Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

ANGELO STRACUZZI & Nonnie Burnes. Also see Andrea Nuciforo, Denis Guyer, Carmen Massimiano, Cliff Nilan.

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"Protect senior car insurance discount"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Saturday, March 01, 2008

Dear Commissioner Burnes: - Commissioner of Insurance:

As the state embarks on a new system of managed competition for auto insurance, I ask that you take every step possible to assure that senior citizens can continue to obtain affordable coverage. By statute, seniors have been receiving a 25 percent discount on their auto insurance, a discount that is well-deserved and needed by families living on fixed incomes. We at Greylock Federal Credit Union are concerned that seniors in our commonwealth will be forced to pay rates equal to or greater than everyone else.

I am sure that you agree that seniors living on fixed incomes in Massachusetts are already facing significant financial burdens due to the escalating costs of energy and health care. The 25 percent discount on auto insurance is one way that the state provides seniors some relief from ever-increasing costs. Please maintain the original intent of the 25 percent discount and help seniors participate in any additional discounts that other drivers will be experiencing as the new rates are set.

In Berkshire County, we work closely with thousands of seniors to make sure they have access to the free banking services, beneficial deposit rates, and discounts wherever we can secure them. These older credit union member-owners have literally built the communities we serve, and we feel an obligation to help them enjoy a secure retirement during turbulent economic times. On behalf of our 63,000 members, I implore you to prevent senior auto insurance costs from increasing. We all have a duty to make sure that reductions in auto insurance rates are not subsidized on the backs of our senior citizens.

To help our member-owners make their voices heard, Greylock Federal Credit Union has undertaken an initiative called "Senior Citizens Insurance Watch." As part of this initiative, we have gathered nearly 1,500 signatures to date which are enclosed, demonstrating the concern about this issue. We are delivering them to you in order to inform and support your efforts on behalf of Massachusetts insurance consumers.

Thank you for helping to protect senior citizens' rights to affordable auto insurance. We have notified our legislative delegation, which has expressed its support. We will be asking other state officials to do the same.

ANGELO STRACUZZI
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The writer is president and chief executive officer at Greylock Federal Credit Union. This letter with nearly 1,500 signatures in support of Greylock's senior members, including the credit union's more than 10,000 "Quality Time Club" members, was sent to state Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes last month.

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Navigating the New Auto Insurance System, March 09, 2008, The Boston Globe, Graphic
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www.boston.com/business/specials/autoinsurance/waystosave/
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INSURANCE COMMISSIONER NONNIE S. BURNES: ON THE HOT SEAT
"Consumer involvement will make new plan work"
The Boston Globe, March 9, 2008

Shortly after joining the Patrick administration, Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes decided to overhaul the state's auto insurance system. The past year has been a flurry of hearings, legal maneuvers, filings, and rulings, and the new system debuts April 1. Globe reporter Jeffrey Krasner spoke with Burnes this week about the upcoming changes.

Q. You live in the city and you drive a 1999 Saab. When does your policy renew, and how much are you going to save?

A. It renews in October, and I haven't had that conversation with my agent yet. I'm going to renew before my policy expires.

Q. Do you urge our readers to renew before their policies expire?

A. I urge them to look at their policies and decide if that's a good idea or not. They should look at what their current company and what competitors are offering. For most people, the new offerings will be better than what they're getting now. It's not only rates. People who have had a good experience with their agents may stay with them, but price will be a big driver.

Q. For most people, when they look at their coverage selections page, it's just a mass of numbers. What should consumers focus on when they're speaking with their agent?

A. I had that conversation with my agent, and even I had a little of the same reaction. I just kept asking questions. Go down, line by line, and keep asking questions until you're satisfied.

Q. Some folks in the industry for a long time have asked, "Who is Nonnie Burnes? We know she used to be a judge, but how can she think she can come in and master the intricacies of auto rate setting in a few months?" What do you say to these people?

A. I actually think I came to this job with a lot of useful skills. I've had years of experience taking complicated subjects and explaining them to other people. That's what trial lawyers do. And as a judge, I needed to understand something well enough to write an opinion. I've had decades of experience asking questions.

Q. Why did you decide to change the system?

A. My staff said that on Dec. 15 you have to set the auto rates. The first step is a competition hearing. My staff said I didn't need to worry about that. I asked why we were holding a hearing on competition if it didn't matter. Every single person who testified said there is a lot of competition in our system, even those who were not in favor of change. I thought if there's a lot of competition here, why am I fixing the rates?

Q. Some people are surprised that a Democratic administration would dismantle a regulated system and replace it with a free market system.

A. I think this is a very consumer-friendly change. Consumers are very savvy. They want choice. They don't want the government telling them what they can buy.

Q. What happens after the new system goes into effect April 1?

A. We have to make sure that consumers get the benefit we anticipate. We have to keep looking at the rate structure and the company filings to make sure they comply with our rules. We have to monitor the market health of the industry and each of the companies.

Q. In recent rate hearings, you prevented Attorney General Martha Coakley from getting more information about company rate-setting. Why?

This is a completely different structure from fix-and-establish. The attorney general's inquiry wasn't appropriate under managed competition.

Q. Going forward, does the attorney general's office play a smaller role in consumer advocacy for auto insurance rates?

A. They play a smaller role in the rate-setting process. But they are not less valuable as consumer advocates. They have to look to see if companies are adequately representing what they're selling, and look at whether rates are fair and reasonable, and how the companies are treating their customers.

Q. Can companies use socioeconomic factors such as credit scores or income, or their proxies, in deciding who gets discounts?

A. I don't think they are. There's this view that if you own a home, you are by definition a wealthy person and getting a benefit. But there are a lot of people who own homes who aren't wealthy. I want to make sure people are treated fairly in the way companies set rates. The companies can compete for consumers with discounts, but the savings don't come out of the pocket of other consumers. I'm just not willing to assume these are proxies for socioeconomic factors unless I have some data, and I don't have any data on that.

Q. What I'm hearing you say is that you have prohibited using these socioeconomic factors from rate-setting, but in the meantime if the insurance companies want to use them in creating discounts, that's OK.

A. I don't think they look at them in terms of socioeconomic factors. They want to get business. They want to package auto with homeowner's policies so they can write more business. That's what they're after. These are really group marketing plans, and their cost of acquiring new customers is much less if they can sell to groups. I don't know if those factors are proxies for the socioeconomic factors in terms of those marketing plans, but they serve a separate function. I don't know that the companies are using them as socioeconomic factors.

Q. Have you asked them that?

A. No, I haven't asked them that. My actuary says they don't have enough information to know whether that's true or not.

Q. We've had one company, Progressive, enter the Massachusetts auto market, and others have expressed interest. Is managed competition a success?

A. From my point of view, it's a success so far. The proof will be in the pudding when consumers start to buy policies and we see what rates they get.

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"Greylock Federal Holds Annual Meeting"
iBerkshires.com - March 28, 2008

PITTSFIELD — Greylock Federal released its financial results for 2007 at its 73rd annual meeting on March 26.

Greylock experienced continued loan growth in all categories, and expansion of branches and services into all corners of Berkshire County. The credit union ended the year with total assets growing by approximately $81 million to finish the year at $988 million in assets and more than 62,000 member/0wners.

President Angelo C. Stracuzzi emphasized the contrast between the stable growth of the credit union and the turmoil on Wall Street.

"2007 will be remembered as one of the most turbulent ever in the history of Wall Street and in global financial markets. We have seen the headlines about the subprime mortgage meltdown, megabanks losing millions in value in a matter of weeks and interest rates on a crazy roller coaster ride," said Stracuzzi. "With all the uncertainty around the world, I'm pleased to tell you that Greylock Federal Credit Union remains safer and stronger than ever. Greylock is in a perfect position to help even more Berkshire County families achieve their financial dreams."

Stracuzzi said the credit union's operating philosophies were affirmed by the events of 2007.

"In a year when subprime lending practices hurt homeowners and damaged the global economy, Greylock remained committed to lending money to people in a manner they can understand and afford," he said. "In a year when many banks laid off employees and cut back on services, Greylock continued to build the best financial services team in the region and add facilities to enhance convenience. And in a year when financial institutions all over the United States are struggling to make ends meet, Greylock has produced strong financial results. By sticking to our local lending philosophy and working to ‘treat everyone better than they expect,’ we have posted some rewarding accomplishments."

The more than 350 member/owners in attendance applauded Greylock's status among peer financial institutions as the No. 1 credit union in the United States, based on survey results provided by Callahan & Associates. The survey evaluated data from hundreds of credit unions across the country, measuring their success in providing positive "return to the member," a gauge of total value provided through loans, deposit programs and other services. In this category, Greylock outpaced all others.

In addition to strong loan growth, 2007 also saw continued geographic expansion. Greylock opened its new full-service branch in Pittsfield on Elm Street, bringing the total of branches countywide to 12. A new automated teller machine was opened in Lenox at the Nejaimes Center, marking the county's 16th Greylock ATM. Greylock Insurance Agency expanded by acquiring Gallup & Casey Insurance Agency in North County and opened a sixth location on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington. Greylock also expanded its financial planning and investment services and opened a new, larger office at 128 South St.

"Our charter calls for us to serve anyone who lives or works in Berkshire County," Stracuzzi said. "With the addition of these branches, ATMs, insurance agencies and financial planning capabilities we have enhanced our convenience throughout the County, from Williamstown and North Adams all the way to Great Barrington."

John Rys, senior vice president, chief financial officer and controller, reviewed other areas of strong financial performance.

"The credit union had growth of $81 million in total assets to end the year at nearly $988 million," he reported. "The $63 million of growth in our deposit base brought share balances to $792 million by the end of the year, while our loan portfolio ended the year at more than $781 million. Net income came in at nearly $6 million."

Rys also reported growth in the credit union's capital required by regulatory guidelines. "Our capital increased to $84.6 million for a capital-to-asset ratio of 8.57 percent. The credit union regulatory agency, the National Credit Union Administration, judges us to be a well-capitalized institution."

Member/owners re-elected three directors to the credit union board, Gerard E. Burke, Daniel E. Donovan and Sheila LaBarbera, and paid tribute to the late William F. Mufatti.

Burke joined the board in 1999 and is chairman of the Asset Liability and Community Support committees and a member of the Building and Information Systems committees. He is president and chief executive officer of Hillcrest Education Centers, and holds a master's degree in business administration from Western New England College, a master's degree in counseling psychology from Anna Maria College, and a bachelor's degree in special education from Fitchburg State College. Active in the community, he has been a member of a number of local organizations. He lives in Pittsfield with his wife, Kate, and six children.

Donovan has been board member since 1983. He worked in finance for General Electric and General Dynamics before retiring after 35 years of service. He was chairman of the board from 1994 to 1996, and chairman of the Supervisory Committee from 1997 to 2000. He is currently chairman of the Expense Committee and a member of the Personnel Committee.

He is a graduate of the former St. Joseph's High School in North Adams and of St. Francis Xavier University, from which he earned a degree administration. Donavan is a member of Wahconah Country Club, serving two terms on the board of directors as well as a former president of the club. He and his wife, Mary, live in Richmond and have five children and six grandchildren.

LaBarbera joined the board in 1999 and is clerk/treasurer. She is chairman of the Golf Committee, and a member of the ALCO, Community Support, Governance and Personnel committees. She has a bachelor's and a master's degree in business administration, both from Western New England College. She is employed by the Berkshire County Retirement Board as the retirement systems executive administrator. She is a graduate of the Institute for Chartered Pension Professionals, certified in pension benefit analysis and investment portfolio management. She served on the Pittsfield City Council from 1986 to 1992, and lives in Pittsfield with her husband, Douglas Joseph.

Greylock membership is open to anyone who lives, works, attends school, worships or regularly conducts business in Berkshire County. More information is available at www.greylock.org.

Greylock Federal

Fiscal 2007 Highlights

Membership grew to 62,643

No. 1 Mortgage Lender in Berkshire County (as ranked by Banker & Tradesman with over 1,300 mortgages originated in 2007)

No. 1 Auto Lender in Berkshire County with (as ranked by Auto Count with 4,521 new and used auto loans financed by Greylock, representing a 75 percent market share of vehicles financed among local lenders)

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has recognized Greylock Federal Credit Union’s achievement as the tenth largest SBA financial lender in the commonwealth out of 119 financial institutions, the top SBA credit union lender in the state and the tenth most active credit union in the entire country the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2007.

$300 million in loans were granted for 2007 representing:
o 33% increase in consumer lending
o 31% increase in small business lending
o 13.5% increase in mortgage lending

Asset size reached $988 million

Loans reached $781 million

Our earnings came in at nearly $6 million, a 48% increase over 2007

Our capital increased to $84.6 million or 8.57%

Loan loss reserves reached $6.7 million or .85% of total loans

Ranked as the No. 1 credit union nationally in “Return to the Member,” a measure of total value for member/owners (As ranked by Callahan & Associates, a national credit union research firm)

Opened Elm Street branch, attaining more than $35 million in deposits

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Greylock Credit Union President Angelo C. Stracuzzi addresses the 73rd annual meeting.
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"Greylock Opens an In-house Advertising Agency"
iBerkshires.com - April 10, 2008

PITTSFIELD - Greylock Federal Credit Union has launched a full service in-house advertising and marketing agency, the Greylock Marketing Group, dedicated to helping credit unions, businesses and not-for-profit organizations meet their communications and marketing objectives.

Greylock President Angelo Stracuzzi said, “Our award-winning marketing department has done so well for our Credit Union we thought our community and other non-competing credit unions should have the opportunity to benefit from their expertise too.”

A subsidiary of Greylock Federal Credit Union, Greylock Marketing Group features a seasoned team of communications professionals with expertise in marketing strategy, creative development, and strategic public relations.

“Every organization has different marketing needs,” said Robert Maxwell, Assistant Vice President and Creative Director of Greylock Marketing Group. “Some clients merely need a little advice to point them in the right direction, others just need help producing ads and others may need us to develop and execute a comprehensive marketing plan. Whatever the need, we have the depth and experience to help them.”

Greylock Senior Vice President John Bissell said, “In addition to developing new campaigns for customers, Greylock Marketing Group can also offer credit unions the use of marketing campaigns which have been successful in Berkshire County. Greylock Federal Credit Union has enjoyed substantial growth in this region based in part on innovative product development and creative marketing campaigns. Credit unions in other markets can benefit from our experience by using off-the-shelf campaigns at very reasonable costs.”

Bissell emphasized that the agency will fill a unique niche. “Small businesses and credit unions often cannot afford large marketing agencies and while there are several excellent agencies in the area, often those may be out of reach for a small business. Our niche will be offering an affordable, a la carte menu of services to these organizations.”

“There is so much more to a successful marketing campaign than creating pretty ads,” Maxwell noted. “Our aim is to provide the marketing tools our clients need to achieve their goals. The agency will be a partner with its customers, maximizing marketing budgets.”

The announcement clarified Greylock’s intentions for a high-profile hire made in 2007 when Joanne Billow left a 25-year career in Pittsfield radio to join Greylock. Maxwell said, “Joanne brings a great skill set and terrific personality to the mix and will be lending her expertise to our new marketing initiatives.”

Greylock Marketing Group has already signed on several local companies, including Hillcrest Educational Centers. Hillcrest will utilize Greylock Marketing Group for a review and strengthening of its marketing initiatives and to begin planning for its 25th anniversary celebration in 2010. Gerard E. Burke, President and CEO at Hillcrest Educational Centers said, “Hillcrest and Greylock are two local organizations with similar philosophies on building strong communities. We have worked together on several projects in the past and look forward to working with them moving forward.”

The advertising agency consists of three primary producers - each with at least 20 years experience in the field. John Bissell’s expertise covers advertising, communications, public relations strategy, industry research, crisis communication, reputation management, business and brand development and strategic planning. John was previously a senior principal of Publicis Dialog, a global advertising, marketing and public relations agency. Creative Director Bob Maxwell has created multiple award-winning ad campaigns in a variety of media and has worked with a wide range of companies, from small two-person shops to Fortune 500 companies. Joanne, with more than 30 years of award-winning broadcast experience, the bulk of it at WUPE and WBEC in Pittsfield, will utilize her copywriting, graphic design, marketing and media training skills. From event planning to E-commerce, from television/radio production to market research, from sales training to crisis preparedness, Greylock Marketing Group has access to many qualified professionals including many within the Greylock organization.

Greylock Marketing Group is a subsidiary of Greylock Federal Credit Union with offices at 150 West Street in Pittsfield. For more information call 413-236-4129 or Greylock Federal Credit Union at 413-236-4000 and online at www.GreylockMarketing.com.

Greylock Federal Credit Union was recently rated the top credit union in the United States for total value returned to Members/Owners according to Callahan & Associates, a national credit union research and consulting firm. Greylock Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, attends school, worships or regularly conducts business in Berkshire County. Greylock Federal is wholly owned by its more than 60,000 members

and Greylock offers full-service branches in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Lee, Adams, North Adams, and Williamstown. More information is available at www.greylock.org.
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www.iberkshires.com/story/26693/Greylock-Opens-an-In-house-Advertising-Agency.html
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www.iberkshires.com/images/site_images/stories/25612.jpg
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"Ruberto Details Plans for Success", By Jen Thomas -iBerkshires.com-, January 07, 2008
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Mayor James M. Ruberto is sworn in by Register of Deeds Andrea Nuciforo as City Councilors Matthew Kerwood and Michael Ward look on at Monday's inaugural ceremony.
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www.iberkshires.com/story.php?story_id=25612
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Re: From auto to health care INSURANCE "reforms" in Massachusetts

May 7, 2008

The Wall Street Journal wrote a sarcastic editorial, below, regarding Massachusetts move away from central planning to price competition for auto insurance "reform". What the aforementioned corporate elite's #1 newspaper omitted was that while the state's insurance companies are giving way to national auto insurers like "Progressive", Massachusetts is giving its state insurance companies even more money through their newly mandated health care insurance "reform" initiative, especially Commonwealth Care.

The injustice here is that Massachusetts has placed not even one state revenue source to pay for subsidizing "Commonwealth Care", which means that they rely almost soley on annual taxpayer dollars from the federal government. Massachusetts then redistributes the federal dollars to its 5 state insurers control about 90 percent of the healthcare insurance market in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: #1 - Blue Cross Blue Shield, #2 - Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, #3 - Fallon Community Health Plan, #4 - Health New England, & #5 - Tufts Health Plan! Massachusetts does so in the name of its remaining poor, working class & middle class citizens who have not joined many of their ilk in fleeing the state for greener pastures elsewhere in the USA.

So while Massachusetts has made reforms in the way it does business with the auto insurance industries, the Bay State has also done reforms in the way it does business in the health care industry that benefits its local corporate elite's financial interests at the expense of the people and federal taxpayers alike!

