Drama At The City Democratic Committee Endorsement Meeting

It is hard to talk about the February 23 Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee’s endorsement meeting without venturing into psychological analysis or farce.

A group, which I guess one could call “insurgents”, tied up the first two hours of the eight hour, marathon meeting  in a hopeless fight to deny an endorsement for the three incumbents, Mayor Kelly,  Commissioner of Finance Madigan, and Commissioner of Accounts Franck.  This  bizarre event may seem incredible but I managed to get a copy of a paper that Bill McTygue circulated among a select group of members of the Committee before their meeting that lays out this strategy.  I do not know who the actual author(s) was/were because the document is unsigned.

Here is a fragment from the document:

“…in order to avoid further fractionalization of the Democratic Committee in its choice for Party candidates, we are encouraging a consensus policy by the Democratic Committee: NO ENDORSEMENTS”  [their emphasis].

So these people actually thought that by denying the Democratic incumbents the Committee endorsement, this would unite the party and that committee members would  miss the fact that the real agenda was simply to deny the people they see as (there is no other way of putting it) ”the enemy” from receiving an endorsement.

This was made obvious by their support later in the document for a yes vote to endorse incumbent Tara Gaston.  If this were not enough, in arguing for the endorsement of the non-incumbents they listed Dillon Moran and Kendall Hicks but left out Eileen Finneran.  For those of us familiar with the “insurgents”, this is because they support Mr. Hicks not Ms. Finneran.

Having presented their “altruistic” goal to unite the party, the paper goes on to a bill of indictment of Mayor Kelly and Commissioners Madigan, and Franck.

They assert that Madigan and Republican Skip Scirocco entered into a pact years ago which ensures that neither of them will face an opponent from the other political party in  general elections.

So, one might ask, how does Michele Madigan deliver on her side of this alleged deal?  Are we to believe that she has the authority and power to intimidate would-be candidates to keep them from running against Scirocco?  Does she hold some secret power over the current chair, Courtney DeLeonardis, and the past chair Charlie Brown, along with a majority of the committee?  This kind of thing does not survive the most casual scrutiny.  Yet a significant minority in the Democratic Committee embraces this. It doesn’t make any sense but neither does the energy and conflict that these folks appear to thrive on as evidenced by the eight hour plus meeting.

One of their other indictments is a claim that Kelly, Franck, and Madigan support a group called the “Saratoga Conservative  Chicks” and voted to oppose “the local School Board’s policy restricting guns on School property.” The only Council resolution I can find that they seem to be referring to was introduced by Commissioner of Public Safety Peter Martin not Meg Kelly as their document claims. The School Board voted last fall not to continue to arm school monitors (who were primarily retired police officers) but did not vote to discontinue the School Resource Officer who is an armed active duty police officer who has had at least 40 hours of additional training.  (In fact the School Board recently voted to hire an additional SRO) The council resolution supports “trained, educated, experienced and certified individuals, namely law enforcement personnel” (SROs )and offers to work with the school district  to develop an appropriate plan  which doesn’t seem to me to be in opposition to the School Board’s policy as the document claims.

I have scoured the Saratoga Conservative Chicks web pages  and not only can I find no reference that would link the group to Kelly/Madigan/Franck but I cannot find any reference to the issue of arming school staff.  Now it is possible that I missed it but I don’t think so.

It’s hard to know if the group that produced this document is simply sloppy  or if they intentionally misrepresent the facts.

I could go on but instead I will simply publish below the document and allow the readers to draw their own conclusions.








24 thoughts on “Drama At The City Democratic Committee Endorsement Meeting”

  1. I have a reputation here of working across the aisle here. I’m proud of that too. But there is one thing I will NEVER work with in this city: anything related to a McTygue. And this blog post is a just a start of why I won’t. They keep trying to destroy this city and everyone is afraid of them.

    I’m not. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I disagree with the statement that everyone is afraid of the McTygues. They have less power and influence than in the past so there is no need to fear them. It sounds like the most recent Democratic Committee’s nominating process was more dramatic than usual. That’s unfortunate. Of course the party needs to endorse Meg, John and Michele and anyone raising serious objections puts their own credibility at risk.

