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THE BB LETS GO TWO REPORTERS, CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS, AND AD SALESPERSONS AS ‘DOWNSIZING’ CONTINUES … plus … PLANET ASKS QUESTIONS INVOLVING WHAT MAY BE SOME TOXICITY INVOLVING CITY PERSONNEL … AS ALWAYS, THE BUCK STOPS WITH THE MAYOR, BUT HE’S NOT TALKING

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2014) — There’s so much “stuff” flying off the fan’s spinning blades and so little time in which to cover it that we must not only pick and choose what good stories to mention and what juicy ones to leave out, but THE PLANET must also consider taking on a few of them in minis. We don’t as a rule like the “USA Today” form of coverage, but THE PLANET flies by no book but our own. On THE PLANET, there are no rules, except as they come from us. Even at that, there are only guidelines.

STORY 1 — MORE LAYOFFS AT THE BORING BROADSHEET

We actually broke this yesterday, on John Krol’s Good Morning, Pittsfield. Don’t tell anyone, because you’re not supposed to know. The Newspaper Formerly Known As The Berkshire Eagle laid off two more reporters on Friday. Sources say early morning reporter Nathan Mayberg got the hook as did The BB‘s South County reporter, John Sakata.

THE PLANET is told that “the development follows naturally from the shutdown of the pathetically named “Thunderdome” project and the news swirling around that, which you and others have reported” (see THE PLANET, April 7 edition, in “Archives,” yellow toolbar on our home page, under “Blog” on the black toolbar).

Oh yeah, those weren’t the only cuts that happened on Friday. Several customer service and ad sales persons lost their jobs as well. More layoffs are rumored to be on the way.

STORY 2 — PLANET ASKS TWO QUESTIONS, BOTH INVOLVING CITY PERSONNEL

Let’s now ask a couple of pertinent questions involving erstwhile and present city personnel. The first point to make is how important personnel choices are to a city. Your team goes only as your talent, or lack thereof, goes. Another way of saying this is, “Quality in, quality out. Garbage in, garbage out.” These choices also the decision making ability of an executive, whether you’re talking about sports, business, or politics.

Both personnel situation have been hush-hushed. THE PLANET, of course, has gotten wind of them. Looks like more black eyes for Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s administration, which it would seem becomes more desperate by the day to put a cap on what’s happening in its rotting insides. The questions have a basis in fact, but they are, in the end (at this point, at any rate) just questions.

(Q1) — Did the city fire a veteran police officer late last fall? If so, why? Was it because he roughed up a defenseless man, sitting in a car parked in a driveway with the motor off and the key not in the ignition? Did the officer in question sneak up on the “suspect” and, without identifying himself as a cop, start beating the guy? And was that simply the last straw for that officer? If all this is so, how is it possible that the Bianchi Administration could get away with this kind of “silent firing?” Why would it even want to? Are these naive questions? Don’t taxpayers have the right to be informed by the media when one of their trusted public safety officials has been laid off or fired with or without cause? Sure, they can always hide behind “We can’t discuss this because it’s a personnel issue,” but that’s a load of white bird splat.

(Q2) — Has a Pittsfield veteran’s services official lodged a charge of assault and battery against a veteran

ROSEANNE FRIERI, Pittsfield director of veteran’s services

who had sought the office for help in filing his applications for Chapter 115 benefits? Was that official Catherine Huska? Is she not city veteran director Roseanne Frieri‘s assistant? Just a question: Did Frieri or did she not lie to the veteran about filing the papers, supposedly sent by her on 10/31 and 11/1/13? Did Pedro Santiago of the state veteran’s affairs division on Boston confirm to the veteran that the Pittsfield office never filed the papers? Did the veteran find out and then confront Frieri and Huska about the apparent discrepancy between what they told the vet about what they did and what the Boston office told him they didn’t do? Did that lead to a confrontation when the vet was in the local office with his five-year-old daughter? If Huska filed A&B charges, were the charges filed with the police department (11/6/13) legitimate or were they trumped up? If trumped, was that done because, according to the veteran, the charges were meant to silence him in retaliation for his expression of displeasure with the way he was “served” and treated by Frieri and Huska? Is a jury trial scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 11?

Frieri, right, with Elizabeth Warren, left, and the governor. (PHOTO: iBerkshires)

As we said, we don’t know the answers. We thus make no allegations. Allegations don’t need answers. They need proof. THE PLANET shall be content with asking the quesetions. In fact, we would like nothing better than an official denial of any improprieties having been committed by the Pittsfield veteran’s office, if only to temporarily restore our faith that the office is staffed by competent people interested in helping those who has served our country — rather than selfish bureaucrats only interested in getting pay raises, as the mayor has proposed for at least one of them.

THE PLANET has contacted Frieri and Huska asking them for their version of the story. As of press time, they had not responded.

——- 000 ——-

 All that and more is going on, around, over, and about. At least we are here to tell you about it.

And don’t forget to join us this Thursday on local access Channel 16 for the second edition of Planet Valenti Television — PV-TV Starring Dan Valenti. It’s local, live, lovely, loud, ludicrous, luminary, linear, lyric, and lithe. It’s already got a buzz going. They love it. They don’t love it. You ain’t seen local TV done this way! Tune it and give us a phone call with your questions or comments. Hope to see you and talk to you then.

