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Posts Tagged ‘board of selectmen’

Economic Damnation

Friday, January 21st, 2011

I find it quite disconcerting that the Town of Clinton via the Board of Selectmen have given such little thought and action to the area of Economic Development. After the sudden departure of our last Community & Economic Development Director (Herein called Director) you would have thought it to be a clear wake up cal,l to hopefully spark a thorough study and to restore or redefine the position with the immediacy it deserved.

I believe the citizens of Clinton are really being cheated by the laissez faire attitude this important department and function have been given. The BOS has had since September 2nd 2010, the day Mr. Duff submitted his resignation to work on this and they have not done anything accept to give it lip service.

Look no further than the Town of Bolton, They have an Economic Development Committee that meets alongside their Town Planner. Why doesn’t our reactive BOS get off their keisters and do something proactive for a change. It’s not hard to start a committee (costs nothing accept advertising cost) and if formed our local talent could bring a lot of good data and ideas. Here is Bolton’s web page for reference.

http://www.townofbolton.com/Pages/BoltonMA_Economic/index

I couldn’t help but notice the billboard in Bolton center asking residents to fill out an economic development questionnaire. Could you imagine Clinton doing something proactive like that? I couldn’t even fathom it with the current cast of characters. They voted to raise the tax rate split, becoming one of the few towns in the state to have such a tremendously high over-taxation of local businesses , that’s in my opinion. So much for economic development, it’s more like economic suicide.

So combine the fact we’re in what the economic community calls the “red zone” with regard to economic development and anybody moving a business here. For instance, if a company in Marlboro is paying much more per square foot to lease a building and could move here (ala Scholastic Book) and save quite a bit of money, it would be eaten up by the immense tax burden incurred.

There was a concerted effort back when Scholastic moved here to lower this rate a few percent per year to help in locating business here. This was wholeheartedly welcomed by our then Director Don Lowe and Chamber of Commerce Director Megan McCaffery.  Now we have a BOS with a cavalier attitude toward the business community and could care less about attracting new business. Yes, It’s a sad state of affairs when your elected leaders don’t really care to expeditiously address something this important, something that has the ability to improve our tax base and therefore our quality of life in Clinton.

I will again mention that Selectmen Connolly and Sheridan did try to lower the tax rate split only to be rebuffed by Selectmen LeBlanc, Dickhaut and Sargent.

Just wondering where the complete Master Plan is? I believe it has information about economic development in it and has not been offered to the public that I’m aware of. I did find a master plan goals document that had some suggestions. Why aren’t these used at least as fodder for discussion between the BOS?

From the master plan goals document, there is an economic development fact sheet on clintonmass.com but it links to the master plan goals document. I’d like to read that too:

-Establish an Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC): marketing, acquisition/redevelopment of difficult sites.

-Reorganize rules, regulations and standards in commercial and industrial zones; emphasize quality.

-Adopt Chapter 43D, the Expedited Permitting Law; consolidate permitting procedures wherever possible, develop a permitting guide.

-Encourage commercial development of appropriate type, scale and appearance, considering surrounding land uses, setting and context

-Make fair, timely permitting decisions by publishing clear development standards and applying them consistently.

-Institute growth management policies that encourage infill development and reuse of existing buildings over new development in outlying areas of town


-Establish a full-time town planner position.


Stuffed Suits, Lawsuits and Arrogance

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Well Lancaster’s at it again, the town of Lancaster has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Clinton and it’s own Zoning Board of Appeals. The newspaper account lists Lancaster as the plaintiff through its building commissioner Peter Munro.