      Thank you John for this enlightening story.

      Chris Mathiesen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chris, I don’t see that people are afraid of the McTygues and as Justin said, there was some very good work done by them in the past. It would be unfortunate to forget that. That said, as Justin also said “That was then. This is now” and it appears their time is past yet they are not willing to admit that and instead of working to help those who are now serving the community, they have chosen to go underground and subvert the work that is being done by those they see as the “enemy” even when that work is in the best interest of the City. In that way, they are exceptionally divisive in the Democratic Committee. You are correct that in the community, in general, their influence is not particularly high which only seems to drive their need to continue their nasty behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey!

    It’s been said and well known:
    Many are grateful for the tremendous work accomplished by the McTygue brothers.
    Tom had a good run/tenure as commissioner of Public Works.
    His brother was well respected working along side.

    Things got done.
    But that was then. This is now.
    Not sure what’s happened.

    All good Saratogians, should be proud of their many accomplishments:

    The Carousel.
    Lions at City Hall.
    The flower-power program.

    Flags on Broadway.
    The wonderful work at the Canfield Casino.
    Maintaining the shade trees in Congress Park.
    Ahhh, the Mulberry Trees with their wonderful shade & berries!

    The fish ponds!
    Spit and Spat…the Italians!
    Massive water-works upgrades for the track.

    The storm-draining of the Putnam Street Gut.
    Gold-leafing the statues & routing the springs in Congress Park.
    Maintaining the old patina, on the Spirit of Life statue & resurfacing the reflecting pool.

    Plans for responsible expansion of city utility services.
    Incredible snow plowing & street maintenance by a very dedicated crew of employee-citizens.
    And so much more that we could go on and on.

    They were truly amazing; back in the day.
    So, what changed?

    Not sure.

    Good citizens should sit up and take notice.
    Their good party is being hijacked.
    There is a real contagion spreading.
    It’s infecting those few, good, moderate Democrats; remaining.

    And it’s not just here. It’s nation wide.
    People are beginning to take notice.
    Like Jim Kunstler and the likes of the editorial board of the Washington Post.

    Whatever is happening…
    It’s not local.
    And it’s not sane.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. And everything they did wrong outweighs any good they did. I’m sorry, but in this world there are good people, and bad people. That’s it – good or bad. Guess what side the McTygue’s reside on?


    2. I have often cited Tom McTygue’s many accomplishments. And, he was the only reliably electable Democrat on the Council for many years. There was never any question of full support from the Democratic Committee every two years for his re-election. Our current incumbents should also feel confident of enthusiastic support of the entire Democratic Commmittee.

      Chris Mathiesen

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, John, for sharing this. It is just the type of thing I was referring to in my prior posts regarding the Democratic Committee and the endorsements. While you refer to them as insurgents I’m sorry to say they are more like an infested underbelly of malcontents who, at one time had some power in this city and simply cannot abide by the fact that the current administration is not willing to kiss their proverbial rings and acknowledge their perceived privilege. The days of Mytygue, Watkins, and Yepsen are over and they simply can’t live with that. They have no real interest in what is best for this City, cannot abide by anyone who does not tow their beliefs and sees anyone who dares to stand for something else as the enemy (This word was used often when Yepsen was mayor) even when from their own party. They can’t stand Madigan as she did not cow-tow to Yepsen or the threats of Sarah Burger and insisted the attorney was actually what she was, the CITY attorney and not the Mayor’s attorney. After that, there was no willingness to work with Madigan and every attempt to undermine her whenever possible. John Franck has always been independent in his thinking and that simply did not sit well with this group. And, Meg Kelly, well she was supposed to be a stand-in for Yepsen until the Charter was changed so that the pay was something she could live with and on. The fact that she did not play her role as scripted clearly set her up to become the latest “enemy”.

