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!PLANET EXCLUSIVE! WE PUBLISH THE PACT THAT BIANCHI DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE on 100 NORTH ST. … plus … A TOTEMIC ‘CELEBRATION’

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TAX DAY, APRIL 15, 2015) — How appropriate! On Tax Day, The Suits got their Ca$h Cow with last night’s move to approve borrowing $120.8 million dollars, all on the shoulders of bedraggled taxpayers! But that’s not news. THE PLANET predicted this Done Deal years ago.

Come with us now, as THE PLANET harkens back to the time when councilor-at-large Barry Clairmont tried to get funding removed  from the budget for the mayor’s corrupt move of city hall offices to 100 North Street.

The move, as you all know because THE PLANET was the one medium to tell you, was to an office building where the mayor had for many years paid rent for the Global energy suite on the third floor. The building and deal was agented by a personal friend of the mayor. No conflict of interest there. That’s how it works in this politically debauched city.

To get around Clairmont, Dan Bianchi made a secret deal with union reps. The deal precluded Clairmont’s funding maneuver. The city has kept the pact tightly under wraps. Bianchi didn’t post it on the city’s web site, and he ordered that no copies be given to the press. The secrecy continues.

Bianchi, however, didn’t count of THE PLANET‘s Secret Squadron, whose members walk the expensive floors of City Hall, right under the mayor’s long and growing Pinnochio nose. We obtained the document, and in another exclusive, we publish it here. It’s the first time it has seen daylight.

The Voodoo Math Adds Up

Put 2 and 2 together. For decades, city employees had offices in the basement at 70 Allen Street, and not one grievance was filed about the conditions. As soon as Clairmont starts making noise about 100 North, the Pittsfield Supervisory and Professional Employees Association files — not its nials but a grievance. How utterly convenient, another one of those “Pittsfield coincidences.”

Here’s a copy of the pact. Remember, Bianchi and the union don’t want you to know this exists, so don’t tell anyone you saw it here!

——– 000 ——–

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT

The City and the PSPEA agree to resolve the pending grievance to the basement [of City Hall] (scheduled for hearing on 12/2/14) on the following basis:

1. All bargaining unit employees working in the City Hall basement (and their successors) will be moved to other locations outside the basement by February 1, 2015, reasonable documentation of a reasonable basis for delay of this date, the date may be adjusted to and including March 31, 2015.

2. No employees will be required to work in the basement after the move-out date described above, unless:

a. An HVAC system has been installed which [sic] both meets all applicable Codes and has been approved by a Massachusetts-registered Design Professional.

b. Radon levels in the building have been reduced to and are maintained at federally-established [sic] safe levels, and the City tests said basement space for radon at least bi-annually.

c. Asbestos remediation in the basement continues, and any friable asbestos found is forthwith removed.

3. The substance of the above provisions will be incorporated by amendment, as soon as reasonably possible, into the PSPEA contract.

This Memorandum Signed and Sealed by the parties December 2, 2014.

The document is then signed by Patricia Mayhew for the PSPEA and Bianchi for the City of Pittsfield.

——– 000 ——–

Sign it, Or Else

Duplicity, thy name is Bumstead.

The pact only says that workers are to be moved out of the basement by March 31, 2015. It doesn’t say where. Cute, because long before that date, the mayor had engineered the move to 100 North Street.

Sources say the mayor instigated with the union to get them to agree to the deal. One union member, who asked not to be identified, said the mayor threatened “a union head” (presumably Mayhew) with “some form of punishment” if the union didn’t agree to the contact. THE PLANET requested comment from the mayor on 100 North Street, and he did not respond. Mayhew would not comment because city employees are under threat from the mayor if they speak with members of the press without the mayor’s office vetting.

A member of PSPEA who asked not to be identified told THE PLANET that (s)he heard the mayor threatened Mayhew with “a job action” if she didn’t sign on behalf of the union. Asked what “a job action” meant, the source said, “I took it to mean she’d lose her job or face, I don’t know, getting written up. It wouldn’t be good, that’s for sure.”

And that, ladies and gents, is how they do business in this lovely town. And you’re paying for every cent of it.

———————————————————————————-

New School In, Unanimously … A Case of The Bland Leading The Blind

Of course, you knew this would happen. The school has been a Done Deal since Day One. It wasn’t a question of “if” but by how much. In there end, not one of our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council sided with logic. They went with the emotions, bowing to the pressure (and to the “human shields” and school department employees who packed the chambers last night).

There was simply too much heat for any councilor or other elected official to withstand. It was the perfect murder. We congratulate all at whose hands taxpayers will now shed their costly blood. Now all that is left is to sit back and wait for the “economic engine” to do as backers promised, which is to solve All Known Human Ills.

