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

Monday, April 04, 2016

VACANCIES, VACANCIES, VACANCIES

Mayor Patrick Madden seems plagued with vacancies in his first trimester. The departure of City Engineer Andrew Donovan adds to the list. Currently, Troy does not have a full-time Comptroller, a Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development or a City Engineer. Other, more minor positions also remain vacant.

We do not know the reason for Donovan's departure. We have heard he resigned and we have heard he was asked to resign. Rumor has it he was retained to build a wall in Arizona but that is only rumor. In either event, we wish him well. He is a good man.

So what gives? Most municipalities have little problem filling these roles. At worst, there is typically a pool of mid-level political hacks that can fill these roles and be at least barely competent if not inspired.

According to a source close to the administration, Madden has an unrealistic view of local government and a distaste for local politics. The former view is alarming, the latter view understandable yet naïve.

During early Administration meetings, the most overheard quote was: "We want to be the adults." An admirable sentiment depending on the definition of 'adult.'

What exactly does that mean? Two things: the Madden folks believe that they can eschew politics and focus on building a professional organization that will focus on competence and ability, and; the opposition can engage in governance by press release but they wont engage in petty political battles. In short, politics is beneath them.

Like many ideas and centerfolds, this looks quite good on paper as well as in meetings between election day and inauguration day. The limits of this philosophy are readily apparent. Key positions are unfilled. Monica is overworked and floundering according to one source (while another source says she is drowning). City Council President Mantello has become the voice of Troy Government on the theory that no press release or comment is too small or irrelevant.

We believe the Administration's position on politics is, in part, the reason why they have trouble with filling positions at City Hall. One of Rosamilia's faults (among many) was not listening to the people he brought in to the administration. Yet, he did not have a problem bringing people in to the administration. 

One can rarely get the best of the best to take positions in City Hall. The salaries do not lend themselves to competition with the elite in the private sector. True, some do surprise and surpass expectations but minimal competence might be the only option. That is a fact of life that Madden needs to face. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

Madden's other issue is that he believes he won the election and primary despite Democratic Chair Tom Wade.

While there is room for debate, it is not unreasonable to believe that Madden won the primary due to Ernest Everett's bid for the nomination. Maybe Everett voters could have made up the difference for Wiltshire, maybe not. Reasonable minds can differ. However, the County Chair of the Democratic Party can be a valuable resource in staffing. Another quote that sums up the dynamic between the two men is Pat's: "I felt like I was running against Rodney, Jim and Tom Wade."

Yes, many city hall jobs are patronage jobs. That's another mean fact of life in every administration. Tutunjian, Crawley, Mitchell and Mirch haven't exactly set the private sector on fire during their careers. They were 'small government' Republicans that spent most of their lives on the public teat.

Madden should work with Wade to find competent, loyal Democrats to fill the vacancies at City Hall. That builds the party, creates loyalty to Madden and ensures that there are enough staff to deliver the services that citizens pay for. He must be the first out of the gate with news and press releases. People need to know he's in charge. Right now, it feels like Madden is floundering.  Vacancies are just a symptom of the problem.

Being the adult means recognizing certain realities and acting within those realities.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great posting democratus. Glad to see you back writing Bill. The fact is Lou never listened to you after you were suspended and Pat listens to his sister. Monica is a lightweight and floundering is being kind.

Anonymous said...

Jumping like rats off a sinking ship.

Anonymous said...

Donovan clashed with Monica. As everyone will eventually. I don't pretend to know her, but have known of her through others dating back to her time with John Hedley, who was her mentor. He let her rule with an iron hand and pretty much only signed checks. Since then, she has gone from job to job because she cannot get along with people and her bosses have not allowed her the power Hedley did. It's her way or the highway.

Phana24JG said...

Reasonably fair assessment. If Carmella is too eager to get PR, Pat is too anxious to avoid it. While acting apolitical and above politics may sound good, it often creates a void that implies apathy or incompetence. The water main break, Campbells Ave, and the fiscal issues are perfect examples. All things considered, the DPW and city acquitted itself quite well, but it often appeared as though no one was on top of the situation. If Pat is not comfortable playing that role, either take lessons from KJ, or get Salka or someone out there for him.

I know the loss of Chamberlain hurt, and he is short-staffed, but as Demo notes, assembling a competent team is part of the job. Most of us want Pat to succeed, if for no other reason than self-interest. It is still early, but the Lou Deux argument is gaining traction.

Anonymous said...

If you want to talk about vacancies, look no further than the Police Department.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god this is great. Welcome back Bill Dunne. How was Malaysia? I love that Bill is the only one who can save the city and the Mayor. Bill even takes a swipe at Harry so typical. In a year with a new democratic mayor who has several high paying jobs to give out and Bill Dunne gets let go. Bill you even applaud Carmella for taking the lead in getting information out to the public. Your hatred for Monica is spewing in this latest post. Andy is making a power play for Pats affection over Monica and it is blowing up in his face. Monica is a hard worker and will be fine. She can handel it and will do her job and not try to screw people like the last administration. This is just the begging they will right the ship and Bill will stay unemployed.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you Dunne you fat scumbag!

Anonymous said...

Your preschool spelling always gives you away. So funny.

Anonymous said...

Dunne will be making more in his new job than the rest of all you losers make put together. And in better weather. And yo MCashless-- he'll pay his taxes too, you pussy little deadbeat. Enjoy your crap apartment with your cracked hotplate and stained sheets.

Anonymous said...

Patrolmen in Guilderland are making 70k plus. Gotta be a fool to stay on this sinking ship, with all the associated BS that comes with it.

Anonymous said...

Try again, fools. Bill D. is busy enjoying his new job.

Anonymous said...

Y'all need to get over Bill. A good man and Pat was foolish not to keep him.

Anonymous said...

It's not just Guilderland that pays well, most suburban agencies do. The city agencies around Troy make considerably more than Troy.

Anonymous said...

Then get lost. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Take some cheese with that whine.

Anonymous said...

Dafuck are u smoking joker?

Phana24JG said...

9.19,I don't think he was applauding Carm, but rather he was pointing out as I did that Pat can create the appearance that he is just along for the ride on visible issues. Like it or not, appearances matter in this business. We are not asking him to reinvent himself, but in person or small groups, he kicks ass. Just bring some of that to the media, especially on high-visibility issues.

Monica may be a hard worker, but she has to be stretched thin, and the growing list of vacancies will exacerbate the problem. In addition, the quality of the work is even more important than the quantity, and the rumors are at best mixed.

Anonymous said...

Memo to Kevin McCashion...

Those that can, do.

Those that can't, tweet.

Anonymous said...

3:08 and 6:02, So other police dept. pay more. Money doesn't grow on trees. TFD wants more too and across the board the city is stretched... probably more than any in our region. Troy has top quality PD and FD, but the budget is tapped. Employees are going to leave and that has to be expected.


Anonymous said...

Nice one 10:09!

Anonymous said...

McCashion must have something on you..

Anonymous said...

Hilarious

Anonymous said...

No shit Madden should work with Wade. The Madden Camp shunned Wade and the Party regulars despite the Party's efforts to fend off asshole Wiltshire's insurgency.
Madden should listen to Wade. There's a reason Wade has been around so long. Maybe he knows something about politics. You can't be Mayor and be "above" politics. Especially with a Council President who thinks she's the mayor and spends every minute of her life gunning for your job, and, for some reason, attracting press coverage.

Anonymous said...

11:26 There's more back and forth between the Mayor and Wade than we can know about.