Bosley Calls for Expanded Use of County Communications
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Daniel E. Bosley, candidate for Berkshire County Sheriff, called for expanded use of the county's communications system to enhance the safety of seniors.
“I believe that we can create a new program that calls for us to check on seniors who live alone or are in remote areas in the county,” he said.
Bosley explained that the sheriff operates the County Communication Center for most of the towns in Berkshire County. The sheriff also is a member of the Triad Safety Program, which was created for enhanced safety for senior citizens.
“It makes sense for the sheriff to reach out to ensure the safety of at-risk seniors. Our communications center does a great job and I feel that we can check on our seniors to ensure their well-being without an increase of cost to the center.”
Bosley explained that Franklin County had, until recently, several deputy sheriffs who would travel around their county checking on seniors in small towns. He said that the rural nature of Franklin County necessitated this approach. However, recent budget cuts ended this program.
“In Berkshire County, our communications center can use reverse calling to reach out to seniors that would sign up for a phone call each month or at a determined time. This would save us the cost of a more expensive outreach like Franklin County, but would ensure that every senior would be connected to someone who could check on their safety and well being.”
Bosley said that the sheriff’s roles in both Triad and County Communications make the sheriff’s department the logical contact point to conduct this program. If there is a problem, the call center is the place where an emergency call would come for most towns. “This is a low-cost way to ensure that our seniors are safer and are able to get help if they need it," he said.
Bosley also said that working with these agencies would allow the center to give information to seniors each month as well. “Each message could be a health or safety tip, or could contain information that is vital to the well-being of our seniors,” he said.
Bosley commented that his experience in dealing with such agencies as Elder Services would help to coordinate efforts with social and human service agencies and the call center, ensuring the well-being of senior citizens.
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Sheriff Candidates Press Issues at Debate
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The two candidates hoping to rope the job of Berkshire County sheriff came out swinging on Monday night in their second debate. The 90-minute face-off at Conte Community School drew cheers and a few jeers from the crowd of more than 100 as the two Democrats tried to convince voters what a sheriff should be made of.
Thomas N. Bowler and Daniel E. Bosley last met in June in the first of four scheduled forums before the Sept. 14 primary. The candidates covered familiar ground on Monday night, hitting hard on the themes they've developed over the past few months. But it's been clear from the start that voters will be deciding what kind of sheriff they want — a public safety official or a law enforcement official.
"After 32 years, with the same sheriff, a lot of people aren't clear what the sheriff does," said Bosley, a 24-year state representative, describing that role as "the crux of the issue." "This is a human services job ... it's not a law enforcement job."
It was muggy in the Conte Community School gym and those on stage quickly doffed their jackets; it got more heated as the evening wore on.
Bowler, a Pittsfield detective with more than 20 years in law enforcement, disagreed strongly.
"If you were on a school committee, and you were going to hire a new superintendent for your schools, would you hire somebody who did not have a background in education?" he asked. "If you had a hospital administrator you were looking to hire, would hire somebody that does not have any health care experience — absolutely not."
The debate was sponsored by the Morningside and West Side neighborhood initiatives and moderated by Berkshire Eagle Executive Editor Tim Farkas, who noted the importance of electing the "first new Berkshire County sheriff since 1978." The candidates each were allowed opening and closing statements. Bosley took the first question by coin toss; the second candidate then was given a chance for response before it went back to the first candidate for rebuttal.
The two men did agree on a few things, including support for the revival of inmates growing produce for themselves and continuing to provide academic and trade skills education, working closely with local human service organizations and law enforcement agencies and alternative sentencing for juveniles, depending on their crimes.
In relation to the Morningside neighborhood, both said they would not consider selling off the property near Morningside School because of its current use for teaching trades and potential for further programs.
But they disagree heartily on three main issues — the role of sheriff, the need for a regional lockup and the expansion of programs beyond the House of Correction.
Bosley has called for a regional lockup similar that of Hampshire County. Located in the House of Correction, it would free up local police from transporting and guarding suspects and bring in much-needed revenue to the jail, he said. He estimated the cost for Pittsfield at about $35,000 a year that would translate into more police on the street.
"It makes fiscal sense for the town, it makes fiscal sense for the jail," said Bosley.
Bowler called the idea "completely irresponsible" and a waste of money at a time with the sheriff's budget is already pinched. "From my expereince, my 24 years, I can't remember at any point in time when all the 32 towns and cities had to lock up anyone at the same time."
But the sheriff has to come up with innovative ways to bring in revenue streams to expand programs, said Bosley, who called for the sheriff's department to take on a greater role integrating former inmates into the community after they were released.
