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Posts Tagged ‘Clinton’

12 Reasons Not To…

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Vote for Mr. Kevin Haley

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”   Abraham Lincoln

“This election belongs to the people of Clinton. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their backs on common sense and vote for Haley, they’ll burn their asses. Then as is sometimes the case, they’ll just have to sit on their blistered behinds for another three years.” – Joe Notaro, With Apologies to Lincoln!

Clinton Has A Big Choice To Make

With Selectwoman Mary Rose Dickhaut dropping out of the BOS (board of selectmen) race Clinton has a clear choice in the coming local election. There are three candidates all of whom have experience serving on the board of selectmen.

Lets examine one of those candidates, Kevin Haley, who was an utterly presumptuous selectman during his term of office. You don’t need to think very hard to remember many of the antics he displayed and the blatant disregard he had for the citizens who elected him. Without further ado here are a few tidbits from his term in office.

********UPDATE*************

I just went to candidates night, please read #5 below, Mr. Haley stated that one of his greatest achievements while in office was signing the Conservation Restriction on the Wekepeke. This was the Document that was holding the $353,600 Rauscher farm grant up and he was extremely reluctant to sign it.  Only after badgering from many citizens and the FORF did it get done. He was against it,  and Rauschers Farm.  Unbelieveable, Tony Fiorentino and I worked on changing restrictions in the inherited document leading up to the Rauscher Farm grant proposal, and worked  with Town Counsel and the state to get as much restrictive verbiage taken out as possible to secure Clinton’s right to use the land.  He was never on board with it!

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1. He suspended public comment at BOS  meetings because he didn’t want to listen to you, the people.

2.  After denying citizens from speaking at public comment time he let a political ally speak for a Town Meeting warrant article that he supported, this was morally wrong and hypocritical.  He also didn’t allow/solicit an opposing viewpoint, (The article went down in a ball of flames).  This was such a controversial and undemocratic move that citizens added a petition to the Town Meeting warrant to force the BOS to have public comment. This passed Town Meeting by an overwhelming margin although it was eventually disallowed by state law governing open meeting laws.  It did make it’s point though.

3.  A prior board on which I served had changed public comment to the beginning of BOS meetings. This was so citizens wouldn’t have to wait for hours to talk for a couple minutes about something they found important. This was changed back to the end of meetings during Haley’s term to discourage comment.

4.  Even more importantly, comment was changed to the beginning of meetings to facilitate communication with  citizens who wished to speak on upcoming agenda items before action was taken by the BOS. For example a vote on an issue that may have effected the person wanting to comment and have their opinion or facts heard before a decision was made.  This is all very poor representation of “we the people”.

5.  He held up the application for a pre-approved state grant, almost losing the town $353,600. This was voted on and signed the night before it was due in Boston and had to be hand carried the next morning by our faithful Director of community and economic development.

6.  Voted to buy the American Legion property for an extremely high premium over what it was actually worth and it still lies dormant today accept for weeds and junk cars. It’s always nice to have a nearly $475,000 dollar vacant lot around to store junk cars on.

7.  In 2009 or 2010 Haley who was a member of the budget sub-committee restored the BOS $7,500 stipend that the board as a whole voted not to take a few weeks earlier. This was previously donated to the COA, Library and Emergency Management budgets a year earlier.

8.  During the public hearing on awarding a liquor license to either the Via Alta 27 or the Cocoa Creme cafe Haley spoke against the Cafe and for the Via Alta. The former was being financed by the lending institution Haley worked for. When the time came to vote he abstained. This was a direct conflict of interest where he should have recused himself and left the hearing.  Of course the BOS voted unanimously for the one with the best business plan and that was in the towns best interest – Not because of a politically motivated or financial gain reason!

9.  Haley worked hard to deny Brady-Sullivan the chance to rehabilitate the former Colonial Press property. This  included some behind the scenes crap including other town officials I won’t get into.  Luckily he wasn’t successful in this counter-productive pursuit. This would have denied Clinton tax revenue and as the folks at Brady Sullivan said, “kept it from becoming a pile of rubble” like the former ITT eyesore. In the end the true governing body who had jurisdiction, the planning board, not the BOS, approved it.

