I received a phone call yesterday concerning one of my 3 political enemies: Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C Massimiano II.
The anonymous caller asked me to forward the People, News Media, & Politicians the following message:
"The BCHC union voted about two weeks ago on a package of concessions, almost $4000.00 per officer. It was yes for concessions or no and eight to ten employees could be laid off. The vote was No, 62 to 50. A few days after the vote three officers were laid off, but they were voluntary layoffs. This week five or six more employees got laid off and we don't know if they were voluntary or forced. Our dept. is already down about twenty officers or more from normal staffing levels. We believe these layoffs were a knee jerk reaction (retaliation), due to the fact the Admin, doesn't even have the actual amount of money they are going to be short for the 2010 budget. The feelings are that the sheriff is using the layoffs and threatening to cancel vacation to get us to vote on a second concession package. The facility cannot be run with 10 officers being laid off.
"The reason this vote did not pass is in 2001 the same thing was done and officers voted yes. Officer were told that if they gave up money the Admin would also give it up and no employees would be laid off. The union found out two years latter that Admin did not give anything up, they lied. Also several people got large raises after the vote passed.
"The Sheriff is going to keep pressuring and threatening until he gets his way."
Jonathan Melle's NOTES:
I was told that Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C Massimiano II won't allow his workers under a legal and legitimate union to take their demands to the state labor commission. If any union member backs this measure, Sheriff Massimiano will retaliate against them. CARMEN MASSIMIANO II is BREAKING the LAW! I was asked to send this email to the media because my voice sings for all of the voiceless people Sheriff Massimiano has bullied and persecuted over the years. I was told that Sheriff Massimiano lied to the workers and unions, stating that he did not receive a pay raise in over 5 years. Sheriff Massimiano contradicts the facts, below:
Sheriff Massimiano's 2006 21% pay raise "Luciforo" voted in favor of in 2005:
Carmen Massimiano & North Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts = THE NADIR!
"Unfair generalizations about students at PHS"
The Berkshire Eagle, Letters, Thursday, June 11, 2009
As students of Pittsfield High School, we wish to respond to the statements made about our school by Mayor Ruberto and School Committee member Carmen Massimiano at a recent School Committee meeting. Mayor Ruberto described the attire of the students at lunch "appalling" and "an absolute disgrace to the educational system," and Mr. Massimiano suggested that Pittsfield High should stop allowing its students to leave campus for lunch, because they should not be "traipsing all over the city."
We feel that Mayor Ruberto and Mr. Massimiano are being unfair in their accusations and suggestions, which depict us as a group of delinquents causing trouble in Pittsfield during our lunches. We feel that most students dress appropriately, and that judging our entire school by a handful of students is not fair. We also cannot think of anybody who dresses purposely to show disrespect to their teachers or fellow students.
Some students dress to achieve a specific look, and others dress for comfort, but students should be given the right to dress to suit their own needs and opinions. High school is all about discovering your own individuality and character so that you can decide what person you want to be for the rest of your life. Forcing us into strict dress codes will only hinder that creative process. We mean no disrespect when we arrive in torn jeans or baggy sweatpants — we're just playing with our appearances so that we can figure out how we want to present ourselves.
Judging a student by his or her clothing is not an accurate or fair measure of character. We respect ourselves regardless of what we choose to wear, and would like to feel that others can also see past our clothing before deciding what kind of person we are.
Closing the campus during lunchtime would be much more trouble than it is worth. As Superintendent Eberwein mentioned in the School Committee meeting, the cafeteria at our school accommodates 300 students, while we have an enrollment of 1,000. Additionally, the local businesses that feed those hundreds of students each day benefit by PHS having an open campus.
The lunch break also allows students to enjoy a breath of fresh air, and to get a little exercise. The school is worrying about serving healthy food and avoiding obesity — "traipsing all over the city" might be exactly what we need.
Mr. Massimiano's main objective in his desire to end off-campus lunch seems to be the wish to keep us out of sight and hidden from the view of the public. Although some may be surprised to see a few students smoking during lunchtime, we hope that they will not believe that Pittsfield High is the only school in which there are students that smoke. Our location in the center of town makes the smokers more visible, but off campus lunch is not the cause of the problem. These students would smoke anyway, just like high schoolers across the country.
