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FROM THE PLANET: WISHING YOU ALL A HAPPY, JOYOUS EASTER … NEXT WEEK: MORE ON MONTEROSSO SAGA … PLANET CALLED IT ON SABOURIN (THE FIX WAS IN) … MAYOR SENDS BUS BORROWING BACK TO COUNCIL (COULD SOMEONE HAVE CAVED?) … plus … BIANCHI TO GIVE HIMSELF A HUGE PAY RAISE … TULLY STATEMENT ON BUS VOTE

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, EASTER WEEKEND, APRIL 18-20, 2014) — In honor of Good Friday, there will be no “regular” edition of THE PLANET. Instead, we will present a brief look ahead to next week.

May we take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a Happy Easter.

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— Be sure to check out THE PLANET next week. We shall have updates on the situation of William Monterosso at Berkshire Works. THE PLANET has found out more, despite the mayor’s frantic efforts to put a seal on this story. Do you remember when you forgot to refrigerate the fish heads, and they were left out for seven days? That’s what this one smells like.

— We will also be telling you, as THE PLANET predicted weeks ago, that Bianchi shall put Julie Berkowitz Sabourin forward as his chief lackey, a.k.a., “director of administrative services.” The city council votes on her nomination on Tuesday. Sabourin was Bianchi’s chief mandarin in The Scopes Monkey Trial, which evidence suggests was orchestrated by Bianchi to punish school committee member Terry Kinnas. There was no honest search for a position that became open when Mary McGinnis resigned for what sources claim were her misgivings about Bianchi’s attitude toward race, specifically blacks. As we told you, “The Fix Was and Still Is In.” Looks like BIanchi gave Berkowitz Sabourin this plum for her loyalty as a good bund member for her work on the Monkey Trial. Of course, we could be wring … wrang … wrung … er … wrong about that, too. On her resume, Sabourin says of herself: “Resourceful leader adept at implementing high-profile programs targeted for diverse constituencies.” Whatever the hell that means. THE PLANET takes a guess, being as how she will be working for Dan Bianchi, that “diverse constituencies” will not include “Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski,” The Little Guy, regular folks, or bedraggled taxpayers.

— Also on Tuesday, the mayor’s request to borrow nearly $3 million for a new bus fleet magically comes back a mere two weeks after the council defeated it! Expect some “funny business.” Gee, could city sol Kathy Degnan have “ruled” that Nick Caccamo can vote? Could that be why she refused to see THE PLANET when we dropped by Tuesday for a friendly visit? Or maybe one among the three who voted against the foolish borrowing plan “got their minds right” and will now say that voting to borrow more money for a needless purchase is for “The Children?”

— Oh yeah, and it looks like Bianchi will be getting a huge pay raise as part of the changes in the new charter. He’s making about $87,000 now. The new range will be a “minimum” of $92,213 to “exceeding” $119,887. Guess the mayor thinks he’s been the pig’s oink and needs more dough for all that part-time ribbon cutting and certificate awarding. Think of that the next time your boss in the Dreaded Private Sector tells you to “stop bitching” that your pay is frozen again for the fourth year in a row and to “Be grateful you got a job at all.” That’s not how it works on the Gravy Train.

As you can see, there will be a lot popping on THE PLANET. Stay with us. We’re the only game in town.

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THE PLANET would also like to include the following remarks from Lisa Tully, explaining to her Ward 1 constituents why she did not support the mayor’s borrowing request for new buses. THE PLANET inadvertently left it out of the story a couple of days ago, in which we published remarks from Tully, Kevin Morandi, and others on the bus vote.

Some conspiracy theorists cited that as proof that THE PLANET was somehow “up to something” with the omission. Yes, it’s not easy being us, sometimes, when every move we make in support of or against a position or matter of public policy is scrutinized, judged, dissected, micro-analyzed, briefed, and debriefed. Ah, but that is OK, too, because it means we have an audience.

