Saturday, June 29

State of the Art Composting Facility

          Well Egremont has really gone green. We are now the proud owners of a new State of the Art composting facility. Juliette Haas, the sustainability coordinator, has outshined even herself. Not only did she get the composting facility up and running in record breaking time; but on such a reasonable budget that it should pay for itself by the weight of the trash that no longer has to be hauled off and disposed of. If this system works out the way it was designed on paper it could end up saving the town a lot of money. While the idea to install a composting facility did emerge from Juliette’s sustainability coordinator mind she had a lot of other great minds to help design and install the facility. Juliette enlisted the expertise of Nick Ball head of building maintenance, Tim Hosier highway dept and Jim Fountain recycling coordinator, to design a facility that would fit the needs and budget of Egremont.
They designed a simple to assemble kit in which the individual components were built off site. When the truck arrived with the components the crew had it assembled in just a few hours. Now Egremont has a fully operational state of the art composting facility; complete with a diesel powered hydraulic compost mixer. You would think that this facility comes at a steep cost and would take decades to realize a savings; but you would be wrong. I won’t say exactly how much the facility cost because the whole project was done without even consulting the Finance Committee. I’m only assuming that the FC was not aware of the expenditures because it has not been mentioned at any of the FC meetings. I can’t wait to see the expression on Laura’s face when she sees that the BoS and sustainability coordinator purchased and installed a complete state of the art composting facility with funds from the MRF, without saying a word to the FC.
          The system was designed to fully utilize the three phases of decomposition. In the first bin people place their compostable material and it decomposes for a certain amount of time. There is a special machine that stirs the material periodically. When the phase one material is ready it is transferred to the bin for the second phase of decomp. Again it is regularly stirred up until it is ready for the third bin. Once the composting material has reached its peak it is transferred to the third bin. When the material is put into the third bin anyone can take the compost and use it for their garden. What a stroke of brilliance, all the waste that would cost hundreds of dollars per ton to dispose of can now be used to feed the gardens of Egremont.
          The people of Egremont may have to make a few minor changes in how we sort our trash, but in the long run we and the environment will be better served. I’m sure Juliette will be sending out educational pamphlets to explain how to use this new facility so when you receive it please consider using the composting facility to its fullest potential. On the bright side we don’t have to have those big black composting bins in our back yard anymore. In fact, I have already converted my bin into a ventilated dog house; now all I need is a dog. I must say that I was a bit skeptical about this sustainability coordinator position, but this seems to be working out quite well. Juliette is doing a great job finding ways to better use the wealth of waste that is produced by Egremont. Kudos Juliette for turning our trash into treasure.

