Betsy Murphy appears on DATV

Ok.. writing this carefully so as not to mess it up…

Betsy Murphy was on a DATV show this evening, and I recommend that you find this and watch it. at least this episode.
Normally, I would not ask you to do this, because it is a show hosted by someone who I feel has lost his way, and does not care about Dracut, and is all about his revenge and obsession against others (Shaw, Forcier, etc).

But in terms of this show, Murphy would not appear with Bond, so the show was hosted by Gordy Scott, a Dracut resident of whom I have had some respect .

It was a good interview with Betsy Murphy, and Scott ended it by endorsing the choice to Vote YES for Dracut by asking the viewers to support both questions on the May 2 election.

Thank you to Gordy, and thank you to Betsy Murphy for taking the positive effort to be seen on that show, yet refusing to be interviewed by the other host. I think Gordy did a good job, and thank him for his support of the override questions.

Murphy strikes back

The school committee candidates tonight were the first up at the annual Candidates Night, but it was their closing statements that were the main “hit” of the night.

First of all, they all said that they would Vote YES for Dracut, with two of them (Murphy and Volpe) saying they would vote for both questions, and Woods saying he would vote for the one for safety.. but not for education. (This from the guy running for school committee? I thought that strange.)

First, Volpe has earned a great reputation by getting involved voluntarily over the last year.. attending every Finance task force and school committee meeting to learn everything she could.. and it showed. I’ve seen other first time candidates in the past who just didn’t know their stuff. She seems on the ball here.  She spoke to her private sector experience in oversight and auditing, her experience with the special education system, and that she is pushing for an outside review to be done of the district.

Woods came in showing some good experience having been on the school committee and later a key administrator as athletic director. He could speak well to using data, and the impact of change on student activities.  His main focus was on what he believes is a lack of quality on the school committee, which he indicates by pointing out the recent 8% raise for Superintendent Stone and its improperly being voted in executive session.

Murphy, as the incumbent, had to respond by defending the current school committee. She talked about her own experience as a teacher, and the successes the current board is having after completing the redistricting and achieving some stability of leadership over the last few years, and now a few years ahead.

It was during their closing statements where the major point was made though. In her last remark, she pointed out that Woods was the member of the school committee in the past that started Elaine Espindle at $88,000 a year.. and by the time he had left the board she was at $134,000 based on raises Woods had proposed.

You could see he wanted to respond, but had already had his chance to give his closing statement.

I’m holding off on writing about the Selectmen, because we still have two candidates coming on the radio this Saturday morning.

I’ll also be rewatching the program tomorrow (I have it recorded), to look for more interesting points.

I definitely recommend you look for the rerun on channel 99, DATV Government Channel.

 

Register to Vote by April 12

ATTENTION

DRACUT RESIDENTS

ELECTIONS for the TOWN OF DRACUT and

DRACUT WATER SUPPLY DISTRICT will be held

on MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016.

THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE in

order to participate in both the TOWN and DWSD

Elections is TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2016 from

8:30 AM through 8:00 PM at the Office of the Town

Clerk, Town Hall, 62 Arlington Street, Dracut, MA.

You may also register to vote at the Town Clerk’s Office

during regular business hours, Monday through Friday,

from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.

 

Kathleen M Graham                                     Jayne Boissonneault

Town Clerk                                                   Assistant Town Clerk

PD Denies grievance, ball in Manager’s court

Chartrand wrote quite a “harsh” letter recently to Lt Fleury, and in response the union has filed a grievance on his behalf.

Upon reading the story in the paper last week, I immediately thought that there is probably no policy in writing with regard to how many hours an officer can work within a limited time.

Chartrand made some points with regard to hours, but could be seen to have gone a bit overboard on other wording.

In the department review performed recently, it was pointed out that we need better policies and procedures in that department.

Now Town Manager Duggan has a bit of a hot potato to deal with.

From the Lowell Sun political gossip column:

THE BATTLE between the top management of the Dracut Police Department and the officers union has escalated.

Police Chief Kevin Richardson has denied a grievance filed by the union on behalf of Lt. Michael Fleury, and it’s up to Town Manager James Duggan to resolve the bitter dispute.

A copy of the grievance, filed by the New England Police Benevolent Association against Deputy Chief David Chartrand has not yet been released to the public so specific allegations are unknown. But it appears related to a report of an internal-affairs investigation regarding Fleury, released under a public-records request by The Sun.

Chartrand both conducts internal investigations and handles records requests.

The Fleury report stands out for a few reason. The other two employees investigated in 2015 were officers, while Fleury is a supervisor. And the wording of Chartrand’s letter of reprimand was extremely harsh.

Chartrand characterized Fleury as “passive aggressive,” and wrote that his decision to work 32 out of 34 hours was motivated by a desire for personal gain and could have put the town at risk of litigation for negligence if something had gone wrong during one of Fleury’s shifts.

