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WAY TO GO, BIANCHI: SWITCH OUT OF GIC TO COST CITY, TAXPAYERS MILLION$ … plus … MAYOR TYER ON THE FY’17 BUDGET

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

[ED. NOTE: The next meeting of the Pittsfield School Committee is slated for Wednesday, April 13, beginning at 6 p.m. in the PHS library. Any citizen who is serious about putting the heat on the PSC should attend, en masse.]

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2016) — Jonathan Melle mentioned in a comment yesterday how mayor Dan Bianchi left mayor Linda Tyer a giant mess. THE PLANET agrees, and here’s a perfect example.

Remember when Bianchi (TES) yanked city employees out of the state’s Group Insurance Commission and into Blue Cross-Blue Shield? THE PLANET at the time gave you the exclusive play-by-play on the back-room dealing and sandbagging. The Empty Suit justified the fatuous switch with a promise-sans-evidence of favorable rates and better coverage. Few believed the windbag at the time, and, true to form, TES answered not with details and information but with a big “Trust me,” which is municipal-ese for “F—k you.”

Evidence Makes Clear: Switch Was a Mistake

Now THE PLANET has the evidence for our assertion that the move ranked among the most foolhardy of TES’ inglorious reign. Given the high-rise incompetency that characterized The TES Administration, that’s saying a lot. PLANET sources tell us about the latest “in the Blue Cross vs. GIC fiasco from last year.”

” I just received the new rates from BCBS effective July 1, 2016,” one source told us. “After promising they would only go up a maximum of 4.5 percent, they went up 9 percent.  It looks like we’re doomed next year because their maximum in that column was a “?” mark.  Bianchi really stuck it to us and the city of Pittsfield.  As to the GIC, they only increased 3 percent.”

PLANET sources at city hall say there will be an attempt to “get the ball rolling to get us back on the GIC when we are eligible again.” Early word has it that there is a PEC meeting on April 13 that will be open to the public. It’s not only city employees who were hurt. Keep in mind that you, the honest taxpayer, will bear the brunt — 85% worth — of the ensuing cost hikes. Without cuts somewhere, that will likely add millions to the line item.

Tyer Responds to THE PLANET‘s Budget Questions

Speaking of Tyer, she responded yesterday to our questions on the budget. Here is that response, verbatim. The mayor’s answers followed the bullet points.

THE PLANET: Can you tell me where you are in terms of budget preparation?

  • “Department heads are currently preparing their proposed FY17 budgets based upon the budget directives that they have received from me.  The deadline to submit their budgets to me is April 19.   I have called for a joint meeting between the City Council  and School Committee to be held on April 28 for the purposes of reviewing of the city’s financial conditions.  This will not be a FY17 budget hearing but a more detailed review of the city’s challenges.”

THE PLANET: What are your assumptions as you prepare the FY17 plan?

  • “There are certain things that we already know.  For instance, the levy ceiling and limit are collapsing, reserves are too low, bond ratings are at risk, fixed costs are increasing, OPEB obligations are rising without proper planning, tax rates are strained.  And, yet, we want to ensure that we develop a municipal operating budget that responds to the emerging needs of our community.  It’s tempting to ask department heads to reduce budgets by some random percentage but this strategy is too simplistic and does not take into account the priorities of my administration, the emerging priorities of the individual departments, and is not conducive to good long-term planning.”

THE PLANET: Do you expect that the school department will have to take one for the team this year, given the dire conditions of the finances?

  • “Creating schools that are safe and provide academic opportunity for our young learners is a top priority.  Good schools are good economic engines and good for our families.  The school budget will be taken into the full context of all the other competing priorities.”
——– 000 ——–
 Let us know what you think of this response. We’ll say this much. THE PLANET credits Tyer for responding, and quickly, to our queries. As for her specific answers, we like that she has called for a joint meeting of the council and school committee as well as her acknowledgement of the serious budget issues the city faces. THE PLANET understands the mayor doesn’t want to reveal her hand either way on the question of whether the school department will take a hit. We don’t like referring to schools as “economic engines.” They are not nor are they meant to be.
 —————————————————————————————————-
“Is there anything here upon earth? but, ah, God! that night, that night …”Alfred Lord Tennyson, from “Despair,” line 9, (1881).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views expressed in the comment section or opinions published within the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI; this website reserves the right to remove any comment which violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service.

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mi
mi
5 years ago

I plan on paying my dogs license sooner than the deadline date so the coffers will have the ten bucks for my 94 year old dog, hope it helps.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  mi
5 years ago

Thank you, its folks like you that make the city great.

