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

Monday, November 26, 2007


Well, lawyers and money.


The City Hall gang want to introduce legislation that would increase the salaries of Non-Represented employees.* Furthermore, the proposed ordinance would make it impossible to lower those salaries unless recommended by the Mayor and then approved by a unanimous** vote of the City Council.

As explained in Talespin:

The raises Incorporated in the new policy, dropped on the City Council last week, are 3.5 percent raises for the non-represented employees retroactive to Jan. 1 and continuing through next year. The council will formally address the measure next month.

Here's some specifics:

Most of the raises are in line with the yearly 3.5 percent pay hike given to members of the city's unions. The deputy mayor, the comptroller, the city engineer and the commissioner of the Department of Public Works would all see salary increases from $75,000 to $77,625 in 2007 and to $80,342 next year if approved by the council. The mayor's salary is expected to jump from $85,000 to $95,000, a 12 percent increase. - The Record 11/20/2007

Jim Franco's take on the matter on Thursday seems about right.

Non-Rep titles can be found in Article III of the Charter:

§ 67-30. Employees covered.

The following "nonrepresented" employees shall be covered by the policies in this employment manual. A nonrepresented employee is any employee of the City of Troy not covered by any bargaining unit within the City of Troy.

A. Administrative:
Confidential Assistant to the Mayor
Deputy Mayor
Budget Officer
Deputy Director of Office of Management and Budget
Personnel Director
Personnel Associate
City Auditor
Deputy Comptroller for Financial Operations
Corporation Counsel
Deputy Corporation Counsel, full-time
Deputy Corporation Counsel, special projects
Commissioner of Public Works
Deputy Commissioner of Public Works
Commissioner of Public Utilities
Deputy Commissioner of Public Utilities
Chief Water Plant Operator
Superintendent of Water and Sewer
Commissioner of Planning and City Engineer
Commissioner of Recreation
Legislative Assistant
City Clerk
Deputy City Clerk
Assistant to the City Clerk
Confidential Secretary to the Mayor
Commissioner of Public Safety/Police Commissioner
Personnel Associate
Policy Analyst

B. Clerical staff:
Secretary to the City Council President
Private Secretary to the Corporation Counsel
Assistant to the Comptroller
Confidential Secretary to the Commissioner of Public Safety

C.Part-time administrative:
(1)Deputy Corporation Counsel;
Executive Secretary, Human Rights Commission;
Executive Secretary to the Civil Service Commission.

Mitchell's argument for the change is that Non-Represented employees should be treated the same as those represented by a union. This argument, aside from being a dire warning to children about the dangers of overusing nitrous oxide, is tantalizing. For instance, maybe this Charter provision should be applicable to all City Hall employees, regardless of status:

§ 67-10. Record of attendance.

Each employee, with the exception of department and bureau heads, must record his/her attendance on a time card or attendance sheet. Falsification of this time record is cause for dismissal. The time record shall be submitted to the Department of Finance weekly. Employees are required to report to work on time, both morning and lunch time. Tardiness will result in a payroll deduction. Accumulated tardiness of more than 1/2 hour in any payroll period (one week) shall be deducted from the employee's pay. Department and bureau heads shall submit an attendance memorandum bi-weekly to the Department of Finance, listing his/her absences from work for such period, noting how his/her accruals for such absences should be charged. Habitual tardiness is cause for suspension or dismissal.

"Excuse me Mr. Mirch," says a Department of Finance employee, "you haven't handed in your time sheets for the month." If they're to be treated the same, lets do it properly. And shouldn't those time cards be retroactive to January 1, 2007?


We believe that the real reason behind this ham-fisted maneuver is to preserve the job of the current Corporation Counsel. It's no secret that many in both parties would like to see a change in the Corporation Counsel's office. Despite his repeated claims to "Not be political," Mr. Mitchell has conducted himsself less like the attorney for Troy and the City Council than as legal counsel for the mayor. Yes, there is a difference: Harry n'est pas la ville.

Hence, the well-founded rumor that the City Council will hire an attorney to represent it's interests. Some names have been bandied about, but we suspect that Victor DeBonis, who ran unsuccesfully against Mr. Wojcik in the 1st, will be asked to fill the position. Whether he accepts or not, is anyone's guess.

The necessity for the Council's own counsel is beyond dispute. We'd suggest a part-time position. It may be difficult to lure away a qualified attorney from their own practice for a full-time job that may last only two years.

Also, we now have an actual check-and-balance in City Hall, with a Republican Mayor and and Democratic City Council. The learning curve for Harry may be significant. We suspect that it will take an Article 78 proceeding or two before he realizes that, like the mayor, the council has it's perogatives.

As for the raises? In and of themselves they are not unreasonable. Even full-time political positions require a bump-up every now and then in order to attract decent people and to take the sting out of their campaign contributions. The way the issue was handled leads us to believe that Tutunjian does have a learning disability. Instead of explaining his rationale for the raises, he refuses to speak with the press. When he does open his mouth, it's to trade barbs with a City Chairman. Why a Mayor would trade jabs with an opposing party's chairman is inexplicable.

In fairness, Tutunjian has recently backed down from the unanimity requirement. Council President Bauer has been sent to carry water for the proposal. The vote is scheduled for December 6, 2007.

* Non-Represented employees are those employees that are without representation

** Unanimous should not be confused with anonymous but may be confused with eponymous.

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