Thursday, July 27, 2006
We still like the idea of the faux lighthouse. It's rather emlematic of this entire administration. It's fake, useless and spherical.
Maybe the "in-house" people should be working on something real instead of working on Harry's dreams. Sure, every mayor dreams of lighthouses, unicorns and sweet candies but maybe they can get that 'Hoosick Street as another Wolf Road" thing going. Or perhaps they can make Lansingburgh a 'destination.'
Guys, Troy is like a crackwhore. You don't just throw a fancy dress, heels and pearls on her. You have to clean her up, get her some medical attention, send her to school. Then you can start to get fancy.
No one has a true, cohesive vision for Troy. No one wants to do the necessary job of rebuilding our tired infrastructure before slapping all that finery on the crackwhore . Everyone wants to skip to lighthouses and unicorns.
We need to start rejecting politicians that have risen through the ranks of the local politicial parties and bring in some new blood. We need people who can set forth a vision of what Troy should be in the 21st Century.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
PROCUREMENT POLICIES FOR DUMMIES
By Politicus Ebonus Abyssus
Issues around the Carignan insurance bid continues to dominant this blog, although I would have loved to have seen the Gary Coleman interview. One issue that has been discussed though not in depth is to what extent did the City followed its own procurement policies in issuing the insurance contract. In short, the City is required to follow certain procedures in procuring services or commodities, in this case insurance.
Based on the level of the contract, the insurance bid process required competitive sealed bidding (Section 3-101.F of the City’s procurement law). While I don’t want to bore readers with the entire content of the procurement law, competitive sealed bids require a purchase description and all contractual terms and conditions (section 3-102.b), must be opened in a public place at a time and place designated in the invitation for bid (section 3-102.g), and that the invitation for bid must include the criteria under which all submitted all bids will be evaluated (section 3-102.h).
Listen to the drum roll as the suspense heightens. The City’s insurance bid violated at least these sections of the procurement policy. The City sent a two-page bid for quotes to seven different insurance companies, rather than a request for bid. While we could debate the semantics of quote versus bid, requests for bids generally have much more detail than the City provided. The request for quote also did not list the time and place for the bid opening and did not include the evaluation criteria as required for by procurement law. The bid for quote, however, did allow potential bidders to send in a letter if they could not provide quotations on the coverage.
As has been discussed, Carignan sent in a bid and Nicoll & MacChesney sent in a letter stating that they could not respond to the request for bid but could match Carignan’s bid. This begs a major question. If bids were sealed, how did Nicoll & MacChesney know they could match the Carignan bid? Oh well, that is a question for the lawyers.
Once the contract is approved by the City council, the mayor then issues a Broker of Record letter which is sent to all parties recognizing who the agent representing the city in insurance matters is. And as we know, the City Council did not vote on the contract at all and a Broker of Record letter was issued indicating that Nicoll & MacChesney held the City’s insurance.
Responses to this blog and comments from the City administration have rationalized the process by stating that it saved the City $65,000. But as we now know, the savings was less then $10,000. Talking about savings is a red herring, however. In the bid for quote, the City gave potential bidders multiple options (four for liability, three for self insured retention, and three for city buildings) to develop quotes for. Based on these options, there are 36 possible combinations. The only way to determine any savings would be to match the specific combination from the two different insurance companies. After reading Harry’s sworn testimony, I doubt that level of analysis was undertaken. And even if it was, Harry’s poor grasp of detail make it highly unlikely he would have understood the differences or been able to articulate them.
This is how the administration works. And now it is costing taxpayers more money because of the time and cost of defending the lawsuit. I wonder how that stacks up with whatever savings actually occurred?
* A ritual blood sacrifice and specific Druidic Incantations are also required
Friday, July 21, 2006
They recently named The Troy Polloi....
Best Blog on Local Politics
The Troy Polloi is exactly what you want from a blog about local politics: A place where rumors are swapped, dirt is dished and a small but dedicated readership leaves regular comments. Although this routinely updated blog often trends toward the cheesy, with its Photoshopped swipes at officials and ham-fisted humor, we have to give it its props. Democratus, the blog’s author, has demonstrated a doggedness with certain issues that can only be called admirable. Plus, we think the Gillibrand banner ad is just plain funny.
I hope that all the teachers that told me being a smartass wouldn't payoff could see me now. This is also my option year. Now I'll be able to up my asking price.
So, while we here thank Metroland we do have a bone to pick. We don't appreciate the description of our artwork as cheesy or our humor as ham-fisted. Our professional photographers work hard on those photos and pride themselves on producing shitty photos, not cheesy photos.
I'd like to thank Albany Eye and Democracy in Albany for alerting us to our selection. We never would have known about this honor without them.
Finally, I'd like to thank my former wives for allowing me the time to write.
Because things are slow, very slow, we'll be taking some time off next week to shut down and perform maintenance on the presses. We may post once or twice. Maybe not. We will be back the week of July 29th.