It’s beyond belief, the Lancaster ZBA who was required to setup a hearing within 65 days of the filing of an appeal by Clinton has now led the building commissioner to file suit against them(ZBA) and the town of Clinton.  All because they couldn’t get their act together and have the hearing in a timely manner which resulted in constructive approval. (of Clinton’s Appeal)

If one is to believe the party line, then Peter Munro, The building commissioner was supposedly “aggrieved” by Clinton’s claim as well as by the ZBA’s not having the hearing 65 days after the filing by Clinton, what a joke!  My opinion is the tail is wagging the dog, that is, Mr. Orlando Pacheco Lancaster’s  Town Manager orchestrated this bogus lawsuit because he is acting like a petulant child, showing his arrogant and blatant disregard for the Clinton Police Force and therefore the town. I’m sure he told HIS BOS that he was going to have Mr. Munro file suit and they agreed like good little pawns, but make no mistake, Pacheco is the puppet-master, pulling all the strings behind the scenes in my opinion.  I do wonder who is paying the price for his dog and pony show?

Was Mr. Munro really “aggrieved” not in my opinion, it’s just the next move, actually Orlando’s next move in a hallucinogenic game of chess Lancaster is playing with the Town of Clinton. They had the audacity to deem their residentially zoned firing range “legal” and issue themselves  a special permit at a hearing last year and then didn’t apply the same logic or precedence to the Clinton range, what hypocrisy.  We have ours and you can’t have yours.

Clinton has contended that the Police should be able to qualify at the rifle range and were willing to set parameters such as hours of operation and whatever else was brought to the table…Lancaster refused, talk about belligerent behavior.  Hopefully Clinton will win the suit and the deafening silence will go away, replaced by officers qualifying with their firearms to help keep the population of Clinton safe.

Dissed At His First Meeting & Other Observations

Friday, May 8th, 2009

First Selectman Sheridan gave the BOS a little pep talk on how the Selectmen should be respectful to, and trust each other. Then within a very short time you have Chairman Dickhaut calling newly elected Selectman William Connolly “Hon” and Billy. To me that’s the height of disrespect during an official BOS meeting. Bill addressed her as Madame Chairperson which was respectful.

Dickhaut obviously likes to be the center of attention and seems real good at cutting other members off while they are speaking. This is unacceptable behavior from the Chairman. The duty of the Chairman (she made sure to mention she has been doing this for a loooooong time) is to run the meeting and allow for input from all Selectmen, not to cut them off as well as act dismissively to Mr. Connolly, who she obviously doesn’t like. She is of course allowed to give her opinion, but she takes it way to far, she practically filibusters on certain subjects and dominates the meetings.

I disagree with her first on the trust issue,if I were Bill, and I had four colleagues that tried to keep me from getting elected, by voting in their own candidate at the annual caucus and campaigning for him , I certainly wouldn’t be trusting any of them!  Second, all the selectman have the right to talk to the press and use any media including the internet to get their message out to the public, It’s called transparency in government…

On another note, the discussion about which projects to fund with stimulus money was like watching a bunch of kids argue over who gets what candy bar! I happen to agree that any project already funded through town meeting vote or other mandate should be at the bottom of the list not the top where they put them.

There’s never a dull moment in Clinton politics!

Caucus Results

Monday, March 30th, 2009

OK,  door number three held a candidate named Robert Weeks. When asked why he ran he said said he’s not pursuing a specific agenda in his campaign,”just a lot of common sense.” “I just figured I can be good for the town,” he said, when asked why he decided to run. He doesn’t have a bit of experience or knowledge of town government it seems.

That’s a pretty lame statement to make after accepting the nomination from the caucus which was run by Clinton Selectmen, who in their infinite wisdom decided they needed another lackey to try to keep their board as weak and controllable as possible.

There will be no dissension, there will be no 4-1 votes, just a 5 member board singing kumbayah and railroading the citizens of Clinton…That is if you the Citizens let then to get away with it! Don’t allow it, Bill Connolly has more “common Sense” and savvy than this guy will ever have. He’s nothing but a yes vote for Maryrose Dickhaut and Kevin Haley. Good luck Clinton, this would be without a doubt the worst, most inept board to ever govern the town of Clinton.