Friday, June 28


          There has been a bit of chatter lately about the water company audit. People seem to be wondering what’s been going on. They’re thinking Hmm, we gave the Finance Committee 25 thousand dollars and total authority to look into the financial matters of the WC; why aren't they doing anything to move forward. Well before you start gathering in front of the FC members’ houses with torches and pitchforks please know that the process has started. The newly appointed members of the FC have formed and are starting to deal with the details involved in auditing the WC practices and finances. I don’t know about you but I’ll be following close and keeping their feet to the fire. You know what I figured out? If you want to hold someone’s feet to the fire you have to be close enough to grab their feet.
          The FC as now formed is as follows; Chairman Laura Allen and Vice chair Michael Bandzierz. In a surprising turn of events Jonathan Beattie once again narrowly avoided being appointed secretary. He quickly donned his best deer in the headlights expression and the baton passed right by him and went to a newly appointed member Tom Berkel. Mr. Berkel has a wealth of experience to draw from and he can adjust his schedule to fit the FC needs. Ralph Novec and Ed (Rocky) Scarbro are working hard in the background. We’re indeed fortunate to have such a group of people to overlook the financial wellbeing of the town.
Mr. Berkel and Bandzierz were assigned to the subcommittee that will be overseeing the details of the audit and dealing directly with the auditors. This audit process will take awhile and will encompass many facets of the inner workings of the water company and the town hall as it relates to the WC. We will all have to be patient as the process goes forward. As Laura is quoted as saying, “the wheels of government grind slowly”.
          The first order of business will be to find an auditing firm to do the actual audit. Because the cost of the audit is over 5 thousand dollars the FC has to get at least three bids. This means interviewing several firms and deciding which will best suit our needs. Once the firm is chosen they can get down to business. The FC will go over the parameters of the investigation with the auditing firm and help lay out a plan. Then the subcommittee, Tom and Mike, will follow the progress at arms length. All this will presumably be done in open meetings and we’ll be kept updated on the progress. Once this task is underway the auditors will do their job and in the end we should have a good idea what caused the dysfunction in the WC and how to best run it in the future.
          Just because the WC is being dealt with doesn’t mean we should let up on any of the other issues facing the town. In addition to the WC audit we have the water commissioners balking at turning over the billing to the town hall. The water commissioners claimed that the BoS were dragging their feet. The  BoS have their hands tied because they can’t compel the elected water commissioners to turn over the billing to the town hall. Does the book Catch 22 come to mind?
I know there was going to be a special article on the town meeting warrant to direct the commissioners to transfer the billing to town hall. However, because we were duped into believing that the issue was settled, there was no need to put it on the warrant. We won’t make that mistake again. Now the water commissioners are again at odds with the BoS. There’s going to be a pissing match and we all know who is going to win.  Personally I don’t care who does the billing as long as the bills go out on time and with accurate figures. We’ll have to keep a close eye on collections.
Let’s not forget that we have the chief of police fiasco to deal with as well. This issue brings with it a ton of potential law suits which may be filed against the BoS and or the town. As a side note, I can’t understand why the BoS are trying to dismiss the Chief for such a high turnover of officers when they themselves have lost almost half of the police dept since Chief Bucknell left. While Chief Bucknell may have been averaging 4 officers per year; these people have been losing an officer about every month. Maybe I’m missing something but I just don’t get it. Who’s zooming who? I guess we’ll have to wait until the hearing on July 8th to find out if we have Chief Bucknell back on duty or a S load of lawsuits. Tough choice, I wonder if anyone has figured out how much we’ve spent on this debacle already.

There is so much to say about the plight of Hans and Jeremy and what went down at the police dept but it will have to wait until the next post. I’ll also have to address Mr. Scribbler’s inaccuracies at some point. Well, I hope you’re enjoying your summer; it’ll soon be over. 

Thursday, June 20


I went to the town hall just before 6 o’clock Monday evening on the off chance that the oust Bucknell meeting may still be on as scheduled. When I arrived the selectmen, and woman, were having a good old time yucking it up. When I asked if the hearing against Chief Bucknell was going on as planned Mary said “we’re all here”; implying that they were planning on going forward with or without Chief Bucknell being present. Charlie said “You posted it” referring to my having sent out an email telling folks that the hearing was scheduled for that evening. I said I also gave notice that it had been postponed. Chairman Turner chimed in saying that the scheduled hearing was cancelled and that now they will use the time to go into executive session to discuss “potential litigation” with town counsel.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think the notice for executive session listed the BoS discussing potential litigation with town counsel; and now we have yet another open meeting law violation. I may just have to call them on this one. I let the last one slide because I just don’t want to sue the town. Not to mention that every time this BoS screws up Mr. Polyp gets more billable hours. I don’t want to bust the BoS’s chops but I have to live by my own words. I told someone awhile back that if they witness an OML violation, it is they who should file a complaint with the AG. So many people have accused these BoS of OMLV’s I have to conclude that there is a problem. The only way to stop this trend is to call the selectmen to task every time they violate the law. Hopefully they will get the hint that people are paying attention and they should at least stay within the law.

Now let’s talk about why this hearing was postponed. The BoS insist that the meeting was put off “at the request of the opposing party” While this is technically true you have to understand that the opposing party is arguing that the town is not complying with discovery requests. Now why would the BoS not send the chief’s attorneys the requested documents? Could it be that the paperwork proves the chiefs case? We were told that this investigation would take only two weeks; we are now into the fifth month. We the town are paying for this; and we’ll be paying for this for years to come. If Reena took this case into a court of law she could have filed a motion to compel discovery. However, because she has chosen to not sue the town, she doesn’t have the right to ask the court to do anything.  If the BoS and town counsel keep dragging their feet the Chief may be forced to sue and it will cost the town a lot.

