Wednesday, January 5, 2011

They've got a secret

The Select Board gave Larry Shaffer (on left) the thumbs up for his mysteriously sudden retirement
UPDATE: 4/17/11

How it all, finally, turns out
And continues...

UPDATED: Friday 9: 30 AM

The interesting thing is in the official minutes they did give me only one sentence is redacted. Hmm...

However, the entire one-hour-and-twenty minute executive session "discussion" was covered by Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe (demonstrating her PR flak background) in only two sentences. So the other way to look at it is they redacted half the damn report!

The other telling thing about the Town Attorney blowing me off is that he cites "Wakefield Teachers Association vs School Committee of Wakefield"; and that had to do with a middle school male teacher being disciplined for making inappropriate written comments to a couple of his young female students and being "disciplined" (No, strangely enough he was not fired only docked three weeks pay).

A judge ruled that since the documents in question had to due with the "performance" of a public employee it was exempt from Public Documents Law request. So I guess it boils down to who initiated the break between Shaffer and the town. Did he do it of his own volition because he was getting old and tired and simply wanted to retire or did the Select Board get wind of some inappropriate activity and implement disciplinary action?

Supervisor of Records
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
McCormack Building, Room 1719
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Mr. Cote,

I wish to appeal the recent decision of the Town Of Amherst denying me the vast majority of minutes from the 8/30/10 Select Board Executive Session to discuss the sudden retirement of then Town Manager Larry Shaffer, the highest ranking appointed public official in town with an annual salary of $127,528.

The Executive Session lasted over an hour and resulted in the Town Manager being released from his employment contract two years early, AND the payment of four months bonus pay. Since all the monies are tax dollars, The People who financed this arrangement have a right to know the details.

And since Mr. Shaffer almost immediately applied for Town Manager/City Manager positions in the state of Wisconsin, it's obvious he did not abruptly retire from Amherst due to a medical condition.

As always, thank you for service championing the peoples right to know by keeping government records open and transparent.

Larry Kelley
596 South Pleasant St.
Amherst, Ma 01002

So much for "open government" bragged about on the town website

Thought I was doing pretty good up to this point, but I just knew a "However" was coming...

Page 2 legal response via google docs


Dale said...

Whenever any person in politics witholds information on something as seemingly simple as a retirement package you know they are up to no good. If I were to guess I would suspect the retirment package taken is allot more lucrative than the towns elite have disclosed, and rather than trying to explain their actions they are looking for the path of least resistance, which in this case is non-disclosure. Lets see how well the selectboard jugglers do not dropping any balls on this one.
On a side note someone should tell them to stop doing photo ops they look ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Oh I love this.

fuckedbyshafter said...

fuck Harry shafter!!!

should have paid 'Bach for his hard earned and well deserved work which was solicited by the town.

and what did shafter get quoted about the issue...?

"Mr. Sendelbach will not be paid a dime by the town," Shaffer said.

"Many professionals in the community donate their time and advice for projects", Shaffer said, "and that was the assumption with Sendelbach's work, even after he provided a model of his planned work."

LarryK4 said...

Maybe you should fly out to Wisconsin and try to take it out of the $40,000 we Amherst taxpayers paid him as a going away present.

Cinda and I would spring for a one way ticket...

Anonymous said...

what about the 25k the town paid the admin assistant to leave quietly.....

LarryK4 said...

I was wondering about that as well.

Anonymous said...

Do most companies give out bonuses when they fire people?

Anonymous said...

They paid him to voluntarily resign.

Anonymous said...

Remember the Select Board membership that hired this guy?

We absolutely cannot go back to those days.

Anonymous said...

The two jobs Larry Shaffer applied for and didn't get were actually in Michigan.

Anonymous said...

