The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


You can tell much about a politician by observing how closely he/she grips the reins of power. Sure, self-confident politicians don't fight silly battles. Those comfortable in the trappings of power ignore opponents when they pose no real danger.

Then, there's Harry Tutunjian. Here is a man that whipped his Democratic rival. Here is a mayor with a veto-proof majority on the City Council. Here is a man with a powerful county machine behind him. No one is breathing down his neck right now. It's highly unlikely that the Democrats will take control of the council (with Bauer in the race, the chances of picking up a seat or two has dropped). Still...

He illegally removes Conroy as Zoning Board of Appeals President, replacing her with another Mirch;

He and the Republicans take pot shots at Councilman Dunne the only enrolled Democrat on the City Council (a secure politician would ignore a minority of one);

He feels compelled to change insurance brokers, so much so that he's willing to let a Scotia agency take half the commission rather than have the entire commission stay in Troy;

He allows a mere $1,300 possibly owed to Brian Owens, an Iraq War veteran, to become news.

This need to control everything evidences an insecure politician.

Recently, a letter from Harry to Marge DerGurahian made its way, via a strange route, to the Troy Polloi. The letter is disturbing. Not only does it demonstrate a further need for control, but is also evidence of a mayor ignorant of the basic concept of 'separation of Powers' and his own City Charter.

Dated April 13, 2005, the letter reads:

"I would also like to remind you of my request earlier this year to have all requests from City Council members submitted to my office in writing, and to not make requests directly to a department head or other city employee. City Council employees also fall under this request. Thank you for your understanding."

First, whoever dictated the letter should be shot. Crisp, clear writing is not their forte.

In any event, lets review. Harry believes that City Council members must channel all requests through his office. Why? Harry wants to control information. He wants to know what requests are made by Council members and, dare we say, Council members may or may not have their request honored.

In point of fact, Tutunjian is wrong as to requests made to officers of the city. Council members need not abide by his ridiculous request. In fact, the Troy Polloi, in the interest of an independent legislative branch, urges them not to comply.

§ C-22. Requests for reports, information or estimates

Any officer of the City is required to furnish reports, information or estimates to any Councilor of the City of Troy.

Then there's this:

§ C-25. Legal information.

A Council member may direct that the Corporation Counsel obtain legal opinions from the office of the Attorney General to clarify legal questions posed by said Council member

Gee! Nothing about seeking Mayoral approval first. Mayor, you may want to read your own City Charter. You have no authority to make that request and any Council person that complies is failing in their obligation to maintain an independent legislative branch.

A well-known business leader once commented that this administration has an inferiority complex. That would explain the pettiness.

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