(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY MARCH 5, 2018) — March Madness in Pittsfield involves the only issue that matters: the budget.

In this annual folly, you can be sure — mathematically certain — of the following:

1. Spending will increase, despite a shrinking tax base.

2. Taxexs will rise, despite a general lack of ability to pay and hardly any discretionary money among the city’s middle- to low- strata employed citizenry.

3. The corrupt administration of the Pittsfield School Department will dust off the fear scenarios, not fooling ordinary citizens but using political terror to blackmail spineless politicians into multi-million hikes the city cannot afford, especially in light of dismal quality in educational services.

You may have noticed that PSD Supt. Jason “JIV” McCandless fired the first salvo at the feckless school committee, mayor, and city council, announcing that he needs $1 million to rehire the “60” paraprofessional “laid off” last year. THE PLANET will decipher, since The Boring Broadsheet took JIV’s press release, ran it verbatim, and failed to put to him the tough questions.

The least investigative effort would reveal the following. PLANET sources with knowledge of city finances and the inner workings at Mercer, PSD HQ, helped us piece together JIV’s latest scheme:

a.) Last year,  JIV threatened “100 layoffs” if his budget needs weren’t met. Primarily due to this writer’s expose, JIV and his hatchet woman, school finance director Kristen Behneke, adjusted the “real” number, which itself later proved fake, to 76.

b.) A few days ago JIV said laying off 60 from the teaching staff was a mistake. The news there was his use of a new number, 60.

c.) He left out the convenient fact that almost all of those jobs were quietly brought back during the year, paid through the department’s slush fund.

d.) Thus, when JIV speaks of the FY’19 budget that he needs  a cool million to rehire the “60” let go, he’s pulling a fast one. Fifty of them are already employed, which magically turns the request for “60” new hires into 110.

e.) Bottom line: JIV wants to add 110 new positions, most paraprofessionals for kindergarten and the ill-defined role of “therapeutics” to a department that already employs more than 1,220 for about 5,000 students.

This type of crockery — or is it crookery? — can only happen in a city government with inadequate accountability. No one rides sufficient herd over the financial doings in the PSD, a department that eats up more than 70 cents of every dollar in the budget.

The time has come for our Right Honorable Goods Friends on the Pittsfield City Council to put an end to the annual rape of taxpayers by the PSD. They did it on the sewer upgrade. It’s time to do it on this issue. If the mayor sends a budget to the council calling for one more penny for JIV’s failure, it needs to throw the budget back in her face, telling her that anything less than a 10% cut will not be approved.


“Armored love isn’t the best kind. For that, shed the clothes” — Sir Toberius Fruitjuice.



The Usual Disclaimer.


  1. Pat
    March 4, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

    Quality of life continues to go down in this area while taxes keep going up. The Pittsfield City Council need to tell JIV and the Mayor that money needs to go toward our deteriorating roadways, street lights that either don’t work or give off so little light that it’s ridiculous, and sidewalks too in so many areas of the city are in dangerous condition. The school department can’t be allowed to use up such a large portion of money that there is nothing left over for other very urgent needs.

  2. Gigi
    March 4, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

    Great column Dan! Rape indeed! What ever happened to the outside firm that was going to study school populations vs. buildings? Close 1-2 elementary schools! This current school year new positions were added, equipment purchased, politically correct courses invented and added…..all under the guise of making “painful cuts.” The school administration is playing “hide the wienie,” so city council and mayor – please wake up and stop the bleeding! Make the 10% cut!

  3. Bowlee and Lebo
    March 4, 2018 at 9:18 pm #

    Once again. The planet and the planet alone presents the REAL story. DV is the best writer and journalist in NE.

  4. The school committee
    March 5, 2018 at 4:58 am #

    McCandless knows his budget is set high so the fake cuts give him what he wants.How can it not be time for Marchetti,and Kroll to responsibly do a spending budget that for once focuses solely on the schools budget.The student will be fine as change is good.
    Time that politicians mature financially and thank taxpayers for being patient in waiting for one very conservative look this year.
    Marchetti has promised that he expects McCandless to also run a budget and not just advocate more spending.People want to scream that this budget needs consolidation and cutting.There were only 5 home closed last week in Pittsfield and they were sold for less than Marchetti accesses them for

  5. V P of Lurning
    March 5, 2018 at 5:53 am #

    Cookie is on the Propaganda Hour drinking out of a Jar.

