Monday, August 3, 2015

New Sheriff In Town

Umass Amherst:  Getting out from under a cloud

UMass Amherst, our proud flagship of higher education, just announced the new "neighborhood liaison," aka "off campus Resident Assistant," and they could not have made a better choice than Eric Beal.

Eric Beal Chairs his final ZBA meeting (June 11) after 8 years of service

Modeled after the Boston College program of having a school employee who is a hybrid of a cop and bar bouncer, Mr. Beal will patrol the usual suspect neighborhoods adjacent to the UMass campus to try to head off rowdy parties before they hit the stage where APD is required.

Mr. Beal will be paid a $62,000 annual salary.

18 months ago Eric Beal chaired the ZBA meetings against a prominent local landlord who appealed the hefty fines imposed by the Building Commissioner for having too many students packed into an apartment, without proper safety precautions. 

That case became a turning point, and helped in the creation of the successful Rental Registration & Permit Bylaw which is now at 100% adherence.

UMass Press Release
Aug. 3, 2015

UMass Amherst Chooses Attorney and
Former Town Official Eric Beal
as First Neighborhood Liaison


Eric Beal, an Amherst attorney and former chair of the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals, has been appointed to the newly created position of neighborhood liaison at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, effective August 3rd.

Beal, a UMass Amherst alumnus, will work with town and campus public safety officials, responding to incidents and complaints involving off-campus student behavior in neighborhoods near campus. He will serve as a liaison to off-campus students and neighbors during evening weekend patrols and will assist campus partners with proactive programs on student behavior, educational campaigns and community service activities.

“Eric’s deep knowledge of the neighborhoods around campus both as a resident and as a former zoning official makes him uniquely qualified for this new and important position,” said Nancy Buffone, associate vice chancellor for university relations. “This position is another step forward in our town-gown efforts and I am confident that Eric’s skills and experience are a great fit for the university and our campus neighbors as well.”

The creation of the neighborhood liaison position was a key recommendation in former Boston Police Chief Edward Davis’ September 2014 report to campus and community officials on how best to handle large off-campus disturbances. The neighborhood liaison’s role is to work directly with community members, hear everyday concerns and build relationships to deter disorderly student behavior. Similar positions have been successful at Boston College and Georgetown University.

Beal will be a nighttime mainstay in the neighborhoods that traditionally find students gathering during fall and spring semester weekends. He will collaborate with Amherst police and fire officials on proactive approaches to student-neighborhood issues and with the university’s Student Affairs and Campus Life office on its successful Walk This Way and Team Positive Presence programs.

“I fell in love with the Amherst area while a sociology major at UMass Amherst in the early ’90s, and it’s been a dream of mine to work for UMass,” said Beal. “In my eight years on the ZBA, I worked closely with town and public safety officials, residents and property owners. I learned first-hand about the issues affecting our neighborhoods and efforts of residents, the town and the university to improve quality of life. I look forward to joining UMass to continue that work.”

A graduate of UMass Amherst and the University of Connecticut School of Law, Beal has a background in human services, including a stint as a resident assistant in the Southwest Residential Area and work as a mental health counselor in the Holyoke area.

In his law practice, Beal represents clients in appellate matters, including children and families in care and protection appeals. Beal previously was an associate with Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider in Hartford from 2001-07, representing Fortune 500 clients in litigation, government investigation and appeals, and an associate with Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas in Springfield from 2007-10.

An Amherst resident, Beal plays alto saxophone in the Amherst Community Band under the baton of UMass Marching Band director Timothy Anderson. He has served as a member of Amherst Town Meeting and is a supporter of the Friends of Puffer’s Pond. He is an avid cyclist and trail runner and serves as a lead coordinator for the 2015 Amherst Regional High School Cross Country Invitational.

 Beal lives with his daughters, Lillian and Ella, and his long-time partner, Shelley, and her two sons, Peter and Eric.


Anonymous said...

Love how I have to pay a tax (this guy's salary) because kids are obnoxious. They should be charging UMass for this service.

Larry Kelley said...

He is a UMass employee, so his $62K salary is not coming out of town coffers. But I suppose you still pay state taxes.

Anonymous said...

You have to pay a tax because cops are obnoxious, too.

Anonymous said...

Well at least Mr. Beal won't shoot me for having an expired license.

Anonymous said...

Oh the sweeping generalities. "Cops are obnoxious too." I can see why Larry calls us anons nitwits.

Anonymous said...

And of course, don't forget to blame all cops for the actions of that one cop. Beal, you have my sympathies.

Anonymous said...

OK, not all cops are obnoxious, only the ones that commit assault and battery, malicious destruction of personal property, falsely arrest people attempting to film them from a safe distance behind a fence, the ones who attempt to destroy evidence of a crime, all in about 15 seconds, and then file a false police report of the incident, and all the other fraternity members that don't mind a bit that the fellow officers who committed these crimes are still members of the APD. And let's not forget those that would have been happy to have swept the whole incident under the rug. Let's remember, it was the behavior of the cops, not the kids, that led to the Davis report, which leads us to this $60,000 a year neighborhood liaison, among other expenditures that are a direct result of the cops actions that day.

You're right, anon 7:03, let's not generalize, let's talk specifics.

Anonymous said...

I blame all cops for protecting the actions of "one bad apple cop" (please) behind a blue wall of silence.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Like all people in general, only the cops who do (did) what you describe are obnoxious.
I coulda sworn you said " Cops..." Meaning all. Now I see you're fair- minded.

Anonymous said...

Your proof that "all" cops do this? Or is it just a 'feeling' you have that this is so? I blame all bloggers for foisting their ridiculous beliefs on the public.

Anonymous said...

And, if you can't make a living as a lawyer, you can count on getting hired by UMass.

Anonymous said...

Long and short: If you are a cop and you don't arrest a person who was recorded doing the crimes described above, you too are a criminal and an accomplice to those crimes against the citizens who pay for you to protect them.

Anonymous said...

Glad UMass is stepping up. Why dont' they send some of their many, many administrators and deans out at night to help out too?

Larry Kelley said...

A few years ago they did (along with DA Dave Sullivan), handing out oatmeal cookies in the southern end of the campus along Fearing, North Pleasant, Phillips Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Meanwhile that late night into early morning on the north end of campus (Meadow Street), all hell broke loose.

keithw said...

Wow, tough job. Along with the other attributes he already possesses, I hope he has the approach and the presence necessary to be really effective in this position. Kudos to him if he will in fact be out there roaming around making contact with drunken students.

Larry Kelley said...

I may give him a free karate lesson, or two.

Anonymous said...

*Please see school discipline discussion in a previous segment of oitroa.

Anonymous said...

Give him unfettered use of the spy in the sky!