Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Will there be a discussion about lessons learned from Uvalde?

 Tonight, the Mayor will meet with the council and the Police Chief and Technical Services to discuss Information Technology (IT) Security Issues Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 21(a)(4)

While IT security is a must, I'm not sure FPD can handle such a subject and perhaps more importantly, I believe school security should be on the table for executive session as well. 

Tomorrow night is a SC meeting. On the agenda, nothing about the latest school massacre.  Although I don't have children in FPS, I do have grand children in another Town and it terrifies me that crazies could strike any where any time and there's nothing I can do about it.

I wrote to Priscila Sousa SC Chair a while ago and she responded quickly. From the tone of her response "the Director of Security has been diligently fielding parents concerns and continuing the constant reevaluation of the safety plan". questions from parents". 

I hope all parents who have questions get answers as I'm sure most parents would ask, if teachers can prop open doors without an alarm going off. Who's call is it to storm an active shooter in a class room? Is it the responsibility of the armed resource officer to stop any armed intruder? Who is making the authorities aware of kids who drop out or kids who are violent at school? Should parents of school age children and who are gun owners be subject to safety inspections at home by the police?

And if the latest school shooting disaster in Texas wasn't enough to shake your foundation, according to the Globe today, 14 mass shootings have happened across the country since Tuesday. Just over the holiday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, there have been 11. Also since Tuesday 10 people have been killed and 61 injured. 

When will this stop?

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How terribly sad... another school shooting, 30 so far this year


I had to watch the press conference by the Texas governor and all his law enforcement buddies. I may be dreaming but I could swear their stories don’t match up from earlier reporting. Evidence of this is clearly seen when some Texas Ranger explains what happened, which conflicts with what the Governor stated. There must have been a dozen law enforcement agencies that the Governor thanked for showing up.

What indisputable facts come out on what the school officers did or didn’t do will come out soon. And who exactly shot the perpetrator.

And what I know now is that the terrorist just turned 18 and then bought 2 AR 15 assault rifles.

And the R’s claim they can’t stop someone that age their 2nd Amendments Rights.

And in some way, we might have learned something if he was captured alive but I understand they may have had any choice.

What kind of a world am I leaving my grandchildren?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The lack of transparency in FinCom 3.0

 If you have been watching the cavalier approach to the budget this year by FinCom and wondered how it went from not so bad to really bad your not alone. For as many years as I can recall, including the past administration, each division came before the FinCom or Town Meeting and presented their budget and explained why they are spending, on what and the results of past spending and justified why they are asking for more money.

But now, under the lack luster leadership of King, Steiner and Cannon, no division is being asked to present. The only review is if one of the members of FinCom had a question. And even then, the new CFO is answering the questions.

The police division was asked to come in and talk about 4 new cops that were taken out of the budget last year, after the Chief a week before tried to explain the LPR's that have been around since 2010 and the policy governing the use and specifically the storage of data and who could access it and for what reason. Lester said the policy was here and updated recently. Needless to say, that wasn't true as the policy had been assembled by cut and paste from web sites that are unknown in the past few days. I received the policy along with the FinCom group last week.

It's clear to me now that any of our questions that are sent to our councilors will not be asked by FinCom.

Below are the questions I sent to Mike, George and Adam.

DPW Fleet

Do they keep track of the inventory of spare parts somewhere?

How many tires do they buy a year?


DPW Highway

Have they built into the budget the near doubling of diesel fuel?

10k for beaver deceivers… didn't we buy them years ago when we had beaver gate?

How do they keep track of the inventory?

Have we ever had a "hot box" in Town?

How many times would we use it?


DPW Sanitation

How many packers do we have and how much is spent in maintenance of the packers?

There needs to be an explanation of the large increases in trash and recycling

120k for school and municipal pick-up   has this always happened?

School cardboard collection.. Why aren't we just doing it?

55k in recycling fees needs vetting

40 yard containers that need replacing. can we lease them cheaper than buying new ones?


Street Lights

Do they maintain the pole mounted LPR's now?

Do they keep track of spare parts?



Where do the recycled cars go within the police department?

how many miles on the cruisers in three years when they are recycled?

Do they keep track of the spare parts inventory?

Why do we need 4 more officers? Is the crime rate increasing?

In travel

Does that include officers traveling around the country to go to funerals? Do the officers get OT?

Is there enough money in the budget to equip all detail officers with orange gloves?

Is the office space lease for the drug task force in the budget?

Are you pursuing grants from the State for body cams?

Education, Training, dues 144K can this be broken down at all? Is there Quin Bill money there?

Are there any rape kits from Framingham that have not been tested for DNA by the State Police lab?

How many sworn officers have been tested as part of the Police Reform Standards? Have any been decertified?


Enterprise Fund

93 k for details…. What does FPD charge DPW for detail officers?

 In the budget, Media Services is asking the council to approve spending 100k on a new sound system for Nevins Hall.

I wrote this note to Adam, Mike and George last week. After watching the meeting about this on Saturday and Monday, it’s even more clear that members of FinCom do not have broad based knowledge of most parts of the budget and are not even curious enough to ask any relevant questions. The new CFO just doesn’t understand and is not aware of the past history in many areas, including media services.

I'm making the case to have Media Services come before your committee. I watched last night's meeting and was surprised to hear you just want certain divisions to appear and answer questions.

In the media service budget, they have over 100k in capital requests in the operating budget. The largest amount is for a new sound system in Nevins. As you may remember, in 2008 a feasibility study was commissioned to ascertain what it would take to make the hall more attractive to others who want a large space. The bottom line was that 10's of millions would have to be spent to upgrade the hall with a kitchen, improved access, stage improvements, etc and of course the sound system.

Fast forward to 2013 when a highly celebrated sound system was installed at great expense as I remember. And as you may also remember, that same sound system never worked right from the get go. TM members and the folks watching on TV complained year after year about the sound, but nothing was ever done. The fact still remains, Nevins Hall is a concert venue and not a place for meetings. The sound systems needed are totally different.

Lets face it, Nevins Hall is not needed any longer for large gatherings with a new auditorium in Fuller and the High School auditorium. That great open space would be better utilized as office space. There's no reason whatsoever to spend more money on a sound system that may not work well and is not needed. The lack of oversight in media service spending should be questioned. Along with spending money on the mobile production truck. We are the only community that I've found in the State that has a production mobile truck for Gov Access. There's no need for it and hasn't been used in years, nor will it be. Technology has improved so much that everything can be done with one camera on a tripod, like the re-dedication of the Veterans Park earlier this year.

I'm sure you know the money Gov TV receives is from the cable franchise agreements and not from the general fund. Regardless of that, media services should be questioned on their requests and while you're at it, broadcast quality issues, updating the main web page and resolving what meetings are recorded should be part of the budget process.