Bad Journalism + Biased Editor = The Gray News

Monday, June 19, 2006

Proof of pocket publication status

March 24, 2006, Ray Clark's opinion editorial. It might as well be re-titled, "Boo-hoo, my pocket buddy's gone. Where will I get my news now?"

It is not biased to opine in the opinion box, especially if it's clearly labeled. This entry is more about illustrating the overall bias of the Gray News being a pocket publication (in the officials' pocket, with stories slanted favorably toward them). There are several examples in Mr. Clark's editorial that reveal Mr. Clark's bias toward the manager (government) and against the council (the people).

The Town of Gray will survive, no doubt, without Mitch Berkowitz. So the question is not whether, but why.

I have no doubt the town will survive. It always has, under Gray's revolving door of top administrators. It's normal, nationwide, for executives in these positions to leave within about 5 years.

Mitch made some mistakes; we all do. And he accepted the blame for all of them-plus a few dozen he had nothing to do with. In the five years he ran the Town, I never once heard him lay blame on someone else. If he blundered, he took responsibility and moved on. If somebody else did, he just... moved on.

The Manager is paid to oversee the town's operations. If the town isn't operating correctly, it is ultimately his responsibiity to take ownership, not blame his employees. Second, Mitch took the blame for ... all... of them? Goodness, how many were there? A few dozen ?? Isn't that, er, a lot?

And in the nine months since the new Council was elected, I never once heard him complain about its treatment of him. He never told The Gray News a word that wasn't public information.

The Manager isn't supposed to. That Mr. Clark finds it incredulous the manager allegedly isn't sharing other than public information is a clear indication of the newspaper's Pocket Publication status. (Plus, I don't believe a word of it)

He never groused about staying long into the night as the Council talked, talked, talked.

It's the manager's job.The taxpayers pay him $73,000 to do exactly that. I know a lot of people who make minimum wage and would be happy to stay into the night if all they had to do is listen to people talk.

He accepted the vicious cartoons and references to him in another paper as legitimate public discourse.

Cartoons and editorials are legitimate discourse. Ever since Publius and the pamplets of the colonial times. Not to mention the French Revolution and, British Restoration... well, I could go on. That the Gray News thinks cartoons and editorials about town officials are scurrilous is another example of how they are a pocket publication. It's what newspapers do, hold officials accountable. Except, not the Gray News.

He didn't even complain about the series of executive sessions the Council held to discuss his "performance".

It's the council's job to review him and the manager's job to be reviewed. And the quotes around "performance" indicate Mr. Clark's low opinion of anyone reviewing his pocket buddy's job performance.

He said when he came here that he hoped he would retire here, and I believe he meant it. He won't, now,

Why not? He quit of his own accord. And no one's forcing him to move.

and if you want to know why, watch the videotapes of Council meetings and workshops. How long would you have stayed at a job where your new bosses gave every indication they wanted you gone?

They gave every indication they wanted an honest day's work out of him, the 'dozens' of mistakes to stop, and a respectful attitude.

He wanted Gray to be a harmonious, happy, fiscally healthy Town. He's leaving a fractured, angry-but fiscally healthy-Town, and he's responsible only for the fiscal health.

The former manager fomented the recall, the most divisive event in Gray's history. And is it the Manager's job to make the town "happy"? I don't see that in the charter's job description. And, as far as leaving it fiscally healthy, the numerous big-ticket financial mistakes directly attributable to his office are an indicator of the opposite. What one calls fiscally healthy others call grossly overtaxed...something the town auditor said two years in a row.

The Town Council has not seen fit to express even a shred of regret-not even the formal kind politicians customarily express-at the departure of Berkowitz.

Why would they when they had a manager who was reponsible for "dozens of mistakes", fracturing the town, and making it "unhappy"? And they did say "Thank you" when he resigned.