In Dissent!
Jonathan A. Melle

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The Wall Street Journal, OPINION: Editorial, Page A22, Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Massachusetts Miracle"

Remarkable news from Massachusetts, of all places. Car insurance premiums are going down. For 3 decades a Bay State regulator has set the price of car insurance, leading to an annual tussle between insurers & consumer groups over the size of the increase. This led to some of the highest insurance rates in the country.

Because there was no price competition, some of the biggest insurers would NOT do business in the state. During this exercise in central planning, the # of insurers dropped to 18 last year, from more than 70 3 decades ago. But as of April 1, the state government decided to try a little experiment in the free market. We do mean little - proposed premiums must still be filed with the regulator, who can approve them or not. & many factors used to set rates in other states - such as credit history - are barred.

Even so, this modest experiment in price competition is already working to reduce costs for consumers. Progressive, the 3rd-largest insurer in the country, entered the market May 1 with rates that are on average 18% below the old price-controlled rates. Overall, premiums in the state are due to fall nearly 8% this year as insurers adjust to a world in which they need to compete to attract customers instead of bargaining with their regulator for price hikes. Imagine: When you remove price controls, supply increases & prices fall.

Massachusetts calls this new regime "managed competition" & the early returns already suggest that it beats central planning by a mile. A little less management & a little more competition would produce even more dramatic results. But this is still Massachusetts we are talking about.

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Nonnie Burnes
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Arbella and a trade group say Burnes violated state law.
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www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/06/06/insurance_commissioner_sued/
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"Insurance commissioner sued: Plaintiffs say rules favor newcomers"
By Jeffrey Krasner, (Boston) Globe Staff, June 6, 2008

One of the state's largest auto insurance companies and the insurance agent trade association yesterday filed a lawsuit against Nonnie S. Burnes, the insurance commissioner, saying that new rules she put in place last month give newcomers to the Massachusetts auto market an unfair advantage.

The suit, filed yesterday afternoon in Suffolk Superior Court, says rules approved by Burnes on May 6 violate state law. It alleges they enable "foreign" insurance companies - those from other states that are new to the Massachusetts auto insurance market - to avoid writing policies for the highest-risk motorists for two years. At the same time, companies already doing business in the state must still write such policies, usually at a loss.

Under the "managed competition" system put in place by Burnes April 1, companies have greater freedom to set prices and create innovative insurance products. Previously, regulators set prices for all insurers.

The added expense of having to cover undesirable drivers adds as much as $150 a year to some policies for drivers with good records, said John Donohue, chief executive of Arbella Insurance Group of Quincy.

"We're not trying to stop managed competition," said Donohue. "We're doing quite well under it and selling more auto and homeowner policies than we did at the same time last year. But we don't see why companies new to Massachusetts should get a competitive advantage over us just because they are new, while we're being punished just because we already do business in Massachusetts."

Arbella is the third-largest writer of auto insurance in Massachusetts, with about 9.4 percent of the market, behind Commerce Insurance Co. and Safety Insurance.

A spokeswoman for Burnes declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the division had not yet read it.

Burnes, a former judge, undertook a radical overhaul of the state's auto insurance market last spring, shortly after she was appointed by Governor Deval L. Patrick. Massachusetts was only state in the country to set rates.

Some companies that already sold auto insurance in Massachusetts fought the effort.

Separately, Burnes sparred with Attorney General Martha Coakley. The attorney general's office played a central role in annual rate-setting hearings. Last winter, Coakley tried to investigate insurance company rate filings and slow down the implementation of the new rates for some insurers.

But Burnes blocked most of her efforts, and it became clear during hearings that Coakley's role in auto insurance regulation is greatly diminished under managed competition.

Still, the attorney general would represent Burnes if the lawsuit proceeds.

Independent insurance agents, who sell most auto insurance policies in Massachusetts, are also unhappy with Burnes's May 6 rules.

They claim one of the regulations makes it possible for agents to lose their exclusive claim on some business, and with it, the commissions. That change goes into effect in April 2011.

"It's unfair to allow companies to simply ignore agent ownership rights and deprive them of future commissions," said Frank Mancini, chief executive of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, which is joining Arbella in the suit.

The issues at the heart of the action reignited resentments between auto insurers who supported deregulation and those that fought the changes.

"It's become transparent to me whose interests Arbella and the agents are trying to protect," said James T. Harrington, executive director of Massachusetts Insurance Federation Inc., a lobbying group that has supported Burnes's reform efforts.

"They've said they're interested in helping consumers and Massachusetts motorists, but clearly that is not the case. Their interest is simply in protecting themselves."

The suit asks the court to change the rules, but does not seek an injunction that might temporarily halt insurance sales or otherwise disrupt the continued implementation of the competitive system.
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Jeffrey Krasner can be reached at krasner@globe.com.
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www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/06/06/insurance_commissioner_sued?mode=PF
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"Market liberates auto insurance"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shout it from the rooftops! Finally, the stranglehold that the auto insurance companies held over their customers has been removed.

For years, the auto insurance rates in Massachusetts were tightly controlled by the industry. As a result of this monopolizing, it didn't matter what company you went to to get your insurance, you paid the same amount. Not any more. As of April 8, new regulations went into effect, 211CMR79. For more information, google, InsureMass.

Free market capitalism has finally arrived in the Bay State. Everyone should be shopping around for better car insurance rates. My family did and found out that we will save 50 percent a year. So call around and save some real money.

KEVIN CONNOR
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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Arbella and a trade group say Burnes violated state law.
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"Insurance commissioner sued: Plaintiffs say rules favor newcomers"
By Jeffrey Krasner, Boston Globe Staff, June 6, 2008

One of the state's largest auto insurance companies and the insurance agent trade association yesterday filed a lawsuit against Nonnie S. Burnes, the insurance commissioner, saying that new rules she put in place last month give newcomers to the Massachusetts auto market an unfair advantage.

The suit, filed yesterday afternoon in Suffolk Superior Court, says rules approved by Burnes on May 6 violate state law. It alleges they enable "foreign" insurance companies - those from other states that are new to the Massachusetts auto insurance market - to avoid writing policies for the highest-risk motorists for two years. At the same time, companies already doing business in the state must still write such policies, usually at a loss.

Under the "managed competition" system put in place by Burnes April 1, companies have greater freedom to set prices and create innovative insurance products. Previously, regulators set prices for all insurers.

The added expense of having to cover undesirable drivers adds as much as $150 a year to some policies for drivers with good records, said John Donohue, chief executive of Arbella Insurance Group of Quincy.

"We're not trying to stop managed competition," said Donohue. "We're doing quite well under it and selling more auto and homeowner policies than we did at the same time last year. But we don't see why companies new to Massachusetts should get a competitive advantage over us just because they are new, while we're being punished just because we already do business in Massachusetts."

Arbella is the third-largest writer of auto insurance in Massachusetts, with about 9.4 percent of the market, behind Commerce Insurance Co. and Safety Insurance.

A spokeswoman for Burnes declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the division had not yet read it.

Burnes, a former judge, undertook a radical overhaul of the state's auto insurance market last spring, shortly after she was appointed by Governor Deval L. Patrick. Massachusetts was only state in the country to set rates.

Some companies that already sold auto insurance in Massachusetts fought the effort.

Separately, Burnes sparred with Attorney General Martha Coakley. The attorney general's office played a central role in annual rate-setting hearings. Last winter, Coakley tried to investigate insurance company rate filings and slow down the implementation of the new rates for some insurers.

But Burnes blocked most of her efforts, and it became clear during hearings that Coakley's role in auto insurance regulation is greatly diminished under managed competition.

Still, the attorney general would represent Burnes if the lawsuit proceeds.

Independent insurance agents, who sell most auto insurance policies in Massachusetts, are also unhappy with Burnes's May 6 rules.

They claim one of the regulations makes it possible for agents to lose their exclusive claim on some business, and with it, the commissions. That change goes into effect in April 2011.

"It's unfair to allow companies to simply ignore agent ownership rights and deprive them of future commissions," said Frank Mancini, chief executive of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, which is joining Arbella in the suit.

The issues at the heart of the action reignited resentments between auto insurers who supported deregulation and those that fought the changes.

"It's become transparent to me whose interests Arbella and the agents are trying to protect," said James T. Harrington, executive director of Massachusetts Insurance Federation Inc., a lobbying group that has supported Burnes's reform efforts.

"They've said they're interested in helping consumers and Massachusetts motorists, but clearly that is not the case. Their interest is simply in protecting themselves."

The suit asks the court to change the rules, but does not seek an injunction that might temporarily halt insurance sales or otherwise disrupt the continued implementation of the competitive system.
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Jeffrey Krasner can be reached at krasner@globe.com.
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www.boston.com/business/specials/autoinsurance/
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"Protect business from AIG abuses"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Of all the entities being bailed out with taxpayer funds, American International Group (AIG) is the least deserving. It has been sued by many states for various fraudulent practices, including an accounting fraud that led to criminal convictions this year.

Of interest to employers may be the willful misreporting of its workers' compensation policies to avoid paying its share of related assessments. These actions prompted an unprecedented billion dollar lawsuit brought by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, the industry group that writes audit manuals and classifications used in most states. It's possible that AIG's actions may have resulted in inflated premiums for all employers.

Employers who are forced into the assigned risk pool, often because they are a small or new business, have no choice of carrier. Not only is Massachusetts still allowing AIG to conduct business in this state, it is forcing employers in the pool to purchase their products.

As consumers, I urge all businesses to contact the Mass. Division of Insurance, the Office of the Attorney General, and Governor Deval Patrick and demand protection from AIG.

DAVID GILARDI
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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"Greylock Federal Credit Union: Third-quarter profits reported to be $1.6M"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Friday, November 07, 2008

PITTSFIELD — The Greylock Federal Credit Union earned $1.6 million during the third quarter, which increased the firm's total yearly earnings to $5.1 million.

The third-quarter earnings were released this week and include the three-month period that ended on Sept. 30. Greylock reported total assets of $1.1 billion and capital reserves of $90 million.

Despite the economic downturn, Greylock said it has added more than 2,500 net member/owners this year. In the past 12 months, total loans grew by 18 percent to $895 million, while total share deposits rose 12 percent to $870 million. Greylock's loan reserves now exceed $8 million.

Greylock President Angelo Stracuzzi said the credit union's decision to open branches on Elm Street in Pittsfield last year and in Williamstown two years ago has helped increase the firm's total assets.

"Our ability to not only survive the current financial crisis but to actually grow ahead of our goals speaks volumes to the trust that Berkshire County families and businesses place in Greylock," Stracuzzi said in a written statement. "They know that we have never and will never engage in subprime lending practices, and that we are not subject to the whims of Wall Street."

According to Stracuzzi, Greylock's higher than-average-efficiency enables the credit union to generate earnings and enhance its financial strength. The firm is wholly-owned by its members.

"Our earnings are strong because we are totally focused on relationships," he said. "If we take care of our members, and efficiently put their money to work right here in the community, the earnings take care of themselves."

Unlike a bank, which can invest in stock, Greylock Federal Credit Union invests in government backed securities.

"There's less yield, but less risk," Stracuzzi said. "We have a lower yield on loan portfolios, but a high yield on deposit portfolios."

Greylock Federal Credit Union was recently rated the country's top credit union in total value returned to members/owners by Callahan Associates, a national credit union research and consulting firm. Callahan compared Greylock's performance to the top 100 peers in the country, according to Stracuzzi.

"Callahan's data indicates that Greylock is 60 percent more efficient than its peer financial institutions are at generating income per employee," he said.
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To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com (413) 496-6224
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"Drivers losing a right to appeal: Insurers to decide on surcharges"
By Jeffrey Krasner, Boston Globe Staff, March 2, 2009

Some Massachusetts drivers could pay hundreds of dollars more for insurance under a state plan to eliminate the board that allows them to contest auto accident surcharges.

The Division of Insurance Board of Appeal, which hears about 50,000 surcharge cases annually, is scheduled to be dissolved April 1, said insurance commissioner Nonnie Burnes. The board is no longer needed, she said, because insurance companies now set their own rates, including penalties for drivers deemed responsible for accidents.

Before last year's implementation of a "managed competition" system, premium rates and surcharges levels were dictated by the state. Now, motorists unhappy with their bills can switch to an insurer with more lenient policies on accidents, Burnes said.

"We're trying to develop a system where the insurers are more responsive to customers," she said of the move to eliminate the appeals board.

Currently, insurers can increase premiums by levying surcharges if they determine a driver is more than 50 percent to blame for a collision. Such penalties often cost hundreds of dollars annually for up to six years. About half of the 50,000 cases disputed each year are overturned by the appeals board. Those drivers are issued re funds.

As the April deadline to dissolve the board nears, however, a move to save it is underway on Beacon Hill. State Senator Stephen J. Buoniconti, Democrat of West Springfield and chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, said more than half the members of the House and Senate have cosigned a bill that would require Burnes to maintain the appeals board.

"I'm getting more calls about this bill than any other issue," Buoniconti said. He said it was unclear when the legislation might go to a vote in the Senate.

Last week, the union representing workers at the Division of Insurance distributed leaflets in support of the board at four state government buildings.

The state's new insurance system is intended to save drivers money by spurring competition among insurers on price, service, and features. The rules governing the system also included doing away with the appeals board. That has angered some consumer advocates.

"Consumers should have an independent board to challenge a decision that could result in hundreds of dollars a year in higher premiums," said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy organization. "This is a straight-up consumer protection."

Burnes said she isn't inclined to seek a change in the law to preserve the appeals board. The current process is anticonsumer, she said, because drivers must pay $50 for a hearing. It generally takes six months for a case to be heard.

However, an improperly assessed surcharge can cost a driver hundreds or thousands in extra premiums. Insurance companies have great latitude to decide how much extra to charge a driver for an accident. That surcharge lasts for as long as six years, according to insurance companies and agents.

Burnes said drivers who believe they were improperly found at fault can shop for an insurer that won't charge them extra. The option, called "accident forgiveness," is a new feature that some insurance companies offer under the new competitive system. It will force some drivers to seek "forgiveness" for accidents that aren't their fault.

Frank Mancini, president of the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, which supports keeping the board, said the savings offered by accident forgiveness programs won't help all motorists because switching insurers won't necessarily lower a driver's bill.

"The accident follows you," said Mancini. "It doesn't go away if you move to another insurer."

Burnes has proposed a system in which insurance companies would give customers assessed surcharges the opportunity for two reviews. Consumers could also file a complaint with the division, though there would not be a formal review.

"They can call us," said Burnes. "We'll help them navigate the system."

Mancini said he is skeptical of the plan.

"Companies review claims all the time," he said. "We don't find them changing their decisions very often."

Glenn Greenberg, a spokesman for Liberty Mutual Group, the national insurance company based in Boston, said ending the appeals board is "logical."

"Massachusetts drivers hold a distinct advantage in that if they feel they're treated unfairly, or if they're not happy with the price or outcome of an appeal, they now have the great consumer protection of going out and shopping the market for a company that will treat them better," said Greenberg.

Burnes said she also opposes the current process because some surcharges may be reversed by the board in cases where a motorist is genuinely at fault. She said she does not know how many surcharges are wrongly overturned.

"I would have to look at every file going back a year," she said.

Burnes's comments highlight some of the dynamics of the Massachusetts auto insurance market, where most policies are sold through independent agents. Agents receive commissions for selling policies, and are primarily concerned with keeping customers satisfied so they renew their policies. Insurance companies, however, have an interest in levying accident-based surcharges because they help pay for accident claims, and to raise the rates of high-risk drivers.

"I hear from agents who say they send customers to the board of appeal because they are lenient," said Burnes.

The board has 15 full-time members. They hear as many as 25 cases a day at various locations, including Registry of Motor Vehicles offices. There is a wait of about six months for a case to be heard. Insurance agents in favor of preserving the appeals board say it generates about $2 million a year for the state. The Division of Insurance said the surplus is about $300,000.

Burnes said eliminating the board is likely to generate criticism from drivers.

"We'll probably see an uptick in complaints as people try to figure out the new system," she said. "I think this new system is going to work, but I don't know that."
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Jeffrey Krasner can be reached at krasner@globe.com.
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END OF THE ROAD FOR INSURANCE APPEALS BOARD?
"Shameful nod to big business"
The Boston Globe, Letters, March 6, 2009

TALK ABOUT letting the foxes guard the henhouse! The wholesale elimination of the Division of Insurance appeals board would be a travesty of justice of the first degree.

It is yet another shameful example of our government allowing big business to trample on the rights of consumers.

Your article pointed out that each year the board overturns about half of the 50,000 surcharge determinations that are made by insurers.

If the board is dissolved, there would be no incentive for insurers to provide adequate due process protection to the driving public.

What's up next for the insurance commissioner? Letting insurers make final determinations of injury and property damage claims without any right of review?

Lloyd C. Rosenberg
Plymouth, Massachusetts
The writer is a personal injury lawyer and former chairman of the auto section of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.

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"How does this serve consumers' interest?"
March 6, 2009

I READ with horror the doublespeak offered by insurance commissioner Nonnie Burns ("Drivers losing a right to appeal," Page A1, March 2), about how abolition of the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal would presumably serve the interests of consumers.

As a citizen and consumer, I found out the value of the board after my car left a black plastic rub mark, less than a quarter-inch square, on another car. I would still be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for insurance because of this so-called accident had the board not been available to review the facts.

As an economist, I know that this is not a situation in which market competition can be expected to yield positive results for consumers. Most people are good drivers, and we can only expect to be in the position of being charged with causing an accident perhaps once or twice in our lifetimes. We will not, in general, be able to accurately predict how the insurance company we have chosen will react to an accident until after we have seen how they have treated us.

So Burnes's claim that we can always shop around to find another company that will treat us better is no more than a smoke screen for industry interests.

Julie A. Nelson
Newton, Massachusetts
The writer is associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

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"State dismantling a system that works"
The Boston Globe, Letters, March 6, 2009

RE "DRIVERS losing a right to appeal": Insurance commissioner Nonnie Burnes doesn't know if her plan to eliminate the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal will work for Massachusetts drivers. Here's what is known: A total of 25,000 drivers saved a lot of money when their surcharges were overturned by the board last year; fees from drivers' appeals generated $2.5 million for the Commonwealth; more than half of our legislators oppose her plan. We know the appeals board works. If it "ain't broke," what exactly is Burnes trying to fix?

David J. Holway
National president, National Association of Government Employees
Quincy, Massachusetts

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A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Drivers vs. insurers"
March 3, 2009

DRIVING in Massachusetts sometimes resembles the final frantic moments of a sporting event with opposing teams swarming the goal. And now the action is about to continue without an even-handed referee.

