Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Nice story, except, it contains nothing but mere allegations against Mr. Campana. That's not to say it isn't news. It's just good to remember one person's allegations are not necessarily true.
Matt Ryan wants to sell the Hudson Mohawk Recovery Center certain property on Congress Street. The deal would net Mr. Ryan approximately $450,000. Except, word is, Ryan doesn't actually own the property. He's sort of a middle-man and his exact relationship to the property remains shadowy.
Neighbors do not want the recovery center in their neighborhood. Thus, a meeting was called in order for recovery center representatives to better explain the nature of their work. Mr. Ryan (not too popular with the neighbors) was specifically asked not to come to the meeting. He failed to honor that request.
The upshot is that Mr. Ryan has accused Councilman Campana of using "foul, disgusting and abusive" language. According to some, Mr. Campana accused Mr. Ryan of being a "poo-poo head."
In actuality, one has to wonder if Mr. Ryan knows what Mr. Campana looks like. Reliable witnesses say that Mr. Campana was never near Mr. Ryan although one neighbor did get in Ryan's face.
Lets see: one man has a cool $450,000 riding on a deal. Another is known for conducting himself like a gentleman and does not have a track record of such behavior (not to mention numerous witness that say Ryan is wrong). A non-story in our opinion.
Except, an area reporter received an anonymous letter describing the events. A letter that accused Mr. Campana of violating the ethics law for speaking in front of the Planning Board. We ask: what does that smell like? Smells like a BM.
Speaking of Bobby. The Democrats on the Council are introducing a resolution requesting an investigation into the City's procurement policies and the possible violation of same. Within a few hours of releasing that information, one councilman received a call from Bobby Mirch (we hope he wasn't driving at the time), asking if that councilman had signed off on the resolution. Bobby didn't sound pleased and hung-up.
Which Mirch called? In what capacity? Why is the DPW Commissioner calling legislators about a proposed resolution that has nothing to do with the DPW? Is this Bobby's fourth job?
As for the resolution, let us guess: Harry will fall back on his typical lament: "I wish they had talked to me...." When Democrats do make inquiries they receive no response. Asking Harry questions is like talking to Sergeant Schultz.
In fact, Councilman Campana did send a letter to Harry asking for information on the Spargo matter. No reply. Others have done the same. No reply. Ryan's allegations are likely payback. We suspect Peter Ryan is now on the payback list.
Maybe Harry can have Spargo conduct the investigation. It'll be expensive but you'll get a guaranteed outcome.
Monday, June 26, 2006
In the 20th Congressional District, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand is taking on incumbent John Sweeney. But, there is another candidate.
Eric Sundwall is running for Congress in the 20th Congressional District on the Libertarian line.
Born in California in 1967, Eric graduated from Ichabod Crane High School in Columbia County in 1986. While attending The State University at Albany he worked as a field and logistics tech at Unisys Corp. After experiencing the first round of late eighties downsizing he traveled abroad and studied at The Denmark International Studies in Copenhagen. After an Occidental dose of philosophy and the fall of the Iron Curtain, the return home involved continued work in the computer field. Completing a senior thesis about George Orwell for a B+, he came up .6 short on an honors degree in political science. The IT business proved more fruitful.
Partnering with former Unisys employees, Eric became involved in Adirontech Computer Services. In 1994, he and his father John, started Old Kinderhook Integrated. Providing systems solutions, design and consulting. During the dot boom era they enjoyed retail locations in Kinderhook, East Greenbush and Red Hook. In 1998 they consolidated their operation at the old Hudson City Savings at Rt. 9 & 9H in Valatie, NY. Providing jobs, sales tax revenue and service to the community. They recently wrapped up the retail end of things deferring to the monolithic corporations and resellers. They still provide service to a wide array of businesses and individuals.
Mr. Sundwall attended a year of law school in 2000 at Concord University, the first accredited Internet law school. After marrying his life long friend Kathryn in 2001 and the tragic events of that September, he deferred further commitment to concentrate on business and family. Kathryn is a pharmacist at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany. In August of 2005 they welcomed the addition of Anna Gabrielle to their family. Her brother Samuel turns 4 this June.