    This group is a disgrace and yes, I know that I am also the “enemy” and will likely be the recipient of their rath on here as speaking the truth is also the antithesis of their mission.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you, Dave. If they think about it they will rue the day I decided to leave the Dem committee as I simply couldn’t abide by the BS anymore. I now have absolutely no reason not to say exactly what I think and share some things I know. Though, out of respect for my own values and for John, I will continue to do it with the most civility I can muster.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Gayle,

      Sadly, ‘civility and grace’ disappear for me when the word ‘McTygue’ comes up, and for very valid reasons as you know. Perhaps if John actually sat down with you, Mark or I and saw and heard the truth for himself, he’d have a different perspective on it all.

      I want to note here too, that I more than agree that the Scirocco-Mathiesen-Madigan coalition thing was/is a joke. ANYONE that watched council meetings then saw them disagree and vote against either other many times. And now John has supposedly ‘joined’ them? The truth is he just threw the rest of the council under the bus on the school issue. It’s all so ridiculous yet people fall for it again and again and again. But in this day and age, bipartisanship seems to be a bad thing, doesn’t it? 😦

      Funny thing that no one seems to mention is that Meg actually saved the party’s proverbial bacon by agreeing to run at the last minute when Joanne dropped out with no notice, and quickly turned city hall into a place of civility and bipartisanship regardless of drama stirred up by the McTygue faction. What smokes them even more is that what she did in a VERY short period of time is what Joanne could NEVER do by bringing the city hall back together. Contentious council meetings are a thing of the past (as are the 4-5 hour ‘marathons’ thankfully because Joanne couldn’t run a meeting to save her life as you know more than anyone!). For that alone the entire city should be grateful!

      Liked by 4 people

  4. In the realm of are the creators of this document just sloppy or deliberately misleading:

    *Myrtle Street is not in the greenbelt. Interestingly enough the Comp Plan changes that are leading to the rezoning of this area I believe were developed by Joanne Yepsen’s Comp Plan Committee.

    *The Democratic Committee never took a position on charter change so how is that a “Democratic principle”?

    Having said that, the obsession to change the city’s form of government seems to be what binds this group together and keeps them agitating in many unproductive ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Justin for listing many of the things accomplished by the McTygues. I consider both Tom and Billy McTygue friends. I refuse to allow particular differences to poison my opinion of people. I vigorously disagreed with Tom and Billy over the Racino’s quest to become a full casino. As indicated by my post, I disagree with Billy over his approach to endorsements. But I will not reduce either Tom or Bill to one particular disagreement. People and relationships should be more complicated.

    Similarly I vigorously disagreed with Chris Mathiesen over the handling of the Daryll Mount investigation. But Chris Mathiesen is an outstanding person whose dedication to this city is absolutely exemplary. I am proud to consider Chris a friend. Disagreeing with him about the Mount issue does not make me blind to what a caring and generous person he is.

    I admit to being frustrated and at times angry about things I observe but self righteous incivility gets us nowhere.

    This blog is meant to be a forum for spirited and at times pointed argument but that is different from vituperation. Gayle LaSalle’s posts while strong in opinion maintain a tone that still encourages discussion rather than fear of being the subject of abuse so common on chat sites.

    Keep it up friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John – they have reached the point in this city where civil discussion with or about the McTygue’s is virtually impossible – or is that a threat too? For being honest?


  6. Thank you JK.

    Got a lead to go on DuckDuckGo and search:

    Might explain a few things.
    Anybody have the time to do a little digging?

    I gotta gas up the Ariens.



  7. A few things worth noting;
    The first regarding the ridiculous notion that an agreement was entered into between Michele and Skip, which allowed them to run unopposed. There is a simple misconception among people that both parties are armed with countless resources, cash and volunteers. This is simply not true. Seeing first hand the limited nature of these resources, it is clear that any decisions to allow someone to be unopposed is merely a strategic decision made by the respective party due to the nature of those limited resources. Why would anyone expect the Republicans or Democrats to be throwing the limited resources behind marginal candidates, to run, against well known and respected candidates? Both Skip and Michele have worked hard in regards to reaching across the aisle providing effective governance and are respected by the constituencies of both parties. However, the far left of the party is seeing this cooperation and bipartisanship, that most people see as positive, as a negative. The McTygues are doing nothing more then seeing an opportunity to fan those flames against individuals that we all know they dislike and have tried to beat for a decade now. They are essentially driving a wedge in the party, so they can get the political revenge they desire. The true irony in this is that the left wing democrats have found an ally in them even after the McTygues had worked with Republicans over the many decades. Most notably, in the last couple elections they worked publicly against Ron Kim, Chris and Michele, even after giving the committee their word that they would not. After doing this through two elections and openly working with Ken Ivins and Chris’ republican opponents, the committee voted to remove them from the committee because many members felt betrayed. It is amazing to watch one group criticize the other by applying a party purity test, when their allies are guilty of far worse.

