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CONFLICT AND THE COUNCIL’S VOTE ON THE SCHOOL BUDGET

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION JUNE 26-8, 2020) — The Commonwealth’s Conflict of Interest laws are designed to prevent office holders from voting on matters where they can reasonably be perceived as having an evident financial interest in the outcome.

Based on the law, THE PLANET recently asked Our Right Honorable Good Friends on the Pittsfield City Council if they had conflicts preventing them from voting on the city’s $128 million school department budget (for the proper perspective of this figure, the rest of the city, all departments, runs on $52 million). We heard from nine. Helen Moon and Tony Maffuccio did not respond. Two recused, Seven said they could vote.

Throwing Moon and Maffuccio in with the two who recused, only seven remain who could legally vote. However, two of those might be questionable. If they are conflicted, only five could legally vote. Votes in conflict draw a $10,000-to-$20,000 fine not covered by bond.

Let THE PLANET begin with a brief summary of the law from mass.gov:

The conflict of interest law seeks to prevent conflicts between private interests and public duties, foster integrity in public service, and promote the public’s trust and confidence in that service by placing restrictions on what municipal employees may do on the job, after hours, and after leaving public service, as described below. The sections referenced below are sections of G.L. c. 268A.

When the Commission determines that the conflict of interest law has been violated, it can impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 ($25,000 for bribery cases) for each violation. In addition, the Commission can order the violator to repay any economic advantage he gained by the violation, and to make restitution to injured third parties. Violations of the conflict of interest law can also be prosecuted criminally.

A municipal employee may not participate in any particular matter in which he or a member of his immediate family (parents, children, siblings, spouse, and spouse’s parents, children, and siblings) has a financial interest. He also may not participate in any particular matter in which a prospective employer, or a business organization of which he is a director, officer, trustee, or employee has a financial interest. Participation includes discussing as well as voting on a matter, and delegating a matter to someone else.

A financial interest may create a conflict of interest whether it is large or small, and positive or negative. In other words, it does not matter if a lot of money is involved or only a little. It also does not matter if you are putting money into your pocket or taking it out. If you, your immediate family, your business, or your employer have or has a financial interest in a matter, you may not participate. The financial interest must be direct and immediate or reasonably foreseeable to create a conflict. Financial interests which are remote, speculative or not sufficiently identifiable do not create conflicts.

A municipal employee may not act in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to think that she would show favor toward someone or that she can be improperly influenced. Section 23(b)(3) requires a municipal employee to consider whether her relationships and affiliations could prevent her from acting fairly and objectively when she performs her duties for a city or town. If she cannot be fair and objective because of a relationship or affiliation, she should not perform her duties. However, a municipal employee, whether elected or appointed, can avoid violating this provision by making a public disclosure of the facts. An appointed employee must make the disclosure in writing to his appointing official.

———- ooo ———-

Nick Caccamo (3), Chris Connell (4), Patrick Kavey (5), Dina Guiel-Lampiasi (6), Earl Persip (at-large), Peter White (a-l), and Peter Marchetti (a-l) reported no conflict. Kevin Morandi (2) and Yuki Cohen (a-l) recused themselves, attorneys from the State Ethics Commission advising each to do so.

With this, some discussion and commentary:

GUIEL-LAMPIASI
“To be clear, I have no conflict in either of the areas you inquired about. Conflict of interest law is well established and those who serve in government, elected or appointed, are required to complete regular trainings. These trainings help one to identify potential conflicts and also provide guidance on next steps. To that end, it is unfortunate when seasoned public servants fail to recognize such obvious violations of the law.”
THE PLANET COMMENTS: The councilwoman makes an excellent point. When alleged “public servants” put their interests instead of their constituencies, they inflict incalculable damage on the body public, not the least of which is the further destruction of public trust. Two other councilors’ remarks bear comment.

CACCAMO 

“One of the appealing aspects about Pittsfield is it’s large town, small city size. It’s large enough to have abundant open space and small enough to be able to know the community on a personal level. Yes, I have friends who work in public safety, the school department, and city hall. This does not pose a conflict of interest. Under MGL, a financial conflict of interest only applies to immediate family.”

