Friday, July 27, 2018

The Dem Primary debates will be televised ... the Mayor finally says

As most of you know the League of Women Voters Framingham is sponsoring the debate of the Democratic Party candidates on Aug 20th. Steph has sent numerous e mails and made phone calls about the Government Channel covering this event at the main branch of the Library. Giombetti and Cannon were in favor, but no word from the Mayor. FINALLY.. today, the COO let Steph know that the Gov Access group will be recording this event. televised.

As a side bar: The last year we were at Town Meeting, we approved funding for the Library to have the main room modified into a real studio. Of coarse, this has not happened yet. The bid just went out according to Mark over at the Library. I was against this upgrade to the room and spoke in length to Mark about it. He really didn't understand the complexity of a full blown TV studio and it's operation. He told me that staffers would be running the studio and I was just flabbergasted. You don't just walk in and start running switcher, cameras, sound boards and lighting.. there's significant training in all the disciplines to make decent quality TV.  My concern is that Ron Rego from Gov Access has anything to do with this, as he has clearly shown over the years, he just doesn't know and relies on outside firms to make the call. Clearly evident is the new set up for the Council meetings and all meetings that go on in there. The mics are constantly cutting out and the sound in the room is not consistent leaving the attendance asking, what did she/he say? Viewers at home just switch to another channel.

But this issue of what Gov TV covers goes way way back... it's ok for Gov TV to produce shows with Giomebetti in them (Framingham Today) and it's ok to cover the marathon with Mike Bower , or a concert in the Library, but it's not ok for Gov TV to produce debates and candidate forums...  and where is the Cable Advisory Committee you ask?.. their to afraid to even get involved. Our PEG stations need an overhaul and to be one entity, not the three that are now.
I've railed on this for years and years at Town Meeting, and now that there's a COO, looks like I have to start over with him. As you read their statement of purpose

The Government Channel will provide coverage of public events and community affair events that increase public understanding of Framingham Town Government and the diverse community it serves.

Aren't debates or candidate forums increasing public understanding of Framingham I ask you?

From the COO:
The Mayor has agreed to sponsor the recording of the State Representative election debate being held at the Framingham Main Public Library on Monday, August 20, 2018, in order for the event to be recorded by the Government Access Channel. According to the policy set in place by the former Board of Selectmen, this is not normally the type of event for the Government Access Channel. Given the unique circumstances for this election for one of the State Representative seats that represents Framingham, the Mayor’s decision is to make sure the election is widely known to the public in order to increase participation. It is also dependent upon legal review to ensure there are no violations with campaign laws.

According to the Policy on Government Access Programing, effective as of April 1, 2016, the primary mission of the Government Channel network is to provide live gavel-to-gavel coverage of Board of Selectmen, Planning Board and Framingham Town Meetings. The Government Channel will also provide coverage of other boards and committees of the Town when an agenda item is of high interest to the Framingham community. The Government Channel will provide coverage of public events and community affair events that increase public understanding of Framingham Town Government and the diverse community it serves. Any coverage beyond government meetings is also dependent on the availability of staff resources.

The Mayor’s office will be reviewing and updating the policy to make it consistent with the new city form of government and to clarify the role of the Government Access Channel as compared to the Public Access and Education Access Channels for programing requests.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have.


Thatcher W. Kezer III

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Employers Against Domestic Violence... is right for our city

 As some of our readers know, my partner Steph Deeley has been advocating in domestic violence awareness since her sister's death 5 years ago. There is a non profit organization that helps in training employers to recognize that domestic violence can cost the employer dearly. This group, for a nominal fee of $100.00 a year, will come to you and train on site. The Mayor has said that Framingham should be a member, but that was in March on a conference call with the President of EADV, the mayor, the city council chair, the director of Voices Against Violence, and Steph.  As of today, it does not appear that Framingham has availed themselves of this service yet. Steph and I have said we would pay for it... but the Mayor insists she can cover it. It's a sad statement when we can spend 20k on a PR person for the FPD, but we can't spend 100 bucks on a program that we so desperately need. Dozens of entities have signed on including the Red Sox, BCBS of Mass, MGH, Masphee Police, Town of Billerica, Duxbury, Easton, Needham, etc etc.

If you agree.. send
the Mayor a note.. in the subject line write... sign up to EADVMA

Uniting Massachusetts Employers with Experts in the Fields of Domestic and Workplace Violence Prevention.

Domestic violence is a serious, recognizable and preventable problem like thousands of other workplace health and safety issues that affect a business and its bottom line.

Through EADV, an employer can assess its unique needs, culture and goals; develop tailored workplace policies and procedures; train all senior management, supervisors and employees; offer useful information to their employees; and strive to ensure that their workplace supports all employees facing violence.

Friday, July 20, 2018

From Mass Trooper admits to recieving free weapons in gun trade probe

Massachusetts State Police Trooper admits receiving free weapons in gun trade probe

The Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree, where three Armorer's Section troopers were stationed before an investigation was opened into gun transfers.
The Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree, where three Armorer's Section troopers were stationed before an investigation was opened into gun transfers. (Massachusetts State Police)
One of three state troopers accused of selling used department guns to a state contractor and receiving free personal weapons in return is cooperating with investigators and has been granted immunity from criminal prosecution.
The Boston Globe reports that Trooper Robert Outwater, who has remained suspended without pay for nearly two years as the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey investigates the allegations of improper weapons sales, signed a cooperation agreement in September.
Sources told the Globe that Outwater admitted to receiving free guns and agreed to pay a $5,000 civil fine for violating state ethics law, but will not face more serious charges.
MassLive first reported last week that a statewide grand jury was investigating the case and considering whether to bring criminal charges.

