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Category — Ben Pacy

Ben Pacy Resigns

City Clerk Retires at Age 45

At Burlington Free Press John Briggs says:

“After more than 25 years of working for the city, I’ve decided it’s time to move on to seek new opportunities,” Pacy said in a news release. “I am appreciative of the opportunity I have had to work here and serve the people of Burlington.” He did not respond to requests for comments.

What the hell? He just barely had his legs under him in terms of running elections. Now who’s going to do it? Leopold?

Why is Pacy quitting? This is very vexing. Is working under Leopold horrible? Could that be it? Does it have something to do with Burlington Telecom? Is it just the strain of being the city clerk?

Sure he’s got a city pension and can retire if he wants, but why now?

Why?

April 9, 2010   No Comments

Pacy on Protocols

From: Haik Bedrosian [mailto:haikbedrosian@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 12:03 PM
To: Ben Pacy
Cc: Jonathan P.A. Leopold, Jr.; Bob Kiss
Subject: Election Protocols and Safeguards

Hi Ben,

It seems to me the necessity of moving the votes from the polls to city hall because of IRV introduces a new opportunity for cheating.

I am curious to know what safeguards are in place to prevent possible switching of memory cards holding IRV votes when they are en route from the ward polling places to the central tabulator at city hall.

I realize this is short notice, but I would like an answer on this today so that I may publish it at BurlingtonPol.com before the election Tuesday. If Ben is not available today, I would be satisfied to get an answer from either Jonathan or Bob instead.

Thanks,
Haik

*****
From: Ben Pacy
Subject: RE: Election Protocols and Safeguards
To: “‘Haik Bedrosian‘”

Cc: Jonathan P.A. Leopold, Jr., Bob Kiss
Date: Friday, February 26, 2010, 12:20 PM

Haik,

This may best be described orally, or I can show you. Nonetheless, I will attempt to describe in writing.

Upon preparing the machine for the election, the memory card is sealed into the tabulator with a seal. The number on this seal is documented on a form and sealed into the tabulator case. The number on the seal for the tabulator is also recorded on that form. On the morning of the election, the tabulators are delivered to the polling places, where the seal on the tabulator case is broken, and the form is then accessible to the Ward Clerk and Inspectors of Election, to verify both the seal on the tabulator case and the seal on the memory card. This process is repeated for the return to City Hall, except the memory card seal should be the same, only the tabulator case seal will be different. In addition, two election officials of different political party are required to accompany the tabulators and ballots back to City Hall. These seal numbers are then verified at City Hall when they arrive. At the 2009 Mayoral Election, candidates also had representatives accompany the election officials and the tabulators. If I recall correctly every candidate had a representative for every ward. Let me know if you have further questions.

Ben

*****
From: Haik Bedrosian [mailto:haikbedrosian@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 12:03 PM
To: Ben Pacy
Cc: Jonathan P.A. Leopold, Jr.; Bob Kiss
Subject: Election Protocols and Safeguards

Thanks for the fast reply. How do we know there aren’t already votes on the cards when they go out to the polling places to begin with?

*****
From: Ben Pacy
Subject: RE: Election Protocols and Safeguards
To: “‘Haik Bedrosian‘”

Cc: Jonathan P.A. Leopold, Jr., Bob Kiss
Date: Friday, February 26, 2010, 1:46 PM

Haik,

The memory cards are programmed with the current election information by the vendor LHS Associates. The memory cards are placed in the tabulators and test ballots are run through the machines to verify that the tabulators are adding up the correct markings on the test ballots. Once the test is done the tabulators are then put in election mode. This is the point at which the memory card is sealed into the machine. When the tabulator arrives at the polling place on the day of the election; the seals are verified and then the machine is turned on. When the machine is turned on the tabulator prints out what is called the zero tape. All of the races show zeros in them reflecting what is on the memory card. This is to verify that there is no ballot information stored in the memory card. I guess the next question would be, could the memory cards be manipulated in some way. I do not know the answer to that, but we can always count the ballots again. The State laws do provide for recounts if races are close or contested through a court.

