Friday, November 11, 2011

No place for cronyism

When is enough enough?
I don’t know.
Is it when most citizens of a town are afraid to ask the hard questions at public meetings because they fear retaliation?
Is it when a selectman has been warned that should his beaver dam break and do damage to town roads he would have to pay for the repairs, yet when it does break and do damage, and he is sent the bill, the selectmen “forgive” it?
Is it when a town board overrides a town commission so that an employee of the board can demolish a historic building and sell the property for big profits, thus permanently altering the character of the town in the process?
Is it when the select board waives most of the expenses for a non-emergency ambulance transport across seven state lines for the sister of a selectman (leaving the town short one ambulance for emergencies) thus “donating” town services that would amount to about $10,000 if they were provided by a private ambulance service?
Is it when a school board violates state law by over-spending the annual budget by more than $300,000 — money that had not been appropriated by the taxpayers, or alternately pre-approved for payment by the budget committee, state education commissioner and Department of Revenue Administration as required by law?
It’s too bad that Winchester’s dirty laundry is just too dirty to be properly washed in Winchester.
But it is clear that none of the dirt ever comes out if the dirty laundry is kept in town and controlled by the same people who get it dirty in the first place.
I understand people wanting to help others. That’s what we have private nonprofit organizations, churches and personal charity for. But government “bailouts” for a privileged few are just as wrong for Winchester as they are for Washington.
When elected officials choose to help their friends, family and cohorts within their tight little circle of influence (or themselves) with taxpayer funds, I say enough is enough. This kind of thing may happen in small towns everywhere. But that’s no excuse. It’s time to put a stop to the wrongdoing.
Please let me know what you think. Call me at 239-8952.
I care what you think, and welcome ideas as to how to reduce the financial cronyism that occurs in Winchester at taxpayer expense.
168 Clark Road


Mike Towne said...

It all begins at the polls; voter turnout is a must and a desire to change the face of Winchester for the betterment of all.
Apathy and a lack of desire to get involved is what keeps this circle of cronyism going.
People must want change and be willing to do whatever it takes and the first two steps to accomplish this is attend the Deliberative Session and the other is get out and vote on Election Day. No excuses. If you truly want to put an end to what's been bleeding the town dry for all these years, then do your part or continue to be part of the problem by turning a blind eye.

Anonymous said...

Brian, we have voted, time and time again....and yet somehow....MIRACULOUSLY...THE SAME PEOPLE are there election after election....any thoughts?


Until taxes get so high that people cant buy food, the majority of the voters in any town are employees, friends and family. Plus everyone knows that if you stand up at deliberative and go against the people in power, you better not need anything from any of the town employees.

Rich said...

If everyone knows that this is the norm here in Winchester, then it's time to send a loud and clear message that we will no longer except this kind of conduct from elected officials and town employees and send them packing. Why continue to put up with bullying tactics and indifference? We won't tolerate bullying in our schools why allow it coming out of town hall? Stop looking for excuses not to act and waiting for other people to do something. If you're afraid to speak out all you have to do is go vote, they can't see or hear you in the voting booth.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion: pull together the 10-12 people that participate in this blog, and all run for something.. like dog catcher. ruff ruff Then you can make change. Got to start someplace.

Ed from Winchester

Carol said...

Better suggestion; take your juvenile comments and go away. It's people like you that give this town a bad name.

Concerned Citizens said...

Now that we have heard from the town hall cronies, I would like to thank them for their support. We like controversial comments on winchesterinformerblog it let's us know we are doing a good job.

I guess free loader Ed is busy looking for a place to rent free now he has been evicted.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention that a member of the budget committee is carrying on with the road agent. Huge conflict of interest there.

Anonymous said...

The budget committee must have hit a nerve at the town hall. Supposedly , the selectmen are going to close the dump because of a $17,000 cut in the landfill budget. What will the selectmen do with the other $282,000 that is earmarked to run the place with? Contracted services weren't cut. The town hall doesn't like it when people ask questions. Time to support the budget committee folks.

cronycsm at its best said...

The selectmen are just doing what they do best and this time its protecting a paycheck for some one who is retired. I suppose if something happened to Mr. Gomarlo they would have to close the landfill, I think not.

Forgot one crucial member said...