Finally, here’s a “food for thought” correspondence THE PLANET received from a member of The Secret Squadron:

——- 000 ——-

There was a story in [The Boring Broadsheet recently] about the licensing board suspending Chameleon‘s license. The is a woman named Sweener. Her FB page shows that she is not only the owner of Chameleons, she [also recently] became a city employee. So, she joins the ranks of city employees, and those connected with the city, who also hold other jobs. Pam Tobin  is listed as a crystal director for Isagenix, whatever that is. My good friend, Ms. Frieri, Pittsfield’s veterans agent, is also the VA for the p3 or 4 other towns and probably shoots a wedding now and then.  Mary McGinnis still ran Mary’s Carrot Cake while she was employed by the city. Why has working for the city become a part time job?

THE PLANET leaves all of you for now pondering that final question. Why has working for the city become a part time job?

——————————————————————————

“Autumn, the wind blows colder than summer. Autumn, my love’s gone with another. Can’t demand anything of myself now, so I guess I’ll stay right here in New England for autumn.”Edgar Winter, “Autumn,” from the “They Only Come Out At Night” album, (1974).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.
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Teecha teecha
Teecha teecha
8 years ago

Catherine Huska being rude or snooty towards someone. Never. She’s a pillar of the community. (Note the sarcasm)

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Teecha teecha
8 years ago

Dear Dan,

Thank you for looking out for our Veterans. They deserve more, and CERTAINLY more than the appointed shrubs in PITTSfield are giving them.

Why do these appointed women not look like veterans themselves? More like leftwinged ……….I won’t go there….

Keep up on the Empty Suit. God save PITTSfield if we get another for 4 years.

Best,

MT

C. J.
C. J.
8 years ago

Personnel; Is there a new RSVP director ? Megan Wilden replacement ?

MrG1188
MrG1188
8 years ago

That’s unfortunate. John Sakata will be missed. Now that Derek Gentile is too old to get to the later-nite events in South County (I tease him a little) John was doing an excellent job. On the masthead it actually appears that they have MORE sales reps…not less; unless of course they are not keeping that up to date. Sakata is still listed there as well although the other fellow is not.

Still wondering
Still wondering
8 years ago

It’s too bad that RF is a member of the highest PC protected class. She is free to mess things up for as long as she likes.

D-man
D-man
8 years ago

I noticed that Chameleon’s is now for sale or lease, after the city (properly) suspended their liquor license for the shooting that took place in the parking lot in early April.

Maybe someone will have better luck turning that spot around?

Dave
Dave
Reply to  D-man
8 years ago

It passes the zoning restrictions for a strip club!

dusty
dusty
Reply to  D-man
8 years ago

I thought Chameleons got whacked with a pretty good penalty compared to some of the chronic offenders. Maybe they don’t have the licensing board connections some others do.

Norden Bomb Bite
Norden Bomb Bite
8 years ago

I hope we get answers to the questions DV has asked. All Frieri or her assistant had to do was respond. They probably would have if the indcident didnt happen.

I’m a vet and the last place I’d go for help would be to veterans affairs office at city hall. Too many bad endings and horror stories coming out of there from too many veterans.
That’s what the city thinks of those of us who served. You judge these things by
actions not by the b.s. they give you.

downtown dweller
downtown dweller
Reply to  Norden Bomb Bite
8 years ago

Sadly, I’ve heard the same thing from vets I know. Some have commented on the office being condescending toward them when they went there for help.

ed shepardson
ed shepardson
Reply to  danvalenti
8 years ago

I bumped into Mayors Doyle and Roberto one night about a year ago. I asked them who hired Ms. Frieri. Doyle said, “not me” and pointed at Roberto. Mayor Roberto admitted he had and it was a huge mistake.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  ed shepardson
8 years ago

Did Mayor Ruberto realize that when she was campaigning for Bianchi?

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
Reply to  Norden Bomb Bite
8 years ago

Thank you for your Service!

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood
8 years ago

When’s the Eagle going to get ride of that dolt, Bill Everhart?

amandaWell
amandaWell
8 years ago

Johnnies Beach Club is the real deal, open her back up!! Johnny is a faithful employer and needs the ca$h.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  amandaWell
8 years ago

Sign on the door says the kitchen is still open until 2 am, and I’m sure soda sales are through the roof from midnight to 2am!

Teecha teecha
Teecha teecha
Reply to  amandaWell
8 years ago

Johnnies beach club alway has been and always will be a cesspool of filth and human depravity

Johhny2Shoes
Johhny2Shoes
Reply to  amandaWell
8 years ago

I miss OB Joyful’s

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  Johhny2Shoes
8 years ago

I miss Coaches Corner.

Spider
Spider
8 years ago

I am not surprised that Doreen Wade of Medford has registered the very first complaint to the Human Rights Commission (today’s Eagle).

Somehow I knew she wouldn’t just fade away. Check out IBerkshire today for her history.

while I am not a fan of the mayor’s, I believe this is definitely another “questionable” situation for the city.

ed shepardson
ed shepardson
8 years ago

I can’t defend assault and battery but dealing with the local veterans’ office can be extremely frustrating. But, then again, I don’t have a five year old to whom I’m responsible.

Nota
Nota
8 years ago

TES says we wrestle’ with the revenue for the budget, yup. It’s called a choke hold’ on the Taxpayer!

Norden Bomb Bite
Norden Bomb Bite
Reply to  Nota
8 years ago

Yeah nota, that’s about it. TES has finally been shown up for what he is: all empty and nothing when it comes to us nobodies. Planet should gets the nobel, the pulitzer, and every other medal for his work in exposing what’s going on under this mayor.

Matt
Matt
8 years ago

The large number of people without jobs need help preparing for and finding jobs. That the agency has been poorly lead or not lead at all should be an argument for better leadership. That the fire department isn’t well organized or well lead is not a reason to do away with firefighting. Get a competent, effective, manager for the Berkshireworks and give the people of Pittsfield the support they deserve.