Eric served as a committeeman for the Columbia County Conservatives during the tenure of his father's chairmanship (circa 1995). They helped negotiate the current DA's success during a contentious nominating process. Having realized that the Conservatives are a rubber stamp party for the Republicans and it's job mill, he cast his lot with the national LP in 2001. Registering in 2003 after the successful ruling for the Greens. Becoming active in 2005 he hopes to stand with the Party of Principle against illegal occupations and abusive taxation. Unfortunately his wife thinks running for Congress is a good idea in this respect. If elected he would go to Washington and vote no on most legislation in the spirit of Ron Paul R-TX. He would also commit half his salary to free lunches for constituents when they came to visit.
-From Sundwall for Congress
Mr. Sundwall was good enough to take some questions from The Troy Polloi.
In a recent Zogby poll, Mr. Sundwall captured the support of 2.4% of those polled. That's just 2.4% more than we got and we're not even running. Nonetheless, it's a start. There's a lot of obstacles out there for a third party candidate in New York State. The Troy Polloi won't be one of them. This is not an endorsement of Mr. Sundwall.
We will be submitting questions to the Gillibrand and Sweeney camps in the near future. We'll see how willing they are to respond. Mr. Sundwall was a good sport and we appreciate him taking some of his valuable time and spending it on our insightful queries.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
So far, things in North Greenbush have gone about as smooth as the Lee Harvey Oswald prison transfer. Nonetheless, at least one part of the drama is over.
Former Town Attorney, Linda Mandel-Clemente has accepted an ACOD. If Ms. Mandel-Clemente refrains from holiday/weekend theft, the charges will be dropped in six months. We guess that whole 'ethics compelled me to steal' argument didn't really fly. We wish Ms. Mandel-Clemente all the best and good wishes on her rehabilitation. We're sure she can once again become a law-abiding citizen if she makes a real effort.
Speaking of North Greenbush, from Politicus Ebonus Abyssus:
During the last several weeks, The Record has run several articles on the supposed infighting in the Democratic Party in North Greenbush on who will control the town committee. While it might seem at face value as Democrats being Democrats and their usual tussles amongst themselves, there is much more to the story than what was reported.
While long-time Democrats are obviously listed for committee positions, behind the scenes are Bob Mirch, a member of the Conservative Party and a resident of Troy, and Tom Connolly, a member of the Independent Party. Connolly also has gotten his sister (the same one who “forgot” to sign her oath of office twice!) and mother involved. Other Democrats who have decided to sell their souls to side with Mirch and Connolly include John Harken, Lou Catrona, and Jim Germano.
Isn’t it bad enough that Evers, a registered Conservative, who the Democrats supported for Town Supervisor, is a plant for Mirch and Connolly, but now Mirch and Connolly are attempting to control the Democratic Party in North Greenbush.
Mirch’s and Connolly’s motives are transparent. With the Democrats poised to win statewide in the fall, the Conservative Party and the Independent Party will lose considerable influence if not their ballot positions. Efforts like this keep them as players in frontline politics, rather than the sideshow attractions that they really are. We thought we’d help them out with an idea for a marketing campaign:
SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS
A concerned reader has requested our opinion on the School Board election. We apologize. We've been too busy with that trivial Carignan mess and have had little time to focus on the people's preferred candidate to screw up our school system.
Here's some background for those of you who suffer from insomnia.
We really don't know what there is to say. The machine broke. There should be a revote (if they debate will it be a rebate?). The loser of the revote will take the school board seat, cursed to spend a term wedged between parents and teachers. The winner will move on and enjoy life.
Is it just us or are school boards like the minor leagues? They're packed with older people with no political future or younger people hoping to get to the majors.
Monday, June 19, 2006
17 Q. Did you know at the time you executed the
18 Broker of Record Letter whether any of
19 those responses would save the City money
20 compared to the insurance costs for the
21 year 2004?
22 A. From the information that was provided to
23 me, I believed that we would be saving
1 Q. As a result of quotations received through
2 the Request For Quotation process?
