First in a Series

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY FEB. 5, 2018) — Congratulations to our Philadelphia Eagles on an exciting Super Bowl win. THE PLANET only wishes we could say the same for the bedraggled citizens of Pittsfield, who face the gauntlet of an ill-conceived and unnecessary multimillion-dollar plan to “upgrade” the city’s water treatment system. All that stands in the way of survival and financial insolvency is our Right Honorablee Good Friends on the city council. The ray of Hope is the action of the council’s financial committee, which voted 3 [Chris Connell (ward 4), Kevin Morandi (2), Melissa Mazzeo (at large)] to 2 [Peter Marchetti, (at large), Earl Persip (at large)] to recommend rejecting the mayor’s panicked plan.

The Administration sent out an underprepared Matt “Kufflinks” Kerwood to carry the queen’s slippers, with DPW commish David Turocy fetching after. Mayor Linda “The Lounger” Tyer did not attend. She chose to hide rather than face the music, confident, according to one of her council supporters, that when the measure moves to the full body, she will have the votes. Already, the tobacco juice from the secret back rooms has risen to overflowing. Who has been promised what?

Team Tyer dusted off an old game plan, one that’s worked plenty of times in Pittsfield. Ignore a problem until it reaches critical then rush forward at the last minute to bully the council to hurry its approval. Wisely, the finance committee didn’t bite. Connell has the quote of the night (Jan. 31): “I’m sick of being rushed through these things.” Morandi made the same point, with Mazzeo asking a questions about how the city botched it in court with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Let THE PLANET boil this down, Reader’s Digest version, so all may understand what’s at stake:

  • In 2008, the EPA raised water quality standards for cities.
  • Pittsfield went to court in 2010-11 appealing the standards, asking an exemption from the EPA.
  • The EPA denied the city’s request and ordered an upgrade to Pittsfield’s water treatment facility. That work would have to begin on Aug. 1.
  • The city has already sunk $8 million in studies and preliminary design work, with the city’s consultant on the project, Kleinfelder, pocketing most of that.
  • The final price of the upgrade  (not counting future overruns, work orders, price hikes, and interest on the loan) is now just under $80 million.
  • The city would borrow the money, despite indebtedness (new high school, school renovations, capital projects, and the like) that is a decent percentage of one billion dollars.
  • Citizens and taxpayers would pay for the upgrade by an enormous hike in water-and-sewer fees. Connell says those bills would quadruple.

Mazzeo said the city mishandled the appeal to the EPA. She says the EPA shot down the city’s argument not on the merits but because of shoddy paperwork. Apparently, the filing was so poor that it was laughed out of court. Naturally, neither Tyer nor Kerwood thought the finance committee meeting was important enough to have the city’s lawyers there to answer questions.

What’s the answer? There are two ways to fight this:

  1. Get back to the EPA with a properly prepared case. Keep in mind that President Trump has ordered the “Big Government” EPA to butt out. There’s every reason to believe a new appeal would be successful.
  2. If an upgrade is needed, according to Craig Gaetani, former director of worldwide technical marketing for Krofta Waters — the company that built the facility — it could be done at far less cost and at higher quality. Gaetani’s address to the finance committee demonstrated he has ideas worth exploring to produce an alternative to an $80 million waste of money?

One final question: Who’s making out here? Who’s getting what? What is “the price of doing business” in what has become a corrupt town?

This series will continue tomorrow.


“I taste a liquor never brewed / From tankards scooped in pearl”Emily Dickinson.



The Usual Disclaimer.


  1. dusty
    February 5, 2018 at 2:01 am #

    I know you are sick of hearing me say this. But this is the kind of thing that happens when politicians stack their cabinets with friends and relatives instead of qualified people who know what they are doing. It will bite the taxpayers in the ass every time.

    • Thomas More
      February 5, 2018 at 6:34 am #

      Your partly right dusty but on this blog if out of towners are hired half the contributors complain. If they hire locals the same people complain because their related to someone. You post in generalities painting every employee with the same brush.

      • dusty
        February 5, 2018 at 8:06 am #

        Not seeing where I made a blanket statement. I am sure there are some very fine workers working for the city. I know a few myself.

