PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

ADD 1 THURSDAY May 15, 2014 — Just a reminder, not for the faint or feint of heart, but Episode 2 of Planet Valenti Television: PV-TV Starring Dan Valenti airs tonight, live, beginning at 7 p.m. and going for the hour on Access Pittsfield, Channel 16. THE PLANET will again take your phone calls, interview The Empty Suit (yes, can you believe it? In fact, TES not only has come back for more but “he” positively can’t get enough! That’s how much “he” loves us!!), and otherwise perform riffs and improvs utilizing all 26 characters of the alphabet. Episode 1 set the city on its ear. We’ll see this time if we can finish the job.

 —————- 00 v 00 —————

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014) — You thought the rollout of Obamacare flopped? You saw an even worse one when The Empty Suit (TES) rolled out the ruinous pay raise proposal for himself and about 50 city managers. TES whacked the hornet’s nest with a bat, and citizens spoke up. The measure will be passed only at a huge political price for anyone who supports a growth in government that taxpayers simply cannot afford.

THE PLANET isn’t sure if the bat had an Elect Mazzeo campaign logo on it or for that matter, a Planet Valenti Television logo. We’re not even sure if We The People have managed to talk sense into the city council, which must consider TES’s grab for yet more taxpayer dollars.

You’d think that even in the City Formerly Known as Pittsfield, this low mark couldn’t be beaten. THE PLANET reminds you, though, of how TES has handled the toxic plume emanating from Berkshire Works on North Street. The radioactivity isn’t  emanating from BW workers. It seems to be traced back to a meltdown of TES’s fair-haired boy from Kentucky, the on-leave-with-administrative-pay William Monterosso.

——- 000 ——-

MAYOR BIANCHI, a.k.a., TES: Lots of empty words or, in the case of his hire of William Monterosso, no words at all. (Photo: Jonathan Melle)

Less than three months after Bianchi hired him after he left his big state job in Kentucky in what appears to have been a mighty big hurry, Monterosso somehow appears to have made professional life at Berkshire Works so intolerable that, even in that politically terrorized office, at least one and possibly more workers dared to complain. The aggrieved took their complaints to TES and The Sheffield Shuffler, city personnel director John DeAngelo. That must have taken a lot of intestinal fortitude, a rare element with which TES and DeAngelo seem to unfamiliar.

Our sources tell us that the mayor and The Sheffield Shuffler both ignored the complaints. Rather than comfort the whistle blowers, TES and The Shuffler told the embattled Monterosso to take a few days off, let the situation cool down, and return only after that. Sources say that Monterosso, however, ignored that advice. He returned to the office. Hot headed. There, sources say, he got into an ugly confrontation with at least one of the alleged victims. Only after that did TES place Monterosso on “administrative leave with pay (translation: “free vacation on the taxpayers’ dime”) pending an investigation. What other choice did he have, especially after THE PLANET did the work that should have been done by the sole local daily. THE PLANET invited comment from both the mayor and the personnel director. You know how that ended up.

Keep in mind the only reason you have heard anything about this is because of the reporting done by THE PLANET. TES and his stooges, naturally, wanted to keep the bad situation quiet. Certainly, The Suits counted on The Boring Broadsheet’s complaince. The BB and the other mainstream media wouldn’t dare look into the situation. Unlike THE PLANET website and PV-TV, they have ads to sell and the role of Toady to play. The butts they have to kiss we are please to boot.

THE PLANET also broke word of a Secret Meeting involving the mayor and at least two high-ranking state officials on the Monterosso matter.  As we said on Planet Valenti Television Thursday, something must have happened with Billy the Kid. They don’t pull a guy off the job, even with pay, in this town for a parking ticket. One pretty much has to commit a serial ax murder to be relieved, even with pay, from a no-work/no-show patronage job such as the one TES bequeathed Monterosso. Why Bianchi selected the 1982 Taconic High School alum after the usual “nationwide search” is another of those deep Podunk mysteries that we’re guessing The Suits want never to be revealed — not that they have anything to hide, of course.

