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SNOW OR SNOW JOB? PLANET EXPOSE REVEALS CRAZY COSTS, FLAKY ANGST IN THIS MILD WINTER

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION FEB. 14-16, 2020) — Want to make nearly $100 an hour? Then get a job plowing snow, or not with plow up, for the City of Pittsfield.

“Strange days, indeed. Most peculiar, momma.”

“Strange.”

What else do you call paying snowplow jockeys $97.47 an hour? What other label would you attach to the 4,707 man-hours (2,530 or 53.7% in overtime) Pittsfield spent to handle four moderate snowfalls (Dec. 1, 17, 30, and Jan. 16)? That’s the equivalent of 196 days of operations going 24 hours a day with not a minute’s rest.

We think of these lyrics from John Lennon. The arctic ice is melting at record pace, but the science reveals it did that 129,000 years ago, well before Adam and Eve invented the combustion engine. Locally, our district attorney has offered teenagers carte blanche to commit mayhem without consequences. Local media continues its suppression of We The People’s free speech by nixing opportunities for feedback and commentary. Mookie Betts is an artful Dodger with a contract close to half-a-BILLION dollars to play baseball. And the Dumpster Behind Paul Rich has just served Earl Persip with an eviction notice.

Srange days, indeed, momma.

In THE PLANET‘s search for constancy and a foundational mooring, we have discovered (are you sitting down?!) that …

… it snows in The Berkshires in February!

It always has. Moreover, as has been the case for several years running, Pittsfield botches snow removal.

So the next time you see a contracted snow jockey going up and down the same street with the plow up … the next time your street goes untouched days after a snowfall … the next time you see plows sparking pavement … the next time you see trucks dumping sand and salt on bare blacktop … see it as reassurance. Find the “deviated normal,” for Pittsfield blows snow every time.

THE PLANET recently interviewed city finance director Matt Kerwood about the snow situation. There are steady whisperings coming from both city hall and the Department of Public Services about the city being a projected $500,000 over budget, despite this being a mild winter. We also hear reports of theft of services in the DPS — for example, contractors using city supplies and machinery to take care of private accounts. Here’s what our Right Honorable Good Friend said about these matters:

PLANET: Can you provide an account of how and why the snow removal/street treatment can be over by millions last year and now half a million and counting, with two mild winters?

KERWOOD: I have no clue who is telling you that we are $500,000 over budget at this point because it is incorrect. Please see the attached spreadsheet that includes spending through the end of January. I hope this will clarify this false information someone has told you. [ED. NOTE: Actually, it is more than one person. We can’t identity the sources, but we can say they come from separate departments and have provided cross-checks of their figures. Actually, our numbers essentially agree with Kerwood’s. Once again, THE PLANET is proven accurate.].

PLANET: Are you satisfied there are no theft of services connection with this city function? There have been credible reports of private contractors using city equipment and materials for private jobs, for instance. Also, reports of plows not plowing but going out with plow up or “plowing” when not needed.

KERWOOD: Given the policies and procedures that that have been put in place by the interim commissioner and the new highway superintendent I am sure that we are doing all that we can to ensure that there are no abuses going on.  As far as your questions about plows being up, etc. as you well know everyone has their own views about what should or should not be done and nothing I say will change someone’s preconceived notions on how winter operations should be managed.  The interim commissioner and the highway superintendent are in charge and I have confidence in them and how they perform their duties. [ED. NOTE: Ricardo Morales have since been confirmed as permanent DPS commissioner].

Here are the city’s official financials regarding the snow budget to the end of January 2020:

  • Budget: $700,000.
  • Spent as of Jan 31: $677,409.
  • Anticipated through March: $431,445.
  • Total Projected Amount: $1,108,854.
  • Anticipated Deficit: $408,854.
  • COMMENT: With the recent snow of early February, the city is now running a deficit, just like last year’s “mild winter” and just like we said. The city’s in the hole. The key figure to watch out for is the anticipated $408,854 shortfall. In the final accounting, will that figure go down, stay the same, or go up? For winter 2018-19, the city ran snow in the hole for $2.1 million.
  • QUESTION: WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY GOING?
  • Winter Overtime Budget: $100,000.
  • Spent as of the end of January: $98,100.
  • Anticipated Through March: 50,000.
  • Total Projected Amount: $148,100.
  • Anticipated Deficit: $48,100.
  • COMMENT: Note how the city went through 98.1% of the OT budget before January ended. It seems incredible that this should be the case what with winter not showing up until the second week of February. 

OVERALL PROJECTED BUDGET FOR SNOW: $1,256,954.

TOTAL ANTICIPATED DEFICIT: $456,954.