The state Division of Insurance is eliminating its Board of Appeal as part of the agency's wider effort to bring "managed competition" to the auto insurance field. Last year, the Patrick administration ended the "fixed and established" system that authorized the state to set the annual rate that all auto insurers use to calculate premiums. The move also put an end to the state's merit rating plan that established surcharges when a vehicle operator was found to be more than 50 percent at fault for an accident. Under the new system, insurance companies are free to establish their own rates and craft their own merit rating plans to calculate how much to penalize a driver for an at-fault accident, and for how long.

Managed competition is less than a year old, and it remains unclear if the new system will create consistently lower and fairer rates. But one thing is clear. State analysts and insurance company adjusters don't agree when it comes to assigning levels of blame and the size of penalties for car accidents. About half of the 50,000 cases disputed each year in Massachusetts are overturned by the appeal board. By eradicating the appeals function, the Division of Insurance would put consumers almost wholly at the mercy of insurance companies. And it's safe to assume that the insurers will be a lot more focused on their own bottom lines than the drivers' version of events.

Consumer groups such as MassPIRG warned last year that many good drivers, especially those in urban areas, would get the raw end of the deal from insurers who use multi-car discounts, good-student allowances, and package discounts for auto and homeowner insurance as proxies for socioeconomic factors in setting rates and deciding whom to insure. But most legislators were ready to give the new system a chance. The eradication of the appeal board, however, is now making many of those lawmakers "uneasy," according to state Senator Stephen Buoniconti, chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services. More than half of the state's lawmakers have signed on to a bill that would restore the appeal board, which is slated to be phased out next month.

The Division of Insurance argues that consumers who feel they are being mistreated by an insurer will be free to move on to another company under the new system. But there are no guarantees that the premium increase will be forgiven or that the new company will even want the business.

The driving wars demand a few peacekeepers. The Board of Appeal should stay.

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Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes. (Jonathan Wiggs/ Boston Globe Staff/ File 2007)
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"Insurance agents: New rules will cost jobs: Changes eliminate special niche for high-risk coverage"
By Jeffrey Krasner, Boston Globe Staff, March 12, 2009

At a raucous Beacon Hill meeting yesterday, more than 100 insurance agents told Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes that rules taking effect April 1 will put them out of business and increase the number of uninsured drivers on Massachusetts roads.

The agents, who for years have specialized in providing auto insurance policies to high-risk and inner-city drivers, said Burnes's "managed competition" means low-income and immigrant communities will be left without access to insurance agents who are equipped to handle their business.

"We took all comers who walked through our doors," said Marie-Armel Theodat of Theodat Insurance Agency in Boston. "We did everything you needed us to do. Now you're telling us the state has a right to put us out of business. It's not fair."

At issue is a system established in the 1970s in which special agents were authorized to exclusively write policies for customers who would end up in the state's pool of high-risk drivers.

But as of April 1, the system will be ended, and all insurance agents will have to write policies to such drivers. Taking away the niche business will leave scores of special agents without a livelihood, because they haven't been offered contracts with insurance companies. Burnes said there are 142 such agents in the state.

At yesterday's State House meeting, questions to Burnes were interrupted by applause, cheers, and catcalls. Agents said they had been promised contracts by insurance companies, but the insurers have reneged.

"We spent all these years writing the business nobody wanted to touch," said Paul D. Wasgatt, owner of Safeside Insurance Agency in Worcester. "We dealt with the companies, we wrote policies with low limits that nobody else wanted. Now the insurance companies are saying, 'Too bad, you can't have a contract.' "

Separately, the agents said many of their low-income and immigrant clients move frequently. Notices to tell them their policies will expire April 1 are in some cases being returned as undeliverable by the post office, they said. As a result, drivers may wind up inadvertently driving an uninsured vehicle.

"The Commonwealth is creating a big risk," said Peter Savage, a Brockton agent.

The special agents displayed a map they said showed most of those without a contract under the new system are in low-income urban areas including parts of Boston, Lawrence, Brockton, and Springfield.

Burnes countered with a series of graphs she said illustrated that special agents who are not being picked up by insurance companies are equally distributed throughout the state.

"I know this transition is difficult for people, and I don't mean to pooh-pooh that," said Burnes in an interview after the meeting. "But we are just not seeing the kind of discrimination" the agents are alleging. "I take that very seriously."

"There's an issue and we'll figure out a way to help these people," she added. "I don't know what the answer is yet."

Some agents want the system's dismantling delayed a year.

State Representative Martin J. Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat, said, "This policy seems like it's company-driven. A Democratic administration is making it as profitable as possible for companies to come into the state who didn't want to deal with our policies before."

The fate of the special agents, formally known as exclusive representative producers, is another facet of the ongoing implementation of the revamped auto insurance system, begun last April 1. Burnes also faces strong opposition to an effort to phase out an independent board that allows drivers found at fault for an accident to challenge surcharges on premiums. About 50,000 cases are appealed annually, and about half of the surcharges are overturned by the board.

Burnes said she is working on new guidelines for motorists' appeals to insurers.
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Jeffrey Krasner can be reached at krasner@globe.com.
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"Geico wants to sell in Massachusetts: Drivers could see lower premiums"
By Jeffrey Krasner, Boston Globe Staff, March 21, 2009

Geico, the nation's third-largest auto insurer, says it plans to start selling policies in Massachusetts, a move that could lower premiums for many drivers.

The company, known for its TV commercials featuring a talking gecko, filed papers yesterday with the state Division of Insurance and could win approval to begin offering products within six weeks.

Geico's decision to come to Massachusetts - the only state where it does not already do business - is seen as an endorsement of the competitive auto insurance system introduced a year ago by the Patrick administration and spearheaded by Insurance Commissioner Nonnie S. Burnes. Under the new rules, companies set their own rates. Previously, insurance rates were largely set by the state, resulting in only minimal price differences between companies. Massachusetts was the last state to have such a system.

If Geico's application is approved, as expected, it will become the eighth company to enter the market since the rule changes.

"It is further evidence that managed competition is bringing more choice in cost, coverage, and companies to Massachusetts consumers," Burnes said in a statement.

Chris Tasher, a spokeswoman for Geico, said the insurer is waiting for the state to review its application. She declined to comment further.

The Maryland-company is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which is controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett. Geico said it has 9 million policyholders and claims to be the fastest-growing large auto insurer in the country, with an 8.8 percent increase in policies in 2007, the latest numbers it made available.

In New Jersey, another state that eliminated stringent government regulations on auto insurers, Geico returned in 2004 and quickly gained more than 10 percent of the market.

The seven companies that have come to Massachusetts in the last year include Progressive Insurance, Vermont Mutual Insurance Group, and Peerless Insurance, a division of Boston-based Liberty Mutual.

Like Progressive - the fourth-largest US auto insurer - Geico sells directly to consumers, including through its website. That is seen as a threat to insurance agents. When Progressive began selling policies here last May, it quickly signed up thousands of drivers, some of whom said they saved several hundred dollars or more. But there are no reliable figures available yet to show how much money consumers statewide may be saving under the new system.

Still, Peter Robertson, legal counsel to the Property Casualty Insurers Association, said managed competition is benefiting Massachusetts drivers.

"It's been successful for consumers based on the new entrants and the new offerings," said Robertson, who is based in Newton. "There are price variations and new products and services by all the companies. Polls have shown consumers are very happy with it."

The largest auto insurer in Massachusetts is Webster-based Commerce Insurance Co. Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Although it hasn't been able to sell insurance in Massachusetts, Geico has advertised here, allowing it to establish strong brand recognition and reach potential customers in neighboring states.

In a recent J.D. Power and Associates survey, however, Geico ranked slightly below the industry average in a composite score based on such factors as billing, claims, and price.

There have been some glitches during the implementation of managed competition. Burnes recently came under attack from insurance agents and consumer advocates for her plan to eliminate the insurance Board of Appeals, which enables motorists to challenge surcharges levied on drivers involved in collisions. Burnes favored a system in which consumers appealed directly to the companies. On Wednesday, she reversed her position and said she would maintain the appeals board.

Also, a group of special agents who sell policies primarily in urban areas and minority communities say that the new rules will put them out of business. Burnes said she would explore ways to help them under the competitive system.
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Jeffrey Krasner can be reached at krasner@globe.com.
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"Lawmakers drop effort to add fee to insurance"
By Todd Wallack, Boston Globe Staff, May 2, 2009

State lawmakers have temporarily dropped an effort to add a small surcharge to auto insurance policies that would raise about $20 million a year to pay for police training.

The measure, a budget amendment that would have cost policyholders an average of about $5 a year, had faced opposition from some insurance companies. Arbella Insurance Group, one of the state's largest auto insurers, argued it was unfair to tax just one specific group - drivers - to pay for a public service.

Several dozen Beacon Hill lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to push through a similar measure four years ago, after police chiefs complained they didn't have enough money for training. Now the issue has emerged again, because cities and towns are strapped for cash.

The fee was originally included in the new state budget Governor Deval Patrick submitted to the state Legislature. It was first dropped by the House Ways and Means Committee, and then reintroduced as an amendment to the budget this month by Representative Christopher Donelan, Democrat of Orange, who is vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. But the amendment was dropped yesterday.

Donelan said he still supports the surcharge, adding the state needs to find ways to better fund training for police officers.

"Police training has been chronically underfunded," he said.

Donelan said it was unclear, however, whether he had the votes needed to push the measure through as part of the budget process.

In addition, Donelan said the Legislature already plans to consider revamping police training in the next few weeks, so it might make more sense to consider the funding issue afterward. Donelan said Patrick has proposed a bill that would accomplish the same goal as his budget amendment, but it would be considered later in the Legislative session.

Other insurance companies had mixed response to the proposed surcharge.

The Massachusetts Insurance Federation, which represents many insurance companies, said it opposes the measure but doesn't consider it a top concern on Beacon Hill.

And the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, which represents agents, said it has no objections to the fee, provided the state requires companies to clearly label the charge on consumer bills.

Still, the surcharge is just the latest in an array of small taxes and fees that were floated and then quickly withdrawn or defeated in the House in recent weeks as lawmakers instead concentrated their energies on raising the state sales tax to 6.25 percent, which the House of Representatives approved on Monday. Meanwhile, Patrick is lobbying to instead raise the state gasoline tax by 19 cents.

"I would be surprised to see many, if any, of these proposals, approved," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a Boston nonprofit that analyzes the state's fiscal policies.
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Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com.
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Photo by Nancy Lane
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"Elderly driver study adds wrinkle to discount"
By Jessica Van Sack, Monday, June 29, 2009, www.bostonherald.com - Local Coverage

Under scrutiny for five horrific car crashes in recent weeks, elderly drivers could face higher car insurance bills, as the industry considers whether senior citizens deserve their coveted 25 percent discount.

The Automobile Insurers Bureau of Massachusetts is studying the risk posed by seniors behind the wheel, spurred by a spate of accidents involving elderly drivers - the most recent happening yesterday in Melrose.

Already, the study has found that once drivers hit age 75, they are involved in more crashes than the average adult, said Daniel J. Johnston, president of the bureau, funded by Bay State insurers.

The study comes as an elderly man is clinging to life in Melrose after being allegedly hit by an 86-year-old driver.

Virginia Nelson was driving on Main Street when her car plowed into an 84-year-old man at about 10:30 a.m., said Police Chief Michael L. Lyle.

Witnesses said the man was in the crosswalk, Lyle said, adding, “There’s no skid marks there.”

All seniors enjoy a 25 percent discount on premiums under state law.

“To give them a discount is . . . absurd,” said James Conley, 40, whose mother, Hub crossing guard Marie Conley, 58, was killed in October. Conley was allegedly hit by an 86-year-old man as she ushered children across the street in Dorchester.

Her son, a firefighter and paramedic in the Fort Lauderdale area, said cracking down on incapable older drivers is seen as an “inconvenience.”

“But look at my inconvenience now,” he said.

And while the bureau’s study has found that once drivers hit 75 the risk they pose skyrockets, it also found seniors under 75 are safer behind the wheel.

“I can tell you that there is probably some senior citizen discount warranted, but it’s definitely not as much as 25 percent,” Johnston said of seniors under age 75.

The bureau’s study, which analyzed crash data for the past four years, found that property damage claims far outweigh claims for bodily injury among seniors. If insurers discover the 25 percent senior discount is not warranted, they could push the Legislature to repeal a 1978 law authorizing the benefit.

Meanwhile, a Herald review of Registry of Motor Vehicles data found that from 2006 to 2008, a whopping 65 people died in car wrecks caused by drivers age 80 and above. Twenty-two of those fatalities happened last year.

The Herald review also found teens and young adults still cause far more accidents than seniors. While drivers up to age 25 caused 53,762 crashes in 2008, those age 70 and up caused 11,663 wrecks.

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"Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Stepping Down"
www.insurancejournal.com - East News - September 10, 2009

Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Nonnie Burnes is stepping down from here role as chief insurance regulator to take a fellowship position at Notheastern University in Boston.

Burnes resignation is effective at the end of the month, when she heads to her alma mater to teach a course on regulatory reform and to work with students interested in pursuing careers focused on government regulation, public policy, law and business.

"Nonnie Burnes is a great friend and was a great Insurance Commissioner," Governor Deval Patrick said in a prepared statement. "She brought fresh insight and real courage to one of the central successes of this administration -- the introduction of balanced, consumer-oriented competition to our auto insurance market."

Burnes tenure as commissioner was marked by a major overhaul of the state's auto insurance system. Her handling of the 18-month old managed competition system drew criticism from agents and more established insurers but also earned praise from the governor as well as other insurers who claimed it paved the way for their re-entry into the state's auto market.

"We are thrilled to have someone with Nonnie's professional accomplishments bring her knowledge and expertise to our students," said Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun.

Prior to her appointment as commissioner in 2007, Burnes was a superior court judge. She previously served as a partner at the law firm Hill & Barlow.
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www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2009/09/10/103654.htm
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"Ruberto's successful team approach"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters to the Editor, October 27, 2009

I have lived my entire life in Pittsfield. I have been fortunate to work with many people in positions of leadership, from selectmen in small towns, to presidents of large corporations, to elected officials, including governors, senators and congressmen, and people in state government. In my 24 years on the Pittsfield City Council, and in other community volunteer roles, I worked closely with six different mayors. Based on all of my experiences, I can say without qualification that Jim Ruberto is one of the finest leaders I have ever known.

Mayor Ruberto has the single greatest skill that any leader needs to be effective -- he knows how to bring people together to get things done. There is a reason why Pittsfield's City Council and School Committee are now functioning so smoothly -- just about everyone has a shared vision about what it will take to move the city ahead. That vision was put forward by Mayor Ruberto.

I served on the City Council in good times and bad, including two of the four years that Dan Bianchi was finance director. The tone in city government was starkly different than it is now. There was plenty of blame to go around, but Dan's job in those days was to develop budgets and get the Council and the School Committee to share his view of those budgets so the mayor could get them passed. He was never able to do so.

It's not enough to be smart, and to have some of the right answers. No mayor, no finance director, can run the city solo. It takes a team approach. It takes patience, ability and a dose of humility. Mayor Ruberto has developed the ideal team approach and has gotten things done for Pittsfield; and his accomplishments are evident throughout the city. For the good of Pittsfield, we should re-elect Jim Ruberto.

ANGELO STRACUZZI
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
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www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/TJ6JSL3NV2MPDS476
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"Greylock Federal: Credit union tops in U.S. - The ranking was given regardless of size, charter or location by a research and consulting firm."
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, December 24, 2009

PITTSFIELD - The Greylock Federal Credit Union has been ranked as the country's top performing credit union for value provided to its members regardless of size, charter, or location for just over an entire financial year by a national firm that provides research and consulting for that industry.

Callahan & Associates, of Washington D.C., compiled the rankings based on data recorded by credit unions across the United States. Callahan releases its rankings quarterly, according to Greylock President Angelo Stracuzzi. This is the fifth straight quarter that Greylock has achieved Callahan's top ranking, he said.

Greylock had been ranked first by Callahan & Associates in previous years, but Stracuzzi said those ratings were in a category based on size of assets, which in Greylock's case is between $1 billion and $2.5 billion.

This ranking includes all 7,794 of the country's credit unions regardless of their size.

"They look at everybody," Stracuzzi said. "We're excited about that."

Robert E. Kimmelt, the senior vice president for public relations and marketing for the Massachusetts Credit Union League, said the rankings show that Greylock's members receive good returns on several services, including low loan rates, low checking fees, high returns on savings and high interest rates across the board.

"If you're a member of Greylock you're getting the best possible deal from credit unions that work pretty hard to help their members," Kimmelt said.

Nick Connors, a spokesman for Callahan & Associates, said the ranking means that Greylock is providing "top of the line value" to its members and providing the services that its subscribers are looking for.

Stracuzzi said Callahan ranked each credit union on its ability to create value to its members based on a financial institution's loans, deposits, and convenience in providing services to its members.

Greylock's percentage of return to savers and borrowers, and percentage of members services, was over 99 percent for the third quarter of the current fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, according to Callahan & Associates. Greylock's total percentage of return on each member, an aggregate score based on those three categories, was rounded off to 100 percent, Connors said.

"I look at it as people who want more value turn to Greylock to be their financial institution," Stracuzzi said.

Stracuzzi said Greylock has attained a 38 percent share of all new purchase mortgages in Berkshire County, and 84 percent of local auto loans.

Those loans have helped Greylock achieve $1 billion in total loan balances, he said. Greylock has also received the Crystal Performance Award from Raddon Financial Group, a strategic business unit of Open Solutions Inc.

The award was designed to recognize credit unions for achieving a top 10 national ranking on the RFG Performance Index, that measures growth, income, efficiency and margin management. RFG recognized the top credit unions above $ 500 million in assets based on their 2008 performance.
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www.topix.net/forum/source/berkshire-eagle/TQDPA7BD1NV0BGGUL
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"Probation cloud hits county"
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff, May 30, 2010

The Massachusetts Probation Department, beleaguered by the suspension of its commissioner last week amid reports of rampant patronage, has given contradictory statements about a local probation case involving a banking executive and a chief probation officer.

Until last week, probation officials in Boston had remained silent in regard to Eagle questions about whether a conflict of interest occurred when Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford J. Nilan supervised the criminal case of his friend and colleague, Angelo C. Stracuzzi, the president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union. Nilan serves on Greylock's board of directors.

In response to an Eagle inquiry in January, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Probation Department confirmed that Nilan supervised Stracuzzi's probation.

Now, in what appears to be an aboutface, probation officials say Nilan wasn't among the probation officers who supervised Stracuzzi while he was on probation in the Berkshires from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006.

Stracuzzi, who has held his current position at Pittsfield- based Greylock since 2003, also said he was never supervised by Nilan. Five years ago this month, Stracuzzi was convicted in York County Superior Court in Alfred, Maine, of assaulting a young male in the coastal town of Biddeford, according to Maine probation officials.