“The message that you have put forth to officers within the department is that greed is acceptable and that making money takes priority over safety,” Chartrand wrote in the Oct. 14 letter. “You need to do some soul searching and dedicate yourself to performing your duties as a supervisor, not just taking as much money that is available to you from the department.”

A portion of Chartrand’s letter to Fleury was published in a March 13 Sun story examining internal-affairs investigations at police departments throughout the region.

Richardson declined to discuss his reason for denying the grievance, except to say the department merely complied with the newspaper’s request. Richardson acknowledged Fleury must have been “upset.”

Duggan declined comment.

Last year, a department audit by Municipal Resources Inc. identified a caustic relationship between leadership and some subordinates, namely Fleury, as a serious morale and employee-retention problem.

The NEPBA has long been at war with leadership, not so much with Richardson but with Chartrand, who has eyed the top job for years.

The union’s executive director is Jerry Flynn, the retired Lowell police officer who has never been shy about dissing Chartrand. Its director of administration is Tony Archinski, the retired Dracut police officer who is now Board of Selectmen chairman.

 

Unblocking a few to celebrate Spring

Responding to Frank

I’m sure it will have to change again in the future, but I decided to unblock a few people in an effort to continue to work together towards the Vote YES efforts in the Spring Election.

You see, earlier Jason was so proud of the fact that I was allowed to comment on posts on his page, but I had blocked a few people from my own.. and I guess he was one of them (of course, not his own name, but I unblocked him anyways).

Then, of course, John “Frank” Lynch decided to jump in and start his attacks on Malliaros. You see he likes to jump in and throw threads off topics so he can continue to make his attacks. No, he isn’t unblocked on DF.

But the fact is, as I noted here, George Malliaros did say he would Vote YES on one of the questions. At this point he is not committed to the other, but that means I have a month to work on him..lol.

Reply to Jason at that “Fake” Forum for Dracut

April 2 FB Posting

 
First, let me say this. I shared Jason’s post from his “Real Forum” (jk) onto the Dracut Forum FB page so that I could comment on it. Its rare that I do that, but I believe it was necessary to rebut some of the falsities he is putting forth.

He deleted the post from his site then reposted it to cancel the share. His choice, I won’t do that again (note that my sharing his post actually improves his visiblity on FB, not mine).

So, here I share his post publicly, and add my comments:

Malliaros did join us on the 980 WCAP program yesterday.

When talking about the override question from 3 years ago, he did say that the school committee acted greedy at the time, and we all agreed with him. They chose an arbitrary large amount (2.9 Million) all that was supposed to go to just one department. It was reaching too far, and it failed miserably.

As to some savings, we all discussed not getting “rid” of Franciamore, but creating a central finance department that would be made up with people who had experience with the various domains, but led by one financial department head. Some towns have done this already.

Malliaros did mention that he had been away the last few weeks visiting his college aged children and friends, so was not up on the current election.

As to the pipeline he did mention that he had been living with one in his own yard for decades. He had some concern about the compression station, but also wanted to hear what benefits (revenue) that may come to the town do to the infrastructure.

Now, Jason can continue to try to stop people from commenting on his posts, that’s his choice. I just recommend he actually listen, instead of just hear what he wants. And don’t worry J, we’ll keep doing the work of bringing out the topics and issues so that you have something to comment on.

Jesse Forcier and Phil Thibault on 980 WCAP

Last Saturday Morning, we had the challengers for Board of Selectmen in the Dracut election live in studio to discuss the issues.

I’ve included this as two parts (after editing out commercials, openers and closers to save some time).

And here we have part 2:

Net School Spending study

The Dracut School committee had a discussion this week of a report requested by Dr McNamara regarding Net School Spending in the area communities.

The report shows how much more Billerica, Chelmsford, Tewksbury and Tyngsboro spend beyond what is required to provide educational opportunities to the students in their systems.

It is eye-opening, and I encourage readers to go to the websites of all these school systems and review the offerings each provides.

Donations support Community of Caring

Dawn Smith, the Principal from the Brookside elementary school, came to the School Committee meeting last night bearing gifts.

In support of the school’s Community of Caring efforts towards recycling, Hannafords has donated 250 canvas food bags (like the ones you would purchase at the store) to help the students with food collection and cutback of plastic bags in the waste stream.

Plumbing supply company FW Webb has donated an automated water bottle filling station (this provides both a drinking fountain as well as the ability to refill water bottles).  This is in response to a fundraising drive done by the second graders at the school.  Instead of allowing the school to buy the unit, FW Webb donated it.  Previous funds collected will go towards filters.  Andy Graham’s team will install the unit in the lobby of the Brookside.

Big thanks to these local businesses, as well as the students and teachers that made it happen.