Saturday, December 19, 2015

They Bully... we let them

In an effort to call attention to the recent events that took place last week regarding the resignation of Judy Grove from the Skate Park Committee. I will try not to make derogatory remarks towards those who have bullied Judy from the skate park committee, but the facts remain, fellow skate park committee members, insulted, degraded and bullied the one member that has stood tall for the kids in our community and has worked tirelessly for years for the skate park. 
We no longer tolerate bullying in our schools and we should no longer tolerate bullying from our elected officials or Town employee’s and certainly not fellow committee members. Judy, a senior citizen, Town Meeting member, who serves on many committees’ and community activist. Judy has been the skate board park champion since the beginning and was voted by Town Meeting to serve on the Advisory board last year. But unfortunately, The Chair of the Advisory Committee, who happens to be a known bully selectman, along with the past director of Park and Rec, who happens to be the assistant Town Manger now along with a Town meeting member who suffers from napoleon syndrome went too far, played games in the election process guaranteeing Judy would not be elected to the board, insulted her integrity and belittled her decade long work on behalf of the kids in Town.

Date:  December 3, 2015

At Spring Town Meeting in 2015 I was the Sponsor of a Citizen’s Petition - Article 26 “Capital Authorization for Framingham Skatepark Building Project.”  Before Town Meeting I was approached by members of the Finance and Capital Budget Committees who offered me a “Motion to Replace the Skate Park Article 26 Motion”.  I was told that this would vastly improve my efforts to build a skatepark.  This new motion created an 11 member Skatepark Advisory Committee (SAC).

I was told that 3 of the members on this committee would be from the stakeholders – Sponsor, Skateboarder and Parent of Skateboarder.  At the Spring 2015 Town Meeting there was a nearly unanimous vote in favor of the Article and a resolution that as Sponsor, I be on this Committee.   I believed that this would assure the best possible outcome for building our skatepark.

However, there have been a number of serious, unacceptable problems with the Skatepark Advisory Committee:

Selection of Skatepark Advisory Committee members:
1.     The Parks Commission advertised the three stakeholder positions in the Boston Globe and during their meeting on June 3, 2015 they voted for them by secret ballot.  I objected to this and eventually filed a complaint with the MA Attorney General’s office who confirmed that they had broken the Open Meeting Law. This incurred legal expenses for the Town and created a sense of distrust among the stakeholders.
2.     Despite the resolution that as sponsor of the Article I be on this committee, I received an e-mail the day before this meeting stating that I needed to apply for the position.  I was not assured this was just a formality and was required to give reasons for being selected.
3.     For the Skateboard parent position, the Parks Commission chose a person who had never been to a skatepark meeting, did not have a child who skateboarded and whose application was a 4 sentence e-mail instead of Kelly Lopez, mother of skateboarder, Sam, and a dedicated member of the Framingham Skatepark Committee, who sent a detailed application letter, spoke at a BOS meeting, attended the Capital Budget Meeting and also had a comprehensive letter printed as part of the background material for Article 26 in the Warrant book.  Sam and Kelly faithfully attend our meetings.  Another excellent choice would have been Heather Bachman, the first parent who joined our committee.  Heather also spoke at a BOS meeting and faithfully attends our meetings with her son, Jayden.
4.     After the secret ballot, we were told by the Chair of the Parks Commission "You can leave now.  We are finished with the appointments.” After we left, the Commission proceeded to choose their two members based on seniority while the only member of the Commission who ever expressed support for our skateboarders, Phil Reitz, was not considered.  As a middle school teacher, Phil knows many of the skateboarders including James and attended our Skate Jam in November 2014.
5.     Dan Rao, a member of the Capital Budget Committee expressed his support of the skatepark when I first brought it up at Town Meeting.  He was denied a seat in favor of Michael Cannon with the reason given that Cannon asked first.  (See e-mail date 6/6/15).  Mr. Cannon had never expressed support for the skatepark.

The SAC membership should have been made up of individuals because they had a sincere interest in building a skatepark and not for political reasons which seems to have been the case.

Awarding of Design Contract to High Bidder
1.     Despite unanimous agreement (See report “SAC Minutes September 24, 2015”) that both Spohn Ranch and Pillar Design Studios would build a good skatepark for Framingham, the contract was given to the high bidder.
2.     At the November 5th meeting I was the only member with a written report and the only member who addressed the cost (See “General Comparison of Skatepark Proposals”) but no one on the committee including the representative of Capital Budget and Finance chose to discuss cost even though the difference was significant.
3.     When asked to justify this decision by Mr. Lloyd and others no answer was given.
4.     On November 9th I sent another financial report (See “Negotiation of Contract with Pillar Design Studios”).
5.     This creates concern for the future.  The Design Fee is a small amount ($25,000) compared to the potential cost of building the skatepark ($350,000) and this estimate is now in the hands of the high bidder.