Bloodsport doesn’t even amply describe the crap that went on here. Lets give this guy the heave ho and Vote Yes for a common sense candidate, Please vote Bill Connolly for Selectman.

No idea about this Wood guy who’s running against Dale DiMeco, He’s only been on the Planning Board for a month or two, hasn’t even gotten to prove himself yet.

Door Number 3 part-2

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Door Number 3 part-2

Door number three is rumored to contain the candidate that the Dickhaut camp is backing. The latest rumor is pretty wild as the person (who I think is a good guy!) would have quite a few conflicts of interest. Why would anyone want to be a puppet of that regime? I reach out to this person and please ask him to reconsider what he’s doing. If you have been causually told you’re business is in jeopardy, or an associate wants you in to make sure stuff gets done, please rethink your position. It’s not a good place to be in Clinton Politics as the fallout would be rotten depending on who you would have to deal with. The public also would want a free thinking person not a shill for the Dickhaut camp. Again for your sake, please rethink this decision carefully. Doing the caucus thing for the sake of political favors also leaves people with a bad taste. I guess we’ll know on Friday night won’t we.

March 18: Nomination papers due at 5pm<–Done
March 27: Nominating caucus, if quorum (25) is met<—Next Bloodsport Event.
April 1: Last day to withdraw from the ballot
April 14: Last day to register to vote in the town election
May 4: Election 7am to 8pm at Town Hall

Emergency Management…No Emergency for Clinton Selectmen

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Recently, CEMA director Dino Zapantis appeared before the Board of Selectmen requesting a warrant article be added to the October 1st Special Town Meeting Warrant. This would have asked voters to approve $10k to replace the rapidly aging roof on their home, the old Clinton Water Department building. This is the primary “cold storage” facility now being used to house three vehicles and the equipment CEMA uses. The Board of Selectmen by a vote of 3-2 refused to allow the article.  Selectmen Fiorentino and Sheridan rightly voted to add it.

The volunteers at CEMA have been given nothing once again. They were looking out for costs when they talked with a local roofer who wanted to help out and do the job for half its real cost which should have been $20k. CEMA has been reduced to soliciting donations (I gave them some money at Olde Home Day) to try to move foward. No Warrant Article = No hope for a roof. The other two Articles that were approved for inclusion on the warrant were $5k for new radios (Would have come in handy for the High Street building flood when they were called in by the Fire Department tor help) and the other article was to remove an old fuel tank on the property. These were disapproved by the Finance Committee. I can understand the fuel tank as the Selectmen won’t help get the building in order but the explanation for the Radio’s doesn’t work for me. Wait and take it out of your yearly budget. Their yearly budget is $2,100. So unless there is an act of God or a Board of Selectmen with sense, forget the radios. There are always the donations and maybe they could even have a bake sale! It really is shameful the way CEMA is treated like they’re a bother.

In her infinite wisdom Selectman Maryrose Dickhaut said that if the roof was replaced the entire building would have to be brought up to code at a cost of $750k to $1 million. Is she a building inspector now, maybe a zoning agent? That’s like saying if you replace the roof on your garage you need to add handicapped access. Even worse was Selectman James LeBlanc stating that the $10k would be better used in doing a “relocation study”. Give me a break, that’s a waste of money, That $10K would have helped CEMA keep their home or at least their storage area, they have a staff that’s willing to do what it takes to help, but a Board of Selectmen that just seems to wish they’d go away. They can complain about that old building all they want but it is solid and withstands the vibrations of freight trains passing by each day. With a new roof it’s a good storage facility at a low cost. Move the radio and command center to the Town Hall, Fix the roof on the building and be done with it for short money.

$25K for the Parks and Recreation building, $125K for refurbishment of the old Fire Station, $40k for another baseball field and $0 for Emergency Management…Something’s wrong with this picture, real wrong.