To Anonymous 1:30 - you forgot to mention the Board of Selectman member too! Two at once - got to cover the bases here and make sure we keep our cushy job! Who knows, the Administrator might be next on the list.

Anonymous said...

Dale does make the rounds now doesn't he? How's he enjoying the new truck we bought for him so he can carouse in style?

Just Asking said...

We have a good town employee and his name is Henry Audet. Don't see why the BOS cant get him certified to do what ever needs to be done at the recycle plant, and he could probably use the extra money. Maybe a good backup, so we don't get in this position again, would be Ricks son that works for water part time.

Anonymous said...

That's right- let's not forget the BOS member- he gets looks and benefits! Boy Dale must be doing something right we don't know about! We never see him doing anything!

Anonymous said...

Step up to the plate and run for something again. Maybe then we will know how much pull you and your gang really have in town.


Rick said...

It would be good to see Mr. Towne run for office again. He has been truthful and a staunch voice for change and he has my vote. You should be careful what you wish for John, it may just come back to bite you in your ass. By the way, how many times have you run and been defeated?

Concern Citizens said...

The town beach wants to add an part-time employee, unfortunately the job was cut by the budget committee. Maybe they can use Henry Audet to fill their needs.

We all know what happens in Winchester to part-time employees, they go full time with insurance if only they pledge to be one of their cronies.

Bob Davis Budget Committee Member said...

Tax collection Statistics Report as of 6/30/2011

2008 Billed Amount 7,891,364.84
Collected Taxes 7,838,439.37 Outstanding (unpaid) 52,925.47

2009 Billed Amount 7,513,515.00
Collected Taxes 7,166,458.29
Outstanding 347,056.71

2010 Billed Amount 7,234,795.00
Collected Taxes 6,761,399.70
Outstanding (unpaid) 473,395.80

2011 Billed Amount 1st 3,616,359.00
Collected Taxes 24,985,354.57
Outstanding (unpaid) 1,270,679.27

Total Outstanding as of 6/30/2011



Jul (0)
Aug (1)
Oct (1)
Nov (0)
Dec (0)
Jan (1)
Feb (1)
Mar (2)
Apr (2)
May (0)
Jun (2)

Out of the 10 foreclosures 7 have been resold to new owners.

There is a direct correlation between families losing their home from high tax rates in this town.

Please send a message to the town hall, selectmen and budget committee members,cut the taxes, the loss of just one family's home is too much.

Anonymous said...

And despite all of this which started when we went into this depression in 2007, our selectmen keep handing out raise and bonuses and cost of living increases to the town employees and raising the department budgets instead of holding the line, making cuts and freezing raises like every other town and city across the state. They have to be sure they keep these people happy or chance losing a bid for re-election. They only care about themselves and you can bet this trend will continue until people realize what a screwing we're all getting from this bunch.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps someone could find the figure for the total taxable valuation of the town for this fall. It has been declining, and lately there has been a hurried rush to have the avitar people in town looking at properties again. I find it hard to believe that property values have risen here. Towns where the valuation drops, the tax rate goes up. Of course the selectmen wouldn't want anyone to know if it did, so that people would think everything is fine. Take a look at the welfare budget this year, that is an indication of how well off things are, too.

Anonymous said...

They shouldn't have given Gus Ruth that huge tax rebate, no one else gets that kind of special treatment; especially people who owe the town money like he does.

BOS Minutes 11-9-11 said...

The budget committee has a problem with the ambulance going to N.Carolina. Most of the people in town now know that as long as you can pay mileage you can have a ride in the Winchester Ambulance. Even though I would thank Mr. Smith for his service, this was a BIG mistake. As for Ms. Fraser and Mr. Gardner badmouthing the budget committee, what do you expect, this has been there for te' from day one. There isn't a government dept or a household that couldn't trim there budget by 20% if they tried,with the depts in Winchester knowing they have the total backing of the BOS, they have no intention of changing. Most of us that work for a lining have a boss or bosses looking over our shoulder, but if you are employed by the town of Winchester no one is even supposed to question what you are doing.Its amazing how no one seems to be able to do anything above board.

Its the taxpayer-Stupid said...

NO KIDDING 7:06pm, the select board seemed to have forgotten who they are supposed to be representing.

