GRAVITAS . . . . Fair and Brutal Opinion (Trapped by Facts)

Headshot of Contributing Writer Scott J. Graves
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About Contributing Journalist Scott J. Graves in his own words

Scott J. Graves, Esq., B.S. Biology, M.S. Pharmacology, J.D. Law – Father, Born-and-Bred Gardnerien-American, Gardner Native of Acadien Heritage, Gardner High School Class of 1982, Gardner Citizen-Voter, Gardner Homeowner/Taxpayer, 30-year Gardner Business Owner, 30-year Gardner Lawyer, former 16-year Gardner City Councillor, former Gardner City Council President, and former Gardner City Solicitor and Head of the City of Gardner Law Department.

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There was a City Council Meeting Feb. 22, 2022.  

Councillor James Boone, by himself and seemingly with no one having his back at the time, made probably one of the most sensible, polite, and reasonable (almost apologetic) motions a City Councillor has ever made on that floor in the City Council’s 100-year history – demonstrating that backbones and mouths can still exist within the same City Councillor human body.

Making his motion, he looked like the beloved dog you just tripped over, who looks up at you with loving eyes which seem to ask: “I’m so sorry, I’ll be out of the way next time.”  

Boone was brilliant and brave in his self-effacing, and indefatigable, manner. He’s the gum on the bottom of the Ruling Class’s iron heel. We, the People, love it.

But, Boone’s impressive temerity and thoughtfulness for The People were rubbed into the dirt by the powers-that-be – as is all independent thought on this City Council.

Yet, something happened on the way to the forum – he found three fellow travelers – brave representatives of the People willing to say “no” to the spendthrift Ruling Class.

The Mayor was telling the City Councillor, once again, to spend Taxpayer money on a Public Records Request legal action that the City is fighting so that they will not have to release any information about the Coil Scandal.  The City’s Law Department, John Flick and Ethan Kolodny, refuse to handle that case for the City.  Therefore, as usual, the Taxpayers are being forced to pay for outside lawyers to come in and represent the City. 

Not wanting to waste the Taxpayers’ money, Councillor Boone’s simple motion was to have John Flick, the City Solicitor, somehow find it within his precious time working at his private business, Flick Law Group, P.C., to grace the City Council with his actual presence – and explain why the Law Department has refused to handle a Public Records Request appeal lawsuit in Superior Court.  

Six City Councillors, of the Ruling Class automaton majority, shot him down.

Why are the two lawyers of the City’s Law Department, Flick and his side-kick someone or other, refusing to do their job regarding this lawsuit?

We don’t know – and that’s why Boone asked that Flick come in and explain this mystery (something about a delusional, fake “conflict” – there is no “conflict,” by the way).

Flick’s refusal to work on that lawsuit meant that the City Council was voting to spend more of your money to hire someone else to do it.  That is what provoked Boone’s brilliant motion.  

Again, the City Council was being asked by the spendthrift Mayor to spend more Taxpayer money that has now reached $20,000 toward an expense (according to the spendthrift Mayor) of at least $82,000.  This is to pay for outside legal counsel – even though you, the Citizens, pay Flick and Kolondy (also known as the City’s Law Department) $125,000 per year to handle these simple legal matters themselves (“ahh, that’s, like, what you get paid to do, dude”).

That case has barely started, and the outside legal counsel has already billed you, the Taxpayers, $20,000 – and there will be a lot more to pay, coming shortly.

Hey, John Q. Public, when was the last time you nonchalantly shoveled out $20,000 on your lawyer, and were not even close to the end of that bloodletting?

Led by City Councillor James Walsh, six Councillors decided not to bother Flick – he can’t be bothered to come in to speak to the lowly Councillors – after all, he works for the Mayor. Come on, man.

The six who shot down Boone’s idea to have Flick come in and explain why the Taxpayers’ money has to be wasted like this are: Walsh, and Councillors Elizabeth Kazinskas, George Tyros, Aleksander Dernalowicz, and The Cormiers. 

Big surprises there. Not. 

By voting “no,” these six governmental giants showed The People that they are afraid to receive information that the Citizens want and need them to obtain on their behalf.  Their actions are telling you that “we can’t make that public information, well . . . public.”

Why?  Because it is too embarrassing for Flick and Kolodny?  Is that what we are paying for?

What in the world is so frightening for a City Councillor that he/she does not want free information – information you need in order to make an informed vote to spend more of the Taxpayers’ money? 

Did I say free information?  Well, not exactly “free.”  You’re still pay Flick and his side-kick $125,000 per year. But, Flick having to go to the massive trouble of actually appearing in front of the City Council to explain himself will not cost you extra money – so, in that sense, it’s “free.”

Voting “no” is dumbfounding.  This is like being lost on a trail in the woods at midnight under a moonless sky, with the car about 3 miles away, in the freezing cold, and refusing to open a new pack of batteries when the flashlight dies.  “I don’t mind being hopelessly lost, batteries are bad for the environment.” 

Is that too much to ask?  That the two City lawyers, making $125,000 for their part-time roles (plus benefits), come in for 5 minutes and tell the Citizens’ representatives what is going on here – that’s too much to ask?

Well, for those 6 conformist/party-line City Councillors, that is asking too much, way too much.

For these 6 Councillors, spending your money is easy.  But, if the money was coming out of their own wallets, do you think Councillor Boone’s motion to have Flick come in and (gasp!) explain himself would have received any “no” votes?  Of course not.

