This week Finance Commissioner Madigan announced the appointment of a new deputy, Michael Sharp. This is one of the five deputy positions that would be eliminated if the proposed charter is adopted this November.
“All five of those deputies are going to be removed, and we’re not going to have political patronage appointments for City Council members anymore” Charter Commission Chairman Bob Turner told the Gazette.
So for Mr. Turner and his Commission the deputies are “political appointments” with all the negative connotations associated with that term. In their view, apparently, the deputies are not hired based on qualifications and their ability to do the job, but the result of some dubious, politically motivated award. These individuals are thus seen as simply political operatives whose contribution to the actual management of their respective city departments is marginal. This explains the Commission’s assumption that they can eliminate all five deputy positions along with the four commissioners and replace them all with one City Manager and perhaps a deputy. The Charter Commission did not even bother to interview any past or present deputies.
I respectfully disagree with these assumptions about the deputy positions.
While one can argue that over the years there has occasionally been a dismal deputy appointment, either they and/or the Commissioner who has appointed them has not survived for long. The role of the deputies in fact is so important that problems arising from having the wrong person in that position have become obvious to the voters and the Commissioner has paid at the ballot box.
Even a cursory review of Mr. Sharp’s credentials (see attached press release on his appointment) makes it clear that he is highly qualified for the Deputy of Finance position which entails essentially drafting the city’s budget. Ms. Bachner, who previously served as deputy had a law degree and served under Finance Commissioners McCabe and Madigan with incredible skill and dedication. The level of ability of these deputies is not unique in city hall. Saratoga enjoys some really fine people in the deputy positions who put in endless hours to oversee the functioning of their departments.
These positions are more accurately viewed as “management confidential”. Deputies do not enjoy the protections of civil service. There is good reason for this which is fundamental to good management. Their performance is so critical to the proper running of their respective departments that should they prove unsuitable, they need to be removed with all speed.
I’m afraid that Mr. Turner and his Commission’s desire to construct a government free of the disagreements and competing interests that they disdainfully refer to as “politics” has made it difficult for them to grasp the role that deputies currently play in city government and thus plan for how their work will be done under the new structure they are proposing.
July 5, 2017
Commissioner of Finance, Michele Madigan Telephone: (518) 587-3550 ext 2577 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan Announces the Appointment of Michael Sharp as Deputy Commissioner of Finance
Saratoga Springs, NY – Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan announced today the appointment of Mike Sharp as Deputy Commissioner of Finance for the City of Saratoga Springs effective July 10. 2017.
Mike was an Investment Associate at Siguler Guff, a private equity firm headquartered in Manhattan that has over $11 billion of assets under management. As a member of Siguler Guff’s Distressed Opportunities Funds platform Mike was the primary contact for 16 fund investments that represented over $1 billion of committed capital, and he focused on researching and managing investment opportunities across geographies, sectors, and asset classes. Mike initially joined Siguler Guff as an Operations Analyst in 2009, and was promoted to the Investment Team in 2012.
Prior to his work at Siguler Guff, Mike worked at Merrill Lynch and Wachovia in a variety of financial roles. Mike has degrees from Marist College in Accounting and Business and a dual concentration graduate degree from Fordham Graduate School of Business in Finance and Media & Communications. Mike is married to Katie and the father of a two year old son named Leo.
Commissioner Madigan stated “Mike comes to the city with a vast amount of experience working in the financial sector over the past 15 years. The city is very fortunate to have someone with his experience step into the role of Deputy Commissioner of Finance and I look forward to working with Mike as we begin the 2018 budget season together” said Commissioner Madigan.
Commissioner of Finance
City of Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866