Bet the itchy fingers can’t wait to stick the opulent public-fund plum pie, which leads to idle food for thought. Gee, you don’t think the Mass and Northern New England Laborers District Council in Hopkington … the Mass. Association of Realtors POL Action Committee in Waltham … Perri Petricca and Jim Maxymillian in Pittsfield, to name a few, all were large contributors to Tricia Farley Bouvier just to put on their resumes, do you? Sweetums took the money, promising, of course, “complete independence.”

So we pop a bottle of Dom (for you) and pour two fingers of Johnny Walker Blue (for us) in salute to this latest totem to impoverished excess.

When the city breathes its last financially independent breath prior to receivership (coming soon!), THE PLANET shall be continue to bathe in residuals from our multi-syllabic work.  Of course, we shall have left poor Pittsfield to its own long before that …

… for the bees in Essex are particularly productive!

———————————————————————————————

“Daddy is sleepin’ when momma ain’t around. Yeah daddy’s just sleepin’ when momma ain’t around. We’re gonna twist and twist and twist till we tear the house down.”Chubby Checker, “The Twist,” (1961)

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 years ago

Why is Pittsfield Representative Tricia Farley Bouvier sponsoring legislation to eliminate local veterans agents and create regional operations centers ran by the state government instead? She wrote: “The agents and their deputies, assistants, and any administrative staff, would be state employees who provide benefits directly from the state to the veterans and veterans’ dependents within their district, removing the burden of those benefits from local taxes.”
Communities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are sending Tricia Farley Bouvier letters opposing her bill.
This would be a good story for Dan Valenti to cover.
As a 100 percent service connected disabled Veteran who lived in Pittsfield, Massachusetts after my honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, I, too, oppose Representative Tricia Farley Bouvier’s proposal. Veterans have sacrificed their lives to serve our country, and they should not have to face a state bureaucracy when they are in need of public services.
– Jonathan Melle
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/belchertown_officials_oppose_l.html

Pat
Pat
6 years ago

The people in and working for the school department are as corrupt as the politicians. In my opinion, you wouldn’t have the corrupt politicians if you didn’t have the corrupt general public in the school system. What a sad city!!! No concern at all shown by one councilor for the downtrodden in the city who are carrying the weight of high taxes for this corrupt group of people. Where is the justice?

dust in the wind
dust in the wind
6 years ago

I would love to hear from people who have moved from Pittsfield in the last 3 years. What did the process involve? I imagine money is the main obstacle for most of us. I am serious and hope that many will reach out share their experiences.

Now that the taxpayers of Pittsfield know they have zero input into influencing their own government perhaps they will want to look at option 2, getting the hell out of dodge. Dreamers may think they can change government in Pittsfield but it is not going to happen. It would take more years than most of us have to root out all the entrenched special interests that have overtaken our government. The same government whose main focus seems to be getting its hands on as much citizen money as it can. Keep in mind that every additional dollar the city takes from you is one less dollar you have to raise your family. One less dollar to feed your children or buy other necessities. Seniors on fixed incomes know all too well how much it hurts when the city reaches into their pockets and takes more and more of their retirement money.

Help us with option two….voting with our feet.

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
6 years ago

Happy Tax Day Pittsfield!

TFB
TFB
Reply to  joetaxpayer
6 years ago

My favorite Day. Isn’t it vibratory ?

nostrodumbass
nostrodumbass
6 years ago

Dusty, I agree 100%.

I would like to say “vote them out”. However the deck is already being stacked for the next go round. The sitting mayor and sitting councilors are the voters answer to getting rid of the last administration.

Corruption is deeply entrenched in Pittsfield’s politics and the greedy bastards will not stop until they get ever last drop of blood from the taxpayers. Changing the guards of your money is not the answer. Every single one of them has proven they have no backbone to stand up n their watch.

Best option is to move out. Absolutely! Its a great big country out there. There are many other communities where taxes are a fraction of Pittsfield’s and the people keep their finger on local politicians, not letting them get out of control.

Just for your own health’s sake, removing yourself and your family from all the toxic pcbs will add many years to your life. Living in Pittsfield is just not worth it.

The school system is a cash cow and its now proven beyond any shadow of a doubt. Lets count the days now starting today when you start hearing about how bad the police station has been neglected and is falling down where they need to build a new one. Water treatment will cost you dearly. Default on taxes causing people to lose their homes will escalate in the coming years.

Stay in Pittsfield at your own peril. Leave and be happy. Those are the only two choices you have.