14 Comments:

  • Biasbuster you missed one. The Manager does not 'run the town' as Ray Clark wrote. The Council does. The Manager administers the town, carrying out what the council directs him to do. The problem with Mitch was that he thought he ran the town. And Ray thought it was his job to help him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:26 AM  

  • Again, right on the money, Biasbuster. I know I'm not the only one who is happy that Berkowitz is gone. If only The Gray News were, but that's just wisful thinking...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:17 PM  

  • I actually would like to hear what Clark thought about Berkowitz' highly unusual action of starting two companies while employed by the town of Gray. I have wondered whether you could follow the string from Berkowitz to Clark to GPLA to Pennell to the $660,000 bond to Clark back to Berkowitz' companies somehow..... I'm not saying they were out to steal it, I'm just saying it's coincidental. Property management and all.....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 PM  

  • The Monument reported that it is unusual to have a manager starting private companies. It's even more unusual to have him or her purposley not declare thepotential conflict of interest. The manager touches a lot of lives, hears information sooner than most (economic development-wise), and has the power to influence zoning.
    Anonymous above, I wondered the same thing. Too many ingredients floating around...has to add up to something.

    As for Mr Clark- he owuld somehow excuse it. After all, he excused his own nefarious activities, accepting free rent, being on committees, getting elected to office- all while an editor. Clark's ilk think nothing of unethical activities.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 6:39 PM  

  • If the council knew that they were in a situation where Berkowitz was threatening litigation with the town of Gray, they were acting in the best interests of the citizens by not saying anything at all. It was not a situation for platitudes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:22 PM  

  • Dear Bisabuster,
    You write horrible things here on this blog that are far from the truth
    ex:
    "They gave every indication they wanted an honest day's work out of him, the 'dozens' of mistakes to stop, and a respectful attitude."

    Mitch Berkowitz is honest and gave it everyday of his tenure here for Gray

    There were not 'dozens' of mistakes {your statement does not hold credence} dozens would be at a minimum 24 {to be plural-dozens}
    Why don't you state all 24 of your accusatory actions presumably made by Mr Berkowitz??

    The last part about "respectful attitude" -- you need to go back and watch the DVDs and refresh your memory... Mr Berkowitz is respectful to the very core-- Gentlemen are always respectful

    We all know that Gary Foster & Andy Upham treated the town manager in a disgraceful disrespectful manner
    We also know that G.F. & A. U. {WANT} respect ... but guess what-- they have not earned an ounce of respect from many many citizens of Gray

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:43 AM  

  • Mitch Berkowitz is honest and gave it everyday of his tenure here for Gray

    Mitch Berkowitz is a liar. One example: failing to declare his conflict of interest with starting his two companies. Second proof: he lied to the council about why he had to leave Colchester. I have other examples.

    There were not 'dozens' of mistakes {your statement does not hold credence}

    RAY CLARK wrote that there were dozens of mistakes. Read the editorial again, dear. (snicker... nice to see someone agree Ray Clark has no credibility)

    Gentlemen are always respectful

    Mitch Berkowitz is no gentleman, quite the opposite. The proof?...Colchester...ask about it.

    We all know that Gary Foster & Andy Upham treated the town manager in a disgraceful disrespectful manner

    By expecting an honest day's work, no mistakes, and accountability. Let me count the ways: Miscalculating the TIF revenues last year, miscalculating the LD 1 formula last year, miscalculating the SAD mill rate last year...mistakes. Gee, a bridge failed. Mistake. Last year's Town Meeting had four incorrect numbers in it. Mista-ake! Wake up and smell the coffee. They guy was a failure.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 7:06 AM  

  • and when the accountability heat turned up for Mitch...he did what non-gentleman do. He quit. Right in the middle of budget season. With half the employee evaluations undone. With Donna leaving (who had to stay on because "gentleman" Mitch ran away.) Abandoned the townspeople. THAT'S what he gave to the people of Gray, a see ya later and don't let the door hit me on the way out. Nice guy. And by the way, "honest" Mitch was looking for another job all along. Real nice guy. sigh.

