ONLY IN THE CAT! MONDAY- IT’S “CONFIDENTIAL” UNLESS IT SUITS OUR PURPOSES TO REVEAL BITS AND PIECES

A member of the  hearing  “against” (the exact word this member used-as opposed to “inquiring into”) Jim and Steve Pacanowski has sent a long comment concerning our report under the “Star Chamber” heading.

We asked the author to call us, which he did.

We asked him to enumerate the charges/issues facing the Pacanowskis. He refused citing the confidentiality requirement of a “personnel” hearing.

However, as will be shown by his own written comment, he reveals many details of what took place during the hearing. These details also include Marsha Holland, the third person at the hearing.

Here’s just one example of “confidential” information, in this instance concerning the Pacanowskis, being selectively leaked: “However, based on highly conflicting testimony, and records produced at the hearing by one of the accused officers…”

So there was “highly conflicting testimony” Whose opinion is that? About what?

More, lots more, tomorrow-Monday.

Up In Smoke: Nearly $6,000 Spent On “Hearing”-Westfield’s Very Own “Star Chamber”-News/Opinion/Analysis

TheCAT was first to report (On April Fools Day as it happened.):

WESTFIELD-TheCAT can reliably report village board members and the mayor received an email from the treasurer’s office that legal fees for the Jim and Steve Pacanowski and Marsha Holland hearings totaled $5,865.

The above was published April 1, 2014.

So a substantial amount of public money was spent not on fire equipment, needed village improvements, but a “hearing” for Marsha Holland who was exonerated; Jim Pacanowski who was relieved of his treasurer’s post but allowed to remain in the department where he had served fifty years, and Steve Pacanowski who was relieved of his fire chief post and ousted from the department following fifteen years of volunteer service.

The Board of Fire Commissioners, now disbanded, never stated publicly  what charges the three faced.

Thus this was essentially a “Star Chamber” proceeding. And what is that?  “The Star Chamber (LatinCamera stellata) was an English court of law that sat at the royal Palace of Westminsterfrom the late 15th century until 1641.

Court sessions were held in secret, with no indictments, and no witnesses. Evidence was presented in writing. Over time it evolved into a political weapon, a symbol of the misuse and abuse of power by the English monarchyand courts.

In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, star chambers. (Note: The preceding paragraph details the “modern usage” of Star Chamber. It is of course in this sense that we use the term.)

“POTENT” WEATHER COMING-FLOODING POSSIBLE- 2″ TO 3″ RAIN

From the National Weather Service’s Buffalo Office:

Update: Stormy weather expected to start about 10 p.m.

* AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE AND A POTENT UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE ARE FORECAST  TONIGHT THROUGH THE FIRST HALF OF MONDAY. THIS STORM SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL ACROSS PORTIONS OF WESTERN NEW YORK INCLUDING CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY WITH 2 TO 3 INCHES OF RAIN POSSIBLE IN SOME LOCATIONS WHERE HEAVY RAIN PERSISTS THE LONGEST.

Visitor 85,000 Saturday At 9:28 P.M. Thank You!

Village of Westfield: Where’s There’s Smoke, There’re Mirrors-News/Opinion/Analysis

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Clinton St. fire hall, top; 23 Elm St., middle and village board, bottom. Rick Raynor in blue on the right lost his seat in March to Mike Catalano.

So, let me get this straight: You have the big beings putting out fires, rescuing people and cats too, and you dis them? Meeeow!-Our beloved editor, Opal.

WESTFIELD-chaucat.com holds there is one over arching fact about Westfield’s volunteer fire department: For more than 140 years the men and women in the department have responded to fires, accidents, lake rescues, medical emergencies and more, saving lives and property.

The only proper responses to this, in our opinion, are “Thank you,” and “How may we help?”

We feel our feet on very firm ground in holding such an opinion. For the vast majority of folks in Chautauqua County who count on volunteer fire, medical and rescue help this opinion is not the least controversial, and is reinforced by a deep and heartfelt gratitude.

Unfortunately in the case of the Village of Westfield during the past three years, certain officials, for reasons known to themselves, have ground various axes, spent public money wantonly, hurt the reputation of the local fire department, injured the morale of volunteers, attempted to micro-manage a department that had governed itself for many decades and played fast and loose with the reputation of  three prominent and loyal members.

Thus the costs have been high. Sadly, the results are decidedly negative.