3 A. Whether it was quotations or communications,
4 I'm not aware. I was just -- I was led to
5 believe by my staff that we'd be able to
6 save money by executing this letter with --
7 what was it, Marshall & Sterling or
8 whoever, and working with Nicoll &
13 Q. At the time, meaning late 2004, were you
14 under the belief that Nicoll & MacChesney
15 or Marshall & Sterling was offering the
16 City different insurance policies at
17 different costs than that offered by R. J.
19 A. I don't know the details. I just know that
20 we were going to -- I was told that we were
21 going to save money and we weren't going to
22 be altering the policies in any major way,
23 so that was my goal, to save money.
12 Q. Okay. Were you involved in coordinating
13 with Marshall & Sterling or Nicoll &
14 MacChesney a scheme in which you would
15 provide a Broker of Record Letter to
16 replace those agents as the insurance agent
17 for whoever responded with the best
18 quotation in response to the City's Request
19 For Quotations for 2005 insurance?
22 A. As a Mayor, I have the ability to enter
23 into a Broker of Letter Record (sic) with
24 an insurance company regardless of any RFQ,
1 that's what I was told by my corporation
2 counsel, and that's what we elected to do.
3 Q. And when did you first start working with
4 these agents to plan on providing them with
5 this Broker of Record Letter?
6 A. I'm not aware of the exact date.
7 Q. Can you give me an approximation?
8 A. No. Sometime before this time, but I don't
9 know when.
10 Q. Was it early 2004, the first quarter of
11 your administration?
12 A. The goal was to save money after the
13 increase in late 2003, early 2004, and my
14 staff, the corporation counsel,
15 comptroller, was working towards that goal,
16 I don't know when they began working
17 towards that goal, so that in 2005 we'd be
18 able to save money. And that's what we did.
19 Q. And was the goal to get the City the
20 cheapest insurance that it could or was the
21 goal to replace the insurance broker for
22 the City?
23 A. The goal was to save money, but keeping in
24 mind that as the Mayor, I have the right to
1 elect -- to choose whichever firm I want to
2 provide the City with insurance with.
3 Q. And did you choose to have the insurance
4 broker for the City of Troy be an insurance
5 agent who you viewed as more friendly to
6 your administration?
7 A. I chose somebody that I trusted and felt
8 comfortable working with him.
9 Q. And why did you trust Marty Keary?
10 A. Because I knew him -- I knew him from
11 speaking with him and I felt that they
12 would provide the City with an honest
13 estimate of what our insurance costs would
15 Q. And when did you first meet Marty Keary?
16 A. Maybe two years ago.
17 Q. Approximately May of 2004?
18 A. Maybe early -- maybe 2003, probably. My
19 years are going by quick.
20 Q. Mine, too. And what was the context of
21 your meeting with Marty Keary?
22 A. I had seen him at different events
23 throughout the City.
24 Q. What kind of events? Political events?
1 A. Some political events, yeah.
2 Q. And what did Marty Keary say or do to earn
3 your trust in him and Nicoll & MacChesney
4 as the insurance agent for the City of
6 A. Providing me with any kind of questions we
7 had and I felt comfortable with the guy,
8 that's all, his firm and -- and the comfort
9 stems from having a sudden increase in our
10 policy in 2003 which made me uncomfortable,
11 and I said that before, and I asked my
12 administration to keep their eyes open for
13 someone else, and when the opportunity
14 arose to make the change, that's what we
16 Q. Regardless of whether or not the change
17 saved the City money?
18 A. Well, I believed that the change was going
19 to save us money on the information that I
20 was provided, and that is another reason
21 why we made the change.
22 Q. Through better packaging, that was your
24 A. That's what was told to me.
1 Q. And as far as you know, that information
2 was all verbal about the better packaging?
3 A. As far as I know, yeah.
All that savings and nothing was put into writing. So, who made these verbal assurances that led the Mayor to believe there would be a $65,000 savings? Isn't that something you'd like to see in writing?
Once again, it's clear that Harry doesn't really know anything. He's relying upon others for this guareenteed savings. Specifically, he says it was the Comptroller and Corporation Counsel.
Later this week, we'll see what Ms. Witkowski has to say about all this.