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From: Tully, Lisa
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:17 PM
Subject: Pittsfield School Bus Fleet

Dear Ward 1 Constituents,

As you may have read in the Berkshire Eagle, at Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting, I voted against the City’s request to obtain a $2.7M bond to purchase an entire new school bus fleet.  Contrary to what the Eagle editorialized; I did not vote against the $2.7M bond it because I drive a 10 year old car.

I voted against the bond because the school department did not provide any research indicating that this is the most cost effective process to maintaining a school bus fleet.

Through my research, I found that the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, in their school bus replacement consideration document recommends a 12 to 15 year replacement life. (Download the document here http://www.nasdpts.org/Vehicles/Procurement.html )  Also the State of Indiana mandates a minimum 12 year life before replacement; and South Carolina adopted a 15 year, 250,000 mile cycle.

I took the individual bus figures from their bid and put together a very simple replacement plan based on mileage, (attached).  I know that I am not an expert, but a yearly replacement plan of a certain number of buses seems feasible to me over the next 5 years.  The school department could not provide any documentation as to why this approach is not cost effective.

I am very concerned that a new bond is not the best approach for the following reasons:
1) The school department did not budget for yearly bus replacements as was promised in 2006 when the City bought the existing fleet, for which we still owe $1.5M until 2020.
2) To the best of my knowledge, there is no mechanism to require the school department to budget for this new bond repayment, and it could fall on the City’s budget to repay.
3) I feel we should use the residual life of the current fleet for the next 5 years, replacing the buses in the worst condition first.

I would be happy to hear your thoughts and concerns so please feel free to respond to this email.

Thank You

Lisa

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With all of that, Happy Easter, everybody.

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“There is no moon above when love is far away, too, till it comes true that you love me as I love you.” — “How High the Moon,” Ella Fiztgerald, Les Paul & Mary Ford, and other artists.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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amandaWell
amandaWell
8 years ago

To be quite frank, Councilor Tully makes sense and don’t think she will change her vote. So, with that being said, the only way, the only city in Beserkshires will keep have there own fleet is for Councilor Caccamo to be included, what a mess!

Nota
Nota
8 years ago

Someone told me Lew Madden on the consider it show said Caccamo shouldn’t have been seated during the debate?

DowagerHat
DowagerHat
Reply to  Nota
8 years ago

Quote from the GREEK GOD “Palookaville”.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  DowagerHat
8 years ago

Isn’t he the guy who demanded that City Council should issue an edict demanding that Ruberto sign up with Bloomberg’s pet project. (talk about palookas.)

outfox
outfox
8 years ago

A pay raise for doing what?? Oy vey.

Rafael
Rafael
8 years ago

So the part time mayor gives himself a huge pay raise. Less work = more money in Pittsfield gov’t.
A recall vote would be in order for this disaster of a mayor, but of course it would never get the support needed. Too many uninformed voters around here.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  Rafael
8 years ago

Isn’t it the task for those pushing a political initiative to ‘inform’ the voters?

Wilson
Wilson
Reply to  Rafael
8 years ago

The Pittsfield voters blindly approved the charter, this city gets what it deserves

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
8 years ago

Pittsfield has a mayor?

dusty
dusty
8 years ago

Can this job be filled by appointment without consideration of whether there might be a more qualified individual?

Bianchi used to be at odds with former loser mayor Gerry Doyle. Now it looks like he may have become him.

DowagerHat
DowagerHat
Reply to  dusty
8 years ago

Laissez-faire leadership without a barstool.

Gene
Gene
8 years ago

The city has turned into a lawless frontier town, like an old TV western. Run by thugs and goons. This stuff is unbelieveable. Keep the heat on em, DV.

Johnny2Shoes
Johnny2Shoes
8 years ago

I think the raise is justified. Look at all the ribbon cutting ceremonies he attends. Otherwise he may hire a ribbon cutting asst. which may cost more than the raise.