THE PLANET : Caccamo’s response stems from his narrow interpretation of the law. Conflict of interest does not apply “only to immediate family.” It applies to anyone who can’t render a neutral judgment because of affiliation. The law: Section 23(b)(3) requires a municipal employee to consider whether her relationships and affiliations could prevent her from acting fairly and objectively when she performs her duties for a city or town. If she cannot be fair and objective because of a relationship or affiliation, she should not perform her duties. Caccamo admits to having “friends who work … in the school department” and fails to disclose specifics as the law requires for exemption. If he votes, he will be in conflict, calling into moral and legal question the legitimacy of the council’s decision.

PATRICK

“The conflict of interest law, G. L. c. 268A, is intended to prevent, among other things, self-dealing.  Section 19 of the law generally prohibits a municipal employee (paid or unpaid, appointed or elected, full-time or part-time) from participating in any particular matter in which the municipal employee, an immediate family member or partner, or a business organization in which he or she has certain affiliations, has a financial interest. I have no family member or partner who works for the Pittsfield Public Schools. I am not part of any business organization which has financial interests pertaining to Pittsfield Public Schools. The only grey area I noticed was with section 23(b)(3). My next-door neighbors are educators. 23(b)(3) states that a public employee may not act in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to think that she would show favor toward someone or that she can be improperly influenced. Section 23(b)(3) of G.L. c. 268A requires a public employee to consider whether his or her relationships and affiliations could prevent them from acting fairly and objectively when performing their duties for a city or town.  If they cannot be fair and objective because of a relationship or affiliation, they should not perform their duties.  However, a public employee, whether elected or appointed, can avoid violating this provision by making a public disclosure of the facts. An appointed employee must make the disclosure in writing to his or her appointing official. I have made a public disclosure with the City Clerk pertaining to my neighbors. I have no plan to recuse myself because I am still able at this time to make a fair and objective decision pertaining to the school budget.” 
 
THE PLANET:  Kavey did right thing in reporting the relationship to his next-door neighbors. Not having seen his disclosure to the city clerk, though, it’s questionable whether he can legally vote. We advise Kavey to seek counsel.

———- 000 ———-

Wouldn’t it be “so-Pittsfield” if only five councilors could legally vote on the school budget? And in case you’re wondering about our view that Moon and Maffuccio have conflicts, THE PLANET gave each ample (and repeated) opportunity to respond. We take that as an admission of guilt. A vote by either one on the school budget may result in a legal challenge.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

———————————————————————————————————–

“I am the philosopher of ‘perhaps'”Friedrich Nietzsche.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information, hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer. Copyright (c) 2020 by Dan Valenti.

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Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
17 days ago

Only the “small fish” politicians get investigated for alleged “ethics” violations in Massachusetts politics. The “big fish” are so totally corrupt and powerful that it takes the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring them down. My experiences and thoughts on Massachusetts “ethics” laws is that the corrupt and powerful “big fish” politicians (anonymously) lodge “ethics” complaints against the “little fish” politicians when they don’t fall in line. In closing, Massachusetts “ethics” laws are really only used for retribution against state and local workers and politicians – or the proverbial little guys – or the Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski’s of the political world – instead of for good governance!

JoeKapanski
JoeKapanski
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
17 days ago

I agree Mr. Melle. The law is a lot like a paper tiger. Not much of a bite to them. Your boy Red Sox Ruberto got a slap on the wrist for his free tickets.

Johhny2Shoes
Johhny2Shoes
Reply to  JoeKapanski
17 days ago

Forgot about that. Roberto ticketgate.

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  JoeKapanski
17 days ago

I think the current regime feels comfortable that what little oversight there is would be quite lenient with them a well. History kind of reinforces that.

Johhny2Shoes
Johhny2Shoes
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
17 days ago

JM,
So true of what you said in your post. Make it to the big leagues and your golden.

JohnnyComeLately
JohnnyComeLately
17 days ago

Dan, you are assuming no answer is an answer, when it comes to the the great one, Maffuch, and Moonshot. Perhaps they just don’t like you and therefore won’t give you the time of day. Just saying.

danvalenti
danvalenti
Reply to  JohnnyComeLately
17 days ago

That could well be true. Saying that is the same as “it might not be true.”