Ben

*****
From: Haik Bedrosian [mailto:haikbedrosian@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:20 PM
To: Ben Pacy
Cc: Jonathan P.A. Leopold, Jr.; Bob Kiss
Subject: RE: Election Protocols and Safeguards

Thanks very much. Have a good election Tuesday!

February 26, 2010   3 Comments

Bob Kiss Wins Re-Election

Wright may seek recount.

Bob kiss has been re-elected mayor of Burlington in the 3rd round of Instant Runoff…

1st Round: Wright first, Simpson, Smith eliminated
2nd Round: Montoll eliminated.
3ndRound: Vast majority of Montroll voters vote Kiss for second choice. Kiss elected.

Final round count:
Kiss: 4313
Wright: 4061

*Congratulations and thank you to all the candidates in this election for a great race.
*Congratulations to Ben Pacy on what appears to have been a smooth, uneventful election.

Update 10:00pm- Kurt Wright just told Shay Totten that he has not ruled out asking for a recount, not because he expects the results to be overturned, but as a service to those of us who still have concerns about the process. I fully support this idea, and I urge Kurt to please ask for a recount.

We ought to do it 1) just to make sure that we can; and 2) so that those of us who do have concerns about IRV and election integrity can feel fully confident that our new election process is trustworthy.

I am very psyched and happy that Bob won, but I would feel even better about this election if we did a hand recount, to put the safeguards through their paces. Kurt-please go for the recount. You would be doing us an invaluable public service.

March 4, 2009   No Comments

IRV and Election Integrity II

So I went to the election training for poll workers at city hall last night. I knew Shay wasn’t going to be able to cover it, and I didn’t see any other press there. I only stayed until I got the information I wanted, which only took about ten minutes. The meeting was led by assistant administrative officer Ben Pacy, with backup by the city’s I.T. guy “Dana”. They answered questions from those present including me.

So here’s how the election will work as I understand it. Each ward will get two machines. One for the IRV mayoral ballots and one for all other candidates and ballot questions. Ballots meant for one machine will not fit in the other.

The tabulators for the IRV machine will arrive at the wards in black bags closed with zippers and the zippers will have seals. Poll workers will confirm the seal number, break the seal, open the bag and then confirm the serial number on the machine. Then they will turn the machine on and a tape will print indicating that zero ballots have passed through it, and each mayoral candidate has zero votes. Poll workers will have to sign that tape.

At the end of voting, poll workers will print a new tape that will indicate the number of ballots that have passed though the tabulator, and that the mayoral candidates still have zero votes. The reason that the tapes won’t show the candidates’ vote totals, is because the voting machine can’t interpret IRV votes. All it does is “take a picture” of them and count how many ballots there were. How many ballots pass though the machine is the only information the printed tapes will give us, but it’s very important.

I asked Dana and Ben Pacy how we could be sure there aren’t already mayoral votes in the tabulator’s memory card before voting begins. They told me that the machine would not turn on if there are any votes on the memory card. I asked Ben how they know that and his reply was not reassuring. “That’s what they tell us” he said. Great.

So we really can’t be sure there aren’t already votes on the cards before they go out to the polls, but at least we will get the number of votes that should be coming from each ward at the end of the night. So if 500 ballots go through a ward’s machine, the vote total from that ward’s memory card should be 500, not more.

Unfortunately the memory cards from all the wards are all fed into one machine (the “VTS” system) at city hall which will give us a “ballot soup” from all the wards. I’m not sure how we could parse out which votes or how many came from a given ward once they all go into the soup.

In fact there are two machines at city hall the ballots are likely to be fed into. The “VTS” system will “consolidate” the votes (Dana’s word) into a giant soup pot (my analogy) and if no candidate has a majority of the soup, then the soup will get strained through yet a third machine (after the voting machine tabulator and the “VTS”)- the “Choice-Plus Pro” software that calculates the IRV and picks a winner.