Bullying by a Member of the Skatepark Advisory Committee
1.     For over a year I have been bullied by a member of SAC.
2.     This bullying has occurred at Town Meeting, before, during and after SAC meetings, and on the telephone.
3.     This bullying has been witnessed by my husband and several Town Meeting Members.
4.     I have confronted this person in the presence of witnesses and it has not stopped.
5.     I have also spoken about it to members of this committee who are unable to intervene.
6.     I am no longer able to tolerate it and it is this is the main reason I have decided to resign from the Skatepark Advisory Committee.


At December 19, 2015 at 9:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about sour milk. Sounds like ms grove is more upset that she didn't get her way so she is taking her ball away and leaving the playground. How mature.

At December 20, 2015 at 11:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To bad Jim Pillsbury doesn't practice what he preaches.
Talk about bullies.


At December 20, 2015 at 1:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here Jim Pillsbury decries bullying but excludes the Rizolis (corrected spelling) and company ????? from the discussion. Such institutionalized censorship even at this level is a heavy form of bullying.

At December 20, 2015 at 3:26 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

I look at my public forum as one that promotes reasonable and educated opinions from our community, anonymously or not, that foster sensor free discussion that is free of hatred, bigotry, misinformation, lies and deceit. To compare, even remotely, how the Skate Park committee bullied Judy and the Rizoli's is absurd and baseless. Some of our readers would rather not read anything from Rizoli's and company till the next Melania, I being one of them. The post is about the skate park committee's actions, period.

At December 20, 2015 at 4:13 PM , Blogger Jonds said...

Strange that you can boil this letter down so rediculously, ignoring so many inappropriate actions and focusing only on the fact that Ms.Grove didn't get her way. What happened was just wrong, residents of Framingham should demand openess, fairness and accountability. And the final contract should withstand open review of the deal and process. Jon Siegel

At December 20, 2015 at 4:23 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

While some may dismiss this Town sanctioned bullying off as sour grapes, lets consider the upcoming special Town Meeting in February. Town Meeting will be asked.. or rather bullied into re-zoning Nobscott Shopping center so that Andy Rose can build apartments or condo's, 150 or so. It appears that many in and around Nobscott would not prefer an apartment complex, for a whole myriad of reasons. All of which make good sense to me. But given the history of the Giombetti bullies in Town and the planning board, everyone should be concerned with committee chairs who are bullied into decisions that may not be in the best interest of the community.
We saw this a few years ago when the king of bullies in Town, Dennis Giombetti bullied the planning board into changing the by-laws to restrict the medical marijuana dispensary.
Town Meeting will be asked to spend a small chunk of money on the skate park and now that we know, the bullies have intentionally manipulated the system to exclude Judy. What faith can Town Meeting have in a committee headed up by a bully selectman.
It may prove fruitless, but my question to town counsel is, is the recent election of the skate park committee legally binding? Should the skate park committee realize their mistakes and hold an election of members that is free of manipulation?
Should the Chair of the committee (Jason Smith) relinquish the seat for aiding and abetting an unfair election?

At December 20, 2015 at 5:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you tell us all the players that have taken part in the Judith blowoff? Who voted for who? Are the votes public? If it was a secret ballot, is a secret ballot even legal with this type of committee?

At December 21, 2015 at 12:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like always there are two sides to every story. I would compel you to take this resignation letter with a grain of salt.
Also, did you receive consent to use a minor's name in your post?

At December 21, 2015 at 1:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we also get examples of the bullying? How is Grove being bullied?

At December 21, 2015 at 4:50 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

The players are the usual suspects, Selectman Smith, the Assistant Town Manger and Mike Cannon.

I'm asking for the minutes of the meeting.

No.. I didn't get anyone's permission to use their name.

If you read the letter from Judy to the SAC.. it will become clear how long this has been going on and by whom.

Past Selectman Giombetti bullied Ms. Long into bringing forward to TM 5 by-laws that the Planning Board did not initially approve, is one example of bulling in Town. They only seem to push around the women...

At December 21, 2015 at 9:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim - I've read over Grove's letter twice. All she says is that she's been bullied - but gives absolutely ZERO examples. What have they SPECIFICALLY done to her? If you're not willing/can't provide specific examples how can we give any credibility to the statements made?

At December 22, 2015 at 8:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim is about as credible as Mrs.Grove.

Not willing to fact check, not willing to get the full story, pre judging people he doesn't know. Jim sounds like a real class act.

Keep pounding away on those keys like the keyboard commando that you are Jim.

At December 22, 2015 at 1:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright Jim and Ms. Grove. You ask us to stop over here for more conversation. All we are looking for is what 'REALLY' happened. By not providing specific examples it makes it pretty hard to take your side. Jim you specifically asked us on framgov to come over here to your blog (no 2 posts a day rule in effect) to weigh in - but its impossible to weigh in without knowing what the REAL story is.

