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Category — John Briggs

Special Council Meeting on BT II

I had fun Tweeting there I guess.  I picked up three or four followers during the meeting too.  I really just love everybody who was there.  I love the whole community.  I love Shay and Lauren Glenn and Ed Adrian and Paul Decelles- Bob Kiss, Dale Tillotson.  Yes, I even love Sharon Bushor.  Briggs- Kurt- Everybody!  We are lucky to have so many caring people in our community.

The meeting itself was technically worthless, but did it have a meaning and a purpose?  Did it restore any public trust?  Is there any chance BT can be resurrected?  The answer is- yeah probably restored a little trust.  Kinda-sorta.  It certainly didn’t hurt the mayor or BT to have a Festivus style airing of the grievances.  There’s something to be said for the inoculation of political rock-bottom.  Or maybe freedom is just another name for nothing left to lose.  Or something.

January 27, 2011   Comments Off

The City Kids Are Alright

Breaking News

City Council Keeps “Nuclear Option”

to Scuttle After-School Changes on Table

I talked to John Briggs downtown today and he said Paul Decelles and Karen Paul were sponsering a resolution that would put the kibosh on the politically disastrous plan for the school department to absorb the after-school program and kick its long-time leaders to the curb.

I went to today’s informational meeting about this incredibly unpopular, practically radio-active proposal at CP Smith, and there was nobody there representing the superintendent or the ‘leadership council’ she’s a member of, which is offering the proposed changes.   The community members who were there were livid and non-plussed.  They implored me as a school board member to try to stop the plan.

I called Paul Decelles this evening and he said that he and Karen Paul had both drafted kibosh resolutions, but he deferred because hers was better and so it’s Karen’s resolution- which will call for an expanded leadership council to go back to the drawing board- that’s on the council’s agenda for Monday night.   Here is the operative clause:

“NOW, THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the recommendation put forward by the Leadership Council be put on hold until January 1 with the Leadership Council continuing to meet but with the addition of the following members: no more than three parents who have children attending Burlington Kids, one site coordinator now employed by Parks and Recreation and one now employed by the School Department, one school board member and one City Councilor who will together to review the budget, evaluate the program and assess its challenges and successes, and arrive at a process for public engagement so the communities’ voice can be heard.”

The tea leaves say Karen’s resolution would have broad support if it remains on the agenda.  The latest scuttlebutt however is that  ‘leadership council’ member Mari Steinbach who runs Burlington’s Parks and Recreation Department may be backing off and rethinking.  She, the superintendent and the other ‘leadership council’ members met tonight to come up with some adjustments to their incredibly unpopular current plan. 

Decelles said the council is keeping the kibosh resolution on Monday’s agenda as a sort of “nuclear option,” in case the current incarnation of the ‘leadership council’ doesn’t step back from the brink of its utterly toxic, third-rail of an idea on its own.  “If the leadership council recognizes their error, we may not need to go through with the resolution.” he said.

June 9, 2010   2 Comments

Fifty Percent Does Not Matter

John Briggs reports today that last night the city council…

“Approved by an 11-3 vote, with the council’s three Republicans opposed, a measure that instructs the Charter Change Committee, by Oct. 25, to create language for the charter requiring a majority vote — 50 percent plus one — for the winning candidate in a mayoral election. If approved by city voters, the change would then require approval by the Legislature.”

A couple of thoughts on this-

*The charter change committee might just hand the council IRV again.

*Assuming IRV (or Condorcet or any such method) is out, and a real runoff must be employed to attain 50%+1, then I hope the folks who argued in favor of IRV because it would spare us the expense of a runoff, realize a majority-winner system will likely necessitate that dreaded expensive runoff. I hope the anti-IRV folks like me who argued for the benefits of a “real” runoff vs. an “instant” runoff realize a majority winner system will likely necessitate that critical extra-time to hear from the top candidates- or for an October surprise to happen.  Oh boy!

*Anyone arguing any side of a new system related to the council’s action last night is likely to find themselves in some kind of hypocritical territory, because at the very least what’s good for the goose ought to be good for the gander. Why don’t we ever include city council races in these discussions?  They’re all still at the 40% threshold, aren’t they?  Tinker with yer own darn elections, why don’t cha, council?

*Just leave it alone already people. I’m with the Republicans on this. It’s fine the way it is. Nobody questions the legitimacy of a plurality mayor or a of a plurality president for that matter. Move on already.

June 8, 2010   2 Comments

A Million Dollar Difference

A million dollar difference
From: “Haik Bedrosian” View contact details


Hi John (and Mike),

Please see the excerpts below from two stories you wrote. One was published today, and one was published yesterday. I have emphasized the type face in each regarding the amount BT owes the city. First of all, I believe the number is $17M, but yesterday you said $16M and today you said $15.

Did BT pay the city back a million dollars since yesterday?



Burlington City Council to consider department appointments
By John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer • Monday, April 26, 2010

“The municipally owned Internet, telephone and cable TV provider is $50 million in debt and has no plan in place to erase the debt. Some $16 million is owed to the city, which used the money from 2007 to 2009 to sustain BT.

Burlington City Council seeks oversight
By John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer • Tuesday, April 27, 2010

“The city-owned provider of Internet, telephone and cable television service is about $50 million in debt, with some $15 million owed to the city.”

April 27, 2010   1 Comment

Council Hires Budget Consultant

The city council has hired George Cross to be its own budget analyst.

From John Briggs at The Burlington Free Press:

Cross said that with the system Burlington has, of an elected chief executive, “there are times when the City Council, in doing its due diligence on issues, has a need for someone who is an employee of the council rather than the administration.”

I have been suggesting that the council empower itself in ways like this for years. Good on them. I approve.

George Cross is the husband of Dorothy “Dottie” Cross, who was a close old friend of my mother Louise.

April 9, 2010   Comments Off

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?


April 9, 2010   Comments Off

Council Delays Financing V

Breaking News: Council Scuttles Piper Jaffray Deal

I think now it’s safe to say “scuttles.” They just voted 8-6 to put out a request for proposal to try to get other funding offers from other money companies. That move essentially rendered moot the resolution that would have authorized the letter of intent for a 61 million dollar funding deal with Piper Jaffray. So moot, it was withdrawn.

(Now as I’m writing they are considering Paul Decelles’s resolution to kick the CAO off the board of finance. I’ll let Briggs report on what happens with that.)

So will the scuttling of the financing proposal scuttle BT itself? BT’s chances of survival are clearly diminished after tonight. It’s out of money and another big draw from pooled cash to keep it afloat seems unlikely.

We’ll see what happens…

December 15, 2009   37 Comments

Briggs and Montroll

I’m pretty sure I just saw John Briggs talking to Andy Montroll in the downtown mall.

December 2, 2009   2 Comments

Bob Kiss Blogs about BT

The Mayor discusses the ongoing controversy surrounding Burlington Telecom at The Prog Blog.

Also, The Burlington Free Press obtained an unauthorized copy of the communications between Leopold and city lawyers. The documents won’t officially become public until the resolution to release them, passed unanimously last night by the city council, gets the mayor’s signature. The story will be here for a limited time.

November 10, 2009   4 Comments

Two Special Council Meetings

7:00 P.M.

2. REPORT: Mayor Bob Kiss, Jonathan P.A. Leopold, Jr. CAO
& Burlington Telecom General Manager Chris
Burns, re: Update on Burlington Telecom (oral)



THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 20097:00 P.M.

2. PUBLIC FORUM: Re: Burlington Telecom

October 17, 2009   Comments Off