Friday, January 14, 2011

Town Manager presents "No Override budget"

John Musante (center), Andy Steinberg Finance Comm Chair (in red), Stephanie O'Keeffe SB Chair

Rookie Town Manager and still Finance Director John Musante presented his maiden budget to the venerable Select Board and adhered to the watchdog Finance Committee's suggestion of a level funded budget ($18.5 million), in other words a "No Override budget."

And when I asked if the fiefdoms who represent the other two-thirds of our $60+ million overall budget budget (mainly the schools at $33.5 million and the Library at $1.5 million) were also going to follow this precedent he replied:

"No consideration, to my knowledge, of another Override to support Fiscal budget 2012."

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

no over ride budget... No kidding, does he need an over ride every year to make ends meet?

Anonymous said...

God help us if we get Maria G as Supt because she will need an override every month....

LarryK4 said...

I was a little surprised she was not at the meeting just to show solidarity to our new Town Manager and the budget process.

Pat Holland, the Library Trustee President was there, and by her question to Mr. Musante you could tell she was angling for an Override to help her budget.

Anonymous said...

Clearly there was no multi year plan with the override...it turns out the Regional Schools need to cut one million next year....what's up with that?

Anonymous said...

Maria G will be a better choice than this guy Gerald Kohn (one of the other three finalists,) who it turns out has been fired from his last FIVE superintendent jobs.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Catherine Sanderson seems to LOVE this guy Kohn. She would like us to be "objective", and understand that there are "good reasons and bad reasons" to be fired.

I thought her head was going to pop off when i watched the video of her nooding with approval when the announcement was made that he was a finalist. Funny, they both have strong ties to Princeton, NJ.

Hmmmm.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, SHE went to Princeton during the early-to-mid 1990s for her PhD and HE was an undergrad BEFORE SHE WAS BORN...really strong ties.

Do you also believe 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by President Bush?

Anonymous said...

Did you know that Nixon was in Dallas on the day that JFK was shot? Also, powerful stuff.

Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

Catherine also went to Stanford University undergrad, which is in California.

One of the candidates is FROM California.

Hmmmm........

But Catherine has been living in Amherst and Maria Geryk has been here at the same time.

Hmmmm.......

I guess we're going to have to fail the search until Catherine leaves.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean to tell me that all 3 of these finalists are from places where Catherine Sanderson has hung out for considerable periods of time in the past?

Where are the papers on this?

This is the biggest deal since we learned that Mohammed Atta met with one of Saddam's men before 9/11.

LarryK4 said...

Hey come on now, our 1:11PM Cowardly Anon Nitwit did tremendous background digging.

After all, he looked at Ms. Sanderson's Facebook page.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god! An inside source just disclosed to me that Catherine S., Maria G, and at least (2) of the finalists all like Banana Bread. A coincidience I think not. There' a conspiricy Brewing I'm sure of it!

Anonymous said...

oh, is that all you guys have come up with? There is more to it than that. But you guys just keep on with your ridiculing, that's what blogs are for, right?

and i guess no one wants to comment on the 5 firings? just ridicule poor old "anon nit-wit 1:11". you folks are pathetic.

LarryK4 said...

Could you please site "reliable sources" for your statement that he's been fired 5 times?

And as far as I can see, he has actually been a regional school superintendent in MA.

Anonymous said...

It appears, Larry, that the Maria Geryk for Superintendent campaign has moved out of its headquarters at Amherst Media, where her free media plays around the clock, and on to your blog.

Check out those bios and compare for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice the amount of mean ridicule, including physical stuff, that comes Catherine's way from the crowd of haters?

All in the name of being positive about our schools.

Anonymous said...

Check former anti-blogger, now blogger Michael DeChiara's post over at www.communitysupportededucation.net.

He joins disgruntled former SC member Andy Churchill (his comments in the Gazette earlier in the week)in beginning to plant the seeds of doubt about the selection process early, so that, if things don't go the right way Thursday, well, "there wasn't enough community involvement." You may remember Mr. Churchill from the last superintendent search. He went to the bathroom after giving a stirring speech for one candidate, and then switched his vote to Alberto Rodriguez.