Scott
Scott
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
8 years ago

Good one two shoes. Happy Easter to all I hope everyone can at lest for one day enjoy family/friends and good food without worrying or stressing.

Nota
Nota
8 years ago

We will be eating eggs for Easter, thanx mayor!

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
8 years ago

Pittsfield city government is getting like the Easter Egg hunts they use to have at Clap Park in the 50’s, the grown ups and big kids would muscle in on the youngsters and elbow them out of the way to collect all the eggs. Billy Monterosso is still collecting over 90 K for not working at Berkshire Works and the Mayor is looking to increase his salary for nearly not working. Looks like the progressives nailed it again, they won’t rest till everyone that wants a jobs has one, but will pay everyone who doesn’t want one.

ShirleyKnutz
ShirleyKnutz
Reply to  Ron Kitterman
8 years ago

Ron you got it wrong, liberals do not want people to have jibs because then the people see their hard earned money going to big government and not getting anything in return. The democrats want their voting block to be on the take!!

Johnny2Shoes
Johnny2Shoes
Reply to  Ron Kitterman
8 years ago

The city of Pittsfield is becoming a WORK FREE ZONE with the mayor taking the lead ! I thought we had only drug free zones?

billy
billy
8 years ago

Pay raise? He should be ashamed of himself.he hasn’t earned what he is making now, Their are no good paying jobs I. The city and he feels nothing about making elderly and families working 3 jobs pay his grossly bloated salary.i am against it .He is overpaid now

pothole
pothole
8 years ago

“exceeding $119,887.00” now that wording is extremely unsettling. I hope the council, the entire coin cil unites against this outrageous and bold request to line the mayors pockets while so many others are struggling. This mayor needs to lead. His lack of leadership is glaringly obvious and the city is suffering because of it. He should absolutely be denied this request.

Wilson
Wilson
Reply to  pothole
8 years ago

Once the school superintendent’s salary became huge it was inevitable that others’ would follow. It might seem at first that government employees would want to undercut each other to protect their share of a limited budget, but it actually ends up as a mutual admiration society where each declares that the other is “underpaid” since they all view the taxpayer as an unlimited source of funding. It’s the strategy of the parasite: take as much as you can before the host collapses.

Bill Sturgeon
Bill Sturgeon
8 years ago

Happy Easter, Blessed Sabbath!

dusy
dusy
8 years ago

It would be awesome if someone working for road maintenance could fill just a few of the deepest pot holes on Dalton ave heading west. It is heavily traveled and their are many holes at least 4 inches deep. Cars are weaving back and forth between lanes and this is not entirely safe practice.

Yah, go ahead and finish the ham first.

Evian
Evian
8 years ago

How about Lincoln Street? Elizabeth Avenue going north just short of Howard Street. Maplewood just before St. Joe. Linden Street near Polish Hall? All look like moon surface.

Nota
Nota
8 years ago

What former mayor pulls down a no show salary from the state, I don’t think it’s the last mayor. Someone was telling me double dip isn’t the only mayor holding two jobs at once.

Dave
Dave
8 years ago

From what I hear bus funding is coming back because Caccamo can vote.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  Dave
8 years ago

In that case, I suggest a flood of phone calls/complaints to the State Monday Morning. Move fast enough and perhaps a vote can be disqualified before contracts are inked?

levitan
levitan
Reply to  danvalenti
8 years ago

Scratch that then. Monday AM flood Caccamo with a message from the SEC.

levitan
levitan
8 years ago

Council Agenda http://www.cityofpittsfield.org/government/city_council/docs/cc_packet_4_22_14.pdf

Sabourin looks like a powerhouse. Age 25 (?) and already managed to add Google Docs and gmail to her portfolio of professional skills.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  danvalenti
8 years ago

Well, being ‘primary author’ of a Fed grant is one heck of a feather. Almost sounds like she did more than fill out a form and write a proposal to spend money.