I realize I haven’t weighed in on the Council report on the demolition projects but there really isn’t anything new in it. Not to belittle the content, but it’s just a summary of the six hearings the Council held publically so anything that’s in the report has already been out there.
However, while the Council was focusing on the controversial demolition projects – which it should – it’s largely ignored the fiscal crisis. In fact, I dare say again, it’s adding to it.
I wrote about the Council’s decision to hire Adam Sanzone as its confidential secretary. Nothing against Sanzone. He did intern for the Council and volunteered to video tape the meetings and what not so he’s probably a good pick for the job.
But, he takes the place of Emily Rossier, who I understand was a no-show for the past year or so. One anecdote is a member of the Council walked into the office and found 118 messages on the machine that had not even been listened to let alone responded to.
Since the Council has survived a year with a confidential secretary in name alone it stands to reason it could have saved the $10,000 it’s paying Sanzone.
I also wrote about the Council’s rush to hire an assistant city clerk for $27,000-plus. The justification was that the city clerk provided such vital services that without an assistant she could not take any time off. I don’t doubt those who visit the city clerk’s office do expect someone to be at the window to get their dog licensed or permit to fish in the Tomhannock. I do, though, find it hard to believe someone already on the payroll couldn’t be trained to fill in once in a while.
Another rationale is that the mayor’s office hired the former the assistant to fill a secretarial opening. That much is true too, but two wrongs don’t make a right.
I have not reached out to anyone on the Council yet, but I would certainly like to hear how they justify spending $2,352.60 on nine new chairs.
As you can see from the purchase order below, nine new “high back chairs” at $261.40 a pop were ordered from Superior Office Products on Jan. 22 and set to be delivered to the Council’s office in City Hall.
I won’t speculate on why the Council – after the scathing state Comptroller’s Report that said the city spent $5.9 million more than it took in over the past three years, after Moody’s gave the city’s finances a negative outlook, and after the Council punted on any layoffs knowing there are two huge one shots totaling more than $2 million in this year’s budget and all six unions are without a contract – why the Council found it necessary to upgrade the office furniture.
No, the $10,000 here, the $27,000 there and the $2,300 over there won’t solve the city’s money problems. But, it is a start. And I don’t see how the Council majority and its President Council Rodney Wiltshire can possible, in good faith and with a straight face, raise taxes or lay off employees – one of the two or both are inevitable – while he and the other eight are sitting pretty in brand spanking new chairs bought with the taxpayers’ dimes.
And they didn't even buy them from a Collar City company.