Article

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

ROSEANNE FRIERI, Pittsfield director of veteran’s services

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?

Frieri, right, with Elizabeth Warren, left, and the governor. (PHOTO: iBerkshires)

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?

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“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).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.

34 Responses to “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”

  1. Teecha teecha
    May 13, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Catherine Huska being rude or snooty towards someone. Never. She’s a pillar of the community. (Note the sarcasm)

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Yeah, TEECH, it is hard to believe. Strains credulity. It simply can’t be. No way. Impossible.

    • Mad Trapper
      May 13, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      Dear Dan,

      Thank you for looking out for our Veterans. They deserve more, and CERTAINLY more than the appointed shrubs in PITTSfield are giving them.

      Why do these appointed women not look like veterans themselves? More like leftwinged ……….I won’t go there….

      Keep up on the Empty Suit. God save PITTSfield if we get another for 4 years.

      Best,

      MT

  2. C. J.
    May 13, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Personnel; Is there a new RSVP director ? Megan Wilden replacement ?

  3. MrG1188
    May 13, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    That’s unfortunate. John Sakata will be missed. Now that Derek Gentile is too old to get to the later-nite events in South County (I tease him a little) John was doing an excellent job. On the masthead it actually appears that they have MORE sales reps…not less; unless of course they are not keeping that up to date. Sakata is still listed there as well although the other fellow is not.

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      You are right, MR G. Sakata at least covered some stuff. He has talent, a capacity for journalism that was severely underused and mis-emplyed by The BB management. He has a better future elsewhere, and we wish him the best of luck.

  4. Still wondering
    May 13, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    It’s too bad that RF is a member of the highest PC protected class. She is free to mess things up for as long as she likes.

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

      That’s why the city is in the shape that it’s in, because of incompetent bureaucrats such as Rosey.

  5. D-man
    May 13, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    I noticed that Chameleon’s is now for sale or lease, after the city (properly) suspended their liquor license for the shooting that took place in the parking lot in early April.

    Maybe someone will have better luck turning that spot around?

    • Dave
      May 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      It passes the zoning restrictions for a strip club!

    • dusty
      May 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

      I thought Chameleons got whacked with a pretty good penalty compared to some of the chronic offenders. Maybe they don’t have the licensing board connections some others do.

      • danvalenti
        May 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

        Right, D … not that “connections” ever gets you anywhere in what has become a totally corrupt government.

  6. Norden Bomb Bite
    May 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    I hope we get answers to the questions DV has asked. All Frieri or her assistant had to do was respond. They probably would have if the indcident didnt happen.

    I’m a vet and the last place I’d go for help would be to veterans affairs office at city hall. Too many bad endings and horror stories coming out of there from too many veterans.
    That’s what the city thinks of those of us who served. You judge these things by
    actions not by the b.s. they give you.

    • downtown dweller
      May 13, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      Sadly, I’ve heard the same thing from vets I know. Some have commented on the office being condescending toward them when they went there for help.

      • danvalenti
        May 13, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

        DD
        We have heard numerous complaints from veterans about the treatment they receive from Frieri and company. Frieri appears to be another of those pigs who slurp at the public trough. does she keep full-time hours? Does her freelance photography business come first? Why, if she’s the champion of veterans that she claims to be, do so many vets come to us with their complaints at ill treatment. Why does Bianchi allow it?

        • ed shepardson
          May 13, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

          I bumped into Mayors Doyle and Roberto one night about a year ago. I asked them who hired Ms. Frieri. Doyle said, “not me” and pointed at Roberto. Mayor Roberto admitted he had and it was a huge mistake.

          • Shakes His Head
            May 14, 2014 at 7:16 am #

            Did Mayor Ruberto realize that when she was campaigning for Bianchi?

    • Joe Blow
      May 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

      Thank you for your Service!

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

      We hope so, too. Frieri and company has kept silent. Rosey seems to be turning about to be all about Rosey, the way she appears to be spitting all over local veterans. No wonder why Soldier On gets so many rave reviews. At least SO and Jack Downing DO SOMETHING for vets in need. We could be wrong, but based on a lot of anecdotal evidence, it appears that the only thing Rosey does is line her own pockets with a $50K-plus bennies compensation that she doesn’t earn. As we say, we could be wrong, and we would be most willing to hear from Rosey that we are. And why.

  7. Silence Dogood
    May 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    When’s the Eagle going to get ride of that dolt, Bill Everhart?

  8. amandaWell
    May 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    Johnnies Beach Club is the real deal, open her back up!! Johnny is a faithful employer and needs the ca$h.

    • Dave
      May 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

      Sign on the door says the kitchen is still open until 2 am, and I’m sure soda sales are through the roof from midnight to 2am!

    • Teecha teecha
      May 13, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

      Johnnies beach club alway has been and always will be a cesspool of filth and human depravity

    • Johhny2Shoes
      May 14, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      I miss OB Joyful’s

      • joetaxpayer
        May 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

        I miss Coaches Corner.

  9. Spider
    May 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    I am not surprised that Doreen Wade of Medford has registered the very first complaint to the Human Rights Commission (today’s Eagle).

    Somehow I knew she wouldn’t just fade away. Check out IBerkshire today for her history.

    while I am not a fan of the mayor’s, I believe this is definitely another “questionable” situation for the city.

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

      Ms. Wade appears to be for real. It appears that she has a legitimate complaint. We based this on (a) press reports of her appearance before the HRC, (b) our own interviews with Ms. Wade, and (c) our interviews with staff of the HRC after the meeting was over. She has accused Mayor Bianchi. If there is any truth to that allegation, it means the mayor must go. Booted out. Without waiting until 2015.

  10. ed shepardson
    May 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    I can’t defend assault and battery but dealing with the local veterans’ office can be extremely frustrating. But, then again, I don’t have a five year old to whom I’m responsible.

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

      The veteran in question has responded to our requests, unlike Frieri and her stooge. He has unequivocally denied A&B. At this point, we are inclined to believe him and not the city officials, who have, in the past, proven less than trust-worthy.

  11. Nota
    May 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    TES says we wrestle’ with the revenue for the budget, yup. It’s called a choke hold’ on the Taxpayer!

    • Norden Bomb Bite
      May 13, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

      Yeah nota, that’s about it. TES has finally been shown up for what he is: all empty and nothing when it comes to us nobodies. Planet should gets the nobel, the pulitzer, and every other medal for his work in exposing what’s going on under this mayor.

      • danvalenti
        May 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

        Aw, shucks. If we got all those, we’d have no more room on our uniform jacket. Nonetheless, NORDEN, we appreciate the nod. Also, a belated welcome to THE PLANET. You are one of many new subscribers we have picked up lately.

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Correct. TES aims once again to put the entire load of his failure on the backs of taxpayers. At some point, as we think it will be soon, the taxpayers are going to say: “Screw you, TES. We ain’t taking it anymore!”

  12. Matt
    May 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    The large number of people without jobs need help preparing for and finding jobs. That the agency has been poorly lead or not lead at all should be an argument for better leadership. That the fire department isn’t well organized or well lead is not a reason to do away with firefighting. Get a competent, effective, manager for the Berkshireworks and give the people of Pittsfield the support they deserve.