Johnny99
Johnny99
17 days ago

Enjoy the well deserved extended break Dan, and thanks for your work on the school department scam. I like your new formatting changes to your blog.

Be The Change
Be The Change
17 days ago

Trust – I can’t breathe

Saturday Nitefeeve
Saturday Nitefeeve
Reply to  Be The Change
17 days ago

I’d be more concerned about the s c conflict. Councilors take their cue from them,have for decades. The Mayor is a member for krist sakes,Yon draws a big pension.

Scagg Rednicke
Scagg Rednicke
Reply to  Be The Change
17 days ago

This area will spike big time just like the rest of the country. Mayor,you cannot let Camps,Day Cares, beaches,whatever contains kids and out of towers at this time.

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Scagg Rednicke
17 days ago

Go hide in your basement, Scagg – we’ll let you know when it’s safe to come out.

BlueFU
BlueFU
Reply to  Be The Change
17 days ago

Don’t resist arrest. Comply. Better yet, behave to begin with.

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  BlueFU
17 days ago

Don’t deprive my liberty unless you have probable cause.

BlueFU
BlueFU
Reply to  Be The Change
17 days ago

I wouldn’t even consider locking you up without probable cause, but cops don’t need probable cause to stop a person.

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  BlueFU
17 days ago

No, but they need probable cause to detain a person, especially for an extended time frame. . What I mean is you’re standing on my neck & all I’m doing is riding in the passenger seat trying to make my way home. No trouble.

BlueFU
BlueFU
Reply to  Be The Change
15 days ago

They do not need probable cause to detain a person.

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  Be The Change
16 days ago

Or even reasonable suspicion. Resisting arrest is not something I would ever do. I already know I wont stand a chance. I support the LE thru & thru. Regardless of my POS status, I respect the MGL.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Be The Change
17 days ago

U are a POS

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  Mad Trapper
17 days ago

I appreciate your reaching out but, someone in blue who is actually important just reminded me, I am, indeed, a person.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Be The Change
15 days ago

A bad person.

If a “blue” person thinks You are good, they might need reprimand.

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  Mad Trapper
15 days ago

You need reprimand. I did not say “good”.

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
17 days ago

Great article, Dan.
Since Moon & Dina both are employed by the D.A.’s office, isn’t that a conflict of interest for them to vote on the police budget? Their salary is paid by the D.A.’s office, therefore they have a financial stake in carrying out the directives of Harrington’s leftist progressive platform. Both voted on cutting the police budget, right in step with their boss’s agenda.
It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that others on the council have conflicts of interest. Relationships in a small town resemble a spider web.

Nikki NoSocks
Nikki NoSocks
Reply to  Mr. Fritz
17 days ago

Fritz, I had the same concern and looked into it further and was shocked to learn the DA does not fund the PPD or any other police department in the county. No PD are assigned as “DA officers”. They are entirely separate. Neither Moon or Lampiasi are on the payroll of the police department and it looks like they have no obvious financial ties. If they have relationships with employees of the PD that would make them bias in funding- now that may be the sticking point.

Moonshot tried to strip another $250,000 from the PD budget. Lampiasi opposed the motion along with the majority of the council. The final 2021 PD budget was increased by more than $400,000 over the year prior. Moonshot was in the minority in her opposition to the increase. The majority of the council did support reducing the budget by $100,000 but that was after Wynn admitted to over estimating the the new hires. The Originally proposed budget reflected unrealistic new recruits based on dropout trends. The reductions were based on that. Wynn should hide the money better next time.

Mr. Fritz
Mr. Fritz
Reply to  Nikki NoSocks
17 days ago

Thanks for your comments Nikki. While I know that the two offices have no financial connection, the DA’s office does set the tone for county-wide policing. When the DA has a soft policy on incarcerations and bail, it certainly has an effect on the operation of the PD – why should the cops put their lives on the line arresting criminals when the DA’s philosophy is to let them off easy, not require bail, etc? When a city councilor employed by the DA arrogantly wants to strip funds from the PD budget ( which Dina also supported in the final vote) I have to question motivation, as Moon doesn’t seem to question, at all, the overbloated school budget.
Thank you for the intelligent and gracious response to my questions.