The only tricky part is finding someone to buy your home. Slumlords will buy it for a fraction of its value but the time will come when even they will not be able to rent out their properties and become disinterested. If you are upsidedown n your mortgage, just walk away. Why continue to invest in a property in a doomed city?

Time has come to get out of Dodge.

Mr. X
Mr. X
6 years ago

Dusty…ask the CFO of Greylock FCU who moved his family recently from Rhode Island to take that job…his wife and kids hated it here and moved back to RI…he’s still here doing his job

Jimmy Gee
Jimmy Gee
6 years ago

I see only 1 person spoke against the school funding At last nights meeting. [REDACTED]

spagirl
spagirl
Reply to  Jimmy Gee
6 years ago

The Open Mic session is a joke. I’ve said it before and will say it again. It’s people like you that thumb your nose,against the hard working honest Taxpayers, and laugh in their face. That’s why the local GOV is corrupt.

Jimmy Gee
Jimmy Gee
Reply to  spagirl
6 years ago

Sorry Spagirl both my wife and myself work and pay taxes in Pittsfield . My kids are out of school but I still think the new school is needed.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Jimmy Gee
6 years ago

You are obviously in a higher income bracket than most of the people struggling in this city. That people can come forward and gloat about the decision while ignoring the real financial pain of people in this city is unbelievable and shows that we are not the nuts.

My landlord has already indicated to me that higher taxes for him means he has to raise rents. He isn’t a bad person, but I can understand that he is older and struggling to pay his bills and on a fixed income. So he has to do what he has to do. I will need to cut back even more as will many others in the city who don’t know where they can possibly create money that doesn’t exist when prices for everything are going up and we are very budgeted now. People who own homes are really going to be feeling this especially when the inevitable cost overruns for this project begin to escalate. Afterall, state of the art doesn’t come cheap.

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  Jimmy Gee
6 years ago

Jimmy I agree something had to happen to Taconic. But why not to long ago we renovated and added on to 7 Pittsfield schools, not one was torn down and built new. Some were older than Taconic. Also why shouldn’t the people writing the check for the largest project in Pittsfield history, not getting a say. If it’s such a great idea put it to vote.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Jimmy Gee
6 years ago

I had contacted my councilor, Lisa Tully, many times giving her all of my reasons for being against the school and urging her to vote against it, but she had made up her mind a month ago to vote “yes” even going so far as to send all her ward members an email letting us know her decision. I kept trying to convince her anyway but too many school people had already made her decision for her in my opinion. I was unable to attend the meeting last night or I would have done so. Honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered how many went there to speak against it, it was a done deal which even Dan has been saying from the very beginning.

If they really wanted the public input, they would have had a vote. They didn’t want it.

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
6 years ago

Jimmy, I can only speak for my self, to quote Bill Murray in Meatballs “it just doesn’t matter”. You people are going to get your way. I tip my cap, well played by all involved.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  joetaxpayer
6 years ago

I don’t agree it was well played. Well played would have been letting everyone in the city who is paying for the project have a say by voting. It was well played only if you approve of unscrupulous strategies to get what you want.

Hector
Hector
6 years ago

Sorry Mr V this is in regards to the Jimmy comment. None of his commetns move the conversation forward.

Jimmy Gee
Jimmy Gee
Reply to  Hector
6 years ago

God I love this blog! You have to drink the Kool aid and agree with everyone heaven forbid somebody has a different opinion

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  Jimmy Gee
6 years ago

Jimmy other people’s opinions are what makes this blog, and makes the world interesting. But it seems to me if you aren’t drinking the Bianchi kool aide you are a naysayer or negative.

Jimmy Gee
Jimmy Gee
Reply to  joetaxpayer
6 years ago

Joe. Believe me I think Bianchi is the worst Mayor ever!

Tammy Ives
Tammy Ives
6 years ago

After reading quotes on Iberkshires from the council meeting last night I am so disgusted with them. the passing of the school and their celebration at the expense of the tax payers. Of course the teachers were there because they are trying to absorb every dollar that pittsfield has while the rest of the city suffers.

Then we have the hotel bs we are slowly slipping into bankrupcy at the hands of this admin. We must not allow anyone to be reelected that sat in those seats last night.

spagirl
spagirl
Reply to  Tammy Ives
6 years ago

TAMMY,
The Celebration says it all. Whoever heard of such a thing. Corrupt Bastards and they know it.

Linda
Linda
Reply to  spagirl
6 years ago

The “celebration” was the most crass, tasteless, and insensitive cut of all. That right there shows you it was done for the benefit of the few, making the many pay for it.

Shame on all those who “celebrated” seniors and the poor being driven out of the city or into the financial hole.