The process argument is always there to resort to in Amherst whenever you're feeling like a sore loser. But it's always good to get your process-related complaints in early. So, if it's not Maria on Thursday night, expect the howling to begin.

Anonymous said...

i think what you guys are seriously missing is that this (sup search) is not about who has accumulated a list of credentials that look good on paper. the community has made it clear what they are looking for in a superintendent. now, the s.c. needs to decide who best fits that profile.

Anonymous said...

if maria g doesn't do stuff on amherst media she is accused of being insular and not involving the community with what's happening and with what initiatives are being implemented, when she does stuff on there it is a self-serving media campaign. can't win with you folks.

hey larry, how come anon 1:11 is the only cowardly nit-wit anon out of this group? it seems like if an anon agrees with your approach, well, that's cool with you. this blog is so mean-spirited and negative.

Anonymous said...

As far as we know, Larry, you're the one posting the anonymous negative stuff to make it look like supporters of M.G. are getting negative. In fact, some of the anonymous posts fit with the style you write in. Or maybe it's Ed or C.S. or Abbie. Who knows? Maybe it's Kohn getting in on the action. This blog is an electronic public bathroom stall wall.

Ed said...

Catherine Sanderson seems to LOVE this guy Kohn. She would like us to be "objective", and understand that there are "good reasons and bad reasons" to be fired.

I wish I had the money to go to the Federalist Society convention last year and been able to ask Judge Bork why he did what he did -- and now his health is failing and it is too late -- but those of us over the age of 45 remember Watergate and the "Saturday Night Massacre" -- Nixon wished to fire the special prosecutor and had to fire half the Justice Department until he finally got down to someone (Bork) who was willing to fire Cox.

OK folks, what do you think about the people who were fired for refusing to bend over for Tricky Dick? Might that be a "good" reason for being fired? Hmmm.....

Look -- are you saying that the people who were fired for not firing Cox ought to have been blacklisted???? That they some how were bad or evil people because Nixon (whom I trust you hate) fired them?

Come on now -- smoke a little less dope and think about this kinda logically....

Ed said...

Or maybe it's Ed or C.S. or Abbie.

Can't speak for the two ladies, but no one -- absolutely no one -- ever accuses me of being subtitle. Just ask the UMass Police -- they all know the name of my lawyer because I have no doubt that the brass announced it at shift briefings....

Besides, I am trying to graduate and leave the Cesspool-Named-Amherst and haven't been posting much....

Ed said...

Catherine S., Maria G, and at least (2) of the finalists all like Banana Bread.

As do I. Will all of them come over to my apartment and bake me some? Will they wash my dirty dishes as well? Maybe sort my assorted dirty clothes into the appropriate hampers?

Folk, there are a lot of responsibilities and no small amount of money involved in this decision -- just because she is cute is not quite good enough of a reason to hire her...

I really do like freshly-baked Banana Bread....

Ed said...

So, if it's not Maria on Thursday night, expect the howling to begin.

And if it is Maria on Thursday night, expect the WAR to begin. This will be the open indication to all of just how corrupt the ARSD is and as to the benefits of school choice and home schooling.

If Maria G is hired without my being shown a clear reason why she is more qualified than the other two candidates with the doctorate she lacks --- something I am currently busting my a** to get -- then I will consider her an illegitimate fraud and act accordingly.

If Maria G is hired because she is cute and has a hot body then it will be very clear to absolutely everyone that this is all a chirade and that working within the system is ineffective and that we need to openly attack it. And we will. War will have been declared...

You children are declaring war on people with whom you truly do not wish to fight -- can we please make this a fair process where we look at qualifications and not whom she is married to?????

Or do we have war?

Ed said...

0ne other thing -- if enough parents go to homeschooling, at what point is an *under-ride" viable? OK, we cut the school budget in half because half the kids are gone....

Anonymous said...

The day we can saw the high school in half to save on energy costs. Moron.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Ed. Get a grip. Someone please make this man some fresh banana bread. His last few posts were over the top, even for him.

Is there any chance, Ed, that you will, actually graduate in June??? If so, please know there are many praying for you to actually make it in June.

Roach and rat patrol said...

"You children are declaring war on people with whom you truly do not wish to fight -- can we please make this a fair process where we look at qualifications and not whom she is married to?????