"Cinda and I would spring for a one way ticket..."

the truth finally comes out larry, you never did voice your opinion pro or con against me. based on the quote above, i'gonna say con. that is why you stalked me and got my photo while my home was being auctioned off. the reason I ultimately failed in fuckherst is just exactly what this thread is about....that shitherst is run and dominated by ass phux like you and former Harry shafter. this secrecy thing really piqued my curiosity.... I am thinking lawsuit again.

as for cinder, I know when I asked her to support my project, when she said the jonzes had no interest in public art, she was just mad at me for reporting her runoff pollution at the lumberyard.....cost her 35g's in drainage modification. biggest landowner in the state and doesn't support public art in her own town. that alone speaks volumes. yet she was the president of the chamber of commerce at the time , and did not want to see a piece in town that had international potential...being that the project was about Emily's grammar school and all. rather, she was in bed with the committe chair who ruined me...that is Barry roberts had her sawdust market cornered for his horses to shit on. Barry Harry Larry and cinder, four fecal masses that prove shitherst is a seething mass of vipers where honest men cannot endure.


LarryK4 said...

Actually I was just checking to see if you still had a sense of humor. Obviously not.

imelda's cobbler said...

I find my posts to be quite humorous

such as my latest terms of endearment

Larry curlymoe (our popular mechanics guru)
hairy shafter (town embezelment manager)
bury robbers (horse dong grabber, flatout liar)
yo Adrienne (deceptor, shipjumper)
feral Johnson (no new walkways to my cinema)
pristene breastrub (part of hardassus' crew)
queen hardassus (most disliked professor, James rose shirttail rider, power abuser)
dizzy thomson (breastrub partner, secret professor affairer, admirer of Jose the jrose love slave)

did I miss anyone?

oh yeah, the goodguy...greatmind


Anonymous said...

Stop WHINING already! Anyone who was behind you at the beginning has become embarassed by it.

Anonymous said...

Is it true?? Why was an administrative assistant paid to leave???

Anonymous said...

"Stop WHINING already! Anyone who was behind you at the beginning has become embarassed by it."

well whoever was behind me did not help when I needed the support. if my friends and supporters had rallied for me when the committee did a 180 on me maybe I could have saved my house and continued to serve the town with my ideas. now I am just an embarrasment. sweet. just like the 250th committee who refused to pay for my 100+ hours of solicited, billable work.

so whoever you are, friend or foe, go screw, because you abandoned me and hung me out to dry.

tell, what other town proactively solicits a designers work, votes to perdue his idea over others, asks for continual revisions then tanks the project...all while very well knowing that the designer was on the financial ropes?

please tell me this is a common occurence, with bonafide examples.....then I will stop whining.


Anonymous said...

He drove so many good loyal employees out of town! Really an awful person!!!

Anonymous said...

I must qualify my last post. to my knowledge 3 people tried to help me post-fiasco

my roommate at the time, who wrote a most reasonable but scathing letter of support

a " great mind" in town who walked in to shafters office and asked him to pay me

and a long time remote supporter from hamp(whom I have not met in person yet)

my apologies and thanks to any anonymous supporters who ACTUALLY took action Stop WHINING already! Anyone who was behind you at the beginning has become embarassed by it.

Anonymous said...

"Is it true?? Why was an administrative assistant paid to leave???"

The one he was banging, maybe?

Anonymous said...

I believe we can thank his lordship for bringing him to town....

Dale said...

Bach, I do understand your situation as I have been there before. Not to get to far off subject I am a little confused as to why you didn't ask for any money at any time during the process. as far as I'm concerned before I did any 100+ hrs of work on anything I would have a written contract in place to fall back on. I believe you were mislead to think you were being contracted, but in reality there was one major comunication problem going on. You do need to understand the days of a firm handshake are long gone. You should have established the goals and expectations of the town and quoted them your hourly rate for the time you anticipated the work would take. With each alteration they made to the design you could have billed them this way you could seen the danger you were in early on with the game they were playing with you, and ceased appling time to a customer that obviously had no intention of paying you. I don't care if they made verbal promises and commitments to pay you in the end, unless it's in paper all you have is a very painful life's lesson. I think the earlier poster is trying to get across to you there is nothing you can say or do that is going to change that history. I do hope you can regroup and recover from this over time, but you need to focus on future projects and how to prevent screwovers from happening to you again.
Enough of my yapping.
Best Regards and a better New Year!