Economic Injun
Economic Injun
5 years ago

Good schools are good economic engines? Heap big pile of bullshit.

spagirl
spagirl
5 years ago

Economic Engines are substantial jobs, and Urban Vitality not blight! The top heavy School Budget has Sucked the Life out of this City.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  spagirl
5 years ago

Blight in Pittsfield? Where???

VillageKnight
VillageKnight
Reply to  spagirl
5 years ago

To spagirl. I agree with you 100%!

Discreet Cat
Discreet Cat
5 years ago

That’s the reason economic engine? Maybe fifty years ago. That was the politicians popular catch phrase, didn’t agree with it back then, and certainly not now.

Pat
Pat
5 years ago

Very happy that the mayor responded quickly to your questions. No doubt the school system will be putting enormous pressure on Mayor Tyer to answer to their demands. I too agree that schools are not economic engines.

johnny dingo
johnny dingo
5 years ago

I am pleased that mayor Tyer took the time to respond to the Planet. She did not sugar coat the problems which I appreciate. But reading between the lines I see another hefty tax hike on the horizon.

No one is looking down the road to the survival of the city as a whole. Just get past this year and let someone else worry about Pittsfield turning into a ghost town.

Wilson
Wilson
Reply to  johnny dingo
5 years ago

yup, “emerging needs”=tax and spend

Madame Du Barry
Madame Du Barry
5 years ago

Looks like the schools want a couple of mil more this budget cycle. Will it ever end? D C is right, economic tsunami is in the future, Gaetani had the best idea, reign it in 7 percent, not increase the budget.

Dilly Dally
Dilly Dally
5 years ago

Anyone hear Tom Lewis on the Krolmmercial Show, while Krol is driving around the City at the beginning of the show, Lewis is talking about all the crime in the news, ironic but true.

Distressed Cat
Distressed Cat
Reply to  Dilly Dally
5 years ago

I like his open mic comedy shows at Dottie’s.

Wilson
Wilson
5 years ago

“It’s tempting to ask department heads to reduce budgets by some random percentage but this strategy is too simplistic”

These department heads all got huge raises to 6-figures, they should be able to perform complex tasks, prioritization, and planning

Discreet Cat
Discreet Cat
5 years ago

Reading the Planets article today and the Mayor’s response or lack thereof, the optimal word in her a few of her sentences regarding the budget was ‘priority’ so take what you want from her response, but that word,priority says a lot.

Ed McClelland
Ed McClelland
5 years ago

Why is everything'”An Economic Engine” ? What exactly is an Economic Engine ?
Why is everything also “Collaborative” ? Is nothing stand alone on its own merits ?

Economic Injun
Economic Injun
Reply to  Ed McClelland
5 years ago

That’s the BS that’s taught by the MA. democrat party to candidates like Tyer and Ruberto. They run classes for democrats and teach them BS buzz words and buzz phrases that are meaningless in Realville.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Ed McClelland
5 years ago

Training the hood rats to be section 8 welfare Hos or enterprising gang banging dope dealers.

The PITTSfield school adminsTRAITORS reap the most benefits.

Nota
Nota
5 years ago

The budget will be crafted to benefit the status quo and not the taxpayer of who’s fault was the reason for the small mandate that voted for Mayor. The GOB SIGS are the benificiaries this cycle.

Spider
Spider
5 years ago

Few people will attend the SC budget hearings because they know it’s useless. Their lack of attendance does not mean they are in agreement with the SC (and the SC knows this).

And the SC also knows that the true feelings of the taxpayers are heard thru referendum questions in the voting booth (i.e. Taconic).. And that’s why we never get them.

spagirl
spagirl
5 years ago

Truth Spider!!

spagirl
spagirl
5 years ago

Just like the Public Comment session before the City Council……… The Council sits there with body language that is Fort Knox

southeast
southeast
Reply to  spagirl
5 years ago

The purpose of the CC meetings is to do the City’s business. The public comment period has devolved into a few whack jobs deciding they will “school” us all. The way to school me is to run for office and present plans I can support – and get elected.

The Wiz and Mr.Blumin both are ranters, and if you were told you were stupid and corrupt and useless after a while, you too would not be so receptive. Once you become toxic – nothing you say has meaning to those you abuse.

That said, the woman from Lee comes up every meeting, and sweet as she seems, also tries to shove her views of God and religion down my throat. She does this because I bet her Town (Lee) doesn’t have a public comment period.