Or do we have war?"


If the Geryk/Mazur team wins, all hell is going to break loose.

Keep your eyes on the prize little roaches...

Anonymous said...

Ed, you don't need a PhD to do the job of superintendent in MA. It's not a requirement. (Yes, we understaand the stock you place in degrees.) You need to have a license, or a certification from the state, to do the job. Note one of the two candidates with a PhD may not be licensed to be a superintendent in MA. M.G. meets all the requirements including degrees necessary to do the job in MA. And, by all accounts, she has been doing the job better than it's been done in many years.

Perhaps you could lobby the state to require that superintendents hold a PhD?

P.S.: I actually admire Nixon!

Ed said...

Is there any chance, Ed, that you will, actually graduate in June??? If so, please know there are many praying for you to actually make it in June.

I said "graduate", not "in June."

Although all anyone who wants me out of Amherst (immediately) has to do is find me a good job somewhere else (Boston, Augusta, DC) and I will email the rest in and be gone... Gone... GONE....

I make no secret of this -- I am not asking for help, but I am looking for a job and not in the Valley. If I really am that detested and people so want to see me gone, then there is a way to expedite it....

Ed said...

Ed, you don't need a PhD to do the job of superintendent in MA.

Agreed (and it is an EdD and not PhD, could we please remember this!) Michelle Rhee, the well-respected reformer who would have cleaned up the DC system had the new mayor not fired her, doesn't have one.

I ask two questions though: First, how can the very people championing Maria G without the degree then (in good faith) take the money of others for this degree? The entire economy of Amherst exists under the myth that degrees are worth something, hiring her shows how much a fraud all of this is.

Second, how do you convince the 16-year-old to stay in school and graduate when he can point to the superintendent and say that "she didn't and look how well she is doing."

OK, Maria G Fan Club, answer these two questions. Should the UM School of Education be abolished -- and if not (and I trust you will vehemently argue that it ought not be) then how do you justify hiring someone who lacks the degree you consider essential?

This is like being pregnant, there is no middle ground here -- if she is qualified without the EdD then the EdD is not a qualification....

Ed said...

The problem I have with Maria G is that everyone says she is doing a good job -- but no one presents the bullet points of her accomplishments. Everyone says she is very knowledgable about school issues, yet again no one presents either what she knows or how she learned it.

She never wrote a thesis, there is no written statement of her philosophy of education. What IS her philosophy of education -- I have one, it gets sent with my CV if requested, does she have one?

And mentioning whom she is married to is a RED ALERT to a lack of qualifications -- truly qualified people list neither the names nor occupations of spouses because this is about the candidate herself and HER qualifications and not those of her spouse.

Ed said...

If the Geryk/Mazur team wins, all hell is going to break loose.

There are two wild cards in all of this that you folk are missing - and it isn't a case of "war" as much as what happened to the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 --- it is very easy to sit on your hands and do nothing when help is needed.

First, I am convinced that PPrince (a) had ADD, (b) the district knew about it and (c) it will come out in the trials of those kids accused of bullying her. (I believe this is the sealed stuff that the defense has been given.) Now this is a SPED issue (Maria G's field) and isn't Mazur on the SoHad board, and isn't the Supt who hired Maria G the responsible supt in SoHad for this?

ADA is a civil rights law -- you get a US Attorney looking at this as a civil rights matter -- or even the inevitable civil lawsuit against the parents of the other girls (if they are convicted) and both their and the Prince family lawsuits against the district and this is going to get really interesting.

Second, there are already reports of layoffs at UMass. There are a lot of kids who simply can't pay their bills, their families don't have the money, and I really wonder how many fewer students will be there on Tuesday - and the higher education bubble is starting to pop just like the housing one did.

Amherst is going to be stabbed with a three pointed trident -- dropping property values (and demands for reevaluation), financially squeezed taxpayers demanding lower taxes, and an influx of children as the student housing shifts to Section 8 housing.

Whoever is running that district is going to need a lot of friends....

Ed said...

One other thing -- and I saw this in Maine a quarter century ago and those people learned the hard way that I was right -- and I suggest that you learn the lesson of Great Northern Paper.

