Friday, July 30, 2010

NEWBURYPORT 01950: Little River Village

NEWBURYPORT 01950: Little River Village

Little River Village

And here we go again. So many things wrong here with this 'village' offer that we should not be entertaining a shared relationship. Back three years ago, Mayor Moak sent a letter from city legal stating that Newburyport did not have the 'legal right' to allow sewer connections outside the city. Plum Island order is real specific as to connections ordered.
At the same time the Sewer Commission and the City Council entertained letting Newbury 'invest' in the fixing of the Sewer Plant. Possibly raising the limits of the plant permit. They refused the offer and built a senior center. .
So now, what has changed? Policy and laws? Or control of the Enterprise funds?
Will our Water and Sewer reserves be able to handle future development in that area? Where will it stop? Route one south to Rowley, and beyond?

Dan

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stolen comment from Daily News

Missy Smith 4 hours ago in reply to kathyheywood

"Respect is the key word there, it is earned! Not given where not due. Proof is in my tax dollars being wasted, case in point I have watched the same DPS worker replace the same storm drain multiple times in 1 year, now if the first drain broke- shouldn't the HEAD of the dept be inspecting the drain? So when the drain goes the 2nd time and the same person comes back out its ridiculous, find someone who knows how to do the job correctly the first time instead of wasting our hard earned money. In case you missed it, the Mall is in terrible shape, so where is he directing people to keep it neat? That is my point, these kind of things are just a waste of money if they cannot be done correctly, why should we call and complain. Since when should someone running the DPS services not be required to carry a degree? If you look at many of the cities in the area they require the Head of DPS to hold a degree, so what makes Newburyport exempt? Do the same calculations not apply? I have nothing but respect for the employees of DPS, they work endless hours in the summer and cold endless hours in the winter, they are very much under appreciated. They deserve the Respect. Things need to change around here. So does picking up the shovel apply to you as well? "
 
This person (Missy Smith) knows more than most. Ah....the manhole cave-ins! A newly hired foreman completed a massive amount of work over the summer before last. Commendable. Given a raise. Now we have revisited more than 50% of the same manholes. Added cost in labor and material to do them right! And it still is not fixed. No leadership. No cohesion. DPW operates like ants at a fire. They start out late due to inept management and then are moved from site to site unable to Finnish a job due to the politics of untrained managers. There is also the lack of knowledge on just what property is owned by the city and just what one can do in wetlands.

There are things like safety, laws and paper trails that are missing due to the lack of education and/ or experience that will cost Newburyport in revisiting problems and having 'orders of conditions' levied from our own con com! Check the records, serious violations exist under this management team.

When we posted the Assistant Deputy Director's job, it did mention a degree or two along with experience!
If one would bother to check, more DPW Truck Driver/ Laborers have degrees and certifications than the management out there!

Dan

And support from the Sewer Commission goes on and on, except the Chair.

I’m really chagrined at all this. A lot of the friction between the Sewer Dept & others in City Hall has been the result of the instructions and marching orders you got from us on the Sewer Commission. That you and Brendan are taking all the heat isn’t right at all. And the ineptitude! Four things come to mind:

· When Charlotte was there, the Treasurer’s Dept lost +$70K in checks that slid behind someone’s desks. We didn’t find out about the missing payments until we started sending out demands and customers had PAID receipts.

· The Plumbing Inspector was signing off on his own work and keeping the permits in his house. We found this out after he installed the grease trap at David’s BACKWARDS, he signed off on his own work, and then David’s failed the FOG test.

· The DEP fine on a now closed plating company, a fine that City Hall missed listing on the bankruptcy declaration so we never got paid.

· The fact that Squillace practically takes all year to sign off on our undesignated fund balances.

Ugh!

Well commissioner all I can say is that under this new management the DPW has control of the Sewer Funds and equipment and EEnterprise Sewer Funds. I predict that the Sewer Ratepayers will be supporting the city in more ways you can imagine when unqualified managers are afraid, or do not know how to say NO!
DPW is funded on the Taxpayers dollars and they just found the Sewer Enterprise piggy bank! From equipment to employees, a free ride on the Sewer Ratepayers from two communities. That is the 'New Training' that has been going on for the past few weeks.

