Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There Is No Excuse For That

Even from a distance the reporter in the attached Telegram article can see the complicity of others--it's that obvious.  It is also embarrassing as well, and that is something we feel locally.  This whole debacle was allowed to go on for so long, and was maintained by those in power:  the BOS.  A stronger personality would have fought cuts more vigorously.  They have the perfect victim whose department they could lay waste to  in while saving money without much of a fight.

Any other manager would have been eliminated years ago, but he served a purpose.  Those in charge must always assume responsibility for the oversights, errors, and mistakes of those they are in charge of.  Depending upon the severity, and this is near the top, those in charge should step down.

There are two things to consider here beyond the lack of managerial skills of the Chief.  He may be a very skilled firefighter, but management is not his strong suit, and the BOS took advantage of him for this, and used it to their advantage.  Then, the BOS acted  as they did, and put the Chief under the lights, and made it appear it was all his doing.

It wasn't all his doing.

The second, and more important thing, is the BOS allowed this scenario to continue for years putting every one of us in jeopardy.  Every resident in Sturbridge, and those in neighboring towns we serve in mutual aid.

There is no excuse for that.

The next time you are at the local polls, the phrase, "There is no excuse for that" will hopefully come to mind, and, guide your vote.

The attached article is from the Worcester Telegram & Gazzette.

Sturbridge: Is fire chief fall guy?


  1. A means to an end?Wednesday, May 01, 2013

    From what I've learned, Chief Senecal is/was a very good firefighter. He was not so good at paperwork and speaking. We, the public, were happy with the services of our fire department, as they have always been there when we needed them, and have done a very good job.

    Now, after all these years, and close to his retirement, we have been hearing about the short comings of the chief. Why now, all at once?

    It appears to me that he is being used as a "reason" to make big changes in the department.

    How is this being done? Bullying?

    Bullies choose their victims wisely, choosing those they find to be vulnerable in some way.

    Bullies are those who use negative actions, in this case verbal abuse and divisive strategies against others (their victims). They intimidate.

    In general, victims of bullies are not aggressive in return.


  2. And we have experts at bullying on this BOS. I have never seen so many people walking on egg shells so that they don't become their next victim. It's even hard to get anyone to run for the Board because of it. Time everyone stands up and says "enough". As one other writer said.. What happened to Ask the Selectmen?

  3. This has gone on for too long. We complain but we are foo few. The majority wants this board , the votes confirm it. If there is a majority that wants this to end they have not shown it. We either grow a pair, or move on.

  4. I have to agree that unless we act in numbers large enough to make a change then we must accept what is, and move on. There is no grass roots movement. I have not seen notices posted for meeting s in houses in town. Acceptance of our situation is hard, but come next election we will have a chance for change I hope.

  5. Hopping fuses, Batman!Thursday, May 02, 2013

    According to some folks one of the firetrucks which had problems last weekend actually had a fuse laying on the floor. From what I've heard these fuses don't just jump down to the floor without help. Is someone with an axe to grind messing with the firetrucks to make things look worse than they are?

  6. The Dictator of Sturbridge has performed a public hanging, again. This one more brutal than the others.
    The Dictator is a smart man who charmed the voters with his campaign strategy, developed a senior voting base with the REAS Foundation charity, made peace with the powerful Conservation Committee, and pulled into the fold two Selectmen - one who may be genuine, the other one another power monger. He has formed a seemingly impenetrable voting block.
    He was our dauntless, intrepid savior when disaster struck our town, and he lived to tell us about it. He always tells us about it. He has been fearless and vengeful when given the opportunity to insult and belittle anyone who challenged or disagreed with him.
    He is a supreme strategist - sometimes the rescuer, ultimately, the tyrant.
    We recognize the type on the world stage, but do we see it in our own town?
    Let's hope so.
    Let's take back Sturbridge!

  7. Take back Sturbridge and bring it back to what it was in the past? I think i will pass on that but thanks for the offer.

  8. Gee, guys, I dunno. For those commentors to this posting that say "we have experts at bullying on this BOS" and "The Dictator of Sturbridge has performed a public hanging, again" I like to ask, respectfully, who this "dictator" is and who else has "he" hung. And who are they bullying by asking about competance. We have a right to know if our department heads are competant (and right to make a change if they arent), don't we?