Stracuzzi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of assault and criminal mischief on May 25, 2005, and received a 364-day suspended jail sentence and a one-year probation term, which was transferred to Massachusetts.

Nilan said he is barred from commenting about specifics of the probation case. Coria Holland, the director of communications for the Massachusetts Probation Department, said the agency would answer The Eagle's detailed questions about the case this week. The newspaper has been seeking comment for nearly five months.

Stracuzzi, 61, told The Eagle last week that he was charged with assault after he pushed a young male hitchhiker out of his car in Biddeford one afternoon. Stracuzzi said he believes the criminal mischief charge was leveled against him because he broke the hitchhiker's necklace.

The Eagle has formally requested more information about the case, but the Biddeford Police Department and York County District Attorney Mark Lawrence have yet to respond.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts probation officials have not explained why the initial information provided to The Eagle apparently has changed. But the confusion comes amid upheaval in the Massachusetts Probation Department, whose commissioner, John J. O'Brien, was suspended last week after a series of Boston Globe reports shed light on alleged improprieties in the state agency.

O'Brien's oversight of the Probation Department since 1998 is in question following allegations that political patronage played a role in the hiring and promotion practices of the state agency. In some cases, probation officers contributed money to powerful state politicians to advance their probation careers, according to The Globe.

The newspaper's reports prompted Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Margaret H. Marshall and Chief Justice for Administration and Management Robert A. Mulligan to place O'Brien on immediate administrative leave on Monday.

The Eagle first began seeking comment from O'Brien in January regarding the possible conflict-of-interest issue in the Stracuzzi case. In a Feb. 1 e-mail to The Eagle, Maria T. Walsh, an official in O'Brien's office, wrote: "Angelo Stracuzzi was supervised in the Superior Court by Cliff Nilan and Mike Koperniak."

That revelation prompted further Eagle inquiries, each seeking comment from O'Brien regarding Nilan's purported connection to the Stracuzzi case. But O'Brien never addressed the issue.

An e-mail from Holland on Thursday, however, said "an initial review [from the Probation Department] indicates that Chief Probation Officer Cliff Nilan was not involved in the direct supervision of the probation of Angelo Stracuzzi, which concluded in mid-2005." Maine probation officials, however, said Stracuzzi's probation term ended on June 30, 2006.

Nilan and Stracuzzi have been friends and colleagues for years. Nilan has served on Greylock Federal Credit Union's board of directors since 1994 and currently is clerk/ treasurer of the credit union, according to Greylock's website. Nilan was chairman of the board from 2000 to 2004.

Nilan, in a phone message to The Eagle on Thursday, said he would like to "clear up misconceptions" about his involvement with the Stracuzzi case, but noted that probation personnel have been ordered not to speak to the media.

"I'd like to talk soon," he said. "I just don't know when I'll be able to."

All seven justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court signed an order Monday calling for "a prompt and thorough administrative inquiry into alleged improprieties with respect to hiring and promotion of employees" at the state Probation Department. The justices also appointed Paul W. Ware Jr., an attorney with the Boston law firm Goodwin Procter, to conduct the inquiry and to report back to the court within 90 days.

Deb Grasso, Ware's legal assistant, said the attorney is looking into numerous allegations involving the Probation Department and might expand his probe to include the Berkshires. Southern Berkshire District Court Probation Chief Alfred E. "Alf" Barbalunga, the son of a retired county judge, was cited in The Globe's report as a possible recipient of a patronage job.

As for Stracuzzi, he told The Eagle that he requested his probation case be transferred from Maine to Massachusetts so that he wouldn't have to travel to Alfred from Pittsfield.

"Frankly, it was really more for convenience," he said.

Steve Onacki, a Maine probation officer who briefly supervised Stracuzzi, said the Massachusetts Probation Department accepted Stracuzzi's case on July 13, 2005. Onacki said the case was transferred through the so-called interstate compact, which allows a defendant to complete a probation term in his home state.

Onacki said Stracuzzi received good reports from Berkshire probation officials, but the Maine probation officer was unable to name those officials.

Stracuzzi said he knows Nilan and Koperniak - a line probation officer who works under Nilan - but insisted he was never supervised by either man. Stracuzzi said he merely went to the front desk of the Superior Court probation office, where he routinely dealt with a member of Nilan's staff who was not a probation officer.

"Basically, [the staff member] would say to me, 'Do you want to see a probation officer?' and I would say, 'No,' " said Stracuzzi, who was required to report monthly to the office during his probation.

Stracuzzi said he was "embarrassed" by his Maine conviction and was glad Nilan never raised the matter with him.

"I've known [Nilan] for a long time," Stracuzzi said. " To his credit, he never chided me about this."
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"Probation to review case"
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff, June 3, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- State probation officials are launching an inquiry into who supervised a local banking executive's criminal case after it was transferred from Maine to Massachusetts.

Officials with the Massachusetts Probation Department on Wednesday acknowledged that they provided "inconsistent information" to The Eagle regarding the case of Angelo C. Stracuzzi, the president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union in Pittsfield.

Probation officials initially said he was supervised by credit union board member Clifford J. Nilan, the probation chief for Berkshire Superior Court, but later said Nilan didn't play a direct role in supervising Stracuzzi, whose probation case was transferred to Massachusetts after a 2005 assault and criminal mischief conviction in Maine.

In light of the apparent discrepancies, probation officials are now taking a closer look at the handling of the case, according to Coria Holland, the spokeswoman for the Probation Department.

"We are conducting a more in-depth review to clarify this situation," Holland said, noting that a probation statement issued last week contradicting a previous statement was based on an "initial review" of the matter.

"We expect to complete a full review within the next two weeks," Holland said.

Probation officials confirmed on Feb. 1 that the probation case was supervised by Nilan, a longtime member of Greylock's board of directors who's currently clerk/treasurer of the financial institution.

Since then, The Eagle has repeatedly sought comment from the probation commissioner's office regarding whether Nilan's supervision of Stracuzzi represented a conflict of interest, considering Nilan and Stracuzzi's professional relationship and personal friendship.

Probation Commissioner John J. O'Brien, who was suspended last week after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered an investigation into alleged improprieties in the state agency, had not directly addressed Eagle inquiries about the matter since February. Before his suspension, his office issued the statement, "Generally, in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities, probation officers are required to avoid any appearances of impropriety and to avoid any conflict of interest."

On May 25, 2005, Stracuzzi was sentenced in York Superior Court to a 364-day suspended jail sentence and one year of probation after admitting to the misdemeanor charges.

His probation case was transferred to Massachusetts through an interstate compact, according to Steve Onacki, a Maine probation officer. Onacki briefly supervised Stracuzzi before it was transferred to Massachusetts on July 13, 2005. The probation term lasted from July 1, 2005, until June 30, 2006.

Stracuzzi said he was required to report monthly to the Berkshire Superior Court probation office, where he checked in with a member of Nilan's staff who is not a probation officer. Stracuzzi said he never met directly with Nilan or any other probation officer in Nilan's office.

Probation is "a court-ordered sanction placed on a person convicted of a crime" in which the offender is allowed to remain free in the community "under the strict supervision of a probation officer," according to the Massachusetts Probation Department's website.

Meanwhile, Maine probation officials on Wednesday expressed concern about whether Stracuzzi was properly supervised by their Massachusetts counterparts.

"We expect the other state to provide the same supervision [of a Maine probation case] as they would for any of their other clients," Onacki said. "[Maine] doesn't monitor other states' probation. We can only control what we can control."

Another Maine probation official, who asked not to be identified, said the expectation was that Massachusetts would act in "good faith" and "carry out the [Maine] court's order."

The Maine probation officials said they are following the Massachusetts probation crisis, which involves allegations of nepotism and patronage jobs, among other things.
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"Two resign amid probes"
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff, June 5, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Two members of the board of directors at Greylock Federal Credit Union resigned Friday amid separate investigations by the Pittsfield-based credit union and the Massachusetts Probation Department.

The board placed Angelo C. Stracuzzi, Greylock's president and CEO, on immediate administrative leave following revelations he is a convicted criminal whose 2005 probation case might have been supervised by Greylock board member Clifford J. Nilan, the chief of probation for Berkshire Superior Court.

Massachusetts probation officials this week launched a full review of Stracuzzi's case after acknowledging they provided conflicting information to The Eagle about who supervised him.

Greylock's board accepted the resignations of Stracuzzi and Nilan on Friday, according to a statement authorized by board Chairwoman Sheila LaBarbera.

Nilan, who was elected to Greylock's board in 1994, was the credit union's clerk/treasurer.

The board is the governing body that establishes and reviews policy for the credit union. The directors, who are unpaid, are credit-union members elected by the membership.

Stracuzzi, who has worked for Greylock since 1992 and was elected CEO in 2003, will remain on administrative leave while Greylock completes a "full investigation of potential conflicts of interest," according to the statement.

Stracuzzi, Nilan and LaBarbera could not be reached for comment Friday, and John L. Bissell, Greylock's senior vice president, didn't return a phone call seeking further comment. Other board members reached by phone Friday said they couldn't discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts probation officials are looking into whether Nilan and Stracuzzi's professional relationship and personal friendship represented a conflict of interest regarding Stracuzzi's probation case. The results of that review are expected to be revealed by mid-June, according to Coria Holland, the spokeswoman for the Probation Department.

Probation officials initially said Nilan supervised Stracuzzi while the banking executive was on probation in the Berkshires from July 2005 through June 2006 after being convicted of misdemeanor assault. But the agency later said Nilan didn't play a direct role in supervising Stracuzzi.

Stracuzzi has told The Eagle that he reported monthly to Nilan's office, but never met with a probation officer during his probation.

"We are conducting a more in-depth review to clarify this situation," Holland told The Eagle this week.

"Probation officers are required to avoid any appearances of impropriety and to avoid any conflict of interest," according to a statement from the Probation Department.

Maine probation officials have expressed concern about whether Stracuzzi's probation was properly handled by Massachusetts.

Stracuzzi's case was transferred to the Berkshire Superior Court probation department after he was convicted of assault and criminal mischief in Maine. On May 25, 2005, Stracuzzi was sentenced in York Superior Court to a 364-day suspended jail sentence and one year of probation after admitting to the charges, which stemmed from a 2004 incident involving a minor in Biddeford, Maine.

Stracuzzi, in a brief phone interview with The Eagle last week, said he picked up a young male hitchhiker in Biddeford. Stracuzzi said he couldn't remember the date of the incident, but Maine law enforcement officials confirmed the incident occurred on July 26, 2004.

"I gave him a lift," Stracuzzi said of the hitchhiker. "One comment led to another and I pushed him out of the car."

The assault charge arose from that altercation, Stracuzzi said, adding that the criminal mischief charge came because he broke the hitchhiker's necklace.

According to the statement from Greylock, the board of directors "took its actions with full appreciation for the years of dedicated service and achievement under [Stracuzzi and Nilan's] leadership. We have full confidence in the ability of our senior management team to maintain Greylock's standards of excellence. Credit union members will continue to receive the same level of outstanding service."

Pittsfield attorney Leonard H. Cohen is representing Nilan, who was chairman of Greylock's board from 2000 to 2004.

"I've known Cliff for a number of years in a professional capacity, both inside and outside the courtroom. I have a high regard for him in that professional capacity," Cohen said of the probation chief, adding that Nilan decided to resign from Greylock.

It was not known Friday whether Stracuzzi resigned or was asked to resign from the board.
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"Questions for Probation"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, June 7, 2010

The resignations Friday of Angelo C. Stracuzzi and Clifford J. Nilan from the board of directors of Greylock Federal Credit Union, and the placing of Mr. Stracuzzi on administrative leave from his position as president and CEO of the credit union, don't answer any of the questions raised last week about Mr. Stracuzzi's past relationship with Mr. Nilan in his role as probation chief for Berkshire Superior Court but they attest to the seriousness of those questions. We expect that the inquiries being conducted by the board and the Probation Department will provide those answers in the weeks ahead.

The Probation Department says that it will clarify what role Mr. Nilan had in supervising Mr. Stracuzzi after Mr. Stracuzzi's probation case was transferred from Maine to Massachusetts in 2005. The personal and professional relationship between the two could have posed a conflict of interest. Mr. Stracuzzi had admitted to two misdemeanor charges related to an incident in Biddeford, Maine in 2004, resulting in one year of probation.

Officials of the Probation Department have acknowledged that they initially presented conflicting information to The Eagle about the specifics of the relationship between Mr. Stracuzzi and Mr. Nilan. Its ongoing review, which is expected to be concluded in roughly a week, comes as the Probation Department is facing a shakeup on Beacon Hill following a Boston Globe story revealing the department to be a patronage haven.

Governor Deval Patrick wants oversight of the department shifted to the executive branch while proposals offered in the Legislature would strengthen weak judicial oversight. While this debate shakes out, Probation Department officials must do what they can to put their own house in order.

Mr. Stracuzzi and Mr. Nilan are both prominent members of the community who have contributed a great deal to it and we hope will continue to do so. The investigation to be conducted by the Greylock Federal Credit Union may be painful but it is necessary for the credit union to maintain its good reputation in the community. The Probation Department, unlike the credit union, is facing challenges to its own integrity as it pursues its review. Its efforts on this and many other fronts will speak to the taxpayerfunded agency's determination to adopt a new openness.
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"Board mum on Stracuzzi exit"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, June 23, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The Greylock Federal Credit Union still won't say if Angelo C. Stracuzzi voluntarily resigned as president and CEO or if he was asked to step down by the board of directors.

But the Federal Credit Union Act, which governs credit unions, prohibits employees who have been convicted of criminal offenses from participating in a credit union's affairs, under certain conditions.

Except with the prior written consent of a credit union's board, any person who has been convicted of any criminal offense involving "dishonesty or breach of trust" is not supposed to continue as an "institution-affiliated party" with respect to any insured credit union, or otherwise participate "directly or indirectly" in the conduct of the affairs of any insured credit union, the act states.

In 2005, Stracuzzi received a suspended 364-day jail sentence and probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief charges in Maine. He resigned as CEO on June 11 following an investigation by Greylock's board of directors.

Enacted in 1934, the Federal Credit Union Act established the country's system of nonprofit credit unions and created the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions, the predecessor to the National Credit Union Association, the industry's regulatory body.

National Credit Union Association spokesman John McKechnie said he wasn't sure if Stracuzzi's convictions fit into the definition of the statute.

"I really can't answer in the hypothetical because we weren't aware of it until we learned of the action of [Greylock's] board," McKechnie said. "Not knowing the specifics of the case, it's hard for me to answer."

Stracuzzi's probation was transferred to Massachusetts and came under the jurisdiction of Berkshire Superior Court, where former Greylock board member Clifford J. Nilan is the chief probation officer.

Stracuzzi and Nilan resigned from the board a week before the board accepted Stracuzzi's resignation as CEO.

Speaking on behalf of Greylock's board of directors, Vice President John Bissell insisted Friday that the board, with the exception of Nilan, did not know about Stracuzzi's previous criminal convictions until late May.

Bissell declined to say whether Stracuzzi, who had been employed by Greylock since 1992 and had been president and CEO since 2002, received a severance package after the board accepted his resignation.
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"Greylock Federal Credit Union New CEO, 'next level': Sperling confidently eyes future"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, June 23, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Marilyn Sperling is the new interim CEO at Greylock Federal Credit Union.

And at least 68,000 people in Berkshire County are counting on her to lead the powerhouse financial institution, which has a record $1.2 billion in assets and $1 billion in loans.

Roughly one of every two residents in the county is a member at Greylock -- the county's top auto and mortgage lender -- and Sperling said she is confident in her ability to do the job.

"I plan on taking this organization to the next level of growth we need to get to," she said this week.Last year, the Pittsfield-based Greylock set several financial records while being named the country's top performing credit union for value to members, according to a national ratings research firm. This year, Greylock was looking forward to the economy's upswing while marking its 75th anniversary as a credit union.

"I plan on taking this organization to the next level of growth we need to get to," she said this week.Last year, the Pittsfield-based Greylock set several financial records while being named the country's top performing credit union for value to members, according to a national ratings research firm. This year, Greylock was looking forward to the economy's upswing while marking its 75th anniversary as a credit union.

But on June 11, the board of directors accepted the resignation of Angelo C. Stracuzzi as CEO following an investigation into two misdemeanor criminal convictions he had five years ago, and the directors named Sperling -- a company vice president -- to replace him.

Sperling, 55, called the situation "bittersweet."

"I would have liked to have taken over this institution under better circumstances, but it is what it is," said Sperling, who previously handled the CEO's day-to-day responsibilities when Stracuzzi was out of the office.

Embroiled in the Stracuzzi scandal was Clifford J. Nilan, who also resigned as a Greylock board member and its treasurer.

The resignations came soon after the state's Probation Department started investigating whether Nilan, the chief probation officer in Berkshire Superior Court, supervised his colleague Stracuzzi's probation, an apparent conflict of interest that the department discourages. Credit union regulations also govern CEOs who receive criminal convictions.

The revelations took the rest of the board by surprise, according to Greylock Vice President John Bissell.

Speaking on behalf of the board of directors, Bissell insisted in an interview last weekthat, outside of Nilan, no one on the board knew about Stracuzzi's prior convictions until late May. The board's investigation into Stracuzzi's case took about two weeks to complete.

"It's absolutely not true that the board knew about it," Bissell said. "It's absolutely false."

Bissell was asked how the board could not know.

"A lot of people are asking that question," he said. "They absolutely did not know. I didn't know. No one in senior management knew. We did not know."

In an established succession plan required at all credit unions, Sperling was made aware in 2008 that she someday would succeed Stracuzzi as Greylock's president and CEO.

Sperling, a Pittsfield resident who has 35 years of banking experience, isn't new to trailblazing. In 2003, she became Greylock's first female senior vice president. She's the sixth person to head the credit union since its official break from General Electric Co. in 1955, and she becomes the first woman to serve in that role.

Sperling said there will be no changes in Greylock's day-to-day operations.

"My plan for this institution is to continue to do business just as we have," she said. "There are going to be no changes in our philosophy. No changes in our culture. We have been very successful in what we've been doing up to this point."

Bissell said the nine-member board will determine how long Sperling remains as interim CEO, or whether Greylock will look outside the organization for a permanent replacement.

"There's a process that they have to follow," he said. "We'll have more information on that in the next several weeks."

In a standard procedure, the Federal Credit Union Administration -- which regulates credit unions in the same manner the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. regulates banks -- is reviewing the transition in management to make sure all of Greylock's financial functions remain in place.

"The institution is fiscally sound," said John McKechnie, the spokesman for the Federal Credit Union Administration. "As far as the management of the institution, we make sure that everything continues to remain on the right track."