COMMENT: As you can see, the city’s own figures confirm the near $500,000 deficit that THE PLANT reported. How much will you wager that the $456,954 comes in higher by the time the final snowflake falls?

———- ooo ———-

Not content to stop there, THE PLANET dug into the snowbanks for Moree information. What we found was startling.

Through the end of January, the city identified what it calls four “Major Events” this winter. The label makes it sound like Armageddon. Actually, the four “Major Events” didn’t amount to much snow, although it cost Mark Jane and Joe Kapanski suspiciously large amounts of money.

  • Major Event 1 — Dec. 1, 2019. The city spent for 963 hours of hired contracted for snow plowing and salt/sanding. The Department of Public Services put in 1,032 overtime hours. It used 450 tons of snow and salt. Contractors received $85,000. City OT cost taxpayers $37,867. COMMENT: The city paid DPS employees $36.76 per hour in OT. Contractors received $88.26 an hour. The 1,995 hours the city reports dealing with “Major Event 1” equals 83 man-days. In other words, it took Pittsfield the equivalent of nearly 12 weeks operating 24 hours a day!!
  • Major Event 2 — Dec. 17, 2019. 635 contractor hours. 533 DPS overtime hours. 54 hours of “supplemental overtime” (whatever that is). 500 tons of salt-sand used. Contractors were paid $56,723. Taxpayers funded $21,787 in DPS overtime. Contractors were again paid $88/hour. City OT cost $41/hour. It took 1,232 man-hours, or nearly 51 days to tame M.E. 2.
  • Major Event 3 — Dec. 30, 2019. 264 contractor hours. 347 DPS OT hours. 48 hours of “supplemental overtime.” 680 tons of sand/salt. $25,737 paid to contractors. $15,395 in DPS overtime. Contractors were paid $97.48/hour. City OT cost $44.36 an hour. Time, 659 hours or four weeks.
  • Major Event 4 — Jan. 16, 2020. 305 contractor hours. 435 DPS OT hours. 81 hours of “supplemental overtime.” 490 tons of salt/sand. Contractors pulled down $24,872. DPS OT came to $17,247. Contractors got $81.54/hour. City OT cost $39.64/hour. Total time, 821 hours or five weeks.

Do these figures seem excessive? Is there a major rip-off going on here?

These four “Major Events” took Pittsfield 4,707 man-hours to deal with, or 196 days of working 24 hours a day. It ate up 2,120 tons of sand and salt. None of the snow events were disabling. Should a contractor be getting almost $100 an hour? Is anyone monitoring or auditing the reported hours? Is anyone monitoring or auditing what plow jockeys are doing during these hours? Are any current of former public officials receiving “free” snow removal at the Kapanskis’ expense?

Conclusion: Next time it snows, you know that if you’re a Pittsfield taxpayer, you’re in for a snow job. This avalanche has at least six more weeks to go.

Oh, and two more additional words for you: FORENSIC AUDIT.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

———————————————————————-

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else”Yogi Berra.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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JoeKapanski
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JoeKapanski

And here’s my two words for the weekend. Getting Screwed

Johnny99
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Johnny99

And here’s my two words for you Kapanskis – screw you

Johnny99
Guest
Johnny99

I predict it will snow over 20 inches in the course of 2 days later this winter and the snow removal cost will exceed 125,000 dollars and the plow guy will still leave 5 yards of snow in front of my driveway. Note to plow guy – the road ends where the driveway begins. Try plowing the whole street and earn your 100 per hour.

Police Report
Guest
Police Report

Dan a follow up question for Kufflinks, if the City was $2.1 million in the hole last year, wouldn’t it have been prudent to bump up their budget totals for this year? Why not split the difference and add 1.05 million to last years budget? Why continue to operate winter roads at a staggering deficit? If they over estimate it and it is unspent it can end up as stabilization or certified free cash. Kufflinks could get into the betting game, look at the farmers almanac and increase the budget based on predictions in the book. The funny part is, the almanac predicted colder than average temps for 66% of the country for 2019/2020 winter and if he upped his budget by 66% he’d have been at an extra $528K. 800k + $528k = 1,328k. OR If he took last years overage of $2.1… Read more »

Leaf Squad
Guest
Leaf Squad

P R..Daniel..I would go back a few years ago. During that winter period there was two days in month of April (Two) where the accumulation of snow in those (Two) days,exceeded the entire snowfall for the entire winter. Which was a phenomenon.

Find out what the over budget was that winter? If I recall someone within the ranks said that although it was a mild winter money was spent for treating icy streets.

