Advocates For Charter Change Self-Document Their Lack Of Rigor and Clarity

As noted in a previous post I have been trying to get some basic questions about the proposed charter answered with little success. I have offered the charter supporters the opportunity to write a guest post for this blog to answer my questions, but to date I have had no response.

Recently I did get two comments on the It’s Time Saratoga Facebook.

Transitional Costs For New Government

If adopted, the new charter would require the establishment and funding of two task forces. One is to restructure the management staffing of the city under the new government and the other is to draw boundaries of the proposed wards in light of the 2020 census results.

The proposed charter requires that the city provide these committees with all necessary resources which would include legal support and general staffing.

There would be yet another cost to changing governments. The City Council would be responsible for hiring the new city manager. If Watertown is representative of how city managers are hired, the city will have to employ an executive search firm to provide them with candidates. Executive search firms charge between 25% and 30% of the salary. So if the city manager were to be paid $150,000.00 a year the cost to the city would be $37,500.00 to $45,000.00.

The moderator of It’s Time posted two comments.

Additionally you requested possible fees for attorney services during transition. The answer is ZERO. The City of Saratoga Springs has two (2) long tenured competent attorney on staff for such an occasion.

Moderator of It’s Time Saratoga

This is not an unreasonable answer. I am not sure how much time supporting these proposed task forces would entail, but it seems possible that the city’s attorneys could provide support. The charter, however, explicitly leaves the selection of who is retained as counsel solely up to the discretion of the Task Force.

This does not, however, address the other expenses of these task forces. This tendency to selectively chose what they want to answer only further under cuts their credibility for people who take the time to read their materials.

The moderator also offered the following comment which I found difficult to understand. I responded by asking him/her to please rewrite the comment to make it clearer. It has been several days and nothing more has appeared.

John Kaufmann Regarding the second part of salary, your question… “I would think you would respect your readers enough to know that “commensurate” is simply not an answer to a legitimate question”. That position ( mayor) will be paid a 31.25 per hour. The selection process ( commensurate experience) is solely in the hands of the 19,000 registered voters of Saratoga Springs to decide. This process has been in effect since 1915.

It’s Time Moderator

The moderator asserts that the proposed mayor will be paid $31.25 per hour. The problem is that in an earlier post, this same author admitted that the proposed charter did not require that the mayor be full time. As we therefore do not know how many hours the proposed mayor will work, there is no way to determine how to calculate the hourly rate for the $65,000.00 annual salary.

I really do not know what they are trying to say with the rest of their comment.

This lack of rigor seems endemic to their campaign.

4 thoughts on “Advocates For Charter Change Self-Document Their Lack Of Rigor and Clarity”

  1. Once again, this nonsense is being forced on us by a handful of perpetual malcontents who hold personal vendettas against elected commissioners and are resorting to this as a shameful power grab. I once (erroneously) considered myself part of the liberal elite until I crossed paths with these truly despicable people. The sad thing is that these people will continue to put this on the ballot until they get their way and it passes. My only hope is that it’s not this time. This is the worst plan they’ve hatched so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Henry–

      I have spoken with supporters of Saratoga Works that signed that petition. They do not feel that they received complete and thorough explanations about the proposal, such as: what a City Manager is, that the city would be divided into wards, that voters would only be allowed to vote for their assigned ward representative and the mayor (2 of 8 people governing and running our city), that the City Manager, City Assessor, and City Clerk do not have a residency requirement, and other concerning items directly from the proposal.

      This particular version of charter change is not the answer to whatever shortcomings may exist in our current charter.

      We have two choices: yes or NO.

      With this ballot item, every vote counts and now that all of the information is out there, we hope that people are armed with the information they need to talk to their neighbors, friends and family that live in the city to VOTE NO on this risky, expensive, and divisive charter change proposal. Please share to help explain the vote to change our charter – the most important legal document of our city.

      Thank you,
      Connie Woytowich


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