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  Nikki NoSocks
17 days ago

I think a forensic audit of all departments would be a good thing.

juicylucy
juicylucy
Reply to  Nikki NoSocks
17 days ago

The corruption in Pittsfield makes Boss Tweed look like he was a saint.

scaredstiff
scaredstiff
Reply to  Mr. Fritz
17 days ago

A district attorney with political or career motivations should terrify all of us.

Mr. Worldwide
Mr. Worldwide
17 days ago

I can’t believe Morandi and Connell wanted to add to the school department budget. Have they gone crazy? They joined Moonshot with their votes.

Jumpin Joe Curtis
Jumpin Joe Curtis
17 days ago

As a former PPs employee and “friend” to many teachers, Caccamo is 100% in conflict and he knows it

What a useless hack-a-mo. Anyone but a millennial hipster 2020

Nikki NoSocks
Nikki NoSocks
Reply to  Jumpin Joe Curtis
17 days ago

Doesn’t he work for the BART charter school in Adams? That’s not a conflict. If it were McGhee shouldn’t be on the school committee at all since she works for GB schools. If you say someone has a conflict you gotta back it up. What’s the conflict for him?

Jumpin Joe Curtis
Jumpin Joe Curtis
Reply to  Nikki NoSocks
17 days ago

I said he was a former pps employee, as in he used to work there.

Nikki NoSocks
Nikki NoSocks
Reply to  Jumpin Joe Curtis
17 days ago

Are you saying he violated the “cooling off period” of one year?

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
17 days ago

THre was a BIG piece on NBCs Today show. About fishing.

Part of it concerned Housatonic river!!!

But NBC “TODAY” left ouit, GE, PCBs, and you can’t eat a fish south of Pittsfield!!!!!

Left winged news, like The Left Winged Parrot! ROFL!!!!

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
17 days ago

Wait, so if you have a relationship with someone (like they are on the board you sit on or used to be on the board) then that is a conflict?

I have heard some conflict of interest whoppers about a nearby town that would make you wonder why some of the local layers are not disbarred.

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  Kermit Frog
17 days ago

Lay it all out there Kermit. We are all about open and honest government after all.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  Johnny Absurdo
17 days ago

It’s not my fight to publicize or I would but there have been some real dirty deeds.

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  Kermit Frog
17 days ago

You hold the information that I need – I know your friend JimmyJingles… call me

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  Be The Change
17 days ago

Let me put on my gambler’s hat first

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  Kermit Frog
17 days ago

There is no need to publicize “some real dirty deeds” in Pittsfield politics because everyone already knows that is how Pittsfield politics operated for years/decades. It is more about being vindictive and dishing out retribution than serving Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski.
Also, I believe Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s 8 years in office was a total failure! Population and job loss, compounded by high municipal taxes, fees, and huge public debts. He made Pittsfield worse off, and his “renaissance” sales pitch did not work out at all for the dangerous downtown.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
17 days ago

Thanks. It’s just the amazing sleazy-ness (is that a word?) … must be more sensible and healthy to take your approach.

Duhmummie
Duhmummie
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
17 days ago

Ruberto Tyer Doyle Bianchi worst Mayors in recent times for sure.

Be The Change
Be The Change
Reply to  Kermit Frog
17 days ago

Please elaborate

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
17 days ago

So if a person or person voted for something and were knowingly in conflict can that particular vote be overturned at a later date possibly causing all kinds of problems? Not to mention the embarrassment for that particular person or persons?

Tocko Kiddre
Tocko Kiddre
Reply to  Johnny Absurdo
17 days ago

Dan,since my posts haven’t going in I’ll give you an eating tip. In a couple weeks TACO bell will sell a grilled cheese Buritto,it hasn’t been on the menu Yet. You have to taste one.

Deenie Doughty
Deenie Doughty
Reply to  Johnny Absurdo
17 days ago

Dan,if the Mayor for instance wanted to have plastic surgery on her nose let’s say,does the medical coverage currently in place pay for that? And do these Co7ncilors and Mayor get dental?