Another important issue is the ability to raise above budgeted cost to maintain the streets,it’s the law. But there has definitely been something odd for many years.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Last winter was over by 2.3 and the year before was 1.1 so it is no secret as I have railed on this for 6 months.Its the only budget that is allowed to be settled after the budget year with free cash.Allowing this means Tyer could bring in a budget that cut taxes by a few bucks knowing full well it would be 2 million over requiring a tax increase.Fooling everyone like the Berkshire Eagle that it cut the budget.This is one item you should over budget.Tyer spent 5 million extra on schools as the state sent us tax relief payments and she spent it to hire 35 more school employees.Where is the Berkshire Eagle on that story.Did they really hire all 35 or did they hire 15 and where is the balance of that cash.Our CC is just not intellectually interested in the… Read more »

Police Report
Guest
Police Report

It’s a Kufflinks shell game. He knows he can underfund winter roads because he’s legally allowed to do so. By doing that he reduces the increase in spending, by percentage, from the prior fiscal year.

FY20 Budget Summary
Expenditures: The proposed FY20 municipal operating budget is $175,487,453 reflecting a 3.9% increase over FY19. This proposal includes increases in the following fixed costs: (1) a $1,400,000 increase in health insurance; (2) a $200,524 increase in the retirement contribution; and (3) a $188,448 increase in solid waste collection and disposal. In addition to these increases, there is a $2,299,695 decrease in long-term debt payments, principal and interest.

Notice they don’t include the mention of the $2.1 over in winter roads. It would virtually wipe out any benefit decrease in long term debt payments.

Kufflinks shell game.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

Can you spell F O R E N S I C A U D I T? Those two words are responsible for more nervous breakdowns than mother in laws.

Johnny99
Guest
Johnny99

Johnny, here’s two words for you and any other Kapanski caring citizen – not happening. The GOBSIGs won’t let it and that’s what my “screw you” comment to Joe Kapanski was about.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

May not happen. But I like to visualize some local folk urinating in their undies every time they see or hear those two words. And you know who they are. Go to one of the Gosib parties and whisper FORENSIC AUDIT into the microphone and then start looking for damp crotches and stammering politicians.

CC The Maze Sun
Guest
CC The Maze Sun

“Do you still remember
December’s foggy freeze?
When the ice that
Clings on to your beard was
Screaming agony.
And you snatch your rattling last breaths
With deep-sea-diver sounds,
And the flowers bloom like
Madness in the spring.

Sun streaking cold
An old man wandering lonely.
Taking time
The only way he knows.
Leg hurting bad,
As he bends to pick a dog-end
He goes down to the bog
And warms his feet.

Feeling alone
The army’s up the road
Salvation à la mode and a cup of tea“
– Jethro Tull

CC The Maze Sun
Guest
CC The Maze Sun

“You can shine your shoes and wear a suit
You can comb your hair and look quite cute
You can hide your face behind a smile
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

You can wear a mask and paint your face
You can call yourself the human race
You can wear a collar and a tie
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside

You can live a lie until you die
One thing you can’t hide
Is when you’re crippled inside”
– Polythene Pam

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

Matt Kerwood’s picture should be on the dart boards of every Pittsfield taxpayer. The city government has $10.1 million in reserves. Yet, Matt Kerwood is still raising municipal taxes and fees, and municipal debts/liabilities. Why does Pittsfield City Hall have such a big slush fund? Pittsfield has a distressed economy. Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski are parting with their hard-earned money to pay for Pittsfield politics, while out-of-town millionaires and cultural venues continue to get millions of dollars in tax breaks. I could do the same con job that Matt Kerwood does! I could overtax tens of thousands of Pittsfield residents and hundreds of Pittsfield small businesses that aren’t getting lovely Linda Tyer’s red carpet treatment, put $10.1 million dollars into a municipal reserve slush fund, and give out-of-town millionaires and cultural venues millions of dollars in tax breaks. And, when it snows, I… Read more »

Shakes
Guest
Shakes

I’m pretty sure Clowncil votes on the budget. Difficult to assign responsibility to Administration.

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

Sarcasm: You are right. Matt Kerwood is a financial genius. It is all the City Clowncil’s fault that Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski are getting the old shakedown from Pittsfield politics. The lovely Linda Tyer’s $10.1 million slush fund should be a lot higher. Raise municipal taxes and fees so high that Pittsfield taxpayer’s can no longer afford to eat and heat their homes. Give all of your hard earned money to Pittsfield politics! If you can afford to move out of Pittsfield, there are some nice upscale condo’s in Lenox. And, you might be neighbors with a former Pittsfield Mayor, too, when he is not at his upscale condo in Naples, Florida.

