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) [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 12:09 PM
To: John Kaufmann
Subject: RE: Requests
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.
Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies and Sciences
Director, Environmental Studies and Sciences Program
Director, Faculty Student Summer Research Program
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.