Paul working for you.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Bait and Switch

Very Special Legislation-
for the Police Station 

So it looks like bond counsel won't approve borrowing for the Police Station until the vote at town meeting is "fixed". One way to do that is to hold another special town meeting, the other way is to draft Special Legislation:

  Apparently, the police station project was not part of the Capital Improvement Plan which was required by By Law XLII - Capital Planning By Law:

 This is not what was presented at the Special town meeting on November 9, 2015 nor on the ballot.


  1. OK, Let me make one Observation here. How does the Police Station remodel get on the Town Warrant? The BOS is responsible for placing the article on the Warrant, yet known of our BOS is familiar with procedure enough to realize they never reviewed or had meetings on the police station?

    Can or have we got an explanation as to "how" the remodeling proposal made it to the town meeting if it did not go through what should be normal channels? What else was overlooked? Did every other committee, board, department that was suppose to be involved know anything about this?

    How I read the By-law is that the Capital Improvement Committee composed of members of the Advisory Board, Board of selectman, School committee,Planning Board,a member of community and the Town Administrator all "forgot" what they are supposed to do. The committee is responsible for presenting the plan, The BOS endorses and places the article on Town meeting agenda. It appears that everyone dropped the ball on oversight, but the article, never endorsed or publicly discussed was added to town meeting agenda, HOW?

    Systems and Procedures dont appear to be being followed or even known.

    Another issue, why is the "Economic development committee" not listed on the Town website, nor are its members?

  2. If the Police Station was done wrong was the Elementary School project also done wrong? Special Legislation has caused some problems in the past such as what I believe is the fraudulent Special Legislation Ch 93 Acts of 2000 that involved Senator Brewer and most likely our town Chairman of the Democratic Committee head John Columbus. I do not believe that Special Legislation is the way to go. Let us find out just how bad we are off financially before we any large capital outlays.

  3. I think if I'm not mistaken we paid our lawyer to review this warrant article and charged us to do so. I have no documentation to back up this thought. I feel the need to raise a point of what we get for the money we spend for a lawyer who is wrong about basic election issues and other things i won't bother to mention.For the town to keep from sinking we need a team that knows when to replace the counsel who for the most part need to wake up!!
    I think some of you who read this will know what i refer to about the wake up.
    Some time ago we were told that the town could sue the town over the water budget and were told it would be a long and drawn out battle in court and costly for both the water dept and the town.
    So we have the same thing again the people paid to do a job and collect the wages for it don't do what we hired them to do. So lets keep them on the payroll and let the next bad advise happen again.
    On second thought lets just let him sleep.
    With the process broken the faith to restore the continuity in this town will never happen.
    A full review of counsel non redacted invoices may shed some light on why certain things get pushed through and others are advised to be dropped.
    Are the books cooked and short for deposits from other departments?
    When we are not allowed information needed to find out one would have to question.
    Do we not get a pilot payment due to a account mix up?
    How did we spend 800k + we never had to spend or never borrowed to spend?
    After all we have been told it just seems to be more lip service to quiet the people who ask questions. Changes like the light and water dept. did to keep budget changes from being followed and lie when questioned about certain things when caught. Working together with Advisory as the town needs will never happen with the board members we have now and will be the failure of this towns budget process.
    We have lived this for the 3 year now over lack of cooperation.
    As the parting shots were fired at the last BOS meeting anyone can see who is the problem and won't work together with the Advisory members. The same shooter would rather nose dive the town services for all over a over inflated budget were lied to about by school cronies. I wish i was unable to put this out there but it has been proven by more than one reliable source and was posted on this blog.
    Some have no problem doing it to protect their majority of the town money pie.
    So back to the money year in and year out.
    We spend but you can't be privy to what on for what outcome and so they redact to protect the secrets that would expose lies?
    Lets hope the state can get the information to be released.
    I won't hold my breath as it feels like in my opinion,we are being told what would sound like a reason to look the other way. Does the collusion word fit here or corruption feel better. Did our lawyer charge us to review this article and if so now having a problem does he still get paid to and paid again to deal with bond counsel for the legislation to be written?
    I guess double the pay is job security.
    Roll over Dover?
    Not this Dog.
    I pay to much in taxes to be quiet.
    You shouldn't roll over either.
    Thank you to those who expose and question for if not for them/us where would OUR town be.

  4. David,

    Just a thought, but if we actually paid the lawyer to review the Town Warrant and the "bond counsel" was able to determine it was improper even though our "town Lawyer" couldn't. Wouldn't that be malpractice?
    Did this "town lawyer" also review the Special election Warrant? We all know how an "illegal" article was allowed to be placed.