Shskes
Guest
Shskes

Cash reserves are an important part of operating a city. They ebb and flow, but 10M is not out of like for a city Pittsfield’s size.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

The question is, where are they ebbing and flowing to? And a forensic audit might show us if they are ebbing and flowing in a positive direction. The mayor should check this out right now as she is ultimately responsible for the oversight of the city finances. Or not?

Have I brought up this forensic audit thing before?

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

My opinion of Matt Kerwood’s $10.1 million in reserves is that it is nothing more than his slush fund via the shaken-down Pittsfield taxpayers! It is unconscionable that the lovely Linda Tyer continues to raise Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski’s municipal taxes and fees while having a huge slush fund.

Sojourner Truth
Guest
Sojourner Truth

Off Topic: Wayfair has stated that there were no layoffs in Pittsfield. Can anyone give an accurate number of current Wayfair employees who are presently domiciled in its Pittsfield call center ?

Leaf Squad
Guest
Leaf Squad

Speaking of jobs and revenues. Can the marijuana proceeds be used to offset the water rates project?

Police Report
Guest
Police Report

You bring up an interesting question how many actual employees are at Wayfair Pittsfield? This is actually a difficult number to ascertain as they are counting “employees” differently for different things. They have internal employees that come and train local new hires but based on the agreement with the MEACC Wayfair can “double count” their employees that do temporary work in Pittsfield as part of that staffing headcount. Right now best guesstimate of local employees, about 60-70. When I toured the facility and viewed their training floor and call center “nest, there seemed to be about 40 operators along with some new hires in training with trainers recently laid off from LL Bean. The trainers, tech, most of management and HR are from outside the area moved in temporarily to bring the facility online. They are counted towards the headcount but most live elsewhere… Read more »

Barry Clairmont
Guest
Barry Clairmont

Just over 200. They are going to increase to 350, not the original projection of 300. They were only supposed to be at 100 at this point. They are ramping up quicker than anticipated.

Barry

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

Hello Barry, Please explain why Wayfair has yet to report a quarterly profit? Will Wayfair be able to compete with Amazon in the 2020’s decade?

Johnny99
Guest
Johnny99

Thank you for the info.

Police Report
Guest
Police Report

This is a complete falsehood. They took longer that expected to open, and are taking longer to hire. Further during the “nesting process”, where trainees move from training to live calls, the attrition rate has been higher than expected, and performance worse than expected. The “good or above average” performers are being encouraged to consider taking jobs elsewhere in the company. Two employees have already been offered jobs outside of Pittsfield. The call metrics for the average Pittsfield employee is worst for most of the training centers. Where people claim the employment numbers are going to be higher or they are hiring faster, is based solely on the movement of existing employees (trainers, managers, HR, and tech support) from other locations to Pittsfield for the short term ramp up. The inflow of employees is high based on the inability of finding good local candidates.… Read more »

EddieP
Guest
EddieP

How many did Wayfair lay off in Boston and worldside? SeemsI saw a story in the paper.

Police Report
Guest
Police Report

350 in Boston, 200 in other locations so 550 world wide.

Funny that they lay off 350 and Barry says they are going to hire 350 in Pittsfield.

Mr. Fritz
Guest
Mr. Fritz

His credibility is gonzo.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

But, but…Barry said…..and why would we doubt him?
hee hee

Mad Trapper
Guest
Mad Trapper

Sotero or Clairmont?

The former a liar since childhood/fraud, the latter just seems not truthful, unless Linda is involved…..

Christened Studubakor
Guest
Christened Studubakor

It’s all about that tif P R. The criteria is met in the eyes of da law.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

And it is this very kind of disingenuous doublespeak alternative facting that demands a forensic audit. You cannot believe anything that comes out of city hall and someone needs to turn it inside out and find out some truths. The taxpayers deserve to have proof that they are not being taken advantage of. The mayor, Kerwood and Mr. Marchetti should be the ones pushing for it so that they can prove everything is on the up and up. What in the world are they so afraid of?? And outside of Scanlons comment has any other city politician even weighed in on the subject? And if not why not?

Kermit Frog
Guest
Kermit Frog

BC is really BS. The worst was his performance about the Beacon. Total snow job there too.

bumfinds anut
Guest
bumfinds anut

Barry would not have been re-elected a la Lothrop,he got out in time.

Blare
Guest
Blare

“The call metrics for the average Pittsfield employee is worst for most of the training centers.”

Leaving side the mangled syntax of this sentence, here’s what you are saying: Piitsfieldians are morons who can’t even handle call center-type work. Super – not only do you have contempt for Pittsfield’s leadership, you have contempt for the city’s residents.

Why the hell do you live here???