I may get frustrated by what I see, but I agree with KLS – if I’m so smart, I need to run and win a seat on the Council. But then, in order to advance any of my agenda, I need to convince others to vote with me (on the Council). If I ever make a vote folks disagree with and poof, I am a GOBSIG – what ever that is.

Politics is about compromise, and we did not get to where we are without folks thinking they were doing the right thing. After all, Krol who takes a lot of venom on this blog – keeps getting re-elected, usually without a challenger. no one has a gun to anyone’s head on hear forcing us NOT to run…

Amica Fiasconi
Amica Fiasconi
Reply to  southeast
5 years ago

Pittsfield has reached the tipping point. I think you will see more and more people throw their hats into the political ring.People are fed up with compromising with the school department. In Pittsfield compromising means gobsig boot licking and not facing reality.

Amica Fiasconi
Amica Fiasconi
Reply to  southeast
5 years ago

“The way to school me is to run for office and present plans I can support – and get elected.”

So are those two high intellects, Cocamo and Tully schooling you?

southeast
southeast
Reply to  Amica Fiasconi
5 years ago

Not particularly. But, someone else in Wards 1 and 3 is welcome to run against them. Caccamo ran unopposed and Tully’s opponent seemed a bit unhinged.

Amica Fiasconi
Amica Fiasconi
Reply to  southeast
5 years ago

Unhinged? What led you yo that conclusion?

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Amica Fiasconi
5 years ago

Each of them got more than 10 times the votes CG got.

Amica Fiasconi
Amica Fiasconi
Reply to  Shakes His Head
5 years ago

Perhaps they can school you too

Donna M
Donna M
Reply to  southeast
5 years ago

What kind of a bubble are you living in?? I thought you were a GOBSIG and now you have confirmed it. For your information those citizens of Pittsfield who speak at the public comment sesion are the best thing to ever happen to the Taxpayers .Thank you Gaetani, Blumin and Kinnas.

Your comments from now on will be met with skepticism. Go back to gobsig la , la land. I doubt you can handle reality.

southeast
southeast
Reply to  Donna M
5 years ago

Kinnas is the model of a good citizen. He tries to convince folks of his point of view, but does not berate them. His explanations, though sometimes tedious are at least respectful.

If Terry ran for Ward 4 seat, he’d probably win.

The Mayor of Realville
The Mayor of Realville
Reply to  southeast
5 years ago

I’m sure Mr. Kinnas is grateful to have your approval.

johnny dingo
johnny dingo
Reply to  southeast
5 years ago

If Terry ran for ward four the special interests would back any opponent of his to the hilt. He is the last person they want on the council asking relevant questions.

They pretty much have the peole they want now to ram through unopposed anything they want. Why do you think people like Caccamo and Tully and Krol and Marchetti are even on this council. Sure votes for establishment favored issues.

K-Man
K-Man
Reply to  southeast
5 years ago

I live in Ward 4. If Terry Kinnas ran, I would vote for him as would everyone I know in the ward. He is considered by most a hero.

And he would win. I love watching him when he’s on TV with The Planet.

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Donna M
5 years ago

That’s telling him Donna. I’ll bet he is a GOBSIG. If indeed he is a he.

Donna M
Donna M
Reply to  Thomas More
5 years ago

JD, have you ever heard of the G man?

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Thomas More
5 years ago

Wards 3 and 4 are where the teachers and public servants live.

Jack Mehoff
Jack Mehoff
5 years ago

Just curious , How much did the GIC rates go up?

Eric
Eric
Reply to  Jack Mehoff
5 years ago

3 percent

K L Stevens
K L Stevens
5 years ago

How come all you people complain, but zero run for office. Just let the person with guts run, so DV and rest of you cry.

Already Tyred
Already Tyred
Reply to  K L Stevens
5 years ago

Yeah, why don’t you all just shut up and bend over so the gobsigs can have their fun.

Dick Flimsy
Dick Flimsy
Reply to  Already Tyred
5 years ago

Yeah, bend over and grab your Biancles.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Dick Flimsy
5 years ago

Apparently sexual assault and rape is funny to people.

Dick Flimsy
Dick Flimsy
Reply to  Shakes His Head
5 years ago

The olny ones laughing are your GOB buddies.

Economic Injun
Economic Injun
5 years ago

The new THS will be such an economic engine that the THS sports teams will drop the name THS Braves and now be known as the THS Economic Injuns.

Already Tyred
Already Tyred
5 years ago

What we need is a citizens non-gobsig oversight commission to investigate every position in the city of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield School Department. You can’t expect the members of a bureaucracy not to self perpetuate and to be honest I wouldn’t trust a consultant paid for by the city. An unbiased panel would be the way to go but I don’t think we can trust the mayor to pick the members as we would end up with clowns like Shawshank, Lothrop and other mayoral water boys and girls.

