Mayor Kim Just Keeps Digging His Hole Deeper; Who Is The Mysterious Attorney?

From the February 10, 2022, edition of the Times Union:

“He (Mayor Kim) also said he is appealing Judge Wait’s decision.”

“’ The attorney handling says we have a good chance of reversing it,’ Kim said.”

Times Union February 10, 2022

So according to the TU, Mayor Kim has engaged counsel to appeal the decision City of Saratoga Springs v Church Street Trust. This was the case dismissed by Judge Jeffery Wait when Mayor Kim failed to appear in court to request an adjournment.

I have written to Mayor Kim asking for the name of the attorney he has engaged to carry out the appeal, and so far have gotten no response.

The Mayor’s indication that he has involved an attorney to act on the city’s behalf raises serious issues that need to be addressed.

First and foremost, section 8.1 of the city charter requires that in order for the city to hire outside counsel it requires an action by the City Council. This would include the scope of work and how much the city was committed to pay. There is no record of such a resolution, and the Mayor’s agenda for Tuesday’s (2/15) Council meeting includes no request for Council action on such a resolution.

In addition, according to the city’s purchasing policies, the Mayor was required to either seek a minimum of three bids from interested attorneys or issue an RFP depending upon how much the cost of the services will be. He has done neither.

City Purchasing Policy & Procedure Manual

It is important to note that in seeking a resolution to hire outside counsel, Kim would have to involve his colleagues on the Council in a public discussion as to whether an appeal is justified both in terms of the likelihood of success and whether the cost of such an appeal is merited.

Where Are The Checks And Balances On The Mayor?

It is most unfortunate that Mayor Kim’s colleagues on the Council (Commissioner Scirocco is out ill and is not a player in this) have done nothing to reign in Mayor Kim’s abuses.

It was bad enough that they supported going into executive session without the required statement of its purpose. It was bad enough that they supported a resolution putting off the State of the City report in violation of the city charter. Now they are faced with Mayor Kim ignoring the city’s fiscal controls on spending.

Transparency?

All of the active members of the Council ran on a platform that highlighted their commitment to transparency. In that spirit, this blogger has written to both the Mayor and those Council members asking for them to address concerns over the Mayor’s unilateral hiring of outside counsel in violation of the city’s policies.

Hopefully, I will receive some kind of response.

The Emails


Subject: Outside Counsel

Date: Sat, Feb 12, 6:30 PM

To: Mayor@Saratoga-Springs.org

CC: dillon.moran@saratoga-springs.org, minita.sanghvi@saratoga-springs.org, James, mayor@saratoga-springs.org

According to the February 10, 2022, Times Union edition:

“He (Mayor Kim) also said he is appealing Judge Wait’s decision.”

“’ The attorney handling says we have a good chance of reversing it,’ Kim said.”

These  comments you made to the press raise a number of questions and issues which I am asking you to address:

  1. Who is the attorney “handling” this case?

2.    According to the city charter 8.1: “The Council may, from time to time, engage legal professionals to provide additional legal service to the City or to any department or entity. Contracts with all such legal professionals shall be reviewed and approved by the Council.”

   When did the Council vote on a resolution authorizing the city to contract with the “attorney handling” the appeal?

  3.   New York State requires that the city secure three bids or award a contract through an RFP process before it can utilize the services of outside counsel.  Please provide the records showing this procedure was followed.

4.    An appeal of the decision in the case of the City of Saratoga Springs v. Church Street Trust will be expensive especially if the city is using outside counsel. I believe that the principal of the Trust is making a good faith effort to secure the building permit which is the central issue in the case. Please explain how it makes sense for the city to pursue this.

5.    Given the failure of the city to appear in court for this case, what would be the basis of the appeal?


Subject: Transparency and Accountability

Date:Saturday, Feb 12, 7:43 PM

TO: dillon.moran@saratoga-springs.org, minita.sanghvi@saratoga-springs.org, James, mayor@saratoga-springs.org

CC: Mayor@Saratoga-Springs.org

All of you ran on a platform promising transparency and fiscal accountability. 

According to the Times Union the Mayor has been working with outside counsel on a review of City of Saratoga Springs v Church Street Trust case with a plan to appeal the court’s decision.

I can find no record of either an RFP or the securing of three bids required to hire the attorney currently working with Mayor Kim. In addition, the city charter (section 8.1) requires you, the Council members, to approve the hire of outside counsel. This was not done.

In the commission form of government you, the Commissioners, are independent and co-equals of the mayor. What actions can the public expect you to take to address the mayor’s violation of state policy and the city charter?

3 thoughts on “Mayor Kim Just Keeps Digging His Hole Deeper; Who Is The Mysterious Attorney?”

  1. Maybe you should include that CHARTER REFORM was rejected by the people and the strong (headed) Mayor form of Govt that he appears to believe is allowing him to ignore the “RULES” really do apply to “THEE”…. he seems to be proving the citizens were correct in their rejection!!!!

    RESIGN IF YOU AREN”T UP TO THE JOB…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I believe in giving our elected officials a fair shake – regardless of political party. The blogger, John Kaufman, is right to continually question Mayor Kim’s handling of the City Attorney issue. There are subtle identity issues at play here in that Mayor Kim might be fighting for workload and pay issues for his profession (attorneys). 30 hours a week (1500 a year) and $100k – $67 per hour. This is not unreasonable, and it may be better to go to 40 hours and $134k given that outside council is $160 per hour and billing hours are tough to verify.

    The Mayor can sign contracts in exigent circumstances and then ask the council to approve them retroactively.

    Like

  3. I remember how uncomfortable some members of the public were when there was disagreement, sometimes heated, amongst City Council members. Now, as I watch the silent passivity of the current 3 Democratic Commissioners as Mayor Kim runs amok, those look like the good old days. Democracies are messy and dissent and disagreement (preferably civil) are essential. I would like to see more of that on this Council.

    Liked by 2 people

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