Merry & Bright
Guest
Merry & Bright

Barry – Since you seem to have the inside information, did they offer any of the 350 laid off workers an option to relocate to Pittsfield? If it is true what you are saying, why would Wayfair lay off these workers if they planned to increase in Pittsfield, especially since they are having trouble finding local workers. What you are saying makes no sense, then again maybe all 350 refused to move to Pittsfield because of the shambles the City is in.

Police Report
Guest
Police Report

So that you understand what’s going on, the jobs in Boston are programming jobs that pay in upwards of $150k a year. The jobs in Pittsfield are mostly $16 hour ($32k a year) call center operators. They are not the same type of job, not even in the same category. The jobs are also populated by H1Bs who would not be eligible for transfer out of category. Wayfair is cutting staff to meet a revenue target and to manipulate a stock price. Wayfair will release financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019 before the opening of the market on February 28, 2020. Now all indicators are they are cutting staff and slowing expansion due to revenue. Their “reinvestment” has well outpaced their sales growth. If you look back at the dotcom bubble, Wayfair is of that same mindset. They are operating… Read more »

Blare
Guest
Blare

“Wayfair is cutting staff to meet a revenue target and to manipulate a stock price.” Cutting staff to meet a revenue target? Think before you type. Really, really stupid comment. One of many stupid comments in this post. Really makes me wonder about your objectives, spewing nastiness about things that you know nothing about. Couple of points: 1. The “early investors” in Wayfair have long since cashed out. You are clueless. 2. Current investors and holdings include: Fidelity – about $800 million Vanguard – about $450 million Baillie Gifford – about $500 million Luanne, Cunniff – about $320 million Hmm, I wonder who knows more about the likelihood Wayfair succeeds. Investment operations of the highest caliber or a rumor-mongerer who claims to have both the “inside scoop” and expertise in virtually every matter that is raised on this board. Tough call. Regardless, I assume… Read more »

Chuck Vincelette
Guest
Chuck Vincelette

I think I just read that Wayfair is attempting to cut costs by cutting employees?

Kermit Frog
Guest
Kermit Frog

It’s a shame the schools don’t do that too. Did you see the Beagle and it’s report on Berkshire Hills School budget? Fewer kids and yet larger budget. Apparently they have fixed costs like salaries! The performance is those schools has had a real nose dive since the current school committee and superintendent. With the management it’s the general case of someone with a 100 iq thinking they are much, much brighter. The principals are keep quitting too. Not good.

Kermit Frog
Guest
Kermit Frog

The auto correct has me seeming even less intelligent than a 100iq. I think my phone is spiteful sometimes. It might be a gobsig. Heh.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

What is also ramping up is the taxpayer share of subsidizing iffy business investments in Pittsfield. Can anyone name the last business that came here and wasn’t given a handout that came partially out of senior citizens pockets?

James
Guest
James

Don Daly sure nails it. I only hope our local dems pay for this next election. Letter: Bipartisanship worked for Berkshire County Posted Thursday, February 13, 2020 6:00 pm To the editor: As Berkshire residents should remember, his impeachment vote was not the first time Sen. Mitt Romney bucked party politics and did the right thing. When Berkshire District Attorney Gerry Downing tragically died in 2003, the Republican Party bigwigs wanted then- Massachusetts Gov. Romney to appoint one of their own. Instead, Mitt decided to do the right thing for Berkshire County and appointed longtime First Assistant DA David Capeless, a lifelong Democrat and the one candidate with real experience and know-how. Letter: Bipartisanship worked for Berkshire County Posted Thursday, February 13, 2020 6:00 pmAfter 14 years of effective, professional leadership by Capeless, Mitt was proven right. Fellow Democrats should be as ashamed as… Read more »

Pat
Guest
Pat

The problem is that far left politics has infected our local elections. This is why we ended up with a far left District Attorney. Your Democrat party has been taken over by radicals. That is the problem.

I thought Romney made the wrong decision because President Trump did not commit an impeachable crime. It’s that simple. Romney may have not liked President Trump looking into the missing billion dollars from the previous administration, but President Trump had every right to be concerned before handing over even more money to Ukraine.

If you truly want bipartisanship, then nobody should be ashamed if the other party makes a good decision. People make good and bad decisions from both parties.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

We always go broke under Republicans

Maggie May
Guest
Maggie May

Capeless effective leadership? Ba Ha Ha really? Once again I will remind you this is a ELECTED position not one that is handed off to your friend over lunch at the ITAM club. You might also check 2018 crime in Pittsfield was actually down for the serious murder/homicide and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Facts suck I know.

EWendt
Guest
EWendt

Here’s a tip for Harrington: never claim credit for when crime is down. It has very little to do with you.