So, let us sum up:
1- Carignan secured the policies;
2- Harry signs a broker of Record Letter so someone other than Carignan will receive the commission;
3- By suggesting options contained in the policy, Witkowski says the City saved under $10,000;
4- Harry did this because he felt comfortable with Marty Keary, having seen him at political events;
5- Harry announces that N&M saved the city $65,000;
6- N&M put nothing in writing.
You know what this smells like? You got it!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Today, we'll simply cut to the chase. We can go over the fun details later.
If you recall, Harry said that all this great savings came through 'repackaging.' Apparently, N&M can't secure the actual policy but they're a real whiz at 'repackaging.'
Remember, that's what Harry said. The savings came through 'repackaging'. The Comptroller and Corporation Counsel know the details. Not our words, Harry's words.
Lets see what Ms. Witkowski had to say about the savings.
Q. Do you know in your role as comptroller
whether Nicoll & MacChesney saved the City
any money as a result of the repackaging of
insurance proposals performed between late
December and January 1st when these
policies -- when the insurance policies
went into effect?
A. Yes, they definitely did, yes.
Q. And do you know how much?
A. Because as a matter of fact, there was an
invoice that came in to me from Nicoll &
MacChesney which was a budgeted number, and
when I had Mike Dinova call them, they sent
in less than that. Off the top of my head,
I don't know what it is -- what it was or
what the amount was.
Q. Was it approximately $100,000?
A. No. No. It was a lot less than --
Q. Was it approximately $50,000?
Q. Was it approximately $10,000?
A. It was probably less than $10,000.
Q. Was it approximately $1,000?
A. It was less than $10,000. I don't know off
the top of my head.
Q. But it certainly wasn't close to --
A. But the invoice was --
Q. Is it fair to say it certainly wasn't close
A. No. Not -- no. No.
There you have it. A savings of less than $10,000 (by picking an option already suggested by Carignan).
Harry said Witkowski knew the details and Witkowski testified to the details. It wasn't even close to the $65,000 Harry stated in his press release.
In all fairness, we do not believe Harry knew what he was talking about. He did say that he was out of the loop. He merely repeated what his handlers told him to say. We think Witkowski was telling the truth to the best of her knowledge. So, who led Harry astray?
You don't have to like Carignan, you don't have to dislike Harry and the administration. This is a simple issue. The administration took someone's work and gave it to someone else. They can do that, but the commission is earned when the quote is secured. Carignan secured the quote and deserves the commission. To top it all off, the administration couldn't keep it's mouth shut, tried to make Carignan the bad guy and show how much they had saved by switching brokers. It was all bullshit.
Switch brokers. Who cares? Just don't steal. We didn't like what Conroy did with HUD. It smelled bad and was ill-advised. We don't like this. We wouldn't like it if Pattison did it and we don't like it now. Sometimes partisanship should end where ethics and fair dealing begin. That goes for everyone, on both sides.
And a word about lawsuits. How many times have we heard Republicans talk about "suing the city only hurts the tax payers." or some variation on that these. That's not the issue. What hurts the taxpayers is when officials give someone a valid cause to go to court to right a wrong. That's the issue. Some people are not doormates for political thugs.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Based on Harry's press release (see previous post), one would conclude that Mayor Tutunjian knew what he was talking about. The press release is detailed and specific. So, what exactly was Harry's basis for the press release? Here's some excerpts from the Mayor's deposition. Remember, he's under oath.
Q. Do you know what relationship, if any,
there is between a Broker of Record Letter
and an ability for an agent to receive a
commission and an insurance policy?
A. I don't know for sure.
Q. Do you know whether signing a Broker of
Record Letter on behalf of a particular
agent precludes or keeps another insurance
agent from performing that same function
for the City?
A. I don't know that for a fact. (p. 8)
Q. Is it your understanding that the insurance
policies were for one-year periods?
A. I believe so, yeah.
Q. And was it your understanding that any
increase or decrease in the cost of
insurance in a given year for the City of
Troy would be at or around the time those
policies were renewed or expired and
Q. Okay. Are you familiar with a term Request
For Quotations as opposed to Request For
A. I've heard that recently.
Q. Is it your understanding that a Request For
Quotations is a request for written
proposals for insurance quotes that the
City may or may not choose to use?