Donna M
Donna M
5 years ago

Economic Engine means–(ELIMINATE EVERYONE) except the GOBSIGS. Lets
see if the SC can pull the wool over Gaetani’s head when he shows up
for the next SC Meeting. He won’t be going there to kiss their asses-
which the SC is accustomed to. Every one on this site should be there
to show solidarity with the wiz- something very few of you have ever
done. Lets take names right now who will be there. I will be
there—check in now———.

Nota
Nota
5 years ago

Donna, they might have a three minute time limit there to.

Donna M
Donna M
Reply to  Nota
5 years ago

20 people x 3 minutes = 1 hour plus time to walk to the podium……the sc will have to do a lot of listening.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Donna M
5 years ago

I really hope you do it.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Shakes His Head
5 years ago

I stand corrected. I very truly apologize. I’ve been wrong about so much. Here’s a video clip about the presentation on safe drinking water for underdeveloped nations that could really benefit Pittsfield:

https://youtu.be/xfr64zoBTAQ

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
5 years ago

Everyone should feel sorry for the lovely Linda Tyer because she inherited a very bad financial situation from her predecessors, including Gerry Doyle, Sara Hathaway, Jimmy Ruberto, and Dan Bianchi. Pittsfield politics is in critical condition and it will take a miracle to save the municipality’s dire finances! We will see what Mayor Linda Tyer does with her FY2017 budget proposal in a matter of a few months.

johnny dingo
johnny dingo
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
5 years ago

I would feel sympathy for her if I thought she intended to try to right the ship. And i do not think she will be allowed to do that and probably does not have the courage to resist her backers.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  johnny dingo
5 years ago

How could the lovely Linda Tyer possibly turn around Pittsfield’s finances after about 3 months in the mayor’s office? She is in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to proposing a fiscal year budget in the next couple of months. If she can’t stand up to her G.O.B. backers and be an independent who will do the right things for Pittsfield politics, then she should resign and let Peter Marchetti take over for the remainder of her 4 year term.

EddieP
EddieP
5 years ago

Something to ponder..In todays Eagle there is a picture of workers beginning construction on the new Taconic High School. The last sentence reads that the existing school would be demolished at some point. The Second Street Jail was supposed to be demolished at some point also when Morningside School was built. Would I be wrong in thinking the old school would be rehabbed and repurposed and staffed at taxpayer expense?
Keep your eyes on this one, folks.

johnny dingo
johnny dingo
Reply to  EddieP
5 years ago

You speak of true things EddieP. The jail was falling apart and super expensive to heat. Had to be torn down for sure. Same with old library. What is it about politicians that they can’t just tell the truth? Ever. I think it might be a medical condition. It is almost like kids that grew up lying found out it was a way to get things they wanted without having to work for them. And then as they got older it occurred to them that politics was made for them.

EddieP
EddieP
Reply to  johnny dingo
5 years ago

johnny, I never thought about it that way but you are absolutely right on that. And they do it with a straight face. Lawyers, car salesmen and politicians in no particular order.

acheshirecat
acheshirecat
Reply to  EddieP
5 years ago

Good point EddieP. The City needs a new DPW building or New Police Station or space for city offices or all 3 in one building.

EddieP
EddieP
5 years ago

Also, that is how they got their new library.

Dick Flimsy
Dick Flimsy
5 years ago

Is it me or do the city council meetings look scripted? Any chance I could get to watch a dress rehearsal?

maxwell edison
maxwell edison
Reply to  Dick Flimsy
5 years ago

They are scripted. It’s called an agenda and rules of order.

Dick Flimsy
Dick Flimsy
Reply to  maxwell edison
5 years ago

It’s scripted beyond an agenda. When the mayor addresses the council or another city official does it looks mechanical and rehearsed.

Donna M
Donna M
5 years ago

Well said Dick.

Donna M
Donna M
5 years ago

look at Bouvier picture in BB. looks like she has had many meals on the taxpayers dime. The epitomy of GOB-PLUMP and unmoveable.

Romen
Romen
Reply to  Donna M
5 years ago

The skipper’s looking pretty plump there himself Maryanne. Careful where you throw those stones.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Romen
5 years ago

Name calling and body shaming. This is why nobody listens to you. Always proved wrong and still you people go right back to acting childish.