Tammy Ives
Tammy Ives
6 years ago

Those children that leave the school system are not leaving because of the damn building. They are leaving because of the teachers. Then it looks to say that the kids who go tho phs are not worth fixing their building!

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Tammy Ives
6 years ago

They even had kids coming forward to say things they had obviously been coached to say such as “I really want a state of the art school”. Believe me kids could care less whether its state of the art or not. School is school to them. It’s not a building, it’s a place they go to get an education. End of story.

Ed Check
Ed Check
Reply to  Tammy Ives
6 years ago

I don’t think they leave because of the building, or stay because of it. You might ask TFB why she opted out of Pittsfield.

Just look at Holyoke HS, built a new high school 4-5 years ago, now it’s a level 5 being taken over by DESE. I really do not think it is the building or the teachers.

It’s time to look at the students, the families, their work ethic, their desire to see education as a way out of their poverty, etc. Until that happens, nothing will really change.

Linda
Linda
Reply to  Ed Check
6 years ago

I’m glad you mentioned the Holyoke school. My cousin lives in H’oke. As in Pittsfield the establishment fully backed the new school there. As in Pittsfield said it would be an economic gnerator. As in Pittsfield they said it would mark a turnaround in a poor educational system. Just give us the new building and all will be well was the theme.

Now five years later the new school did nothing to improve either the economy or education. It got worse. The exact same thing will happen in Pittsfield.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Linda
6 years ago

Because schools do not improve an economy. If only we had the brain power in this city who would realize that basic fact. Diversity in the local economy is what improves the financial stability of an area. Five years from now, hopefully all of these not so smart councilors and politicians will be gone, but their legacy of bad decisions will continue to haunt the city. Dan has been right about everything happening in this city so far. He sees huge problems on the horizon caused in big part from the excessive spending on the schools. Dan isn’t a fortune teller. This is common sense which is something that people in this city do not have.

The councilors and politicians also listen to the local businesses who tell them they can’t hire qualified workers so the answer is to supposedly have workers trained in a “state of the art” facility for their benefit. The problem is that these local companies that do make a lot of money will pay wages that do not compete with other areas. Graduates of this “state of the art” vocational school will go where the money is and that isn’t Pittsfield.

Chuck Vincelette
Chuck Vincelette
6 years ago

I enjoy reading all the comments including Jimmy Gee’s. I almost disagree with him but understand and respect his/her point of view. As most people know I do not support the replacement of Taconic High School and have expressed my opinion to Councilor Connell and others. However I understand why they voted to proceed with the project.
I believe the majority of taxpayers would be opposed to the project if a vote were taken. Paradoxically the majority of voters would favor the project. So you need to perform the calculus, if you want to be re-elected you vote yes!

Jimmy Gee
Jimmy Gee
Reply to  Chuck Vincelette
6 years ago

Good point!

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Chuck Vincelette
6 years ago

The pols and councilors do the bidding of the not so bright general public who want this new school and who continue to increase city spending on schools mostly because so many in the city work at the schools. If the city goes belly up, however, these same people will be crying that they didn’t see it coming. We only need look at North Adams as a cautionary tale of too much spending and not enough money coming in.

dust in the wind
dust in the wind
6 years ago

Bottom line is that if you are a ,middle income or lower taxpayer, your air supply is being cut off.

Those who are making it financially now, but just barely, will soon be like those of us who no longer have the means to bail out of the city. And they too will find themselves doomed to wither on the vine here while the wealthier folk feed on their remains.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 years ago

* Jason McCandless, who is the superintendent of Pittsfield Public Schools, said: “I think the message it sends is that we really believe that Pittsfield’s best days are still ahead of it. That are best days did not leave town when General Electric left town.”

* Mayor Dan Bianchi says the training in the new Taconic High School shops will be an economic generator. The Mayor said: “It will be one of the best economic initiatives that a community to ever engage in.”

* Pittsfield City Councilor Jonathan Lothrop called his approval the easiest but most important vote in his nearly 12 years on the council.

http://wamc.org/post/pittsfield-council-approves-funding-taconic-high-school-championed-economic-generator

spagirl
spagirl
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 years ago

Taconic High Vocational Machine Shop has a CNC Machine…..and the TEACHER doesn’t know how to operate it. So the Students aren’t being trained on it. This is the story in itself. Kids are not getting the education……and are being failed by the teachers.

Fat Cats
Fat Cats
6 years ago

And all three of them have a bundle of personal cash to sit on. They could give a schidt about their neighbors.

Paul
Paul
6 years ago

Maybe we can send the PHS students to the new fancy school and see if they can learn how to cross a street.