A. I'm not aware of that. I wasn't aware of
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
Q. In late 2004 -- let me just withdraw that.
Do you know if any insurance agents had
provided the City with quotations for
insurance in 2004 before you executed a
Broker of Record Letter?
A. I don't know that for a fact.
Q. Did you believe that any had provided
quotations for insurance before you executed
the Broker of Record Letter?
A. I believe there was responses to the
Requests For Proposals, but I never -- I'm
not aware of who or what the proposals were
or the details of them.
Q. Did you know at the time you executed the
Broker of Record Letter whether any of
those responses would save the City money
compared to the insurance costs for the
A. From the information that was provided to
me, I believed that we would be saving
Q. Mr. Mayor, do you know whether the
insurance policies that were obtained by
the City of Troy were the same policies
that were quoted by R. J. Carignan as a
result of the Requests For Quotation
proposal that was issued by the City of
A. I didn't know that.
Q. Do you know whether that is the case -- as
you sit here today, do you know whether or
not that's the case?
A. I'm told it is, but I didn't know that at
the time, yeah, I'm told it is.
Q. And what was your understanding in late
2004 how the Nicoll & MacChesney and
Marshall & Sterling insurance product would
save money as opposed to the policies that
had been identified by R. J. Carignan
through the RFQ process?
A. Again, my comptroller and corporation
counsel identified that they were able and
willing to save us money, and I was okay
with that, and that's why we went with them.
Q. That Nicoll & MacChesney and Marshall &
Sterling were able and willing to save the
City money compared to the work that had
been performed by R. J. Carignan?
A. At the time, I wasn't aware of any work or
anything of that nature. I just -- I'm not
-- I wasn't involved at that level of who
did what and how the process works.
Q. And who was involved at that level?
A. The corporation counsel and the
So, the policies that Troy eventually obtained were from the quotes received by Carignan. N&M did not secure the policies, but in some magical fashion, were able to save the City 65 large. That's some powerful mojo.
But, does Harry know if any money was saved or how it was saved?
Q. As you sit here today, do you have any
understanding as to whether or not the City
saved money by issuing a Broker of Record
Letter changing the insurance agent from
R. J. Carignan to Nicoll & MacChesney and
Marshall & Sterling?
A. I believe we saved money in our insurance
Q. And how?
A. How? The cost of our premiums. That's the
information I was given and that's what I
Q. So you believe as you sit here today that
Nicoll & MacChesney and Marshall & Sterling
were able to procure an insurance policy
for the City for insurance coverage for
2005 that saved the City approximately
A. From the information I've been given, the
policy, the way it was packaged, is the
word I'm using, I don't know what it means,
was able to save the City, you know, some
-- approximately $60,000.
Q. And was this information in writing at all?
A. I don't believe -- I don't know. I don't
know if it was in writing. It was
information I was given by my comptroller.
Wow! He believes they saved money because.....he was told they saved money. Harry got word from Corporation Counsel and the Comptroller that there would be a $65,000 savings and now merely parrots that back when questioned. A hands-on kind of guy to be sure.
The first problem for the city is apparent. Whoever obtained the quotes earned the commission. Thus, Carignan is entitled to the $30,000 commission that N&M received. But, we still have to clear up what Corporation Counsel and the Comprtoller told Big H.
Corporation Counsel Mitchell was scheduled to testify on the Thursday that depositions took place. He failed to show due to a "family emergency." A family emergency that still allowed him to be present for the City Council meeting that evening.
The Comptroller did testify. She tells an interesting story and is a bit more knowledgeable than the Mayor. We'll look at what she had to say, later this week. The "savings" by switching brokers, according to the Comptroller, is slightly more modest than $65,000.*
*The repackaging idea sounds good but what they are really talking about are options contained within a given policy: options that are available regardless of the broker. Incidentally, Carignan recommended the same options that N&M suggested a week before the Broker of Record Letter was signed.
Monday, June 12, 2006
We said we'd be getting back to the Carignan issue and here we are.
For those that know nothing about this, go here and here for background.
Now, before we dig into this more, let us go back and look at what Mayor Harry said concerning the city's insurance. These are his words, not ours.
