Times Union Story Adds More Insight To Saratoga County Pay Debacle

Wendy Liberatore has written a terrific story on the debacle over Saratoga County’s time and a half raises.  Fortunately, the Times Union has raised its pay wall so readers can access it through this link to the full story. 

The story focuses on Marcy McNamara who is the County’s Director of Human Resources.

In a recording of the March 17 Law and Finance Committee meeting Ms. McNamara offers a series of inaccurate and dubious statements. 

At one-point Ms. McNamara credits herself (she earns $119,000.00/year and will receive the special pay increase) with the idea of increasing employee salaries citing that it “…creates a better, more manageable situation so everyone is not faking sick…”

“[Without the raises] you would get half of the staff saying they need to be on leave”

“It’s an employee relations move, we wouldn’t have staff in the offices”

For a person who is the head of Human Resources, her attitude toward the employees of the county is an eye opener. Are the county employees so poorly motivated and unprofessional that without a time and a half raise they would desert their duties and call in sick en mass? Do her comments apply to herself and the other salaried staff who are also receiving these raises?

Contrast this with the employees in Saratoga Springs who are soldiering on despite the risk and with no special pay incentives. I see police cars regularly driving our streets and when I go to the transfer station with my trash and recycling, the regular staff is always there.

Our county has many outstanding people serving us. If there is poor morale among the county’s employees the fault appears not to be with the employees but with the attitude of management.

5 thoughts on “Times Union Story Adds More Insight To Saratoga County Pay Debacle”

  1. Just two weeks ago, I lost all of my income after my clients pulled back on spending and placed their consulting projects on hold. I wish I had a job at 50% or 75% of my previous income!

    Regardless of who had what knowledge, the fact that anyone thought time and a half was a good strategy “to keep people from faking sick” is absurd! Idiotic. The “managers” who took the pay increase are simply arrogant. Now there is a situation where the cat is out of the bag for the other 300+ employees who have been given 1.5 time. What process do we use to pull this pay back from the employee? Who is more important or essential than anyone else? What does one do to be essential? Are non-essential workers who are working from home any different from an essential worker? Are IT employees more or less essential than a sheriff? Are the city police or emergency room nurses being paid 1.5 pay? Just curious if Spencer Hellwig or Marcy McNamara want to supply me with an answer or two on these questions. Spencer? Marcy? Bueller?

    I do not know, with in any part of my social circles, anyone who has been offered anything other than keeping their job, or being placed on unemployment. There isn’t anything in between right now.

    Matt and Tara are both level headed and well meaning public servants. While there are suspicious timelines, I do not think they maliciously put their votes on something that would have brought this outcome. In the meeting minutes, they voted for the convening of a special committee which was given discretion to set employment levels and pay rates. This was clearly how Matt and Tara explain what they voted for. As I read the minutes and their explanations, I can understand voting for a committee, expecting the committee will determine staff and pay levels, and not fully understanding either what they were voting on or what the outcome of their vote would set in motion. That, is where a “jeez, this is not how I expected the resolution to be executed and have now signed on with other Supervisors to hold an emergency Supervisors meeting.” Clearly our Supervisors are in the same boat as others who either didn’t understand or had a different understanding of the resolution and it’s outcome.

    All in my opinion.

    Thank you John for keeping us informed on this situation and pulling all of the various sources together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Steve—your comments about our Supervisors’ behavior were very generous. I would just say if after the notification of salary raises by the County Administrator and the discussions at the Law and Finance and Board meetings, if Supervisors Veitch and Gaston still did not understand “either what they were voting on or what the outcome of their vote would set in motion” as you suggest, they were either disturbingly naïve and slow-witted or should have asked for clarification and refused to vote until they got an answer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is especially disturbing to read in the TU story that Ms. McNamara told the Moreau supervisor that other municipalities were also paying their employees time and a half for regular hours. He and others should have looked into this claim before giving in to the McNamara give-away. Obviously, no other City or Town could or should do such a thing. Wendy Liberatore also pointed out that those employees close to retirement would greatly benefit from Ms. McNamara’s largesse-the gift that keeps on giving.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wasn’t Marcy McNamara in charge of the city’s HR department at one point? I believe Joanne Yepsen was integral in getting Marcy her job at the County – so that explains that, lol.

    Great job JK and the TU- quite the formidable double team.

    Liked by 1 person

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