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NEW DPI DIRECTOR ‘PROUD OF OUR DOWNTOWN’ or ‘UH, OH; HERE WE GO AGAIN’ … BOILERPLATE AND ‘STATUS QUO’ WILL NOT GET THE JOB DONE

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, SEPT. 11, 2014) — The city has hired a new director for Downtown Pittsfield Inc. Her name is Kristine Hurley, who has been DPI’s manager for the past three years.

Hurley spoke of her appointment — announced when DPI issued a prepared statement — in a … prepared statement. Issuing prepared statements over putting actual human beings in front of live reporters who might ask questions sets an impersonal, bureaucratic tone from the get-go. This type of “corporate antisepticism” has been the established method of operation for DPI practically since its founding. One would have hoped for a more dynamic approach this time, but it was not to be.

Safe Statements and Writing-by-Committee

“I’m proud of our downtown; however, our work is not finished,” Hurley said in her statement. “I’m looking forward to my new role with the organization. The economic and cosmetic improvements you see in downtown were not done by one person alone. Downtown belongs to all of us. It’s the heartbeat of our home. I’ll be calling on my friends of Pittsfield to roll up their sleeves and work beside me,” Hurley said.
She added: “Our downtown impacts the entire community and a visitor’s perception of the area. What impression do we want to give? I’d like to build upon the great work that’s already been completed by remaining focused on a clean, safe, friendly, vibrant and bustling downtown.”
Prepared statements read for what they are — The voice of no “one” and the soundings of many. They are the result of writing-by-committee. The job is to say nothing while appearing to say something. Think, for example, of the city’s financial brain Sue Carmel addressing even a simple question from a councilor or Bruce Collingwood trying to get “scientific” explaining policy.
Just for once, wouldn’t you have loved it if the new DPI director had come out and told the truth. Something like:
“I grew up in Pittsfield, and I’ve been around to a lot of other cities. I know what a functioning, safe downtown looks like. We don’t have one of those now. I will not stand here today and pretend we do or that I’m ‘proud of our downtown’ — Not when merchants are closing their shops … not when an active drug trade flourishes openly … not when gangs have replaced police as the defining local enforcement agency … not when we see the litter, the neglect, the weeds, and the overall loss of municipal self-respect.  I understand downtown, and I believe in downtown. That’s why the city hired me. I will focus on Job 1, which is to meet with every merchant and listen to their concerns. I will consider it a personal and a professional failure if merchants feel so ignored that they have to call their own coalition together simply to have they feeling there is someone out there who understands their issues. This I pledge.”

What would you have done if the new downtown guru had faced up to the reality of “upstreet”? After you had flipped several cartwheels, you might have made it a point to venture downtown and make a purchase as a show of support. You might have felt good about it.

The Usual Boilerplate

But no. We got the usual boilerplate, and THE PLANET understands why. Already on Day 1, Hurley has figured out this much: She has to be careful. That is to say, she had better not rock the boat or give an indication that downtown Pittsfield isn’t all peaches and cream in the Cleavers’ Mayfield.

THE PLANET can safely say two things:

(1) Hurley must be given a chance to prove herself.

(2) A status quo approach is not going to be good enough.

In any top administrative post from here out, the only appointment that can provide hope, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, for We the People will be a True Reformer — some one who will not be afraid to tell it like it is, tear down the walls, rattle the windows, clean house, and start listening to the most important constituency of all: The Citizen Taxpayer.

We wish Kristine Hurley godspeed. She’s going to need it.

———————————————————————————————-

“Well it’s lonesome in this old town. Everybody puts me down. I’m a face without a name just walking in the rain. I’m goin’ back to Houston.”Dean Martin, “Houston,” written by Lee Hazlewood, (1965).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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MrG1188
MrG1188
6 years ago

So according to the other paper, she was not “the manager,” but rather the Office Manager. That implies to me secretarial and office supply closet stocking not administration. When I read this my first thought was, “wonder whose kid she is.” My second thought was how much do they pay her and who pays, city or organization? I hope she does well, and I hope she’s super qualified and energetic and has just been biding her time waiting for this opportunity, but she and the board could’ve done better than boilerplate and platitudes.

Downtown Dweller
Downtown Dweller
Reply to  MrG1188
6 years ago

I do not know this woman or how that particular office is run but in the places I have worked the Office Manager was definitely not secretarial or supply closet stocking. They were the people who made sure that the people who did those jobs were doing them. They would also be the ones troubleshooting problems with “the powers that be”, among other things. Jus’ sayin’.

Larry Bird?
Larry Bird?
6 years ago

So we have an organization that puts some events and does some marketing for Downtown Pittsfield. Woopidy doo. It’s a useless organization and why waste our time talking about it.

Let the girl build up her resume and maybe do something useful for downtown and just leave her alone so she can move away from Pittsfield next year like every other competent person under the age of 30 until no one but the Planet and its bloggers are left to live there Utopian existence together.

How’s that sound

English 101
English 101
Reply to  Larry Bird?
6 years ago

“……the Planet and its bloggers are left to live there Utopian existence together”.

The word would be their not there.
Their shows possession in your context.
There would refer to a place which makes no sence in your sentence structure.

Proper use of English would prevent you from sounding like a fool.

eddiep
eddiep
Reply to  English 101
6 years ago

Sense, not sence..