By repackaging insurance coverage’s, the new broker, Nicoll & MacChesney, Inc., has saved the City a minimum of $64,712 over the 2004 year, and expects to save additional money as it delves deeper into the policies.
“We just saved a lot of money on our insurance coverage,” Tutunjian said. “All joking aside, this represents a savings of 15 percent for the upcoming year. That is much better situation than the beginning of 2004 when we saw a $75,000 increase at the last minute from our prior broker.”
“When I first decided to run for mayor, I promised that I would do what is best for the residents of Troy,” Tutunjian said. “We got to a point where it was clear that insurance brokers needed to be changed, particularly when the available savings became so clear. Instead of an increase, we now see a decrease, with an additional pledge for more savings once the policy is looked at more closely.”
Nicoll & MacChesney, Inc., located at 14 Second Street in historic downtown Troy, has set the premium for the City’s insurance at $380,000. In 2004, that number was well above $444,000.
“It is important to do business with people inside of Troy,” Tutunjian said. “In this case we got the best of both worlds. The insurance agent is in the City, and saved us a significant amount of money at the same time.”
First, let us be clear: we do not care who the city retains as an insurance broker. The mayor can pick and choose who he wants. What we do care about is whether or not our public officials a) lie and b) know what the hell they're talking about.
WHAT IS HARRY SAYING
By repackaging insurance coverage’s, the new broker, Nicoll & MacChesney, Inc., has saved the City a minimum of $64,712 over the 2004 year.
OK, Nicoll & MacChesney 'repackaged' insurance coverage. What coverage? Who obtained that coverage?
That is much better situation than the beginning of 2004 when we saw a $75,000 increase at the last minute from our prior broker.
But Harry, hadn't that coverage been locked-in for the three previous years? We all know that municipal insurance coverage skyrocketed after 9/11. Hadn't Carignan obtained two years of pre-9/11 rates by having locked-in the previous rates? How much did that save?
“We got to a point where it was clear that insurance brokers needed to be changed, particularly when the available savings became so clear. ”
Harry, if your dealing with the same policy, that contains a variety of options, doesn't the city have the ability to choose any of those options no matter who the broker happens to be? How does changing brokers affect your options under the policy?
Nicoll & MacChesney, Inc., located at 14 Second Street in historic downtown Troy, has set the premium for the City’s insurance at $380,000. In 2004, that number was well above $444,000.
Harry, the policy sets the premium, does it not? What policy did Nicoll & MacChesney obtain for the city? If N & M obtained the policy for the city, why did you need to change brokers?
So, we'll be taking a look at these issues and more this week. And you won't have to take our word for it. You'll be able to read what Harry and others said, while under oath.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Bobby Mirch is at it again. No, he does not have his fourth government-funded job – he is still at only three, as far as we know. Mirch is continuing to exert his political influence in Troy by attempting to control another political party in Troy, the Working Families Party.
To rehash history, prior to last year’s primaries, Mirch had Troy residents, who were not enrolled in any political party, enroll in the Working Families Party. Many of these individuals were city workers whose jobs were controlled by Mirch. Additionally, Mirch and friends told these same city workers to vote in the Working Families Party primary for the candidates that Mirch put up, rather than those that the party endorsed.
With no primaries in site this year in Troy, Mirch has taken a different tactic. Long-time city residents who were registered in the Republican or Conservative parties are now switching to the Working Families Party. Several reliable sources have indicated that the number is well over 100 and climbing. We could assume that these individuals have had epiphanies and decided that their conservative core values were not serving the needs of the people, but we know that is not the case.
Why is Mirch doing this? The Conservative Party is losing its numbers and influence. Mirch can only continue his influence in Troy politics if he has something to offer the major parties, in this case, minor party lines. We cannot assume, however, that this line will automatically go to the Republicans. With Spitzer heading to an almost certain victory and the Democrats in the state poised to take control of many parts of government, Mirch’s instinct for self-preservation and ability to prostitute himself may lead him to sell the line to the Democrats. Only time will tell.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Lets take a look at who has to live where under the residency ordinances.
