Thursday, January 6, 2011

Better to reign in Hell

UPDATE: Friday 5:00 PM

So not much happened last night at the meeting. The NIMBYs were as few as they were subdued (only two showed up, down fairly dramatically from our previous dozen or so meetings). The Request For Proposals seeking a consultant to do our "visioning process" were not due until today at 4:00 PM, and I just received word that four companies responded and they all seem to be "substantial, accomplished firms".

Thus our next meeting in two weeks should be far more interesting. And yes, I get to Chair that one as well.

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ORIGINAL POST:
Tonight the Amherst Redevelopment Authority continues its long slog through the morass of the public process as we continue to gingerly lay the foundation for the Gateway, a mixed-use development seamlessly connecting downtown Amherst with Umass, our flagship of higher education and number one employer in Western Massachusetts.

After 20 years of attending countless political meetings in the People's Republic of Amherst as spectator, participant and citizen journalist tonight will actually be the first time I have ever chaired a meeting.

Yeah, it should be--as the Chinese would say--"interesting."

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

it's about friggan time.

Anonymous said...

Just go into executive session and decide anything you want;-)

LarryK4 said...

Actually we do have an executive session scheduled at the start to talk about potential land acquisition.

Not nearly as interesting as whatever the Select Board discussed with Mr. Shaffer concerning his abrupt "retirement".

Anonymous said...

God I'd like to know what went on in there...

LarryK4 said...

If I had to guess I would say the state will side with me (I'm about 50/50 with my appeals, but some of them I did knowing I would probably lose.)

It would not be an issue if he did not grab four months pay while dancing out the door.

Anonymous said...

I Agree.

Anonymous said...

Larry, I am in full support of the commercialization of ole frat row. I had a strong interest in small town urban design when I was at umass landarch. I can envision a vibrant mixed use complex which would create a broader $ base for the town and provide a greater diversity for the Amherst shopping experince, which historically has been fairly limited. traffic will be a key stumbling block, but with astute planners like Tucker, I think you all of you can cooperaate to make the town a more vital destination.

notwithstanding the banana republic

maybe then the town wouldn't have to save the academy site for commercial application...rather it could be turned into a historic educational memorial such as I proposed to the 250th.

and leave jonez and throbherts out of it, they dominate the town too much as it is.

'bach

Anonymous said...

"Actually we do have an executive session scheduled at the start to talk about potential land acquisition."

What? After all your tirades, emails, letters and open meetings and transparancy. Hypocrite.

LarryK4 said...

And you're an idiot.

The state considers Executive Session an integral part of doing business as a government entity.

I get pissed off when government misuses the valuable tool--which they do all too often.

And just for the record (as you can clearly see since Amherst Media covered the entire meeting live) we did not go into Executive Session last night, but probably will at our next meeting in two weeks.

Anonymous said...

"transparency"


Moron.

Anonymous said...

"Moron."

Moron.

Moron said...

"'Moron.'

Moron."

Moron.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, did you ever request the minutes related to the executive session that resulted in Alberto Rodriguez "stepping down"?

LarryK4 said...

Yes. Not much there.

As you may remember things starting going downhill for Rodriguez when I published the gratuitous "vacation/sick time" schedule for the year he casually tossed the School Committee, and the fact he did not fill out Family Leave paperwork in advance (as required) for taking extended time off.

He was about to receive a lousy job performance review at a public meeting so he got out while the getting was good, also taking four months pay for the ride.

My only regret in that case is that "Unemployment Benefits" are exempt from Public Documents Law.

Anonymous said...

"He was about to receive a lousy job performance review at a public meeting so he got out while the getting was good, also taking four months pay for the ride."


Lousy job performance?!?


Please.

Anonymous said...

If Rodriguez was going to get a lousy job performance review, why did Catherine Sanderson make the statements she did in regards to his short tenure being indicative of Amherst's discomfort with outside change agents? Which was it that drove him out of town? Internal discomfort with his "outside change agent" status, or "lousy" job performance? Because the statements she has made have really confused me. If he were such a great change agent, wouldn't the School Committee have worked to keep him on board, instead of orchestrating his exit?

Anonymous said...

Exactly.

LarryK4 said...

Catherine Sanderson does not Chair the Regional School Committee. She probably would not have given him an unsatisfactory review. Others were going to. She would have been outvoted and it would have gone down on his "permanent record". Something career bureaucrats tend to protect--especially when gifted four months pay as a consolation prize.

Anonymous said...

"Others were going to."


Why?

LarryK4 said...

Because "the system"--especially the sacred cow schools--do not like shaking up or being held accountable.

Why do you think THEY will be trying to take out Catherine Sanderson at the upcoming election?

Anonymous said...