Anonymous said...

Im still wondering how 100 hours of work, which is 2 1/2 weeks in the real working world, can be blamed for you losing your house?

Anonymous said...

I really wish this hadn't gotten off track. I agree with the comments that it is weak to claim 2.5 weeks unpaid work caused the loss of a house and think the victim should post to a blog of his own because these countless blog posts OFTEN serve to derail some other meaningful discussions.

With that said: I am very concerned over the "package" that the former town manager received and, as a taxpaying Amherst resident, appreciate Larry's effort to find out WHAT it is that 5 people--elected by us, to represent OUR interests, agreed to and why.

The "personnel matters" blanket is not appropriate when it is us that funds the agreement.

JOURNALISTS are supposed to dig into issues; our local papers are not doing their jobs and we need to know details--not just read school and town press releases.

I have read the local papers for decades and I have often been appalled because the articles (basically press releases) have left me thinking "why didn't you ask ___________" Answers from elected officials, from school officials, etc are just accepted and printed, almost never questioned.

Larry is doing the job that the press is supposed to do. Note that I don't always agree with him or his tactics but he's at least out there being asking uncomfortable questions: working it seems daily at being a true journalist, digging past the surface.

All tax-paid personnel need to understand that privacy is something one does give up to a certain degree.

Our elected officials participate in too much secrecy, too many quiet deals that commit OUR money without disclosure. I'm tired of it.

Personally I believe that in a democracy (I know we're a republic but we like to think of it as a democracy...) we All have major responsibility.

There is no THEY that are wiser or smarter than "we, the people". The press is our tool and arguably the most important tool in keeping our ideals intact.

Thanks for pushing on this issue, Larry. I hope you keep at it.


LarryK4 said...

Will do. Once I'm locked-and-loaded there's no turning back.

(And damned be him that first cries “Hold enough!”.)

Anonymous said...

HT, you are so right. It was widely known that Shaffer was having an affair. How that somehow led to him leaving his job with a nice bonus is the question that needs answering.

Anonymous said...

I think most of the town is as sick of these in the closet deals the selectboard seems to think we have no interest in.
Lets see if
Fort Rivers Principal reappears with some reason to step down and get some compensation package we are untitled to hear about. It seems this is usually how the bakll starts rolling. The hired official dissapears and nobody seems to no why and then they step out and cash a check at our expense.
Heres a novel idea they don't show up for work for weeks on end with no good reason "Fire Their Ass". This is how it works in the real world folks.

Anonymous said...

I've had to travel a lot this year so am not hearing rumors. If an affair is truly part of the picture, this is absolutely awful that we're paying for this. I'm sick of people getting to forgo rules, laws, customs and ethics and having us pay the bill for it.

I'm outraged if this is part of the picture. Choose to break convention, laws, rules, vows or whatever, do it at your own risk and cost. Not mine.

LarryK4 said...

This from the (12/11/10) Birmingham Patch, a hyperlocal internet news site:

"Because Shaffer's significant other teaches at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, commissioners asked him about whether he plans to commute. Shaffer assured them that he's fully open to making Birmingham his permanent home if he is offered the position and that he's here to stay."

Anonymous said...

An amazing picture of insider vipers and their pig mascot.

The only way to stop them is to strip them naked again and again and again...

Anonymous said...

Also said by Shaffer in the Birmingham Patch was that when his girlfriend went to MI he knew that a long distance relationship was hard. Soooo he started looking to relocate....Ms. Ashby left Amherst well before Shaffer "resigned" so again his "retirement" was a lot of BS.....This carpet bagger took Amherst for a ride that's for sure....Keep digging Larry!!!!

Anonymous said...

"In a prepared statement that he chose not to read aloud at the board's meeting, Gerald Weiss said he picked Shaffer because he brings 'a combination of grant experience, successful environmental and economic initiatives, experiences with universities, experience with poverty and with college communities. He is known by his references as a doer, a can-do guy, a hard worker, a manager with vision, imaginative, broad thinking and a really nice guy.'