I’m hoping at the very least we can get the ballot totals from all the wards and add them up. That total should equal the combined total of first choice votes for all mayoral candidates. If it doesn’t, there’s a problem. Of course in order to do this basic check, someone would have to personally, physically see all seven signed tapes showing ballot totals from all the wards.

Frankly I hate how complicated IRV has made counting the votes. Simply put, IRV makes our mayoral election results less trustworthy. I hope there’s a recount so the paper ballots get counted by humans.

Call me paranoid all you want. If asking smart questions and being concerned about election integrity makes me paranoid, then I don’t want to be sane.

February 25, 2009   No Comments

IRV and Election Integrity

Ward clerk for ward six Owen Mulligan wrote to Seven Days reporters Ken Picard and Shay Totten last week, expressing concern about the removal of a process designed to safeguard the integrity of elections in Burlington. He said that in the past ward clerks would start election day by printing tapes from the electronic memory cards in the voting machines that would indicate no votes had been cast yet. Says Owen,

City Hall does a check on each memory card before they are sealed just like every election before they are delivered to each polling location, the difference this time is we are not able to do that print out at each polling location and check the “electronic ballot box” to make sure the races are pre-set at zero. There is nothing for us to sign off on and we are supposed to blindly trust the memeory card that City Hall has provided us.

Someone who should know tells me the machines at the polling places are incapable of counting IRV votes and would produce tapes showing zero votes, regardless of whether there were votes on them or not. The software in the voting machines can’t interpret IRV ballots. Only the Windows-based “Choice Plus Pro” software at City Hall can.

Unless you run those memory cards through “Choice Plus Pro” before they go out to the polls, there would be no way to be sure they didn’t already have votes on them. That didn’t happen in our first IRV election three years ago. Although there is no evidence whatsoever that there was any funny business last time around, it’s clear that the integrity of the our mechanisms here merit improvement and serious public scrutiny.

In a comment string on this issue at Blazing Indiscretions Terry Bouricius, THE original Progressive city councilor of 1981, and a partner in the company that consults on our IRV said…

At my request, Dana Baron, the city’s IT person working on the election, double checked with the voting machine vendor, LHS Associates, and found out that what the poll workers were told at their training about the running of zero tapes was NOT correct. The tabulators WILL indeed run meaningful tapes before voting commences that will show if any ballots have been fed in. The tape will be printed again at the end of the day that will show how many ballots the machine read.

Hmmm. I guess.

Owen mentions that he will be questioning Ben Pacy about this at election training.
Feb. 24th 5-6:30pm Contois @ City Hall. There is never a bigger or more important election story than one that deals with how the ballots are handled and counted.

*****

Brainstorm: Integrity and other Concerns about Burlington’s IRV

*The transportation of memory cards from the polling places to city hall increases the likelihood of their compromise. Under the old system, results had to be read at the polling places and usually were known in minutes. No more.
*Process for establishing votes total zero before ballots are cast needs improvement
*Having a single, Windows based program decide the mayor is disconcerting. The program could be hacked or manipulated.
*An election manipulated to produce a wide enough margin of victory is unlikely to be audited against the paper ballot.
*In a real runoff, if you voted for the top vote getter the first time around, you could change your mind and pick another candidate when you came back to vote in the runoff. In ranked voting, it isn’t the same. If your first choice is the top vote getter in the first round, other people’s second choice will likely decide the winner. You don’t get to participate in the runoff.
*The Chief elections officer who can establish election procedures, improperly injects himself into politics.
*The Chief elections administrator thought a time crunch justified breaking into a ballot box last year, and has yet to run an election without an obvious flaw.
* A manual recount in the mayors race this year would be a good idea regardless of the winner or his margin, just to make sure we can do it.
*Maybe we should scrap IRV. It solves a problem that never existed. There had never been a mayoral runoff before 2006 that I’m aware of.

