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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The candy store is under new management.

Incoming Council President Clem Campana on the raises:

The proposed raises by Mayor Tutunjian for himself and a number of his political appointees exemplify government at its worst. Instead of proposing the raises as part of the annual budget approval process and before the recent mayoral and council elections, the Mayor waited until after the election, and before the new city council takes over on January 1st, to announce these proposed raises.

These proposed raises cover the salaries of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, and a number of exempt employees. The proposed raise for the Mayor would bring his salary to $95,000 in 2008 and would give retroactive raises to the other exempt employees for 2007 and additional cost of living raises in 2008. Furthermore, to ensure that the proposed raises are not tampered with, the Mayor went one step further and proposed a change in the City Charter that only a 9-0 vote of the City Council could reduce an employee’s salary. One justification that the administration gave was that these actions are needed to protect the jobs of political appointees when the democratically controlled city council takes over.

These actions are transparent at best and illegal at worst. More importantly, it is an insult to every citizen of Troy who voted in the last election and who had a right to understand all the issues when pulling the lever.

At the first meeting in January, I will propose a number of local ordinances to rescind the pay raises and eliminate the need for the unanimous vote to reduce salaries. In their stead, I will be proposing a number of new ordinances. First, I will propose that any salary increases for exempt employees must be proposed in the yearly budget. These salary increases should be part of the established budgeting process and cannot be an after thought or a political stunt because power changes hands.

Second, while we cannot take back the raises given retroactively, we can and will make the taxpayers of Troy whole. I will propose that the salaries of all those who received the retroactive pay raises have their 2008 salaries reduced to the initially budgeted 2007 levels. I will not allow the taxpayers of Troy to suffer because politicians want to protect their own.

While the City Council cannot reduce the mayor’s salary, the voters of Troy can. Finally, I will also propose that a referendum on the mayor’s salary be placed on the ballot for all citizens of Troy to vote on. In 2002, Republicans objected when term limits were eliminated for the City Council and the mayor. Led by then Council President Tutunjian, Republicans began a campaign to reinstate the term limits, using the slogan, “let the people decide.” Upon learning of the vote to reinstate term limits, Councilman Tutunjian stated, “The people were allowed to decide, and they have spoken.” It is time again to let the people of Troy speak.

On the other hand, Councilman McGrath sees vindictiveness!*

"It's political vindictiveness," said Councilman Mark McGrath, R-District 2. "A lot of these people do deserve a raise. They are going to be political casualties because (Democrats) are politicizing this whole issue."

Ryan Fitzpatrick has the full story.

It's comforting to know that McGrath will continue the grand tradition of slinging bullshit. We'd miss that.

Can McGrath actually believe that the decision to seek raises for GOP appointees after the election wasn't political? If 'these people' deserve raises now, didn't they deserve raises a few months ago? Obviously, the administration believes they've deserved raises since January of 2007. Why didn't McGrath act back then? Why didn't Harry?

The reality, for what it's worth, is that most will see cost of living increases and the silly unanimity provision for adjusting salaries will be stricken. Even McGrath is against that unprecedented idea. In fact, McGrath agrees with most of Campana's reforms. Mark should remember where carrying water for lame duck mayors gets council people (give Collier or Walsh a call, Mark).

Update: The latest.

* McGrath saw the vindictiveness on YouTube and promptly e-mailed the mayor.

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