Ed McClelland
Ed McClelland
6 years ago

We were at a downtown restaurant recently, and couldn’t help but overhear the Pittsfield political conversation being vetted at the table next to us. It turned out to be Craig Gaetani, and when the gentleman is calm, his rhetoric makes sense.
One thing he mentioned was the imbalance of non Pittsfield residents that are driving the future of the city when they realistically have no true vested interest in the city’s future.
Does the Pittsfield Director of Community Development actually reside in a different community out of state ? There were many other examples of city employees that allegedly are forging the future and security of Pittsfield but do not reap the outcome of their service.Some are probably very dedicated however it can easily create a scenario of apathy.
i understand The Planet was thwarted by John DeAngelo, the Pittsfield Personnel Director, from Sheffield in its attempt to gain data pertaining to this issue. DeAngelo must have gotten a star on the blackboard for that manuver.

Jamie
Jamie
Reply to  Ed McClelland
6 years ago

The way I hear it The Sheffield Shuffler didn’t thrwart DV, it was the other way around. What better way to show up that the personnel man is simply a tool of the mayor? Ignore a press inquiry! DV’s plan worked to a tee …

Ed McClelland
Ed McClelland
Reply to  Jamie
6 years ago

Thanks J, Good perspective. But where’s the info ?

dusty
dusty
6 years ago

I am happy for Kristine that she can be proud of our downtown even though she does not specify which part she is most proud or least proud.

I know I personally can’t wait to see the results of the makeover for Bums Park on the corner of North and Columbus. These pork filled city projects are pumping taxpayer dollars into the greedy hands of the connected for sure. I am sure glad we have a kind and caring bunch of mayors who have taken such good care of us.

Magic
Magic
Reply to  dusty
6 years ago

Dusty, I’m with you. I walk everyday during my lunch stopped going towards Columbus Ave, now go as far as Berkshire Bank and then down South St and back. So happy that Pittsfield is giving these low lifes a really nice park to be in.

Dave
Dave
6 years ago

At least she is hot!

Jamie
Jamie
Reply to  Dave
6 years ago

Arooooooooooga!

amandaWell
amandaWell
6 years ago

Government deficit is lowest since 2008, yet TES and friends continue to tax and spend. Hope the Planet doesn’t have a purple rerun tonight.

amandaWell
amandaWell
6 years ago

If this new (D I C) Downtown Inc Chick, is all that Kate could muster up without much qualification, what does that tell you About Kate?

Nota
Nota
6 years ago

Anyone see the Beagle’s photo shoot of the new Office Manager. Real Classy Beagle, all glitz and no substance.

amandaWell
amandaWell
6 years ago

Sad to say it, air strikes will do nothing in Syria and any ground troops other than United States will fail. Oboma doesn’t have a clue, he still hasn’t resolved the Russian fiasco.

ed shepardson
ed shepardson
Reply to  amandaWell
6 years ago

Amanda, what would you have us do? More wars, more troops killed, injured and then ignored when they come home? Maybe, after decades of flawed foreign policy, we start minding our own business. Maybe, just maybe, others will stop trying to kill us all.

amandaWell
amandaWell
6 years ago

Valenti for President before our Country… SHITS THE BED!

Nota
Nota
6 years ago

Yeah, seen that also Mandy, the show was killer as usual, thank to Dan we have some form of refuge, with a little bit of entertainment. The soap skit at the Red Lion was hilarious!

Kevin
Kevin
6 years ago

Loved the show tonight DV! As for new DPI appointee I think she’s going to do a good job.

Giacometti
Giacometti
6 years ago

DPI is such a waste of money…..it is work that the cultural czar could easily do…except Peter Lafayette President of DPI is just
a suit who has to rub elbows with other suits and posers…I’m so
tired of the wasted money this City spends to please connected
people in the Good Old Boys Empire. Downtown Pittsfield, or
Pittsfield Central or Downtown Inc. is just a Good Old Boys fake
organization that does absolutely nothing but duplicate services
done by others.

Mike Ward
Mike Ward
6 years ago

This article pretty much illustrates the uselessness of DPI. When the PPS proposed moving the Adult Learning Center from Lyman Street to 141 North Street (a move that Councilor Yon astutely pointed out was completely inconsistent with the then newly crafted downtown five year plan) DPI was nowhere to be seen. It was a meaningful debate, as can be seen by the 7-4 vote, and the result might have been different if DPI had A) followed the news B) attended the city council meeting C) actually advocated their five year plan. You can see that some councilors might have been open to a strong argument against this ill-conceived move but that never happened.
There are two possible reasons for DPI’s absence from this debate. Either they just didn’t know about the proposal or they took a pass because the proponent was the City of Pittsfield, who pays a large portion of their operating budget. If DPI wants to be a truly independent advocate for downtown they need to get off the dole.
http://www.iberkshires.com/story/41545/Pittsfield-Adult-Learning-Center-OK-For-New-North-St.-Home.html

Craig Swinson
Craig Swinson
6 years ago

WTF do these people even do? If the downtown aka “upper north” is their claim to fame, maybe it is time to fire the lot and start anew?
People always say “look how good it is doing” I think those people must be in either denial or come from some really crappy places.
I look at downtown and think, “I wonder what it would be like with some competent management”

Giacometti
Giacometti
6 years ago

DPI was Ed O’Keefe…now DPI is Peter Lafeyette….it really doesn’t matter who is in the front office because in the end the City will
continue to support this deadbeat organization which is suppose
to work for downtown merchants…why can’t any City Councilor
just have the guts to get DPI off City support. What happened
to their yearly summer street fair….or the taste of the Berkshires…
or their sidewalk beautification program…or countless other make
believe events that they have run over the past 20+ years. Every time
they change the name of their organization they change their goals
and objectives…Enough is enough…kill it before it changes again.

John Dough
John Dough
6 years ago

Kristine is an excellent choice for the position. She practically ran the place herself while her boss Pam Tobin did next to nothing.

I have no doubt she will do a terrific job and the city is fortunate to have her.