    • 12 Gauge
      March 5, 2018 at 11:38 am #

      Macaroon Moon.

      • H
        March 5, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

        Cookie Jar.

  6. The school committee
    March 5, 2018 at 7:12 am #

    Its a buyers market in the over 200k market,the 300k market is almost mon rxistant ,selling at 400k just wont happen as sellers are losing money because of the expense of Scool staffing.Ther are only 1500 kids in High school and we provide 1/2 million square feet to educate them..Closing east street as a school will save millions.Just one school.Closing Crosby will save millions.Consolidate your talented staffs.Mccandlees needs to be fired for continuing down the same old path year after year….insane.

    • Spagirl
      March 5, 2018 at 8:51 am #

      Consolidation is necessary.
      McCandless needs to be held accountable.
      I also agree. Teachers need to pay more of a percentage for health insurance. The entire Country is dealing with this in their personal lives.

      • Hope Forbetter
        March 5, 2018 at 9:06 am #

        It is so disgusting when school personnel use children as a weapon to feather their own nests. Disgusting and immoral and I hope there are enough councilors with integrity and backbone to rein in this pork fest.


  7. Harrison
    March 5, 2018 at 7:51 am #

    Fair pay for teachers is fine. We need to keep and recruit quality teachers, but the benefits package for these teachers is unrealistic and inconsistent with non-municipal workers. It is simple not sustainable. There needs to be push back on unions. Look what Gina Raimondo has done in Rhode Island, and she is a democrat.

  8. V P of Lurning
    March 5, 2018 at 9:48 am #

    The biggest perk is that two months off.

    • Spider
      March 5, 2018 at 9:59 am #

      Agree! And their 85/15 insurance is disgraceful. No private sector company even comes close.

  9. Spider
    March 5, 2018 at 9:52 am #

    South County just lowered their school budget, but Pittsfield can’t? I would like to know the comparisons with their residents salaries to our residents. I have the feeling theirs is higher. Also, how many retired/elderly do they have compared to Pittsfield. Again, I believe we beat them.

    If the answers show that they are in better shape financially, our CC and SC have much to explain.

    • Dotdotdash
      March 6, 2018 at 7:51 am #

      Yup! They won’t though

  10. AlaskanBushLo
    March 5, 2018 at 10:29 am #

    Don’t forget peeps, the school co tract isco I g raises loom on the Horizon.

  11. SojournerTruth
    March 5, 2018 at 10:46 am #

    There was conversation this morning between several people at a popular coffee shop about the utility if any of a citizens petition calling for the termination of McCandless, among other avenues of getting the message through his greedy mindset.

    • Dotdotdash
      March 6, 2018 at 7:07 am #


      • Dotdotdash
        March 6, 2018 at 7:08 am #

        For the record I have no intention nor do I condone violence. A simple spa king would do

  12. CosbiesLadies
    March 5, 2018 at 10:48 am #

    Now is the time to get behind the G Man as he’s preparing to put the School Committee and School Department in their place.There is no one who is more capable than him to deal with these the rate increases, and constant increases by JIV in budget.Gaetani is the Master of making people accountable. I suggest they start getting a box of diapers in the School Department so they don’t mess up the floor.

    We can all have confidence they he will be successful just as he was in killing the sewer project and saving rate and taxpayer’s 74 million dollars, be prepared School Committee, Gaetani is coming, and that you can count on.

    • Still Wondering
      March 5, 2018 at 1:36 pm #

      Just lay off the G man stuff. He’s toast.

  13. Halo
    March 5, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    I believe Cos!

  14. Jonathan Melle
    March 5, 2018 at 11:42 am #

    Pittsfield politics = Tax hikes!

  15. Two Cents
    March 5, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

    And of course it’s everyone but “Lovely” Linda’s fault!