A question that has come up a lot is why was Bruce Turner hired as town accountant? Let’s think about it. The town said that they wanted the FC to control the WC audit. This did not sit well with the BoS as Charlie’s YouTube debut clearly showed. With their hands tied as selectmen they may have decided that the best way to keep their thumb in the pie is to have an insider. What better fox to put into the hen house? Appoint Bruce as the town accountant and he can control the information that is given to the auditors. I’m not saying that Bruce would do anything illegal; but if the auditors ask for documents Bruce only has to give them what was specifically asked for. And if by “accident” the auditors are given the wrong documents; like they are doing with Chief Bucknell’s attorneys, then oops his bad.
The fact is that Bruce being appointed as accountant was shoved down our throat and we’re stuck with it. There are so many potential conflicts of interest that it’s ridiculous. Now the only thing we can do is keep a watchful eye on the progress of the audit.

Thursday, June 13

Egremont Marsupial Court

          Well it was a long night at the town hall and I do emphasize the word hall as this is where the majority of the time is spent waiting for the door to open. When the people started to come in the selectmen were all huddled in the main part of the office around Mary’s desk with the partition closed. It seemed a bit too blatant to be a violation of the open meeting laws, but some people are just that balzy. Not to be melodramatic but the scene had an eerie resemblance to the alcohol drenched smoke filled back rooms where all the deals are made; only without the smoke and alcohol.

          With over three hours to sit and wait Mr. Scribbler and I had a chance to chat. He unwittingly disclosed one of his secrets to writing a good article. He was talking to his editor and I overheard him say that the deadline won’t be a problem because he has already written the story, he is just waiting to get the facts to fill in the blanks. What a concept! Write the story and then find the facts to fit in. I guess these are the things we think about while waiting in the hall. I haven’t spent that much time in the hall since Jr. high school.

           Both officers opted for a closed session. Officer Pilone was up first. After well over an hour Jeremy and his union rep came out and waited for the BoS to decide his fate. The BoS deliberated for several minutes and called officer Pilone back in and three minutes later Pilone emerged obviously distraught. Apparently officer Pilone had to resign as was confirmed by the BoS after the hearings. We may never know why he had to resign but I’m sure he’ll land on his feet. I feel bad for him though, he trusted certain people and they betrayed him. I told him to beware of people who say they have your back; they’re in the best position to stab you. Perhaps now that he is free he can talk about it. I think he keeps up on the blog and I for one would like to hear his side of the story.

          Next head on the chopping block was Hans. It was a pretty long hearing for him as well. We had to wait until about 10:30 to resume public session. Hans actually talked his way out of getting fired and resigning. The door is so thin I don’t understand why they even bother to close it. I couldn’t help but overhear a bit of the conversation. I couldn’t really hear interim chief Shaw because he has that Chairman Turner mumble down to a science. Hans could be heard loud and clear. His complaint to Shaw was that he was making sweeping judgments after only knowing him for a month. His other major grievance was that if all these sudden accusations were true then why didn’t he, Shaw, document these claims and put them in his file. Hans said that there was no documentation to bolster the accusations that were being leveled against him. Not one shred of evidence. Hmmm; This sounds vaguely familiar. The bottom line is that Hans is still with us and Franz is on to bigger and better things. Good luck to both. A word to the wise and let it be sufficient; watch who has your back.

          That’s the report for the latest convening of the Egremont Marsupial Court, (EMC). So, until next Monday @ 6:00 pm, when the next (EMC) opens with the Mach trial of the legitimate Egremont Chief of Police. I am told that Chief Bucknell will not close the hearing so I hope to see you there.


Wednesday, June 12


With all that is going on with the EPD I have to ask who’s protecting Egremont? It was posted as a comment on (EPD at its best) and I heard from a reliable source that for some reason Officers Pilone and Carlson are no longer employed by the town. If this is true and I believe it is, it means that 4 out of the Magnificent Seven Mutineers have left the force. If Hans and Jeremy are leaving then now we have only 1 full time officer, two part time officers and a part time interim chief. Makes ya wonder who is protecting the town?