Bob Davis said...

What wrong with this picture? This just goes to show everyone how desperate the selectmen can become and how innocent their action might seems could endanger peoples lives who feel a duty to voluntary there time. There is not pay and the budget committee actions are not absolute. All the budget committee members asked for was a job description of John Gomarlo and the selectmen couldn’t produce one. Gus Ruth failed to mention that in his note to everyone…..

I think
Selectmen Gus Ruth should resign for spreading contemptuous untruthful, false and malicious statements at the town transfer station, for reducing his comments to paper, then in his selectmen capacity instructing transfer employees to hand-out these written false misleading statements to everyone, in part stating the transfer station is closing as a direct results of certain budget committee members actions of zeroing out the only licensed employee. Mr. Ruth’s actions of reducing his malicious threats to printing which included the names and phone number of everyone who voted yes is an endangerment of the budget committee members. As a results I am receiving threatening phone calls. A copy of these notes will be a questions for the county prosecutor office.



phone in hand said...

What a crock of sh#t, the only time that guy is even around the place is when he's collecting money for stickers. Otherwise he's a ghost, never there. This is just them trying to put the squeeze on the town to keep paying a guy who's one of them ...useless !! Whatever it takes we need to get rid of this whole bunch, they have made it clear it is us against them; us being the citizens of Winchester.
Hey Informers can you publish the phone numbers and addresses of the board of dingbats for all of us so we can call them and tell them what we think of the job they are doing?

send them all packing said...

Why is the license in Gormalos name and not the Town of Winchester? And doesn't Richmond also support the center and staff it? I think the selectmen are attempting to pull a power play and the budget committee needs to call their bluff and make even deeper cuts across the board. I read the minutes they posted and Gardner and Fraser are really outspoken about several members on the budget committee. Look who's calling the kettle black the two biggest spenders we have. I agree whatever it takes they all need to go, enough is enough!

Held Hostage said...

Has Mr. Ruth lost his mind or has the total arrogance at the town hall gotten totally out of hand? If that employee or any employee working for Winchester gets removed and it shuts anything down we better take a close look at town policies and change them fast.I think we should thank the budget committee for bringing these shortcoming to light. No backup is not am option, anywhere but Winchester.

Mike Towne said...

So ( heaven forbid ) if John were to drop dead from natural causes or have a fatal accident we'd also have to shut the transfer station down because there is no contingency plan to go on without him? How stupid does Gus Ruth and the rest of these simpletons think we are? This is just a ploy to save John's supplement to his retirement and rage against certain members of the Budget Committee for doing their jobs and attempting to cut the bloat in our town budget. No offense to John; but this baloney is strictly on the Board of Selectman for attempting to pull a stunt like this. Ruth should turn in his resignation immediately for this foolishness. And those of you who continue to support this type of behavior are the reasons why Winchester is the way it is.

pay attention!! said...

Pay Attention!
John G wasn't eliminated by the Budget committee, the PAYROLL line for his job was. So even if there was someone else liscensed to do the same job he does, there would be NO MONEY to hire them or pay them.
And thats why the transfer station would have to be closed. No money to pay for someone to run it.

Anonymous said...

Baloney, John is never there except once a year to collect money the people from Richmond have been running that transfer station for years. But thanks Irene for proving once again the spin coming out of town hall is nothing but that, bs propaganda.

this is bull said...

What job? name his job description for us please. All I ever have seen him do is hang around the selectmans office with his feet up or sit out at the dump for a couple of days. Where can I get a job like this for what we pay him to do?

Anonymous said...

There certainly is money for operators in that landfill budget. It's called contracted services. The budget committee did not gut the ability to pay a person. It would just mean that they would have to provide services through a contract. What is so bad about that? Me thinks something is rotten in Denmark about this onslaugt of crap against the budget committee. Despicable behavior from the town hall.

Anonymous said...

The bone head selectmen have had it their way to long. I say good work budget committee you sure have shaken them up. Gus Ruth is just a hand puppet for his wife. If you look close she has her hand up the back of his coat to make his mouth work.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed this letter came out two days after the same individuals came before the board of selectman to complain about Brian. Turn around is fair play!

Unfortunately, all of the Monadnock Region now knows about the corption in Winchester!

