Inside BaseBall & Porcupines

SMG's 'Are We Here Yet?' Podcast
Find our complete roster of podcasts
Writing by Scott M. Graves
Click the image to access all of Scott M. Graves articles.
Scott M. Graves
Scotts on the Rocks Politica Podcast
Find our complete roster of podcasts Official Logo of the Scotts on the Rock Politica Podcast. Red white and blue lettering on a background of a bourbon on the rocks. The extreme background a US flag.
Writing by Scott J. Graves

Click the image to access all Scott J. Graves articles.Headshot Scott Joseph Graves

Watch the City of Gardner’s March 30, 2021 Finance Commitee meeting referenced in this most recnet Gardner Iron article on conflict of interest.

XXXIII April 8, 2021

Inside Baseball and Porcupines

The Mayor just signed an open-ended, exclusive contract with the City Solicitor’s private business.

All they need now is City Council approval.

If the City Solicitor’s private business gets that approval, then whenever the City is in “need” of these services, the City Solicitor’s private business will automatically get a new case. 

It’s a deal for the City Solicitor’s private business that is almost never seen in this country – outside of monopolies.  

That is, the City Solicitor’s private business will be saved from having to compete in the cruel free marketplace, like the rest of the businesses out there must do, for City of Gardner business.

All other businesses don’t even get a participation trophy – stay away.

Mayor Nicholson says this is the best thing for the Taxpayers of Gardner – because, well, John M. Flick, Esq., the City Solicitor and owner of Flick Law Group, P.C. said so.

So, with this new inside baseball contract, who will determine when/if the City has this “need” for those private “outside” services?  Answer: John M. Flick, Esq., City Solicitor. That’s why we have a Law Dept.

Who will determine whether the amount charged to the City Taxpayers by the City Solicitor’s private “outside” business for these “outside” services is reasonable? Answer: John M. Flick, Esq., City Solicitor. That’s why we have a Law Dept.

Who will check the work of the City Solicitor’s private “outside” business, and review it to make sure it is really in the City’s best legal interests? Answer: John M. Flick, Esq., City Solicitor. That’s why we have a Law Dept.

Watch the video of the March 30, 2021 Finance Committee Meeting.  We all have to appreciate Councillor Walsh’s courage to do his job in a stinky situation.  

It’s hard to watch him have to act like the pet owner who has to pull porcupine quills from his squirming pet’s face, “sorry pal, hold still . . . I gotta do this – it’s gonna hurt me a lot more than it’s gonna hurt you.”  The other two FinCom members were on mute.

That was all after the City Solicitor had already convinced the Mayor that this inside deal would make the City of Gardner Law Department “efficient” now – and that the inside deal will end the City Law Department’s spending of the Taxpayers’ money on overly expensive legal fees to all those mean and overpriced “outside vendors.”

In Flickspeak, “outside vendors” means “any other businesses not owned by John M. Flick, Esq.

If the City Council approves this, the City Solicitor will be having lots of conversations with his other self:

City Solicitor John M. Flick, Esq: “Hi, Atty. Flick, this is City Solicitor, John M. Flick, Esq. calling.  How’s it going? Did you see the Red Sox game last night?  Anyway, as City Solicitor, I have decided to send Flick Law Group, P.C. some legal work on a real estate matter where the City is buying some property.”

John M. Flick, Esq., Owner Flick Law Group, P.C.: “Hi, City Solicitor Flick. Yeah, I saw the game.  I, as owner of Flick Law Group, P.C., really appreciate you sending us legal work from the City.  We will do the work for, oh I don’t know, what do you think Mr. City Solicitor Flick?  Do you think $1,500 is too much?”

John M. Flick, Esq., City Solicitor: “Well, Atty. Flick, don’t bid against yourself.  Hahaha.  I agree with you – $1,500 is fine.  The City Solicitor says it’s O.K.  Hahaha.”

Apart from the craziness, the City Solicitor and Assistant City Solicitor get about $125,000 per year in combined annual personal income from the Gardner Taxpayers – plus their positions entitle them to city benefits to which no full-time City Councillor (making $7,000 per year) elected since 2014 is entitled.