Greylock is cooperating fully in the review, Bissell said.

Stracuzzi appeared in many Greylock advertisements, but Bissell and Sperling said the credit union already has begun a new print and radio campaign called "I Am Greylock," which focuses on individual employee achievements.

Senior management devised the new marketing campaign the weekend after Stracuzzi resigned, Bissell said. The print and radio ads began running last week.

Sperling said she won't be as outgoing as Stracuzzi and won't try to replicate his management style.

"I'm not Angelo," she said. "I'm me."

She said she plans to rely on Greylock's 10 senior managers to keep the company moving forward.

"This organization didn't get to be the success that it was because of one person," she said. "It really took a team of people."

Credit union member Barbara Gaherty, 79, praised Greylock for its teamwork and said she has no plans to withdraw her money from the institution.

"I don't think one man could ruin it," the Lenox resident said. "The people who work here are tremendous."

Greylock chronology

Founded as the Pittsfield G.E. Employees Credit Union in 1935, the nonprofit was managed by GE until 1955. Here's a list Greylock Federal Credit Union's head administrators since then:

. 1955: Paul C. Theilig, treasurer/manager
. 1979: William F. Connors, treasurer/manager
. 1988: Dennis D. Draudt, president
. 1991: James H. Lynch, president
. 2002: Angelo C. Stracuzzi, president & CEO
. 2010: Marilyn Sperling, president & CEO (interim)
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"Stracuzzi selling local home"
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff, June 23, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Angelo C. Stracuzzi, the former chief of Greylock Federal Credit Union, is selling his Pittsfield home.

Stracuzzi’s 2,500-square-foot ranch on Stonehenge Road has been on the market since late last week, and the asking price is $479,200 -- more than double what he paid for the eight-room home in 2002, according to real estate records.

Stracuzzi’s Lenox-based Realtor, Paula J. McLean, confirmed that the 42-year-old house was officially listed last Thursday. But she declined to say if Stracuzzi, who resigned as Greylock’s CEO on June 11, has already moved from his Pittsfield home.

Stracuzzi has owned a vacation house near the Jersey Shore since 2006, according to New Jersey land records.

"I’m not really at liberty to discuss Mr. Stracuzzi’s personal endeavors," McLean said Wednesday.

Stracuzzi’s attorney, Michael MacDonald, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Greylock’s board of directors unanimously accepted Stracuzzi’s resignation from the Pittsfield-based banking institution, one of the state’s largest credit unions with nearly 70,000 members and assets totaling $1.3 billion. But board members still won’t reveal whether Stracuzzi resigned voluntarily or was forced from his position, or if Stracuzzi was offered a severance package.

The resignation followed an investigation by the credit union into Stracuzzi’s criminal past. Stracuzzi apparently failed to notify Greylock’s governing board about his 2005 Maine conviction for assault and criminal mischief. The charges stemmed from an incident with a minor in July 2004 in Biddeford, according to Maine court records and law enforcement officials.

Stracuzzi admitted to the charges and received a suspended 364-day jail sentence and one year of probation, which was transferred to Massachusetts and came under the jurisdiction of Berkshire Superior Court -- where Greylock board member Clifford J. Nilan is chief probation officer.

Stracuzzi and Nilan resigned from Greylock’s board of directors one week before Stracuzzi’s resignation as CEO.

The Massachusetts Probation Department is investigating who handled Stracuzzi’s case in Pittsfield. Agency officials initially said Nilan supervised Stracuzzi, which raised a possible red flag considering Nilan’s longtime friendship and professional relationship with Stracuzzi. The Probation Department later said Nilan didn’t play a direct role in the case, while Stracuzzi claimed he never met with a probation officer during his probation in the Berkshires.

According to the website for McLean Realtors, Stracuzzi’s Stonehenge Road home was built in 1967 and features new windows, a new roof, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, central air-conditioning, a Jacuzzi, and a game room with a pool table and bar.

Massachusetts land records indicate Stracuzzi and his wife, Rosanne, purchased the one-acre property in July 2002 for $225,000. That same month, the couple received a $200,000 mortgage for the property. The home’s current $479,200 sale price is about 2 percent higher than the average listing price for similar area homes, according to Trulia.com, an online real estate site.

Real estate records for Ocean County, N.J., indicate the Stracuzzis’ purchased their waterfront home in Little Egg Harbor Township in 2006 for $365,000. The property abuts a series of canals leading to Little Egg Harbor, an area east of Long Beach Island and about 20 miles north of Atlantic City.
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Marilyn Sperling, Greylock Federal Credit Union’s newly appointed president and CEO, answers questions Wednesday at the credit union’s West Street branch. (Shannon Young / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
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"Greylock chooses new CEO"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, July 22, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Marilyn Sperling is now the permanent president and CEO of the Greylock Federal Credit Union.

Greylock's board of directors officially appointed Sperling to that position on a permanent basis on Wednesday, a month after she became interim president and CEO following Angelo C. Stracuzzi's resignation on June 11.

The position change is effective immediately. Staff members were informed of the change on Tuesday night.

Sperling, 55, is the sixth president and CEO to head the 75-year-old financial institution, which posted record highs in assets ($1.2 billion) and loans ($1 billion) last year. She is the first woman to serve in that role.

"It's a huge honor," said Sperling, who had become Greylock's first female senior vice president in 2003. The Pittsfield resident has 35 years of banking experience, including the last 25 at Greylock.

"The response not just from employees, but from the members is overwhelming," she said. "I'd been hearing it for several weeks, ‘I hope you're chosen.'"

Stracuzzi, who had headed Greylock since 2002, resigned as CEO following an investigation into two misdeameanor criminal convictions that occurred five years ago. Greylock's board named Sperling as Stracuzzi's interim replacement based on an established succession plan that is required of all federal credit unions.

Board chairwoman Sheila LaBarbera said the board had the authority to consider both inside and outside candidates when considering Stracuzzi's permanent replacement, but that Sperling was the only candidate.

"The board certainly took a lot of time and deliberation to make sure we made the right decision," LaBarbera said. "As we kind of progressed through that decision-making process, it became very obvious in the end that Marilyn was the ideal candidate for us."

"Once we kind of developed what we were looking for, we realized that we had her right here," LaBarbera said.

Berkshire County's top mortgage and automobile lender, Greylock has 68,000 members, roughly one of every two county residents. Last year, Greylock was named the county's top performing credit union for value to members, according to a national ratings research firm.

"We have a culture and a philosophy here that we don't want to change," Sperling said. "It works. Why mess with success?"

Stracuzzi's resignation coincided with the resignation of board member Clifford J. Nilan, who is the chief probation officer in Berkshire Superior Court. Both resignations came soon after the state's Probation Department began investigating where Nilan had supervised Stracuzzi's probation, an apparent conflict of interest that the department discourages.

Those revelations took the board by surprise and have caused Greylock to institute a new series of background checks, according to vice president John Bissell.

"We have implemented new procedures and we will continue to use them," Bissell said.

Sperling referred to the Stracuzzi and Nilan resignations as a "sensitive issue" within the organization, and said managment reached out to staff and longtime credit union members to gauge their opinions.

"We're over it," Sperling said. "We really and truly are. For our employees, it became history very quickly. We have a community and members to serve and we never lost sight of that."
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"Court official Nilan cited"
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff, November 11, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- The Massachusetts Probation Department has admonished Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford J. Nilan for mishandling the case of Angelo C. Stracuzzi, the former CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union.

Stracuzzi resigned from the Pittsfield-based credit union in June after The Eagle exposed his criminal background and personal and professional relationship with Nilan, a member of Greylock's board of directors while Stracuzzi was on probation with Nilan's department.

Although Nilan was reprimanded for failing to follow proper protocol, state Probation Department officials in Boston declined to divulge details of his punishment, which they stated remains a confidential personnel matter. Nilan is still employed by the Massachusetts Trial Court.

Following a review of Stracuzzi's case, which was transferred from Maine to Berkshire Superior Court in 2005, probation officials now acknowledge the case "was not handled in compliance with the practices, policies and guidelines of the Office of the Commissioner of Probation."

The Probation Department, in a statement issued to The Eagle on Wednesday evening, said: "The case was misclassified and did not follow probation standards, which require avoidance of any actions that suggest or imply a lack of impartiality and avoidance of any conflict of interest."

Wednesday's statement marked the first time probation officials released substantive information about the Stracuzzi case, which The Eagle initially inquired about in January. The timing of the information coincided with the completion of an independent investigator's probe of alleged mismanagement and improper hiring and promotion practices within the Probation Department.

The Supreme Judicial Court appointed Paul F. Ware, a high-profile Boston attorney, to lead an independent probe of the department after a May report by the Boston Globe uncovered alleged improprieties in the Probation Department.

The department's own internal probe of the Stracuzzi case led to "a comprehensive examination of all of the probation cases managed in the probation office of the Berkshire Superior Court," according to Wednesday's statement to The Eagle.

Probation officials said Nilan cooperated fully with the review and "took full responsibility for the issues identified."

The statement went on to say: "The Probation Department, in concert with the Trial Court's Human Resources Department, implemented significant administrative action in compliance with the personnel policies and procedures of the administrative office of the Trial Court. The specifics of the action taken are considered a confidential personnel matter."

A probation official in Boston originally told The Eagle that Nilan was among the probation officers who supervised Stracuzzi during his yearlong probation sentence. The Probation Department later backtracked, however, claiming Nilan didn't play a direct supervisory role in the case.

The conflicting information, coupled with Stracuzzi's admission that he never met directly with a probation officer during his sentence, helped spur the Probation Department to launch a "full review" of the Berkshire Superior Court Probation Department.

Issues examined during the review included proper case classification, compliance with court orders, appropriate supervision of all cases and the enforcement of special conditions of probation. As a result, local office policies and practices were developed and implemented and staff training was conducted to address procedural issues identified by the review, according to officials in Boston.

The Eagle had been requesting basic information about Stracuzzi's probation case -- including who supervised him and whether Nilan's friendship with Stracuzzi presented a potential conflict of interest -- for several months.

Coria Holland, a Probation Department spokeswoman, announced in June that Boston was investigating whether the handling of Stracuzzi's case adhered to department policies and practices.

Stracuzzi, a Greylock employee since 1992, became the credit union's CEO in 2003. During his tenure, the nonprofit financial institution blossomed into a regional powerhouse with nearly 70,000 members and assets topping $1.2 billion.

But Stracuzzi's reign as CEO came to an abrupt end in June, when The Eagle broke the news about his criminal record in Maine. Stracuzzi was originally charged with six crimes in connection with two back-to-back incidents in Biddeford in July 2004, including two counts of soliciting sex from a minor. All but two of the charges -- misdemeanor counts of assault and criminal mischief -- were dismissed by Maine authorities.

Stracuzzi admitted to the misdemeanors in May 2005. He received a suspended jail sentence and one year of probation, and his case was transferred to Berkshire Superior Court.

Meanwhile, the findings of the so-called Ware Report were immediately impounded after the document was presented to the SJC for review, said Joan Kenney, a spokeswoman for the state's highest court. SJC officials didn't indicate when the report might be made public.

Among the Western Massachusetts figures named in the Globe Spotlight Team's report were state Rep. Thomas M. Petrolati, a ranking House member believed to be at the center of Ware's probe, and Southern Berkshire District Court Probation Chief Alfred E. Barbalunga, a Pittsfield resident whose politically connected family includes a retired county judge, an SJC justice and outgoing Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr.
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To reach Conor Berry: cberry@berkshireeagle.com; (413) 496-6249.
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Here is the complete statement from the Commissioner of Probation:

Statement from Office of the Commissioner of Probation

November 10, 2010

The Massachusetts Probation Department completed its review of the supervision of the case of Angelo Stracuzzi, which was transferred from Maine to Massachusetts in 2005 and accepted for supervision by the Berkshire Superior Court. Supervision of Mr. Stracuzzi's case concluded in June 2006.

The review determined that the supervision of this case was not handled in compliance with the practices, policies and guidelines of the Office of the Commissioner of Probation. The case was misclassified and did not follow probation standards which require avoidance of any actions that suggest or imply a lack of impartiality and avoidance of any conflict of interest.

Subsequent to the review of this case the Probation Department conducted a comprehensive examination of all of the probation cases managed in the Probation office of the Berkshire Superior Court. Areas examined included proper case classification, compliance with court orders, appropriate supervision of all cases and the enforcement of special conditions of probation. Local office policies and practices were developed and implemented and staff training was conducted to address the procedural issues identified by the review.

Chief Probation Officer Nilan cooperated fully with the review and took full responsibility for the issues identified. The Probation Department in concert with the Trial Court's Human Resources Department implemented significant administrative action in compliance with the Personnel Policies and Procedures of the Administrative Office of the Trial Court. The specifics of the action taken are considered a confidential personnel matter.
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"Department on probation"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, November 12, 2010

By admonishing Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford J. Nilan for mishandling the case of former Greylock Federal Credit Union CEO Angelo Stracuzzi, the Massachusetts Probation Department did what it had to do, and no more. Many questions remain unanswered and it is clear that a total overhaul of this patronage haven must be a top priority on Beacon Hill in the new year.

In a statement released Wednesday, the department concluded that Mr. Nilan did not handle Mr. Stracuzzi's case "in compliance with the practices, policies and guidelines" of the department and did not avoid actions that would indicate "a lack of impartiality and avoidance of any conflict of interest." A criminal case in Maine involving Mr. Stracuzzi was in 2005 transferred to Berkshire Superior Court, putting it under the purview of Mr. Nilan, a member of the Greylock board of directors at the time. Confusion about who supervised Mr. Stracuzzi coupled with Mr. Stracuzzi's admission to The Eagle that he never reported to a probation officer triggered the department's investigation.

That Mr. Nilan still has his job today is remarkable, and the Probation Department cites confidentiality in declining to offer any details of his punishment, if any, beyond a reprimand. Confidentiality is a weak argument considering that the Probation Department and Superior Court are taxpayer funded. In its statement, the department said it also undertook a "comprehensive examination" of all of the probation cases managed in Berkshire Superior Court but again cites confidentiality in not providing specifics beyond its implementation of "significant administrative action." Is/was the county probation office a den of patronage? Who knows? -- but the Probation Department, which has grown too accustomed to secrecy, has invited all manner of speculation.

The Nilan case comes in the larger context of an independent investigation of the state Probation Department triggered by The Boston Globe's explosive portrayal of the department as a patronage haven for the well-connected. Among those at the center of the investigation is Representative Thomas Petrolati of Ludlow, the so-called "king of patronage" in Western Massachusetts, who avoids the press and is seeking to avoid testifying to the independent counsel. It can't be helped that Ludlow voters return Mr. Petrolati every two years, but if the Democrat retains his third-from-the-top leadership spot in January, the House will forfeit what little credibility it has when it comes to sorting out the Probation Department.

The Legislature's obvious and long-standing coziness with the Probation Department makes it a part of the problem. The state Judiciary would like to have more control but it would be wiser to put the department under the supervision of the executive branch, particularly with a proven reformer in Governor Patrick in office for the next four years. The Probation Department needs a thorough scrubbing -- from Cape Cod to the Berkshires -- followed by strict supervision so abuses born of arrogance and lax standards become a thing of the past.

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"O'Brien resigns amid probe"
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff, January 4, 2011

State Probation Commissioner John J. O'Brien, who is accused of fostering corrupt hiring and promotion practices at the state agency, has resigned in advance of a disciplinary hearing tentatively scheduled for today.

The Boston Globe reported that O'Brien, 53, would have faced almost certain termination at today's hearing. But O'Brien beat Massachusetts Trial Court officials to the punch, tendering his resignation while continuing to deny any wrongdoing.

O'Brien and other top probation officials are being investigated by federal and state authorities for allegedly promoting and tolerating a pay- to- play reward system, in which politically connected job-seekers who donated money to certain politicians were granted probation positions while more qualified job candidates were overlooked.

Independent counsel Paul F. Ware Jr., who was tapped by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) to investigate O'Brien's leadership, released a report in November outlining a pattern of "systemic abuse and corruption."

Department shake-up

Under O'Brien, the Probation Department allegedly used its payroll to hire political patrons rather than those most qualified for probation jobs, according to the so-called Ware Report. The release of the report spurred the SJC to order a massive shake- up of O'Brien's agency, including the possibility of firing or punishing the commissioner and his top aides.

O'Brien's attorney, Paul Flavin, said his client did not break any laws and was "being made a scapegoat." Just days before the Ware Report was released, the Probation Department issued a statement reprimanding a local probation official for failing to follow agency protocol. Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford J. Nilan, who wasn't named in the Ware Report, was cited for mishandling the case of Angelo C. Stracuzzi, the former president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union.

Nilan and Stracuzzi were personal friends and professional colleagues, and both had served on Greylock's board of directors when Stracuzzi's misdemeanor assault case was being supervised by Nilan's department. Nilan didn't disclose certain details to his superiors in Boston, who admonished him for failing to avoid a possible conflict of interest, among other things.

"Chief Probation Officer Nilan cooperated fully with the review and took full responsibility for the issues identified," the Probation Department said in a November statement.

A 'confidential' matter

The Massachusetts Trial Court implemented "significant administrative action," without elaborating.

Stracuzzi's case was "misclassified and did not follow probation standards, which require avoidance of any actions that suggest or imply a lack of impartiality and avoidance of any conflict of interest," the statement said. Stracuzzi, who resigned from Greylock in June, originally was charged with a half-dozen crimes in connection with two incidents in Maine in July 2004. All but two of the charges - misdemeanor counts of assault and criminal mischief - were dismissed by Maine authorities, who transferred Stracuzzi's probation case to Nilan's department.

Material from The Associated Press and Boston Globe was used in this report.
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It was a split decision in June of 1986 when City Council President Angelo C. Stracuzzi, center, was acquitted of allowing gambling to take place at the Beer Garden, which was the family business. Angelo R. Stracuzzi, left, the council president’s father, was convicted of the charge. The picture was taken after the verdict. The city council president’s wife, Rosanne, joins the pair in this photo. (Eagle file)

"Scars from scandals never disappear"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, July 2, 2011

A City Council president arrested on gambling charges. A mayor and city councilor trading punches in the council chambers. The current mayor spared an ethics penalty for buying World Series tickets.

Pittsfield has had several high-profile political scandals, mainly in the past 30 years, leaving tarnishments that faded but haven't been forgotten.

Still, Pittsfield -- incorporated as a town in 1761 and as a city in 1891 -- has been devoid of the political upheaval that often takes a community years of recovery.

"From the beginning, Pittsfield has enjoyed, for the most part, an unusual measure of good, responsible government," city historian George F. Wilson wrote in 1957. "It has been remarkably free of corruption and scandal."