10.  While I was on the BOS with him (we overlapped for a year) I tried to bring up positive changes for town government,  some of which have been on the warrant at recent town meetings. Haley stared at the ceiling and would not comment or participate, much like a petulant child.

11. He vacillated on his support for OUR rifle range. He was for it before he was against it, and then for it, or was that against it?  Bottom line is he played games with it and never supported it,  just tried to sucker both sides into thinking he was on their side, but was on neither.

12.  Destroyed what Mike Ward called “The Best Working Personnel Board I have ever Seen” by removing the very people that this was said about. The board is supposed to have 5 members, now it only has one, the person Haley wanted back on it.

Now ask yourselves, were you better off before,  or after his three years of  nonsense?  Don’t let history repeat itself!

Spring Has Sprung – Bloodsport Is In The Air

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

The beauty of spring is here and with that comes the local election season. Unlike last year there is actually a contested selectmen’s race, although the cast is made up of all selectmen and former selectmen. So much for new blood…Pun Intended!

Vying for seats are incumbents David Sargent and Maryrose Dickhaut and former selectmen Mark Iacobucci and Kevin Haley. This is actually a very interesting turn of events. I don’t remember anytime in the past when all the candidates were former selectmen.

I’m going to leave you hanging for a while and not comment on what I think may happen or on the candidates. I’ll wait until the caucus and see if anyone is put up as a potential “spoiler”. That will be very telling.

Planning, Blackmail and Inconsistent Policy

Friday, August 5th, 2011

The Planning Board is the latest Clinton board to not follow a set policy, They also don’t use consistent decision making points to approve projects. This isn’t a blanket indictment of the entire board but an opinion that some members should stop playing “king for a day”.

In some cases it’s sure, go ahead and build a plain vanilla building, we’re fine with that, in others such as Auto Zone we have near extortion, new concrete sidewalks, new granite curbing all part of the plan before even going before the board as they must have done their homework and seen how other similar projects by larger corporations were treated. It does seem that if a local entity were to propose a similar project it would just slide through the process.

For the Planning Board to nearly chase a national chain and the jobs that come with it out of town, over a ridiculous feature such as a brick facade, is just mind numbing.  Do they think they’re living in Sudbury or Weston, or do they thing they’re going to turn our unique little mill town into a tony bedroom community?  Sure they need to make sure building designs aren’t hideous but basically twisting their arm to get more than the infrastructure improvements they seemingly included in their plans is just plain blackmail. What is their policy, is it written anywhere or is it just applied haphazardly? It seems like a game to try and get as much as possible out of these larger corporations, that’s terrible anti-business policy in action.

Lucky for Auto Zone the Planning Board botched the hearing and were able to reconsider the same night. Bad for us that they can’t run a public hearing properly. If they had run it correctly, and delayed the project, Auto Zone just may have said have a nice day we’ll put it in another town. Not to mention that the property owner did the town a favor and demolished the existing structures that were there to make a buildable lot.

We as a town have a lot to learn about professionalism and how to run a $38 million dollar corporation. Has the BOS gotten off their asses yet and hired anyone for the “hybrid Economic Development / Town Planning position” ? it’s only been a year now…Yeah I didn’t think so.

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.


BOS – Poor Performance

Friday, June 25th, 2010

What the heck is going on with the Clinton BOS? First they put an article on the Town Meeting warrant to make the Town Administrator (TA) a strong TA with the ability to hire, appoint and fire department heads (with an option for the BOS to reject within 15 days). So as explained at Town Meeting (TM) the department heads would have the ability to hire and fire with approval from the TA.

The BOS in an inexplicably bizarre move has voted 4-1 to relinquish the TA’s and it’s own duties and responsibilities and pay a HIRED, private consulting firm to recommend who to promote to Sargeant — Doing this instead of our elected town officials, the TA or the department head recommending the next Clinton Police Department’s sergeant is an abdication of their duties.  Come on — Paying to figure out which person to promote from within…

Selectman William Connolly, Jr, the only selectman to dissent seems to be the only one with common sense and the courage to not cave into letting this private firm select from a pool of internal candidates. He objected to the process and would prefer local officials do the hiring which is the correct mode of operation for town government.

