Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Miracle on Boltwood Ave

Last night Amherst Town Manager Larry Shaffer once again reaffirmed that his unfair tax on the joy of Christmas has not been his “…most glorious moment in public administration.”

He also garnered little support from the Select Board. Kusner (looking at Shaffer): “We were caught off guard by this; I just want the public to know it was your decision.” Select person Brewer distanced herself: “Even though the Town Manager has the legal authority under the town act I would hope he will continue to talk to us about this…”

Brewer also (looking at scout representatives) wanted to publicly “thank the scouts for being so agreeable; I realize you didn’t have much choice…I’m glad we’re still talking about it.”

Clueless to the core (if indeed he has one), Shaffer still doesn’t get it. His bland” report” was a rehash of cold bureaucratic excuses.

Explaining his $1 per tree tariff Shaffer states: “They went away, set up their sale of Christmas trees. And I expected that arrangement would go on unbeknownst to anybody. Little did I know this would become the cause célèbre going forward.”

For a public official to arrange a deal in private, hoping that his dictatorial terms remain "unbeknownst", is bad policy.

UPDATE: 2:36 Yeah I know, the video just uploaded 10 minutes ago but my friend and fellow investigative blogger Paolo at northamptonist.blogspot.com just forwarded me the link to WHMP radio's softball interview with Shaffer. I love his comment at the outset "I don't know if anything went wrong." Talk about clueless.

UPADATE: 3:30 Ch. 22 enters the fray (what took them so long?). Where's the AP?


O'Reilly said...

"Even though the Town Manager has the legal authority..."

It is not clear the town manager has the legal authority to establish an arbitrary sales tax as a condition to the use of commons (PUBLIC PROPERTY) in Amherst. This POLICY- charging people for the use of public property-is further complicated by the fact Schaffer is taxing a non-profit organization, which of course is not subject to income tax.

Schaffer himself admits there is not a PUBLIC SPACE USE policy while at the same time pulling one out of his arse. And so as the next step to correct the error, does he take the obvious course and reverse the arbitrary sales tax policy? No. He cemented it as policy, whether temporarily or permanent, without deliberation IN ORDER TO AVOID FURTHER EMBARRASSMENT.

IT ASTONISHES that Schaffer and the select board accepted the cash donation from two third parties (who have a lot of business in front of said select board) to meet the obligation of the arbitrary and capricious sales tax on the Boy Scouts.

What is the policy now?

fdpiper said...

Good to see this heading in the right direction Larry, hard to believe it even happened. I am afraid of where this all could lead, in my humble opinion his decision to impose a fee on a non profit organization such as the Boy Scouts really shows us that the people in charge of running this town are truly clueless.

Some might contend that his decision makes good business sense, I say it does not for with out these types of events no one would come to town to shop. Hold the events and people do come to town they hang out,eat a little, shop around, see a movie and they are introduced to the town. It is like free advertising, hold the events and they will come and leave tax free organizations alone.
-Ryan Willey