Friday, June 29, 2012

Where are we being "taken" with the Poop Solution?

We understand that discussions and negotiations are currently going on with reference to the solution to be implemented to solve the Poop in the Hudson problem for East Greenbush.  It is clear that the problem was created in the first place because of the placement of political power interests above the interests of the Community.  That being the case, it is hard to conceive of a solution to the problem being developed without those political power interests being in play.  And the less the Community knows about what is going on, the more mischief is possible.  Remember that East Greenbush got illegal interfund transfers, $2.5 million in debt and Junk Bond ratings directly from playing around with the Poop over 13 years. 

With these issues in mind, here's a comment by Dwight Jenkins which deserves to be a Post on the matter.  And here's the link to the Planning Board Minutes to which he refers:

"After a rather lengthy delay the Planning Board Minutes are updated on the Town Document Download site. Interestingly, the 5/23/12 minutes reflect a cover-our-ass conversation initiated by the Chair of the Board in which he asked about our Consent Order problem. What we heard was that it is a complex problem, very expensive to repair, we're not the only town dumping sewage, and that we haven't been ignoring the problem. What we didn't hear was a reason for the transfer of sewer funds to the general fund, when we could have and should have used those sewer fund surpluses to address the problem. Of course, we also got more than $6 million dollars in bonding from the County Water and Sewer authority back in 2008 to fix the problem, but we haven't used much of that for anything. It sits there while we pay about seventyfive thousand dollars a month in debt service for unfinished projects that would fix the problem. Look how quickly we spent the $6 million or so bond for water repairs: we banged out infrastructure updates and new water tanks in no time. That was a job well done. As for the sewer? No, this smells like a fight over power, influence, and money, hence the delays, hence the unacted upon consent orders, hence the State is finally pissed enough to jack up the fines to a level where they hurt, hence a connected lawyer got a nice payday to lower those fines somewhat,hence we got a bullshit answer on 5/23/12 in response to a staged question. Go read it for yourself if you don't believe me. Yes, we have problems with aging pipes and rainstorms. NO SHIT! That's what the sewer surplus and the hefty bond were to have fixed by now!"

Dwight Jenkins

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Unethics Code

By Ray Mooney

Lately, when I write about our town, I am frequently frustrated and often angry. I am this way because I see what is best for our town being trampled by the tyranny of a majority that so often fails to put their duty before their personal interests. I have written this article full of that frustration.
I am also upset and embarrassed for the five hard working members of our Ethics Board. I attended many of their meetings. I watched and listened to each of them put forward an ethics code that actually made sense; that would have been good for our town. And with the tyranny of the majority of O’Brien, Mangold and Malone I see all that good, hard work being flushed down the toilet of selfish personal interests.

The personal and preferred version of an unethics code has finally been made by public by the Town Board majority of Ginny O’Brien, Sue Mangold and Phil Malone. I refuse, as a matter of principle, to label what O’Brien, Mangold and Malone have created an ethics code – because it is not.

After more than a year’s hard work and patience the Ethics Board’s version of their recommended ethics code has been sent to the trash bin.

Financial disclosure and nepotism in hiring Town Board member’s relatives, no surprise, got banished to that very same trash bin.

Sue Mangold needed to be relieved of any responsibility to make public her financial interests in her multiple family businesses that benefit directly from Town Board resolutions. She got that.

Ginny O’Brien and Phil Malone needed to be relieved of any limitations on putting their immediate family members in taxpayer’s wallets and purses through nepotism appointments. They got that.

There is a sham public hearing on the unethics code on June 20 at 6:30 PM. The public will have 30 whole minutes to ask questions and make comments on an important law that the majority of O’Brien, Mangold and Malone has screwed the Ethics Board royally on and screwed the public around on for more than a year.

Public hearings, in this town anyway, are as much of a public farce as this unethics code is. The decisions are already made. Board Majority Leader O’Brien and her two cronies are going to do exactly what they want regardless of what is best for the town and for the town’s citizens and regardless of anything asked or commented on at the public hearing. Those are harsh comments. But how can Majority Leader O’Brien call something a public “hearing” when we, the public, are not actually heard? How else can scrapping the ethics code recommended by the Ethics Board possibly be explained?

The October 13, 2010 Resolution 161-2010 that created the Ethics Board required, as a matter of a law that the Ethics Board recommend an ethics code to the Town Board. The Ethics Board did exactly that. That same resolution requires that the Ethics Board’s recommended ethics code amendments include financial disclosure provisions. Ginny O’Brien voted in favor of Resolution 161-2010 and it was passed unanimously.

As they so often do the Town Board majority said to hell with the inconveniences of law.  So, the Town Attorney, in what he has already described as a conflict of interest, wrote the unethics code we now have before us. In a further display of complete arrogance for the law the majority, led by Ginny O’Brien, dropped any requirements that the ethics code include the financial disclosure provisions required by Resolution 161 – 2010. How does that work anyway Ms. O’Brien? Vote for something into law, make yourself look good politically and then pretend the whole thing never happened so you can do what you want? Is it kind of like a speeding ticket if you have the right political connections? Is it kind of like sticking your hands in taxpayer’s wallets and purses for a job if you have the right political connections?  Can ordinary citizens and taxpayers pick and choose what laws they will follow and what laws they will ignore without any fear of consequence like you do so often?

So, the Town of East Greenbush will have, very soon, what should forever be known as an unethics code.