  2. The school committee
    February 5, 2018 at 4:12 am #

    Will Bill Cameron lead the city in getting control of a school budget that must acknowledge Pittsfields obligations to other departments,Senior Citizens arent retired on 80k a year.Behnk and Mccandless covering up lost money at Crosby school…..who will call behnke to ask what happened to this money

    • dusty
      February 5, 2018 at 5:03 am #

      What is the name of the union guy that keeps pushing for more and more money and bennies for school personnel?

      • mi
        February 5, 2018 at 8:29 am #


  3. Trisha Trasha
    February 5, 2018 at 4:43 am #

    How can you not explore or further discuss other ideas or options Dan. Can you believe two sitting City Councilors at-Large make affirmative votes without any direction first from the City Attorney? Remeber when they hired him and the salary issue was a problem? The Mayor said his expertise on a myriad of issue was the reason for a higher salary, then when Councilor Mazzeo said at a Meeting that he ( City Attorney)wasn’t available many times when she needed to speak to him? Marchetti said during a Council Meeting a few months ago he e-mailed him on a certain problem? What is that? Privately E-mails unbenounced to the Council, and that was during a live meeting. I think we ought to sick Gaetani on the Consultants, Mayor,and have in place at least the three Council Members investigate all avenues of rectifying this ridiculous idea of a 74 million plus upgrade to the facility. Other than a giardiasis scare in the 70’s the drinking water has had very few problems, sewage is different, so you would have to refer to the experts. Another question is, if and who knew this was going to cost so much, was this done before the School Project?

    Why wouldn’t City Officials examine the Finances of the School project knowing that a more important project and more expensive one was on the Horizon? Great piece here Dan, look forward to tommorrows also.

  4. Trisha Trasha
    February 5, 2018 at 4:46 am #

    Sorry for misspelling as I’m doing typing in the dark because of the high electric rates,lights are off.

  5. Bill Q
    February 5, 2018 at 4:58 am #

    Ever notice the Eagle, particularly Claence Fanto, never writes about this type of controversy, just fluff and kowtowing.

    • Edward R. Murrow
      February 5, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

      Hey, take it easy on Clarence–he’s having hard time on the hoity-toity Lenox beat.

  6. Halo
    February 5, 2018 at 5:25 am #

    Anyones street freeze up withthe slush left over from terrible plowing? Or just mine?

    • Thomas More
      February 5, 2018 at 6:24 am #

      just yours

    • Pat
      February 5, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

      My street is horrible. Many new potholes appeared overnight. Sidewalks are skating rinks and driveways need tons of salt and sand just to navigate in and out of them.

      • Thomas More
        February 6, 2018 at 4:28 am #

        yours and pats

  7. Edward R. Murrow
    February 5, 2018 at 6:03 am #

    What the hell is a “desparation” pass?

    Do the idiots at the Eagle mean “desperation”?

    Also, Foles did not catch a TD pass on a “flea-flicker” because he did not take the snap.

    Can’t spell, can’t get facts right, can’t doing any actual reporting, but they can spout the Leftist line every day.

    • Edward R. Murrow
      February 5, 2018 at 6:20 am #

      A flea-flicker is when the QB hands off and the ball is tossed back to him for the pass.

      • dusty
        February 5, 2018 at 7:01 am #

        my cat had fleas once

        Hey is Miss Moon doing her homework and representing the people like she said she would? Or is she going to prove right up front that she is a soldier of the machine. I hope she is not one of those lying councilors.

      • H
        February 5, 2018 at 9:19 am #

        Come on,nit picking. I remember when one of the writers gave an interview with the Diva and called her Dodd instead of Todd.

        • Edward R. Murrow
          February 5, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

          Problem is there are always lots of nits to pick–usually takes all of five seconds to spot an error in that thing.

          They often spell names two different ways between the headline and the first line.

          But pretty good for a high school newspaper . . .