However, the city's good-government reputation was tarnished in 1986 when Pittsfield police raided the former Beer Garden on Wahconah Street owned by the family of City Council President Angelo C. Stracuzzi.

Straccuzzi and three family members were arrested for allegedly allowing gambling on the premises. The Eagle reported the arrests stemmed from a meltdown of the political relationship between Stracuzzi and Mayor Charles L. Smith over how Chief Stanley Stankiewicz managed the city's Police Department.

Stracuzzi was found innocent of the gambling charges, proving to a jury he had sold his interest in the bar to his brother and father several weeks before the raid. (The father, Angelo R. Stracuzzi, was found guilty and fined $1,275, while the brother, Anthony C. Stracuzzi, pleaded guilty and served 10 days in jail. A sister, Donna Stracuzzi Smith, was fined $525.)

The tension between the council and Smith escalated on March 20, 1986, when the mayor and Councilor at large James R. McCaffrey came to blows at a council subcommittee meeting. The two wrestled to the floor after a heated verbal exchange over spending on economic development.

The other councilors and onlookers pulled them apart a minute later without anyone getting hurt. The next day, the political combatants issued separate public apologies for what Smith termed "an unfortunate incident."

While the City Council-mayoral working relationship improved when James M. Ruberto took the corner office in 2004, one of his first missteps landed him before the state Ethics Commission.

The panel found Ruberto violated the conflict-of-interest law when he bought 2004 World Series tickets from Dan Duquette, who was trying to bring a baseball team to Wahconah Park. The commission, however, stopped short of fining both men, citing the ticket exchange didn't influence the deal that landed the Pittsfield Dukes.

Instead, Ruberto and Duquette were simply
reprimanded.

Ruberto's was a city issue, but Pittsfield has been the scene of several county government scandals as well, as the city was the county seat from the mid-1800s until 2000, when county government was abolished.

In January of 1986, embattled County Treasurer JoAnn H. Wadsworth was convicted in Berkshire Superior Court of embezzling $12,000 from the Berkshire County Retirement System, which the county treasurer oversaw as a member of the Berkshire County Retirement Board.

Wadsworth was paroled in March 1987 after serving one year of a three- to five-year term in state prison.

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"Cloud surrounds alleged hit-and-run"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, January 7, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A car owned by a chief probation officer and driven by his daughter is at the center of a police investigation into an alleged hit-and-run accident early last month that left a man with severe injuries.

The Pittsfield Police obtained a search warrant to look for any evidence that might definitively tie the 2001 Subaru Forester registered to Clifford J. Nilan and driven by his 24-year-old daughter, Meredith, to a hit-and-run accident on Winesap Road in Pittsfield on the evening of Dec. 8.

Peter Moore, who was hit by a car while jogging with his dog, suffered a fractured calf bone and a broken vertebrae, a bruised colon, trauma to the left side of his body, a concussion, and abrasions "from head to toe."

Attorney Timothy J. Shugrue, who is representing Meredith Nilan and who he called "a great kid," said it is an ongoing investigation and no criminal charges have been filed.

The search warrant documents, which were issued from Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington, were obtained by The Eagle on Friday. Mr. Nilan is chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield.

Police officers did look at and photograph the car the day after the accident, according to the warrant, but Shugrue denied police a second, more thorough examination without a search warrant.

Police Sgt. Mark B. Trapani, writing in his application for a search warrant on Dec. 14, stated that denial was among the reasons police needed a court’s permission to search the Subaru. The car was being kept in the Nilans’ garage at the time the search warrant was requested.

Police have not released any information on what, if anything, was obtained from the search of the car. The warrant indicated they’d hoped to look at the Subaru to search for blood, skin or hair that could determine if it was the Subaru that struck Moore, and to check the car’s data recorder to see how fast it might have been going at the time.

"[I]t is not an absolute fact at this time that it was Nilan’s vehicle that struck Moore," Trapani stated in the search warrant documents. "A more detailed search of the vehicle will determine this to a certainty."

Meanwhile, images of the Subaru viewed by The Eagle show a head-sized hole in the lower-right center of the windshield and large dents in the hood.

In the search warrant documents, Trapani pointed out "there have been inconsistencies between Moore’s account and Nilan’s account of the time of the accident, as well as where the accident occurred." However, he said while the inconsistencies may have been "inadvertent," there was no way to tell for sure without examining the vehicle.

What is known is that about 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 8, Peter Moore of 101 McIntosh Drive was jogging with his dog along Winesap Road when he saw a vehicle coming at him at a high rate of speed. He threw his dog out of the way and dove out of the way to try and avoid the vehicle, according to the search warrant documents.

Dazed after being hit, Moore got up and walked a little more than a quarter-mile to his home on McIntosh Road, where he went to bed. Neither he nor his wife called police to report what happened. However, Moore woke up a few hours later in extreme pain and went to Berkshire Medical Center to be treated.

The morning after, Berkshire Medical Center contacted police to say they were treating Moore who’d been hit by a car the night before. That day, due to his concussion, Moore was unable to provide police with a description of the vehicle that hit him, according to the search warrant records.

The police indicated that Meredith Nilan told them she struck something near the intersection of McIntosh Road around 9 p.m. She told police she got out of the vehicle, checked around, but saw nothing. She went home and later went back to the scene with her father "to look for what was struck and could not find anything," the police information stated.

They returned home and Clifford Nilan called police around 9:30 p.m. to report that his daughter had hit "either a dog or deer on Winesap Road near their home," according to court documents.

"She didn’t know what she hit," Shugrue said.

Police visited the location where Meredith Nilan said her accident occurred but couldn’t find any signs of one.

Moore told police he was hit on Winesap Road near East Street. Police visited that scene and determined it was the "actual location for the accident." There, police found what appeared to be "a large amount of apparent blood in the roadway and also what appear[ed] to be a small amount of dog fur" near 6 Winesap Road, which is close to East Street where Moore said he was hit.

According to Shugrue, the Nilans did everything right that night. They scoured the scene looking for any evidence of what Meredith may have hit, as well as reporting the accident to police and waiting for law enforcement officers, who, Shugrue claimed, never showed up at the Nilan home on the night of the accident. Meredith Nilan also cooperated by speaking with police about her accident the following day, said Shugrue.

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"Police connect SUV to hit-and-run accident"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, January 11, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Police say they have connected an SUV owned by the county’s chief probation officer and driven by his daughter to a hit-and-run accident last month that seriously injured a man jogging with his dog on a city road.

Police believe Meredith Nilan was heading north in her father Clifford Nilan’s 2001 Subaru Forester on Winesap Road the evening of Dec. 8 when she swerved into the southbound lane and struck Peter Moore, who was headed north, according to a Pittsfield Police accident report.

"We have a driver, we have a victim and we have a vehicle," said Pittsfield Police Capt. John Mullin.

A criminal citation for two misdemeanors -- leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle -- were lodged against Meredith Nilan in District Court.

The case will go before a clerk magistrate for a show-cause hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence to charge Meredith Nilan. If no probable cause is found, the charges would be dismissed. If probable cause is found, a court arraignment would take place. The hearing date, as well as the hearing itself, is not public information.

Nilan’s and Moore’s accounts of where and when the accident took place on Winesap Road differed, but police determined Moore’s description of the accident site was correct. Police used a search warrant to inspect the car during their investigation.

About 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 8, Peter Moore was hit by a car while jogging with his dog on Winesap Road near East Street. He suffered a fractured calf bone and a broken vertebrae, a bruised colon, trauma to the left side of his body, a concussion, and abrasions "from head to toe."

Meredith Nilan told police she was on her way to meet her boyfriend for dinner about 9 p.m., when she hit either a dog or deer near the intersection of Winesap Road and McIntosh Drive.

Her attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue, said on Friday that she isn’t sure what she hit and that she went back to the site with her father, but they couldn’t find any evidence of what she may have hit. Clifford Nilan later called police to report the accident.

The intersection where Meredith Nilan told police she struck something is south of where police say they found a large amount of blood and dog fur and where Moore said he was struck by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. Moore was unable to give a description of the vehicle that hit him.

Moore walked home and went to bed without reporting what happened. Early the next morning, he went to Berkshire Medical Center where he was treated for his injuries and released nearly a week later.

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"Berkshire County probation chief's car involved in hit-and-run accident"
By Conor Berry, The Republican, January 15, 2012

PITTSFIELD – An SUV owned by Clifford J. Nilan, the probation chief in Berkshire Superior Court, was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Pittsfield last month that injured a jogger, according to police and press reports.

Pittsfield police said Nilan's 24-year-old daughter, Meredith Nilan, was driving the sport utility vehicle when it struck and injured a jogger on the evening of Dec. 8.

Authorities have issued citations against the woman for negligent operation and leaving the scene of an accident causing injury. The case will be presented to a clerk-magistrate to determine if there's enough evidence or reasonable cause to allow the matter to proceed to a criminal arraignment. It was unclear when that hearing might be held.

Meredith Nilan's account of what happened differs from an account provided by the jogger, who told police he was running after dark when he was struck by a speeding vehicle that kept going. The jogger suffered serious injuries in the incident, police said.

Nilan told authorities she hit either a deer or dog. She went back to the accident scene later with her father, the probation chief, but they could not locate whatever it was she struck, according to published reports in The Berkshire Eagle. Clifford Nilan called police to report the incident, The Pittsfield-based newspaper reported.

An investigation found blood on the street where the jogger claims he was hit, police said, adding that the victim did not immediately seek medical treatment.

The issue is fueling speculation in the Berkshires mainly because of Meredith Nilan's high-profile father. Clifford Nilan, a well-known countywide figure, was reprimanded in 2010 by the Massachusetts Probation Department for mishandling the case of his friend and one-time colleague, Angelo C. Stracuzzi, the former CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union.

Stracuzzi resigned from the Pittsfield-based credit union in June 2010 after The Eagle exposed his criminal background and personal and professional relationship with Nilan, who was a member of Greylock's board of directors while Stracuzzi was on probation and Nilan was probation chief.

Probation and Massachusetts Trial Court officials "implemented significant administrative action" after the Nilan-Stracuzzi connection was revealed, but they declined to divulge details of Nilan's punishment.

Probation officials, in a November 2010 statement, said: "The case was misclassified and did not follow probation standards, which require avoidance of any actions that suggest or imply a lack of impartiality and avoidance of any conflict of interest."

A probation official in Boston originally said Nilan was among the probation officers who supervised Stracuzzi during his yearlong probation sentence. Officials later backtracked, however, claiming Nilan didn't play a direct supervisory role. The conflicting information, coupled with Stracuzzi's claim that he never met directly with a probation officer during his sentence, led to a "full review" of the Berkshire Superior Court Probation Department.

Stracuzzi's tenure at Greylock Federal Credit Union – the largest financial institution in the Berkshires – came to a crashing halt in June 2010, when The Eagle revealed the CEO had a criminal record in Maine. Stracuzzi received a suspended jail sentence and a year of probation after admitting to the charges in May 2005. His case was then transferred to the Berkshire Superior Court Probation Department, where Nilan, his friend and Greylock colleague, was probation chief.

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"No charges filed in December car, pedestrian accident"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, January 18, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- No criminal charges will be filed against a 24-year-old driver in connection with a December accident that left a city man with severe injuries, according to the driver's lawyer.

Meredith Nilan's attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue, said a 2 1/2-hour "full evidentiary hearing" before Assistant Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes from the Westfield District Court was held on Thursday.

"There was no probable cause found to go a step further," Shugrue said on Tuesday.

The Pittsfield Police filed applications for criminal complaints in district court against Meredith Nilan, the daughter of Clifford Nilan, who is the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield.

Police planned on charging her with two misdemeanors: leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

According to police, Meredith Nilan, driving her father's 2001 Subaru Forester, swerved into the other lane and struck Peter Moore while he jogged with his dog on Winesap Road near East Street in Pittsfield on the evening of Dec. 8.

Meredith Nilan told police she was on her way to meet her boyfriend for dinner when she hit either a dog or a deer. She stopped, but didn't find anything she hit. She then returned home and went out with her father looking for evidence of what she may have hit, but couldn't find anything, according to her attorney. Clifford Nilan later called police to report the accident.

Moore, who left the scene after being hit and didn't seek medical attention until early the next morning, suffered a fractured calf bone and a broken vertebra, a bruised colon, trauma to the left side of his body, a concussion and abrasions "from head to toe."

"It was an accident," Shugrue said, adding that his client "feels bad someone was hurt."

Pittsfield Police Capt. John Mullin declined to comment on the case.

The hearing was held Thursday morning, but show-cause hearings are off-limits to the press and public.

The clerk who heard the case was not familiar with anyone involved, according to Shugrue.

Shugrue said it would be up to a district court judge whether to allow an appeal of not.

"Nothing has been filed as of this [Tuesday] afternoon to my knowledge," said Shugrue. "This should be the end of it."

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"Westfield clerk-magistrate finds insufficient evidence to charge Berkshire probation chief's daughter with hit-and-run crimes; Pittsfield police seek hearing from a judge"
By Conor Berry, The Republican, January 18, 2012, 11:00 PM

PITTSFIELD – A Westfield District Court clerk-magistrate has determined there was insufficient evidence to charge the daughter of Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford J. Nilan for a December hit-and-run accident involving Nilan’s vehicle and a jogger.

The Pittsfield Police Department has requested a judge to reconsider the clerk’s decision to forgo criminal charges against 24-year-old Meredith Nilan in connection with the Dec. 8 incident in Pittsfield.

Police said the woman was driving her father’s 2001 Subaru Forester in The Orchards section of Pittsfield after dark when she struck and seriously injured the jogger. Meredith Nilan left the scene and did not immediately report the accident, and the jogger, who suffered a concussion, did not seek medical attention right away, according to Pittsfield police.

The appeal of the clerk-magistrate’s ruling – formally called an application for redetermination – was filed Wednesday afternoon in Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield, according to law enforcement officials, who continue to investigate the accident.

If a redetermination hearing is granted, the clerk-magistrate who conducted the so-called show-cause hearing is required to provide a judge with the police department’s criminal complaint application and any supporting materials so a prompt decision can be made.

A judge can deny a redetermination application or decide to reconsider the factual allegations previously provided to the clerk-magistrate. If additional evidence or arguments are presented, the accused party has the legal right to be heard, according to state law.

If a judge agrees there is probable cause to charge Meredith Nilan, she would then be arraigned on criminal offenses in District Court.

Although investigators filed a redetermination application Wednesday, it remains unclear if a judge agreed to schedule a hearing on the matter, or where that hearing might be held.

Meredith Nilan is being represented by attorney Timothy J. Shugrue, a well-known Berkshire County defense lawyer and former candidate for district attorney.

Shugrue told The Berkshire Eagle that Westfield District Court Assistant Clerk-Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes conducted a “full evidentiary hearing” on the matter on Jan. 12. Byrnes determined there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the criminal complaints filed by the Pittsfield Police Department, according to Shugrue.

“There was no probable cause found to go a step further,” Shugrue told The Eagle.

Because Clifford Nilan, a veteran Massachusetts Trial Court employee, is a longtime colleague of two of the three clerks in Central Berkshire District Court, a decision was made to bring in a clerk from an outside jurisdiction to avoid a potential conflict of interest. As a result, Byrnes traveled to Pittsfield for the show-cause hearing.

Meredith Nilan told authorities she believed she had hit a deer or dog, not a person. She and her father returned to the scene later to investigate, and Clifford Nilan called the police, according to police and published reports.

When police asked to examine the Subaru Forester, Clifford Nilan told officers they would need a warrant to search the vehicle. Police did so and, several hours later, investigators determined that the probation chief’s vehicle was involved in the crash.

After that, police moved forward with an application for criminal charges against Meredith Nilan, believing there was enough probable cause to charge her with negligent operation and leaving the scene of an accident that injured a person.

According to police reports, Meredith Nilan was driving the Forester when she swerved into the oncoming lane and struck Peter Moore, who lives in the same Orchards neighborhood as the Nilans. Moore was jogging with his dog on Winesap Road near East Street in Pittsfield when he was hit, police said.

Moore sustained a concussion, broken leg, bruised colon and abrasions “from head to toe,” among other injuries, according to police records.

Shugrue told The Eagle that his client “feels bad someone was hurt,” but it was “an accident.”

The incident, which involves the daughter of a high-profile Berkshire County official, has dominated online discussion forums on Pittsfield issues and has become fodder for local bloggers.

Former newspaper editor Dan Valenti, whose Planet Valenti blog has become required reading for anyone trying to keep up with Berkshire County scandals, has closely followed the hit-and-run case, and Glenn Heller's Berkshire Blog also has posted updates on the issue.

The reason for heightened interest in the case revolves around Clifford Nilan, who in June 2010 resigned from the board of directors of Greylock Federal Credit Union, the Berkshires' largest financial institution, after it was revealed that the credit union's CEO was serving a probation sentence under Nilan's watch.

Angelo Stracuzzi, Greylock's chief and Nilan's friend and colleague at the credit union, was on probation for misdemeanor convictions in Maine that were transferred to the Berkshire Superior Court Probation Department, which Nilan still heads today.

Nilan was eventually admonished by his Probation Department superiors, who said they were unaware of Nilan's personal and professional relationship with Stracuzzi. They cited Nilan for failing to follow proper protocol, which requires probation employees to avoid possible conflicts of interest.

Probation officials said they conducted a "full review" of Nilan's department to determine how Stracuzzi's case was handled, but to date they have not said what punishment, if any, Nilan received as a result of the transgression.

Stracuzzi resigned from the board of directors at the same time as Nilan. About a week later, Stracuzzi resigned as CEO of Grelyock.

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"A judicial failure"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, January 20, 2012

The December car accident involving the daughter of the county’s top probation officer and events following that accident raised a number of questions that were not answered by a recent evidentiary hearing. The hearing itself, in fact, raised more questions, largely about the secrecy of such hearings and the fairness of our laws as they apply to all citizens.

According to police, Meredith Nilan, the daughter of Clifford Nilan, was driving her father’s 2001 Subaru Forrester on the night of December 8 when she swerved from the northbound lane of Winesap Road and struck Peter Moore, who was jogging with his dog on the other side of the road. Concluding that she had hit a dog or a deer, the 24-year-old Ms. Nilan returned home and later went out with her father in search of evidence of what she hit. Finding nothing, Mr. Nilan, the county’s chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court, later called police. Mr. Moore had walked home and did not seek treatment for multiple injuries until the next day. Ms. Nilan’s and Mr. Moore’s accounts of where and when the accident took place differed, and police concluded after an investigation that Mr. Moore’s description of the site was accurate.

Pittsfield police had filed applications to charge Ms. Nilan with two misdemeanors, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, but an evidentiary hearing January 12 conducted by Assistant Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes from the Westfield District Court concluded with a decision not to pursue the two charges. The press and public were excluded from the hearing so it is not clear what led to a magistrate decision that Pittsfield police have understandably chosen to appeal.

