The Mayor’s Conflict of Interest – Stand Down

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

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 M the Media Project

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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As we know, the City of Gardner Government held a “Joint Convention” of the Gardner City Council and Gardner School Committee on Feb. 22, 2022 to take James Boone’s seat on the Monty Tech School Committee away from him two years before his current term was set to expire. There was also another seat on the MT School Committee that was legitimately up for election.

GRAVITAS believes from information provided by several reliable sources that the person poised to take Boone’s seat was the Mayor’s cousin, and the person who actually ended up winning the other seat was the Mayor’s uncle.

It’s not relevant to this discussion, but we cast no aspersions on either of them.  They have offered themselves up for public service, and that is commendable.  We feel sorry for the cousin.  He was hoodwinked just as much as anyone.  He was told that Boone’s seat was available, and offered himself to public service in what he thought was a fair and square election.  We hope that he keeps his interest in public service. It’s not his fault he got caught in a den of thieves.

Don’t believe this nonsense about the Clerk forgetting to give Boone his oath of office during the COVID-19 shut-down, or about Boone’s attendance record. They had nothing to do with this attempt to steal Boone’s School Committee seat. Those were just red herrings thrown out to distract the Citizens away from what really happened here.

Here’s what really happened.

Pursuant to a Public Records Request to Monty Tech, we just obtained information that this attempt to take Boone’s seat away from him began when Monty Tech reached out to Gardner last summer to update its files.

Gardner had neglected to send Boone’s current appointment certificate to Monty Tech confirming his election to his current 4-year term on the MT School Committee.

According to the records we obtained, in response to Monty Tech’s request for the update information, the Mayor of Gardner, Michael Nicholson, himself provided the false information that was turned over to Monty Tech. 

The false information was this: the Mayor stated that Boone’s MT School Committee seat was “good” only until January 2022.  That was false.

Maybe a second-grader would be a little challenged to locate the correct information in this regard. But any fifth-grader for sure could have gone on-line to the City Council minutes and found that Boone was elected to his current 4-year term on Feb. 18, 2020.

Even that second-grader mentioned above can do the math. 2020 + 4 = 2024.

Anyone who cared knew that Boone’s current seat was not up until 2024.  So, why did the Mayor give “January 2022” as Boone’s terminate date?

A more strident realist would be hard-pressed to resist, as we do, the temptation of suggesting that the Mayor knew exactly what he was doing.

Boone’s not a favorite of the Gardner political class.  For example, Boone doesn’t fall into the herd which takes the Mayor’s word as, well . . . gospel.  He’s not what you call “politically reliable.” That means the City Hall Ruling Class has him tapped for removal – if the opportunity ever presents itself.

Well, lo and behold, the opportunity presented itself.

Does anyone out there think that if George Tyros or Alek Dernalowicz, or Elizabeth Kazinskas, were the Monty Tech School Committee member in question, that any of this would have ever taken place?

Please.

So this is what the Gardner government did to Boone and to Monty Tech, and to all of us:

  • Gardner, Mayor Nicholson himself, provided the information requested by Monty Tech.
  • It was false information, when the truth was readily available at the short distance of a couple of keystrokes.
  • Monty Tech accepted Gardner’s false information – and entered January 2022 as the expiration month of Boone’s School Committee seat.
  • Gardner then “relies” upon that false information as if it came from Monty Tech – and conveniently considered Boone’s seat to be expiring in January 2022.
  • In that way, Gardner uses its own false information (making it look like it came from Monty Tech) to commence official governmental proceedings to steal Boone’s School Committee seat away from him two years before his term is set to expire.
  • The person poised to take Boone’s seat is the Mayor’s cousin.
  • When Gardner gets caught, Gardner officially and falsely accuses Monty Tech’s Superintendent of “claiming” that Boone’s seat was expired – when she never “claimed” or intimated any such thing.

But, Gardner wasn’t just satisfied with simply blaming Monty Tech’s Superintendent for something she didn’t do.