Perhaps the most outrageous development was the ouster of Jim Pacanowski as treasurer and his son Steve as chief. Together they had served a total of 65 years! Then they were cashiered and those who ousted them have yet to tell us why; not a word, an iota. It’s a big secret.

Coming Sunday: A timeline of the past three years. Chapter and verse on money wasted. A failed Board of Fire Commissioners. Secret accusations. We had planned on publishing this Saturday, but have received information that must be verified, and if it checks, included. Only in TheCAT at chaucat.com.

 

Neither Jim Nor Steve Pacanowski Told Of AG’s March 14, Letter Until Informed By TheCAT

WESTFIELD-Steve Pacanowski, former Westfield Fire Chief, was not informed that the criminal division of the New York State Attorney General’s office was not pursuing the information provided them about Steve and his father Jim until reading about the AG’s referral letter in TheCAT Friday evening. This in spite of the fact the AG’s decision was made more than four months ago, and Village Board member Debra Puckhaber received a letter dated March 14, outlining the AG’s decision to refer the matter to the state comptroller’s office. (Please see  the two related reports below including a photo of the March letter.)

Puckhaber Responds With Copy Of NYAG’s Referral To The NYS Comptroller

WESTFIELD-Village Board Member Debra Puckhaber Saturday morning emailed her copy of a referral from the NYS Attorney General to the state comptroller’s office.
She says the letter doesn’t say no criminality was found, disputing what Mayor Mike VandeVelde reported to us Friday evening.
We say the letter speaks for itself, and publish it in its entirety:

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(Note: This document would not download properly so what you see is a photograph. We apologize, but the image does show every part of the letter with the exception of Mrs. Puckhaber’s address.) Please note the date: March 14, 2014. Also that only Mrs. Puckhaber is copied.

PUCKHABER SHOOTS BLANK WITH STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL!

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UPDATE:Saturday @ 8:40 a.m. Village Board Member Debra Puckhaber said she has made a decision to not disclose what the Pacanowskis are accused of. She also said the state AG’s letter stated that in the AG’s view the matter was not criminal. Further, she is sending TheCAT a copy of the AG’s letter by email. Debra Puckhaber referred the still secret matter of Jim and Steve Pacanowski and the village fire department to the NY State Attorney General’s Office.

WESTFIELD-chaucat.com learned late Friday that Westfield Village Board member Debra Puckhaber’s attempt to get the NY State Attorney General’s office involved in the matter of Jim Pacanowski and his son Steve was rejected by the AG’s office.

Mayor Mike VandeVelde confirmed that the village was informed by letter that the attorney general’s office felt the matter was not criminal. The AG said it handed over the information to the NY State Comptroller’s office. VandeVelde said the village has not heard anything from the comptroller’s office.

NOTE: TheCAT will publish much more on this topic Saturday with an Opinion/Analysis/News piece.

CUOMO CRIPPLED CORRUPTION COMMISSION! NOW FEDS INVESTIGATING!-NY TIMES DISCLOSES

From the New York Times digital edition the following, in our view, will narrow the polling gap between NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican challenger Rob Astorino.

Astorino was in Chautauqua County Monday and truly seemed unconcerned with his  30+ point gap in current polls. Did he know this was coming?

It’s very bad news for Cuomo especially since The Times is editorially a Liberal/Democrat newspaper.

Here is the nub of the NYT Wednesday morning bomb shell:

“A high-powered commission created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to root out corruption in New York politics was hobbled almost from the outset by demands from the governor’s office, which sought to shield his allies from scrutiny, according to an examination by The New York Times.
A three-month review of the panel’s short life and sudden death found that the governor’s office deeply compromised the commission’s work, objecting whenever its investigators focused on groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.
Ultimately, Mr. Cuomo abruptly disbanded the commission halfway through what he had indicated would be an 18-month life. And now, as the Democratic governor seeks a second term in November, federal prosecutors are investigating the roles of Mr. Cuomo and his aides in the panel’s shutdown and are pursuing its unfinished business.”

PUB IS…OPEN!

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Image above says it all: “Welcome Back to The Pub.” On the right a lot of happy folks gather for the drinks and sandwiches the tavern has featured for nearly a half century. The decor is updated but still very familiar.

imageJAMESTOWN-The Pub has reopened after months of renovation following a fire late Sunday Jan. 5, which gutted the well known downtown tavern.

The blaze was blamed on a defective piece of electrical equipment in the North Main landmark.

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