By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEEKEND EDITION, JULY 11-13, 2014) — Recently, THE PLANET has exposed a triad of Pittsfield’s tricky-dick dealings. Three examples include the filling of the Highway Department job, the careless leakage of raw sewage into the river and on farmland, and the mayor’s Capt. Queeg press protocol. We broke each of these three stories, a trio of mound gems thrown by that ace twirler, The Empty Suit (TES). Today, we have one that, depending on how it turns out, may take the consequence of incompetence in those other three one toke over the line … and then some.
Executive Director opening at Berkshire Works, c’mon down! The spotlight is glaring. And is “The Fix?” Let us explore.
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After TES unceremoniously dumped Der Wunderbarrett, the best ED that BW could want given the circumstances, he went mucking in the corn-poned southern swamps and dug up a creature that turned working at Berkshire Works into something resembling a cheap monster movie.
“The Swamp Thing” apparently had his own ideas of proper etiquette in the workplace, one that included a spit cup for his tobacco juice.
After realizing that Berkshire Works would need yet another a new director, TES and his cohorts decided the best way to get the most qualified candidate would be to post the job for less than a week and not tell anybody. That way, apparently, they would have no problem going with another “Fix Is In” stooge. At least that is how it appears.
The grapevine flows with life-giving nectar.
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The Litmus Test
Sources say the posting of the job drew 13 responses. The mayor threw out the most qualified of them, we hear, and saved the rest for a political loyalty test. Each of the remaining candidates was dipped in shit, left over from the leakage at the water department. Anyone that didn’t turn green-brown survived the next round.
Along the way, we might add, THE PLANET shared a satiric close to a news story, that Ward 3 councilor Nick Caccamo — who had just quit his $50K-plus-bennies school department job, had been the next heir apparent at Berkshire Works. The story had the beneficent effect of shaming the mayor off of this possible direction.
THE PLANET has since heard several names supposedly in the running for the Berkshire Works job, the most likely of which is Pummelin’ Pam Malumphy, a perennial hack who has become a sort of hatchet lady for The Empty Suit, especially on the Human Rights Commission, where she toys with that green young’n Josh Cutler so that the fine lad doesn’t know up from down. That’s why Bianchi wanted the ambitious kid in the chair’s seat. 2+ 2 = … well, you know the rest.
So is Malumphy on the inside track to the BW job? THE PLANET put in a request to her for comment. We asked her directly if the rumor has any basis in fact. As of press time, she had not responded. Does silence sometimes not speak for itself?
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Pummelin has one of the most desired qualities of all for a job like the Berkshire Works post: She won’t rock the boat while claiming not only that Bianchi’s chowder has no head lice but that, if it were canned and sold, would get him his own show on The Food Channel. She combines the blind loyalty of a Kool-Aid-drinking coat-holder with the claws of Cat Woman for anyone who peeps a discouraging word about “her mayor.” This of it as “Yes Woman Meets Ma Barker.”
Act surprised when Pam pretends she’s surprised at the “surprise” BW selection — if it happens. There is a remote chance that the hot rumor is just that. Given the more likely possibility that the rumor is true, perhaps our pre-empting the story will again scare the mayor away from this direction, too. Thus, if Malumphy gets the job or doesn’t get the job, THE PLANET will add another notch on the ivory handle of our Fanner 50. We can’t lose.
The Berkshire Works job is far too important to be given to a political hack who’s prior experience includes occupying a make-work “state economic liason” patronage job she got as a reward from the local Democratic Party. For what did the Dems reward Pam?
It was for her role of sacrificial lamb. Pummelin’ helped grease the skids for the set-up job that landed Chris Speranzo in the state legislature for an eye blink. With no chance to win, Pam ran in a race that also included a capable and viable candidate, Rhonda Sere, thus splitting the sizable women’s vote. The moment Pummelin’ took out papers to run in that race became the moment Speranzo was crowned king. Speranzo went on to defeat Terry Kinnas, the Republican candidate, who had topped Matt Kerwood in the Republican primary.
So the Pummelin’for-Berkshire-Works-Exec scenario would suggest that The Suits have at least considered her for the post …
… even if our coverage has succeeded in undoing a done deal before it got done and unfixing a “Fix” before it got fixed.
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Appropos of Nothing: This ‘n That
— Hans and Franz: Jim Conant and Franz Forster have been reappointed to the conservation commission. We don’t know about Hans, but Franz knows quite a bit about conservation. He’s the Significant Other of Pummelin’ Pam.
— Shuttle Diplomacy: With shootings, stabbings, beatings, drug wars, and many other forms of summer entertainment going strong in downtown Pittsfield, you can count on city officials to take decisive steps to deal with the mayhem. First, we have that Maytag Repairman of Mayors, TES Bianchi, responding by ordering decals on the sidewalks to keep bicyclists and skateboarders under control.
Decals, Mandrake. Decals.
Next, TES’ acting police chief, Mike Wynn, adopted a suggestion by the police advisory commission. Every Third Thursday, the city will deploy “downtown ambassadors.” Wynn says these folks will provide back-up to the sworn police officers. It’s sort of like the Barney Fife approach. On the Founder’s Day Parade in Mayberry, Barney would swear in Floyd, Gomer, and Otis. See: Barneys Gun.
— Having an Effect: Who says THE PLANET’s relentless coverage of the FY15 budget didn’t have an effect? While not cutting a dime from the mayor’s operating budget, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council at least rejected the mayor’s top-heavy capital spending plan. The council realized something the mayor doesn’t: Borrowed money comes at a heavy cost, especially when it isn’t needed.
— A Mouthful of Guano: Does Dan Bianchi savor the sucking of monkey glands by choice, or has his failure as mayor driven him to this lamentable habit? We speak rhetorically, of course, having in mind this mayoral gem, and we quote: “We’ve had a very collegial and cooperative budget process.” Quo est vomitorium?
— Tully and Moran Answer the Call: The Wards 1 and 2 councilors, Lisa Tully and Kevin Morandi respectively, came up big for taxpayers with their budget vote. They cast the city council’s two lone “nay” votes to the mayor’s fatted calf. They also were the only two councilors to hold a summit meeting with constituents to discuss pertinent city matters, including crime, and the budget. They duo held a joint 1-2 Summit at Allendale Elementary School on June 23. Well done, our Right Honorable Good Friends.
— For THAT, Pittsfield is Getting THIS? — Taxpayers are now paying a shade under $200,000 to run the mayor’s office. That’s before the mayor gets his 40% pay hike. What ever happened to truth in advertising?
Have a Happy!
“Forgive these wild and wandering cries, / Confusions of a wasted youth; / Forgive them where they fail in truth, and in thy wisdom make me wise.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson, from “In Memorium,” (1850).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.