Duhmummie
Duhmummie
Reply to  Johnny Absurdo
17 days ago

Just the fact that these politicians are connected are always a matter of conflict. I’m still reeling over Stanley and Covanta,another was Shaker Village years ago and didn’t we put a copper roof on at he Berkshire Museum a while back? getting the monies they were handed,insanity.

Duhmummie
Duhmummie
Reply to  Johnny Absurdo
17 days ago

Every Councilor in one way or another indirectly is in conflict. Many offices in the cit6 private sector are friends with these Councilors. Why the hell else would Councilor Guiel,let’s say, smile like a Cheshire Cat when one of those zoomers are talking at c c

the school committee
the school committee
17 days ago

Trump had 37,000 Americans test positive today125,000 dead of the Trump Virus

Baruoce Leee
Baruoce Leee
Reply to  the school committee
16 days ago

Sing as the song Kung fu fighting…….Everybody has Don Fu Virus,den,den,den,den,den,as it has struck like lightning, dint dint dint dint,and it is quite frightening, den,,den,den,den,did. everybody has Don Fu Virus..

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  the school committee
16 days ago

And you TSC, tested positive for being a nitwit.

Pat
Pat
16 days ago

Pittsfield is turning into a war zone again because it’s that time of year. Hide away any vets with PTSD because liberals love their fireworks here in Pittsfield. People will be choking from all the smoke in the air (so much for all their concern about the environment and air quality) and don’t even think about opening your windows on a cool summers night because you will not be hearing crickets just lots of noise and smoke will be coming into your house. The fireworks build throughout the week until Pittsfield becomes a horror show on the 4th of July. Fireworks aren’t even legal here the last I heard. Can you imagine if they were what it would be like? Are Pittsfield people so bored that this is the only thing they can think of to do this time of year?

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs
Reply to  Pat
16 days ago

Are you sure their not gunshots and go smoke?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
16 days ago

If these were actual gunshots, the body count would be really high. How does shot spotter tell the difference? Unfortunately the chaos does provide the perfect backdrop for people who do want to commit gun violence. Remember the 4th of July parking lot massacre in Pittsfield several years ago? I believe several people died and many were injured. The murderer or murderers were never found. Fireworks pour chemicals and metals into the air. Not healthy to breathe.

Grytte
Grytte
Reply to  Pat
16 days ago

Robbery masked gunman,hoody. ..Fireworks non stop everywhere.

JohnnyTwoCents
JohnnyTwoCents
Reply to  Pat
16 days ago

Perhaps it was like the gunfight at the OK Corrall, wherein the “victims” were shooting and the other guy shooting back. If so, perhaps the murderers were murdered, perhaps the victims were the shooters too. In other words, a good ole fashioned shoot out.

JohnnyTwoCents
JohnnyTwoCents
Reply to  Pat
16 days ago

Surely there shall be no shootings in Pissfield this July.

Fivestarrajentz
Fivestarrajentz
Reply to  JohnnyTwoCents
16 days ago

I’ll book that action. At least three

Johnny99
Johnny99
Reply to  Fivestarrajentz
15 days ago

I’ll raise you to 5, if a shoot out counts for 2.

JohnnyTwoCents
JohnnyTwoCents
Reply to  Johnny99
15 days ago

I up you to 6

Hell Toupee
Hell Toupee
16 days ago

The following positions were added to the budget:
1 superintendent of syringes
2 superintendent of cigarette butts & nip bottles
3 director of dog poop
4 overseer of tattoos
5 minister of potholes
6 director of useless feel good programs
7 commissioner of canabis
8 commissioner of pickel ball and pocket pool
9 supervisor of discarded scratch tickets
10 superintendent of vagrant smoking on north street

Grytte
Grytte
Reply to  Hell Toupee
16 days ago

I would then know if the City Council votes on anything health insurance for themselves…That’s a Conflict.

JohnnyTwoCents
JohnnyTwoCents
Reply to  Hell Toupee
16 days ago

11. Chief Diversity Officer

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs
Reply to  JohnnyTwoCents
16 days ago

You can’t say “chief” anymore. It’s disrespectful to the native Americans, just as realtors no longer will call a master bedroom as such. It will be The Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, run by a department head named Shirley, with three deputy assistants to the primary assistant to the department head, and a staff members of 12, all choking the chicken from home.

