Massachusetts Cop Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
7,237 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
BILLERICA -- Recently planted in an arc-like pattern behind an administrative building at the Middlesex House of Correction, the bushy 56 trees lend the grounds a peaceful, bucolic look.
To Middlesex Sheriff James DiPaola, however, the 10 Bradford pear trees and 46 eastern white pines represent security. They were planted to conceal an area where the Sheriff's Department garages and "stages" public-safety vehicles.
But to two government watchdog groups, the greenery, which cost taxpayers nearly $20,000, represents government at its worst.
Michael Widmer, executive director of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, called the spending "egregious."
The administrative building in question is situated across Treble
DiPaola ... spending hit

Cove Road from the primary jail building. Inside are the offices of DiPaola, Special Sheriff Paul Norton and Robert Buono, superintendent of external operations. Buono spearheaded the greenery project. DiPaola, a former Malden police officer and state representative who is up for re-election to a third six-year term in 2010, declined to be interviewed and referred The Sun's questions to his spokesman, Michael Hartigan.
Hartigan stressed several times the trees weren't planted "to make the sheriff's office look nice."
Rather, Hartigan said, the trees partially encircle the administration building, plus a couple of other buildings where Sheriff's Department trucks and equipment is stored.
"For any mutual-aid responses we do, that is the staging area, and it needed to be enclosed," said Hartigan.
Among the equipment stored there is the BEAR, a 12-ton Ballistic Engineered Armored Response vehicle that DiPaola spent $150,000 to acquire in 2001. The vehicle, which drew controversy over its high price tag, is available to local communities for emergencies such as riots and hostage situations that require a SWAT-team response.
Hartigan said Buono also wanted to use the trees to shield the area from
Middlesex Sheriff James DiPaola planted 56 trees, at a cost of nearly $20,000, to conceal a garage area at the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica. SUN / TORY GERMANN

motorists passing on nearby Route 3. "The concern was about driver distraction," he said. Hartigan defended the expenditure, saying it's "a small portion" of the department's $65 million budget. He said a stockade fence was considered, but the trees -- purchased from A&M Land Corp. in Tewksbury -- were cheaper.
Widmer said he finds it difficult to justify the expense.
"This is just the kind of excess that undercuts the public trust in the legitimate purposes of government," Widmer said. "This level of spending is particularly egregious given the enormous fiscal pressures facing state and local governments."
Widmer, whose private organization monitors state spending, added it's not how much the trees cost taxpayers, but the logic behind the spending.
"Public officials have the responsibility to manage public funds carefully, and this obviously fails that test," said Widmer. "It kind of makes you wonder if this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of excessive spending in the Middlesex Sheriff's Department."
Pamela Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause of Massachusetts, echoed a similar sentiment.
"It certainly raises some eyebrows as that is a lot of money," said Wilmot. "It does seem out of line."
LOWELL SUN
 

·
MassCops Angel
Joined
·
121,497 Posts
"They were planted to conceal an area where the Sheriff's Department garages and "stages" public-safety vehicles."


To hide all of the toys purchased with grant money
 

·
MassCops Member
Joined
·
568 Posts
I wonder how much the landscaper donated so he could have that contract?
He's already been fully outfitted with uniform,leathergear and a shiny-new badge so when he get's stopped by the locals and his help takes off on foot fearing ICE is close behind he can claim "I'm a COP, look...":cool:
 

·
Zombie Hunter
Joined
·
4,815 Posts
To Middlesex Sheriff James DiPaola, however, the 10 Bradford pear trees and 46 eastern white pines represent security. They were planted to conceal an area where the Sheriff's Department garages and "stages" public-safety vehicles.
Maybe the trees are Ents.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top