Daily Posts a third of my story

Of course it took some accusing to get part of my story posted. The second half is still on the blog and the crimes of the city pile up daily. But, I am still blocked from posting comments on the Daily News  and according to Mr. Will, it was Mr. Calhoon  that made the decision to exempt me from comments.
The city does not want to have these conversations in print and is on a quest to eliminate any question of the management abilities of this Mayors choices at all levels.

Dan Sweeney

Monday, July 26, 2010

INTENTIONAL MISINFORMATION

'DPS Mess' as reported by Katie Farrell Lovett on July 15, 2010. The Headline should have been "City messes up Low Street Legal Challenge".




It appears that the Newburyport City Council is unaware as to the legal process of paying enterprise bills and the City Auditor, Bill Squillace, failed to inform the Council fully of the due process of paying these bills. The person that the Mayor chose to temporarily replace Brendan O'Regan on the Sewer Department side of the DPS, Jamie Tuccolo spoke at the July 12, City Council meeting not knowing his presentation materials nor the reasons that the legal bills were invoiced and were not paid. Several misquotes in his presentation to the council and his follow up to the Sewer Commission on the 22nd of July are proof of the demise of the financial security of the Newburyport Sewer Department. This may be the intent of this Mayor by allowing untrained and uneducated personnel to manage these tri departments.After all, the Water and Sewer Departments (and Harbor) are the only solvent departments the city has. There are actually millions of dollars at stake here, if the Mayor can control the commissions and managers of these enterprise departments, she can balance her city budget on the backs of the ratepayers from two communities.



Acting Assistant Deputy Director, Mr. Tuccolo reported to the City Council that legal bills were "swept under the rug" and "were not presented to the Sewer Commission for payment". These are only two mis-statements and false statements made to the City Council on July 22nd 2010. He also stated to the sewer Commission that he 'does not remember saying that these bills were 'swept under the rug', accusing his previous boss and the sewer commissioners of negligence.



As a Collection System foreman, Mr. Tuccolo has no prior training in municipal finances, nor in personnel management. He has no degrees and was hired to a position that clearly stated the need for a minimal degree. He does have the ear of a first time Mayor and an otherwise unemployable acting deputy director, looking to secure a longer contract than all his previous employments combined. Both would not be in leadership positions if their education was a factor. And both would have much lesser incomes today.



The process of paying bills by enterprise departments has always been processed the following way;



All Department bills are presented to the Director (an exception with legal bills in that they are first sent to the Mayors office at City Hall, copied by the executive assistant to the Mayor and then forwarded to the department for payment) verified as a proper department expenditure and then placed upon a warrant before being presented to the Sewer Commission for signatures and returned to the Auditor for payment processing. No invoices are paid out of departmental funds without the proper signatures of the commission. Or at least under good accounting practices should not for legal reasons.



A little reminder of the city budgetary process. The Department heads create the needed budget and first submit their request to their commission. The Commission either adds or subtracts from this presentation and forwards the budget request to the Mayor. The Mayor makes recommendations to the presented budget and submits the budget to the City Council. The City Council affirms or adjusts the presented budget for the next fiscal year. So all expenditures are approved by a process ending with our elected council overseeing the budgets. And they discuss each expenditure line by line. Including the expected legal line items. Following so far? When unexpected bills or vouchers are presented, the account becomes expended. When this happens a request must be made by the commission to the Mayor and Auditor for them to file for a transfer of funds, either from another line item or from excess reserves to pay these over and above expenses. A strong explanation of the need is required and the presentation usually is sponsored by a councilor who has researched the issue and can stand and explain the request. This is the oversight and balance procedure.



Now, is it just me, or does one see several failures to this system? First off, the Mayor(s) had possession of the bills. Secondly, the Sewer Commission knew of the legal bills from the Low Street Sewer Challenge, because they needed to get permission from the Mayor to hire a second legal firm to decide the direction to take after the Judge awarded damages to the plaintiffs. To be paid from monies not expected when the FY10 City Budget was approved. Or, to be paid from the loan or betterment changed?



