vote and his position on the School System being in the transportation business.

    As I mentioned previously, I am going to wait until all the figures are presented along with the methodology used to determine the figures being presented.
    I can, however, live with the idea of buying new buses in phases.

    I cannot remember the year that the MSP Bus Unit took some or all the City’s School Buses off the road. Perhaps, we should have that MSP Unit inspect all of the buses to determine what buses need immediate replacement and what buses can wait.

    Just because a city, town, state, or federal privatizes part of its operations it does not relieve it of the overall responsibility, oversight, and ACCOUNTABLITY – To the children, parents, voters!!

    I do feel that waiting for the roads to be fixed is a non-statement bordering upon being ridiculous and juvenile.

    As I said I was surprised about Lisa vote and I am anxious to find out her rationale.

    • Levitan
      April 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      Bill, you seem to be ok to me too. Not a doctor so can’t say for sure, but even so, how much would the city save if it did not purchase new fleet and just postpone the decision for two years?

      Answer lies here: Current debt would fall, concurrent expenses would be limited to maintenance. Much like my 1993 Toyota with rust and 200K milles.

      • Levitan
        April 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

        (…and yes, I trust my daughter, my life, and my precious possesions to that workhorse.)

    • ed shepardson
      April 14, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

      Is it a good thing if reporters and commentators are friends with the people that they are covering? I went to a fundraiser for a longtime reporter a few years ago and was stunned by the number of politicos who were there and spoke so nicely of him. I don’t think it’s supposed to work that way. If he, and his media outlet were doing their jobs, they’d patiently wait to piss on his grave. That may be our problem in the Berkshires.

      • danvalenti
        April 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

        ED
        I got my first newspaper job in 1975. In the ensuing 40 years, I have made it a point not be friends with those I cover. I have had countless acquaintances and relationships with pols and public figures, of course, but have known where to draw the line. The many that would love to piss on my grave is proof, and it is a predilection that I wear with honor.

        • Levitan
          April 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

          I have made it a point not be friends with those I cover

          Heh, that explains a thing or two, now doesn’t it.

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks, BILL, for your input.

  19. Joe Pinhead
    April 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    I am a bit confused here regarding the safety of the buses, Are they unfit due to poor design? Are other districts or companies having similar issues? If so the manufacturer would need to have a recall. If that’s not it then is the administration suggesting that the people and program that they oversee is not performing? If a mechanic sees a broken brake line or front end piece they don’t fix it? Are they not being inspected correctly? Did they negotiate so poorly last time that they didn’t get training and ongoing maintenance bulletins included as part of the purchase? I can only wonder why the company wanting to sell us the new buses would take them in for trade unless of course it is to take these death traps off of the highway as a safety measure, No way would they turn around and sell them to another district, camp or church right? Or could it be they are taking them in trade because they do have use left in them?

    just sayin

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

      JP
      The second the school trades the buses in, that company will turn around and sell them to outfits and make a nifty profit. They are not unsafe, and everything about the PSD’s actions re: disclosure shows that this is so.

  20. Rafael
    April 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Speaking of privatizing, a trucker mentioned to me this past weekend that ever since Deval Patrick went away from private contractors to maintain the Mass Pike 6 years ago, that he’s noticed a steady decline in the quality of the road. And of course the tolls went up to. Public employees = lesser quality, higher costs.

    • Gene
      April 14, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      As a frequent user of the Pike, I would agree. The condition has gone down since the governor got rid of private sector.

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

      Your equation, R, is valid and generally true.

  21. NJP
    April 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Dan,

    Seriously, decrepit, we should be thankful for the intelligent columns written by the Bass Family. You should apologize to both of the Bass’, they have written great columns for years. Take a look at the Berkshire Eagle lately, they have columns written by Avi and Nathasha Dressner, researched and delivered well. Why do you hate Pittsfield and The Berkshire Eagle? They both employ people, would be very disappointing to have more people unemployed as you so wish by watching the Eagle close. As for you and your 10 faithful followers, why don’t you all run for office and fix our city rather than tear it down? I am sure many will be unhappy with this post, but I have watched and wondered why you are so bitter against Pittsfield since you live down county and never write about the difficulties in your locale. As for any City Councilor or our Mayor responding to your column, I don’t deem it necessary. I love Pittsfield, born and raised here, we are going though very difficult times and don’t need your destructive, negativism. yes, we have potholes as do every Northeast City. I thank Bill Sturgeon for his continuing allegiance and positive attitude toward our city. Why don’t you work with Pittsfield to fix our problems rather than against our city? I don’t understand!