February 17, 2009   No Comments

Same As It Ever Was

Politicians are risk averse. They don’t like to answer questions. Dan Smith was willing to leave a comment here explaining why he looks like a ski bum in a picture I posted, but not willing to follow up by answering serious questions in writing. His campaign manager wrote to me privately and said Dan would talk to me in person instead. Hopefully I will get around to meeting with Dan and the other three announced candidates, especially if I get a tape recorder for Christmas- but there is a larger issue here.

We’re in the middle of a paradigm shift in communications and in politics. Obama was able to defeat Clinton and McCain, two powerful establishment pols largely through a more dexterous use his website, YouTube and blogs. The internet is revolutionizing politics and not just on the national level. Here in Burlington, BurlingtonPol and others have been revolutionizing politics too. This blog does have influence, and so does She’s Right, Blurt and Local Action Works.

Local pols cannot ignore the local blogosphere. My thesis is that, as powerful as blogs have become in our national discourse, local political blogs have the potential for even greater proportional influence on local discourse. Many of you reading this now know me or have met me personally. In itself that lends to a kind of credibility that’s impossible on a national scale. I know my Google rankings are high for many local political names. I know darn well many local politicians are reading this right now. You cannot escape it and you ignore it at your political peril.

Almost a month ago Andy Montroll promised Owen at Local Action Works by email that he would answer their mayoral questionnaire “in the next couple of days” yet he still hasn’t…

From: andy montroll (andym@montrolllaw.com)
Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 12:19 AM
Subject: Re: Mayoral questionnaire for Burlington Democrats caucus
To: Owen Mulligan (ombreath@gmail.com)

Owen,

Thanks for sending me this questionnaire. I hope to get to finish up my responses in the next couple of days and then I’ll get it back to you.

Thanks
Andy

Unfortunately that’s not acceptable. The questions on this particular questionnaire aren’t even that difficult…

1. Why are you running for Mayor?
2. How will your administration differ from the Kiss administration?
3. What is your vision for Burlington?
4. What are the three biggest challenges facing Burlington?

A blogger would have replied with the answers in about three seconds. That’s the way blogging works. It’s interactive and it’s instant. And the politicians who don’t catch up to this reality will be left behind. There is absolutely no reason all four candidates could not jump into this post’s comment thread and respond to these questions in writing right now. Whoever does first will force the hand of the others.

As I mentioned, I posted a series of questions for Dan Smith in a recent post. I’ve also sent a similar set of questions to Democratic Ward 7 city council nominee Eli Lessor-Goldsmith. Just as Andy promised Owen forthcoming answers, Eli also promised he’d work on (but not necessarily answer) my questions…

Haik,

sorry for the delay on this email.

I am finally recovering from Thanksgiving.. it was long at work and then lots of eating yesterday.
Let me work on the answers to your questions.
Happy holidays.

Eli

In Dan and Eli’s defense, I asked more and perhaps tougher questions than Owen, but they shouldn’t be too tough for local office seekers to address…

*How would you move city employees from pensions to private retirement accounts? By attrition or in one fell swoop?

*Are you in favor the Public Works department absorbing the Parks Department and firing Wayne Gross?

*Are you in favor of Burlington Telecom offering a remote control with a pager in it so you can hear it beeping from under the couch cushions?

*Are you in favor of Burlington Telecom selling its bandwidth capacity to other municipalities?

*In light of mistakes made in all three elections run by Ben Pacy so far, what would you do as mayor to ensure election integrity?

*Can paperless electronic voting devices ever truly be audited? (hint: no.)

*Are you in favor of the Moran redevelopment as it’s proceeding?

*Would you have put that huge school bond on the ballot?

*Whom did you vote for for president?

*Would you like to see stairs leading from Battery Park to the waterfront?