Mr. Moore had wanted to attend the hearing but he was excluded, as was his attorney, Michael R. Hinkley. A clerk magistrate has the option to conduct an open or closed hearing and whether or not to hear testimony from a victim, and Mr. Byrnes’ decision to both close the hearing and not seek testimony from the victim are inexplicable. Given the secrecy and the absence of testimony from Mr. Moore, we would dispute the assertion by Ms. Nilan’s attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue, who was allowed to attend, that whatever took place behind closed doors actually constituted a "full evidentiary hearing."

We don’t blame Mr. Moore for feeling as if he had been "hit all over again," as he described his emotions in an interview in today’s Eagle. The judicial system has failed him and the Pittsfield Police Department. By extension, it has failed everyone in Berkshire County who expects that system to be fair and transparent, and believes that the rights of the victim should be first and foremost.

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"Ruling angers car crash victim"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, January 20, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The victim of a December hit-and-run expressed shock and anger in the wake of last week’s decision by a clerk magistrate not to move forward with charges against the daughter of the county’s chief probation officer. Meanwhile, the Pittsfield Police are appealing the decision.

"I feel like I’ve been hit all over again," were the words Peter Moore, 45, used to describe how he felt when he learned no charges would be brought against Meredith Nilan, the driver the police say hit Moore.

Moore still bears the physical evidence of the hit-and-run accident he suffered nearly six weeks ago, including having to wear a neck brace. On his face, cuts and scrapes are still in the midst of healing.

On Dec. 8, Moore was hit by a fast-moving vehicle that police believe swerved into him as he walked his dog on Winesap Road near East Street.

Police say 24-year-old Meredith Nilan was at the wheel of the vehicle, a 2001 Subaru Forester owned by her father Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield.

Moore knows the woman police say ran him down.

"Meredith was at the Academy of Finance through the Pittsfield Public Schools and I worked with her in that program," he said. "That was six or seven years ago."

On Jan. 12, a probable cause hearing was held in Central Berkshire District Court before First Assistant Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes, from the Westfield District Court.

Nilan’s attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue, told the Eagle on Tuesday that a 21Ž2-hour "full evidentiary hearing" took place that day and that no probable cause was found to charge Nilan with negligent operation or leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, both misdemeanors.

Moore’s attorney, Michael R. Hinkley, said he was not allowed to sit in on the hearing or get any information concerning it.

"We were unable to get any information about the hearing, which stands in contrast to Mr. Shugrue’s statement on Tuesday that a full evidentiary hearing was held," he said.

Hinkley said a clerk magistrate has the discretion on whether or not to have an open hearing or closed hearing as well as whether to hear evidence from a victim or to allow a victim’s attorney to be present.

This was independently verified to be true by The Eagle.

"There’s no absolute right to be there, but there’s no absolute right to preclude someone from being there," said Hinkley. "All I wanted to do was sit, just hear what was said. We weren’t allowed to do that."

A call to Byrnes was not immediately returned Thursday.

Hinkley said the elements of the two charges include operating a motor vehicle on a public way and failing to exercise reasonable care.

"Those elements speak for themselves," he said, "nevertheless here we are six weeks later and no one has been held responsible for breaking the rules."

"I’m a firm believer in transparency, justice and full and fair adjudication and I’d like to think the community would be able to have that," said Hinkley.

The Moores are evaluating their options as to holding people civilly responsibility, said the attorney.

The news that the case had stalled hit the Moore family hard.

"We’re transplants. I’ve fallen in love with the Berkshires," said Moore with emotion in his voice. "Instantly it didn’t feel like home anymore."

Moore’s wife, Robin, said their 10-year-old daughter compared it to a game of tug-of-war in which the other team was wearing cleats.

"To go home and have to tell your kids Dad’s on the correct side of the road walking and gets hit by someone driving in the wrong lane," said Mrs. Moore, "and all this stuff we teach them it’s kind of like... nothing. Our judicial system has failed us."

The only part of the justice system that didn’t fail him, Moore said, was the Pittsfield Police Department, who did a thorough job. Moore said he fully cooperated with police during the investigation.

Moore’s memory of what happened the night of Dec. 8 still contains some gaps as he suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. He clearly remembers taking the family dog, a mutt named Toby, for a walk in his neighborhood at around 7:45 p.m. after he returned from his job as an administrator at Berkshire Health Systems.

That night he was "walking double time" with the dog on Winesap Road just past 8 p.m. As he headed toward East Street he remembers feeling like he was about to be hit.

"I have a vivid image of headlights," he said.

Moore believes he turned around and the vehicle was bearing down on him. Taking "evasive action," Moore got Toby on the sidewalk and then attempted to dive onto the sidewalk and out of the way of the fast moving vehicle.

"I didn’t think I was hit by the car," he said, and it wasn’t until several hours later when at the hospital he discovered the extent of his injuries.

After waking up near 6 Winesap Road, he got and made his way home believing he had jumped out of the way of the car and had just knocked himself out when he hit the ground.

He said he wasn’t yet in pain, but was extremely cold. At home he laid down on the couch and convinced his wife he wasn’t badly hurt.

Moore enjoys skiing, mountain biking, rugby and other sports where the occasional injury isn’t unheard of, so when he told his wife he was OK, she took him at his word. But by 4 a.m. things had changed and Robin called for an ambulance.

At the hospital he was told that it was apparent he had been hit by a vehicle and that he had suffered internal injuries, a broken calf bone and a broken vertebra in his neck.

He couldn’t believe it and remembered thinking: "I walked home with a broken neck."

His neurologist told him his actions were no surprise to her as this type of behavior isn’t that uncommon with head injuries.

Moore had to be re-admitted to the hospital at the end of December to have his neck fracture corrected through neurosurgery as it was impinging on a nerve that was affecting his left shoulder, arm and hand.

He said Berkshire Medical Center did an outstanding job with his course of treatment which continues to this day.

"It’s still a road," Moore said of his recovery.

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"Springfield judge reviews Nilan case"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 2, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Springfield judge who is reviewing an appeal brought by Pittsfield Police to bring charges against Meredith Nilan in an alleged hit-and-run accident is expected next week to render a decision on whether to proceed with the case, The Eagle has learned.

According to court officials, Springfield District Court Judge William P. Hadley was assigned the case about two weeks ago and is continuing to review the evidence.

The 24-year-old daughter of Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court, Meredith Nilan was driving her father's car on Dec. 8 when she struck a 45-year-old Pittsfield man on Winesap Road, according to police. Meredith Nilan's attorney has said she didn't know what she hit at the time and didn't find anything when she stopped and checked.

Peter Moore, of McIntosh Drive, sustained injuries, including a mild traumatic brain injury, a broken neck, a bruised colon, and a fractured calf bone.

Because of Nilan's father's position in the local court system, a clerk magistrate from Westfield was brought in last month to preside over a private show-cause hearing.

Following that 21 2-hour hearing on Jan. 12, Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes found "no probable cause" to charge Meredith Nilan with the two misdemeanors sought by police.

However, Pittsfield Police appealed the clerk magistrate's decision not to charge Nilan with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Hadley, the Springfield judge who handles cases for Central Berkshire District Court when the potential for a conflict of interest exists, is handling the appeal. He is said to be reviewing the audio recording of the Jan. 12 hearing, as well as other evidence in the case, court officials told The Eagle.

The judge can either dismiss the case based on the evidence he's reviewing or he can hold another hearing and then decide, court officials said.

Police said their investigation determined that Meredith Nilan had swerved into the opposite lane and struck Moore as he walked his dog on Winesap Road around 8:15 that night.

Moore's attorney, Michael R. Hinkley, has criticized the fact that no one has been held responsible for the accident and said they're evaluating their options with regard to a civil suit.

Hinkley has told The Eagle that he and Moore were not allowed in the clerk magistrate's show-cause hearing, couldn't get information about what happened, and that Moore didn't testify. A clerk magistrate has the discretion to hold an open or closed hearing and doesn't have to allow victims and their lawyers to be present.

Moore said he just remembers a car bearing down on him and trying to jump out of the way. When he came to, he said, he got up, walked home and went to lay down. Moore said he didn't think he'd been hit by the car, but he said his doctor later told him that his brain injury would explain that fact.

Early the next morning, Moore woke up in pain and went to Berkshire Medical Center. BMC called police that morning to report Moore, who happens to be a BMC administrator, had been hit by a car.

Meredith Nilan told police she stopped the car, but found nothing around that she hit. Nilan said she went back home and returned to the scene with her father to check again, but again found nothing. Around 9:30 p.m., Clifford Nilan called police to report that his daughter hit either a dog or a deer. Their attorney, Timothy Shugrue, has said they did everything appropriately in handling the situation, and that Meredith Nilan didn't know what she hit.

Police say they visited the area that night where Meredith Nilan said the accident occurred on Winesap Road, but didn't find evidence of an accident. After talking with Moore the next day, they found the accident scene further up the street.

The collision left dents in the 2001 Subaru Forester's hood and a head-sized hole in the windshield. The Pittsfield police later obtained a search warrant to inspect the car before filing the application for a criminal complaint that led to the show-cause hearing.

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"Springfield judge reviewing hit-and-run case of Berkshire probation chief's daughter"
By Conor Berry, The Republican, February 2, 2012


Meredith Nilan

SPRINGFIELD – A Springfield judge is reviewing the case of alleged hit-and-run driver Meredith Nilan, the daughter of Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford J. Nilan, after a magistrate's hearing last month failed to return criminal charges against the Pittsfield woman.

The Pittsfield Police Department had appealed the ruling by Westfield District Court Assistant Clerk-Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes, who didn't find enough probable cause to criminally charge Meredith Nilan in connection with a Dec. 8, 2011, hit-and-run incident that seriously injured a Pittsfield jogger. Nilan has said she was driving her father's vehicle at the time of the incident and later returned to the scene with him to look for any signs of the collision.

Byrnes allowed Meredith Nilan, her father and her lawyer to attend the Jan. 12 show-cause hearing in Pittsfield, but he closed the hearing to the injured jogger, Peter Moore, and his attorney. Byrnes was asked to conduct the hearing to avoid any conflicts of interest because Clifford Nilan, a long-time Massachusetts Trial Court employee, has worked with clerks at the Pittsfield courthouse for many years.

Byrnes did not respond to an email message from The Republican seeking clarification about the show-cause hearing process, which allows a clerk to decide who attends a hearing and who does not.

After Byrnes declined to issue criminal complaints against Meredith Nilan, the Pittsfield Police Department filed an appeal for a judge to hold a so-called redetermination hearing in the case, which is now in the hands of Springfield District Court Judge William P. Hadley.


Clifford Nilan

"We're waiting for the outcome of the redetermination hearing," said Moore's attorney, Michael R. Hinkley.

"Peter's focusing on his family right now and looking forward to full and fair adjudication," Hinkley said.

The 45-year-old Moore, a Pittsfield health care administrator originally from Connecticut, suffered a concussion, broken neck and other serious injuries in the incident, but he didn't seek medical attention immediately afterward, according to Pittsfield police.

Moore, an athletic man who went running regularly after dark in his neighborhood, suffered shock from the incident and was unaware he had even been hit by a car, according to his family. Moore told family members he thought he had fallen while attempting to evade a vehicle that drove straight toward him. It wasn't until a few hours later that Moore realized the extent of his injuries and sought treatment at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

Meredith Nilan, who lives in the same Pittsfield neighborhood as Moore, hasn't denied striking Moore while driving her father's Subaru Forrester. She has denied fleeing the scene, however, telling her father and attorney that she thought she hit a dog or a deer. She claims she stopped to check but didn't see anything.

Nilan's attorney, Timothy J. Shugrue, has said his client acted appropriately. The lawyer has expressed regret that someone was injured, but Nilan has never apologized to Moore.

When Pittsfield police initially asked to look at Clifford Nilan's damaged Subaru, the probation chief told them to get a warrant. Police obtained a warrant, examined the vehicle, then filed an application for a criminal complaint against Meredith Nilan in the Pittsfield courthouse where her father works.


A Pittsfield Police Department photo, obtained by PlanetValenti.com, shows damage to Berkshire probation chief Clifford Nilan's car. Police say Nilan's daughter, Meredith, was driving the vehicle in December when she struck and injured a jogger, then fled the scene.

Moore is the son of Thomas Moore, a retired Hartford police captain. The father has criticized Byrnes' ruling and says he's seeking justice for his son.

The Moore family have spoken extensively with Dan Valenti, a Pittsfield native and former newspaper editor who runs a controversial blog, PlanetValenti, that chronicles the good, bad and ugly sides of the Berkshires.

Known for his dogged pursuit of stories involving allegations of corruption and special treatment for Pittsfield's elite, Valenti latched onto the Nilan-Moore story with a ferocity and hasn't let go, providing regular updates and beating mainstream media outlets by obtaining official photos of Clifford Nilan's damaged vehicle.

The case has caused an uproar in Pittsfield, a city well accustomed to scandal. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Berkshire Eagle, the county's daily newspaper, often tries to remain above the fray when it comes to hot-button stories that stoke people's emotions. But the issue became unavoidable, prompting Bert Everhart, The Eagle's op-ed editor, to declare that a "judicial failure" had occurred based on the lack of transparency surrounding the Jan. 12 show-cause hearing.

An email message sent by The Republican to Trial Court officials went unanswered.

Meanwhile, The Eagle reports that the judge is expected next week to decide whether to let the case advance to the criminal stage. If that happens, Meredith Nilan would be arraigned on criminal charges of negligent operation and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

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"Crash victim Peter Moore on the mend"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 10, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Peter Moore, the 45-year-old victim of the alleged hit-and-run accident two months ago on Winesap Road, says he's slowly recovering from a mild traumatic brain injury, a broken neck and several other injuries.

Moore's improved physical condition allowed him this week to return his job -- on a limited basis -- at Berkshire Health Systems and resume his evening walks with Toby, the family dog.

"It's nice to get outside again and do things," he said in a phone interview with The Eagle. "The walk is my stress reliever after a day at work."

And Toby was glad to be out with his master after the long hiatus.

"There was a lot of excitement [to resume the walks] for both of us, but Toby and I are a bit out shape," said Moore.

On Dec. 8, Moore and Toby were fast-walking along Winesap Road when he was struck by a car around 8:15 p.m. Police later determined 24-year-old Meredith Nilan hit Moore while driving her father's 2001 Subaru Forester. Nilan is the daughter of Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court.

Police charged the young woman with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. However, following a 2 1/2-hour show-cause hearing on Jan. 12, Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes of Westfield found "no probable cause" to charge Meredith Nilan with the two misdemeanors.

Pittsfield police have since appealed the decision, and the case is now before Springfield District Court Judge William P. Hadley whose ruling is expected this week.

Meanwhile, friends, relatives and strangers have rallied behind Moore, his wife Robin and their two children at home in order to help them cope with their ordeal.

"It's amazing the outpouring of support, especially from complete strangers," said Robin Moore. "The cards, the gift baskets and people just coming up to us in public wishing us well."

Andy Poncherello, of Pittsfield, is among those who doesn't know Peter Moore, coming to his aid. The local musician and booking agent has organized a benefit concert for the Moores on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Chameleon's on East Street in Pittsfield.

Poncherello said he felt compelled to help Moore and his family.

"What happened to him could happen to anyone," he said. "I do walk my dog, too."

Poncherello helped stage a similar fundraiser at the local night club for fire victims Charles Ellsworth and Claudia Jean White, mother of former city councilor Peter T. White. Ellsworth and Mrs. White were burned out of their two-family home on Plunkett Street, Dec. 19. The benefit concert on Dec. 28 raised more than $4,000.

Peter Moore is appreciative and a "bit surprised" by Poncherello's effort on his behalf.

"I'm the luckiest unlucky guy I know," Moore said.

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"No ruling yet on Nilan crash appeal"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 11, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Springfield judge has yet to make a ruling on the appeal of an alleged hit-and-run case involving the 24-year-old daughter of Berkshire Superior Court's chief of probation.

According to court officials, Springfield District Court Judge William P. Hadley has been reviewing the case against Meredith Nilan of Pittsfield for about three weeks. A decision was expected this week, but did not occur.

On Thursday, Hadley asked for further information on the case to be sent to him. It is unclear exactly what he requested.

Meredith Nilan was driving her father's car on Dec. 8 when she struck a 45-year-old Pittsfield man on Winesap Road, according to police.

Meredith Nilan's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, said his client wasn't sure what she had struck, got out of the car, looked for signs of an accident, but found none. She later returned to the scene with her father but again found nothing, according to Shugrue.

The collision left dents in the 2001 Subaru Forester's hood and a head-sized hole in the windshield.

Peter Moore, of McIntosh Drive, suffered several injuries, including a mild traumatic brain injury, a broken neck, a bruised colon, and a fractured calf bone. He is slowly recovering from his injuries, but has had to undergo surgery on his neck.

Pittsfield Police later obtained a search warrant to inspect the Nilan's car before filing the application for a criminal complaint that led to a show-cause hearing on Jan. 12 in Central Berkshire District Court. Show-cause hearings are held in front of a clerk magistrate to determine if enough probable cause exists to file a criminal charge.

Because of Nilan's father's position in the local court system, a clerk magistrate from Westfield was brought in to preside over the private hearing.

Following the 21 2-hour hearing, Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes found "no probable cause" to charge Meredith Nilan with the two misdemeanors sought by police.

Moore's attorney, Michael R. Hinkley, told The Eagle that he and his client were not allowed to attend the show-cause hearing, and couldn't get information about what happened. Moore didn't testify, Hinkley said.

Under state law, a clerk magistrate can either close a show-cause hearing or open it to the public, and does not have to allow victims and their lawyers from being present.

Pittsfield Police appealed the clerk magistrate's decision not to charge Nilan with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Hadley, who handles cases for Central Berkshire District Court when the potential for conflict of interest exists, can either dismiss the case based on the evidence he's reviewing, or schedule another court hearing, officials said.

Hinkley said he and Moore are evaluating their options with regard to a civil suit.

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"Nilan to face criminal charges from December accident"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 13, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Springfield District Court judge has found probable cause to bring criminal charges against Meredith Nilan for a December accident that left a local man seriously injured.

Judge William P. Hadley, after reviewing the case against the 24-year-old Pittsfield woman, found that "while much of what is alleged here is circumstantial," there was enough evidence to allow the Pittsfield Police to charge the 24-year-old with two misdemeanors: leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Nilan will be arraigned Feb. 29 in Central Berkshire District Court. Nilan is the daughter of Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court.

Meredith Nilan was driving her father's car the evening of Dec. 8 when she struck 45-year-old Peter Moore on Winesap Road as he walked his dog, according to police.