Our clothing is not a factor of our education and, as most students dress according to the rules anyway, we see no need to be insulted. We are not just teenagers, we are your neighbors, your baby-sitters, your grocery baggers, and your family members. We do not lack respect for our teachers or our community, but respect must be given back to us as well. If we are old enough to be asked to make college and career decisions, we can certainly handle dressing ourselves. We respect ourselves and each other and hope that our community can do the same.
The letter was signed by 87 students.
"We feel that Mayor Ruberto and Mr. Massimiano are being unfair in their accusations and suggestions"
"Mr. Massimiano's main objective in his desire to end off-campus lunch seems to be the wish to keep us out of sight and hidden from the view of the public."
DID YOU KIDS KNOW THAT CARMEN MASSIMIANO IS A KNOWN COMMODITY AT BOSTON's GAY BARS? THAT IS RIGHT, GENTLEMEN! CARMEN MASSIMIANO IS WELL KNOWN IN BOTH PITTSFIELD & BOSTON TO LIKE HIS YOUNG MEN AND BLOW JOBS -- OR ORAL SEX ON A MAN! CARMEN MASSIMIANO IS AN ANGRY MAN WHO TAKES OUT HIS ANGER ON WOMEN & CHILDREN TO SUBLIMATE HIS FLAMING HOMOSEXUALITY! MABYE THAT IS WHY CARMEN MASSIMIANO HAS NOTICED HOW YOUNG MEN HAVE BEEN DRESSING AROUND PITTSFIELD HIGH SCHOOL!
- Jonathan Melle
P.S. Mayor Jimmy Ruberto is one of Carmen's minions. He follows all of Carmen's orders in Pittsfield Politics.
"Arrests deter gangs: Police officials stress the importance of educating communities -- as well as adequate funding levels."
Berkshire Eagle Staff, Friday, June 26, 2009
PITTSFIELD -- There's a simple formula police use to explain how they bust gangs and their economic endeavors in the drug trade: Arrests = hours.
And county police believe if funding for narcotics units is cut, which means less policing hours, the gangs will gain an advantage.
That was the message from public safety officials Thursday afternoon at the "Gangs and Drugs in the Community" public forum hosted by radio station WBRK at the Berkshire Museum. About 16 people attended the event -- many of whom were police officers.
Local law enforcement officials said they're concerned that gang activity would be the major byproduct of slashed public safety budgets. With recent state funding cuts affecting police forces across the Commonwealth, it's a real issue.
Members in the Berkshires
Unclaimed turf, an abundance of cheap housing, and high profitability in the local drug trade have attracted gang members from across the Northeast to Berkshire County.
Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. said of the roughly 400 inmates currently at the Berkshire County House of Corrections, 52 have been identified as gang members. Of those, 37 are natives of areas outside Berkshire County.
Police say that the lack of established national gangs in Berkshire County makes it easy for outsiders to come from places likes New York City, Springfield or Hartford, Conn., and sell drugs.
An amount of crack cocaine that sells in New York for $1,000 can fetch $5,000 in Pittsfield. A bag of heroin that sells for $3 in Boston can go for as much $20 here.
The war can last a long time
"The war doesn't end with one battle, one drug raid," Massimiano said. "It goes on every day. And it's our local police who are fighting that war."
Massachusetts State Police Lt. Joseph P. McDyer, commander of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force, said gangs have been operating in the county for decades.
Before, they were loose collections of acquaintances who sold drugs for profit. But in the last few years, local police have seen the rise of gangs with ties to national groups like the Bloods, Crips, the Latin Kings and La Familia.
"We've put a lot of them in jail, and curtailed a lot of crime," McDyer said. "But we'd have a bigger problem if it wasn't for the police officers in this county. And funding is running out."
McDyer said the task force is already out $150,000, a sum that helped pay salaries for city and town police officers who worked on countywide gang and drug cases.