*If the candidates for mayor were Dan Smith, Bob Kiss, Kurt Wright and Andy Montroll, who would be your 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices?

I want the answers to these questions and my readers do too. I want them in writing and I want them in an interactive, dynamic discourse with local pols on the internet. We the people are sick of meaningless platitudes and slogans from politicians. Don’t assume big signs and slick mailings that don’t say anything are going to carry to you anymore. Elevate your discourse. Get specific. Learn to write and stand behind your thoughts like bloggers do.

And if institutional lag renders our local pols kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, be aware that traditional media types like John Briggs at the Burlington Free Press and Shay Totten at Seven Days are probably reading this too. I expect them to pick up on the questions here and press the pols to answer them. You are reading this and your opponent probably is too. This town isn’t that big. Don’t hide behind platitudes and promises to answer later.

Elevate the discourse local politicians. I’m warning you.

December 12, 2008   No Comments

Kesha Ram vs. Chris Pearson II

OK, let’s talk about what happened with Tim Ashe in this election. Looks like he won after some potential shenanigans. From Nancy Resmen at the Burlington Free Press November 5, 2008…

Corrected count gives Ashe sixth Senate seat

Tim Ashe of Burlington, who ran as both a Democrat and Progressive, will take a seat in the Senate, he learned Wednesday after a night of uncertainty.

An incorrect number in Ashe’s vote count for one ward had put Ashe in seventh place in the Chittenden senate district race. There are just six seats.

After the vote tally was corrected Wednesday, Ashe moved up ahead of Democrat Denise Barnard of Richmond.

Huh. Was that a block quote or did I just reprint the whole article? Man that was short. The Free Press piece does go on to report the “corrected” tally…

The six Chittenden senate winners and their vote counts are as follows:
Doug Racine, 44,675
Ed Flanagan, 38,927
Ginny Lyons, 35,801
Diane Snelling, 32,322
Hinda Miller, 31,395
Tim Ashe, 28,048

Yes. Quite. I voted for Tim Ashe, by the way, and no other senate candidate. And even though the ballot box in my ward (Seven) was illegally broken into three times last year, I’m confident my vote was counted “correctly” by Ben Pacy and Jonathon Leopold. And even though the people of Ward Five didn’t have enough ballots during the primaries, I’m confident Ben Pacy and Jonathon Leopold counted the Ward Five ballots “correctly” as well. Why? Because according to the comment string at that Free Press article online, the trouble seems to be in Ward One this time.

11/5/2008 7:37:26 PM dcross wrote: That’s an *awfully* big swing for one ward, especially since it would have to be people who voted for Ashe and not Barnard (another D). I’d be amazed if there weren’t a recount.
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11/5/2008 6:29:37 PM jimmmy wrote:
There is certainly something fishy going on in Burlington. I spoke with an election official from Ward 1 who said that he didn’t trust the folks he was working with.
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*****

So as I’ve been predicting since I first met her and learned about her candidacy, Kesha Ram (pronounced “Kay-Shuh Rom”) has taken out Chris Pearson in her bid for a seat in the legislature from the student-heavy Chittenden 3-4 district. Kesha is a tough competitor who knows how to spin.

I think Obama joked the she would replace Welch if he didn’t watch his step or something. Funny, but as a constitutional lawyer he must realize you have to be twenty-five to serve in the US House. Kesha is twenty-two. That was how old I was when I was elected to my first and so far only elected office. That was as a Progressive city councilor from Ward Three from 1995-1997. I digress.

Good job Kesha. I knew you wouldn’t get Dave, though. Zuckerman is pretty dug-in. And that makes sense since he’s a farmer. If the Progs had run Zuckerman for governor, he’d have bloody well done better than 21 percent by golly. Bummer for Gaye Symington though. She stopped me in the mall on Monday but I had such a cold I couldn’t shake her hand because I didn’t want to get her sick. I told her “good luck tomorrow” but that was just to be polite. I knew Douglas was going to win. How could anyone not have known that?

