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October 01, 2019

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I love Salem and I love our trees- what’s left of them. I live in Highland and love our canopy. Makes me Physically I’ll every time I see one go. This guy sounds like just who we need here but given the state of our city government he wouldn’t have a snowballs chance. Makes me sick.

Gee, one visit and he was able to grasp that we have lazy incompetent grifters on the payroll. He COULD see the forest for the trees. Any chance we could hire him? Of course not. I guess next election we need to start from the top down. Prune the city council and cut out the dead wood from the public works dept.
oh, and take that sign down that says “tree city USA” that’s a lie.

The applicant sounds like an arrogant a$$hole, to be honest. Perhaps that came out in the interview, leading him/her to get passed over for the position. Regardless of the applicants personal thoughts on the two lower level city staffers that were named, it was classless to attack them in this manner, and especially egregious for you, Brian, to publish those personal attacks and insults with names included.

Ben, public officials should be criticized by the public when this is warranted. Peter Fernandez deserves the critique he got from the highly skilled arborist.

Keep in mind that City officials paid the expenses for this person to come to Salem for an in-person job interview after reviewing their application and conducting a Skype interview with them. So they obviously were highly impressed with the arborist.

I've seen a summary of this person's work experience. It's impressive. This was a great candidate to become Salem's Urban Forester who wanted the job, but was turned off by the sleaze and incompetence of people they'd have to work with at the City of Salem. Yes, the arborist displays New York City style bluntness. That's what we need more of in this town, people who bravely speak truth to power.

I'm really glad this arborist reached out to me, and I'm really glad I shared their message. The truth hurts sometimes, including the truth about bad shit going on at the City of Salem.

Yes, public officials are open to public criticism. Rank-and-file public employees should not be. Especially when the criticism is someone’s insulting opinion of them (i. e. calling them “lazy” for example) rather than a fact-based criticism of a decision. It’s sad that you’re too stubborn to recognize this Brian, and reflects very poorly on your decision making.

This applicant sounds like an outstanding Forester. Unfortunately, he would be out of place in a department with people of a very different caliber. It would be wonderful for Salem (and our trees) to have him. But first, Salem has to reform its awful bureaucracy.

I’m not surprised by this candidate’s assessment. We have been trying to get dead/diseased street trees pruned for years. We are told there’s “not enough staff” and unless there is a threat of harm to humans, nothing will be done. Our elderly, retired neighbor was finally able to have a near dead street tree removed. When she asked to have it replaced with an appropriate and approved street tree, she was told “there are too many trees on this street so we won’t replace it.” Yet, two doors down, the homeowner (a very high level administrator with the state) was somehow able to have the healthy, albeit messy street tree in front of her house removed, a replacement tree installed by the city and at least a year of regular watering service provided by the city. The city may decide to hire the best arborist with urban tree experience but if Peter Fernandez is allowed to remain in his position, nothing will change.

Is this the same guy that broke a lamp and a door in his hotel room while he was staying here, and then was FuRiOuS when the hotel did not follow his request to have him secretly billed for the damage so the city would be none the wiser? Did he also notice while he was here that Mr.Bradley is currently doing the job of three people and no one seems to care? Because of the lack of trimmers and crew members, Salem is backed up and bogged down with work. Mr.Bradley is the only person putting crews together. It would be great to go out and inspect trees all day long, but reports need to be written, emails responded to and calls answered- thus, he rarely gets to leave his office as his phone never stops ringing. Did he get to look at the nasty e-mails from people all over our great tree loving city that do whatever they want with whatever tree they want, and then complain when the city steps in to make the right choices or correct their error? This seems very unprofessional and frankly, I wouldn't want an ass hat like this making decisions. This is a situation that needs light shed on it, but this was not the way to go about it.

Lou, the applicant was using crutches during his visit to Salem. So reportedly he broke a lamp and door, then wanted to pay for the damage himself rather than including it on the bill that went to the City of Salem. And when the Grand Hotel wouldn't do this, he got upset, because he wanted to pay for the damage. That sounds like the actions of a nice guy to me.

So in the course of arborist James Clifton’s visit to Salem, he breaks a bunch of stuff in the hotel room the city put him up in, and then when he’s unable to pay for his damage, goes ballistic when the hotel insists on charging the damages to the financially responsible party (i.e. the city) rather than let Clifton promise to pay for the damage at some point in the future. And when all this comes to light, now he lashes out at everyone when he gets passed over for the job. I don’t know it for a fact that James Clifton has disingenuously played Brian Hines for a fool, I just know it’s true.

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