MaggieMay
Guest
MaggieMay

Hey, that’s my handle

NEPOTISM LIVES
Guest
NEPOTISM LIVES

Oh, like how Harrington tried to put supporter Alf Barbalunga in the Juvenile Clerk Magistrate’s job?
And about that 2018 crime report–Hack Harrington didn’t take office until 2019.
Guess facts do suck.

Shakes
Guest
Shakes

My hourly rate to municipal clients is $105 and I don’t have specialized equipment and associated enhanced liability insurance. If any of this blog readers want to buy the equipment and truck and insurance then go out in snow to make $100/hr, have at it.

Pat
Guest
Pat

I agree Dan that 126,000 years ago, nobody could blame humans for the melting ice in the artic. Bernie Sanders and his far left supporters want to ban vehicles, however, which means we will all be on public transportation except for the important people that his far left supporters are perfectly fine thinking that the important people like politicians and Hollywood stars should not have to make the sacrifices the rest of us will have to make for climate change. It’s unbelievable to me that in a country like America, we have a candidate for president like Bernie Sanders and that people are so willing, even eager, to be bossed around by their own government with the Green New Deal. Bernie Sanders honeymooned in Russia (who does that?) and can’t stop praising Communist countries, but the far left has the nerve to portray President… Read more »

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

If Trump said he was going solar this entire board would say Trump is a genius..Right Pat

Pat
Guest
Pat

I don’t agree with everything President Trump proposes because I dissect the situation and look at both sides of the issue. President Trump wants to plant a lot more trees across the country. I love trees. They do provide cooling, but they also give off pollen that cause many people (including myself ) to have allergies. Also we already have an abundance of trees in this country. I would be fine if older trees and forests were cut down and replaced with new trees especially in places like California where many older forests are now fire hazards. Just going around randomly planting trees, however, doesn’t seem like a good idea except to climate change fanatics who think more trees will save us from climate disaster.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Councilor Moon White Marchetti and Caccamo are environmentalists except at the Allendale School.

Marie Huanuh
Guest
Marie Huanuh

That’s called selectedenviormentalism. Must be deep state pols.

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

The biggest story in Berkshire County in 2 decades is Monday’s announcement of a settlement between the EPA and GE to cleanup the Housatonic River from Pittsfield south to Sheffield. Yet, no news media outlet has written on how it will be financed. GE will not state on the public record how much money it will spend on the cleanup project. Nor has GE explained their accounting methods. What this means is that GE has agreed to the cleanup of toxic waste industrial chemicals called PCBs, but they haven’t committed to paying for it. I could promise to cleanup the Housatonic River, too, but until I say how I will finance the project, my promise is empty. What if GE only pays for part of the cleanup? What if GE uses accounting fraud, as they have done since 1995 to the tune of tens… Read more »

Soldure Geruntz
Guest
Soldure Geruntz

One of our fine City Councilors states we should approve many initiatves now because the cost after kicking it down the road will be exhorborant if we wait. But what is incredible is the hypocrisy of letting certain authorizations die on the vine and content to pay Interest on debt. Where is this C C concerning that? You can’t have in both ways. Clear this up,cash isn’t free and Opebs are going to be a serious problem.

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

Sarcasm: I promise to pay Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski one million dollars a day by paying the Kapanski family $1 per thousand years over the next one billion years. Also, I am a GE Accountant who will pay for the non-financed Housatonic River cleanup settlement on Monday, 2/10/2020. I promise to pay for it by not committing to paying one billion dollars by paying $1 per year over the next billion years. Oh, by the way, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski and EPA bureaucrats, I have committed accounting fraud to the tune of tens of billions of U.S. Dollars since 1995 and I am being investigated by the SEC. Oh, by the way, Mr. and Mrs. Kapanski and EPA bureaucrats, I may file for bankruptcy protection in the next 5 – 10 years. Oh, by the way, Kapanski family and EPA bureaucrats, I… Read more »

Gigi
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Gigi
MaggieMay
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MaggieMay

Deport all their asses.

The school committee
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The school committee

The Mayor has not cut one nickle in 5 years.Tyer Marchetti Mccandless and Elias are all very immature financial decision makers.They never speak like they even have experience with their own checkbooks.Elias must one day come of age as a money manager.Mccandless so clearly gets a allowance at home.Tyer also does not do her bills. Marchetti has not shown he is a capable money manager.The state sends 5 million for taxpayer relief and our taxes go up and we are going to go over budget.The number one problem is that no politician on the council lives in poverty.No school committee person lives in poverty.They have cocktails at the best bars and the nicest homes.I just hope the new councilors can say no to spending more money.The drug of choice for politicians is your Social Security check.They govern from the top down and they should… Read more »

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

The people you mention were not put forward to be in positions of power to cut spending. In fact, they were promoted into elected positions or appointed positions for the sole purpose of making sure NOTHING did get cut. And that is the ever so sad realty of Pittsfield politics and one more glaring reason a forensic audit could help the city regain its footing on reality budgeting.