Grand jury weighing criminal charges in alleged Massachusetts State Police gun trade scheme
Outwater was suspended in the fall of 2016. The other two troopers linked to the investigation -- Armorer's Section Commander Lt. Paul Wosny and Armorer Trooper Michael Wilmot -- have retired, state police spokesman David Procopio wrote in an email.
No other troopers have faced disciplinary action in connection with the investigation, Procopio told MassLive.
The Globe first reported details of the investigation in 2016. Almost no public information was released about its progress until last week, when State Police confirmed the existence an active grand jury investigation in a letter arguing that invoices of armory gun sales should remain secret despite a public records request from MassLive.
Wosny's attorney Timothy Burketold the Globe their clients had done nothing wrong. Attorney Leonard Kesten, who represented Outwater in 2016, has not returned multiple requests for comment.
Wilmot's attorney, Daniel J. Moynihan, told MassLive that his client was being scapegoated for the failures of his commanding officers.
"The armorer's division was completely mismanaged by the command staff," Moynihan said. "In typical fashion the state police allowed the major and the captain to move on with their lives and with their pension, and my client now is being investigated."
Wosny, Outwater and Wilmot were suspended in September of 2016 amid an inquiry into the transfer of hundreds of surplus police weapons to a gun and police equipment dealer in Western Massachusetts, WCVB reported at the time.
Sources familiar with the investigation told the Globe in 2016 that the probe centered on transactions between the state police armory and Jurek Brothers, a Greenfield-based vendor with a contract to sell firearms, weapons and other supplies to state police.
Jurek Brothers and its attorney Thomas Merrigan did not respond to requests for comment.
The Attorney General's Office was focused on allegations that troopers staffing the armory marked weapons as surplus and traded them to Jurek Brothers, who then gave over a dozen of those weapons back to the troopers for personal use, the Globe reported.
Jurek Brothers did not pay Massachusetts State Police for the weapons but gave the agency credit toward future purchases, sources told the Globe.
Moynihan told MassLive that Wilmot and the other armory troopers were following established procedures when they exchanged used weapons to Jurek Brothers' in exchange for credit.
"They were ordered to do that by the command staff," Moynihan said.
Moynihan said he could not comment on the allegations that troopers received free personal weapons in the deal.
There are currently multiple ongoing investigations into allegations of criminal behavior by members of the state police. Both Healey's office and federal investigators are probing alleged overtime abuse by troopers who patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike. The federal investigation into the abuse has so far led to four indictments; no state-level charges have yet been brought.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A PR person for FPD and it's troubles.

Last night towards the end of the Council meeting, the COO Keezer announced to the council that the Mayor has hired J Flagg (https://jflaggconsulting) as a consultant for a Police Management study.. a general level look-see at how the management is structured at FPD. It's not an in-depth look, rather a snap shot look at management. He went on to say, she is well regarded and has worked in many Mass cities and around the country. One might have thought she has tons of experience in evaluating police departments.. but a quick search on her would indicate that she's just a PR person hired to deal with the corruption at FPD. From her web site:

Are you a high-profile businessperson, elected official, or citizen faced with a situation sure to garner media attention and/or scrutiny?

Are you trying manage a growing problem and getting conflicting advice from others whose motives are unclear?

Do you need guidance in dealing with press inquiries and don’t know how to respond?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

At J. Flagg Consulting, our job is to help you through what can be a very difficult and stressful time by using our experience to develop a successful communications strategy that will guide you through the media storm.

Call us before the press calls you!

And when the COO was asked what the Mayor has to say about the 2.5 page article in the MWDN did on the lawyer who is an assistant to someone at FPD double dipping, the COO said no to any comment from the Mayor and that the current arrangements are with-in legal requirements and that the Mayor is satisfied with the current arrangements. See the meeting at The COO starts at 2:32:30 and goes to 2:36:43

It should concern everyone in Town that this type of flagrant abuse of tax dollars is being swept under the rug by the Mayor and ignored by the Council. How many more stories can the press write to get the Mayor to recognize, FPD has some issues that need fixing?

Here are a few companies that offer services to communities evaluating their Police Force, if the Mayor and COO really want to clean up FPD.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Cable Advisory Committee

The only good news is that Rego and Shuman have not been appointed. But to appoint those who are responsible for the decline of public access as we once new it, is just maintaining the status quo. The issue's of quality programming have been ignored by the committee for years and will continue to be as long as those appointed refuse to hold anyone accountable. And then there is Rabkin, who was in charge of the Access corp and did nothing to hold accountable those who ran the staion. He also hand picked only people for the Board at Access who went to his church. He is the woorst example of appointment abuse by the Mayor and the best example of why our new city form of governance is just like our old one. Axelrod has fixed many of the problems plaguing the only live show done in the studio. He is a good pick, he knows his tech stuff.

  • Current chair Annabel Dodd (pictured)
  • Current member Norma Shulman
  • Audrey Hall
  • William Rabkin
  • Glenn Axelrod

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Cave rescue

What a spectacular display of raw courage and perseverance the rescuers from around the world had to get those kids out of that cave. Despite the failure of the main pumping station at the last minute, all the kids got out alive and are now recuperating in a hospital watching the world cup soccer. The one Seal Team member who died while trying to get the kids out the day before will be remembered as a hero and a good solider. I hope the kids turn out to be great human beings with a story to tell their kids and grand kids. I can't wait to see what movie comes from this rescue.