Town of Amherst Enters Into Contact Negotiations with Amherst Media, Ceases RFP Pursuit

Amherst Media is elated to announce that Amherst’s Town Manager and Select Board have reversed their decision to post a Request for Proposal (RFP) and instead is heeding the recent findings from the MA Inspector General’s Office and Department of Revenue.

This excerpt from the Town Manger’s report to the Select Board on Monday, March 20, stated the following:

What does this mean? In short, we are moving back to the way we have accounted for funds and contracted for services as we have in the past.

Next Steps: 

  1. We have cancelled the release of the Request for Proposals.
  2. We will no longer need an article on the warrant to establish a PEG fund since that is no longer needed.
  3. We will remove the $300,000 revenue and expenditure items from the Town’s budget.
  4. We will remove the $95,000 revenue and expenditure from JCPC capital plan.
  5. Pending an opinion from Town Counsel to the contrary, we hope to request for a ten year contract on the warrant.
  6. I will invite the Board of Directors of Amherst Media to commence negotiations with me as soon as they are ready for a new contract.

Amherst Media wants to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all who took the time to advocate on our behalf.   Your emails and phone calls demonstrated to all involved that citizens have the right to voice their opinions and speak their minds.  Independent Media can’t be taken for granted nor should its autonomy be put at risk.  

A very special thank you goes out to Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s office, who asked the Department of Revenue and Inspector General to review their interpretations of the use and scope of services of cable revenues by local governments.  The decisions that have come forth helped to clarify the confusion in many locales and allowed non-profit access centers, like Amherst Media, to not be subject to the 30B procurement laws.

Amherst Media is ready to meet with the Town Manager in the very near future to begin crafting the best possible contract that will meet the needs and desires of the residents and organizations.  We hope we all can move forward together to meet the community’s expectations and desires.  

Respectfully,
Jim Lescault
Executive Director, Amherst Media

 

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News

Mar 22, 2017

Amherst Media is elated to announce that Amherst’s Town Manager and Select Board have reversed their decision to post a Request for Proposal (RFP) and instead is heeding the recent findings from the MA Inspector General’s Office and Department of Revenue.

This excerpt from the Town Manger’s report to the Select Board on Monday, March 20, stated the following:

What does this mean? In short, we are moving back to the way we have accounted for funds and contracted for services as we have in the past.

Next Steps: 

Mar 16, 2017

At the Monday, March 13, 2017 Select Board meeting, Jim Lescault, Executive Director of Amherst Media, spoke during public comment, presenting to the Select Board a very real alternative to the path of Request for Proposal the Town was on.  The Office of Inspector General had written their opinion regarding PEG services and 30B procurement totally redefining how the Town of Amherst’s government had interpreted the regulations.

Mar 6, 2017

There unfortunately continues to be many unanswered questions circulating around the Amherst community regarding the recent decision by the Town Manager and Select Board regarding the proposed changes in how the Town contracts Amherst Media for the Cable Access Public, Education & Government (PEG) services.

While the Town will be providing an on-line opportunity for the community to give input to the RFP, we feel there exists a real need for a community dialogue on such a monumental change in policy.

Feb 24, 2017

In an age of mass media consolidation, access to public information to insure government transparency is more vital than ever. Amherst Media, one of the oldest community access centers in the country providing that kind of transparency to its community, is in a contract dispute with the Town of Amherst. And as with many other such centers across the country over the last ten years, its future is far from certain.

Feb 24, 2017

Dear Friends of Amherst Media,

Our contract saga continues, but now, with legal counsel, we are ready to mount an exertive effort to bring the Town and Amherst Media to the table for negotiations.

A letter was submitted to the Select Board requesting that Amherst Media be placed on the Feb. 27 evening’s agenda. The letter stated that Amherst Media had obtained legal counsel as of February 20 and that our counsel would like to discuss the Town Manager’s February 3 offer to extend Amherst Media’s expired contract through June 30, 2017.