——– 000 ——-

THE PLANET tried to question Podunk personnel director DeAngelo about the Monterosso affair. We had the affront to show up in his office, unannounced. How dare us. That nosey press. The Sheffield Shuffler, however, clammed up faster than Harpo Marx in a silent movie. When THE PLANET walked into his office, The Shuffler turned Caspar white and Spooky gruff — nothing being hidden in that office, let us tell ya’!

The Empty Suit speaking more Empty Words. The Sheffield Shuffler was another of TES’s brilliant hires. (Photo: Jonathan Melle)

The Shuffler is another of TES’s brilliant staffing decisions. Bianchi picked him up on waivers after being let go when the Kolbourne School, which The Shuffler headed at the time, uh, suddenly closed its doors in Great Barrington. Hmmm, do we detect a pattern here? If you want to try your luck with The Shuffler, contact him at His phone number is 413-499-9340. Tell him THE PLANET sent you.

The Suits have taken forever to deal with the Monterosso matter, which, remember, they tried to hide in the first place. Now that we brought sunshine into the situation, Bianchi is playing the Four Corner offense, trying to run out the clock. The Suits hope that the public will soon lose interest, but that’s not going to happen. There are too many people employed by Berkshire Works, which right now is still in the Berkshires but isn’t Working, and too many unemployed folks in need of help trying to find a job.

The Suits think you are stupid, ladies and gentlemen, but, little by little, we are showing them the opposite is true.

For example, here’s a comment THE PLANET received over the weekend from Darlene:

——- 000 ——-

Notice how the state voice in [The Boring Broadsheet] said they “Knew Nothing!” of the allegations [against Monterosso]. Did [state official] Tim Dooling forget his investigatory visit to BW early on? Did not the mayor share info with [state jobs honcho] Alice Sweeney and Tim Dooliing during their recent visit? How can so many know so little about so much?

Seems the city is counting on the cumulative intimidating pressure of silence to cow the workers who have alleged harassment into accepting Monterosso’s return.

Not gonna work!

——- 000 ——-

THE PLANET’s Secret Squadron, pictured at The Fortress of Solitude.

THE PLANET, meanwhile, continues to toil in the mine of this story, where, we hear, a mother lode of ore awaits. We have The Secret Squadron working under cover, and we are digging up some promising ore. Fields tests indicate we might be approaching The Mother Lode.

You will want to stay tuned, because this could be breaking any time soon.


“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice  that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. 

“‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”F. Scott Fitzgerald, opening two paragraphs of The Great Gatsby, 1925, which has to be in the discussion of the greatest novel ever written by an American writer.




  1. dusty
    May 14, 2014 at 12:35 am #

    Perhaps the delay in dealing with Monteresso has as much to do with selecting and vetting his replacement as it does with keeping him flush with cash in the interim.

    Who knows, there may be more 25 year old teachers out there ready to make the jump to big time politics. Or maybe we will just wind up with some old recycled has been who still needs to nurse of the public teat. TES would be a great candidate but he has a city to smother first.

    • Shakes His Head
      May 14, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      fRIERI TO Berkshire wORKS?

  2. Nota
    May 14, 2014 at 3:30 am #


  3. Thomas More
    May 14, 2014 at 5:34 am #

    Off topic but I didn’t have a chance to comment on yesterday’s double dippers. Pam Tobin doesn’t work for the city or anyone else. She gets paid by Downtown, Inc. The use of Pam Tobin and Work in the same sentence is the ultimate oxymoron.

    • Dave
      May 14, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Thomas, Downtown Inc. is a line item in the city budget, so she is paid by the taxpayers. I understand your point whether she actually works or not, but being paid by Downtown Inc. is the same as being paid by the city…. but I hear she is the next to bail out!