Johnny99
Johnny99
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
16 days ago

And they’ll rob the police budget to fund it

Chief
Chief
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
16 days ago

Chief, Chief, Chief, Chief, Chief

Economic Injun
Economic Injun
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
16 days ago

chief (adj.)c. 1300, “highest in rank or power; most important or prominent; supreme, best, placed above the rest,” from Old French chief “chief, principal, first” (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum (also source of Spanish and Portuguese cabo, Italian capo, Provençal cap), from Latin caput “head,” also “leader, guide, chief person; summit; capital city” (from PIE root *kaput- “head”).
chief (n.)
c. 1300, “head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;” from Old French chief “leader, ruler, head” of something, “capital city” (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum, from Latin caput “head,” also “leader, chief person; summit; capital city” (from PIE root *kaput- “head”). Meaning “head of a clan” is from 1570s; later extended to headmen of American Indian tribes (by 1713; William Penn, 1680s, called them kings). Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s.

Chief
Chief
Reply to  Economic Injun
15 days ago

Thank you Injun, for an injection of truth, and common effing sense, into our now left wing world.

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  JohnnyTwoCents
16 days ago

superintendent of immoral grab-all-you-can-get-your-hands-on mayoral pay raises

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
16 days ago

What is puzzling to me is the conflict of interest card seems to be the first one these weak kneed, no starch in their shorts pick , when it comes to the school department, but when it comes to their own health insurance contribution can somehow find the courage of their convictions.


Lenny
Lenny
16 days ago

Hurrah for Charles Kronick of Pittsfield for his letter to the Eagle entitled “Council Threatening Police, Residents.” Our Police Dept. needs to be fully funded & staffed. Moon, Persip, Lampiasi, Marchetti, Caccamo, White, Kavey & Cohen need to be voted out at the next election.

scaredstiff
scaredstiff
Reply to  Lenny
16 days ago

Great letter. To the editor:
The Pittsfield City Council has begun a revolt against city residents. At the June 15 City Council budget hearing, Police Chief Wynn explained the need to expand our police force to 110-120. They provide traffic enforcement, well-being visits, roadside assistance, emergency and wildlife response to a city both urban and rural and geographically larger than Springfield. Budgeted for 99 officers, the force is at 84. Ignoring strategies to recruit officers, the Council instead budgeted a radical agenda. They cut $100,000 and replaced two patrol officers with social workers. Nonetheless, they allocated $1,400,000 in overtime to cover the understaffed department.
Wynn answered precisely every question. What he got for his preparation was less than nothing. The Police Department’s Community Outreach program was derided. Addressing the lack of personnel, our councilors propose replacing officers with civil servants who would act as first responders handling 911 crisis calls without officers present. Assuming a civil servant would be willing to risk the encounter without support, no department can afford the liability of sending civilians into a potentially hazardous environment without police presence. Predictably, Chief Wynn explained that the Police Department is not authorized to hire and manage social workers.
For almost four hours, Wynn witnessed extractions from funds, musings about how many bullets they need, and the paring of personnel. He endured withering suggestions that residents calling 911 for hazardous disturbances involving mental illness should not expect an officer trained in mitigation but instead an unsupported counselor. The Council never asked if a fully staffed Police Department could control the drugs, shootings, and crime-based oppression which mostly targets our minority communities and is driving out residents and businesses. This meeting is evidence of a revolt against the residents who expect City Council to allocate taxpayers’ funds responsibly and conscientiously.
Pittsfield residents: is it acceptable to abandon a financially strapped police department lacking funds to attract recruits? Eight members on City Council state that their constituents want an impaired department and are using their power to accomplish that goal. If you oppose their plans, you need to make your voices heard in City Council and in print. In the June 15 public input period, our wealthiest residents echoed each others demands for reductions. No one asked the hard question of what the most endangered communities need from policing, and there seems to be no one standing in their way.
Charles Kronick,
Pittsfield

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  scaredstiff
15 days ago

Most PPD are good cops. They need our support.

City is rife with gangs, drugs, other cime.

What happens without them? Want riots, looting, what leftist leaders want?

Send the riots, looters, murderers, rapists, to the D-rat legislators homes.