  16. Bill Q
    March 5, 2018 at 1:02 pm #

    Now, We see they did Peck’s,potholes again. Why is that stretch so important, that road was repaired and filled in at nausium. Wonder why Tony roads voted for Water Project ? With absolutely no vetted questions? Now, as the Planet states,we have Kufflink like shuffling in the School Department. Seventy cents on the dollar, typical greed for the powers that be.

    • dusty
      March 5, 2018 at 2:23 pm #

      Kufflinks is a bone in the skeleton of the special interest body. You can see other bones standing out as well. Some seem to glow with a phosphorous like light. These bones represent the trail of decay Pittsfield is morphing through.

  17. The school committee
    March 5, 2018 at 1:12 pm #

    Pittsfield provides a great education.We are 2nd to no one but the school s brick and mortar was built for 9000 students.Time to consolidate and if McCandless has not looked at consolidation he should be fired.Consolidation takes years to do and starting now.Im embarrassed for White Kroll and Caccamo who dont seem to know budgets.
    Critical thinking is required.Even the Catholic church consolidated because of population and need.When your slower than Catholics to change we got problem s

    • Still Wondering
      March 5, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

      Very good observation there SC.

    • 12 Gauge
      March 5, 2018 at 3:09 pm #

      SC, for once you are making sense.

    • Paul
      March 5, 2018 at 4:48 pm #

      School Committee, a great education? Now that is funny. .

  18. Mr. Fritz
    March 5, 2018 at 2:49 pm #

    Time for an audit of the school’s books.

    • dusty
      March 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

      Wouldn’t that be nice. Lotsa luck there though

      • Mr. Fritz
        March 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm #

        Yeah, you’re right Dusty – there’s probably multiple sets.

      • Trisha Trasha
        March 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm #

        The books are in capable hands, Free of cash.

  19. Babylon Berlin
    March 5, 2018 at 5:16 pm #

    What do you people need another Gaetani miracle, how many 100’s of millions more do you want him to save you?Rumor has it when he gets done with the drinking water project heist, he’ll sharpen his claws and deal with the overspending at JIV Corporation (P P S) Tyred Yawn Cut and Taylor made, Alas, saving taxpayers even more dough.

  20. Cos
    March 5, 2018 at 6:55 pm #

    Agree BB.Imagine someone of Gaetani’s caliber,phiysics, chemistry,constructor,pioneer in water, teacher, multi multi millionaire, and now a hero to the
    Ittle guy now savings onward two hundred million.

    Remember also, this is a decorated Viet Nam Veteran, who worked under the most capable in the Military,which included future General Colin Powell, and water plant and filtration Dr. Milo’s Krofta. Nuff said!

    • Gary Wood
      March 6, 2018 at 2:13 pm #

      I knew of a man who was shot out of a cannon. He was the same caliber as Gaetani.

  21. Dave
    March 5, 2018 at 8:54 pm #

    I applaud Mr. Gaetani’s efforts with making it known that just because the taxpayers are told something “has” to be done by the mayor doesn’t make it so. To think he can fix the problem with the PSD isn’t realistic. The only hope is that enough PSD employees have an epiphany and realize that the contracts they have negotiated have benefited the union members, but it has placed a burden on the majority of the families and students they claim to represent. We will give you indigenous people a day but don’t mess with our pay!

  22. The school committee
    March 6, 2018 at 3:36 am #

    They should audit the Crosby cash staff store run by the Community School Coordinator…..McCandless needs to call this guy today and ask him where the cash is?There is alot of cash and no accountability.
    Marchetti and Caccamo are 1 and 2 as the most lazy politicians in Pittsfields history…..they have no interest in how they creat pain and hardship on elderly bill payers… cant sell your house in Pittsfied.Taxes going up ,realestate going down…its the worst scenario a city can have….Tyer seemed more in touch when I voted for her and I thiught she was pretty smart ….shes overwhelmed by the finances

  23. The school committee
    March 6, 2018 at 3:46 am #

    In the end if you say yes to budgets and increases you are getting a grade of F….McCandless gets an F ,our council get an F……9000 to 5000 students with McCandless as the only department head that wont cooperate….all other departments consoldated years ago….Its always groundhog day in the Pittsfield schools….critical thinking is needed .McCandless is in charge of thinking and spending.We could have a different city if he just does his budget with compassion for people who wont retire on 13k a month

    • dusty
      March 6, 2018 at 4:51 am #

      Absolutely! It is the mismanagement of the school system that makes many people with middle income live like people with low income, and many people on fixed incomes live hand to mouth. It comes down to greed and those that enable the greed.

      This really effects the quality of life for many taxpayers and it is so needless. I would expect zero help from the mayor partly because I don’t think she knows what the meaning of the word budget is and also because I do not think she really cares beyond her own social circle.

      So I would plead with the city council to yank hard on the chain and not only curtail new school spending but to make serious cuts. It is unadulterated bullshit that it cannot be done. It can.

      • Dotdotdash
        March 6, 2018 at 7:04 am #

        You voted in a secretary because she had the right connections and private parts

    • mi
      March 6, 2018 at 5:32 am #

      Last time I looked Pittsfield ranked 283 in ma education distrcts.

      • 12 Gauge
        March 6, 2018 at 2:14 pm #

        That’s why Jake needs more money.

        • Dotdotdash
          March 6, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

          If money equals intelligence we have a genius for prez

  24. Thomas More
    March 6, 2018 at 4:41 am #

    Posting and complaining on this blog accomplishes nothing. Do you really think that the elected officials pay any attention to people who attach silly names to themselves and beef about everything. Name calling, Macaroon Moon, McCandleA$$, Trash Can, get you nowhere. If you want people to pay attention you have to get off your computers and go to meetings and voice your complaints. Here, you’re only talking to each other.

    • Dotdotdash
      March 6, 2018 at 7:03 am #

      Yeah that worked out well for the G man. Everyone listened

    • Hugh Janos
      March 6, 2018 at 7:13 am #

      Great point!

      • Steven Dean
        March 6, 2018 at 7:30 am #

        Matt i know its you

    • The school committee
      March 6, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

      It has never worked that way,you must remain anonymous

  25. Dotdotdash
    March 6, 2018 at 7:02 am #

    Forget names then

    McCandless you are a balding, useless piece of refuse. The paraprofessionals in Pittsfield are underpaid and sick. The teachers are overpaid and most suck unless it’s liberal political activism. Look at the meeting picture with congressman Neal. Last time I saw a face Yon and Taylor Jason was fighting the argonauts

    We need more admins like VP of “teaching and learning”. Sheran used to be a punk, now he’s a corporate shill. Bravo

    • Thomas More
      March 6, 2018 at 7:13 am #

      Brilliant! Well thought out and to the point. It’s constructive comments like this that will get their attention.

      • Dotdotdash
        March 6, 2018 at 7:55 am #

        If I wanted their actual attention I would send the, kneads and lube

    • The school committee
      March 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm #

      What is liberal activism

  26. Dotdotdash
    March 6, 2018 at 7:09 am #

    Pounded by liberal math ? #METOO

  27. Hugh Janos
    March 6, 2018 at 7:12 am #

    Is it me or is it Groundhog Day every day on this blog?

    • Steven Dean
      March 6, 2018 at 12:27 pm #

      We dont care what you think matt

  28. dusty
    March 6, 2018 at 7:41 am #

    Will there be school tomorrow or should I come back at 8 tomorrow morning and ask again?

    and will my garbage be plowed six houses down the street because I did not know the pickup was cancelled?

    • V P of Lurning
      March 6, 2018 at 9:09 am #

      Hey dusty,this is the Planet’s version of teaching and Lurning,anyway, I would suspect no skool on Thursday.

  29. Mr. Fritz
    March 6, 2018 at 10:40 am #

    Why is Obama’s ugly mug still hanging front & center in the PHS library?? He’s been out of office for over a year. It was the first thing I saw in the Beagle pic this morning. Even if it was student- produced art, it needs to be moved and replaced. The word “HOPE” is underneath his mug – I just “hope” he is prosecuted for heading up the most corrupt/unlawful administration in the history of our country.

    • Harrison
      March 6, 2018 at 11:30 am #

      And the flag only has 48 stars. Why aren’t you having a hissy fit over that too?

    • dusty
      March 6, 2018 at 11:31 am #

      Yah…they should hang a picture of Hannity there…he da man!

