Charter Commission: Put County Supervisors On City Council? A Disastrous Idea

If you follow my blog you know that I try to minimize the use of hyperboles and harsh language in my posts.  The recommendation by the Charter Commission to make our two representatives to the County Board of Supervisors voting members of the city council makes restraint simply impossible for me, though.  Whatever you may think about the commission form of government versus the city manager form, putting our representatives to the county on the city council would be a disastrous change.

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors is plain and simple a disgrace.  Dominated by one party they are a study in cronyism.   They have operated this way for decades.  There have been a number of outrageous scandals in recent years, however, which have indicated a marked decline in the integrity of this board and there has not been the slightest glimmer that this sclerotic institution can change.

Several of the worst recent scandals happened when one of our own supervisosr, Matt Veitch, was chairman of the board and our other representative, Peter Martin, was on the board.

The point here is not to personalize the problem to these two men.  The real issue is what self respecting person would ever want to waste their time in such a place.  The only reasons I can think of to want to serve on this board  are:

  1. Possibly benefit from the cronyism
  2.  Get health insurance for life which is a benefit if you serve long enough.
  3. Build name recognition to run for a better office.

Such people are not the kind of individuals that we need voting on our city issues.

Below are a series of posts that document some of the scandals that have plagued the county.  In most cases Mr. Veitch publically defended these and Mr. Martin chose the route of silence.  These men report to the City Council at the end of each meeting and neither of them ever mentioned any of these scandals.  Do we really want people like this as voting members of our council?

The Infamous Energy Plant

The county built a cogeneration plant in 2002 that was to provide electricity to the county’s nursing home and allegedly save millions of dollars.  It turned out that it cost $3,000,000.00 to build the plant, and the plant lost money every year until 2016 when the county wanted to sell the nursing home to a private equity fund.  The fund would only close the deal if the county decoupled the plant from the agreement.

How one might ask could the county run the plant at an annual loss for over a decade without taking action?  Why, one might ask, did the county not take legal action against Siemens Corporation who sold them the idea and built the plant as at least one other county did? In fact, the D.A. in Warren County opened a criminal investigation into a similar deal Siemens made.

Most relevant to this discussion is why did our supervisors, Matt Vietch and Peter Martin not insist on a full investigation to find out who was responsible and what action against Siemens was possible?

For all the sordid details and the role our supervisors played, here are links to coverage of this story and others below.

Link to TU story with pictures in their extensive expose.

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2016/01/18/saratoga-county-government-yet-another-scandal/

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2016/01/27/our-supervisors-loyal-to-the-county-government-but-not-to-the-tax-payers-of-saratoga-springs/

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2016/02/14/a-tale-of-two-counties/

 

The County Mental Health Debacle: Sexual Harassment And Patronage Violation Of Mental Health Law

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2015/07/08/peter-martin-and-matt-veitch-a-stunning-contempt-for-transparency-and-openness/

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2015/07/14/saratogian-covers-county-mental-health-hiring-issue/

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2015/07/14/supervisor-matt-veitch-issues-final-statement-on-the-mental-health-issue-good-luck-matt/

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2015/07/16/gazette-covers-mental-health-controversy-matt-veitch-dimisses-need-to-comply-with-law/

The Anita Daly Ethics Scandal (Participates In Creation of Her Own Job And Salary)

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2016/05/31/feature-the-unfortunate-and-all-to-familiar-story-of-anita-dalys-appointment-to-county-mental-health/

The Dumping The Visiting Nurses

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/2016/05/01/the-shabby-history-of-the-saratoga-county-termination-of-the-visiting-nurse-program/

The Slap On The Wrist For The County Public Defender

https://saratogaspringspolitics.com/?s=public+defender

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3 thoughts on “Charter Commission: Put County Supervisors On City Council? A Disastrous Idea”

  1. Don’t forget the ill-conceived county landfill, which cost $10 million to build in 2001, was never used, and continued to drain the county coffers of about $50,000 a year in maintenance (another $600,000 down the drain) until it was sold in 2013:

    http://poststar.com/news/local/saratoga-county-agrees-to-sell-landfill-to-finch-paper/article_e3179e20-d910-11e2-a016-001a4bcf887a.html

    Let’s add to the personnel scandals the unfortunate hire of Christina M. Abele to be Director of the Saratoga County Animal Shelter:

    http://www.saratogian.com/general-news/20130320/in-wake-of-contentious-animal-shelter-vote-supervisors-ethics-questioned-updated-at-1107-am

    In addition, by recently announcing an increase in the real property tax rate, the County Board of Supervisors made a de facto admission that they’ve been keeping taxes level for decades by selling off assets and discontinuing services. Having run out of assets to sell and services to terminate, they’re stuck with the reality that balancing the budget and protecting the rainy day fund, has been a smoke-and-mirrors game. Yet, they still found an extra $60,000 to create a full-time job for now former supervisor Anita Daly.

    Finally, we have the Saratoga County IDA (Industrial Development Agency) that’s given millions of dollars of tax breaks to a multitude of wealthy companies, like Global Foundries, 100% owned by oil-rich, gulf emirate Abu Dhabi. Who makes up the difference? You do. It comes out of your property and sales taxes.

    Surely there are citizens out there who can do a better job. Interested? We can put qualified candidates on the ballot with as few as 10 signatures. Click on our name and sent us your resume. [File under shameless self-promotion.]

    Joseph Levy
    Saratoga County Green Party

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  2. Well, I think putting the Supervisors on the council could be a way to secure at least one Republican seat on a council that has consistently been dominated by Democrats in the last few years. It could mean two Republican seats since Republicans seem more inclined to run for Supervisor, a position that would place them comfortably amidst their fellow party members. In recent years there seems to have been what looks like a tacit agreement between the two parties that neither will run candidates for both Supervisor positions giving one position to a Republican and one to a Democrat. This might change should the Republicans see these Supervisor seats as a way of making inroads into the Council majority.

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