Be safe and have fun.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
By F. Mulder
Democratus took the day off to testify in front of a Grand Jury. I'm filling in until he returns. If he returns.
According to sources at the Capital, the Budget Bill contains a tasty, little morsel for building contractor U.W. Marx. Marx will not have to pay any taxes on their City of Rensselaer project. Marx is building the city a new school and will then be acquiring the old school, located on prime, Hudson River front land. It's not known who introduced the provision. Alien involvement is suspected.
In a completely unrelated matter, does anyone know who built Ken Bruno's estate?
H&V Collision Center in Troy had a grand re-opening recently. Senator Bruno was there. Coincidentally, so was the Action Team, cleaning and scrubbing the street prior to the arrival of the VIP's. The Action Team's uncanny ability to scrub down the precise area where Senator Bruno will be arriving is well documented in literature. The coincidence is spooky.
Finally, has anyone ever seen Mary Donohue and Kathy Jimino in the same room together? I didn't think so.
Monday, July 17, 2006
We've already delved into the fleshy, meaty part of the case. Now we'll focus on a few side issues, just for kicks. Or maybe they're not side issues. Who knows.
For instance, who knew how the $64,000 in question would be saved? Where did that number come from? In the State of the City, Harry said $100,000, in the press release it was 64 G's. How many stories does the Administration have about the savings?
Anyway, without further ado:
Q. And did you suggest to the administration
any particular way in which to get the best
cost for the coverage?
A. Any way that they could to get more --
different prices from different agents, if need be.
Q. And it would do that by approaching many
different agents and asking for really the
best offer they could get for the City?
Q. And do you know approximately how many
different insurance agencies were
approached and asked to provide quotations
for the City to provide coverage for the
City for 2005?
Q. And do you know how many agents responded
to the Request For Quotations that provided
quotations to the City?
A. Not exactly, no.
Q. Do you know approximately how many?
A. No. A handful, I'm guessing. I don't
So, Mayor Tutunjian puts the word out: Get more quotes from more agents. Get the best price possible. So far, makes sense.
Q. So how many responses did the City receive
to its Requests For Quotations?
A. Responses like this?
Q. How many quotes -- how many agents
submitted any quotes in response to the
A. The only thing that I know was that
Carignan submitted quotes and that Nicoll &
MacChesney wrote -- it wasn't a quote, but
wrote a letter, I guess, stating that -- I
don't know -- my recollection of what it
states is that there would be -- they would
be able to use the same insurance companies
at lesser amounts or something to that effect.
So, Carignan secures the insurance and N&M writes a letter. But, does the letter guarentee a $64,000 savings?
Q. Is there anything in Exhibit 12 that
indicates that Nicoll & MacChesney would
save the City $64,000 below the quotes that
were submitted by R. J. Carignan?
A. Not in the letter, but there was a meeting
by which they came to -- there was actually
two meetings, one where Carignan came and
kind of ran through their quotes, Dave
Mitchell who is one of the City attorneys
and myself, Matt was there, and somebody
else from his organization, I can't
remember who it was --
A. And then there was another
meeting, myself, Dave Mitchell, and again
unfortunately, I can't remember -- I know
Marty Keary was there and there might have
been one or two other gentlemen from Nicoll
& MacChesney or Marshall & Sterling, and at
that meeting, they verbally agreed that
they could save the City at least -- I
don't remember if it was $64,000, but it
was at least in the sixty-something
thousand dollars range.
Q. And was Nicoll & MacChesney provided an
opportunity to give the City a written
quotation in response to the RFQ like R. J.
Q. And were they able to provide a written
A. I don't know if they were able to or not.
Q. Did they provide a written quotation?
A. They didn't provide it, no, except for this
So, we go from a letter, to a verbal promise. And who's at both meetings? Dave Mitchell. Who failed to show for his deposition? Three guesses. Here's a clue: his initials are David Mitchell. Witkowski goes on to state that there was a big saving but that saving was because of the new policy (the one secured by Carignan).
Will bring you more later this week. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this, just ask. After all, we seem to know more about it than the mayor.
*Keep in mind, we are in no way poking fun at Ms. Witkowski. In fact, we feel she's probably the only credible source the city has in this case. She is just not an insurance expert and cannot be expected to know all the nuances of that world.
Friday, July 14, 2006
It does look like the Carignan issue is gaining traction. We received a response to our hissy fit and would like to thank the editor for, at the very least, exploring the issues we've set forth. We don't expect that the paper in question will run the story. We hope it does. We do appreciate that someone is at least willing to make an informed decision on whether to cover the issue.
It also looks as if the Administration is making some desperate counter-attacks. They're worried now. You can see it whenever this issue comes up. They drop their usual 'no-comment' and begin to rant and rave. It's very humorous.
The administration has even threatened legal action against the three Democratic councilmen who want an investigation into possible violations of the city's procurement policies. That's right, some type of suit against people acting in their capacity as elected representative on an issue of public concern. Our legal analyst described the very idea of suing the councilmen as "the zenith of Mongoloid thought."