First, The Code:
§ 60-5. General requirement. All employees of the City of Troy, except those expressly exempt by the Public Officers Law of the State of New York, shall be residents of the City of Troy at the time of their employment or shall become residents within 90 days after their employment and shall remain residents of the City of Troy as a condition of their continued employment. Except as hereinafter provided, any employee of the City who does not comply with the mandatory residency requirements of this article shall be subject to immediate termination by the Mayor.
It could be argued that an employee who does not reside in the City of Troy must be terminated by the mayor. The wording is "shall be subject to"....not "may be subject to"....
Of course, to even potentially fall under the Public Officers Exemption on must be a Public Officer. There, employees must be residents of Troy. Except:
§ 60-6. Exceptions. The residency provisions of this article shall not apply to any City employee who is employed by the City on the date of the adoption of this article, but shall apply to persons whose employment with the City of Troy commences after the date of adoption of this article, except those persons expressly exempted by the Public Officers Law of the State of New York.
§ 60-7. Waiver of requirements. In the event the Mayor shall certify to the City Council that, after a reasonable recruitment period, he/she has been unable to fill a vacancy in any City position covered by this article by appointing a qualified resident of the City or a qualified nonresident who is prepared to become a resident within 90 days of his or her employment, then the Mayor may waive the residency requirements for said position on the grounds of "difficulty of recruitment." Such waiver shall apply to such specific appointment only as certified and waived by the Mayor.
An initial question must be: Has the current Mayor gone through this certification process for any current employee. If not, the Waiver does not come into play. We know that some of our public officers probably should be certified.
PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW
The applicable provision can be found in Art III, Sec. 30, sub 6. Essentially, the residency requirements do not apply to Public Officers (except the City Manager), if those officers reside in Rensselaer County.
So, employees must reside in the city unless there is a waiver and Public Officers must reside in the County.*
The City is also empowered to maintain an action to enjoin violations of City Ordinances:
§ C-41. Actions to restrain violations. The City may maintain an action to restrain by injunction the violation of any City ordinance, notwithstanding that such ordinance may provide a penalty for such violation.
Finally, the issue involving the Police Department.
§ 79-4. Residency requirement for members of Police Department. [Added 12-22-1995] The City Council believes that it would benefit the citizens of Troy if the members of the Troy Police Department resided within the City limits. Therefore, the police officers of the Troy Police Department are hereby required to reside within the Troy City limits. This provision shall take effect immediately, except that it shall not apply to any current police officer of the Police Department who currently resides outside the City limits.
One could read this as prohibiting Police Officers hired prior to 1995 from leaving the city to reside elsewhere as well as new hires having to reside in Troy.
This legislation was challenged in Troy Police Benevolent and Protective Association Inc. v. City of Troy, 299 AD2d 710 (2002). Robert Hayden was reappointed to the police department in 1997, while residing in Troy. Thereafter, he purchased a home in Pittstown. An assistant chief advised Hayden that he was required to live in Troy and that any failure to abide by the requirement "may ultimately result in dismissal from service."Mayor Pattison had also instituted a practice requiring officers subject to the law to sign a form attesting to any change in their residences.
This situation is ripe for disaster (and not the good kind). All it takes is one crazy taxpayer and an Aretakian attorney and he/she** could turn a lot of lives upside down. Our solution is simple: Repeal the law mandating that police officers live in the city. Then, pass a less ambiguous law mandating that all new hires, from the date of passage, must reside in the city. Allow anyone hired before that date to live wherever they would like.
We do not like residency laws applied to police or firefighters. It's the local municiplaity version of jingoism. However, we appear to be in the minority and the above suggestion would be a good compromise.
In any event, if residency requirements are going to be enforced, start at the top, not with rank and file police officers. Make sure the Corporation Counsel, the City Assessor etc., reside in Troy.
As for Spargo,*** we believe his position makes him an employee rather than an officer. However, the administration claims he's covered by Public Officers Law. So be it. He should get his ass to Rensselaer County or be fired. There's no waiver in the Public Officers Law like there is for City employees.
And hey! Lets be careful out there.
* Ironically, Crawley moved to Troy but didn't have to. It worked out well for Brunswick. They received two players to be named later.
** This is not to imply that Aretakis is a He-She or She-Male. Please don't sue us.
***Spargo is a great example. When he shook down attorneys in the Third Judicial District he had to reside within the Third Judicial District. If he's going to shake down people in Troy, he should live in Troy.
