Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The price of good deeds

Just as she proved with rosy but wrong Cherry Hill revenue figures last year, Selectman Awad still has trouble with numbers. Trying to blunt a firestorm of criticism directed at the Town Manager over his Scrooge tax on the Boy Scout Christmas tree sale, Ms. Awad declared use of the park for “eight weeks” by this local non-profit was different than groups like the Pot Rally who only use town land for a day.

Fortunately Selectman Greeney knows numbers and corrected her by saying the scouts’ use the property for only a month and, furthermore, they clean it up like good scouts do when they are done.

During the discussion Selectman Brewer (herself a Den Mother) asked Shaffer directly if he was going to allow the Boy Scouts to use the property at all, even with the tax, for Christmas sales next year.

Saying he didn’t want the park usage to become “unduly encumbered”, Shaffer suggested the scouts start scouting a new location. All the negative publicity generated by his clueless, un-American decision indicates to his bean-counter mind that the scouts have a “degree of entitlement” to the land.

Let’s see, the Amherst Pelham Boy Scouts have used that location for fifty years with the owners blessing, who set up a trust to purchase the entire property and donate it to Amherst for a “landscaped park”.

The general public--who unfortunately can’t vote him out--took Mr. Shaffer to the woodshed for a well deserved spanking; and rather than learn from his mistake he shifts the blame to the victim.

According to this morning’s crusty Gazette the Town Manager is awaiting his ill-gotten gains, estimated at $700-$800 (or two-months of his auto/cell phone allowance).

I hope the Scouts pay him in pennies!

UPDATE: 9:00 pm. I forget the crusty Gazette actually uploads to the net (many hours after I read hardcopy at 5:30 am.) So I just went to gazettenet and found a couple of cute comments to the cyberstory:

Miss Ellie [ Posted on: Tuesday - January 15, 2008 at 10:09 AM]
I think it would be wonderful if the Senior Center or Leisure Services accepted the so called "donation" and donated it right back to the Boy Scouts.

Julie T [ Posted on: Tuesday - January 15, 2008 at 12:28 PM]
What a crock for Town Manager Larry Shaffer to say , "I appreciate their generosity and kindness," to the Boy Scouts, since he is the one who mandated that they pay to use the land. Perhaps instead, he should say, that he is sorry for being greedy, and that yes, he sees the contribution that the boys make to the town , and that is enough and greatly appreciated; so here is your check back. Instead every year, he will be more greedy and raise the fee to the boy scouts. I real live "scrooge".


O'Reilly said...

"Shaffer suggested the scouts start scouting a new location"

Is there a link to a transcript of this conversation?

The last time Shaffer spoke on this issue, he said he was putting together a blue ribbon panel to make policy on the use of town commons and Kendrick Park. Now, apparently, he is undermining the authority of said panel and DICTATING a policy that leaves the boy scouts out in the cold. If he has support for this policy from Select Board Members, then they should account for themselves now. How about a Amherst Bulletin article on the use policy of town commons, Kendrick Park, the blue ribbon panel and where our Select Board Members stand on the issue?

Larry Shaffer has a tough job. Managing the revenue and expenses of the town.

He wants to turn every resource - Kendrick Park, Town Ambulance - into a steady stream of town income no matter the function of the underlying resource.

He also wants to exercise his own preferences when it comes to town policy. We'll let him speak for himself on that issue: "I would just as soon not have them there at all."

This is no way to manage a town.

LarryK4 said...

This from Inamherst.com recap of 1/7 Select Board meeting:

Ms. Brewer said she hoped that a decision would be made with sufficient time for the Boy Scouts to make alternative plans if necessary.

Mr. Shaffer said he would be meeting with the Boy Scouts the next day. He said his first priority is to prevent the park’s usage from being “unduly encumbered,” and said he would suggest that the Boy Scouts start seeking a new location. He said the strong public reaction to the situation this year suggested a “degree of entitlement” regarding the Boy Scouts’ use of the land. He said he supports the Boy Scouts and is happy to help them find another location.

Ms. Brewer asked if it is true that at this point Mr. Shaffer has no intention of having the Boy Scouts use the property next winter. Mr. Shaffer said that that is correct.

maryd said...

Through this whole fiasco his comment, "I would just as soon not have them there at all" was the worst,in my opinion. Stating HIS preference instead of a policy is just disgusting. Lucky man that he can't be voted out.
And regarding the “unduly encumbered” remark, I can't imagine that folks are coming out of the woodwork to freeze their rears off there for that month. Really now, have you EVER seen anything going on there besides the scouts and folks watching the parades? They'll be charging for that next.
Just my rant. I just couldn't hold it in any more!

LarryK4 said...

Yikes! Don't give him any ideas: That is a GREAT spot to watch the Parade (we just today received our permit for 2008 that we applied for last July 5'th)

Yeah, his initial comment about not wanting them there at all combined with His Lordship Gerry Weiss’s original comment about making Amherst/Pelham scouts apologize for their national organization’s stand on gay scoutmasters are extremely telling.

maryd said...

Congratulations on the permit, I had been wondering if they were going to give it to you or find/create some new policy. You should see if the scouts will be around to be in it. I think thats the week that one of the troops goes to camp though.

O'Reilly said...

Unless Shaffer plans to enforce a policy in which NOBODY can use Kendrick Park other than to sit on a park bench or walk their dog, then he better back off telling the Boy Scouts to move on.

If he does not create a formal (written) policy and he does tell the Boy Scouts to move on, and then he permits others to use the park, he will me making arbitrary and capricious rules which will not stand up under scrutiny. Furthermore, who says the people of Amherst want the Boy Scouts evicted from this location after 50 years? I don't.

How is it that Amherst town government empowers a town manager (accountant) to make public policy on the use of public property?

This is clearly an issue that rises to the level of a policy board not a manager. Shaffer has already proven the task is above his level of competence.

O'Reilly said...

Oh, I forgot about the robo-calls Larry Shaffer made to town residents. That's another completely inept stunt.