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Posts Tagged ‘ma’

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.

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

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.

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!

An Endorsement and Commentary

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

I’m sure you’re all aware I support Bill Connolly for election to the Clinton Board of Selectmen. I wish him well tomorrow and hope to hell he pulls this off. If the position goes to Weeks you can expect a completely NON-TRANSPARENT board With the two power hungry Selectmen calling the shots. The only difference will be that instead of 4-1 votes they’ll nearly always be 5-0.

Even with Tony Fiorentino as a board member it was hard to see any transparency.

I know the Weeks camp and his handlers believe they have this in the bag, but you know what, sometimes logic prevails and the best person for the job is elected.

Please Vote Connolly

The other candidate for selectman will be lucky to grab 300 votes give or take. Of course it’s his prerogative to run. Statistically there’s no possible way he can win and has alienated many voters through his reactionary rhetoric on this Blog and both internet forums in town. If you’re not for him, or question his lack of answers, you’re a “HACK”.

I believe the Strong Chief will prevail as well. Most all voters see through this vendetta driven personal attack on the Chief. In reality it’s about a position and not the person that holds it.

I wish the rest of the candidates good luck, some better luck than others though;)  See you at the polls tomorrow…

Three Card Monte Clinton Style

Friday, March 6th, 2009

The Clinton Board of Selectmen on Wednesday the 25th of February voted to play a game of Three Card Monte, with you the taxpaying public of Clinton. With secretive text messages and a total lack of a plan or real data from the COA or Senior Center Building committee the BOS voted 4-1-0 (Tony F, thanks for trying to bring some process to this game) to use $475,000 of the allocated and approved $1,400,000. leaving a total of $925,000 to complete a Senior center. Of course we all know this amount of money is not enough to build the center and another $400,000 to $1,000,000 will be needed.  Our elected officials have effectively backed us into a corner and setup the con, the three card Monte table…Is the CDBG (community development block grant) of $700,000 for the Senior center under card 1, 2  or 3? You’ll never pick the right one, as its not there. The cards are three black two’s with no red Queen!  By the way we have no Economic Development Director anymore to write grants, and no professional grant writer worth their salt will do this on a contingency basis.

I feel as though the public has been misled and not well informed on this purchase and project,also  that the BOS, COA and Senior Building Committee will be back trying to pry your wallets open again due to poor planning, process and a lack of direction. This is not to say I don’t believe the Seniors shouldn’t have a center, they should, but I attribute this to the failure and lack of leadership our elected officials have demonstrated in not working within the fiscal bounds set forth with the $1,400,000 Warrant article.

“So, for a little history lesson on the American Legion property; There was an emergency BOS meeting I attended on a Saturday in June 2006, nearly three years ago. This was under executive session which is now a moot point as the property is in the process of being purchased. This meeting was recorded by Town Administrator Mike Ward, however this key piece of information has never been transcribed or made available to the public or press. It should speak volumes about the cost of the property.  As Selectmen we were previously approached by the American Legion Board of Directors through their attorney and offered the property for $350,000, we as a board voted yes to put this on the June 2006 town meeting warrant…then the lawyer sends us a letter indicating they now wanted $375,000, we weren’t happy about this development but in the name of acquiring the property the seniors desired we voted to change the article and pay the extra $25,000 very grudgingly. Well it happened once again, the lawyer sent another letter indicating his client wanted $400,000 and we voted in emergency session on that Saturday in June 2006 to remove the warrant article as we were being played like suckers and in bad faith! So there’s the truth about that meeting right from my lips to your (ears) eyes in this case. Subsequently the American Legion put it up for sale on the market and got $319,000 from Don Dobeck. He can’t really be faulted in this as he is a businessman and certainly isn’t in the business of losing money.

It’s your elected officials, specifically the BOS that have FAILED you and the seniors in not adhering to the fiscal constraints set forth. We have town owned land that could have been used and a senior center could have been built within budget. They chose not to follow this voter approved mandate. Flip the monte card taxpayers, you lose, Ante up!

The last comment I’ll make, is I find it incredible that candidates for assessor and school committee are mentioning the senior center and pandering for the seniors votes, where were they before running for office?

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Watch this Three Card Monte Video. The Mark represents the citizens of Clinton! Watch to the end where the Soother picks him clean!