    In this case the Capital Improvement Committee is required by bylaw to notify BOS who is to get advice from Advisory prior to appropriation vote.

    All Members of the CIC are negligent or ignorant of their own rules


    Our Capital Improvement Committee, our BOS and our Advisory Committee was bypassed even though its the BOS who is responsible for Warrant articles.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but this shows a major workflow issue. Entire processes were bypassed. How did this get on the Town Warrant????

  5. Question for david smart: as a member of the Templeton zoning board of appeals, did you vote to allow the school to be built on the Templeton center site based on the dover amendment? If you did, you did in fact roll over. Next, I am friends with Paul DeRensis and make no mistake about it, he is a very smart and capable lawyer. The illegal article was put on the town meeting warrant because it was presented as a citizen petition and is the selectmen are required to place it on the warrant as written. The town attorney could have fixed it so it was worded correctly but the selectmen did not want that because they want the school no matter the cost! As the town attorney, if I were, I would assume that if a group of articles for town meeting were sent to me for review, would I think the selectmen would send me something that had not gone before the proper channels and how would I know if it had not? If I asked the selectmen and they said yes, what would I do? You are talking about a man who does things right and wants to see Templeton do them the say way but a lawyer cannot make the selectmen do anything if they want to do it anyway. They can lie, hold back and manipulate things. It is not rally the job of the attorney to investigate everything presented to him. What about the highway department superintendent going before the board of selectmen and telling them that loaders are worn out and need to be replaced and after a new one is bought, after the people said no at town meeting, those so called worn out loaders are still working, should the highway superintendent be fired for lying or misrepresenting things to the selectmen? Lastly, a member of the capital improvement committee is also a member of the board of selectmen so if that member votes for the police station and it gets passed on to the attorney, what would you think? I have an email concerning a special town meeting warrant that was posted and when I sent a copy to the town lawyer and asked if he had seen it, he said no, then emailed Markel and then was invited to town meeting. Again, I wonder who rolled over dover on the school? 200 plus registered Templeton voters can tell the selectmen to hold a special town meeting and a citizen's petition can be presented to reduce the appropriation for the school from 47 million down to say five or six million. So dover, wake up and hit it. Watch out how dispatch will change for Athol and watch the savings and remember, Templeton could have done that too!

    1. I would think it is time for some of our Selectmen to be recalled, but that is a painful thing for out town to go through. Part of the problem in how our town is run, in my opinion, seems to be people in authority feel they can make up the rules as they go along, and ignore the rules that are there, if they do not fit with what they want done. How can these problems be corrected ? Seems that we need someone with authority to step up to run the show. We certainly can not do this ourselves, seeing that we have been trying for five or six years, with out a lot of luck. The idea that the "superior board" can do what they want, was in the small print of running a town according to Mr. Markel, a concept the people in Templeton's front office believed and continue to follow. I am afraid by the time the truth comes out, the people who will suffer will be the taxpayers, again. I think, no I know, the people in this town are sick of dysfunctional government, but electing people with a school adjenda or Light and Water roots will not get them the government they want. We will see if the reward of a position as a Light and Water Commissioner, (a paid position) will be set up for being a "good" selectmen at the end of a term, as it has been done before. Getting this Town on a stable footing is a rough and rocky road, but what choice do we have. Jeff is right about the dispatch, and in general we have spent so much money on trying to get our books straightened out, and on failed projects, there is nothing left to run this town on. I have said time and time again, we can only spend what we have left after our fixed costs are met. Never mind screwing with the Highway and Cemetery/Parks Dept., if we can afford a three day a week Town Hall, then that is what we will have to live with. Bev.

  6. Yes Jeff we all did roll over and also you know we were advised by our paid counsel to do so. As he said time and time before we could vote one way or the other but in his opinion we would be overturned if we didn't allow under the Dover act for education purposes.
    That is totally different from the issue of we paid the Counsel to review this issue with the police station article.
    I can state this fact Jeff our lawyer is very smart and is very corrected when it is pointed out to him by the light and water department lawyers that he is wrong on some issues.
    He was not correct on the election advise he gave us!
    He was corrected on the election process by other counsel.
    Friends or not is not the point but the fact we pay and don't receive is.
    The loaders are still running and if not we would have purchased more trucks to replace it with. I would think we will continue to run them till were told to park em.
    The last storm we had only 1 minor 30 minute breakdown for wipers.
    Your team at highway is proud to serve the Templeton community.
    We understand the budget issues and strive to achieve our goals for the good of the community and their safety.

