Bob Turner, Charter Review Commission Chair Withdraws From Participation In This Blog

The members of the charter commission have continually defended the mayoral salary of $40,000.00 that is included in the proposed charter by citing  data from the  New York Conference of Mayors showing the average salary for mayors in NY Sate is $50,000.00.  This figure is glaringly misleading.

The proposed charter calls for a city manager to take over the running of all city departments so the mayor under this form of government will have significantly fewer responsibilities than is currently the case under the commission form. It is not surprising then that  the NYCM data shows that mayors in municipalities that have city managers are paid an average of only $22,000.00.  In fact the median salary, the more relevant measure, is only $12,000.00.

This problem of the misrepresentation of the NYCM data has been repeatedly brought to the attention of Bob Turner, the chair of the charter commission.  In spite of this, last week, he again used the $50,000.00 figure in interviews with the Saratogian and Gazette Newspapers.

This prompted me to email Mr. Turner asking why he persisted in using a number that appeared to me to be so clearly inappropriate for a comparison.

When I did not hear from him, I wrote him a note asking if he planned to respond.  I have always greatly appreciated Mr. Turner’s availability to me and his willingness to engage publically.  He responded that he would write me a reply.

Over the following week I wrote him several times indicating that I wanted to incorporate his answer in a post I was working on.  I know that Mr. Turner, in addition to the many hours he devotes to the charter has a demanding job and a family with two daughters so I always feel guilty pressing him.

Today I received the following reply:


From: Robert Turner (Government) [bturner@skidmore.edu]
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 12:09 PM
To: John Kaufmann
Subject: RE: Requests

John,

I have been very open and transparent to and only said nice things publicly and privately about Jane.  However, given your wife sees fit to keep slandering me in the Saratogian, “How many times do you think Saratoga Springs Charter Review Commission Chair Bob Turner or a commission member or one of their supporters has used faulty or secret information or cherry picked data to support the need for charter change? I’ve lost count.” I am going to pass on answering your emails.

Bob

Bob Turner
Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies and Sciences
Director, Environmental Studies and Sciences Program
Director, Faculty Student Summer Research Program
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

 

 


I regret his decision as I think his participation in this blog has been very helpful in educating the community on the charter.

 

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7 thoughts on “Bob Turner, Charter Review Commission Chair Withdraws From Participation In This Blog”

  1. John – I enjoy your blog, I think you try to be objective, and I sometimes agree with you! I know Bob, but I’m going to vote no on the Charter. That said, I think he has a valid point. Sorry to see this all happen. 😦

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  2. Ironically John, I can MORE than relate to Mr. Turner given your treatment of myself. This will be my last post here as well. I am all for civil debate, but NEVER when censored or treated like an idiot when I have done more research than someone who claims to be an ‘expert’ on an issue. But enjoy your blog. I’ll spend my time doing more constructive things such as stopping a plan where a city steals property from good, honest people, getting housing done here – and doing whatever I can to make sure our city has a sane form of government here.

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  3. John:

    I have warned you before about biting the hand the feeds you. All bloggers and journalists know which side of the toast the butter is on. You have yet to learn this.
    Yes, expose journalists do burn their sources because once the story comes out the source is toast anyway. Exposes are one-off stories, not daily readers. A blog is a daily reader that needs sources and information on a repeatable and consistent way, of which you now have very few, and even though will be cautious about talking to you.
    You regret the decision not because of any higher purpose to fairly educate the public about charter change or your fear of change, but because you have now no sources in the pro-change side and can only blog from afar in isolation and irrelevance.

    Joanne Yepson
    Pat Kane
    Bob Turner
    Dave Morris
    Meg Kelly

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    1. REALLY? I have not always been a fan of John’s but over the last year or so I have come to see him as someone who is willing to give all side a chance to be heard. The fact that he asks the hard questions is one of the reasons I read this. As for Bob deciding what John’s wife writes influences his willingness to participate is sour grapes. John as not disrespected Bob in this blog as far as I can see but genuinely encourage him to respond to any questions or potential misrepresentation. It does make it look like perhaps he has something to hide (not saying he does – I certainly don’t know) but perception is very important.

      As for the above post the slightly (or not so slightly) snarkieness is in poor taste so must wonder who actually authored it. And it surely isn’t a good step for someone running for Mayor. Watch the company you keep MS. Kelly!

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      1. Just for the record the paragraph from my letter to the editor that Mr. Turner references in his decision to exit this blog was followed by detailed and specific references to his misuse of data in pressing his case for charter change.

        He neither disputed my references nor offered an explanation as to why he persisted in misrepresenting the employee survey results and continued to justify the new mayor’s salary by citing the average for all mayors in NY state rather than the more appropriate average for cities with city managers. Both John and I asked him for explanations that he never gave.

        Unfortunately I see in today’s Saratogian (10/1/17) a letter from Julie Holmberg that again claims a majority of city hall employees are unhappy.

        So once again: the city has 398 employees. Only 75 employees replied to the survey and not all of those replies were unfavorable. Neither Bob Turner nor Ms. Holmes have any idea what a majority of city hall employees think. Saying it doesn’t make it so.

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  4. Prof Turner claims that Jane is slandering him, then quotes a factual statement she made in a recent letter to the Saratogian. Dictionary.com says that slander is “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report”. Doesn’t seem to fit, does it?
    It seems to me, and I am just some guy making observations, that Prof T doesn’t care what the truth of the matter is, he is more interested in getting the result he wants.

    Liked by 1 person

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