  4. Matt
    May 14, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    At a time when unemployment is going down around the state it is going up in Pittsfield. People need help and an agency with the mission of helping people is lead badly or not at all is symbolic of city government.

    With human rights complaints mounting on several fronts, it would seem time for the mayor and his administration to take stock of the city’s personnel practices.

  5. Joyce Slater
    May 14, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    Dan…do you have any updates on Paul Capitanio and the former Lee Police Chief? Are their cases coming up?

  6. Norden Bomb Bite
    May 14, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    I find it pretty weak that the mayor and deangelo are hiding behind the “its a personnel issue” for not sharing any information. Taxpayers expect to pay their fat salaries but were not entitled to information.

  7. Pat
    May 14, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    Berkshire Works is an agency that does need effective and actual on the job leadership (not someone who is being paid not to work) because the organization is failing in its basic mission of helping people to find a job especially for workers over 45. When I was unemployed and collecting unemployment Berkshire Works didn’t have any training programs available. I mostly ended up working for temp agencies which is the only way I was able to keep working, but even the temp agencies do not have work available like they used to. It used to be that you finished a temp job and another one would be available almost right away or within a few weeks, but I literally had to wait months between assignments, but I was grateful that at least temp jobs did come along once in a while even if only a couple of times a year since that was the only income I had coming in and in between, if the temp assignments were long enough and paid enough, I was able to collect unemployment.

    I would keep asking Berkshire Works about training programs, but was told the money was not there. So other than posting jobs and giving some basic training regarding interviewing and your resume (all of which I did partake of), I felt that they did not advocate enough on behalf of each person seeking to find a job and I did feel that they could have done more.

    People at Berkshire Works did help some people find work because they would get some kind of bonus for helping people, but they chose to only help those that they determined had the best chance of getting employment such as those who already had college degrees and were young. If you were over 45 and didn’t have lots of education, they didn’t want to bother with you because they knew how difficult finding employment for you would be and they didn’t want to be bothered or that was how it seemed to me. This is why I had such high hopes for a new director of Berkshire Works especially in regards to more assistance for the older worker such as actual training programs for new skills, only to have the whole thing crash to the ground. It’s sad.

  8. Rafael
    May 14, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    So now is everyone starting to see what Berkshire Works really is? Just another wasteful gov’t program paid for by us.

  9. Johhny2Shoes
    May 14, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    D.V., Keep up your Fred Astaire moves! While they tap around the issues, you bring the issues to the forefront for all to see!
    Imagine if Ginger was by your side.

  10. Dave Nash
    May 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Bonus? What bonus? If there is a bonus paid for helping people get jobs, no one at BerkshireWorks has seen one. It is entirely possible that when someone came to the office to see about training that they could have been told there was no funding at that time. Funding sources to run out, there is no endless supply of money for training. However, when the new fiscal year (July 1) starts the training funds are replenished. Which means that anyone who has an interest in training and is qualified to partake can ask for training funds. Remember this also, there is a cap on the amount of money that can be allocated for a training program.

    I have never heard a single person who works with the unemployed ever say, I am sorry you are over 45, under educated and have few or little skills, we can’t help you. I have heard people say, well so and so told me that so and so said, if you are over 45 BW wont help you. Try coming to the source and I bet you will find more assistance then so and so told you was available.

    • Tim Bartini
      May 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      Dave. They rather bitch on this site than go to the source to get the facts.

      • ed shepardson
        May 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

        Mr. Nash, as Mr. Bartini suggests, Planet Valenti should go to the source and as you work for Berkshireworks, you would be a source. Tell us about Mr. Monterosso.

      • Norden Bomb Bite
        May 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

        Wrong Tim we go to this site because here’s where we get the facts. The bitching comes as a freebie. Whether you realize it or not, we are fortunate to have a man like DV digging out the truth.
        As a union head, we know you’ll never give it unless it benefits you.