Right now there are a bunch of locals who never need worry about money nor of outsiders, and can exercise their local clique power to cover up incompetence if not outright corruption. The money will flow from UMass in a variety of ways and all will be fat & lazy...

This, too, shall pass -- and soon -- and then what do you do?

(Springfield was corrupt for years, everyone knew it, and then.....)

All it is going to take is a Town Meeting to say "no" and the whole game is over. Exactly what do you do if the town meeting refuses to allocate money to the district? It isn't like you can take a mayor to court and get some judge to order him to fund the district, if the town meeting simply refuses to raise the money, refuses to authorize the taxes (and the residents surely aren't going to pay taxes that TM didn't authorize), then what do you do?

Worse, what happens when all the young families leave (or simply aren't replaced) or put their kids into other educational venues and no one who owns property has a child in the schools? This is what happened in Maine, for a while shrinking enrollments in Northern Maine were ignored, but now people aren't willing to pay and folks are scared about their jobs.

You folk will be screwed....

Anonymous said...

I think we ought to rename this blog the Rambling Ed Blog. Anyone make that banana bread for Ed yet? He truly needs it.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice what Kohn's last salary was? Over $230,000 per year. And his age? Sixty Seven. Is that the kind of investment we want to make in Amherst's future? Given the instability we've had in school leadership in the last few years, as well as the uproar over Rodriguez's salary of $173,000, I think we need to give careful consideration to the suitability of his candidacy.

LarryK4 said...

With the many,many years he already put in the education system it's a pretty safe bet he is collecting a decent retirement.

So I'm sure he would be willing to accept W-A-Y less than his most recent salary to come to our little paradise.

And I'm told by reliable sources he could work circles around folks half his age.

I had a guy his age beat me cycling up Mt. Washington 15 years ago (back when I was actually in kick ass shape)

Anonymous said...

"Now this is a SPED issue (Maria G's field) and isn't Mazur on the SoHad board, and isn't the Supt who hired Maria G the responsible supt in SoHad for this?"


Yes, yes and yes Ed. And I keep saying again and again it was Kathy Mazur's idea to use the S. Hadley police against tax-payers who would stand up and (publicly) criticize her and her old boss (and close personal friend) Gus Sayer.


Now ask yourself, who has been acting as Maria Geryk's adviser throughout this little Amherst coup?


Care to guess?

Ed said...

Anyone else notice what Kohn's last salary was? Over $230,000 per year. And his age? Sixty Seven. Is that the kind of investment we want to make in Amherst's future?

Absolutely - for reasons similar to why the Globe's Brian McGrory proposed Jack Welch for UM President last September: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/09/17/jackpot_for_umass/

Three things: First, the fact that he was once paid that much and once was in charge of a system that essentially would be all of the 413 Area Code means that he has the experience and gravatas that we need.

Second, the job pays what the job pays and we all know that Maria G would love to have it so it isn't like we can be blackmailed into paying more than we want to. Because his retirement is essentially subsidizing him, we can get someone whom we would never be otherwise able to hire.

Third, the average tenure of a superintendent -- anywhere in the state -- is something like five years. He said he will be here for that -- at which point he will only be 72 which isn't that old anymore -- I know a certain well-loved UM administrator who just retired and she is that age.

I know you will do everything short of lighting forest fires to get Maria G, but facts do matter, damn it....

Ed said...

And his age? Sixty Seven. Is that the kind of investment we want to make in Amherst's future?

That is age discrimination you schmuck -- isn't one of the candidates also black (or am I confusing this with the UM Pres Search) -- what's next, are you gonna say "whites only" as well???

Sometimes, you just gotta wonder...

Anonymous said...

Hey Amherst School Committee, listen up, Ed the perennial graduate student who doesn't have any kids, (or an EdD,) and who thinks Amherst is a "cesspool" and can't wait to leave it, is here to offer us all the "facts" about why Kohn is the man for the job...

Ed said...

Ed the perennial graduate student who doesn't have any kids, (or an EdD,) and who thinks Amherst is a "cesspool" and can't wait to leave it, is here to offer us all the "facts" about why Kohn is the man for the job..