So, they turned its official “Joint Convention” on Feb. 22nd into a mock show-trial, an official Tribunal of Accusation and Inquiry – and formally voted to demand that Monty Tech go out and hire a team of lawyers to prove the Monty Tech Superintendent’s phantom “claims” that there was a “vacancy” relative to Boone’s seat.

Here’s a portion of Gardner’s astonishingly unprofessional, groundless, and accusatory letter to Monty Tech:

“Your Superintendent, Dr. Harrity, recently contacted the City of Gardner to claim that a vacancy existed in the position held by Gardner Member (of the Monty Tech School Committee) James Boone who was duly appointed to a 4 year term on Feb. 20, 2020,” and demanded that Monty Tech’s legal counsel provide “the legal and factual basis for this claimed vacancy.”

During the February 22, 2022 “Joint Convention,” Acting Mayor Kazinskas announced to the Citizens that the Mayor had some unidentified “conflict of interest.”

Acting Mayor Kazinskas stated that that “conflict of interest” precluded the Mayor from taking part in any aspect of the two elections on the Feb. 22nd Agenda of the “Joint Convention.”

Apparently, this unidentified “conflict of interest” prevented the Mayor from even showing up.

We presume that the Mayor’s unexplained and unidentified “conflict of interest” relates to his family relationships with the two persons running for the two School Committee seats that were up for grabs at that 2/22/22 “Joint Convention.”

We don’t know for sure because neither the Council President nor the Mayor has identified the Mayor’s “conflict of interest” – as if it’s none of the Citizens’ business.

If the Mayor’s family relationships were the basis of the Mayor’s “conflict of interest,” then the “conflict of interest” still exists.

This is because Boone’s MT School Committee seat is still up for grabs – it hasn’t been settled yet.

Boone’s seat is still up for grabs because Gardner’s “Joint Convention” on 2/22/22 only voted to “postpone” the one remaining Agenda item on its Agenda – which was the stealing of the two remaining years of Boone’s MT School Committee seat. It remains open.

Not to get into the weeds of parliamentary procedure (but we will, if you want us to), but the Joint Commission voted to “postpone” the “election” (the two years remaining in Boone’s current term).  They did not vote to “postpone indefinitely.”  It’s a critical difference between the two.

The Joint Convention actually voted to “postpone” the issue “until we have something from Montachusett (sic) School Committee that claims that a vacancy exists.”

That motion, which was adopted, means that the Joint Convention put off voting only until it had some information from Monty Tech to review, assess, discuss, deliberate, and act upon as a body– just like any deliberative public body does.

No one has any authority to make an official act for or on behalf of the Joint Convention regarding an outstanding issue pending for action.  It must meet as a public body to vote on its next course of action.  That was the entire purpose of the “postponement.”  But, regardless of the motion, no one can speak for the public body in these circumstances.  The public body speaks for itself. Corpus loquitur.

So, it’s still open.

We suspect that when Monty Tech provides Gardner with information that Monty Tech never claimed there was a “vacancy” in Boone’s seat, Gardner will make believe that that is a surprise to Gardner.  “What? You say Dr. Harrity never claimed there was a vacancy, no way! For real?”

Gardner will then quietly make believe that it never happened, and try to sweep it under the rug – without saying anything to the Citizens about this tidy little sweep job.

Nothing to see here, children.  Look! The Masked Singer is on!

But, as we said, Gardner will eventually have to re-convene the Joint Convention in order to formally and officially dispose with the last pending issue (which is to steal Boone’s seat).

As far as we know, the Mayor’s cousin never withdrew his nomination or his candidacy for Boone’s still-up-for-grabs seat.

So, what exactly is this “conflict of interest” the Mayor claimed he had?

We ask because the Mayor began involving himself in the issue of Boone’s still-up-for-grabs seat 1 minute (literally) after the “Joint Convention” was postponed on 2/22/22.

We obtained documents which show that Nicholson started communicating to and with the Monty Tech Superintendent’s office beginning 1 minute after the end of the 2/22/22 Joint Convention about Boone’s seat.

Isn’t there a “conflict of interest”?