  7. Town counsel reviewed the article for the Police station.

    Town counsel is NOT bond counsel. Bond counsel is only consulted when the town needs to borrow money. Bond Counsel does NOT usually review warrant articles.

    The Capital Planning Bylaw procedure was not followed for the Police Station Project. It is difficult to enforce this bylaw when the Capital Planning Committee can not reach a quorum due to lack of attendance by certain members. The Capital Planning Committee can not function as the Capital By Law intends.

    The wording of the Capital Planning By law speaks to intent - "Should " vs "Shall"

    Without a bond rating for the Town of Templeton, bond counsel "is not willing to certify to a potential lender that the vote was taken in compliance with the bylaw."

    Town counsel reviewed the warrant article for its legality. Bond counsel looks at things differently.

    So does the same issue apply to the elementary school building project?

    Yes, yes it does.

  8. Town council is Paid to make sure things are done by the law, It is up to them to be sure, NOT take someones word for it, If that is the case with Jeff's friend it is probably the only Lawyer around that relies on hearsay. Time and Time again we are hearing of mistakes this firm has made, Think its time to shitcan them.

  9. Seems to me that someone on the BOS needs to set up systems and procedures for potential articles and a means to determine they've been followed.

    Who is the Chair of the Capital Improvement Committee? Why were by-laws not followed? Should they resign?

    This is a multi million dollar business run by the seat of our pants. How many committees, etc were straight bypassed in this one case. How often does this happen, it's not only the ones looked at by others........Our books, procedures, finances and management seem to be in chaos, why?

  10. this is how it has worked since 2014:

    Paul DeRensis


    I haven't seen any of this

    Sent from my iPhone

    On Mar 17, 2016, at 6:02 AM, wrote:

    Paul, I am wondering if these articles have been forwarded to you? Hope to see you at the special Town Meeting. Jeff Bennett From: "Robert Markel" To: "Mark Barrieau" , "Bev Bartolomeo" , "Katharine Fulton"


    Quick reply all


    I asked the town administrator about the special town meeting warrant, and he advises that Bond Counsel assisted with the borrowing articles, that he is trying to save money so he felt it unnecessary to have two counsel review the same issues, that there is a procedure in place in the town such that requests for counsel are to be presented to the Town Administrator for approval before any work i undertaken, etc. etc.. However, he did invite me to attend the special town meeting on Monday night.

    Hope all is well with you

    Best regards,


    In a message dated 3/17/2016 8:09:49 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

    I am concerned about the legalities of the first article giving a department authority to borrow on behalf of Town. Regards; Jeff Sent from my iPhone On Mar 17, 2016, at 8:04 AM, Paul DeRensis wrote: I haven't seen any of this Sent from my iPhone On Mar 17, 2016, at 6:02 AM,…

  11. Jeff, are you telling us that you notified the Lawyer on March 17 about this issue or am I missing the order of the emails?

    The issue appears to be nobody from the Capital Improvement Committee notified the BOS. It also appears (you might know) but on this type of article isn;t the Advisor Board suppose to review and advise prior to it be placed on the Town Warrant? Any idea how the Advisory Board voted 5-1 in favor of an article that didn't originate through the CIC? Who from the BOS supplied the Advisory Board with the info, how did they obtain it?

    I ask these questions as it appears obvious the ball was dropped procedurally and needs to be fixed.

  12. I am telling you I asked on the 17th if the articles had been sent to the lawyer and the answer was no,

    1. Jeff,

      Any reason why you didn't bring this up at the Town Meeting. Aren't you on the Advisory Board? How did the Advisory Board vote on this? How did it get to the BOS? Why did nobody from the Capital Improvement Committee mention they had no seen it?

      We need answers as we need to fix this issue. Our entire governmental process was bypassed, how?

  13. To DO is stupid, I do not think you understand how town counsel works. They only get paid when they are asked to work on something. Then they advise and/or give an opinion. They cannot make the selectmen do anything. Town counsel is hired by the selectmen and works for them. So if the lawyer tells the selectmen they are doing it wrong and they do it anyway, the lawyer has done what they are paid for. That is how it works.

    1. Jeff,

      Actually the Town Counsel works for the Town, not the Selectman! The Selectmen are our Executive Administrators who also work for the town.

      A big part of the problem seems to be that the Selectman manage their own agenda like on the Elementary school. The Selectman used the "Town Counsel" to stop the vote. I watched Selectmen go over and ask him questions during the meeting.