Moore, of McIntosh Drive, suffered several injuries, including a mild traumatic brain injury, a broken neck, a bruised colon, and a fractured calf bone. He is recovering from his injuries, but has had to undergo surgery on his neck.

Meredith Nilan's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, said she wasn't sure what she had struck and searched the area twice, once alone and later with her father. She found no evidence of what she hit, Shugrue said.

Pittsfield Police filed an application for a criminal complaint that led to a show-cause hearing last month to determine whether there was enough evidence to criminally charge Meredith Nilan.

A 2 1/2 hour private hearing was held on Jan. 12 in Central Berkshire District Court before Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes. Byrnes determined there was "no probable cause" to charge Meredith Nilan with the two misdemeanors sought by police.

The Pittsfield Police appealed the clerk magistrate's decision. Hadley, in his decision, stated that the police "manifested serious dissatisfaction with the magistrate's decision."

Hadley went on to cite a 2002 case concerning the "low threshold" needed to prove reasonable cause, comparing it to the same standard a police officer would use in making an arrest.

Moore's attorney, Michael R. Hinkley, told The Eagle that he was not allowed to attend the show-cause hearing, and couldn't get information about what happened.

The judge's ruling was dated Friday, and it was released publicly on Monday morning.

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View the Springfield District Court judge's decision here:

www.scribd.com/doc/81474121/2012-02-13-11-35

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www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_19954027

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www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_19954143

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"Justice redeemed"
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, February 14, 2012

The decision of a Springfield District Court judge that Pittsfield police have enough evidence to bring charges against a Pittsfield woman in an alleged hit-and-run restores faith in the legal system. This is a case that should be decided in an open courtroom, not in a private hearing as was nearly the case.

According to police, Meredith Nilan, the 24-year-old daughter of Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court, was driving her father’s car on the evening of December 8 when she struck Peter Moore, who was walking his dog on Winesap Road. Ms. Nilan reportedly searched the area twice, once alone and once with her father, but did not find what she had hit. Mr. Moore, who had no recollection of being hit, made it home and was later treated for several severe injuries, one that necessitated neck surgery.

At a show-cause hearing last month in Central Berkshire District Court, Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes determined that there was "no probable cause" to charge Ms. Nilan with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, a decision that generated "serious dissatisfaction" on the part of police, according to Judge William P. Hadley in his ruling released Monday. That dissatisfaction is understandable, as police brought a solid case and there are a number of discrepancies between the police report and Ms. Nilan’s account of the incident and its aftermath. While Mr. Byrnes had the option of conducting the hearing in public he chose to conduct it behind closed doors, and inexcusably, neither Mr. Moore nor his attorney were allowed to attend.

Judge Hadley observed that "it is not enough for an accused person to contradict or even cast doubt on the complainant’s statement," although that was apparently enough to satisfy Mr. Byrnes, who didn’t even want to hear from the readily available complainant. To avoid issuance of a complaint, continued the judge, the accused must "completely refute" the evidence of probable cause, and that has not happened by any fair standard.

We may never know what went on in that poor excuse for a hearing, but if this case had ended there, county residents could not be faulted for concluding that a whitewash had occurred involving a well-connected person. Thanks to Judge Hadley, this case has now been brought back into the daylight where it belongs.

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"DA considering outside prosecutor for Nilan case"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 15, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless says his office will consider asking an outside prosecutor to handle the Meredith Nilan case because of her father's position with the Probation Department.

Nilan is the 24-year-old daughter of Berkshire Superior Court Probation Chief Clifford Nilan. She has been charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle in an alleged hit-and-run case in December that left a 45-year-old Pittsfield man, Peter Moore, seriously injured.

Both charges have been filed as misdemeanors against Meredith Nilan. She is scheduled to be arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

On Tuesday, Capeless said his office will look into having a prosecutor from outside Berkshire County try the case because of the "close working relationship between my office" and the Probation Department.

A member of the Superior Court's Probation Department since 1972, Clifford Nilan has been its chief probation officer since 1981. The Berkshire District Attorney's office opened in 1979. The Probation Department and the DA's office often work in tandem in the judicial system.

Capeless also confirmed that his office has been advising the Pittsfield Police Department throughout the case.

"Following their investigation, we advised the Pittsfield Police Department that they should seek the complaints" against Meredith Nilan, Capeless said, "and we've worked closely with them through the hearing and the appeals process."

Asked for his reaction to the fact that charges will go forward, Capeless responded, "It's appropriate that this matter will now be heard in open court and will ultimately be decided by a jury."

The two charges were filed against Meredith Nilan after Springfield District Court Judge William P. Hadley reversed a clerk magistrate's ruling against pressing charges.

At a hearing in January, Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan Byrnes found "no probable cause" to charge Nilan. The Pittsfield Police Department appealed that decision; the case was then heard by Hadley.

Meredith Nilan was driving her father's Subaru Forester when police say she struck Moore who was walking his dog on Winesap Road on around 8:20 p.m. on Dec. 8. Police say Nilan drove off, but her attorney says she didn't know what she hit.

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"Not guilty pleas entered by driver's attorney in alleged hit-and-run"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, February 29, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Meredith Nilan waived her right to appear in person for her arraignment Wednesday morning in Central Berkshire District Court, but a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf to charges filed in an alleged hit-and-run in December.

Nilan's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, entered the plea before Judge Michael Mulcahy. The judge scheduled a pre-trial conference for March 21.

Shugrue said he plans to file a request to dismiss the case.

Nilan, 24, is the daughter of Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court.

Meredith Nilan was driving her father's car the evening of Dec. 8 when she struck 45-year-old Peter Moore on Winesap Road as he walked his dog, according to police.

She has been charged with two misdemeanors: leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Versions of the event conflict. Meredith Nilan says she didn't know what she hit and left after checking; police say she struck Moore and drove off. Moore was knocked unconscious, and says he has no recollection of being hit.

The case won't be prosecuted by the Berkshire District Attorney's office because of its close working relationship with Clifford Nilan in his capacity as chief of probation. Instead, the case will be handled by Worcester-based Assistant District Attorney Joseph A. Quinlan.

The charges against Meredith Nilan were applied on appeal. An appellate judge decided the case warranted pressing the charges, which overturned an earlier decision by a clerk magistrate to halt them.

Meanwhile, Clifford Nilan and his wife, Lynne, have registered their residence on Winesap Road as a homestead, according to documents on file at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds in Pittsfield. The document was filed on Dec. 15, a week after the alleged hit-and-run accident involving their daughter.

Under the state's Homestead Act, houses and land are protected from legal judgments that may result from business losses, auto accidents, or suddenly inherited debts, which could protect the couple if a civil suit resulting from the accident is filed.

Moore's attorney hasn't ruled out the prospect of a civil suit.

Staff writer Tony Dobrowolski contributed to this report.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx: aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6249. On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx

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"Nilan hearing postponed; additional details in hit-run case emerge"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, March 21, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A hearing in the Meredith Nilan case that was scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed until May 2 to give the special prosecutor assigned to the case time to prepare his argument against a motion to dismiss the case

Timothy Shugrue, who represents Nilan, plans to argue she wasn’t given her due process rights and that the original finding -- that there was "no probable cause" found to charge her with two misdemeanors -- should be reinstated.

Nilan, 24, is the daughter of Clifford Nilan, the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court.

She was arraigned on Feb. 29 in Central Berkshire District Court on two misdemeanors in connection to an alleged hit-and-run accident in December that left a city man with severe injuries.

Nilan had not guilty pleas entered to two misdemeanors, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Meredith Nilan was driving her father’s car the evening of Dec. 8 when she struck 45-year-old Peter Moore on Winesap Road as he walked his dog, according to police.

The charges against Meredith Nilan came via an appeal following a Jan. 12 show cause hearing before Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan Byrnes who found "no probable cause" to allow the charges to go forward. Springfield District Court Judge William P. Hadley decided the case warranted pressing the charges and overturned the earlier decision to halt them.

Shugrue’s motion to dismiss centers on how the judge’s decision came to pass. The attorney argued that he didn’t receive any notification of the redetermination from the police department, which prevented him from presenting his client’s side of the story to Hadley.

"Due process would require each party to have been notified of any such motion and the opportunity to be heard on any such motion," Shugrue wrote.

On Wednesday, Shugrue told The Eagle he received Pittsfield Police Officer Marc Maddalena’s redetermination request on Tuesday. He also received a four-page supplemental police report sent to the judge, which, said Shugrue, wasn’t presented at the original hearing.

According to Maddalena’s redetermination request, Meredith Nilan initially told police that after she hit something, she sat in her car for about a minute to gather herself and then got out of the car.

In the application, Maddalena wrote that "in the course of investigating this collision and based on the testimony then given at the hearing," Meredith Nilan called her boyfriend, Louis Allegrone, following the accident. She got out of the passenger-side door, because the other was frozen shut, and then looked around, found nothing and got back in. She then received a phone call from her boyfriend and drove home.

Maddalena said that Meredith Nilan admitted finding the pool of blood when she and her boyfriend went back out to see what she hit and when questioned during the show cause hearing said they were looking for "someone or something."

The officer stated that he believed Meredith Nilan was aware she struck a person "from the time of the impact and fled the scene" and neither provided her personal information as is required by law or sought "medical aid" for Moore "on a moral level."

Moore suffered a minor traumatic brain-injury and a broken neck, among other wounds. He was knocked unconscious to the ground, and has said he has no recollection of being hit.

According to Maddalena, Clifford Nilan called attorney Shugrue a half-hour before calling police. And when Clifford Nilan called police, he them told them the accident had occurred "10 minutes" earlier, when it had occurred more than an hour before, according to Maddalena.

The hearing to orally argue Shugrue’s motion to dismiss was postponed until May to allow Worcester-based Assistant District Attorney Joseph A. Quinlan to "get up to speed" on the case, in the words of the paperwork that was filed requesting the date change.

Quinlan has been brought in to handle the case because of the Berkshire District Attorney’s office close working relationship with Clifford Nilan in his capacity as chief of probation.

--------------------

"Nilan enters plea in alleged hit-run accident; case continued without finding"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, June 6, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The case against Meredith Nilan was continued without a finding for six months on Wednesday in the alleged hit-and-run accident last December that left a city man with a broken neck and other injuries.

In Central Berkshire District Court, Nilan, the 24-year-old daughter of the chief of probation at Berkshire Superior Court, entered a guilty plea on a charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, which, based upon a plea deal, was converted to a continuation without a finding of guilt. A count of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident was dismissed.

Nilan admitted that she was driving her father's car the evening of Dec. 8 when she struck 46-year-old Peter Moore on Winesap Road as he walked his dog.

Moore suffered a minor traumatic brain injury and a broken neck, among other wounds. Nilan did not turn her car around at the time, but later returned to the area looking for any signs of the crash.

Moore's attorney, Michael Hinkley, issued a statement afterward.

"As the victim in this case, Peter was consulted prior to the entry of the defendant's plea; however, his interests and focus remain on his recovery and his family," the statement said. "At the same time, Peter continues to evaluate his options for full and fair adjudication of the charges within the civil realm."

In a plea deal between Joseph A. Quinlan, a Worcester-based assistant district attorney appointed to prosecute the case, and Nilan's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, the case was continued without a finding of guilt for six months after a guilty plea was entered. If she stays out of trouble during that time, the case will be dismissed.

For the six months, she will be on administrative probation, meaning she doesn't have to meet with a probation officer. Nilan also must write Moore an apology and admit her negligence.

She is also not supposed to drive between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. for 30 days.

Judge Michael Mulcahy added the condition that she attend and complete a safe driver course.

The defendant's father, Clifford Nilan, was in court to support his daughter.

The charges against Meredith Nilan came via an appeal following a Jan. 12 show cause hearing before Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan Byrnes who found "no probable cause" to allow the charges to go forward. Springfield Dis trict Court Judge William P. Hadley decided the case warranted pressing the charges and overturned the earlier decision to halt them.

--------------------

"Judge gives Nilan harassment protection from Valenti, orders him to redact blog"
By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff, June 27, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Central Berkshire District Court judge on Wednesday granted Meredith Nilan a harassment prevention order against local blogger Dan Valenti, and ordered him to remove any references to her from his website, Planet Valenti.

Nilan, 24, had faced criminal charges related to a car accident in December that seriously injured a Pittsfield man, and has been referenced in 44 postings on Valenti’s website that are associated with that incident.

In granting the harassment prevention order, Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega ordered Valenti to remove "any and all references" of Nilan from "any and all websites, blogs, etc. ..." The order also requires Valenti to stay 100 yards away from Nilan, stay away from both her place of employment and home, and refrain from any contact or abuse.

"[I]t would appear this is a violation of my first amendment rights that guarantee freedom of the press," Valenti said in an email message on Wednesday. He called freedom of the press "the best safeguard to our free institutions" and said when it "comes under fire, the entire community loses. That is the more serious question here."

In a statement to The Eagle, Nilan said, "As many who have been blogged about by Dan Valenti know, much of what he writes is false, and even what is true is only partially true and then distorted by innuendo. I flat out deny just about every so-called ‘fact’ he has published in my case, and that includes those by his guest columnists and anonymous posters."

Sanabria-Vega issued the harassment prevention order without notifying Valenti in advance because she "determined that there is a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of harassment," according to court documents.

She said the order would be sent to Valenti by mail.

Valenti said he hadn’t yet received any paperwork regarding the matter and would wait until he does to determine how to respond.

The order is in effect until Monday, July 9 when a hearing will take place in District Court to determine if it should be extended. Valenti, who was not in court on Wednesday, is entitled to attend that hearing.

Under state law, a judge must find three or more "acts of willful and malicious conduct with the intent to cause fear, intimidation, abuse or property damage" in order to grant an harassment prevention order.

The maximum penalty for violating an harassment prevention order is 2 1/2 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Valenti has operated his own website since 2010. He also runs his own publishing company, Planet Media Books, and hosted a morning radio talk show on WBRK-AM (1340) in Pittsfield for several years until 2006.

"Planet Valenti is a website of news and commentary," Valenti stated in his email. "We have reported news on the Nilan-Moore case as we would any other story, approaching it with neutrality and objectivity and letting the information, facts, and determinations determine our direction."

Valenti said he has never had any contact with Meredith Nilan and "to my knowledge, have never been nearer than miles to her. In light of this, I can’t fathom why she would want protection."

On her application for the harassment prevention order, Nilan stated that Valenti had been writing "lies and innuendo" about her.

"Mr. Valenti’s continued vitriol and his repeated inclination to print lies and sensationalize every aspect of my case has made me fear for my personal safety," she wrote.

On Wednesday, Nilan gave The Eagle a written statement concerning Valenti and her car accident. She said that ever since the December accident she has read "terrible, terrible things" written about her and her family, seen "lies printed in the media and online" and has been threatened "with acts of violence including murder, rape, and other atrocities on Valenti’s and other websites."

Nilan was charged with misdemeanor negligent operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident after the car she was driving struck 46-year-old Peter Moore of Pittsfield on Dec. 8. Moore suffered a broken neck and other injuries.

On June 6, the misdemeanor charge against Nilan was continued without a finding for six months in District Court. The leaving the scene charge has been dismissed.

According to Nilan, much of what has been written about the case in Valenti’s blog and The Eagle "was false."

In her statement, Nilan said that on the night of the accident she never saw what her car struck and remained at the scene for 45 minutes looking for the source of the blood in the roadway. The police, she said, got the wrong address and didn’t show up to interview her that night. She believes if they had shown up, they "never would have charged me."

"I admitted in a court of law that I drove negligently that night. No matter how many times I play it over, I see only a dark shape hitting my windshield. I have felt and will always feel terrible about it, but it was an accident," said Nilan.

Meanwhile, Trevor J. Moore, 32, of Las Vegas, who police say threatened Nilan’s life, has had his arraignment on those charges in District Court rescheduled so that he can travel here from Nevada. Although he lives in Las Vegas, Moore has ties to the Berkshires. He is not related to accident victim Peter Moore.

It is alleged that Trevor Moore made several phone calls to Nilan’s residence in February and March in which he told the family that he was going to, "make sure that she’s taken care of if the justice system doesn’t come through this time," along with other related threats.

Moore is now scheduled to be arraigned on single counts of threat to commit murder and making harassing phone calls on Aug. 22 in Central Berkshire District Court.

--------------------

"A History of Organized Crime in the Berkshires"
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Columnist, March 8, 2015

In early 1986, one such bar in particular was the site of a police sting that sent major ripples through the community. On Jan. 11, the three-member SIU conducted a raid on the Beer Garden on Wahconah Street, during which then City Council President Angelo C. Stracuzzi was arrested along with several other members of his family on charges of allowing gambling on the premises.

Stracuzzi and fellow councilors denounced the raid as an act of political retribution for his push to disband the special unit and establish an independent committee to review the department's operation. The city councilor was ultimately acquitted of charges during a jury trial after testifying that he had sold his interest in the bar to his father and brother weeks prior to the raid. Three other family members plead guilty, with father Angelo R. and sister Donna Stracuzzi Smith paying fines, while brother Anthony Stracuzzi served a sentence of 10 days in the local jail.

link: www.iberkshires.com/story/48674/A-History-of-Organized-Crime-in-the-Berkshires.html

--------------------

"Former Pittsfield Mayor Charles L. Smith dies at 82"
Berkshire Eagle staff, 2/8/2016

This story has been updated to correct the name of the funeral home.

PITTSFIELD - Charles L. Smith who served four terms as Pittsfield's mayor from 1980 to 1987 died Sunday, according to the Devanny-Condron Funeral Home. He was 82.

Smith was raised in mill houses on the North End, an Eagle story from 1987 recounted. A high school dropout and construction worker, he served as a city councilor and as city council president en route to become the city's 29th mayor.

Smith stepped into mayoral politics in his opposition to a Pyramid Companies shopping mall that would have demolished North Street buildings from Columbus Avenue to West Street. Arguing that the mall would have destroyed the city's character, he defeated two-term incumbent Paul E. Brindle III who supported the mall, according to The Eagle.

This story will be updated.

-----

"Former Pittsfield Mayor Charles Smith Dies At 82"
By Jim Levulis, WAMC Public Radio, February 8, 2016

Pittsfield’s 29th mayor and the man who led the city for much of the 1980s has died.

Charles Smith was city council president before serving eight years as Pittsfield’s mayor. The 82-year-old died Sunday. Current Mayor Linda Tyer offered condolences to Smith’s family Monday.

“Every mayor leaves behind important legacies and he’s no different,” Tyer said Monday afternoon. “We are sad to know of his passing and certainly thankful for his contributions.”

A 1987 New York Times article detailed how Smith, a Marine veteran, and his wife cared for 70 children as foster parents and guardians in addition to raising six kids of their own.

--------------------

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About Me

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Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.