It is also suspected that the have reached out to area papers for a favorable story on the issue. We love good fiction, so a story like that would be fun.
What's on tap for next week?
1) We'll explore the possible procurement policy violations involved in the Carignan matter;
2) More highlights from the deposition transcripts;
3) Sit down for a heart-to-heart interview with former child star Gary Coleman;
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The city plans to build a municipal park on the 3 acre plot and the Cinema Art marquee will be incorporated into the park entrance. The city plans to use the park for special events including, The Crack Whore regatta and the Level Three Sex Offender Jamboree.
The park will be situated along the Hudson River, at 25 President Street. Just one more piece of real estate off the tax rolls. The lesson? Be a sloppy land owner and a thorn in the side of the city and you'll get paid off.
One can only hope that Cox will fail to clean the site up so at least we'll take it for free.
Monday, July 10, 2006
We perused the areas two papers Sunday morning to find stories on:
1) Library satisfaction (we sincerely hope you're not stuck in a loveless library relationship):
2) Exit 12 (Northway) construction ahead of schedule;
3) Albany's salt-readiness for the upcoming winter.
These are all worthwhile stories and we're not criticizing the reporters. There are good reporters in this area even if they do not always focus on what we might want them to focus on. Puff-pieces in newspapers and on television news are part and parcel of today's media (and, if you look at old editions of newspapers, you discover that puff-pieces are hardly new).
What we cannot understand is the lack of coverage on the Carignan lawsuit. One would think that a reporter, or an editor, might find the time and space to publish a few columns on the issue.
It's a good story just waiting to be told to a wider audience. Why is it good:
1) Two sides tell two different stories;
2) The actual facts are verifiable;
3) It's a matter of public concern.
Did a mayor lie (wittingly or unwittingly) when he told the taxpayers how thier money was saved? This story will write itself. Both sides have made statements and both sides have been deposed. It's now more than just a 'he said/he said' type story.
It doesn't matter where you come down on this and we don't expect a journalist to take sides. What we do expect is that some responsible reporter will look into this issue with a critical eye. It's a story and if the local media can't or won't investigate a possible lie concerning the fiscal matters of an area city, exactly what are they doing?
Please, cover this story. Hell, we've set forth the issues in numerous posts. Copy them, use them, whatever. We'll e-mail you the transcripts from the depositions. The story may just be a bit more important that youngsters and seniors taking a boat trip on the canal.
The trial of Christopher Porco resumes today. Since we're not on the jury, we are free to voice our opinion on this matter. Yes, Porco is innocent until proven guilty and a jury will make that determination. Others are free to speculate.
If the prosecution's evidence is as damning in the courtroom as it sounds in the Times Union coverage, this guy is going away for a very long time. Of course, the defense hasn't even started so things may change but we'd lay down good money that a) He's guilty and b) He'll be convicted.
Kindlon's line about the murders being a "mob hit" just screams "Hail Mary" pass to us.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
The Democratic City Council minority submitted a resolution calling for an investigation into the city's procurement practices. Typically, the City will respond with a "we can't talk about pending litigation."
Not this time.
"The resolution is riddled with errors. That's what happens when you rely on rumor and innuendo," he said. "As always, we welcome any questions. I only wish these three people had taken time to ask the questions before taking this foolish step." The statement fairly bristles with panic.
He sounds pissed. But, lets look at what he actually said.
1- Riddled with errors. What errors? Aren't resolutions submitted to Corporation Counsel first to work on any "errors". After all, the three Council members are not attorneys.
2- Rumor and innuendo? Actually, the minority was relying upon Harry's deposition transcript as well as Witkowski's. Then again, using Harry's own words may in fact be relying upon rumor and innuendo as he was "out of the loop" on just about everything. Must have been a fire that day. We guess his pledge to personally review procurements for more than $500 has fallen by the wayside.
3- Ask questions? Harry, read your own transcript. The only thing you could answer was a question about your favorite color (it's plaid).
Buell must be on vacation because they let Harry off the leash and, as usual, his statements were nonsensical. Unfortunately, reporters, on both the national and local scene, never follow-up after they get nonsense answers. Why is that?
But it gets better. The resolution was kept off the agenda last Thursday night and not addressed. The procedure has always been to submit the proposed resolution for inclusion on the agenda. The Democrats did that. Why wasn't the resolution put on the agenda? After all, they "welcome any questions."
Then, Harry, safely ensconced in his office, calls Dunne, Ryan and Campana ( a real class move seeing as Camapana's brother died that day) cowards for not raising the issue. If they had, Mr. Mitchell would have assuredly told them that the item was not on the agenda.
Mayor Harry's feeling the heat and he's really not the kind of guy you want in a pressure situation.
If the administration truly has nothing to hide, they'll make copies of the transcripts from the Carignan depositions and make them available to the citizens of Troy. If, they have nothing to hide. Looks like Fredo is in charge of The Family.
Now, to the opposite extreme. A genuine hero from nearby Catskill has passed away.
And, if you're interested in the Porco Saga, this is the blog for you.