Maybe we should just repeal the warrant article before it’s approved by the legislature. And yes, the selectmen do still have the power to allow the process to proceed the way it was outlined at TM without approval. They can assign this to the TA and ultimately to the appointing department head.  First meeting of the “new” board and the first botched policy decision, it’s going to be a long year with no leadership and business (or lack of business) as usual

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.

The Do Nothing Selectmen Did Something (Updated)

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Wow, I’m stunned.  The do nothing BOS actually did something at one of their infrequent meetings, and it actually made sense.  At the urging of Selectman Connolly the board created three sub-committee’s to study Regionalization, Capital Planning and Changes to Town Government.

I’m glad to see that the board that hasn’t done a damn thing all year accept issue liquor licenses and turn down automobile sales permits has done something that makes sense and has a pro-active tone to it.

I won’t get too giddy though, It may be nothing but lip service by the Chairman to placate the masses as it had been brought up in open session by Connolly and couldn’t be swept under the rug.  Who knows, maybe they have room on their committee for someone that served on the Charter Commission and as a Selectman, one who has true insight and a working understanding of town government and what is lacking.  I wonder what would happen if I applied???

Hmmm, maybe, just maybe it’s worth a shot, I wouldn’t expect to be selected as this board wants things to stay as they are, but it would be a good exercise in showing what hypocrites they are.  Dickhaut and Haley both ignored the  proposal I put forth as a starting point when I  was still on the board.

In fact here’s the starting proposal which was cut from the old charter document and put forth for DISCUSSION, this never took place as Dickhaut and Haley just sat there slack jawed and ignored it.  http://www.josephnotaro.com/Archived/change_agent_2_13_08.pdf

It should be an interesting committee, bet the outcome is what Dickhaut wanted all along, A strong Town Administrator with no specified duties so she can tell him / her what to do without boundries.

Confluence Of Issues

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

So here we are again back at the rifle range issue, although I have a lot more to say than selectmen Dickhaut and LeBlanc are plain wrong on that issue. they’re wrong on a lot more than that.

Selectman LeBlanc seems to be doing what’s in his own selfish interest, not what’s in the best interest of our town, our police force and in effect US. I would posit that LeBlanc has had conversations with the Lancaster town administrator that undermine the work our town counsel is doing to preserve our right as a town to use the land for police firearms qualification. Mr LeBlanc, if you’d like to deny that please chime right in!

Now we have the Lancaster police applying for a special permit to qualify and practice at the range they use WHICH IS ZONED RESIDENTIAL. I question why Lancaster hasn’t applied their zoning laws equally to their own police department. If Clinton gets a cease and desist order for qualifying on residential property then Lancaster MUST get the same under their zoning laws. If not then nullify the one against the Clinton Police Department. This selective enforcement is hypocritical and wrong.

Now for the financial ramifications. We have a BOS that’s supposed to be looking out for our best interests, they are NOT. When they formulated the budget it should have taken the overtime line item into account. The police shouldn’t have to rely on overtime for the normal everyday operation of their department. I understand budgets have to be cut, however common sense shows that in times of financial turmoil crime rises, it’s a fact. Now we may have less police on the street, dispatchers laid off and replaced with officers who would be on the street performing their duties. The BOS has botched it’s budget big time on this front.

So here’s where the rifle range issue, safety and fiscal responsibility merge together into one large confluence. First, we have an underfunded police department. Second we have officers that haven’t been able to qualify and practice because Dickhaut and LeBlanc are on a mission to shut down the rifle range and are in my opinion in collusion with Lancaster town officials to undermine our best interests. Third, to qualify the police may have to go to a private out of town range at some cost to the town. I’ve heard price tags of $10,000+ per year and a need for more overtime which we have no money budgeted for. We’ll be less safe, with less officers on the street and incur higher costs.

Finally, if they succeed in closing the rifle range it would need to have a lead remediation done at a cost in the neighborhood of $2,000,000. These selectmen are a detriment to the people of Clinton and should be damn ashamed of their actions. They have put our safety at risk, our financial state at risk and have potentially damaged our police departments relationship with our sister town…for what just so some people don’t have to hear the police qualify during the day for a couple weeks a year, These selectmen are a bad joke who put their self serving interests first and put our police department in the middle of their political brinkmanship. Please remember this next spring when you go to the polls.