    A second observation revolves around the secretive nature and unsigned anonymity of this document. This is the type of sleazy politics that they have always engaged in. Someone had mentioned Saratoga in Decline in a previous post. It is worth noting that Tighe had once confided in me that he was prodded into starting the blog by the McTygues. The idea was to anonymously attack Skip, through the proxy blog run by Tighe. As Many recall, the initial nature of the blog was peppered with outrageously false and often disgusting claims and posts about DPW. These types of attacks were continued during Bill’s last campaign, when he made a lot of false charges and unbacked allegations surrounding the water connection policy. It was promised that the State AG was going to place Skip behind bars, despite the public release of documents which showed them intentionally doing far worse with the policy. It was a salacious and unfounded attack that never panned out the way they promised. Still to this day, they are using what is supposed to be an anonymous blog, but is run by Pat Kane, as a method to anonymously attack my family and DPW with completely outrageous claims. This is exactly the type of thing they have always done and should catch absolutely no one by surprise.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mark,

      Sadly, people don’t see the facts and the truth about them. We’ve had to deal with them for a number of years and know firsthand the problems they have caused in this city for my entire life (and that’s pretty substantial length of time!). Perhaps Mr. Kaufmann should sit down and do a blog spot on what they have done to our families personally, complete with actual documents, pictures and proof.

      Funny, he never asked, eh?


      1. The issues being discussed here is not about what Tommy or others have done in the past. It is what they (Mctygue/Yepsen, et al) are doing now. And, it’s not pretty and it’s not productive.


  8. The McTygue-Yepson-Morrison-Egger-Amone group have somehow convinced some local activists that they are progressives. Also, both locally and nationally, some progressives are turning into absolutists. Progressives used to believe in pluralism, a term coined by African American philosopher and “Dean” of the Harlem Renaissance, Alain Locke: “a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.” Locke thought these different states could not only co-exist but could inform and enrich each other. Pluralistic societies tend to be more peaceful. Absolutism tends to lead to violence and gridlock. Let’s bring pluralism back into progressivism! I’m tired of how they vilify my husband, Charley Brown, who has worked tirelessly to bridge the gaps and has gotten nothing but condemnation from that crew. They even approached my daughter’s boyfriend and told him, “Don’t trust Charley Brown.” Now I’m hearing that my husband is a right-wing conservative. Astonishing and disheartening.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think Tommy was the youngest Commissioner to serve this city, when he was first elected. He was “hands on” and had his finger on the pulse of the city, not only his DPW. He could sit at the council table, with no notes, no laptop, no prompter, and recite dates of happenings in the past, knew every street and alley, knew every neighborhood, and called you by name. He was the lone Democrat on the Council for many years.
    In spite of what Skippy’s son says, Skippy is an office sitter. He delegates, and is not out on the road, which is what a commissioner of that department is supposed to do. He has no idea what is happening in his department. There are McTygue loyalists still working in DPW who love Tommy, and want Skippy to fail. A blueprint for disaster. Skippy does not keep his promises.


    1. Justin,
      Thank you for posting the lovely video of Saratoga in the snow. A nice break from all the acrimony and a welcome reminder of how lucky we are to live in this special place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are most welcome.

        I am so happy that link was forwarded to my end.
        We have a lot of incredibly talented young people amongst us.

        Maybe we need to start recognizing the best instead of celebrating the worst.
        Let us share the positive energy.
        It might be contagious!

        G-d bless,


        Liked by 1 person

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