And that’s for their less than full-time work.  Read State Ethics Commission Advisory 06-01.

When is enough enough?

To Flick, apparently never.  

With his belly-aching going back to 2008, Flick got all the City labor law work (for an extra $50,000 or so, per year – that no other City Solicitor ever got the opportunity to take); he got three new line items in his Law Dept. budget that no other prior City Solicitor ever had (an extra $9,000); he got regular salary raises – that no other City Solicitor got; he got commercial work for his private business on City-related transactions all these years – that no other City Solicitor ever got; etc.

For 13 years, Flick has monetized every aspect of his professional existence into something the Citizens must compensate him for.  

Just ask him. Flick will tell you, as he always does, that he is forced to give the City free services “on a daily basis,” and must use his own staff for City work without compensation.  

Hello? The Gardner Citizens pay Flick’s private law business associate lawyer $45,000 per year (plus he is entitled to city benefits) to be Asst. City Solicitor.  He can’t help?  What does he even do?

Yet, Flick keeps pulling the wool over the Mayors’ heads by convincing them that all those free services he is forced to give the City are not included in the $125,000-plus they get every year from the Gardner Taxpayers for their part-time City jobs.

Instead, Flick wants more.  

Wait.  Don’t they get paid for, well…providing legal services to the City?

City Ordinance Chapter 140 says “yes”:

“The duties of the City Solicitor and Assistant City Solicitor . . . they shall approve contracts, give legal advice and furnish written opinions when so requested by the Mayor (or) City Council . . . prosecute or defend all cases and proceedings to which the City is a party…prepare or approve all deeds or other legal instruments relating to the City… and generally handle all legal affairs pertaining to the City.”

 

Next: is this permitted under the Conflict of Interest Law?

Find Out More

Find other News at M the Media Project including local politics and conflicts of interest.

Why Separation of Powers Matters

by Scotts on the Rocks Politica

Does Gardner Have a Censorship Problem?

by Scott J. Graves | Gardner Iron

Sludge Landfill Expansion

Find out more on Gardner’s Proposed expansion causing constrantion amongst citizens sharing environmental and economic concerns.

Sludge-Tastica

by Scotts on the Rocks Politica | Podcast Episode 18

My Life with a Sludge Landfill

by Scott M. Graves | Politics, Done Local

Sludge Flowing Downhill: A Timeframe

by Scott J. Graves | Gardner Iron XXXII

Sludge Landfill Alternatives

by Scott M. Graves | Politics, Done Local

Scotts on the Rocks Politica is a political-centric broadcast that aims to lead through example.

Scott M. Graves is your host joined by a wide variety of guests from throughout the political spectrum and from a wide variety of disciplines.

Our intent is to provide rational and detailed discussion for listeners.  We’re proving we have more in common and that we’re better together than torn asunder.

Our weekly podcast features careful examinations  blendded with current events reporting from a national and local perspective.

If you appreciate local journalism with a global reach, if you want to cut through the BS and get right to the heart of the matter where it counts for your family our show was made for you.

 

With that in mind we’re launching an initiative we’re calling M The Media Project. This is a service of SMGraves Associates and over the months and years ahead we’re hoping to experiment with a variety of mediums, financial models and service delivery methods to deliver important news to a regional audience. 

It is our hope that we will create successful media services companies, incubated right here in central Massachusetts that have the potential of becoming replicable. 

The stakes for our society are too high for us not to take this endeavor on.  There are too many capable journalists across the country willing to take part in new and successful business enterprise dedicated to the smart delivery of local political, social and cultural stories.  The stories that tell us who we are and who we desire to be.
Official Logo of the Scotts on the Rock Politica Podcast. Red white and blue lettering on a background of a bourbon on the rocks. The extreme background a US flag.
Underwriting Scotts on the Rocks Politica Podcast.

Interested in advertising with us?  Perhaps you want a unique way to support the economic development work we accomplish while getting access to our intelligent and informed listeners?  Join our roster of supporters.  Click that button below to find out more.