Already Tyred
Already Tyred
Reply to  Shakes His Head
5 years ago

Do you really think TFB can be shamed? If being a water carrier for the GOBs doesn’t shame her nothing can.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Already Tyred
5 years ago

Then make it about tha at, not calling her Plump or referring to her as a pig at a trough means you have a modicum of discretion.

Luthor Rex
Luthor Rex
Reply to  Shakes His Head
5 years ago

Come come now, shakes, you’ve done your fair share of name calling. As for TFB she looks like a blimp in the 4th of July parade. Thats not body shaming. Thats a simple observation of phact. TFB = El Blimpo.

Donna M
Donna M
Reply to  Luthor Rex
5 years ago

Rex- you are right about Shaky——-It—– is a spewer of hate against the mentally ill, veterans and the elderly. He has some nerve criticizing those who may use an overly strong adjective in describing
a city hack. It brings down the quality of this blog
when hate mongers like Shakes to spew hate- time after time .I believe there are many on this site who feel the way I do about this dispicable liar and coward. Let’s send this Troll back to Topix.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Luthor Rex
5 years ago

Haters gonna hate.

Madame Du Barry
Madame Du Barry
5 years ago

I believe it was the G Man that said you own your own words, and Trump finally said something really dumb concerning Abortion and punishment if law? It may not be the final nail, but it’s close. he has since retracted the statement.

Dilly Dally
Dilly Dally
5 years ago

Body shaming, haven’t heard that phrase. Good one Shakes.

She Lunches at DelGallo's
She Lunches at DelGallo's
5 years ago

Has anyone had a chance meet Mike Bloomberg? TFB will be ashamed of her mind after a debate with this kid. He’s really smart as a whip he’s going to blow her away. Of course almost anyone could because she’s not very smart but after she gets knocked out in the primary she can go back to waiting tables at DelGallo’s.

Thomas More
Thomas More
5 years ago

For pure entertainment this string topped them all today. Please all show up at the school committee meeting and speak. Use your pen names such as Johnny Dingo, Dilly Dally, etc. and tell them what you really think, like how fat some are, and what they have on their feet and call them by all the names they’ve been given at this site. That would rock them.
Quote of the day, “Everyone should feel sorry for the lovely Linda Tyer because she inherited a very bad financial situation from her predecessors…..”

She Lunches at DelGallo's
She Lunches at DelGallo's
Reply to  Thomas More
5 years ago

Only a fool would have sympathy for the mayor. She knew exactly what she was in for, She’s was put there to oversee the decline of Pittsfield and to make sure that the taxpayer remains connected to the gobsig’s milking machine.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  She Lunches at DelGallo's
5 years ago

(Sarcasm): Thanks for picking on me and calling me a fool.
– Jonathan Melle

Dilly Dally
Dilly Dally
5 years ago

No, Thomas, where did you see me making fun of someone physically?

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Dilly Dally
5 years ago

Sorry Dilly, never have but it is customary on this site for so many to do this.

LoneGunMan
LoneGunMan
5 years ago

Anyone remember how many votes the teachers had to take before this passed?2-3 I think. They didn’t want it and it was rammed down their throats. Brendan Sheerin and the union are just as much to blame

Halo
Halo
5 years ago

Does Bloomberg have any of the Bloomberg wealth. And another question to the Planet, did he pick up the coffee tab?

mi
mi
5 years ago

Apprximately three quarters of the City Budget goes to the
Sxhool Department. Mrs. Mayor, pretty clear where to cut.

Local Yokel
Local Yokel
5 years ago

Actually she won’t be cutting just not increasing. Trickylittle Bankess

VillageKnight
VillageKnight
5 years ago

Probably, mayor Linda Tyer is not a bad person.
She is very wrong on her “city’s priorities”, but I can’t blame her…
Linda Tyer has never run any bussiness of her own and never worked for any business at all, however
I see this as a failure of Mass General Laws and Regulations, which allowed people without proper business/economic education and/or experience to be elected as mayor.
There are about 250 Municipalities in Mass and many of them are run by people who have no clue what they are doing.
Mass cities, towns and villages keep wasting money, because of lack and deficiency of professional requirements in Mass GenLaws about who shall run Municipalities. Moreover, many local Ordinances are just crazy, stupid, wrong and illegal since they violate Federal Laws and State laws.
Our city’s examples:
Ban on Styrofoam containers–violation of FDA and EPA rules which at present time allowed it. Board of Health ordinance about cost of cigars no less than $2 each–violation of Federal Commerce law, City Ordinance Chapter3.5 –violates recent MassCourt of Appeals ruling, which I predicted in 2011; list can go on and on.
Cities should be run by Professionals, not elected group of friends who appoint each other,seizing all key positions.