    Seems like a lot of gassing about the BOS, and "we need a grass roots movement to take over". Yeah, if you want to chime in, DO IT. Where are YOU on monday nights? Ive been dogging the budget talk for three months. It's me and three other people. Where are you my friend? Home watching? Cant interact with them and help inform them if youre there and they're at town hall. ATTEND A MEETING WHY DONT YA.

    And, if you dont like the current BOS, RUN for gosh-sake. Mary Dowling ran un-opposed a couple weeks back. Nice gal, but cant make any decisions without a ton of study and months of committee meetings. No street sense, so not an asset to the Board imho. You, you got all the answers, and you wanna spend every Monday night and a lot of your own time researching issues, making calls, talking to people, and sitting on other committees as most members of the current BOS do FOR FREE (as in no pay), then stop taking shots like a coward and step up.

    Again, I dunno. I see this BOS taking steps to try to cut this year's budget by doing a line by line review that cut $200K off the top, another $200K in goodies not needed like a $156,000 dollar loader for the recycling center, cutting more new police cars (Ford got two this year and two the year before), and other stuff in the Capitol Budget, and voting yes to the transfer of $300k in free cash to tax relief. They (the majority of BOS anyway) have voted to use more than half a mil in reserve water/sewer funds for water/sewer rate relief. You got better ideas for keeping the tax rate south of 19.35-where its going according to Bill Mitchell as of last week, let's hear 'em. And lets be real: Lennie, nice guy. I liked him. But not a manager. Waste of money to employ him at over 80K a year in that capacity. Time for a change. The Sox didnt keep Valentine, did they? You know why. No performance. Same deal here. For my Five Grand a year in real estate tax I want competant people in charge at the fire barn and in town government. How can anyone argue that the BOS is not doing the right thing with respect to budget creep? How can anyone argue with the findings in both, the FinCom report Pat Afinito and Mary Redetske did and the GSSC report Ernie Horn did-virtually the same findings-that said Lennie is a lousy manager. What'ya do with that? Keep him on and hope he changes? I'd like to know.

    Lastly yes, nobodys hands are clean as far a probs at the FD. Yes, Malloy knew about it, but did nothing because he knew it was hopeless to buck the Board at that time, many of whom were friends of Lennie's. Mary Blanchard knew all about what was going on down there (as did hubby Charlie), yet today she sits on the board after letting things slide for years. They are as responsible as anyone else for the Lennie problem. Creamer just drew the line is all, and now everyone is dumping on him for it. You can't have it both ways folks.

  9. I believe Mark just took the reigns.

  10. Mark, you just haven't been here long enough to understand the egos and power plays involved...
    You imagine those who aren't doing what you are doing right now to be of a certain ilk. No, you just haven't been here long enough to know...

  11. You're always gonna get that in small town governments (although less so in today's environment because more people are transplants now and have less of a parochial attitude. Time is also on the side of change...the Blanchards of the world are fading). They key is to steer around it. What I "understand" most is that the past is past, and yes, I'm a relative newbie, so I'm not handicapped by "tradition" or history. No one should roll over because of a "this is the way its always been" mentality (if that's what you're suggesting). I get that some are turned off because they've been treated poorly by those in power in the past, and the bad taste remains. But you cant hold on to the sleights of the past and expect change too. As to the "now"...You think the Selectmen are dicks? Go up there and tell 'em so to their faces publicly and tell em where they're messing up. Don't take shots from a blog. Go do it. You think Creamer's a Dictator (frankly I dont think he meets the standard along the lines of a Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Mubarek, Hussein, but hey, just my opinion), why not run for the job when he retires? It's easy to take shots. Lets see you guys get in there and scuffle awhile. The system only works if we get involved with it. All I'm sayin'.

  12. Sounds like an announcement for candidacy for selectman!! Go Mark!! I like it.

  13. That might be interesting - to have a candidate for local office who is neither (according to the Town Clerk, the ultimate authority on the subject) a listed resident nor a registered voter in the town of Sturbridge. A person who, in fact, is not a property owner,(according to Assessor's records) but claims to pay $5,000 a year in real estate taxes to Sturbridge!

  14. Mark, if you're so smart and think that the past doesn't count for something, (You don't know our past.) go ahead and run for the BOS. After all you claim to pay $5,000 in taxes here. In all the years many of us have been here paying taxes that amount in today's dollars is a drop in the bucket, so go ahead put in your two cents. I hope though that you aren't the kind of person that's willing to rip someone's heart out for hours (a 40 year veteran in the fire "barn", as you call it) as he sits in front of your inquiry panel alone, not allowed anyone with him, and listens to your rant.