Including one of the above mentioned's son stealing from our neighbors and FINALLY getting caught. Let's hope that the court system finally does something to teach him a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Apples never fall very far from the tree, especially bad ones.

Whats the problem? said...

The selectmen never have had a problem moving money from one dept to another in the past.

Anonymous said...

Thought I would share a letter to the editor to the Keene Sentinel about this letter and also straighten out some of the facts stated in the letter written to the Keene Sentinel.

First, here is a copy of the letter published in the Keene Sentinel on Facts missing in ambulance letter:
I read with much interest and then with outrage a letter titled “No place for cronyism” (Nov. 11).As an EMT and a member of the Winchester Ambulance Department for nearly 15 years I felt that I needed to add facts and information that was left out.
First fact is the ambulance used to transport the patient was not purchased through taxpayer dollars. It was purchased by using donations.
Second fact is that the town of Winchester is under the “mutual aid” service. That means when a second (or even third) ambulance is needed one (or two) will come from neighboring towns.
Third fact is that all expenses were paid for by Ray Montgomery: gas, meals for attendants, etc. The total expense never even came close to the purported $10,000 figure given.
The fourth fact is, while yes, the patient is the sister of one of the Winchester selectmen, he recused himself from the decision making process.
The final fact is that this couple, Ray and Mary Montgomery, have selflessly served the town of Winchester for more than 40 years between the two of them as EMTs.
They have given their time, talent, skill and dedication to the townspeople. But now came a time when they found they needed help. And the town selflessly gave back.
Now you have the rest of the story.
320 Whipple Hill Road

About the first fact the ambulance being purchased was purchased by the 80% return from the town's billing company, Certified Ambulance Group (CAG). This is money that the patient insurance's as well as self payments are contributing to this 80%.

Secondly, the town is under the mutual aid compact meaning that if and when toned by Keene Mutual AId (KMA) then an ambulance could be sent to lets say Warwick if needed.

Thirdly, just because this trip was covered privately does not necessarily make it right. What if something went wrong during this trip an accident or even a change in the patient's condition? Whose protocols were being used since there was no tone initiating this call and no medical control orders. Since this called traveled several different states sounds a bit fishy to me as to the legality of this call in regards to protocols.

Fourthly, since the selectman went into a private session to make this decision how are the towns people that are very concerned about the neglect of these EMT's to leave their town without emergency services coverage to know that this selectman recused himself from the decision? Are we supposed to just believe his words?

Finally, I would like to add that just because this family gave and served the town for 40 years does not let them make the rules. This ambulance should not have left a town with no emergency services coverage and it should not have traveled roughly 1600 miles round trip. This is why the health care system has private ambulance services for these types of calls.

I hope this clarifies things for most people and also let's them know the whole story now.

Question for EMTs said...

Should, we the people, be addressing an even more pressing matter? The "turn around time" for the ambulance.

It has been said that the average response time is 50 minutes. Is this accounting correct?

Anonymous said...

DiLuzio's Ambulances and emts seem to be responding more and more. The dispatch in Keene is having to make more calls to get the dept moving .

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me, 50 minutes for a response to an emergency? This is nutz, you can drive yourself to the hospital in less than 20 minutes why would you wait for them? This is outrageous and needs to be investigated as to why it takes so damn long for them to respond.

horrified said...

If they can't roll an ambulance to respond faster than that then they all need to be replaced immediately, lives are at stake and every minute counts. Suppose next time it's you or one of your kids, would you care how fast they get there then?

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons it takes them so long is that some of the members of the department are responding from Richmond. One of them lives as far as the Fitzwilliam line in Richmond. So when they receive the call in Keene and place the tone they then have to get in their personal vehicle drive all the way to the station in Winchester to get in the ambulance and then go to the call.

Anonymous said...

That is ridiculous, they need to have people on duty at all times. What good is having an ambulance and no one there when it is needed ? We might as well contract with Deluzios, sell both ambulances to pay for the contract and do away with these people on the dole. That will provide the town with immediate service, no costs for maintenance fuel or insurance and save us a bunch of tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Nov 21-11:27am, you hit the nail on the head. Bring Deluzio to town, and they could service Richmond, Swanzey and possibly Hinsdale.At least we will know who owns what and we can put all this political BS behind us.