  8. Sonny
    February 5, 2018 at 9:35 am #

    I hope that Miss Moon hasn’t become one of the spineless members of the mayors do what I say cabal. Looks like Persip is eager to join the club. Miss Moon may soon follow i hope not for the taxpayers sake, Marchetti with his financial background is
    steering this liberal boat over the waterfall of financial ruin. Krol ,White, Caccamo . and Rivers cheer Petey on and tell him to go faster. The only councilors who give a damn about the taxpayers
    of this town are Mazzeo,Connell, Simonelli, and Morandi. Future is very dim for Pittsfield, more and more good tax paying citizens will be forced to head south.

    • Spagirl
      February 5, 2018 at 10:47 am #

      Exactly Sonny

    • Pat
      February 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm #

      Mazzeo destroyed the Super Walmart project. She will never get my vote.

      • lakeside
        February 5, 2018 at 7:57 pm #

        if Mazzeo was responsible for Walmart’s demise then she will get my vote ,,,

      • Harrison
        February 6, 2018 at 8:52 am #

        Oh please. Walmart couldn’t care less what Mazzeo thinks. This was a business move.

  9. danvalenti
    February 5, 2018 at 9:53 am #

    When the full council votes on the administration’s borrowing request, will it require a simple majority (six votes) or a supermajority (eight votes)? Also, when will this come up for a vote?
    Answers will be appreciated.

    • mi
      February 6, 2018 at 6:42 pm #

      Six Sir….MoonRivers will be key votes,but by that time fear will spread throughout the , unless they bring in Andy Williams.

  10. mi
    February 5, 2018 at 10:13 am #

    hey,dusty you think some people on here have a superiority complex? Must be Trump supporters?

  11. Shelly Liver
    February 5, 2018 at 10:15 am #

    Who the hell is this Chartock telling us how to behave? Has anyone heard this clowns ridiculous rants, what is he a Doctor of?

    • Madame Du Barry
      February 5, 2018 at 10:40 am #

      He’s the Berkshire Eagles version of Royalty.

    • Edward R. Murrow
      February 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm #

      Exactly. Speaking of superiority complexes . . . along with all his buddies on the Loony Left.

    • Pat
      February 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm #

      I can’t stand Chartock. He is the biggest cheerleader and promoter of the radical left.

  12. Bill Q
    February 5, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    Terrorable O C waited three days of snow flood ice slush and now with the sun being out might catch a break. When TES was Mayor the world caved in on himmon icy conditions,no salt.Last I heard the City is already over budget,last year we didn’t get any snow and it was a million dollars over. ????

    • Bill Q
      February 5, 2018 at 11:18 am #

      Pulleeeeeassssse!!! Gaetani has been telling us for years to get rid of – Turocy- and pool secretary, now consultants who are othing more than paid spokesman for the Mayors agenda,he City Council has no lawyer or DPW Commissioner or anyone else, including Percept, to tell us what to do from here. The Planet has been telling us for years the fix was in on the Schools. We don’t need a Mayor anymore, or payed School Committee Members who are fully vested with taxpayer income already. Yawn makes 50g a year pension and a stipend, which way do you think she’s going to vote concerning schools.Wake up Pittsfield.

    • lakeside
      February 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm #

      lets talk about the broken plowing system and wasted money , why is so much man power being expended to plow all the paths at the common? , silver lake walkway ? every park in the city even the one’s not used in the winter ???, the public parks not being used are still plowed and sanded ??? the foot bridge off east street is shoveled and plowed ??? the streets are plowed even when it does not snow,? is that how the blades are sharpened ?? lol can we spell SNOW JOB at the taxpayers expense !!!!!!!!!!!

      • Trumped Up
        February 6, 2018 at 6:45 pm #

        I think you’re on to something.

  13. Bill Q
    February 5, 2018 at 11:27 am #

    Imagine Marxhetti trying to shut off Gaetani because he was a little sidetracked at best. Has anyone ever really listened to this man!? He is unorthodox in His approach, but the Man is a genious when it comes to this predicament we are currently in. I say, lets unleash this Bulldog, millionaire,Co-inventor and builder of the current Plant, with a History of great success, rather than turn it into some turn key loaded down with chemicals and inhibitors, not unlike what G E has done to the a Housitonic. Gaetani, following the lead of the great Valenti who really does care about Pittsfield citizens, and not who’s palm is nobbeing greased, the mans is worth about 70 million and doubt he needs any new business.