  15. Parochiall? Handicapped by tradition and history?Monday, May 06, 2013

    So, you "have less of a PAROCHAIL attitude." You are "not HANDICAPPED by 'tradition' or history."
    You tell us to get off our duffs and do something. Mark, may of us have done more for this town in our lifetimes than you ever will, and that's a fact.

    You like this town? Well, Mark, there are people to thank for what you see here - yes, even the fire chief who fought many a fire here in his forty years on the job. There was no reason to go after him in the way it was done - and not even a thank you for all his years. You say you put $5,000 in property tax into our coffers, and that gives you certain rights. Sure it does, but don't think that makes you better than the rest. That would be very narrow minded.

  16. When Creamer was not a selectmen he went after them and anyone else he disagreed with, with a vengeance. He is evil and will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who disagrees with him. He is power hungry and has no heart or soul, He just talks about himself and how wonderful he is but it is all crap. Wake up people he now has control of 2 other selectmen like putty in his hands they can not think for themselves. Who will be Creamer's next target?

  17. I get a kick out of how Mark is getting blasted here a bit. I don't care if a person moved to this town yesterday and wants to get involved in the politics. If you pay 1.00 a year in taxes you have a right to speak your mind. As a matter of fact even if you don't pay a dollar in tax you still have the right to be heard. I applaud Mark for being involved and speaking his mind. I would also add that when he speaks he a makes a lot of valid points.

    I am as guilty as many for having an opinion and not voicing it enough. I would love to attend the BOS meetings, thank god for SCTV so i can watch them and stay informed.

    If everyone had to put their names on their posts there would be nothing to see on this blog.

  18. I'm not running for anything-ever-so I'm not afraid to speak my mind...unlike some of the Tinfoil hat-wearing "anonymous" cowards on this thread who have come out with the long knives after me--I made two harmless neutral comments using my own name and you guys proved who you really are: Tiny-minded dicks.

    But since you brought up my stats, be it known that my wife's name is on the house (her purchase of which pre-dated our marraige) and our taxes here were more than $4800 this year in real estate plus several hundred in vehicle excise to the town. I could be a dick myself and register them in other places where I own businesses, but I had SOME sense of civic spirit, and did it here. Maybe I'll change that. As to the residency thing, there is no statutory requirement that says I have to be a registered voter to comment on what I see is a runaway train in Sturbridge as far as spending is going, the unchecked power of an un-elected Finance Committee appointed by one man (Moderator) who can't be recalled--ever--a police force that's just comical in it's over-staffing and equipment requests, a woefully lopsided school district assessment system...I can go on but why bother. I can see the handwriting on the wall. It's inevitable that this town will be too expensive to live in in 3 years, and before the meteor hits, we're outta here.

    To those of you who are so proud "of all you've done" as you say, who say I'd don't know what I'm talking about because I'm not from here, and for those of you who take such zeal in sh***tting on anyone who doesnt share your narrow-minded, obsolete, and backward view of the world, Know this: I have lived in 6 towns and one city in my time on this Earth, and of them this is probably the most messed up one I've ever seen.
    So, I say, enjoy your nice high tax rate ($19/thousand is coming this year), messed up government, and infighting. Enjoy the future my friends...especially those of you who sit on the sides and gripe while you stew in your hate. People get the government they deserve.

  19. Mark,
    Are you saying that you don't even vote here?

  20. Mark Edmonds, soon to be former residentSaturday, May 11, 2013

    Correction. I found our tax bill. $5083 this year for a small colonial with a usable 1/3 acre. If I had a water view, amenities, a healthy arts and entertainment scene, public transit, and stable government--or any combo of the former I wouldnt mind. But I got mosquitos with West Nile, numerous cops dressed in expensive uniforms, a broken and dysfunctional fire department, a management heavy school system that demands we pay the lion's share of the bills, an archaic and outdated town meeting system that excludes those who cant endure the test of endurance town meeting now requires to give them a voice, Finance Committee appointments made similar to the way Mafia Dons are made, and town department heads lining their pockets and trotting home to their cheaper digs. And that's the short list. We are sooooo outtta here.


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