"You'll see a big problem if that money isn't restored," he said.
Pittsfield Police Detective Sgt. Marc E. Strout, commander of the city's drug unit and a member of the task force, said the violence of late has been gang members targeting other gang members.
He hears the complaints from residents and longtime locals, but he'd like to see people step up and force a change in the community.
"We don't need more complainers, we need doers," he said.
Mayor James M. Ruberto said he was disappointed that more community members and parents did not attend the forum.
"It's unfortunate but not surprising," he said. "The people who are supposed to be here aren't here."
Bill Sturgeon, WBRK talk show host and a former police officer, said the forum was the first in what will be a series of events called Educating the Community.
"We're a community radio station so we want to help the community," he said. "There's so much misinformation out there about gangs. Some believe there are no gangs, and some say it's overblown. But this is not just not a Pittsfield issue, it's a countywide problem."
To reach Benning W. De La Mater: firstname.lastname@example.org, (413) 496-6243.
"7 candidates, 6 chairs"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Tuesday, September 8, 2009
PITTSFIELD -- While the seven candidates in the Pittsfield School Committee race have varied reasons for running, they all share the ultimate goal of further improving the city school system.
Incumbents Kathleen A. Amuso, Carmen C. Massimiano Jr., Daniel C. Elias, Churchill Cotton and Erin Sullivan along with newcomers Alfred E. "Alf" Barbalunga and Katherine L. Yon are vying for the six available seats in the general election. At least one of the challengers will win on Nov. 3 as Angel Ramirez Jr. is retiring after more than 20 years on the board. Pittsfield's mayor - currently Mayor James M. Ruberto -- is the seventh voting member of the School Committee.
In separate telephone interviews with The Eagle over the weekend, the candidates not only gave an overview of their campaigns but touted the virtues of local public education.
Massimiano, 65, who's seeking his seventh term overall since first elected in 1988, said his initial reason for being on the School Committee hasn't changed.
"Providing Pittsfield with quality education is the best economic development tool we have," he said. "I believed it then and I believe it now."
In order to develop an educated workforce, the Berkshire County sheriff said alternative programs are sometimes needed. He cited the success of the three-year old Juvenile Resource Center (JRC) which helps suspended students and those having legal troubles keep up with their studies and eventually stay in school.
"If you keep children in the classroom," Massimiano noted, "you have a much better chance of keeping them out of jail."
And sometimes specialized programs designed to help students adjust to a classroom setting outgrow their usefulness, such as the Hibbard Alternative School which closed in June.
"I'm glad to see Hibbard close down," said Cotton, "so we can include the students in everyday school life."
Cotton, 59, an employee at Berkshire Life Insurance Co., wants a second term because he enjoys working on the committee and volunteering in the schools.
"It's a great experience seeing the kids and having an impact on education," he said.
Elias has also made it a point to attend numerous school activities and functions during his 12 years on the committee.
"It's hard to advocate for the schools if you don't see first hand what's going on," he noted.
Elias, 38, who works for Berkshire Families and Individuals, added he will continue to visit the schools and thoroughly review issues facing the School Committee before voting on them.
"A thorough review of all School Committee policies" is something Sullivan, who chairs the policy subcommittee, wants to see done if she's elected to her second term.
Sullivan, 44, who works at Berkshire Medical Center, said she's campaigning for more than just votes.
"My responsibility is to also educate people about the role of the School Committee in [Pittsfield]," she added.
Amuso, 52, said she will also keep promoting the schools to voters and keep advocating for more teacher development which has been successful in better educating the students.
"Our science and math courses have strengthened in the elementary schools," cited Amuso, an employee of Berkshire Health Systems.
The former teacher added she's "always been passionate about education" which is why she's seeking a fourth consecutive term.
Yon, 59, who retired from teaching in June, views serving on the School Committee as a "great way to continue to have an impact on education."
While she wholeheartedly endorses the city school system, she is concerned about the number of students go to other districts under school choice.
"Why are people opting out," questioned Yon. "We need to promote our schools more."