    • dusty
      April 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      I think what Dan does is expose the problems that city hall would rather you don’t even hear about. Maybe the difficult times you say we are going through are unnecessary and might go away with better management.

      But if you like high taxes and the runaway school budget then get out your lawn chair, sit back and enjoy it.

    • danvalenti
      April 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

      NJP
      Thank you for your views. Briefly, The Boring Broadsheet has abdicated its responsibility to its readers. Newspapers should be the safeguard of democracy, not key agents in its destruction. As I explained not long ago, my criticism (which you mistake for “bitterness”) is a form of tough love. I, too, love Pittsfield. I was born and raised there. A generation of piss-poor politics, however, has turned the city into a graveyard. I shall not bother with your view that holders of public office needn’t respond to journalists, except to say that if you wish to see what such a state looks like, Google, “Kim Jung Un” and “The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.” If you step back from your emotions, you will realize that my public service via this medium is precisely with “fixing the city’s problems” in mind.

    • Levitan
      April 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

      NJP,

      Milton is a pernicious hypocrite and Ruth has her satirical alter-ego in the baffled writing of E. Waugh’s William Boot.

      Seriously, you worry about the employability of Doktor Chartalk, Professor Emeritoos, and the Basses? They are totally unemployable now, and their future (whatever is left of it) should not lie in journalism or anything that involves public writing.

      • Levitan
        April 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

        Plus, I like Pittsfield, too. I like my part so much I be happy to declare it a separate State.

  22. Matt
    April 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    You’re right on target with Berkshireworks situation. the Exective Director was placed on administrative leave following an outburst at a staff person suspected of being one of the staff who filed sexual harassment complaints against him.

  23. MrG1188
    April 15, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    Two things on the buses; the fiscal analysis above is very enlightening. The one cost not included, which has to be substantial, is insurance. One of the potential problems with privatization is that it is USUALLY a better deal! made better by competitive market forces in the bidding process. In this case, that competition that could drive down pricing might not exist because the contract would be too small for many/most companies to bid on. Not sure that would be the case but it is a possibility.

    • danvalenti
      April 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      Insurance and garaging are two costs that have not been mentioned.

  24. Dave
    April 15, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Funny how JIV thinks the magic number that owning your own fleet is more economical is 40 and we want 43. Could we get away with only 40? Being that these numbers are so close, one would think a truly diligent head of a department would demand a new study comparing all options, not rely on one done 8 years ago when he wasn’t here. He has learned the game well-don’t rock the boat and you can wear your captain’s hat as long as you want. He has definitely earned his moniker.

    • danvalenti
      April 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      JIV has learned “the ropes” well — too well.

  25. Bill Sturgeon
    April 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    NJP
    I don’t think that Dan does not like Pittsfield I think he is feed up with hypocrisy, cover-ups, and incompetence found in some of the City’s Departments, just as I am. Maybe it is the difference in our ages as to how we approach fixing the problems that we see in the City.

    I am so sorry that many of the positive things that I envisioned happening under this Administration have yet to take place. I believe that because these things are not taking place the City is sliding back. Yet another store is leaving the downtown Pasko Frames that has been a fixture on North Street for decades.

    Dan goes after things his way and I go after things my way. We don’t always agree, but that’s OK. As an example: I think that there is a middle ground for the school bus debate and Dan thinks it should be privatized – we disagree but this disagreement will not influence our friendship.

    .

    • danvalenti
      April 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

      Well stated, STURGE! We each have our styles, and style is the result of the cumulated experiences of our respective professional lives. Sorry to see Pasko Frames going. North Street loses another fixture. As for our friendship, it stands all tests. That is, by definition, the nature of that wonderful state of relationship.

  26. Bill Sturgeon
    April 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    Yes, it is a real shame about Pasko’s is leaving North St. I heard some other sad news today and that is Megan Whilden has resigned her post as the Director of Cultural Affairs. This is a tremendous loss to the City.
    I hope that the current “Administration” doesn’t try to bring back the previous Director of Cultural Affairs, but nothing would surprise me.
    With Mary McGuiness leaving I have loss all hope for any significant positive change for the City. The only hope that the people of Pittsfield have left is that City Council come together and run the City until the next election.
    I am sorry to say that the transparency of this “Administration” has become unreceptive to scrutiny.
    These are just my opinions.

    • GeoSims
      April 17, 2014 at 4:52 am #

      Perhaps being a newcomer to Pittsfield personalities, I have a different perspective. This admin played out exactly as I thought it would unfortunately. Too bad all the hard work of the past 10 years to revitalize seems to be slipping away. History repeating itself for Pittsfield, my hunch this will be it.