Monday, June 05, 2006
By Politicus Ebonus Abyssus
The Spargo hiring has led to another suit against the City of Troy. Maybe we were wrong about the hiring of Spargo. The City obviously needs additional deputy corporation councils to help fend off all these suits against the City that are a result of poor management and capricious and arbitrary decision-making.
Be that as it may, the Mayor has not been accountable for the hiring to the taxpayers of Troy, who are paying Spargo's salary, or to Councilman Campana, who sent a letter to the Mayor weeks ago requesting information about the hiring of Spargo and who has not received any response. This lack of accountability cannot continue and cannot be tolerated.
If the Mayor had any sort of brains or balls, he would remove Spargo before the suit went too far. The bottom line is that there was little or no process used in hiring Spargo, and Spargo does not live in Rensselaer County, a clear violation of the Public Officers Law.
The city can ill afford to use precious tax dollars to pay salary for a political appointee and for damages from the suit due to bad politics and bad decision-making, while the City continues to need so many things. The Mayor also needs to stand up to the State Republican Party and let them know that the City will not become a dumping ground for every Republican in Pataki's administration looking to get in a few more years in for retirement.
As usual, Politicus Ebonus Abyssus cuts to the quick.
Another law suit resulting from ignoring the rules. The Mayor justifies himself referringing to Public Officers Law, but without citing any particular section (Record Reporter James Franco has written about this issue a number of times but we'll be damned if we can find the link to the stories). The Administration's interpretation of the Public Officers Law is hampered by the fact that it's difficult to read when your head is up your ass.
With Aretakis involved this is bound to be a circus. Grand entertainment for all.
It looks as if Spargo, at the very least, has to live in Rensselaer County. He doesn't. Case closed. But, we don't really care where he lives. We're not very supportive of the "city employees must live in the city" mentality. The real reason Spargo must go is because of the disgraceful way he left the Supreme Court bench. Why Tutunjian wishes to reward unethical behavior is a mystery.....unless....the city plans on shaking people down and they wanted a professional on staff with experience.
Speaking of living within the city.....
FIVE COPS NOT ABIDING BY THE LAW
It looks like five police officers are violating the law. We're outraged by this gross flaunting of.....where were we?
Residency requirements never really did it for us. They're usually passed to keep the simple-minded peasants happy. We could care less where anyone lives as long as they're capable. Hell, look at the last mayoral race. We'd have gladly taken two out of town candidates over our home grown boys.
Still, it's the law. It was passed by the representatives of the people. Get it off the books or abide by it.
Another interesting Cop story which we alluded to earlier. It will be interesting to track the origin of the weapons involved. Were they purchased from someplace like Wal-Mart, where a record would be kept or are their origins a bit more mysterious?
Thursday, June 01, 2006
It's not often we get to write about Troy's fine police force. Unlike some of their local brethren, the Troy Police are generally a good lot: able and professional.
We recently learned that our police department will soon be adding the rank of........(drum roll)...Corporal! That's right, we'll have corporals. Or, at the very least, a corporal. They had considered creating a First Mate position but no one wanted to wear the nekerchief.
Of course, we immediately thought of the M*A*S*H episode when Hawkeye created the rank of Corporal-Captain so Radar could obtain entrance to the Officer's Club.
No one knows who the first Corporal of the Troy Police Department will be. There is a complex civil service formula that takes a variety of factors into consideration. Luckily, we just happen to have a copy of that formula.
Who gets the stripes is anyone's guess but being able to run errands is considered a plus.
Discussions are also underway to creat the rank of Field Marshall.
AREA LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN HOT WATER?
We won't mention which department but lets just say the initials are Troy Police Department.
Seems there was a break-in at the home of an officer recently. The Rensselaer County Sheriff's Department handled the investigation. Some guns and credit cards were taken. The perps were apprehended and the booty was returned. One problem: the guns had been altered. There was at least one shot gun that had morphed into a sawed-off shotgun and the serial numbers on several weapons had been erased. Altering firearms is a Federal Offense.
It could be serious. No, not as serious as having a bike without a horn, but serious nontheless.