TES’ PROPOSED DEAL ON 100 N. ST. MAKES NO SENSE EXCEPT AS A ‘SWEETHEART DEAL’ for SCARAFONI ASSOC. & GLOBAL… PLANET HAS EXCLUSIVE DETAILS OF THE RFP
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY, JULY 30-31, 2014) — Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s proposal to move 40% of the city hall offices to 100 North Street “really sucks the big one,” as THE PLANET‘s resident theater critic Leonard Pinth Garnell might put it.
THE PLANET has obtained more information on the proposed move. You will recall, TES wants to relocate 40% of city hall to 100 North St., where, by wild coincidence —
— He already has office space for his job with Larry Global Mondello, a.k.a., Global Mondello.
— It’s a building rep’d a man sources call one of Bianchi’s buddies, real estate agent and downtown “player,” Dave Carver of corporate downtown “player” Scarafoni Associates.
— Carver is brother-in-law of SA principal Gary Scarafoni.
— Scarafoni is the agent of record for the Clock Tower building, home of The Boring Broadsheet.
— The BB publishes a white-washed version of the “100gate” to try to contain the damage after THE PLANET’s exclusive that brings the erstwhile secret plan into daylight. There it might actually get some debate and push-back.
— The mayor said he “found” the $126,000 to pay for the year-one lease. Presto! Out of thin air, he “finds” $126K when there’s little money for anything other than pay raises for himself, department heads, and school department employees.
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Out of the Mysterious ‘TFII Box’
Here’s the punch line: Bianchi and his loyalitsts might be the only ones who don’t know that, politically, the mayor is sinking to the bottom, an UnTitanic that has just met its iceberg.
The proposed deal for 100 North Street appears to have been in the works before the RFP went out. THE PLANET is working on that and other angles to this fairy tale, which, temporarily, at least, we have have lifted it out of the TFII Box.
TFII is for “The Fix Is In.” In the TFII Box, you will find otherwise deliberative items that, because of inside backing, totally ignore due process — for example, Bianchi’s appointment of Julia Sabourin as his administrative aide or the naming of William Monterosso as director of Berkshire Works in January.
One observation can be safely made this far into “100gate.” While the mayor may be able to get this done by end-running the council, he’s damaged himself politically, perhaps fatally. Any city councilor who defends this move when the time comes shall be signing their own political death warrant, especially as far as higher office is concerned.
Let us be more specific. Any councilor with mayoral intentions for 2015 will create a millstone to be worn publicly around the neck during next year’s campaign. Supporters seeking re-election will also have a much tougher time. Both politically and policy-wise, the correct position on “100gate” is opposition.
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Details from, Observations on the RFP
The RFP (request for proposals) is formally titled: “Acquisition of Lease Space for Inspectional Services Department, Estimated Cost $300,000.”
The first question: “What is the “Inspectional Services Department?” Another of Bianchi’s fictions? The city’s one-stop-shopping for Monopoly Money kickbacks from unnecessary contracts awarded to “inside” bidders? We can only assume it refers to the permitting process.
The second question: “$300 thousand dollars?” THE PLANET would guess it refers to the $126,000 cost for the first year, with two options years, respectively, of $117,000 and $108,000. That totals $351,000. The $51,000 of discrepancy is no problem. If the mayor can “find” $126,000, it ought to be 40.47% easier to find $51K.
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Permit, now, the following observations:
(1) The ad for the RFP was published in The Boring Broadsheet (where else?) on April 23 and 30. If you want to make sure as few people as possible know about an RFP, The BB is the place to publish it. You would never run it for a week or more in multiple media outlets. You would also never directly contact downtown landlords with the invitation to submit bids. Why? Keeping the RFP under the radar was part of this plan, it appears, so that the Chosen One (Scarafoni Assoc.) would have smooth sailing. Sources say Scarafoni Associate’s bid was the only one the city received.
(2) The request for bids includes this ironic line: “Attention is called to the ‘Equal Opportunity Clause’ and the standard Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Construction contract specifications.” Just a guess, but THE PLANET wonders if that boilerplate language is the absolution that keeps the city lily white, since it appears that TES seems to have a problem with minorities and people of color.
(3) The RFP calls for a minimum of 9,000 sq. ft., on a single floor, located “within two blocks of City Hall” with a July occupancy date. July has passed, but two conditions prevail to make sure 100 North Street would be the only suitable building, with other downtown landlords shut out of “equal opportunity.” 100 North Street is probably 40 feet away from city hall. Sources say suitable space on the second floor of 100 North fitting the RFP specs was already gutted and ready to be customized in March.
(4) The mayor and his cronies can talk all they want about streamlining permitting, but the only pragmatic reason for “100gate” we see is the added personal convenience for a businessman and private citizen named “Dan Bianchi,” whose Global Montello Group Corp. business card bears the title “Manager: Natural Gas, Electricity, Fuel Oil.” If 40% of Allen Street moves to 100 North St., the mayor would have plenty of excuses to be in the building, go one floor up to Suite 301, and work for Global.
(5) Does Global’s “Dan Bianchi” do any business with the city of Pittsfield, any city or county-based clients (for example, gas station chains), or Scarafoni Associates holdings? Does it sell gas, electricity, or fuel oil to any clients posing a direct conflict of interest to mayor Dan Bianchi?
(6) The RFP states, “No charges for Federal, State, or Municipal sales or excise taxes will be allowed. The City of Pittsfield is exempt from these taxes.” Yeah, but the city of Pittsfield has no problem gouging out the eyeballs of its bedraggled taxpayers.
(7) Dig this example of prose: “No security deposit shall be requirements [sic]. If you’re going to screw citizens, TES, at least be grammatical about it.
(8) The RFP calls for two reception areas, 15 administrative offices, five areas for cubicles, a utility room, a conference room, a computer lab, a kitchen, and restrooms, something more easily achieved with a reconfiguration of existing space within city hall.
(9) The mayor’s capital budget contains $100,000 for permitting software. Other communities, some much larger than Pittsfield, rely on this advanced software and not physical arrangement of space to ease permitting. Why can’t Pittsfield?
(10) All affected departments mentioned by the mayor are presently under one roof in city hall. Only the fire inspectors are not at 70 Allen St. Surely there is room there for one more office. That would put all the offices under one roof. Rent Free. “100gate” would divide city hall into two buildings and add $126,000 to the taxpayers’ burden in the first year.
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The mayor has not made a case for this move. Chip in your two cents. Contact the mayor’s office and your city councilors. Speak up. Take back your government.
“Incidentally, there will be some changes made.” — The Bee Gees, from the album Horizontal, 1964.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.