First, I have more of an education than Maria G has -- I have all three of her degrees and a couple more. Second, it is not just parents for whom the schools exist, but for the community as a whole -- walk away from that and you walk right into the argument of "why should I pay to educate other people's children" and then the concept of all municipal services being on a user-fee basis.

No, I don't think Amherst is just a cesspool, I consider it a purgutorial cesspool, 45.47 square miles surrounded by reality. But that neither negates the fact that I am a 4th Generation teacher nor that I care about the right of all children to obtain an education.

I can't seem to recall when I said that Kohn was qualified or that Maria G was not (although unlike her, *I* have a clasroom teaching certificate) -- all I did (am doing) is asking for someone to show me some real reason why she is qualified and he is not.

Not that he is old and she is cute, not that he got fired from a job that Maria G wouldn't even have been interviewed for (at this stage in her career) but something resembling facts.

Instead, I am attacked -- the USAF say that "when you are getting shot at, it means that you are over the target." There appear to be some folks damn scared that their "fix" for Maria G won't work, that the search isn't rigged well enough...

And at this point I am just asking questions.... H***, if Maria G is half as good as you twits claim she is, why bother attacking me when you can itemize her accomplishments????

ARE there any????

Anonymous said...

No Ed, you are not being attacked because you are over the target. You are being attacked because you are a blowhard. You could have all the degrees in the world and you would not be qualified to do the job of Superintendent of the Amherst school system. You're an idiot.

the evil Ed who doesn't care what schmucks say about him said...

You could have all the degrees in the world and you would not be qualified to do the job of Superintendent of the Amherst school system.

Did I miss my name being listed as one of the finalists?

Listen you anonymous schmuck, the issue is that I am not qualified, and Maria has less education than I do, but one of how is she qualified to have this really important job?

(In some ways, this is the most complex superintendent job in the state...)

None of her supporters has yet to state (a) any specific knowledge she has, (b) any citable academic paper she has written wherein she outlines her philosophy of education (or anything else), or (c) any specific accomplishment she has made as superintendent.

The woman is either (a) not qualified or (b) very badly served by her advocates -- I really don't know which it is and all you do by attacking those who ask questions is imply that she is so badly unqualified that no questions may be permitted to be asked....


I don't care how nice her husband is, or how adorable her children are, or how much the clique likes her -- the fact that a boss is universally adored by his employees indicates only that he is not doing his job....

(Everyone in his administration adored George W. Bush -- enough said????)

And the flip side is that I don't care how many rumors are floating around about her personal life, and you will not see me repeating them. Those too are irrelevant to the question of what qualifications does she have to do this job.

Nor do I care how much I am attacked or how many cowards hide behind the cloak of IP addresses to spew insults at me -- I live in the world of empirical educational research and citations and while she never wrote a thesis (I checked), if she has this great peer-refereed paper out there somewhere, I will read it with an open mind.

Earth to the Maria G Fan Club -- does this woman have any qualifications at all, and if so, why aren't you telling us about them?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Pablo Picasso never wrote a thesis either -- earth to the art critics, Picasso is not qualified to be one of the great artists of the twentieth century!

Some people get out into the world and do something important and meaningful.

Ed said...

Pablo Picasso never wrote a thesis either -- earth to the art critics, Picasso is not qualified to be one of the great artists of the twentieth century!

His "thesis" was the work he displayed at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando -- the MFA has a performance or art work AS the dissertation (dissertation as it is a terminal degree).

Good try, cowardly anonymous nitwit, but facts matter...

Some people get out into the world and do something important and meaningful.

And what "something important" thing has Maria G done???? Come now, just tell me....

If she is so qualified, you all can stop attacking me and just simply list her qualifications. If she has so many, you will have plenty of facts to promulgate.

And when I don't see them posted, I can only conclude that, well, ....

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ed, I don't have that list. But The National search firm was satisfied with list of accomplishments, and the local search committee,(which included one of your blogosphere heros C.S.,) was satisfied enough to make her one of the top 3 applicants after a national search, and her accomplishments on are on the web, and she will have a public interview which you can watch, and perhaps your questions will be answered.

You've sadly overinvested yourself in the university, and it is understandably hard for you to sit there and watch people who got out there and have worked in the field for the last 25 years make something of themselves and the world around them. Your degrees will be meaningless, because they are not backed up by real experience, and you lack the character that would allow you to become a real contributor or a true leader.

and that is a big part of why you are so angry.