Pat
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Pat

Why are far left supporters so willing to give up their power to big government? Do they think that since they know people in far left government that they and their families will get special treatment and NOT have to make the sacrifices that the rest of us would have to make for the Green New Deal? Really, I think it’s time we all had this conversation. With a far left socialist/communist running as the top choice for the Democrat party, the silence is deafening as to what exactly are the plans of Bernie Sanders for this country or even of Pete Buttigieg and are these good plans? Instead the far left is intentionally keeping the focus on President Trump so they can avoid any critical questions about the Green New Deal and their agenda for this country that is frighteningly similar to Venezuela… Read more »

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

So there was an article recently about a new DPW head honcho. I guess he has been a temp till now. Article seemed to suggest that after a long search the city could find no one and so this guy was given the job? Did I read that correctly? the article did not say much of his background, experience or where he is from or if he is related to a local bigwig.

Whatever, he has a big job and a city rife with neglected infrastructure and so I wish him well. Hopefully he is well qualified and is allowed to do the job without being tied to the mayors apron strings or influenced by special interests. Not likely but let us hope so. Anybody know anything about this guy?

Wilson
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Wilson

he’s “excited” about spending $60k to study how the city can buy bikes so people can ride to work and feel “connected”, that’s all you need to know.

JoeKapanski
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JoeKapanski

Yup.

Mad Trapper
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Mad Trapper

Um the crack/heroin dealers don’t drive to work on bikes

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

and you know that because?

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

Wouldn’t you just love to own a bike shop in Pittsfield right now?

Pat
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Pat

Can you just picture all of us riding bikes in the weather we get in this area? Talk about driving down the population. That scenario would kill a lot of people very quickly. Put aside the whipping winds, plummeting temperatures in the winter, heat and humidity in the summer, torrential rains and black ice, but imagine a bicycle hitting one of the huge pot holes in the city that are now the size of craters on many streets and you can see a recipe for disaster. The only thing we are going to “feel connected” to is some very hard concrete when we topple from our bikes.

Merry & Bright
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Merry & Bright

Lovely Linda was also quoted in the article stating that many of the candidates interviewed didn’t meet the criteria “nor did they fit into the culture of our organization”. What does this mean? What is her culture? Also, how much did us taxpayers pay for the consultant hired to help find a suitable replacement, which they evidently did not deliver what they were paid to do. Could it mean that the interviewees maybe did not want to go along with Lovely Linda’s and Kufflinks budget’s games? Also, why does this Administration always have to hire consultants? Wonder how much money has been wasted in consultant fees in the past 5 years?

firedandbetterforit
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firedandbetterforit

Consultant fees and courtroom litigation.

Markus Aureluis
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Markus Aureluis

M&B-I think we all know what Linda means by “nor did they fit into the culture of our organization.” Translation = Only qualified white men applied. The local Dem’s are against: white men, working families, US citizens. Instead, they are concerned with: restorative justice (working well in Chicago, SF), hiring less qualified minorities to “fit into the culture,” harvest more welfare rats for votes….toss in illegals also. It’s the same thing I have to read about Cory Booker and Kamala Harris and the lack of color in the presidential race. Here’s a hint: they (especially Harris) can only play the race card so many times. Not to mention, just because I don’t agree with a person of color, it’s a simple disagreement. I’m not racist. And I ask-why is it, if 4 black males beat up a white guy, it’s assault and battery. If… Read more »

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

I hope Dan can squeeze in a story about this position and its apparent political association with the mayors office in Pittsfield. M & B, you are right about that quote, “nor did they fit into the culture of our organization.” I would also would like to know exactly what that means. In the past 20 years it has meant that the city roads have fallen apart. Buildings have been neglected and snow removal operations seemed unpredictable. Not to mention the DPW budget and missing salt and fuel etc. For the sake of the city I hope this guy has some balls to stand up to the power structure. Otherwise he might be in for a rough ride. I believe both the mayor and newspaper hoped this short story/announcement would blow by unnoticed and certainly not discussed by the general public. Also, looks like… Read more »

Johnny99
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Johnny99

Awful write up – nothing on the mans’ background other than he was city engineer, and didn’t want the permanent job. What are his qualifications and where did he come from? As others point out, why the need for a consultant? Why can’t get city get decent hires? Why are people jumping ship? It’s not all about the money. Something else is going on in this once fair city. And what’s this bs about not fitting in the culture? You mean they were white males???? And why did the city even consider others who were unqualified? The article raises more questions that it answers. The new hire may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but who really knows, other than he is excited about a bike share program, which will just be another total wast of tax dollars, right up there with laptops… Read more »

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

Maybe the candidates who “did not fit into the culture of our organization” were also candidates who refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement? Is it possible that all this talk about a forensic audit is causing a paranoia where people are being zipped up from the get go? Of course this is ridiculous. Or, this is Pittsfield and it may not be ridiculous.

