Liberatore Responds To Criticism (Sort of)

As the readers of this blog will recall Wendy Liberatore of the Times Union wrote a story which this blog challenged for accuracy.  In apparent response she posted the following blog on the Times Union website.


Read the specs for finance commissioner’s 750k renovations project

By Wendy Liberatore on September 21, 2016 at 9:26 AM

There has been a lot of back and forth on the merits of the Saratoga Springs’ Department of Finance Commissioner’s office renovations.

To read the specs and decide for yourself, click here.

You can also see for yourselves by taking one of Commissioner Michele Madigan’s office tours. They are planned for 2 p.m. Tuesdays from Oct. 4 to Nov. 1 in City Hall, Broadway.

I went to the link and what I found was the study done by the architects who were hired by the city to look at what renovations were needed for the Finance Office.

I encourage the readers of this blog to take the time to read the study which is actually relatively brief.  [financedept-revonvations] I am sorry to be so harsh but I find it difficult to believe that Ms. Liberatore could have read this study and written the story that she did.

The architects interviewed all of the employees of the Finance Department to learn what their work involved in order to better understand how best to design the offices.  What then follows is a very thoughtful explanation as to the design changes recommended by the architects to improve the work flow and environment for the employees.  They also make special note regarding the damage that previous restorations have done to many important architectural elements of the building and what they recommend be done to save what is left.

Of particular note was the fact that they recommended that the Commissioner and her deputy give up their existing space for smaller space in order to provide the IT staff with an area large enough for their needs.  There is no reference anywhere in this document to a toilet or a kitchenette being constructed for the private use of the Commissioner.  In fact, the floor plan of the option that has been selected  has neither the toilet nor the kitchenette adjacent to the Commissioner’s office.

How Ms. Liberatore can construe this document as anything but a thoughtful effort to address the Finance Department is really difficult to understand.

I have sent her the following email soliciting a response:

Per your recent blog, I have reviewed the study done by the architects for the proposed renovations to the Finance Office in Saratoga Springs.   They seem to me to be extremely thoughtful in their attempt to improve the offices of the Finance Department to make them both more efficient and to better serve the staff in doing their work.  Your original article and headlines like ““Taxpayers On Hook For $750K” strongly communicate that there was something improper in these plans that was newsworthy.  Could you take the time to email me what it is in the study by the architects that you found problematic?  The Facebook headline for your article stated “Finance chief Michele Madigan’s budget request includes a private bathroom, a new ceiling, and a kitchenette for her use”.  Could you please cite the section of this document that would support this statement.  Let me note that it would seem highly disingenuous to argue that these headlines would not lead the public to believe that these amenities were for the Commissioner’s personal use rather than for everyone in the department.

I look forward to your response.


3 thoughts on “Liberatore Responds To Criticism (Sort of)”

  1. Although the article as published in the print edition of the TU on September 17th is behind a paywall, anyone can read the original story, as updated the night before, here.

    Note that the 13 accompanying photos show nothing of the interior space, which is actually the principal subject. Did Will Waldron, the photographer, open the door, introduce himself, and ask permission to take photos? If so, was he refused or were the interior photos dropped because they would have contradicted the premise of the story? Or was this a rush job and the photographer arrived before or after business hours? The exterior shots dated that day look like they were taken in the early morning and the lead photo of Ms. Madigan (culled from the files) isn’t very flattering.

    As for motivation, take your choice — a political hit, set-up by perceived rivals of Commissioner Madigan and fed to a blogger/reporter who’s new to Saratoga politics, a massive editorial blunder/cheap shot on the part of the TU, or something altogether different.

    I’m less a believer in conspiracies than Dave Morris and think there’s something missing here. The article should have been sent back for fact-checking, better quotes from more knowledgeable sources, a general rewrite, or better yet, pulled altogether. Wendy’s “defense” doesn’t make sense, either. John, how about a call to Rex Smith?


    1. Joseph Levy – ANYONE that knows me MORE than understands I am as far away from ‘conspiracy’ theories as one could possibly be. I’m a facts and figures type of person – always have been, always will be. I also know all to well the political history of the people involved.

      I’ll ask you straight out: meet me for coffee. I’d be MORE than happy to prove to you I am not a ‘conspiracy theorist’. Heck – I’m not even a ‘party’ person. I’m for the people. not a party.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: