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CITY’s WATER WOES KEEP DRIP, DRIP, DRIPPING … EPA THREATENS ACTION … WILL COUNCIL’S ‘FANTASTIC FOUR’ STICK TO THEIR GUNS? THE HEAT IS ON

BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION, APRIL 13-18, 2018) — The recent vote of the Pittsfield City Council to defeat the Tyer Administration’s proposal to borrow nearly $80 million to pay for unfunded mandates ordered by the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the city’s waste water treatment facility off Holmes Road didn’t stop the water torture for the city’s bedraggled taxpayers. It only postponed it.

This week, the EPA sent another scare to Mayor Linda Tyer and council president Peter Marchetti. It came in the form of a long letter that can be boiled down to two points:

(a) We (the EPA) are aware of what your council did.

(b) If by the end of June you haven’t agreed to the upgrades we are demanding, you will be severely punished.

THE PLANET calls this “Your tax dollars hard at work.”

It’s ironic that the EPA should be demanding anything of anybody right now, given the charges of corruption that have been brought public by former Trump campaign aide and later EPA political appointee Kevin Chmielewski. He blew the whistle to House and Senate investigators on the EPA administration, particularly alleged wrongdoings by current administrator Scott Pruitt.

Chmielewski charges:

— Pruitt blew past an allotted $5,000 budget to redecorate his office by leasing works of art from the Smithsonian and building a $43,000 sound proof booth.

— Pruitt used EPA Director of Scheduling and Advance Millan Hupp as his personal real estate representative and spending considerable time and agency resources to find a home.

— Pruitt “100 percent” approved pay raises for favored staff even after the White House blocked the salary increases.

— Pruitt’s energy lobbyist landlord complained over speaker phone that he never paid him rent for the condo, and that Pruitt’s daughter was scraping the hardwood floors with her luggage.

— Pruitt attempted to sign a $100,000 per month lease for use of a private jet.

— Pruitt directed staff to find reasons for him to travel home to Oklahoma on taxpayers’ dime during long weekends.

— His chief-of-staff was told not to attend travel planning meetings after objecting to stays at expensive hotels and costly flights.

— Scheduling international trips based on places he’d like to visit as opposed to where work required him to go.

— Pruitt paid $30,000 for private security detail.

In short, the EPA has no moral right to be demanding anything of anybody at this time. Organizations and systems rot from the top down, as a generation of Pittsfield politics has proven. With EPA leadership allegedly so bankrupt, the proper response for the city of Pittsfield will be to call the EPA’s bluff. Should the agency attempt to go forward with fines, the city can appeal this through the roof, and win.

——— 000 ———

Here is the e-mail Mayor Tyer sent to councilors about the letter

——– Original message ——–
From: “Tyer, Linda”
Date:04/11/2018 3:25 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: City Council
Cc: “Richard M. Dohoney – Donovan & O’Connor, LLP (rdohoney@docatty.com)” , “Turocy, David” , “Kerwood, Matthew” , “McCulloch-Dews, Roberta”
Subject: Wastewater Treatment Plant

Good Afternoon Councilors:

Attached please find a letter that I and President Marchetti received yesterday afternoon from the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the city’s permit and administrative order for the upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant. I consider this an urgent matter and intend to submit an authorization for funding at the Tuesday, April 24 meeting. After you’ve had a chance to review the attached letter please feel free to contact either myself, Attorney Dohoney, or Commissioner Turocy with any questions you may have. In addition, President Marchetti was present at the session with Ms. Dunn, the EPA Region One Administrator, and her team.

Due to a long standing commitment I will not be in attendance at the April 24 meeting. However, the city’s administrative team, all of whom have been actively engaged in this process, will be present at your meeting to answer any questions you may have. Please do not construe my absence from your meeting to mean that I am not fully 100% committed to ensuring our compliance with the EPA permit and administrative order.

Sincerely,
Linda

Linda M. Tyer, Mayor
City of Pittsfield
70 Allen Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
(413)499-9321
ltyer@cityofpittsfield.org

——— 000 ———

The takeaways from the mayor’s letter are these:

  • She is determined to seek the funding again.
  • She will do so not in person but through department heads.
  • The request will take place at the council meeting on April 24.
  • All she needs to do is swing one vote from among Chris Connell, Melissa Mazzeo, Kevin Morandi, and Donna Todd Rivers.
  • Even as we speak, the full court press is on to win that vote.
  • City hall sources say that the mayor is confident that the seven councilors who voted to approve the funding will stick to their votes. “Those votes are in the bag,” says one source.
  • Sources say Rivers and to a lesser extent Morandi will be the target of “political pressure” to switch.
  • One switch to the “yes” side will give the mayor the 8-3 supermajority she needs to get the funding approved.
  • Our sources are predicting that the mayor will “get” that eighth vote.

THE PLANET has in previous recent columns discussed in great detail why a yes vote is the wrong vote here. We won’t rehash the arguments again. Interested readers can search the archives (located on THE PLANET home page).

The matter will come to a head on April 24, council chambers, beginning at 7 p.m. If you wish to have your say, be there. With the city’s desperate financial situation and horrendous debt position, this will be one important pow wow. Interested citizens NEED APPLY. Let your voice be heard.

Have a great weekend everybody. Comments are welcome on this issue and any other. THE WEEKEND EDITION has open lines.

————————————————————————————

“Nuts” — Gen. McAuliffe’s full message to the German demand for surrender at Bastogne, Battle of the Bulge, WWII.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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154 Responses to “CITY’s WATER WOES KEEP DRIP, DRIP, DRIPPING … EPA THREATENS ACTION … WILL COUNCIL’S ‘FANTASTIC FOUR’ STICK TO THEIR GUNS? THE HEAT IS ON”

  1. Pat
    April 15, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Linda Tyer will make “wiggle room” for the increase for the greedy school department. Read the article in the BB. She did some fancy foot work with the school bus money in order to increase those already over the top salaries of the favored ones.

  2. The school committee
    April 15, 2018 at 11:00 am #

    Steve Dean paints a picture of Trump thats fake Deanism and my proof are his post,refer to all of them.

    • Steven Dean
      April 15, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

      Your post again states no facts. Try harder

  3. The school committee
    April 15, 2018 at 11:02 am #

    Just plus the school departments budget by what is accepted and the 400k they have minused from bus replacement

  4. mi
    April 15, 2018 at 11:21 am #

    If any of the four C C’schanged their vote, not only would it be political suicide. It would put them In The same category as disgraced formers Mayors,this is the biggest expenditure ever. You’re Move Ms.Rivers, you’re Legacy is at stake.

    I would aske Mr. Gaetani for advice.

    • Spider
      April 15, 2018 at 3:34 pm #

      I said this before…..I believe DT Rivers will be persuaded to change her vote.

      But I would love to be wrong!

  5. The school committee
    April 15, 2018 at 12:09 pm #

    Curtis wants millions for computer testing and there is nothing but glitches in New York state and millions wasted there.The computer testing has mcas problems all there own.Curtis should be a software salemen for the co. that sells this stuff.The majority of students like paper and pencil.Parents should keep all kids home on MCAS day.Curtis spend alot of money on gimmicks…it really fun for geeks to have free money.

  6. Bill Q
    April 15, 2018 at 1:00 pm #

    Totally agree with the Gaetani path. The builder who had to deal with E P A and knows regulations. Gus, where are you?come on the News Hour and of course,bring diapers.

  7. u
    April 15, 2018 at 3:03 pm #

    Trump and Ryan shouldbe ashamed of themselves.

    • Steven Dean
      April 15, 2018 at 3:17 pm #

      For what? As usual you offer no facts

      • Shakes His Head
        April 15, 2018 at 11:31 pm #

        Steven Dean is a bully with no facts.

        • Steven Dean
          April 17, 2018 at 7:05 pm #

          Refuting your baseless lies does not make me a bully

  8. The school committee
    April 15, 2018 at 3:25 pm #

    For giving 1.5 trillion to the filthy rich

  9. Steven Dean
    April 15, 2018 at 4:15 pm #

    They did not. Back up your fake claim or go away

  10. Unwanted Carl
    April 15, 2018 at 8:40 pm #

    It has bee. Pouring deft since bush and son. Clinton was best.

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