As for the minutes of the meetings - do you really believe they are going to have something in there that says 'Mr. X at the table then proceeded to bully Ms. Grove...'

At December 22, 2015 at 1:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I would like to say I appreciate the Rizolis not being here. It is nice to have a forum about the issue, not about the Rizolis. Second, I am curious, this was a meeting of a town organized committee, correct? Isn't there a recording of this meeting by Government Access? If there is, why can't we see that, and if there isn't a recording, why isn't there one? Third, I would like to know what the specifics are about the bullying Ms. Grove mentions in her letter. Just like the issue we have in town with the Veteran's Officer, if you want us to support your position, then you need to have facts to back that position up. Jim I think you have to recognize that if you do want to garner support for Ms. Grove, then tell us what happened.

Last, I would like to say shame on you to those belittling Jim and Ms. Grove. At least both of them are standing up publicly for something they believe in. A lot of the posts here are just people throwing mud at someone who has more guts than they do. You don't agree with the position Jim takes or the story Ms. Grove tells, fine, call it into question, but ignoring the issue to berate the messenger is not going to win you any support. One person on here states that Ms. Grove is upset because she did not get her way. If you have any proof at all of your statement, then let's see it. Or are you just here because this blogs allows you to belittle people and FramGov does not let you get away with that.

I don't know whose side I am on in this, and I won't make a decision about that until I know a lot more than I know now. If someone has some facts and/or documentation to back up either side, those of us with a brain in our heads would be interested in seeing them.

Ms. King, your posts are very obvious, even if you don't have the guts to put your name on them.

At December 22, 2015 at 2:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is Ms. King? Which posts are obviously hers? For those of us who are just trying to understand who the players are in this, this is just another out in left field commentt.

At December 23, 2015 at 2:25 PM , Anonymous Judy Grove said...

I believe that certain anonymous posters would benefit from learning what it means to bully someone.

Bullying is an attempt, usually systematic and ongoing, to undermine and harm someone based on some perceived weakness. Although commonly associated with children, bullying can occur at any age. In recent years, workplace bullying has received significant attention. There are those who say that bullying is behind all forms of violence, and results in conflict, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

There are many forms of bullies. The form addressed in this blog is the Verbal Adult Bully. Words are powerful and have a very strong effect on people. Verbal bullying can cause victims to lose interest in their lives in general and may even lead to depression.

Here are a few forms of bullying that I have experienced by the individual under question:
1. Being treated rudely or disrespectfully.
2. Being yelled or shouted at. For example, this happened and was witnessed by skatepark advocates at a committee meeting last March and during a phone call to my home before Town Meeting when the bully angrily told me that I would be humiliated at Town Meeting when my Article to Build a Skatepark failed unless I did things his way.
3. Being lied to. The bully constantly came up to question me at Town Meeting and before and after skatepark meetings. I kept asking him to leave me alone. Finally my husband, who attended every skatepark meeting told him to leave me alone. The bully asked why he should and my husband told him because he said I would be humiliated at Town Meeting. The bully lied and angrily claimed he never said this. My husband told him he witnessed him saying this because the bully was shouting so loud at me on the telephone that he clearly heard what he had said. The bully turned and walked away.

I do not believe it is useful to give any more examples. Instead I would ask the poster of the doubting comments to evaluate his/her own behavior in regard to the serious issue of bullying other. This person might also benefit from reading the references listed below.
Judy Grove


At December 23, 2015 at 4:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith - at least you came up with some example - you could have spared us the tutorial. All we asked for was how YOU were bullied - not how every adult in the world could feel bullied.

So lets go for the facts (you can skip the fluff).

1. You were treated rudely or disrespectfully. Again - specifics - please!!! Or was that you felt like you were yelled at and are counting that as this - hence trying to get a two - for - one.
2. What specifically were you yelled at for at the meeting? Here is one where there could actually be people to corroborate your story.
3.Your claim that you were lied to - but in reality was it your husband who he lied to?

And again - can we get who is this - that has brought so much drama to the skateboard park.

Look Judy - I'm not trying to bash you - its exactly the opposite. You are making some very specific claims (others in Framingham politics have done the same - but when pressed for specifics - start pulling back their story) so I'm just putting your story to the sniff test.

At December 27, 2015 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 days later and the "Sniff test" isn't smelling too good.

At December 30, 2015 at 10:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Up to a week now - and still no answers. I beginning to suspect Ms. Grove's story has been 'overblown' for dramatic effect.

At January 5, 2016 at 12:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

14 days and still no comment from Ms. Grove to pass the sniff test. Story ain't smelling good anymore....


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