"Jane Ashby, a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee, which interviewed all of the candidates, said the consensus of the committee seemed to coalesce around Shaffer early on. 'There was a strong feeling on the committee, especially after the second round of interviews, that he was the one.'

Anonymous said...

Way to call it larry:

"Amherst businessman Larry Kelley said he found it 'incredible and unfathomable that five independent Select board members in a selection contest this close could have conjured up a unanimous decision on the very first balloting.'

The board should have announced a runnerup and a first-year salary cap of $100,000 'to maintain some degree of leverage with Mr. Shaffer in contract negotiations,' Kelley said.

Bob Ackermann, of Sunset Avenue, who was watching the Select Board meeting on television at home, agreed with Kelley. 'It seemed unlikely to me that five people would come to the same conclusion,' Ackermann said. 'It seemed pretty clear that some kind of discussion had gone on. When the unanimous vote was announced, they acted as though they knew that as opposed to being astonished that it had come out that way.'

Kelley said Shaffer would have been his third pick, but it was a very close race. 'I am happy that we get a solid administrator for our top position and retain a solid experienced administrator like Musante for our number two position.'"

LarryK4 said...

Of course now I'm starting to wonder how much influence Jane Ashby had with the Town Manager on other issues, since she was also as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, sometimes acting as Chair.


Roach patrol said...

I wonder if Jane, as a psychologist, understood/stands that sleeping with a married man is one of the most destructive, selfish and hurtful things one human being can do to another.

Nah, in Umass circles she would be congratulated for being so "empowered".

Too bad her victim is another woman.


Fuck Amherst

Roach patrol said...

Looks like she was no "plain Jane":

"A routine vote on a committee appointment turned tense, after one Select Board member said he would relinquish some of his duties on the board if members did not confirm an appointment.

Robert Kusner recently accepted responsibility for vetting applications to serve on committees and making recommendations to the board. But he said he would no longer do the task unless his fellow board members agreed to appoint Jane Ashby as the Public Transportation and Bicycle Committee's representative to the newly formed Town Commercial Relations Committee.

While all four Select Board members present said Ashby would be an excellent choice, the board's policy is to not appoint the same person to more than two committees, Chairwoman Anne Awad said.

Ashby, who was ultimately confirmed, now belongs to three."

LarryK4 said...

Well, her degree from Umass was in "experimental psychology".

The town of Amherst and Larry Shaffer must have made a great case study for her.

Roach patrol said...


Anonymous said...

hand shaffer an Uzi

Anonymous said...

How about we start a list of the Shaffer screwups....from both his handling of personnel issues (hiring/firing) to his screwups in the community!

Anonymous said...

Naah! That would take to long, let's just make a list of the things he did that were good for the town, it be a much shorter list and take less time LMAO!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Jane, as a psychologist, understood/stands that sleeping with a married man is one of the most destructive, selfish and hurtful things one human being can do to another.

She doesn't appear to be licensed as a psychologist:

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess Shaffer and her make a great couple then, because he wasn't a town manager either.

Anonymous said...

Besides venting our frustrations here---what can we actually do about this debacle?

Anonymous said...

Nothing but be happy it's a new day with way better leadership.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, Jane Ashby, as a married woman, worked on Shaffer from the beginning of his town manager appointment. May he rest in peace until she decides she wants to dump him for another old guy (for whatever her benefit might be at the time) as she did with her Umass hubby here. Question is: how much did the previous select board help her with this conquest? Is this woman totally nuts? Or, does she know how to manipulate men for her own conveniences? She should apply what she learned in psychology (from her previous husband, whom she also stole from his wife) to herself and stop wrecking peoples lives and marriages. But then again, thanks to her we don't have Shaffer running our town. They should die in hell and be happily ever after for all the damage they have both done to people in Amherst. They deserve each other. Actually, we shouldn't even be discussing these two losers.....