Barbalunga, 37, also praises the direction Pittsfield Public Schools is headed, but sees room for improvement.
"I'd like more of a partnership with Berkshire Community College to have more college prep courses and to beef up vocations," he said.
Barbalunga, who heads the Massachusetts Probation Service in the Southern Berkshire District Court, is also a "big fan of the JRC" and wants the alternative program to continue.
The money we spend keeping students in school is money less spent keeping them in jail," he said.
To reach Dick Lindsay: email@example.com, or (413) 496-6233.
"Overall crime slows despite calls for service"
By Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Sunday, October 11, 2009
PITTSFIELD -- Perception is not always reality, particularly when it comes to the hot-button issue of crime in the city.
Despite a rising number of arrests and calls for service -- a pattern that's projected to continue for the remainder of the year -- Pittsfield's overall crime rate is "trending down," according to the county's top law enforcement officials, who addressed the perception-vs.-reality issue Friday during a meeting with The Eagle's editorial board.
Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless, Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr. and Pittsfield Police Chief Michael J. Wynn pointed to recently released FBI crime data showing that Pittsfield's general downward trend is consistent with declining national and regional trends.
Although certain crime categories are up slightly, "it appears [overall] crime is down and is trending down," said Wynn, chief of the Berkshires' largest police department.
Increased public awareness is among the reasons arrests and service calls are up, according to the officials, who cited the rising popularity of high-tech crime-reporting methods such as online and text message tips.
The spike in police activity "doesn't mean that crime is up," Massimiano said. "It means that the public is vigilant."
Better teamwork by county law enforcement agencies is also responsible, according to the officials.
"We're trying to do better police work," Wynn said, citing increased coordination among various law enforcement agencies.
"The degree of cooperation is critically important, and it's getting better," Wynn said.
While Massachusetts' violent crime rate did not change from 2007 to 2008, the property crime rate -- including auto theft, burglary and larceny -- increased by 1 percent.
In Pittsfield, which does not rank in any of the state's top crime categories, the number of aggravated assaults, forcible rapes and larcenies rose from 2007 to 2008.
But the general trend has been positive: Auto theft, burglary, credit card fraud, prostitution, robbery and shoplifting are among the more than 20 crime categories that declined in 2008.
One issue not specifically addressed by the crime data -- or by local law enforcement officials -- is the number of annual shootings in Pittsfield, which this year is hovering around the dozen mark. That's more than double the five shootings reported in 2008.
The last time a dozen shootings were reported in Pittsfield was in 2005, according to data from the Pittsfield Police Department. None of the 2009 shootings proved fatal, however, though several people have been injured by bullets this year.
And while there were no murders or manslaughters in Pittsfield in 2007 or 2008, this year there has been one murder case and one manslaughter case -- both of which involved alleged domestic incidents.
Officials said the fact that more people are contacting police to report crimes is evidence that the anti-snitching phenomenon -- reinforced by the slogan "snitches get stitches," which has popped up on T-shirts and elsewhere -- is apparently weakening.
"I think we're making progress on that front," Wynn said. "We're getting more calls, we're getting more information."
Massimiano said people should never hesitate to contact the police to report a crime. "Call us if you think something is remiss," he said.
When police show up to respond to a situation, it increases the public's confidence in law enforcement and causes a positive ripple effect, according to Capeless.
"They see it, the neighbors," Capeless said. "And it builds on each other."
In general, the nation's violent crime rate declined for the second year in a row, down 1.9 percent from 2007 to 2008, while the volume of property crimes dropped for the sixth consecutive year, according to the FBI's annual report, "Crime in the United States."
In 2008, most major crime categories declined, including murders, aggravated assaults and forcible rapes, although burglaries and larcenies increased slightly.
From 2007 to 2008, the number of crimes reported by the Pittsfield Police Department to the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) decreased from 3,867 to 3,690, or 4.6 percent.
Prior to 2005, the Pittsfield Police Department submitted crime data to the FBI using the older, less detailed Uniform Crime Report, which was the standard reporting method for many years. But NIBRS requires a police department to check all crime reports internally before forwarding data to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Reporting Unit, which then verifies and validates that information before submitting it to the FBI for inclusion in the national crime report.