  14. It makes me a little nervous that the BOS are going to use Special Legislation to "fix" the problems thus by-passing town meeting and the oversight of concerned citizens. Back room deals have absolutely screwed this town in the past for example the deal to let Erving off the hook in regards to the millions they owed the town for contractual obligations on the WWTP. Let us not forget Ch93 acts of 2000 a fraudulent Special Legislation creating the Light and Water dept. How about the deal giving Casella back all that money? What about the policy of letting our neighborhood schools rot so as to promote centralization? It goes on and on. It does a town good keeping things in the light of day. Is this why parents wanted their neighborhood schools and better accountability? PenusSlide

  15. I hope Capital Improvement Committee is the same as Capital Planning. That is what the Town has, sort of. This board has not had a quorum in two years, so they could not present a report to the town. The TA knew this, so did the Selectmen. No one did a thing about it. In my time on the Advisory Board, now and back in the 70's, I never remember hearing a report from Capital Improvement Committee or Capital Planning. In case you have not noticed, the Advisory Board has been under pressure from both the Selectmen and past TA. I feel that there is pressure to discredit us as a group because we speak out against what we feel is not in the best interest of the Town. To put it another way, we will not go along to get along. Carter is smart enough to be low key in his behavior. He will not be here in the long run, so he is doing whatever he needs to do. He has shut us out of the budget process for the FY18 budget, so that is something we will have to work around. As far as trying to save a buck, it looks like our previous TA has created some issues that will cost us a whole lot more. So much for running the town according to your own rules. How is that working for us ?? These are my opinions, just to make it very clear. Bev.

    1. Bev,

      You identified a big part of the problem. Look at the Town bylaws, this is How it Reads.....

      Article XLII - Capital planning By-law
      Section 1) Capital Improvements Committee


      Then on the Town websiite its listed as .....


      Capital Planning Committee


      Then the Town administrator refers to it as the

      CIPC or Capital Improvement Planning committee


      on top of that the website of for the "capital planning committee" shows 4 members listed when the by-law states there are 6. The town administrator and public member are not listed. Do they exist?

      The only opening listed on the Official Templeton website is the Cable Advisory Board. So are we trying to fill committees?

      While looking at info I read that all Capital Improvements are to be listed on the Master Capital Plan. Well I looked at the November 2015 Master plan. If I'm not mistaken the numbers just dont work. It shows at the bottom that $3,276,041 was approved in 2015, but adding up the 2015 numbers shows $3,100,000. Am I mistaken? How does this add up?

  16. I can't believe Jeff is standing behind this attorney. Is it because they are friends ?? the attorney's are playing games and putting there hands up as if to say "Not Me" everytime they screw up. Jeff ought to be treating them the same way he treats the highway dept.

  17. Do as with other town dysfunctions the web site is only a small part of what we see.
    As shop steward i could and when appropriate i will tell the story of the 3 year agreement signed by the former T.A. Markel. When they play the game of i need to get the BOS to go along with this and that we wait and there never was a meeting and when prodded he would meet after a 6 week wait and say this or that and back to square one.
    From my experience with this towns government it seems to be like they hide behind each other when they need to stall or push the responsibility to some other part of the towns decisions making process.
    It's been over a year to get just the sick time put on our pay stubs.
    I was told last week by the treasurer the payroll company was the holdup and the information was submitted to them in October. Harpers is busy with the W2 process.
    Just one more pass the buck fact not fiction like we see at most meetings.
    Our contract was changed after the agreement was made and my thought is it was a criminal act by the one who did. After a 2 hour meeting with the chairman and union rep. we had it made whole again as it should be.
    Funny our last T.A. did this contract on his last day of employment and if not caught would have done a number on this town. It's hard for the dedicated workers to stay that way when the town lets a single man bend the workers over for a final shot.
    This story will play out when the time is right and as new T. A. will find things are not the way they seem in our little town.

  18. I have a question for those of you who might know. Can someone explain nobody is responsible or being held accountable even though it appears obvious that someone in some departments violated the towns bylaws regarding record keeping in Article VIII.

    1. The people voted for a investigation that they never got. Things are about as bad as I have ever seen them. At least when shady stuff was done in the past it was done behind our backs . Now it is an insult to your intelligence for this behavior to be done in your face. The last straw for a lot of people was the school vote pushed until the no's turned into a yes! Try to get them to a T.M. again !!