There will be a closed session at the BoS meeting tonight to discuss “EMPLOYEE ISSUES” Presumably this will be to discuss the police dept or lack thereof. I am told that the BoS will only open the meeting to go into closed session. Then after the closed session they will reopen the regular session just to adjourn. The BoS covers their use of the closed door session by claiming they are protecting the privacy of the employees. I think they are covering their own asses. Every time a new issue surfaces it casts new light on the EPD fiasco that they created. Perhaps if the BoS used this closed door policy when Officer Pilone started to spew out a litany of charges against Chief Bucknell we wouldn’t be in this situation.

I am posting the text of the comment here for your convenience. You can also read the full article and comments by going to
The text of the comment is as follows:

It's almost a comedy show, but it's really just a comic tragedy! We now find out that Officer Pilone and Officer Carlson have been locked out of the police station. It appears the lock combinations have been changed to prevent their entrance. They haven't appeared for work Monday or Tuesday, as well! There is a Selectmen's meeting scheduled for Wednesday, apparently to discuss them. Let's see, since Chief Bucknell was improperly placed on Administrative leave, two officers have been suspended for breaking into the evidenced room and two others are now locked out of the Police Station. These are the people charging Chief Bucknell with improper conduct? Why are these issues being kept quiet by the Selectboard? Why aren't these officers being let go since they are still on probation and can be immediately dismissed; without question?

I have to assume from the way those in charge are evading my questions that the rumor is true. I asked Mary if the officers resigned or were fired. She seemed a bit surprised that I was even aware of the situation and answered quite obliquely. She said no one has resigned and no one has been fired. She isn’t lying since the meeting to decide this issue is set for tonight I guess we’ll find out then. I asked someone at the police dept if officers Pilone and Carlson are no longer with us and was abruptly told that they don’t know what is going on with them. Why is it so difficult to get an answer to information that should be available upon request?

With all this secrecy the town can’t wonder why the citizens have to resort to reading a blog in order to get good information. Say what you will about this blog but the information has proven to be pretty fair and accurate. I’m sure my distracters will say I am posting inaccurate information; but wait until the facts come out and you’ll see that I am not far off. Look at the water company numbers. I was castigated for claiming we lost tens to hundreds of thousands of tax dollars. The FC numbers proved we lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the end the facts supported my original approximated numbers. On the lighter side’ if we keep changing the locks on the EPD doors we can qualify for a bulk rate.

Thursday, June 6

FC Appointing Committee

          The Finance Committee appointing committee met this week to reappoint two standing members and to appoint one member to the position vacated by this ousted member. The good news is that Charlie failed in his effort to expel Laura Allen from the Finance Committee. With only Chairman Turner and Mary Brazie voting to not reappoint her. As expected Michael Bandzierz was unanimously reappointed.

Charlie vehemently denied that he tried to block Laura’s reappointment and in his denial, as much as admitted that what was said on the blog was true. Before the Q&A started he wanted to make it clear that he never actively solicited anyone to vote against me or Laura Allen. He said that he may have shared his opinion with people but never solicited anyone to vote against Laura. The reason I think the rumors were true is that Charlie alluded to things that were only known by someone who made the statements. He did however confirm that it was Tom Haas that he was talking to, which was the information quoted on the blog.

          Now let’s look at the candidates who put their names up for appointment to the finance committee. First let me warn any potential public official that once they ask to be considered for any public position they open themselves up to public scrutiny and no longer have the right to demand privacy. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have a right to a private life; it simply means that they have to be more guarded about what they say and do publicly. That being said I am going to give you my take on what the candidates said.