"I think we need to be better coordinated to create a 'continuum of services' that would save money and help people to not re-offend," he said. Bosley frequently pointed to Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, which he helped found, as a model for working at the neighborhood level. "We need to follow them out into the community."
Bowler, who spent more than a year working in the House of Correction as a supervisor, said it was important for the department to work with community organizations, and be involved with the schools and Boys' and Girls' Clubs to forge bonds with youth. But there were already good programs in the House of Correction and no need to expand them; rather, the effort should be made through community outreach programs.
"There are adequate programs in education and trades," he said. "I'd talk to inmates and get their input into how we can make it better."
In response to question on the budget, the detective said he'd call for an audit and an assessment by the department's finance staff before making any decisions. The representative quickly responded, "I'm not going to rely on somebody else I'm going to look at the budget myself."
The debate got heated toward the end, with some boos from the back following Bosley's statement that Bowler "is very good at what he does and I think he should stay there." He later chastised the Bowler supporters for catcalls: "This is the way you've conducted this campaign." (The June forum also turned testy when a Bowler supporter tried to debate Bosley.)
Bowler retorted that "This is a true professional versus a politician." Bosley countered, "I prefer to think of myself as an elected official."
The candidates will meet again tonight, Tuesday, at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Church Street Center. A final debate is planned for early September on WUPE/WNAW.
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Sheriff, 1st Berkshire Debates This Week
Voters in Pittsfield and North County will have several chances to hear from candidates for sheriff and representative over the next few days.
Both races will essentially be decided in the September primary just a month away because all the candidates for the two offices are Democrats.
The debates begin tonight, Monday, at Conte Community School in Pittsfield as Thomas N. Bowler and Daniel E. Bosley face off for a second time in their pursuit to become Berkshire County sheriff. The candidates met in June in a forum hosted by the Williamstown Democratic Committee at Town Hall.
Monday's debate is being hosted by the West Side and Morningside neighborhood initiatives in collaboration with The Berkshire Eagle and broadcast on Pittsfield Community Television. The debate runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Bosley, currently the state representative for the 1st Berkshire District, and Bowler, a 20-year detective with the Pittsfield Police Department, will be questioned about countywide issues as well as those of interest to residents of the city's West Side and Morningside neighborhoods. They will also be posed questions selected from the audience.
(The sheriff candidates will meet once more in early September for a "Last Word" debate on WNAW/WUPE in which iBerkshires will be participating.)
On Tuesday, the sheriff's candidates will meet again at the Church Street Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. They will be joined by the three candidates for the 1st Berkshire District seat being vacated by Bosley.
The representative candidates are Gailanne Cariddi, a local businesswoman and North Adams city councilor; David Bissaillon, vice president of a local insurance agency and former president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce; and Edward MacDonald, town administrator for Chester and a former Adams selectman. This is also the second time the representatives will meet, having participated in a forum in Florida in June.
The event is being hosted by the Williamstown League of Women Voters and its president, Anne Skinner, will moderate. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is expected to last two hours. The audience will be allowed to ask questions.
The representative candidates will also speak to the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning beginning at 7:45 at the Williams Inn in Williamstown. The candidates have been invited to address issues relevant to the local business community.
The cost for nonmembers to attend the Good News Business Salute breakfast is $35; members' price is $25. Those planning to attend should contact the chamber at 413-499-4000, Ext. 26, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at www.berkshirechamber.com.
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Pittsfield Neighborhoods Host Sheriff Debate
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The West Side Neighborhood Initiative and Morningside Neighborhood Initiative, in collaboration with The Berkshire Eagle, are sponsoring a debate between the two Berkshire County sheriff candidates on Monday, Aug. 16, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Conte Community School.
Daniel E. Bosley, outgoing state representative for the 1st Berkshire District, and Thomas N. Bowler, a 20-year Pittsfield Police detective, will discuss issues that are particularly relevant to the city's two urban neighborhoods, but will also debate questions that are important to the entire Berkshire region. The debate will be moderated by The Berkshire Eagle's Chief Editor Timothy Farkas.
"Our goal is to encourage more specific answers to important questions to help voters in our neighborhoods, the city of Pittsfield, and Berkshire County understand the differences between these two candidates," said Dominick Villane, chairman of the Neighborhood Initiatives Debate subcommittee. "We encourage the community to attend this important event and offer their input during the public portion of the debate."
The event will covered by local news and radio and broadcast on Pittsfield Community Television. iBerkshires.com will also be covering and plans to post audio from the debate.