      • Pat
        May 14, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

        I found some of my notes. The criteria for qualifying for the training programs are:

        You have to be extremely low income meaning homeless in some cases. I would agree that these people need help obviously, but others should be included for training as well.

        In addition they say you have to be out of work for at least 26 weeks which is a long time and since the federal extensions are no longer around, at the end of 26 weeks, an unemployed person is often without any assistance at all except for possibly food stamps, but without any assistance in paying their bills.

        I have actually found work again with a temp agency for the next few months and possibly longer. Hooray!!! I am thinking of those, however, who are totally unable to find work right now which is a situation I was in for several years when even temp agencies had hardly any jobs for which I was qualified.

      • Scott
        May 15, 2014 at 3:59 am #

        I know Tim it would be easier if they had a city job. It would be much easier to follow the status quo and vote accordingly right?

        • danvalenti
          May 15, 2014 at 11:24 am #

          Too often that is the case, SCOTT. You become part of a voting block that survives because the remainder of the electorate has become so disenfranchised by the ineptness in the city, starting with the mayor.

      • joetaxpayer
        May 15, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

        Tim. People go on this site to get the truth, unfiltered. Once they do, that’s when the bitching starts. No one likes to get screwed. Our City needs to be downsized , and stop spending likev GE is still here and the pop. is 65,000

    • Pat
      May 14, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      This is complaining that is based on facts. I have attempted receiving training each year I was involved with Berkshire Works right after money was received, but it is the part about being qualified that is the catch. The criteria for qualifying for the training programs is very limited. As for myself I do have a lot of skills and an Associate degree, but my field of work, Secretarial, has been very slow and I am an older worker. This is why I wanted training in order to learn other skills.

      I was told that if the job managers assist someone in getting employment and that person does get a job, the job manager does receive some sort of compensation, perhaps it’s not monetary, but some other kind of career boost or maybe they are required to successfully get jobs for so many people per month in order to maintain their position. Not sure, but thats what someone who worked there told me.

  11. Eddie
    May 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Berkshireworks staff assist job seekers with providing the tools necessary to re-enter the workforce but a fair share of the work is the responsibility of the job seeker. Pat’s claims could be compared to hiring a personal trainer and then blaming them if you are still fat.

    • Pat
      May 14, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

      Correction, the majority of the work of finding a job is the responsibility of the job seeker since, as you say, Berkshire Works basically just gives tips on how to land a job. These are helpful, but much more is needed in today’s tough economy. This is where TRAINING PROGRAMS come in and would make the difference for many in finding a job particularly for older workers whose field of work is either no longer viable or whose skills are out of date and who can’t necessarily afford to go back to school since they are out of work. This would be a great way to help job seekers. Today’s tough economy requires lots of extra help in order for job seekers to compete. This is why so many were excited about a new Director for Berkshire Works because maybe he or she would have had some new ideas for assisting job seekers. Not how things have turned out, however, at Berkshire Works.

      • Mad Trapper
        May 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

        Some how many levels of OVERPAID adminisTRATORS, does it take to find ONE PERSON employment?

        Pay out $500K to get three or four $40K jobs?


        Tell us TES???

        Or will that take a “study and consultant”?

    • Scott
      May 15, 2014 at 3:54 am #

      What if you did everything the personal trainer told you and we’re still fat?

  12. Matt
    May 14, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Complaining about Berkshireworks is a comment on the failure of its leadership to work as an effective program to maximize people. In fairness, though, the massive unemployment, and the flight of jobs have combined to leave workers high and dry. The City should be responsible for ensuring that the agency has effective leadership. The Mayor said he didn’t know what is going on at Berkshireworks; the least he can do is to make sure that a competent, dynamic, leader is appointed to make this service maximally effective in helping people.

    • Pat
      May 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

      I agree 100%.

    • Jamie
      May 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

      I miised that one. TES said he didn’t know what was going on at Berkshire Works? It’s his job to know. Hes the appointing authority. Lame lame lame, mr mayor. Voted for you the first time and it was the worst vote I’ve ever cast.

