Minita Sangvhi Goes All In with Moran and Kim In Their Feud With Montagnino

Is The Public Served By More Media Coverage of the Petty and Foolish Conflicts Among Our Public Officials?

Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi went to WRGB TV in an apparent embarrassing attempt to polish her credentials as a staunch ally of Mayor Ron Kim and Accounts Commissioner Dillon Moran in their dispute with Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino.

Commissioner Sanghvi shared with WRGB TV her criticism of Commissioner Montagnino over the presence of police standing by in the stairwell to the Music Hall as a raucous Black Lives Matters demonstration was disrupting the City Council meeting on May 2.

She felt the police presence at the May 2nd meeting was unnecessary use of police overtime.

“Seven or eight police officers in the back staircase, I don’t think they were needed, nobody seemed to be showing signs of violence,” said Sanghvi. “There were Kids protesting, but that’s what kids do, they protest.”

Channel 6 News May 16, 2023

According to Commissioner Sanghvi, the mayor’s office is requesting that Montagnino provide a report showing police overtime hours for council meetings.

channel 6 News May 16, 2023

Tone Deaf

With all due respect, Commissioner Sanghvi is no expert on risk assessment.

She appears somehow oblivious to the potential danger that exists when situations get out of control, as they did on May 2 when BLM demonstrators brought the City Council meeting once more to a halt. She ignores how other audience members might react to the protesters’ aggressive taunts and name-calling in this volatile situation.

Her dismissal of BLM’s behavior by saying, “They were kids protesting, but that’s what kids do, they protest,” sends an interesting message to Lex Figuereo who is in his mid-thirties and probably doesn’t see the BLM protests as a playful, somewhat frivolous adolescent experiment.

It is rather stunning that Commissioner Sanghvi does not see the potential for someone being hurt in this polarized world we now live in. It appears that for her, the events of May 2 were just innocent theater that no one should find upsetting. The idea that some disturbed person might be prompted to commit an act of violence against the public attending the meeting, members of the Council, or BLM is lost on her.

Her animus with Commissioner Montagnino seems to have blinded her to the fact that Chief Crooks deployed the men and women of the police department because he reasonably believed that the situation could put the lives of everyone, including Commissioner Sanghvi, at risk.

Making the situation even more strange is Mayor Kim’s contradictory behavior in all this. The now infamous epithet-laden confrontation between Kim and the Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety was over Kim’s allegation that he had been threatened in an email sent by an individual who, it turns out, routinely attends Council meetings. In fact, he was in attendance at the May 2 meeting. Given their fears (baseless or not), you would think that Sanghvi, Kim, and Moran would have been relieved to know that the police would be available.

Sanghvi’s alleged sudden concern with overtime expenses for police is also hard to take seriously when Sanghvi has repeatedly had no problem approving payments for all sorts of dubious additions to the city’s budget including additions to other Council members’ staff and her own staff, payments of all kinds of legal bills as the Mayor pursues frivolous lawsuits, and of course redecorating her office.

No, this TV appearance seems to truly be nothing more than a petty continuation of the alliance of Kim, Sanghvi, and Moran against Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino.

8 thoughts on “Minita Sangvhi Goes All In with Moran and Kim In Their Feud With Montagnino”

  1. It seems to be a no- win situation for the Public Safety Department lately. I received a phone call earlier on the day of that Council meeting advising me not to attend because it was anticipated that there would be a possibly less than safe environment. I went anyway. Had things gotten even more out of control and resulted in violent confrontations, Public Safety would have been heavily criticized if there hadn’t been officers available.
    Apparently being cautious and prepared for the worse is a strategy frowned upon by certain Council members.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I respectfully disagree with Commissioner Sanghvi that the past behavior at the council meetings did not indicate signs of violence. Threatening behavior or language, disturbance of any lawful assembly, and the repeated loss of temper are all precursors to violence. Furthermore, Commissioner Sanghvi is not a trained law enforcement expert, and therefore, does not have the experience and credentials to challenge the decisions made but the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Chris and JK, it’s obvious we have naive Commissioners and Mayor. November can’t come too soon. All we can hope for is Mr. Mathieson and Mr. Coll to be elected in a landslide. With more intelligent members of the Council, including Mr. Golub, perhaps a different tone can resonate at the table, and behind closed doors.
    Agreed that
    Sanghvi and Moron would be the first to go ballistic if mayhen became dangerous at that meeting and there were no Officers at the ready.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s fascinating that Commissioner Sanghvi managed to insult and disrespect both BLM and the SSPD all in the same brief comment to the media.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Might be a dumb question, but where are the clear rules about what attendees at City Council meetings can and can’t do, and how they are to be treated if they don’t comply? I don’t mean this just for BLM members, but also some of the more vocal City residents who I’ve seen speak and act in ways that could be construed as threatening about everything from zoning changes to the Charter.

    A big part of the issue, beyond how unfit for office several Council members are, appears to stem from confusion about what the rules are, and more importantly, what happens next.

    Is meeting decorum/punishment set by state or local laws, Open Meeting rules, or the whims of the Mayor?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mayor Kim as chair “controls” the meeting. There are rules under open meetings law which are quite good but they simply protect the elected officials in terms of not violating the open meetings law. So if a person is removed for being disruptive by cursing etc. it is legal. It is up to the mayor as to whether to avail himself of these.
      It is quite disturbing how indifferent he is to vile behavior whether from the public or his colleagues on the council.
      It is odd that he himself rarely behaves crudely at the council table as he does under other circumstances as has been documented. On the other hand he says the most ignorant things.
      It’s a mess.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. This is a good question – clarification on standards of behavior, which are a little bit different than ‘rules’. I have observed dozens of meetings spanning several iterations of this city council. John Kaufman is right that the Mayor is responsible for maintaining order, similar to a judge in a courtroom. He has a gavel for a reason, and the police officers should basically act like Court Officers in council meetings.

      This is a different responsibility than enforcing laws. On several occasions, I think the conduct of some participants was criminal. Breaching the turnstile tape was one occasion that was extremely dangerous for the council members and public. This resulted in two after-the-fact summons for obstruction of government administration and disorderly conduct. I think that they should have been arrested as soon as they breached the barrier – to not do so is negligent.

      The mayor can preclude the use of profanity and insist on time limits, yet he lacks the impetus to use the police to actually exercise his responsibility to the public – this is a sign of extreme weakness of character.

      Tim Coll’s observation on Commissioner Sangvhi’s attitude is correct. She is unaware of the danger, just like many people.

      Liked by 1 person

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