A Double Standard

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Lancaster has issued cease and desist orders to the Clinton Fish and Game and also to the Clinton Police Department stating that they cannot shoot at the Clinton rifle range because it’s partially located in Lancaster and zoned residential.

Well the range that the Lancaster Police use is located in Lancaster and is zoned residential…How is it that they can continue to shoot and qualify there and Clinton is prohibited?

I understand the Lancaster Police have requested a special permit to shoot on their residentially zoned range, if this is approved I would expect the same standard to be used for the Clinton P.D,  If not this is a complete double standard and totally unacceptable.

The Clinton BOS that hardly ever meets anymore (last meeting was somewhere like October the 7th) and is finally meeting again November 10th should be fighting for our sovereign right to use this resource. I really don’t care if it has to go to litigation.  Because very importantly if Clinton loses the right to shoot there and the range reverts to ” open land” there will be a $2,000,000+ bill for lead remediation and that is a hell of a lot more than a simple zoning litigation case will cost, and that’s why we have a Town Solicitor in the first place.

This whole thing is so out of control with the anti-gun duo of LeBlanc and Dickhaut causing disention beetween the two towns police forces that we probably are better off that they only meet every five weeks or so. They’ve pushed their self serving agenda to the limit, trying as hard as possible to keep the “blue collared, regular Joe’s” off that range and turn that section of town into a private enclave for the prestigious professionals that live there. Its a  private enclave for the priveleged. UNBELIEVABLE!

The Battle WAGES On

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Over on Clintonmass.com there’s a discussion going on regarding emergency services, this would include the Police and Fire. The discussion centers around the reductions in Police and Firefighter staffing and minimum staffing levels. Less Cops and Firefighters = lives lost says one poster.

I’ll say what I’ve been saying all along and it’s to the BOS, If they’d gone and negotiated a wage freeze many months ago with ALL EMPLOYEE’S…ALL meaning Unionized, Management, Administrative, Non-unionized in a word EVERYONE, with all on the same page, a wage freeze for all, no acceptations, jobs would saved for now. then see what the fiscal landscape is next year.  If this scenario  took place this discussion wouldn’t be happening!

Sure, that would mean reopening contracts but staffing wouldn’t suffer like it’s going to and folks would likely keep their jobs. Now it’s every man and woman for themselves, No one knows what the others deal is, are “Union A” getting a 3% increase while us in “Union B” we getting nothing? It’s pretty straight forward that a united front, straight talk and the same deal for ALL from the BOS is the correct answer. However not with the rudderless  reactive BOS we have now. In my opinion they are are suffering from “common sense paralysis”.  No ideas…accept from Selectman William Connolly who I will quote:

“I’m advocating for keeping as many town employees on the job as we can. I don’t care if they belong to unions or not. They need their jobs & we need the services they perform. I’m pretty comfortable with my ability to communicate with the unions. I think they know I’ll always tell them what I think even if its not what they want to hear”.

This is the straight talk and common sense we need from our executive branch of government, the rest of them aren’t worthy of reelection and deserve the door! We as a town deserve leadership and teamwork, people that can bring all our employee’s together and salvage jobs, this is what many would say call “Clinton Spirit”…Helping each other save their livelihoods and jobs, lending a hand in these trying times!!

Another poster who’s opinion I respect said:

“The current municipal finance system is broken. New growth is no longer enough to cover the annual increases in basic costs for the town’s budget.  This Town (and just about every other town in this state) needs to figure out a way to do things more efficiently and cheaper.  Everything but fear mongering should be on the table.”

I agree with this and wonder where our NEW Economic Director is? We need someone that’s a super-strong advocate in bringing jobs and grants to town…There are none you say! Well many companies who want to stay competitive would love to relocate to a facility that costs them much less, that said how many would move here into our empty buildings to save money. Certainly enough to help offset the lack of “new growth“.  And again our leaderless BOS is still sitting on this and should have filled the position as soon as was humanly possible, after Don Lowe’s departure. How many missed opportunites have passed us by? How many grant applications have we missed out on? This is completely unnaceptable.