In fact, in that email from Nicholson to the Superintendent, he even expressed his opinion that the still-pending issue of Boone’s open seat involves some “misunderstanding,” and that he wanted to discuss it further with her.

What happened to the “conflict of interest”?  Did it just disappear?  Isn’t the Mayor’s cousin still the candidate to take Boone’s seat when the “Joint Convention” re-convenes?

Mayor Nicholson even followed up with communications the next morning (Feb. 23rd) with the Superintendent’s office, which involved at least one phone call from the Mayor to the Superintendent, a phone call from the Superintendent to the Mayor, and an email from the Superintendent to the Mayor.

One minute the Mayor couldn’t even show up for the Joint Convention on 2/22/22 because of this “conflict of interest.”  The next minute (literally – the next minute), the Mayor was free to discuss the matter to his heart’s delight?

What changed about the disabling “conflict of interest”?

Monty Tech never said anything about this absurd notion that it made any legal difference that the City Clerk, Titi Siriphan, forgot to give Boone his oath.  But, who cares?  Just give him the damn oath now.  That whole thing is an embarrassing charade and red herring.

As far as the pathetic and phony ruminations started by Mayor Nicholson’s office go-fer, Colin Smith, about Boone’s attendance record, two things.  One, you’re kidding me right?  You can’t get rid of a duly-elected (or “appointed” as the Mayor likes to fraudulently semanticize) official because you think he should have a better attendance record.  Two, it’s irrelevant – so don’t vote for him next time. That’s how democracy works.

So, they want us to believe that this Mayor, who is BFFs with the Council President and many of the Councillors, and hangs around with them, did not tell any one of them the plain fact that Boone’s 4-year term did not end until 2024 – in all the weeks and days leading up to the attempted steal on 2/22/22?  “Oh no, he didn’t – he had a (wait for it) . . . ‘conflict of interest,’ he would never.”

Not only is that not believable, it’s also not believable that we don’t have one City Councillor that could have figured it out for himself or herself prior to the 2/22/22 “Joint Convention,” and said out loud (for the rest of us), “what the hell are we doing here, stealing someone’s seat?”

And what about the City of Gardner Law Department?  They just sat back and watched the circus while sitting on their hands?  Is it believable that they did just that?  All three fairy tales on which the stealing the of Boone’s School Committee seat was based, 1) the oath, 2) the attendance record, or 3) his term naturally ended in 2022, were all legal determinations.

And no one contacted the Law Department?  O.K., sure.

It is also not believable that the City Clerk made her own decision that she could not give Boone his oath, which is her job.  It was also her job to know that Boone’s term was not up until 2024.  Who told her she couldn’t do her job?  We don’t know, but her boss is the City Council.

We know what really happened.  Someone from the City of Gardner ordered the entire City Government to stand down.

Who was it who told the entire City Government to do nothing?

Who is this omnipotent giant of a public servant who cashes their weekly paychecks from the Citizens of Gardner, and laughs in our faces from on high?

Who is this political operative who is so brazen that they would order this stand-down of City Government when there was not one fact to suggest that Boone’s seat was up for grabs?

Who is this Machiavellian Leviathan who has such power that our City Government disengages from public service and from common decency – to viciously throw a long-standing and loyal public servant like Councillor James Boone down the memory hole?

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Gardner to be born?

You think there’s nothing to see here?

Stay tuned.

We think Mayor of Gardner Mike Nicholson (Left) is going to need a brighter suit.
Close-up taken from the Gardner, MA 'Love' sign currently housed in center of the city. White and Orange cut-out signs of each letter in the word love.
Look through the Love sign in downtown Garder, MA and what do you see?  A half-finished parking lot, rear facades in disrepair and not much else.
Close-up taken from the Gardner, MA 'Love' sign currently housed in center of the city. White and Orange cut-out signs of each letter in the word love.
What good are social media meme stunts without substantive economic developent results? We Love Gardner no less than those who do not demand more meaningful and cooperative development.
Exterior full color image of the painted blue and yellow fire hydrant and blue sign outside of the Dept. of Water Management in Gardner, MA.

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