Instead, these 6 Councillors shot Boone’s simple and harmless motion down into the dirt. Why bother Attorney Flick and Kolodny to find time to come in and explain to the Citizens why they are wasting the Taxpayers’ money instead of doing their jobs?  

No, the Big 6 would rather just spend the Taxpayers’ money without having any idea why this Law Department is not doing its job regarding that legal action.  After all, it’s not coming out of their wallets.

These 6 spendthrifts (Walsh, Kazinskas, Dernalowicz, Tyros, and The Cormiers) have “no idea” why Flick and Kolodny are not doing their jobs in this case.  Their legal spokesperson, Councillor Walsh, said so by refusing to answer a simple question from Councillor Boudreau.

Why are they “conflicted”?  How?

That’s the big secret that Walsh, Kazinskas, Tyros, Dernalowicz and The Cormiers were enlisted to keep. 

Of course, there is no “conflict.”  If there were an explanation, and we have asked several times, we would have heard about it long before now.

Meanwhile, Taxpayers, “shut up and pay.”

Anyway, at this City Council Meeting, Councillor Walsh told everyone that Flick and Kolodny are obviously conflicted, and cannot handle this legal action.  

Really?  Why is that? Well, Councillor Boudreau did something that few Councillors have dared do over the course of Walsh’s 50-year reign as the quasi-City-Council-Judge, he asked him to explain.

When pressed to explain himself with something other than anecdotes and self-important conclusory fluff, Councillor Walsh couldn’t do it.  Instead, his answer was, “I said what I’m going to say.”  I’ll translate the legalese for you: “because I just said so, that’s why.”  So there.

So, even though Walsh’s “because I said so” nonsense got enough votes to shoot down Boone’s brilliant motion (barely – with none to spare), Walsh learned something else.

Walsh learned that his 40-year reign of having his professorial legal rulings from his City Council chair automatically result in 11 (or 10) Rubber Stamp votes on the Gardner City Council, like water into wine, is beginning to wane.  

Walsh’s inability to explain his answer got him (and the Mayor) only 6 Rubber-Stamp votes, instead of the usual 11 (or 10). So, the Big Automatic 6 still spent your money wastefully – but we are beginning to see the crack in the dam.

This Ruling Class not getting the automatic 11 votes, as would be usual, is a monumental movement in the direction of truth.  It’s like moving a mountain in this conformism-laden, incurious, credulous, uncritical, city government Echo Chamber that this City Council has become over the last 2-plus years.

So, the Citizens have hope.  Sporting prominent backbones, Councillors Boone and Boudreau have challenged the edicts of the Ruling Class status quo.  Joining in with backbones of their own, Councillor Hardern and Councillor Heath joined them – showing the Ruling Class that this story trumped up by the Mayor and Walsh and Flick does not pass the smell test.  

What’s behind all this wasting money?

Answer: the City’s Executive Department (the Mayor and Flick) need to stop the free flow of information to the Citizens.  This is not new.  It is standard operating procedure.  It’s Gardner Executive Branch primary policy.  As Councillor Boone told the Citizens last night, the City is spending that $82,000 in the effort to keep any and all information having to do with the Coil Scandal away from City Councillors (and, thus, away from the Citizens).

Councillor Boone pointed out the obvious.  The Citizens have been getting shafted since the 90’s with the drinking water corroding copper heating coils, and the Citizens have received “zero” information from the City.  Zero. Zed. Zip.

Why is that? Answer: the City Council couldn’t care less.  Just shut up, and pay.

 What’s going on, by the way, with the Coil Scandal?  You know, the one where you all, the Citizens, We the People, spent tens of thousands of dollars replacing your heating coils in your home heating systems because of the condition of water you are forced to buy from this City.  Where the City’s insurance company has denied the claim, even though there are no grounds to deny the claim.

Are any of you getting reimbursed for the tens of thousands of dollars you spent replacing heating coils.

Who would know? The City Council doesn’t care – they don’t even want to hear any information (as the Feb. 22nd City Council Meeting shows).

We are all still standing here with our pockets turned inside out, and with zero answers from the Ruling Class (staring down at us saying, “what are you looking at?”).  

So, this is all about you not getting information.

Someone had the gall to actually push the issue of getting information about the Coil Scandal all the way to the Superior Court – and the City wants you all, the Citizens, to pay at least $82,000 for outside legal counsel to prevent any information from reaching you, the Citizens.

When Councillor Boone asks “why are we doing this?” – the Ruling Class says “shut him down.”  Councillor Walsh, as he has been from the start, was ready and willing to do so – which is why he crushed Boone’s motion for information, without any basis for doing so.  Again, Councillor Boudreau asked him – and Walsh had no answer.

Citizens, don’t worry, Walsh, Flick, Nicholson, Hawke – they got this.  Just shut up and pay.  Information?  Who needs that silly stuff?  The Masked Singer is on.

As Councillor Boone said, and backed up by the conscientious and brave Councillors Boudreau, Hardern and Heath, why is the City, and 6 City Councillors, led by James Walsh, so afraid to give We the People, us, the Citizens, such basic information affecting our lives and our wallets?

Can you say “coils”?

[Up next: Walsh and Flick rule that Flick has a “conflict.” There is no conflict, I asked]

Lizzy Kazinskas, City Council President, Gardner, MA

Above, we made a public records request as city officials were no comment when we contacted.

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