      Never again. I would support a recall.

  13. Mad Trapper
    May 14, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    What is the weekly payroll of Berkshire Can’t Find work? Seems they do VERY LITTLE.

    Would the County as a whole be better servered, WITHOUT this drain on on Taxpayer dollars? THE WHOLE ENTITY!!!

    Seems we have a Pres./CEO that has been disfunctional since DAY ONE, and the DYSFUNCTIONAL MAYOR, is happy to keep the Taxpayers on the HOOK.

    What Say ye Mayor MorASS?

    • danvalenti
      May 15, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      You raise a valid point, MAD T. At minimum, the current CEO needs to take a long furlough … without pay.

  14. Mad Trapper
    May 14, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    P.S Perhaps a thread about the NATIONS INEPTITUDE “leadership” and the poor city of PITTSfields ineptitude “leadership” ????

  15. Scott
    May 15, 2014 at 4:05 am #

    Is Berkshire training and employment connected to BW? I know when I was a kid I worked through them for a few summers and learned various trades. It makes one wonder if the money would be better spent on people in the field actually earning the money and learning skills while painting, repairing, installing, fixing city buildings, bridges and parks. Of course for this to work you would need less top high paid admins and more workers. And of course you wouldn’t be able to put out these jobs to bid for inflated price tags and people connected to the city wouldn’t get free houses built for them. But people who need it would get training and a pay check while making the cities infrastructure sound.

  16. Nota
    May 15, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    Council Grades:
    Krol A
    Amuso: D
    Simonelli A
    Tully D
    Caccamo 0
    Morandi A
    Lothrop D
    Cotton D
    Clairmont D-
    Connell D

    • Baby baby
      May 17, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Cotton wasn’t there, yet still received a grade.

  17. Beauty
    May 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Scott, This is a great idea however within MGLs it is not legal. I work for the town I live in and I know you must put municipal projects out to bid and pay prevailing wages. Lets say Pittsfield receives a grant (or uses taxation) to paint the town hall building, OSHA certified workers would probably have to be hired and a list of regulations would need to be adhered to. Some towns have programs that hire teens during the summer for road cleanup and such but then they must be supervised usually by several highway crew members who now are not doing their work and forget about all the legal ramifications and insurance issues, ugh!…Nothing is simple anymore which is too bad, because simple works….The thing that sticks in my craw re: the BW Director is that he is on paid leave while being investigated for something as horrible as Sexual Harassment. I think the accused should be on unpaid leave while the investigation is ongoing and if the findings are that the accusations are unfounded he can then be re-instated and compensated but that’s probably not legal either! So this ass gets to sit back and collect a couple of thousand dollars a month until he is terminated. And I do believe he will be terminated because if the accusations were unfounded he’d be back to work by now…

    • Joe Blow
      May 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

      How much will it cost the city if Monterosso did harass those people? I’m sure employees will sue for damages.

  18. Matt
    May 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    Here is a notion of what the costs will be from a study of sexual harassment cases:

    “While most cases are settled out of court, companies that are found guilty at trial can face eye-popping verdicts. Federal law caps settlements for large companies at $300,000 (not including lost wages and legal fees), but state laws are often more generous to the accuser. If a judge finds egregious behavior, a seven-figure settlement is not out of the question.”

    and this for a single individual. When there are multiple complainants the total goes up and up!

  19. Matt
    May 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    From an article on sexual harassment settlements

    In 2011, UBS Financial Services was ordered to pay more than $10 million to a former sales assistant who said she was harassed by a supervisor. The firm of high-profile sexual harassment attorney Gloria Allred (who is representing the accuser in the Filner case) boasts multiple multi-million dollar settlements.

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 11,300 sexual harassment charges in 2011, and settled about 1,400 of them for a total of $52 million. For employers, the best protection against such settlements is to train employees on harassment, and to take allegations seriously so that they don’t turn into lawsuits.