Also in the mall yesterday I ran into a current candidate for mayor who is not the current mayor. I told him if he wants to win he should attack Leopold, not Kiss. He didn’t seem into that. He seemed more into focusing on Kiss and specifically focusing on what he hasn’t done as opposed to what he has done. This is a weak strategy. If you can’t go after anything Kiss has done wrong, you’re not going to win. Serving three years and just not doing enough good stuff, is not enough reason for an incumbent to be kicked out. Just ask Jim Douglas.

If I were running for mayor I’d make a huge deal out of election integrity, if that wasn’t already apparent.

Any-hoo. I got up at Five AM and I couldn’t go back to sleep so I thought I’d blog. Oh one last thought. I’m already feeling the benefits of an Obama presidency. I made a $20 bet with a woman at work a couple months ago that Obama would win and yesterday she paid up. I tried to refuse twice in good humor, but she insisted. So a big Kramer Boo-yaaa for me. My co-worker was happy to lose the bet. President-Elect Barack Steve Obama. You gotta love it.

November 6, 2008   23 Comments

Adam Cate Disciplined

John Briggs over at the Free Press is reporting today that Adam Cate, the city’s waterfront manager who has been suspended with pay since June for God-Knows-What, is appealing Parks Director Wayne Gross’s disciplinary decision.

What that decision is, we don’t know. We only know that Cate is appealing it to the Parks and Recreation Commission. From the Burlington Free Press:

Gross declined to discuss the nature of the charges against Cate, the scope of the investigation or his recommendation for discipline. He described the investigation as focusing on “a series of different issues related to the operation of the (Community) Boathouse and access to e-mail accounts.”

The hearing before the commission has not been scheduled. Gross said it would be a closed hearing unless Cate asks that the public be admitted.

Cate’s attorney couldn’t be reached Monday for comment. Earlier, lawyer Sheldon Katz confirmed that the city had hired two private investigators. At least part of that investigation focused on Cate’s possession of an e-mail from Ben Pacy of the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office to the top union official in the Parks Department.

Pacy formerly was a Parks Department supervisor.

This kind of thing is infuriating. It’s not right. It’s not right. It’s not right. Good government is transparent. It’s open. I have been a pretty strong supporter of Bob Kiss throughout his term, but I have to be honest here. That support is eroding. There is no reason for everything to be so secretive. City Hall belongs to the people of Burlington. Not Ben Pacy. Not Johnathon Leopold.

One comment on this story at the the Free Press website is interesting. From “Sabin:”

Ben Pacy couldn’t get Gross’s job so he transfers to the treasurer’s office and starts romancing King Leopold on the idea of combining Public Works & Parks Department. Maybe a good idea, who knows. Cate breaks into Pacy’s e-mail and finds an invitation to a union official to meet off the record. Cate brings the e-mail to Gross who presents it to Kiss. Four days later Cate is suspended on the pretense of embezzlement. What are the chances that they realized Cate was stealing four days after the e-mail? Then the drama begins, Burlington Police is asked to investigate – no luck. Kiss not happy with the outcome hires the P.I. firm – batted zero. Shocker. Now what?

October 21, 2008   No Comments

Karen Paul Brings It

So yes, I did go to the city council meeting on Monday, but I only stayed through the public forum which ended around eight o’clock. I even spoke, telling the council they should consider returning to the days when there was a Clerk and a Treasurer and not a botched conflation of the two in our so called “chief administrative officer.” The chief administrative officer I said, is ultimately still the mayor.

I later heard that my speech sounded a little muddled, perhaps in part because I’ve had a cold. So I may have to return with my message again. But think about it. Since the advent of the “Clerk-Treasurer” which then morphed into the CAO position now held by Jonathon Leopold, we’ve had the council hoodwinked into granting a double pension for Brendan Keleher which will end up costing us nearly a quarter million dollars, we’ve lost our highly skilled professional city clerk Jo LaMarche, and been treated to the “Ben Pacy Amateur Hour” ever since.