BackTheBlue
BackTheBlue
Reply to  Mad Trapper
15 days ago

Thank you Mad Trapper.

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs
16 days ago

PC Run Amok

“The L’Oreal Group has decided to remove the words white/whitening, fair/fairness, light/lightening from all its skin evening products,” the company said in a statement.

Con Phalnnigan
Con Phalnnigan
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
16 days ago

Let’s All Agree to Keep Low out of any futural Office of any kind. And who is this Tyer lawn sign for State Rep?

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  Con Phalnnigan
15 days ago

Bill Tyer, a great republican.

Fivestarrajentz
Fivestarrajentz
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
16 days ago

The pandemic continues….stay tuned…

Bessie Tweed AAT
Bessie Tweed AAT
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
15 days ago

Now there is Illegally showing movies at Taconic High School. This is a taxpayer owned property paid for by the taxpayer. BTG is charging to attending these movies?

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs
Reply to  Bessie Tweed AAT
15 days ago

Only 25 bucks a car load. Family friendly pricing????

BlackLiesMatter
BlackLiesMatter
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
15 days ago

What’s wrong with eliminating whiteness?

The same thing that is wrong with capitalizing black, and leaving white in lower case.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
15 days ago

June 26, 2020

Hello blogger Dan Valenti,

After you read the enclosed news article, please note how Mayor Linda Tyer won’t touch Matt Kerwood’s $10.1 million slush fund, while she and 8 Pittsfield (Mass.) City Councilors voted to raise property taxes by over $1,800,000 plus $750,000 in so-called “free cash”. Why is it so important to Mayor Linda Tyer and 8 out of 11 City Councilors to raise property taxes during the 2020 economic recession during the COVID-19 pandemic, while not touching Matt Kerwood’s huge slush fund?

The other thing that bothers me is that Beacon Hill has not passed a fiscal year 2021 state budget yet, despite July 1st, 2020, being less than one week away. How can municipalities like Pittsfield (Mass.) rationally pass a one year budget when it has no idea what its state aid funds will be? It is like trying to pick the winning numbers hoping to win the Powerball jackpot.

I feel bad for the working class taxpayers of Pittsfield (Mass.) because they are getting hit with a tax hike while Matt Kerwood sits on a huge slush fund and Beacon Hill hasn’t passed a state budget yet. All of this makes no sense!

Best wishes,

Jonathan Melle

https://www.wamc.org/post/pittsfield-city-council-approves-2021-budget

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
15 days ago

Yah I don’t think that is Matts slush fund. That money belongs to the mayor and her handlers and they will tell her what to spend it on. But look for most of it to disappear, one way or another, before she leaves office.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
15 days ago

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/06/catholic-priest-attempts-defend-st-louis-statue-leftist-vandalism-leftist-mob-threatens-take-cathedral-next-video/

nice people on the LEFT

And like clockwork local Islamist Umar Lee and the left smeared TGP and Christians who planned on attending the prayer rally as “white nationalists.”
On Friday, in the most egregious attack on this rally yet, St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones posted several tweets attacking Mayor Krewson and labeling local Christians “KKK” for holding a prayer rally to save the St. Louis statue in Forest Park.

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  Mad Trapper
15 days ago

Due to the raging Trumpvirus these rallies are not safe. Not even for the phony Christian crowd who think Trump is Jesus. Perhaps they might want to hold their rallies in a European or Asian country who are better managing the pandemic than America.
But, OOpsie, no cannot do that. Americans are not welcome now in many foreign countries because they are too stupid and too infected. Trump wanted to isolate American and he has done that very well.

the school committee
the school committee
15 days ago

Trump has taken the china virus and made it his own.Trump virus is branded now like Trump Casino,Trump University, Trump Vodka and Trump Healthare.All failed efforts.Trump virus is deadly.Where is Trumps war on the virus ?

Last edited 15 days ago by the school committee
Johnny2Shoes
Johnny2Shoes
Reply to  the school committee
15 days ago

Horrible! 120 million dead because of the Chins Virus. Joe will bring them back if elected.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
15 days ago

120 million mail in ballots. Who says dead men don’t talk?