There is no group more resistant to change than teachers. None.

Anonymous said...

Teachers don't run the schools; administrators do. Teachers need to work just like anyone else and while it's pc-acceptable to bash teachers in this town ---how many of us in the private sector risk our jobs trying to get the highly paid admins to do theirs? Teachers I've known are busy trying to teach effectively to their students.

The folks to hold accountable are the ones that are in charge of hiring: SC, Superintendent, Principals.....

Some of the crappola that happens in the schools is amazing in this day and time. Such as the petitions circulated in the schools for teachers to sign etc This maneuver is incredibly obtuse in recognizing that tax funded positions are subject to more scrutiny under Mass ethics laws etc. Somehow to me it's reminiscent of company town mentality.

If I taught in a school and somebody brought me a petition to sign in "support" of one of the folks in charge of my school or school system: I'd pursue legal protection for my job. This just isn't acceptable.

And that's just one example of "you're with us or you're against us" mentality I've heard about in the past few years.



HT

LarryK4 said...

One good reason why we all should thank God (or in this case the Mass Legislature) for the Public Documents and Open Meeting Laws.

Now if only they would put some teeth in them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but if our Select Board captures hour or more of discussion with two sentences and then redacts one and that is upheld under the "law"....we're in a heap of trouble.

If you pay my salary, then you have a right to know my personal/personnel issues that affect my ability to do my job. That's the way it is. Don't want that kind of scrutiny, then don't work for the public sector.

If I worked for anyone in private sector and said "I can't work for you anymore for an undisclosed personal reason but you should pay me for a while, say 6 months, the employer would laugh, not offer me 4 months. What is being hidden here?

Why aren't the taxpayers as smart as other employers?? This is our money. Not the Select Board, not the School Committee's.

And if our town SB/SC etc are engaging in "payoffs" to keep ex-employees from telling something unfavorable, which is what these things tend to appear then....we need to get rid of these folks.


HT

LarryK4 said...

Agreed.

That's the main reason I was such a BIG proponent of dumping the current antiquated Town Meeting form of government that rules our Banana (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone)Republic and replacing it with a more professional, businesslike Mayor/Council.

Rat patrol said...

So Larry, are you ready to use the C word?


Corruption?


It rolls right off the lips...

Anonymous said...

"And that's just one example of "you're with us or you're against us" mentality I've heard about in the past few years."


That's Amherst's schools director of H.R. Kathy Mazur's mantra.

Don't forget, it was her idea (as vice chair of the S Hadley school committee) to use the S Hadley police to silence taxpayers critical of the schools handling of the Prince case.

Imagine the advice she's been giving Geryk and company.


Imagine.

Anonymous said...

If Rodriguez was going to get a lousy job performance review, why did Catherine Sanderson make the statements she did in regards to his short tenure being indicative of Amherst's discomfort with outside change agents?

Could it be that Sanderson is from the South, where there are still such things as manners and she grew up being taught not to hit people when they are down?

Could it be that she knew he already was fired and was trying to let him save face?

Could it be that, unlike many in this town, she is at heart a basically decent person?

Heaven forbid that someone say something nice about a vanquished foe.....

Anonymous said...

"why did Catherine Sanderson make the statements she did in regards to his short tenure being indicative of Amherst's discomfort with outside change agents?"


Why don't we ask C.S.?


Catherine?

LarryK4 said...

why don't you go over to her blog and ask? There's a hotlink over on the right.

Anonymous said...

She reads your blog quite a bit. Better to keep it here since it started here.

LarryK4 said...

YOU started it here, not little old me.

My original post had to do with the Gateway Project.

Anonymous said...

On the Rodriguez firing:

Was he "lousy" at the job? Absolutely.

Was there a LOT more to it?
Oh, yes. Some of it mind blowing. Stuff that NO ONE here would try to defend.

There is tape of a S.C. meeting that took place soon after he left. At one point Irv starts to talk about the evaluations they received, and he says something like: "When I first read these, I couldn't believe what I was reading..." He is abruptly cut off by Farshid who says "We are not allowed to talk publicly about what is in the evaluations!"

Disturbing stuff. Not stuff that has to do with left or right or conservative or liberal or about management styles or a desire to "shake things up." Not "job performance" related, but behavior.

Catherine knew that the content of the evaluations, and the content of the final meeting with Rodriguez, was to be kept confidential as part of his agreement to leave. (Remember, it was a unanimous decision that he leave.) C.S. seized upon this, painted it as "the junior administration resists change" and "they are unmanageable" to further her own agenda, and because, hey, no one was allowed to say the real reasons (part of the deal.)

She knows what is in those evaluations; indefensible stuff. There was NO QUESTION he had to leave. He's lucky he got out the way he did.