THE BB LETS GO TWO REPORTERS, CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS, AND AD SALESPERSONS AS ‘DOWNSIZING’ CONTINUES … plus … PLANET ASKS QUESTIONS INVOLVING WHAT MAY BE SOME TOXICITY INVOLVING CITY PERSONNEL … AS ALWAYS, THE BUCK STOPS WITH THE MAYOR, BUT HE’S NOT TALKING
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2014) — There’s so much “stuff” flying off the fan’s spinning blades and so little time in which to cover it that we must not only pick and choose what good stories to mention and what juicy ones to leave out, but THE PLANET must also consider taking on a few of them in minis. We don’t as a rule like the “USA Today” form of coverage, but THE PLANET flies by no book but our own. On THE PLANET, there are no rules, except as they come from us. Even at that, there are only guidelines.
STORY 1 — MORE LAYOFFS AT THE BORING BROADSHEET
We actually broke this yesterday, on John Krol’s Good Morning, Pittsfield. Don’t tell anyone, because you’re not supposed to know. The Newspaper Formerly Known As The Berkshire Eagle laid off two more reporters on Friday. Sources say early morning reporter Nathan Mayberg got the hook as did The BB‘s South County reporter, John Sakata.
THE PLANET is told that “the development follows naturally from the shutdown of the pathetically named “Thunderdome” project and the news swirling around that, which you and others have reported” (see THE PLANET, April 7 edition, in “Archives,” yellow toolbar on our home page, under “Blog” on the black toolbar).
Oh yeah, those weren’t the only cuts that happened on Friday. Several customer service and ad sales persons lost their jobs as well. More layoffs are rumored to be on the way.
STORY 2 — PLANET ASKS TWO QUESTIONS, BOTH INVOLVING CITY PERSONNEL
Let’s now ask a couple of pertinent questions involving erstwhile and present city personnel. The first point to make is how important personnel choices are to a city. Your team goes only as your talent, or lack thereof, goes. Another way of saying this is, “Quality in, quality out. Garbage in, garbage out.” These choices also the decision making ability of an executive, whether you’re talking about sports, business, or politics.
Both personnel situation have been hush-hushed. THE PLANET, of course, has gotten wind of them. Looks like more black eyes for Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s administration, which it would seem becomes more desperate by the day to put a cap on what’s happening in its rotting insides. The questions have a basis in fact, but they are, in the end (at this point, at any rate) just questions.
(Q1) — Did the city fire a veteran police officer late last fall? If so, why? Was it because he roughed up a defenseless man, sitting in a car parked in a driveway with the motor off and the key not in the ignition? Did the officer in question sneak up on the “suspect” and, without identifying himself as a cop, start beating the guy? And was that simply the last straw for that officer? If all this is so, how is it possible that the Bianchi Administration could get away with this kind of “silent firing?” Why would it even want to? Are these naive questions? Don’t taxpayers have the right to be informed by the media when one of their trusted public safety officials has been laid off or fired with or without cause? Sure, they can always hide behind “We can’t discuss this because it’s a personnel issue,” but that’s a load of white bird splat.
(Q2) — Has a Pittsfield veteran’s services official lodged a charge of assault and battery against a veteran
who had sought the office for help in filing his applications for Chapter 115 benefits? Was that official Catherine Huska? Is she not city veteran director Roseanne Frieri‘s assistant? Just a question: Did Frieri or did she not lie to the veteran about filing the papers, supposedly sent by her on 10/31 and 11/1/13? Did Pedro Santiago of the state veteran’s affairs division on Boston confirm to the veteran that the Pittsfield office never filed the papers? Did the veteran find out and then confront Frieri and Huska about the apparent discrepancy between what they told the vet about what they did and what the Boston office told him they didn’t do? Did that lead to a confrontation when the vet was in the local office with his five-year-old daughter? If Huska filed A&B charges, were the charges filed with the police department (11/6/13) legitimate or were they trumped up? If trumped, was that done because, according to the veteran, the charges were meant to silence him in retaliation for his expression of displeasure with the way he was “served” and treated by Frieri and Huska? Is a jury trial scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 11?
As we said, we don’t know the answers. We thus make no allegations. Allegations don’t need answers. They need proof. THE PLANET shall be content with asking the quesetions. In fact, we would like nothing better than an official denial of any improprieties having been committed by the Pittsfield veteran’s office, if only to temporarily restore our faith that the office is staffed by competent people interested in helping those who has served our country — rather than selfish bureaucrats only interested in getting pay raises, as the mayor has proposed for at least one of them.
THE PLANET has contacted Frieri and Huska asking them for their version of the story. As of press time, they had not responded.
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All that and more is going on, around, over, and about. At least we are here to tell you about it.
And don’t forget to join us this Thursday on local access Channel 16 for the second edition of Planet Valenti Television — PV-TV Starring Dan Valenti. It’s local, live, lovely, loud, ludicrous, luminary, linear, lyric, and lithe. It’s already got a buzz going. They love it. They don’t love it. You ain’t seen local TV done this way! Tune it and give us a phone call with your questions or comments. Hope to see you and talk to you then.
Finally, here’s a “food for thought” correspondence THE PLANET received from a member of The Secret Squadron:
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There was a story in [The Boring Broadsheet recently] about the licensing board suspending Chameleon‘s license. The is a woman named Sweener. Her FB page shows that she is not only the owner of Chameleons, she [also recently] became a city employee. So, she joins the ranks of city employees, and those connected with the city, who also hold other jobs. Pam Tobin is listed as a crystal director for Isagenix, whatever that is. My good friend, Ms. Frieri, Pittsfield’s veterans agent, is also the VA for the p3 or 4 other towns and probably shoots a wedding now and then. Mary McGinnis still ran Mary’s Carrot Cake while she was employed by the city. Why has working for the city become a part time job?
THE PLANET leaves all of you for now pondering that final question. Why has working for the city become a part time job?
“Autumn, the wind blows colder than summer. Autumn, my love’s gone with another. Can’t demand anything of myself now, so I guess I’ll stay right here in New England for autumn.” — Edgar Winter, “Autumn,” from the “They Only Come Out At Night” album, (1974).