Blogger Unable To Get Answers On Proposed Charter From Proponents

I am working on a long piece about the design problems with the role and duties of the mayor as proposed in the new charter to be voted on in November.

One of the problems I encountered was that there is no explanation as to how the authors of the charter came up with the figure of $65,000.00 for the salary for the mayor’s position.

I wrote to Ron Kim and Julie Cuneo who are the co-chairs of the Campaign Committee for Common Sense Saratoga. This is the group that was formed to advocate for the city manager charter.

Ron Kim promptly replied but even though I thought my question was quite clear (see below) he did not address it. In his reply he added an additional issue. He asserted that the proposed mayor will “oversee” the new city manager.

I emailed him again attempting to pose my question more clearly. When I did not receive a response, I wrote to them again and this time I received an email from Ron Kim in which he addressed my questions by stating simply that the answers are in the charter.

I have read the charter carefully but I can find no explanation there as to how the $65,000.00 salary was arrived at nor any indication that the mayor will be responsible for “overseeing” the city manager any more than the rest of the members of the proposed city council.

These are really basic questions and it is troubling that I am unable to receive an answer.

I invite those skeptical readers to go through the charter themselves.

Email Exchanges


From: Squarespace <no-reply@squarespace.info>
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 5:46 PM
To: Ronald Kim
Subject: Form Submission – Contact Form – Proposed salary for mayor

Name: John Kaufmann

Subject: Proposed salary for mayor

Message: How did the authors of the proposed charter decide on $65,000.00 for the salary?


From: Ronald Kim <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 6:46 PM
To: kaufmann
Cc: Julie Cuneo <>
Subject: RE: Form Submission – Contact Form – Proposed salary for mayor

John:

Thanks for the question.   You can directly email me here if you like or also reach the Co-Chair, Julie Cuneo at juliecuneo@gmail.com

Under the new Charter, the Mayor will both chair the City Council and oversee the City Manager, so the salary was selected as fair compensation for the significant leadership role he/she will play for the City. 

Hope you and your family are well and safe. 

Sincerely,

Ron


From: John Kaufmann <>
Date: September 22, 2020 at 9:11:46 PM EDT
To: Ronald Kim <>
Cc: juliecuneo
Subject: Re: Form Submission – Contact Form – Proposed salary for mayor

Thank you for your prompt response but my question had to do with how your group decided on that particular amount.  So for example why not $40,000.00?  What was the logic behind that particular amount?

JK


From: kaufmann@nycap.rr.com
Date: September 23, 2020 at 8:21:00 AM EDT
To: Ronald Kim <ron@ronaldkimlaw.com>
Cc: Julie Cuneo <juliecuneo@gmail.com>
Subject: RE: Form Submission – Contact Form – Proposed salary for mayor

Ron,

I can find nothing in the charter that empowers the mayor to “oversee” the city manager.  Could you share with me where you see this authority in the charter?

JK


[JK: Having not had a response I wrote again]

From: john.kaufmann>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 8:28 PM
To: Ronald Kim <>; Julie Cuneo <>
Subject: Salary

This is a follow-up to my earlier email to you both regarding the proposed salary for the mayor of $65,000.00.  I had asked how this number was arrived at?

I am also unclear where in the charter the proposed mayor is made responsible for overseeing the city manager as referenced in Mr. Kim’s email..

I expect you both are quite busy with the campaign for your charter but I would be grateful if you could share with me answers on these items.  If nothing else, I would be grateful if you could simply acknowledge receiving this inquiry and I will not bother you further.


From: Ronald Kim <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 8:33 PM
To: john.kaufmann; Julie Cuneo <>
Subject: RE: Salary

John:

We are very busy, so I think the best way to answer your questions  is to refer you directly to the Charter Proposal.  That really gives all the answers you are looking for.  Attached is a copy.  

Good luck and thanks for contacting me. 

Sincerely,

Ron

Law Offices of Ronald J. Kim, PC

4 thoughts on “Blogger Unable To Get Answers On Proposed Charter From Proponents”

  1. “We are very busy…”
    Of course you are, Mr. Kim… this year’s flavor of ‘busy’ is manufacturing fake Facebook groups; a vast improvement from last time’s fake Turner ‘official’ exit pollster students. and surveys that had the methodology and credibility of a certified Donald45 vaccine….

    Time to dust off that famous “Failure-o-Meter” Mr. Kim. It’s time you and your colleagues take your temperature.

    I ask you: Why can’t you try to win fair and square?
    And: Where is your operating budget? I’m not forgetting, sorry not sorry…

    Don’t bother answering, we all know how busy you all are.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am seeing a lot of issues with this group. I like to get all the information possible especially points of view from the community. Yet, when I go to their page there is little to read. Is no one commenting? I think they are removing comments that don’t support their point of view and therefore there are no real comments from the community. BIG RED FLAG PEOPLE!! How many times do we have to go through this? Just the mere fact that they refuse to take NO for an answer is a huge problem!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can find nothing in the proposed Charter that assigns the responsibility of “overseeing the city manager” to the mayor. The existing charter names the mayor the city’s chief executive officer. The proposed Charter takes all executive and administrative authority from the office.

    The proposed Charter is emphatic: “The Mayor shall be recognized as the head of City government for all ceremonial purposes, but the Mayor shall have no administrative duties, other than those outlined herein.” (Art. II) So the proposed Charter not only removes any executive authority from the mayor but also any “administrative” authority as well.

    And the “administrative duties” of the mayor outlined in Art. II are limited to the conduct of City Council meetings: i.e., appointing council committees, chairing the meetings, establishing meeting agenda, etc. The proposed Charter is silent on the relationship between the mayor and the city manager except, of course, for the mayor’s role as a member of the council in initially appointing the manager.

    In fact, the proposed Charter does not give executive authority to any branch.

    This last observation seems to have been lost in the discussions. In the absence of a designated executive authority who assumes that role? Much has been made of the merit of and need to separate the legislative and executive branches of the current government. But the proposed Charter does not do that, it simply eliminates a designated executive and in so doing that authority, by default, falls to the City Council. It will be interesting to see how – assuming the proposed Charter is adopted – how this is resolved.

    Presumably it will be settled by force of personalities. The concern is that lacking clear definition we put the City in a similar position that the county finds itself. There the Board of Supervisors, vested by law as the executive, has allowed, intentionally or otherwise, that authority to be diminished and thus the present debacle.

    Lew Benton

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have to add another thought to my previous post. I truly believe this charter change is not in the best interest of Saratoga. Many of you have already addressed the financial problems and have done that a lot better than I could. I would like to express my concern about the individual personal impact on Saratoga. We are the people of Saratoga. We are people working together to have a cohesive city of people with the same aims and goals. Dividing the city into wards is dividing the people into sections identified by numbers. When ideas like this are floated I have to wonder if the goal is to divide and conquer. We are seeing this all over the country, people divided into groups and it is not pleasant. Wards cause major problems in a city. I don’t need to tell you why, you can figure that our yourself. Right now we are all part of the same community and it should stay that way. As far as the city departments is concerned, I have had many dealings with different departments. I like that I can contact one person and get a response. I have always been listened to and assisted. For neighborhood issues, I suggest people get involved with their neighborhood organizations. The city is quite open to listening to the concerns of a neighborhood. We don’t need to change the charter and we shouldn’t. We have the power to work with the city on issues, we just have to be involved. Let us remain one cohesive group of citizens of this great city..

    Liked by 1 person

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