Pacy has shown on multiple occasions that he isn’t qualified to handle his job as Acting Clerk (Assistant Chief Administrative Officer). I mean, here we are suspending Adam Cate with pay for a third of a year because he may or may not have broken the law, while at the same time we know damn well Pacy broke the law three times in a row in March when he foolishly broke into the ward 7 ballot box. I was at the hearing about that incident, and he wasn’t contrite about it in the least. Nor was Leopold. And he hasn’t seen so much as a slap on the wrist. No formal sanction or reprimand. Nothing.

Pacy’s crime may have been borne of incompetence and not malice, but its damage is arguably far worse than a few bucks stolen out of the boathouse cash register would be. Burlington’s formally pristine and trustworthy elections now have a taint. Under the old way, when we had a separate and discreet Clerk’s office, understudies were groomed to run elections, learning the sacred art in a deliberate process of professional maturation that takes years. Under the current structure, we grab some guy from the Parks Department and throw the poor bastard into the fire with no training whatsoever.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and when you’re in a hole stop digging. I say we stop digging and go back to the way it was before we fixed it. because the reality is that right now Ben Pacy is the City Clerk, Jonathon Leopold is the City Treasurer and Bob Kiss, like it or not, is the Chief Administrative Officer.

*****

So wasn’t this post supposed to be about Karen Paul and how at the meeting she “brought it” to the the City Attorney vis-a-vis the Moran Plant? Yes. And she did bring it. And while I don’t necessarily agree with my friends from the Green-Dem Alliance that we should tear down the building, I certainly don’t see a problem bringing in another set of eyes to look at the agreements with the potential tenants of the building. I want to keep and retrofit the plant with the kids’ museum, etc. But I certainly don’t want the city to be left holding the bag. If Paul says there was an agreement to bring in outside lawyers, than there probably was. And that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

In the Burlington Free Press, John Briggs quotes CEDO Director Larry Kupferman as saying “Outside counsel has not been part of our thinking. Nor has it been brought up by anyone else, until last night.” That I doubt. I wish Briggs had asked Ken Schatz for a quote too.

Here’s the money quote from Karen Paul who lead the successful effort to table the Moran Endeavor…

“I have told the city attorney I will not put my name on an agreement that has not been seen by an outside attorney with years of experience in this field,” Paul said Tuesday. “Our potential tenants are getting this kind of advice. Why shouldn’t we?”

Good on you, Karen Paul. Why shouldn’t we indeed?

September 18, 2008   No Comments

City Council Agenda 09.15.08

Here’s an MS Word .doc of Monday’s City Council Agenda and its amendments.

Highlights include…

*A charter change and tax increase for the Parks and Recreation Department. (Possibly part of Jonathon Leopold’s push to combine Parks and Public Works.) Hey, whatever happened to that guy Adam Cate who was suspended from Parks with pay a while back? Anybody know?

*A $92 million dollar School Department ballot item. (Hmmm. Better than $226 million over 10 years, but $92 million over five years is still staggering. It just sounds like a lot less, because of the shrunken time line.) I think the March ballot would still be fine. Why rush to vote on this in November?

*Authorization of a 25-cent surcharge on taxi rides.

*A charter change and creation of a Burlington Telecom Department and Commission.

*A discussion of the Green Mountain Children’s Museum. I’m for this. My kids need more cool stuff to do.

*A “How’s it going Ward Clerks?” resolution when everybody knows how it’s going (poorly since the “Ben Pacy Amateur Hour” began in the Clerk’s office).

*(A Resolution to urge Vermont toward gay marriage was originally on the agenda, but has been withdrawn.)

It seems like a rich agenda. I’m going to try be there tonight. No guarantees though. As with everything, it will depend on the state of things with Poopsie, Koko and Yanna. I love my city, but I love my family more, of course.

September 15, 2008   No Comments