    • dusty
      February 5, 2018 at 1:31 pm #

      You would certainly think Marchetti would know loans and interest and how much is too much for a city to be able to handle. But apparently he believes the city should just keep borrowing and borrowing. Does his bank handle any of the loans? Could he get up at one of the council meetings and with Kerwood explain the long term financial state of the city? Could he? Would he? And if not why not?

    • Ed Check
      February 6, 2018 at 9:54 am #

      Unfortunately, the G-man has poisoned his own well. No one in the city wants to deal with him. His PCTV show only makes him look foolish & bitter. He should cut it to a 30 minute show and do some better planning / prep. I tried watching it, and could only take it for about 10 minutes. The same could be said for Dan Valenti (and I like him). People want to do these shows by winging it…and it shows, too much filler, and wasted stuff they think is funny. Plan it or can it.

      However, why is no one contacting other Krofta licensed companies. A quick check of the internet shows who they are.

      If they have some options for waste water treatment, have them come in. I also agree with others, resubmit paperwork and challenge EPA ruling. The Trump administration has eased EPA stronghold on businesses (and municipalities). Let’s take advantage of it.

      • Trinity
        February 6, 2018 at 3:44 pm #

        TV show is not so important.
        To save Millions $$ on Water and Sewer upgrade is.
        So, let’s listen to G-man, while it’s free.

        • Ed Check
          February 6, 2018 at 8:48 pm #

          Please reread my entire post, and focus on paragraph 2 and 3. Research any Krofta technology for sewage treatment minus the G-man distraction.

          He is irrelevant, the technology is not.

  14. Jonathan Melle
    February 5, 2018 at 11:51 am #

    What is the true cost to cleanup all of Pittsfield’s pollution sites?

    I believe that Pittsfield is a Superfund site!

  15. Bill Q
    February 5, 2018 at 11:54 am #

    Do you really think the Citizens of this City believe the pay me now or later diatribe a Councilor put forward the other night? .this Councilor will be mince meat when Gaetani gets through with him, not to mention the Dr. Phil lookalike consultant, that’s if the Council is foolish enough not to include him in on anything gong forward? Who would you let put the fuel into a Rocket Ship, a counter person,or an experienced professional who actually built, marketed, designed and invented the damn thing?

    • Edward R. Murrow
      February 5, 2018 at 1:45 pm #

      Anyone else notice that Brady looked under the weather last night?

      Seemed to be sweating for no reason, hanging his head on the sidelines for no reason every time we saw him. He’s usually going up and down the sideline yelling at people.

      He’ll never admit it, but I think he had the flu or something.

      I understand he broke the SB record for passing yards, but he made some very uncharacteristic throws last night.

      Maybe he didn’t have the legs (more than normally) to run down that catch?

      • NIB
        February 5, 2018 at 2:07 pm #

        That wasn’t sweat. It was tears from crybaby Brady.

        • May Hemm
          February 5, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

          Pats should have lost at three super bowls they ran outta luck.

          • chuck garivaltis
            February 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm #


            Now you got it.

        • Bowlee and Lebo
          February 5, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

          Tom Brady, the greatest QB and winner of all time? That tom Brady? Of the greatest nfl dynasty of all time? that team? Go Patriots!!!!

  16. May Hemm
    February 5, 2018 at 2:46 pm #

    Where was Butler yesterday. Wtf, no not Donald Butler, the corner that won a Super Bowl for them against Seattle. The sidewalks around City Hall steps were awful today. What was the Veterans Director co img out of the !aylr’s Office today about, she doesn’t have anything more important to talk to.

  17. Babylon Berlin
    February 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

    The Finance meeting was fantastic, the peoples allegiance should go to Maz, Connell and Morandi, it was nice to see they voted for sanity. I think they (the City )needs to listen to the water person that built the plant also, he seems to know his profession, very sharp. Didn’t care for Persnips comments, sounded a little juvenile or like a lawyer leading a witness…Charter Objection! Unless Moon shows something different I doubt she’ll be on board against this outrageous proposal.