Contradictions and PuPu Platers

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

At the July 16th meeting of the Clinton Board of Selectmen some contradictory events unfolded. That night the new position of “Administrative Assistant” which has replaced the former Selectmen’s Secretary Position was appointed. The BOS seemed to have vested their power to interview or put forth one name for consideration with the Town Administrator.

Now here’s where the contradictions start, the same board that vested its power in the Town Administrator to pick an Administrative Assistant decided that night it wanted reports from all departments every month so they can manage and monitor sick leave and vacation time for town employees. I certainly don’t understand the logic being used here; the Town Administrator and department heads supervise the departments in their charge and monitor sick leave and vacation time themselves. This is what department heads are paid to do. Why has the BOS decided to micromanage the supervisors it purportedly “trusts”?

This is the very same board that wants you to come to the Special Town Meeting and vote to give them the unilateral power to assign (and remove) power to the Town Administrator while at the very same time micromanaging sick leave and vacation time. This very same BOS wants to be able to vest (and conversley remove ) powers and duties in a Strong Town Administrator (Although we have absolutely no idea what the powers and duties are going to be, as none have ever been listed , published or discussed publicly). The hypocrisy flies in the face of common sense. It’s OK for the Town Administrator and potentially for department heads to hire and fire but not to administer sick leave and vacation time? This BOS really needs to figure out what the heck it wants to be when it grows up, an actual policy making board or the Board of Micromanagement…I did hear Chairman Haley mumble something about the Fire Chief during discussion about this motion though, Hmmmm…

Without a warrant article that actually spells out what the BOS want to do with the position of Town Administrator (As the failed charter did in 2005) I would never vote to give them the power to petition the legislature for a completely generic article to assign as many or as few of their duties as they decide to, not what you the citizen want. This is an al a carte solution which would change from year to year depending on who runs the BOS. It creates a veritable mish-mash of responsibilities. (Bill Connolly called it the PuPu Platter approach, very good description!)

Example: Its 2008, The chairman and board decide the Town Administrator can hire the dog officer this year, Now it’s 2009, with a new chairman who decides there will be no hiring of the dog officer this year, but the Town Administrator gets to hire the DPW superintendent. Wait, it’s 2010, another new chairman and new board and they don’t want the Town Administrator doing any hiring. This scenario is inevitably what will happen, is this churn what you the citizen would want from your local government? I really hope not as it would take another act of the Legislature to reverse this ridiculous warrant article. Vote NO on this article, Hold the BOS accountable for their actions, Make them spell out exactly what they are going to change, don’t give them the power to pick and choose like a person at a buffet table!

In the end it’s YOU the citizen that should be making these decisions, either through a Charter process or a Town Meeting vote that has ACTUAL DETAILS.

Power Tripping – Clinton Style

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Just like Russian troops invading Georgia the Clinton Board of Selectmen, in a disgusting display of power and favoritism made their yearly appointments.

Police Lt. Joseph Cassasanto was terminated from the retirement board in favor of Selectman Sheridan’s Uncle George. (She did abstain from the vote but it seems the fix was in.)

Dr. Gregory Stahl was terminated as well, He had recently finished standardizing Clinton’s employment application and was working on updating the personnel bylaw as well as implementing a sexual harassment policy (The town has none). Mary Sulkowski had resigned leaving two appointments. on the Personnel board. Again, the power trip knob was turned up to high, in Stahl’s place Sheridan’s sister and former board member Maryann Castillo were anointed. (Sheridan abstained, no matter the die had already been cast)

In the Fuller Field appointment, longtime Dickhaut supporter John Merriman was picked over Coaches and folks with a vested interest in the field. Once again Selectman Sheridan had to abstain because a relative was also up for reappointment on this commission.

Just how many relatives do you you really need to run a town? I remember a letter that Mr. Sheridan (Selectman Sheridans Husband) once wrote to the newspaper stating that in Clinton appointments were allowed to be held into until the person resigned as that was the honorable thing to do. I guess it’s all a matter of do as I say not as I do in the case of Clinton Politics, a Bloodsport indeed!