Gigi
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Gigi

Failed presidential candidate “Hildebeast” as VP to Doomberg? God help us!
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8007521/Mike-Bloomberg-wants-Hillary-Clinton-running-mate-say-sources.html

Pat
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Pat

What a horrible combination!!!

The school committee
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The school committee

Both are stable and qualified.

Pat
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Pat

While not as bad as Bernie, Bloomberg also likes to take a “big government knows best” approach to so many issues. The far left worries so much about not exposing the young to authoritarian figures in the schools, but they are just fine with creating the ultimate authority figure in “big government”. Big government as an all knowing and all seeing entity that watches our every move, tells us how to live our lives, and takes away our private vehicles and perhaps someday will even take aim at anyone owning private property. This socialist/communist utopia has been attempted in so many countries and always ends up with big government drunk with cash and power while the people below suffer from this inequality of power.

Mr. Fritz
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Mr. Fritz

If Little Mike should win – then he’d have to worry about being “arkancided.”

Be The Change
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Be The Change

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acheshirecat
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acheshirecat

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CC The Maze Sun
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CC The Maze Sun

“Ears they have, but they cannot hear. Eyes they have, but they cannot see. That is why I speak to them in binary code. That they may see but not get the sense of it”
– Digital HeyZeus

Free Bird
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Free Bird

Off topic, but maybe Taconic High School is finally becoming a quality vocational school instead of the dumping ground it once was…
https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/school-leaders-ponder-vocational-only-high-school-as-taconics-enrollment-grows,597178?

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

So funny. ” Maybe Pittsfield high could highlight Arts and Humanities.” Uh, has this guy ever been in that school when the student body was between classes? They are not exactly the Philharmonic Choir over there ya know. Ask the chief what percentage he thinks are gang members and then see if you think you want to highlight arts and Humanities. Jesus!!

Mad Trapper
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Mad Trapper

Democrats, your votes don’t count at all, it’s all RIGGED by the DNC!!!

https://ivn.us/posts/something-has-to-give-the-case-for-independents-1-3

“Rather than reflecting on the consternation everyday voters are having over the conduct of the Democratic presidential primary, the Democratic National Committee is doubling down on the assertion that the primary election belongs to the people who control the party — not voters.

In the transcript for last week’s hearing in Wilding, et. al. v. DNC Services, d/b/a DNC and Deborah “Debbie” Wasserman Schultz, released Friday, DNC attorneys assert that the party has every right to favor one candidate or another, despite their party rules that state otherwise because, after all, they are a private corporation and they can change their rules if they want.”

Johnny2Shoes
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Johnny2Shoes

For those who might not have seen this article. This woman put it in a pretty good perspective way about her journey into what is going on in the political divide.

https://gen.medium.com/ive-been-a-democrat-for-20-years-here-s-what-i-experienced-at-trump-s-rally-in-new-hampshire-c69ddaaf6d07

asterolegistfizzygeious
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asterolegistfizzygeious

Big crowd at former geaa good for them.

Pat
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Pat

Great article. She is right. The Dems are so out of touch with the majority of people in this country.

NEPOTISM LIVES
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NEPOTISM LIVES

The former Clerk of the Juvenile Court has retired and Pittsfiled’s Prince Alf Barbalunga has his eye on the $150K year position which is awarded after the same rigorous process state judges go through. Political as is gets. There are currently no women or people of color holding either Clerk-Magistrate or Assitant Clerk-Magistrate positions in Berkshire County. The superior court clerk’s position, held by Deb Capeless is an elected post. Let’s look at the rundown here in BerkshireCounty: North Adams–former city solicitor and assistant district attorney, both men, both lawyers. Pittsfield–former state rep, probation officer, and defense attorney, all three men, two with law degrees. Great Barrington–former court officer, probation officer, assistant clerk, and another former state rep, neither of whom have law degrees, and both of whom are men. $150K a year. And now, with his eyes on the prize, the Prince of… Read more »

Johnny99
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Johnny99

And perhaps Police Report will enlighten us about how the GOBSIGs got rid of Linda Barry, who was an outstanding assistant clerk magistrate in the central berkshire court????

Planet Valenti