Debate questions are being provided by members of the neighborhood initiatives. The final portion of the debate will be comprised of seleced questions from the audience. Those attending the debate will have the opportunity to provide questions to be considered. Each candidate will be offered time for opening and closing remarks.
Bosley and Bowler are running to replace Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, who is retiring after 32 years in the post. Both candidates are Democrats so the race will essentially be decided in the Sept. 14 primary.
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Bosley Files Ethics Complaint
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Daniel E.Bosley, candidate for Berkshire County Sherrif, has mailed a formal complaint to the State Ethics Commission concerning distribution of his opponent’s lawn signs inside the offices of Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless.
“I don’t take this action lightly”, Bosley said in a statement. "However, the lack of action and the response from the District Attorney concerns me. His cavalier attitude concerning this incident and the wide spread rumors that this is standard practice in this office are unacceptable. Taking delivery of signs at the front desk and distribution by an assistant district attorney would never have been tolerated under his two predecessors, Gerard Downing and Anthony Ruberto. Mr. Capeless didn’t even reprimand his employee.”
Bosley said that there seems to be a disturbing pattern in this campaign. “The present sheriff had to send out a press release concerning people representing themselves as members of the sheriff’s department. My campaign has received [the] similar phone calls from people who felt intimidated when they refused to put a lawn sign on their lawn. As with the DA’s office, there was no apology and the response from the Bowler camp was denial. I know that on two occasions people wearing my opponent’s t-shirts have confronted people wearing mine. While these people are reluctant to come forward, the incident at the DA’s office is documented.”
Bosley also said that he is refusing to accept campaign donations from employees at the Berkshire County House of Corrections (BCHOC) and asked his opponent to take a similar pledge and return any such donations.
“For too long," Bosley said, “I have witnessed people donating to candidates because they are afraid they will lose their job if they don’t write a check. People should be hired and promoted based on their ability, performance and experience; not on the size of their political contribution. The next sheriff will have to make a lot of decisions regarding personnel upon entering office. There should be no question that these decisions are made on merit, not campaign checks. “
Bosley stressed that it is important for the public and employees to have confidence that the system works based on merit. “I have never taken a contribution from one of my employees. It’s just not a good practice, policy, and doesn’t inspire public confidence.”
Bosley's letter to the Ethics Commission appears below:
State Ethics Commission
One Ashburton Place, Room 619
Boston, MA 02108-1501 August 4, 2010
Please find enclosed documentary evidence that appears to detail the use of a public governmental office for political activity in violation of state campaign finance and ethics laws. The documents detail the fact that lawn signs for a county wide political candidate were requested by a state employee and then actually delivered to the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, a state governmental office. The signs were subsequently distributed through said office. This instance provides documentary proof for what is widely rumored in the community - that the District Attorney's Office and its staff are actively participating in the Bowler campaign during work time and using state resources.
The first document is a saved and enlarged copy of a Face Book message exchange between an area attorney who is a top political activist for the Tom Bowler for Sheriff Campaign, Jennifer Breen Kirsch, and an Assistant District Attorney, Dana Parsons dated July 11.The next document is the actual copied page from Ms. Kirsch’s Face Book that is harder to read but has more documentation. The third document is a local newspaper article responding to my complaint to a local newspaper. It was admitted in that Berkshire Eagle article, “Bosley Alleges Ethics Breach” dated July 30, 2010 that the lawn signs were in fact delivered to a state governmental office. In the same article, the Berkshire District Attorney, who has publicly endorsed the candidate whose lawn signs were delivered to his office, told the Berkshire Eagle that no discipline was warranted for this violation of state law. The final document is again from Ms. Kirsch. It contains a post that was published on July 31, 2010; the day after the newspaper article was published. It shows no remorse or regret for her actions. I believe that the post from this officer of the court demonstrates contempt for our ethics law as well as an ignorance of the seriousness of her actions.
Massachusetts Campaign Finance law prohibits the use of public buildings, resources, or offices from being involved in political activity and creates a separation between public resources and political involvement. In Anderson v. City of Boston, 376 Mass. 178, 187, 380 N.E.2nd 628 (1978), appeal dismissed, 439 U.S. 1069 (1979), the Supreme Judicial Court indicated that public resources may generally not be used for political purposes.
The Legislature has passed enhanced ethics laws this term and required that all state and public employees take an annual ethics test to ensure knowledge of and compliance with these enhanced laws. This documents which are attached appear to show that these laws are not be followed uniformly throughout the Commonwealth and require further investigation.
Thank you for your interest in this matter and can be reached if any further information is needed.
Daniel E. Bosley
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