Johnny2Shoes
Johnny2Shoes
Reply to  levitan
15 days ago

Tell me about it. My parents voted republican all their lives and after they passed they voted a straight democratic ticket.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
15 days ago

I would guess that it was a slip on Biden’s account. He’s been busy in his basement -manufacturing polls, filling out ballots, etc…

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  danvalenti
15 days ago

Wow. It is not like you to put a knock on Trump Dan. Glad to see you are taking the blinders off.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  danvalenti
14 days ago

Hypothesis: Sub 50% voting is an indication of normal voting trends. At least 30% do not have a motivation to vote either because of disinterest or ambivalence. And, there is a good number of people who do not vote because they feel the candidates have not earned their votes. Those votes in particular should not be spoken as ‘up for grabs’ but as a vote in themselves: “I will not encourage you (Rep/Dem) by contributing my vote to your Party.

The drive to secure a high participation is driven by parties salivating over gold mines of potential votes that are to be gained by fraud and bribes. The drive for vehicles such as ‘mail(fraud) ballots’ departs from the strategies invented by the Progressives running Prohibition which drove mainstream representatives out of office by commandeering 5% margins. And, the Progressives are busy again, aren’t they?

If the statisitcal counts are off in 2020, yes there will have been massive fraud. If they are not, give them more time. The goal posts can always be shifted.

Horace Hasenfeffer
Horace Hasenfeffer
Reply to  the school committee
14 days ago

TSC- Since you are so fluent in speaking another language(gibberish). You should get the BABBEL app. It might help to better improve your fluency in speaking gibberish

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
15 days ago

So I guess I am wondering … if the police have an entrenched culture which is impossible to be corrected — what about the politicians? Surely only people with power complexes decide to run for office? Or maybe it’s that they can’t be employed elsewhere? What are they capable to do outside of politics? They do tend to back themselves in a thin green line (made up of campaign contributions) that will separate them from the public interest. Should we defund City Council? What about Beacon Hill or Washington?

Also, I disagree with those who argue that conflict of interest is a weak argument. If the entire council was conspiring to help the person on the council who was losing power/or money due to change in the law, that would be a real cess pool. It seems instead they are just all fighting for themselves.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
15 days ago

In furtherance to my cookie monstered comment about the problem with politicians:

How many complaints do we think Healey or Hinds ignored?

https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2020/06/from-great-choice-to-covid-19-catastrophe-ousted-holyoke-soldiers-home-superintendent-bennett-walshs-fall-from-grace.html

Cronkite Walltors
Cronkite Walltors
Reply to  Kermit Frog
14 days ago

Planet Bulletin…Thirty seven injured in shootings in Chicago, two youngsters dead.Defund Police?

RN
RN
12 days ago

Yadda yadda yadda. Just call the ethics hotline or fill out a form.

Bigger question why is BHS not doing rapid Covid-19 testing? They have the new equipment, the new kits, the validation system but they are still doing 4-5 day kits and not the 15-45 day kits. They also got a huge influx of grant money to make this happen wtf is going on?

levitan
levitan
Reply to  RN
12 days ago

No point.There’s almost no cases in Berkshire County.

RN
RN
Reply to  levitan
12 days ago

Bullshit. Plus why give them the equipment and the $800k to start doing rapid testing if they aren’t going to do it.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  RN
12 days ago

Why do rapid testing on people who don’t have the disease? You can find positive cases only in infected people. Testing is reserved for suspect cases and for clearing people for hospital services.

The State of Vermont does not consider my point bullshit. They have no quarantine restrictions for Berkshire residents. Why? We have too few cases for them to worry about.

Who demanded the test facilities, and who made them happen with an open hand? Give me two answers. First one can be your political answer. Second one should be based on data.

RN
RN
Reply to  levitan
12 days ago

Really. The point is they test every day. They are using the older style tests. They’ve been given new equipment and money, $800k to facilitate rapid testing yet they aren’t doing it. They are charging to the govt for rapid tests but are doing the 4-5 day tests.

So what are they doing with the money and the equipment? That’s the point.

If they have been given money and equipment for rapid tests, and they are testing, they should be using the rapid tests.

Nine new cases confirmed this morning and patients called. Let’s see if the members reflect it.

levitan
levitan
Reply to  RN
11 days ago

Maybe you’re right.