It is my opinion that 'somebody' is attempting to cover their tracks at the expense of others. I think the Daily News did not do their research well enough to tell the public how bad things are at the DPS since the recent changes were made in MAY, two full months before the fiscal year and money ran out of the sewer legal line item.



I would think that the ratepayers in both Newbury and Newburyport would like to know this information, after all the Sewer Commission represents all the ratepayers that use the sewer services. The safety of their utility services may be compromised should this process of hit and run management continues . My guess is that the Newburyport Daily News does not want to let their readers know that something is wrong in their reporting and presentation.









Dan Sweeney



13 Drew Street



Newburyport, MA 01950



978-462-1870



Tax and Ratepayer

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grievances

Grievances are filed when issues of contract are in question. Most managers will get a few in the course of getting their job done. But, 147? in less than 2 years? Breaking his contract by not attaining a degree within a time frame. Then there is the story of the phonographic charge connected with the Donut.
and John Moak rehires him and Donna elevates him to acting Director.
See what having the 'right' political connections will get you!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Banned from Daily News Story

On the 15th of July 2010, the Newburyport Daily News 'banned' me from posting my opinions on this issue. I wonder why?
The following are comments that I had posted, but the editor saw fit to ban.

1.What the public is not being told in this story is that all legal bills are first sent to the Mayor's office, copied, then forwarded to the department responsible for the bill. In this particular case, these bills needed approval from the Sewer Commission, the Mayor, Treasurer and then the City to pay bills that are not Current Year Budgeted bills. Statements from Mr. Tuccolo, who is new to any senior management roll and does not understand the financial process, should check with his Sewer Commission and especially The Chair Mr. Hanlon, who held up these legal bills, with the knowledge of at least one city councilor, from the Low Street legal challenge that is still ongoing. Dumping this issue on Mr. O'Regan and his staff is convenient for unqualified managers to do. Laws do not allow billing accounts when thers is no money in them.

2. Axel_Pup,First of all the person was not 'Fired'. His contract was just not renewed. Being an employee at will either side could have ended the relationship at any time. Differing situation than if he was a union member. No charges were brought or accusations made that he was not doing a good job. Only the Mayor stating that their management 'styles' did not match. That could mean she may have been asking him to do something wrong and he said no to it, couldn't that be the case? Could mean many things. When any employee leaves a company they are entitled to a severance package. This is what she has offered him for his many years of service. The employee has a right to over ride the Mayors decision. They chose not to.

3. The accusation from the 'acting deputy director' (who was a one year employee as a collection system foremen with no degree in management or experience or the educational background in managing a financial department before his very sudden rise to fame by appointment and stipend) surprises me with accusing the Sewer Commissioners or other departmental employees of "sweeping things under a rug", and stating that these bills were 'legitimate' due to the fact that only the Sewer Commission can approve or deny a charge or voucher to the Sewer Budget approved by the city council. Not being financially savvy in municipal finances or good accounting practices, he also would not know that a bill dated 2009 could still be payable in fiscal 2010 funds, if monies were properly transferred by the Mayor and City Auditor, ear marked for this expenditure (but not in fiscal 2011 funds). And he certainly would not know that some legal bills for acquiring the property at 115 Water Street and such were encumbered before the loan for the plant upgrade was received and would need to be paid at a date when the funds became available through the borrowing by the City Treasurer. But the person hired to oversee the project would be in charge of that. So all together, Mr. Tuccolo's statements just cloud the story and ascertain his ability to perform in such a manner that is above his capabilities will be challenging for him in his future.




4. Councilor Ives and the Sewer Commission were working on a plan to present a transfer request to recognize the needs of legal representation costs of the Low Street Suit. One only needs to communicate with the proper authorities to get answers to things they do not know. That is if one is not inclined to cover their own tracks or implement a personal agenda. I am surprised she was not consulted prior to the presentation for transferring the funds to the council. As anyone can research, through the Auditor, it is very common for departments to request such transfers to pay bills from prior years or for unexpected expenses that expended the allotted funds by the council.





The real headline should have been "Cost Of Low Street Betterment Fight continues to rise and needs to be addressed", or does someone have an axe to grind? lol