Roach patrol said...

"and that is a big part of why you are so angry."


Ok then, let me tell you why ~I~ am angry.

Rampant cronyism, nepotism, corruption, stealing from taxpayers, lying to the public, protecting insiders, disrespect of the school committee, standing in the way of progress in support of a narrow personal/social agenda, bullying whistleblowers and destroying the lives of outsiders, hiring your non-qualified friends and family, openly promoting an highly inflated schools reputation for the purpose of increasing the value of your home and your paycheck, poor/no management of departments/supervisors, using a hundred grand in tax dollars to fluff your resume and fund your friend's work at university, funding your salary increases on the backs of employees who make less than a third of what you do and on and on and on...

Hire M.G.?!!? She's the cheerleader of a team that collectively should've been fired a long LONGGGGGG time ago.

Anonymous said...

roach patrol:

awww, are you sure that's the source of your anger?

for you, a prescription: stay off the blogs, move away to somewhere where your disgruntled ex-employee status does not define you; start living the life you wish for, before it is too late! find some peace, you don't have to live with the burden of being consumed by your fears and your anger.

Roach patrol said...

"where your disgruntled ex-employee status does not define you"



LOL


Phasmaphobia is treatable.


Now you know.

Abby said...

Katherine Appy = Maria Geryk = status quo;

Appy = status quo. period.

Roach patrol said...

Well well well lookid who is back in the nooze:


http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/01/sayer_responds_to_latest_repor.html#incart_hbx


Member how Kathy Mazur used the S. Hadley police as her very own gestapo, shutting tax-payers down and stealing their first amendment rights?


Now imagine the kind of perspective she brings directly into the heart of our district, every single day.


Imagine how much damage is being done...

Roach patrol said...

And BTW Amherst, S Hadley tax-payers are DONE with Ms. Mazur.


Why aren't you?

Ed said...

Sorry Ed, I don't have that list.

Then get it!

Otherwise, with "friends" like you, she doesn't need enemies. The absolute first thing a lobbyist has is the facts because when someone says "ok, I will listen, make your case" the lobbyist has to be able to do so.

I say again, friends of Maria G, make your case!

But The National search firm was satisfied with list of accomplishments ~~ or was bullied into including her along with the qualified candidates. Anyone care to speculate what would have happened to the search if they hadn't?

and her accomplishments on are on the web

I grade her "F" on that alone -- but if she has qualifications other then nepotism, and I will grant for the sake of argument that she might -- then list them.

Your degrees will be meaningless, because they are not backed up by real experience

NO, my degrees are the minimum criteria for entry into the profession, degrees in a specific field (and neither I nor Maria G have degrees in Ed Admin) are a credential that states you know some basic stuff.

(Remember, teachers weren't always certified, lawyers didn't always graduate from law schools.)

In order to drive a truck, I had to state (answer on an exam) that if I had an overheated tire, I would "remove the tire and place it a safe distance from the vehicle."

My response: The two tires and brake drum all come off as one unit and it weighs about 500 lbs. Now maybe I and the state trooper who stopped by to help could bodyslam it into the ditch, and with a dual axle we wouldn't need a jack, but you need an air wrench to remove the lug nuts and that is not something we are going to have. So I would 'keep the tire as cool as possible until help arrives'-- possibly using the case of beer that the officer confiscated earlier that evening."

But no, I had to answer the question the way they wanted to get my license. And I had to have the license to drive the truck. And Maria G ought to have a doctorate -- even if it has no value -- because it is what is expected. It really is that simple...

and you lack the character that would allow you to become a real contributor or a true leader.

This is what concerns me the most about Maria G. One is known by the nature of one's supporters and in attacking anyone who asks questions about her, you are saying quite a bit about her, none of it positive.

You don't know about my character, you don't know the number of times I have done things because they were the right thing to do nor the price that I have paid for that.

And because I do have character, I am willing to objectively look at the qualifications of someone whom I consider to be hopelessly incompetent. I will give her the benefit of the doubt but I kinda need to see something resembling specific facts and such.

MAKE YOUR CASE!!!!