      • Mr. Fritz
        March 6, 2018 at 4:27 pm #

        We all know you’d prefer Hillary’s mug. Ain’t gonna happen! Trump saved us from the Clinton Crime Family!

    • The school committee
      March 6, 2018 at 12:21 pm #

      Fox news listener

      • 12 Gauge
        March 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

        Hoax and Chains.

  30. V P of Lurning
    March 6, 2018 at 12:11 pm #

    I used to have a nude picture of Lauta Ingraham in my locker,Trump made me take it down.

  31. The school committee
    March 6, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

    I watched Hannity again last night and felt what many feel every night…hes a moron.

    • Mr. Fritz
      March 6, 2018 at 4:22 pm #

      Oh, so you watch Hannity? Again? Hannity is exposing the truth – but then again, some of you can’t handle the truth!

  32. The school committee
    March 6, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

    Who thinks Trumps a good President?

    • Steven Dean
      March 6, 2018 at 12:27 pm #

      I do because he is.

  33. The school committee
    March 6, 2018 at 12:24 pm #

    Besides Pat and Planet

    • dusty
      March 6, 2018 at 1:25 pm #

      He is taking us all down the toilet. And I do mean all. For some reason people who like him seem to think they will not be destroyed along with the rest of us. Big surprise coming for them. Really big blind side for the unsuspecting followers of the messiah as they tumble off the cliff with the rest of us.

    • Dotdotdash
      March 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm #

      Is he a good president? We won’t know for years when the truth finally comes out. Like every president.

      If it was Hillary we’d be having no more bathroom arguments because in Communist USA, toilets use you

    • Mr. Fritz
      March 6, 2018 at 4:23 pm #

      Hey – I wanna be on that list! I’m a Trump supporter because I like winning. Go Trump! MAGA!

  34. U
    March 6, 2018 at 2:58 pm #

    If more politicians thought like Kapanski’s Gaetani,we wouldn’t have to worry about Trump and Tyred like attempts to Bankrupt Americans and actually try to ease the burden by thinking out of the box, and actually saying NO to the Special Interests, Lobbyists and good ol Boyz Network that is currently running and ruining our Cities and Towns and the good ol’ U S A.! Trump will never make it to the next term, the American Press won’t let him,he’s a Flake anyway. Where is the overseas money?? Why does the debt continually rise??? Wake up America!

    • Steven Dean
      March 7, 2018 at 7:02 am #

      you really have no clue

  35. Bill Q
    March 6, 2018 at 3:22 pm #

    Trump is a fake, Gaetani a hero. G-Man saved us millions and Trump saved us ZERO?

  36. V P of Lurning
    March 6, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    Gaetani will make mince meet of JIV and his band of Bullshiters.

  37. V P of Lurning
    March 6, 2018 at 4:14 pm #

    As the V P of m here on the Planet, expect some sort of announcement for the next couple daze concerning the winter storm anticipated. As your personal V P of Lurning, we should expect some sort of school closing, keep warm and toasty and pull up a chair and read the Planet, Berkshire County’s premier news and whether information senter.

    • Mr. Fritz
      March 6, 2018 at 4:29 pm #

      Another grad of Pittsfield’s failing schools.

  38. Dilly Dally
    March 6, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

    West Virginia teachers just got a huge wage increase. That bodes well for teachers here in Pittsfield. Think of the argument, we are now below wages for teachers in West Virginia, this should be easy pickings for Mr. Sherman and JIV ( The Poet) .

    • Dotdotdash
      March 6, 2018 at 8:20 pm #

      They also made thousands less than MA teachers. It’s a scam. We have the highest paid educators in the country

  39. U
    March 6, 2018 at 7:12 pm #

    To All Republicans: Kushner is still in the White House. Just imagine if Chelsea Clinton’s Husband had the same job and troubles in a hypothetical Clinton Administration? Republicans would line up taking turns at him, who’s kidding who? Republicans are in denial and I see a very big fall coming.

    The sooner we are through with this asshole Trump,we’ll start to look good, but don’t count on that one.

    • Steven Dean
      March 7, 2018 at 7:01 am #

      Please dont talk that way about YOUR President you fool