You’ll have to copy and past this into your browser as i can’t seem to hyperlink it.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-163435387173807719

A Hypocrite Is Someone Who Acts Contradictory To His Actions

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The Board of Selectmen are the Licensing Authority for the Town of Clinton, as such the following hypocritical quotes from chairman Kevin Haley are disturbing at best, showing no leadership whatsoever. These quotes are from the Worcester Telegram:

“Selectman Kevin R. Haley, the chairman, said his board has no authority to issue a liquor license extension to the Old Timer.

“My understanding is it’s the fire chief’s decision, and he should be able to decide whether the law pertains to the Old Timer, or it does not pertain to the Old Timer,”

“It’s a shame we’ve come to this point — that the chief has not been able to work things out with the Old Timer”

So how come with regard to the other sprinkler issues in town did this very same person and same board voted to ORDER the Fire Chief to sign a liquor license against his judgment? I’d say this is the usual modus operandi of the board – A total lack of leadership, dictators when it suits them and the “who me” excuse when it doesn’t.

I don’t know all the particulars and love to dine at the OT’s. I do however believe the BOS and especially Chairman Haley and MaryRose Dickhaut are continually trying to setup the Chief for failure as they’ve been gunning for him. They’ll do whatever it takes to show him in a poor light, no matter what…Actually, they never let the facts get in the way of their self serving agenda!

In this corner

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Here it is Friday the 13th of February, nomination papers have been available for a week and there are a couple potential races. A three way assessors race and a school committee race. My question is where are the political pugilists vying for the Selectman’s seat? This is the real deal, the premier Bloodsport bout!

I’m sure the Haley and Dickhaut camps are out beating the bushes to come up with an ally to help them further their self serving agenda’s. A couple of the names that have floated by would be less than desirable and not necessarily people that would be doing this for the right reasons. There has been one person whose name I’ve heard bandied about that would be a really good fit. Lets hope for our sake the person in question does run and is supported by the citizens of Clinton that are sick and tired of the Status Quo.

My sincerest thanks to Tony Fiorentino for putting up being ignored and on the losing end of a lot of 4-1 votes. I can’t say I blame him for wanting to leave now. When you cease to be able to make a difference through the plotting of your fellow Selectmen it gets old, fast. Good luck in your future endeavor Tony, you’ll do great, it’s our loss unfortunately.

To you potential candidates, lace up the gloves and get ready for Bloodsport…It’s going to be a rough 15 rounds in the ring, Bing…there’s the bell, round one is starting!

Disregard For Public Safety

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I have to admit that I’m very pleased with a vote where Clinton Selectmen LeBlanc and Sheridan voted in favor of public safety.  Now I realize this doesn’t happen often, as I pretty much disagree with their votes that typically mirror Chairman Haley and Selectman Dickhaut.

Our story goes like this; The old alarm system at the Fire Station which receives alarm calls from approximately 10 municipal and 100 private buildings was damaged for good during the large ice storm in December. The unit is old and is unrepairable. Haley and Dickhaut have had a vendetta against the Fire Chief for a long time, voting to remove his Strong Chief status and are plainly Anti-Fire Chief.  So it doesn’t surprise me that they threw common sense out the window and voted NO on buying a new alarm system.

The 3-2 vote (LeBlanc, Fiorentino, Sheridan – Yes and Haley, Dickhaut – No) was the right thing to do, if this saves even one life then 60K (even in these days of budget cuts) was small price to pay. As for Haley and Dickhaut, they should be damn ashamed of their anti-public safety, personel agenda vote. This is not looking out for the good of Clinton’s citizens!

The Annual Bloodsport Season Begins!

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Election Schedule:

February 9: First day to take out nomination papers
March 16: Last day to take out nomination papers
March 18: Nomination papers due at 5pm
March 27: Nominating caucus, if quorum (25) is met
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

So the dates have been set and published, now its time for the sport to begin. I’ve heard a few juicy rumors on the street but none have been substantiated yet. Of course I’ll be updating this blog with the latest news and rumors, but it’s a bit premature yet.

I see that the Times and Courier has an editorial about a previous School Committee race and that these two dedicated parents would be obvious candidates if interested. I would have to agree with them.

Many thanks to Bernice McGrail for her three decades of service to Clinton’s children, You’ll be missed!

Lets hope for some great candidates to step up to the plate and help guide Clinton through the tough fiscal times ahead. There will be decisions to be made that won’t be easy and should be made with compassion, intelligence and common sense.

Let the Games Begin!