Wednesday, October 8, 2008

People who don't get the concept

I posted a Comment on the Town Manager's Blog Monday morning (that survived the "moderation" process) and received a response--but as a personal email rather than on the blog. And not two hours later o'reilly posted a comment asking the Town Manager "Do you read comments on this blog? Do you respond to questions posed about your post?" So, I guess, the answer is "yes".

(And the Facilitation Of The Community Choices Committee may not be impressed with his answer.)

LarryK4 has left a new comment on your post "ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK": I believe you spoke to a group like this almost two years ago and when the subject of an Override came up, not a single senior in the room was in favor. I hope you encouraged these folks to fill out the questionnaire issued by the Facilitation Of The Community Choices Committee.

From: "Shaffer, Larry"
Subject:RE: [Amherst Town Manager Blog] New comment on ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK.
Date: October 6, 2008 12:53:55 PM EDT
To: LarryK4

I did not even mention the questionnaire to the group. Your memory is very good. I was at a Senior Center picnic about two years ago and heard from the participants their opposition to an override.
I hope you are well. Talk to you soon.


Received this raging response to my Yahoo account (which I do not check all that often):

You know Larry, I would think you would be happy that we are SAVING the town thousands of dollars by hiring Rick Hood. And I don't mean thousands this year. I mean thousands every year. Isn't that a good thing?

Rick is an expert in Drupal, an open source product, and that is why I recommended him to Jerry Champagne. For you to suggest that I had other motives is just plain wrong. If I thought Rush LImbaugh knew Drupal as well as he knows OxyContin, well I might just recommend him. Rick is an experienced web developer and he is going to do a great job for the school system. We are lucky he was willing to do the project for that price. Projects that are under $5000 don't have to go out to bid. The bidding process itself costs money and delays start times, you know.

Why do you have to mouth off about everything, including things that you don't really know anything about?

Ouch! Let’s hope Rush does not read my blog.

I’m sure Rick knows all-too-well that $5,000 is the cut off for going out to bid. Hmmm…


Alison said...


Thank you for your suggestion that our Town officials help promote the work of the Facilitation of Community Choices Committee. I will check out our Town Manager's blog.

Whether a resident is pro-override, anti-override, or somewhere in between, all opinions are being sought in our attempt to make solid recommendations to solve the current budget crisis in Amherst. We truly are a non-partisan group.

Not sure what all the fuss is about? Log in to and let your voice be heard!

Alison Donta-Venman, member, FCCC

Ed said...

Is this a one-time contract? If it is not, then the ethics commission is quite clear -- you simply can not break down a contract to come in under the limit.

HOWEVER, memory serves me that one has to have three price quotes if it is over $1000 or so -- they upped all the limits and I used the old levels years back. For UMass but it is the same law.

So if this guy gets $5001 or more, then there is a violation.

And I think there is something more about conflict of interest or appearance thereof which doesn't have a minimum dollar figure.


Anonymous said...

"Why do you have to mouth off about everything, including things that you don't really know anything about?"

Who was that from? That's terrible if it was Mr. Shaffer.

LarryK4 said...

No, that was from the woman at Amherst Regional High School who, apparently, had a lot to do with Rick getting his sweetheart deal.

Yeah Ed, I noticed that too about saving money "every year" and wonder if it is a multi-year contract???

Ed said...

One other question, exactly how is he being paid? As an independent contractor or as a district employee?

If the latter, he is going to get the GIC insurance package which means that he has an added 70% of a very nice health insurance plan tossed in.

As to the former, there is all kinds of creative things that could be done there.

Time for a chat with the ethics commission?

Anonymous said...

70% Ed? Where do you get your numbers?

Ed said...

Sorry, it is 80%...


And if the employee is paying 20% of the total, then the govt is paying 80%.


O'Reilly said...


In case you're wondering. I have posted that question five times on Larry's blog without receiving a single response yet.

Larry's blog is moderated and yet he won't post his moderation policy or answer questions about whether he will answer questions ...useless propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Ed, bad link. Also, wouldn't it be town employee not Mass. employee?

Ed said...

Well google "Mass GIC rates" and you will find it. The figure I used is the statewide generic which includes not only state and UM employees but also those of towns that don't have their own special private insurance plans (including Amherst) and housing authorities and other "special municipalities" (more often called "authorities").

The 20%/80% figure was set into law by Mitt Romney in 2003 for all new hires.

Anonymous said...

Amherst negotiates the parcentage with each union, it isn't set for them by the state.

Ed said...

OK, I stand corrected. I was more familiar with the Amherst Housing Authority.

But there IS a percentage and in most cases is *is* quite favorable to the employee, isn't it?

And what is it for non-unit employees? That is the percentage that would apply here....