    “Unfortunately, there’s always going to be harassment,” says Patricia Wise, an attorney with Niehaus & Associates, and author of Harassment in the Workplace: Sexual, Racial and Religious Complaints. “The best thing a company can do is address it when it happens, and that means investigate it and eliminate it to avoid liability.”

  20. Ron Kitterman
    May 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    – Under the Things that make you go Huh ?
    Taconic plan cuts 3 Vocational Programs
    Superintendent McCandless recommended dropping engineering, information technology and office technology from the course list for the new school –

    • Scott
      May 15, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      I know it’s idiotic what he’s doing. Nothing like Lee schools. New busses, new school to learn what exactly?

    • Magic
      May 16, 2014 at 7:28 am #

      These are the most ridiculous cuts I have ever heard.

    • Mad Trapper
      May 16, 2014 at 7:31 am #

      Maybe Jake thinks engineers just run TRAINS.

      Would not surprise me given his vast intellect.

  21. billy
    May 16, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    North Adams. 800 thousand deficit totally taxed to. Levy limit. This is what’s next for us.levy limit is ridiculous.
    We have a continual 1.3 million shortfall from the stimulus money pay grab that Amuso & Co and most of the council gave the school dept,except I think it was Sherman and Yon,and they warned what would happened.The very thing that is happening in North Adams

  22. Lenny
    May 16, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    Forget about the PSD and raises, the point is moot. Gotta think outside the box. Here’s a novel idea… Jake said in the Eagle today that we have lost 531 students to other districts at a cost of $3.3 million. Doesn’t anyone see that this is a bargain! That’s only $6k per kid! If we send all 6100 students out of Pittsfield, that’s less than $38 million. The state is giving us $39 million, so the million left over can go towards busing the kids out. Then we layoff all the staff and shut the doors for an extra $20 million or so in yearly savings.

    • danvalenti
      May 16, 2014 at 7:31 am #

      Brilliant. Thanks, LEN.

    • Mad Trapper
      May 16, 2014 at 7:33 am #


      Lets start with firing Jake and canning the dysfunctional school committee

      • danvalenti
        May 16, 2014 at 8:24 am #

        MAD T
        Let’s start with JIV and all of the other layers of “deputy supt., associate asst., assistant supt., assistant associate supt., etc.” all the way down the line. The PSD is to fat and top heavy that it’s toppled over and it can’t get up.

    • Mad Trapper
      May 16, 2014 at 7:36 am #

      Woe to Lenox!!!

      The schools loose at least $10K on each “choice” student and they are under enrolled.

      Get ready to BEND OVER LENOX RESIDENTS!!!!

  23. Resident
    May 16, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    The problems of Pittsfield is a National problem that is only going to get a lot worst. With jobs being outsourced offshore and old ww2 factories closed after polluting waterways and landfills with chemicals. Generations are left with the clean up and aftermath of the ww2 generation. Were paying for their great time. Healthcare system broken and mortgages struggling. The only companies thriving in this country are the corporations making billions in profits wile paying workers peanuts.Huge changes need to be made before we hit the wall in this country. So all you Pittsfield haters, were doing a lot better than most cities in this country. Being a home owner in Pittsfield I’m Happy with my services. Good Schools. My street gets plowed, Garbage removed, i feel safe with with nearby fire stations and police around the corner. I call my councilor if i have any issues, like a pothole being filled on my street and it gets done. I watched my nephews little league north game other day, Great job on that Park, field looks great. My properties taxes are still lower than most communities in Berkshires. So worry about Stockbridge, Pittsfield will get by these hard times in this country. Have faith

    • danvalenti
      May 16, 2014 at 7:30 am #

      Thank you for your views. I would only say that those you identify as “Pittsfield haters” love the city more than most. No need to worry about Stockbridge. That town has its act together.