    If you want to talk class, talk Donna Hill, putting in decades of service, wanting finally to rest a little, but agreeing to stay on for months and why? Because Mitch had left. She cares about being a professional. Donna did not abandon Gray in its time of need. But Honest, Gentleman Mitch did. If Mitch 'cared' so much he could have sucked it up and stayed on till budget was done and let Donna retire when she wanted. What's a few more months? Blinders are a terrible thing, sweetie.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 7:22 AM  

  • Biasbuster said:
    ---"The Monument {reported} that it is unusual to have a manager starting private companies. It's even more unusual to have him or her purposley not declare thepotential conflict of interest. The manager touches a lot of lives, hears information sooner than most (economic development-wise), and has the power to influence zoning.
    Anonymous above, I wondered the same thing. Too many ingredients floating around...has to add up to something."

    May I ask a few questions of you?

    1.What's the difference between the Monument and Your comments above compared with>>

    Wade Trudel & Bill Holmquist sitting on the Ordinance Review Committee -- Both are developers.... and one is a real estate broker??

    2. Why aren't you up in arms about this current situation?

    3. Are these good friends of yours?
    4. Are they in your pocket?
    5. Do you have anything to gain from them sitting on the O.R.C.
    6. Does Elizabeth Prata have a stake in this arrangement too?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:17 PM  

  • Good questions. it's always of interest to look for conflict of interest. Although biasbuster has said many times that this blog is scrutinizing The Gray News, I'll answer what you asked, though it is outside the scope of this blog.

    ORC is advisory only. And, do you mean WAYNE Holmquist? I thought Bill worked at a store in Auburn. Wayne is the developer. Debby Shaw Mancini was on the ORC, too, during the time the BOCA codes were being reviewed. Being in real estate and has a stake in how the zones get arranged and how restrictive the codes are. You must think that was pretty bad, too!

    And you must think it is equally bad for Developer Rod Boyington to be on the planning Board, a quasi-judicial board, (ORC is advisory only) and make decisions about which plans get passed (some of which may have his subcontractors involved to them?) Do you think it is equally bad for Peter Gellerson, who works for Blue Rock and has a big stake in how much aggregate gets sold (and by the way there's road standards that Planning Board applicants have to adhere to, wonder where they buy road aggregate?). You must be really up in arms, with all these situations!

    Biasbuster does not have friends in any certain industry or lurking in pockets. I'm pretty much a loner. You have to ask Elizabeth your other question, I do not speak for her, but she has been pretty clear to that she has no real associations with anyone. She even resigned from the Library Trustees, when she started the paper for goodness sakes.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 7:05 PM  

  • someone wrote in and said Mrs. Mancini was never on the ORC. Therefore I lied. (sigh. some people are way too angry)

    Does anyone know the name of the sopecific committee that had Phil Pulsifer and Kathryn Wallingford among others on it and they reviewed the BOCA codes? If it was not the ORC or a sub-committee of the ORC then perhaps it was an ad hoc committee.

    Whatever it was called, Debbie Mancini was on it. She mentioned being on it at a recent council meeting, too.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 6:18 AM  

  • why are you obsessed with her anyho...who cares?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:35 PM  

  • Because someone wrote in and mentioned that she was not on the ORC as I had said, so I was asking for verification of that. If that's obsessive to you, then fine. I still would like to know for the record and have it be accurate.

    By Blogger BiasBuster, at 2:36 PM  

  • Biasbuster 7:18pm From the council minutes of 09-18-2001..it says Debbie Shaw Mancini explained that she was on the Building Committee when it reviewed the BOCA Code.

    From the council minutes of 10-02-01...Debbie Shaw Mancini said she worked on the Code Committee.

    The 2002 Annual Report does not mention anything about it, so it is probably in the 2000-01.

    If you research this information, I believe the committee was the "Building Code Committee"...think it was ad-hoc with a specific charge to look into the BOCA Codes!

    Hope these references provide you with the accurate information you are looking for..'for the record'!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:53 AM  

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