"Due to the change in reporting methodologies, it is impossible to make a direct year-to-year comparison prior to July of 2005," Wynn said. "However, our full-year statistics from 2006, 2007 and 2008 are consistent with the downward trend reported by the FBI."
To report a crime in Pittsfield, call (413) 448-9700 or go online at www.pittsfieldpd.com.
To reach Conor Berry: firstname.lastname@example.org; (413) 496-6249.
"Union files unfair labor practice charge against Gov. Patrick"
By Conor Berry, New England Newspapers: The Berkshire Eagle & The North Adams Transcript, April 2, 2010
PITTSFIELD -- The union representing correctional officers at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction has filed an unfair labor practice charge against Gov. Deval L. Patrick, claiming the governor and state finance officials failed to support a negotiated three-year contract with modest raises for unionized jail workers.
The International Brotherhood of Correctional Officers, acting on behalf of IBCO Local 297, last month filed a "prohibited practice" charge with the state Division of Labor Relations. The charge specifically accuses Patrick and the state Executive Office for Administration and Finance of failing to act in good faith after IBCO members accepted several state-proposed cost-cutting measures -- including furloughs, layoffs and no cost-of-living raises for fiscal year 2009, which began July 1, 2008.
Local 297’s membership includes more than 120 Berkshire County correctional officers, all of whom agreed to forgo pay increases in fiscal 2009 and accept minimal pay raises of 1 percent in fiscal 2010 and 3 percent in both 2011 and 2012.
"We came to an agreement," said Robert F. Dickson, a national representative for IBCO, which is under the auspices of the National Association of Government Employees.
But Dickson claims the governor and state finance officials failed to press state lawmakers to approve the contract, which has languished since it was signed in April 2009 by IBCO and Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr.
"They didn’t put out any great effort before the Legislature," Dickson said, accusing the governor’s financial team of reneging on the contract. "You can’t find any record of them going to bat for this contract."
As a result, IBCO officials say they’re looking forward to making their case at a hearing later this month before the Division of Labor Relations. A date has not been finalized.
State officials declined to discuss IBCO’s allegations on Thursday.
"This is not something that can be commented on at this time. It’s a pending case and investigation," said Alison Harris, director of communications for the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Patrick, a Democrat who received support from organized labor during his run for governor, has since angered many heavily Democratic public-sector unions by wresting major concessions from them throughout his ongoing deficit-reduction campaign. Cuts have ranged from mandatory furloughs and pay freezes to deep reductions in incentive pay for police and benefit rollbacks for some unionized workers.
"We’re not martyrs by any means," said Sgt. Kevin Nollo, a correctional officer at the county jail and chief steward of Local 297.
"We’re not asking for anything that they didn’t already promise us," he added.
Nollo said the so-called 1-3-3 contract was proposed by the state and accepted by the union. Local 297 negotiated, ratified and approved the contract, but it was never enacted.
"These are the numbers that [state finance officials] came to us with and that we agreed to," Nollo said, "and now they won’t to give it to us."
Nollo claims IBCO hasn’t received clear information from the state. At some point, Local 297 was told it would have to re-negotiate its contract, he said, noting that other IBCO chapters in Massachusetts have apparently received different information.
"At this point, we don’t even know what’s going on," Nollo said.
Meanwhile, some non-unionized officials at the county jail are a bit perplexed by the state’s apparent decision not to honor the agreement.
"We’re kind of between a rock and a hard place," said Daniel Sheridan, an assistant deputy superintendent at the county jail.
"A funding submission [for the contract] was made to the Legislature in June 2009, but it hasn’t been funded," said Sheridan, who represented the jail’s management during the contract negotiations.
Sheridan said state finance officials hope to forestall implementation of the contract for another year, which means the 1 percent pay hike that had been scheduled to take effect last July 1 won’t take effect until this June 30.
"For us, that’s a hard pill to swallow," he said.
- Jonathan Melle
- 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 email@example.com
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