  18. Trisha Trasha
    February 5, 2018 at 5:35 pm #

    Of I had a city job I would take half the pay just to get the health insurance that is offered.

  19. 12 Gauge
    February 5, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

    Mr. Chartock solicits gifts for charity auctions then keeps them for his own use.

  20. Shelly Liver
    February 5, 2018 at 8:41 pm #

    I asssume he has all the perks? Health ins. Free car, trips, around,stock options? What a gig.

  21. dusty
    February 6, 2018 at 12:46 am #

    That snow slush stuff was tough to plow and treat. I think the road crews did a pretty good job considering. Is there still a ban from parking on the roads during storms because i see lots of cars out there that had to be plowed around.

    • Cosbies
      February 6, 2018 at 5:31 am #

      The roads are of a new texture,ruff rocky, and icy,Tyered roads. Check out the sidewalks around City Hall u acceptable,.

  22. Rocky Creed
    February 6, 2018 at 3:33 am #

    I guess Gisele was right when she once said my husband can’t throw the ball and catch it too.

  23. Rocky Creed
    February 6, 2018 at 3:39 am #

    Brady did miss some throws but also dropped in some tougher long passes on the money so I think he was fine. Their defense just couldn’t get off the field on 3rd and 4th downs.

  24. dusty
    February 6, 2018 at 4:46 am #

    I am a Patriot fan. But Philadelphia played one hell of a game and earned the win.

    • Spagirl
      February 6, 2018 at 5:01 am #

      They sure did. Philadelphia front office is going to have a tough decision for quarterback next season. Foles stepped in and stepped up, while Wentz was out. Thats raising the bar alright. Great performance.

  25. The school committee
    February 6, 2018 at 5:06 am #

    Keep it simple .Decision makers in Taxfield Ma.make over 50k even in retirement.Those that have been blessed with fantastic retirement must scrutinize every dollar spent in the schools.No raises for teachers,Consolidation needs to start this year.Ask yourself how Pittsfield homeowners spend 150 mi lrehabing PHS….Schools must cut a net 4 million this year to dtart the consolidation.Budgets are a mindset.33%of teachers live out of Pittsfield…..ask Behnke where the Crosby missing cash went,word is they know

  26. The school committee
    February 6, 2018 at 5:18 am #

    Why should taxpayers allow crosby school coordinator to not work 8am to 4pm all summer.Shows up for 15 mins the leaves for the day and has another job…..behnke knows hes a no show all summer the tax payers pay him 1500 a week

    • Spagirl
      February 6, 2018 at 7:05 am #

      I hear you loud and clear, how does this get addressed in what proper channel? I hear you banging the drum for perhaps a year at least.

  27. h
    February 6, 2018 at 7:39 am #

    The riddler spa, he/she is now known as the riddler.

  28. H
    February 6, 2018 at 9:57 am #

    I know a couple parents at Crosby, they love it.

  29. Madame Du Barry
    February 6, 2018 at 10:32 am #

    One of my scripts went up 280 percent because of the hurricane?

  30. Trisha Trasha
    February 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    Because the city does not want to layoff, especially in the school department,the only way to do any cutting to save is the Health Insurance, we have to sacrifice something, it’s time. Taxpayers have been patient. And plow the roads right, and potholes need addressing, go to Lenox Ave and fix the avalanche in the road at the 300 block.

  31. Shakes His Head
    February 6, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

    Implementing Krofta licensed technology is one thing, but the EPA has not changed adopted clean water act effluent levels, nor will they anytime soon.

    I encourage the city to seek all creative solutions to meet environmental standards.

    • Babylon Berlin
      February 6, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

      Agree with Shakes let Gaetani advise us going forward.

      • Shakes His Head
        February 6, 2018 at 4:46 pm #

        I didn’t say anything about having that cuckoo bird getting involved.

