Reader Publius has submitted the following remarks to the Gadfly Blog. I think they deserve a Post Thread of their own:
As a reader of all four East
Greenbush Blogs I would like to take this opportunity to make a few
observations that may be helpful to East Greenbush residents from both
sides of the aisle as well as the reformers.
First, there have
been several posts about one side or the other being politically
motivated by only criticizing their opposing politicians in relationship
to inappropriate distribution of public funds. They are often paired
with the observation that those who approved the appropriations are not
those are currently serving in town government. They are incorrect.
The most recent misappropriation of funds to an elected official was
proposed and approved by the current Town Board. Resolution 165-2012
presented on November 14, 2012 provided for the $1,000 per year formerly
paid to Town Supervisors in the form of “sick leave” payments be
changed to regular salary to make the payments come into compliance with
the OSC audit. The fact behind the obfuscating language in the
resolution was that the audit found such payments to be wrong and our
town officials devised a plan to “get around” the audit finding and
still get the funding to the Town Supervisor. In this case, a citizen
at the Board Meeting pointed out the inconsistency in the thinking
surrounding the resolution and, as a result, the Town Attorney
subsequently directed the Supervisor to return the $750 already
illegally paid as his “sick leave incentive” in 2012.
citizen in question was criticized in the TU Blog by the Deputy
Supervisor who used all the tricks typical of those who discourage
public participation in government. He implied that the citizen was
unable to understand the situation, he was dismissive, and he alleged
political motivation. The fact that the money was repaid and did not
reappear in the 2013 budget proves the Deputy Supervisor wrong.
the big picture, however, this event illustrates that the mechanism and
the inclination to hide payments from the public exists in this Town
Government! Our town leaders devised this plan during the same time
period that they were (or should have been) digesting the audit and
developing a plan for corrective action. We cannot continue to elect the
ill-prepared and uninformed to public office and expect good government
or ethical behavior. We must prevail upon both political parties to
nominate candidates who are well prepared, beyond reproach ethically,
and able to withstand the fallout that making hard choices brings. The
person who appears at your door every year with nominating petitions is
your representative in the party of your choice. Contact that person
now, before the candidates for the fall are chosen, and ask them to find
candidates who are experienced in government, prepared to do the work,
and are of high moral and ethical character.
was proposed by Mr. Malone and seconded by Ms. O’Brien and passed by a
5-0 vote. Although the amount was small, the idea is flawed and, just
like the stipends of old, the wrong minded public official has the
potential to do much damage. Beware of the candidates who are endorsed
by today’s sitting Town Board.
My second concern is the often
used “interfering with the audit”. It is not challenged when it is used
and it should be. Concerned citizens who contacted the OSC are
exercising their responsibility as citizens in a representative form of
government. The employees of the OSC and the town are the employees of
the public. It is in very bad form for bloggers to regularly refer to
citizen activists as interfering and not be called on it. The audit has
unveiled wrongful acts and this disparaging language is one of the tools
of those who are actively working against a meaningful corrective
action plan. I urge citizens to support those who, like the Gadfly, ask
hard questions and support meaningful reform.
Thank you for reading.