          Ed Scarbo is a retired police officer. He spent many years faithfully serving the town of Great Barrington. I would imagine that in the course of his duties he assisted Egremont on many occasions. He seems like a decent man and would make a good FC member. He is a very private person who doesn’t seem to have an active cyberspace profile. He stated clearly that he was against committee members sharing any public information with the public. He did not agree with or care for the person who was disseminating information on a certain blog. It almost seemed like he was quoting Charlie Flynn’s mushroom treatment rule book, but I think his attitude stemmed more from his being a police officer for so many years. As a police officer he sometimes had to see the worst side of people and by law had to keep it private. However, as a public official he has to understand that different rules apply. If he is appointed to the FC his public words and deeds may be posted on the blog he so despises.

          Steve Rawlings had a long military career as a C-130 pilot. His father Jack, also a career military man, was a long time Egremont resident who I believe served on both the BoS and FC. He holds a degree in finance or business and is well qualified for the position. Steve opened up by saying that he wanted to join the FC because he thought it was a good stepping stone to running for selectman. His temperament makes him ideal for politics. He thinks long and hard before he speaks and shares his opinion with a degree of wit and humor. I’ve seen him at many of the meetings and he is very interested the town affairs being put in order. Although he and I don’t agree on everything we disagree civilly and he seems to be a fair and equitable man. From what I’ve seen and heard I think he would be a good fit as a FC member or a selectman. I hope he runs against Charlie Flynn next year for selectman. He has my vote and the ABC vote.

          Tom Berkel could not be there so the committee put off deciding on the new appointments until the 10th in order to give Tom a chance to be interviewed. I won’t even talk about me because I have no chance of being reappointed. I don’t think I’ve forgotten anyone so these are our choices for filling the openings on the finance committee. I said openings because there is another position that unexpectedly opened between Monday and Wednesday.

Since the appointing committee met on Monday there was a resignation from the FC just before its meeting on Wednesday. Bob Climo suddenly resigned from the committee effective immediately. This means that Laura Allen will likely be the member to replace him on the appointing committee. Bob served the finance committee well for the short time he was there. His ideas were sound and well reasoned. He decided to leave before the final choice was made for the committee in order to not require another appointing committee; a testimony to his wisdom. He cited increased responsibilities at his job and needing to spend more time with his family. His portion will be missed and I think he deserves many thanks from the town.

After the appointing committee adjourned it was time for the BoS meeting. However, I’ll have to cover that in another post. The most interesting thing that happened was that Bruce Turner was hired as the town accountant. So until next time have a great summer


Sunday, June 2


          I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. The BoS led by Charlie Flynn is hell bent on emasculating the finance committee. According to what was said at the most recent FC meeting Charlie was most likely to have been the one who sent out an email that states emphatically that Laura Allen and Kevin Zurrin will not be reappointed to the FC. It is statements like this that show that this BoS is trying to purge the FC of anyone who doesn’t march to their drum beat. If this reappointment is successfully prevented then the finance committee will be severely weakened. Mark my words, without Laura the FC will not pursue the water company audit with the same tenacity. It is Laura who has the most knowledge to guide the audit. I have to wonder why Charlie doesn’t want to see this audit go forward.
          Laura Allen has served on the Finance Committee for over a decade. Under her leadership the FC has made the towns financial matters more transparent than in any other administration. Perhaps this is why this BoS is trying to drive her out. This BoS knows that if Laura is reappointed that she will dig up every dirty little secret that the water company has been hiding for so many years. This is Charlie’s greatest fear. I have to wonder if perhaps Charlie is hiding something; we know by his own words that he doesn’t believe in a transparent town government.

          I warned awhile back that the BoS were intent on weakening the FC. At this June 3rd meeting the BoS, apparently at the insistence of Charlie, will attempt to block the reappointment of Laura Allen. We know Charlie’s out for blood and he makes it obvious by his own words and deeds. He rules and is ruled by his rage. Perhaps this is why the other selectmen can’t stand against him. Charlie may act all humble at the meetings but don’t be fooled; Charlie is the one setting the agenda and I don’t think Bruce or Mary would ever dare to oppose him. Face it, He is the reason that the town has been opened up to the possibility of multiple lawsuits.

          To all who attended my deposition and those who wanted to be there and couldn’t, there is going to be another attempted removal of a finance committee member. For the sake of the integrity of the Finance Committee I would ask that anyone who can make it to this meeting please come on June 3rd at 6:30 in the town hall.