  19. Why would I stand up at town meeting and make an argument of how the town meeting articles were handled? Why would I ask if the attorney had seen them? You all keep reelecting the same light commissioners over and over so you must want what you get. A member of the advisory committee tried to get town meeting to look at the so called budget line by line, you all said NO, so you all got what you wanted now deal with it. A few years ago, I suggested the town get out of the ambulance service because it was a financial losing play, you all said you wanted it, so now pay for it. You wanted a new school, well do not complain when you get your tax bills for it. You all voted for the present selectmen, you got what you wanted so enjoy it. The zoning board of appeals is a classic example, they could have voted against it but they chose not to. The selectmen hire the town attorney, they appoint the members of the zoning board of appeals, the selectmen wanted the school, what exactly did we have any hearing for, the fix was in. A union rep is not looking out for what is best for the WHOLE town, they look out for what is best for the union members, can't blame them for that but what the unions go fo sometimes hurts the WHOLE town financially. If you think the town attorney works for the town, I want some of that smoke. Look at the town by-laws and see who is responsible for the legal affairs of the town, then look at who hires the town attorney. Same as the audits, who hires them and who's work do the auditors check? Why is a town account voicing support for an audit firm when that firm will be checking the accountant's work? The advisory committee does have a representative that serves on the capital planning committee but she did not report on whether or not capital planning took any consideration for the police station, the water tank or the school. UI use to go to all those meetings and keep track of all of those things. Now it is the advisory committee amd most selectmen meetings and that is it. Rather than ask here Do or bob m, why not go to a selectmen meeting and ask them why? Ask selectmen Morrison why the police station, the school and the water tank did not get taken up by the capital planning committee. I think you will find he is the chairman. Ask the big FBI graduate why there is only one police office on one shift but there are four officers on another shift, seems like bad management to me. The Town administrator stated at the last advisory committee meeting that we cannot afford a fulltime fire chief and a fulltime deputy fire chief. My thought is get rid of the fulltime deputy chief, like right now. Oh wait, he is probably your friend so lets cut something else. Happy new year and you all enjoy arguing here about what is what, I am out!

    1. Like Bart said "we get the government we deserve." Jeff, I understand how you feel. You have been fighting for a government that works for the tax payer. I am sick of the bad decisions, some of which were because of ignorance, some because of dirty dealing also. Throwing in the towel, just gives more power to the people who do not care about the taxpayers, young and old alike. A knee jerk decision, upending the town departments that work, will cause more problems than they solve. The bottom line is we need more money to run the kind of government we have now. Why cover the asses of the Light and Water Commissioners ? The town absolutely depended on them for money to run the town. After 75 years, more or less, these guys decide to stop contributing to the town ?? They even thumb their noses at the DOR, who told the Selectmen to sit with them and draw up a PILOT, in their report. What is the answer ? I really don't know, but I can't give up, just to make it easier for a few people to rule the roost.

    2. Jeff, I mentioned you standing up because you are a member of the Advisory Board.
      I voted against the school.

      The advisory Board suggested we vote for the police department, look, your board voted for it 5-1. How did you get to review an item that had not followed procedure to get to you???? Did you have anything from the Capital Improvement planning committee? You knoew it was a capital Improvement right? Well, did you ask for the "sign off" or whatever method is used to let one committee kn ow another has done there job.

      Did the Advisory Board, Select board do their jobs, I say NO! We've know dealt with how many "projects" that have violated our towns by-laws, but not one town elected, appointed official has been held accountable.
      If the Advisory Board gets a "capital Improvement Plan" do you ask if the CIPC has seen it?

      As for what I do, or don't do Jeff you have no idea.

  20. A union rep is not looking out for what is best for the WHOLE town, they look out for what is best for the union members, can't blame them for that but what the unions go for sometimes hurts the WHOLE town financially.
    So Jeff its that time again to remind you the contract negotiations are done by 2 sides.
    Year in and year out due to mismanaged money,projects started and stopped. Property sold for 1/3 of what we just paid and the costs of it all. The towns management has left the normalcy out of their reach. The towns people will not add to the bucket of money with 2.5 over ride to make it look better and lay offs are the tool of choice and last i see our contracts have a less then 1% year over year for the last 2 + contracts. This contract started 7-1-2016 and binds the town and union till 7-1-2019
    So go get another town administrator and hope for the best.
    Our union spent christmas eve on duty,newyears eve on duty.
    So if a contract has a coat a boot and what ever the selectboard signs off on via a town administrator live with it as the others on the opposite side due their part.
    How much has it cost the town to fire ,rehire ,and fire again?