        • Dustin
          February 6, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

          Completed pointless comment

    • Dustin
      February 6, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

      Pointless comment

      • Trumped Up
        February 6, 2018 at 6:46 pm #


  32. Trinity
    February 6, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    Gaetani knows Water&Sewer stuff inside–out.
    He knows all technical details, chemical composition and
    Fed EPA requirements better than all City Councilors, City Consultants and Mr. Torocy combined.
    He indeed was a co-inventor and builder of Pittsfield Water station in 1980s. He still works as Worldwide water&sewer
    consultant/supervisor all over USA, China and South America.
    Nobody else knows this stuff better than him. Polite or not is irrelevant considering $74Mills+$75Mills coming next.
    We should listen to him–it’s free (for now)

    • Ed Check
      February 6, 2018 at 8:55 pm #

      I have found no evidence of a company or corporate entity. Mr. Gaetani, (or should I say, Babylon Berlin, Trinity, or whatever username you are now using to attempt to populate this blog AGAIN.

      Please provide your company name and any recent projects you have sold or built in the last 5-10 years.

  33. Gigi
    February 6, 2018 at 3:42 pm #

    The secret to the Eagles’ success!

    • Bowlee and Lebo
      February 6, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

      But God is a patriots fan, that’s a known fact. & josh mcdaniels turned down colts head coaching job to stay with NE. BBs successor. the dynasty continues!!!

  34. Madame Du Barry
    February 6, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    I’m surprised Fanto hasn’t chimed into,. The Rockwell Sale

  35. Cosbies
    February 6, 2018 at 5:17 pm #

    Shakes should go on the Gaetani News Hour, better bring a diaper though.

    • Bowlee and Lebo
      February 6, 2018 at 7:21 pm #

      I wanna see mr.gae get dan Valenti back on air on his show…what ta team that would be

  36. H
    February 6, 2018 at 6:01 pm #

    Check out ..The Detour ….tonight, T V’s new best show Channel 15 or 104 T B S is the station… The Show is a riot.

  37. H
    February 6, 2018 at 6:01 pm #

    It’s on at ten thirty.

  38. 12 Gauge
    February 6, 2018 at 7:51 pm #

    If we canceled agreement to clean water from other towns and considered population decline we could improve our numbers immediately. How much of the N, P and Al in our effluent comes from other towns that use our sewer system? How many other towns use our system? Wherever money we get from them won t help with the 74 million ripoff from Snidely Wiplash.

  39. The school committee
    February 6, 2018 at 8:32 pm #

    Make crosby school cordinator work his whole week,behnke knows him so he double dips for 1500 big ones and never shows except to stock candy and water in his personal school store….Crosby needs his full attention……hes a no show and should be fired.Where does all the cash at Crosby go….behnke knows….swept it under the rug…..

  40. The school committee
    February 6, 2018 at 8:35 pm #

    Community co ordinator at Crosby needs a spanking,audit his books

  41. CosbiesLadies
    February 7, 2018 at 11:50 am #

    This whole water and sewer business boils (pun) down to two major players,Tyer and the former builder Gaetani. Gaetani seemed to have made that clear at the Finance Committee, and thankfully the Committee rejected 3-2 Dan spells out the wrong doing as far as pushing this through without any oversight,and Councilors and the former Builder, who was the only citizen to speak, continues to keep these politicians on their heels. Councilor Connell,Mazzeo, Morandi, havereally stepped up their game and this C C would be wise to take advice from here on out, wherever they can get it as far as the project going forward. The Consultants are in it for one thing, a few our Councilors and the expert, make a formidable team, and thank all going forward…

  42. H
    February 17, 2018 at 6:49 pm #

    Mr. Gaetani’s resume is the builder of the water Plant, which should be the first responder to the taxpayers problems with an inflated and unnecessary 160 million dollar number, which the builder has said is unnecessary and has conveyed to the public the ineptitude of the current players,with their multi-million dollar consultant advice. I agree, fire all of these people, including Turocy? Why is there three consultants, and why do they want to rebuild the a plants? In particular, the drinking water plants, Ashley-Cleveland need absolutely nothing, they already meet standards.The water-sewage needs very little, the prices are absurd to begin with, and are not needed.