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Monday, October 27, 2008

Money for Everyone!

The "Bringing North Greenbush Together" ticket that runs the town board never told us what they they meant by togetherness when they ran up wins in last year's town elections.

Togetherness is defined as "Money for Everyone!" And "everyone" is the pockets of friends and political benefactors including the local water contractor who runs the town Conservative Party which endorsed the togetherness crew.

The "Conservative Contractor Tax"

A surprise addition to the Workshop agenda was authorization to allow the town attorney to enter into a settlement with the the contractor who sued the town for more money. After endorsing the new majority, the new majority decided it would not fight their benefactor in court and instead settle by giving him another million dollars to finish his 6.4 million dollar contract for water district 14. That would make the bill more than 8 million with the last million paid for by the whole town rather than just the poor folks who live in water 14.

So you might wonder who at the legal table in front of Supreme Court Justice Lynch, is representing taxpayers against the contractor? Well, the town board which the contractor endorsed is the party supposed to be representing taxpayers, but they seem much more loyal to their Conservative Party contractor and his endorsement. Hold on to your wallets!

Raises, Raises, Everywhere

Then there's those pay raises for everyone in town hall who are either elected or appointed pols. The town board refuses to spell them out, other than the Supervisor who wants a full time salary of $65,000 in an economy where he can't find meaningful employment. That's a 280% mid term increase which we have to wonder whether Councilmen Desso and Spain will support to give him the three votes he needs to get the cash. He can count on sidekick Ernie Kern so he has two votes going into the Public Hearing which the board scheduled for 6:30PM on Thursday November 6th.

But we still don't know how much exactly the Town Clerk is asking for, or the town comptroller, the assessor, or the lawyers in town hall. And we don't know because the board has kept us in the dark. We will find out the increases for elected officials in a required public notice for the hearing which must be held. It will not, however tell us the increases for appointed officials. Stay tuned.

Health Insurance Bucks

Heath Insurance bucks are the new rewards program in town hall. We are told that taxpayers would be stunned to learn who is cashing in on taxpayer funded health insurance. Sources say that even a contractual employee, the town engineer, is getting health insurance from the town. Now there's some explaining for Mr. Evers and company! Are we insuring our other vendors too, you know, the company that provides us telephone services, Internet services, electrical services, or do we just insure those providing engineering services?

Councilman Spain offered a Health Insurance Policy for the town which he claims would put the breaks on these payouts. He is likely on the right track but the one page policy needs clarification language to close questions raised by board members who voted 3-2 not to adopt the policy as written. There are concerns over a provision we previously reported which appears to allow elected officials who after only 15 years of service, to get insurance if they go out on a NY State Disability retirement. There remains a feeling he had someone in mind when he came up with this generous 15 year number which would be less alarming at 20 or 25 years.

We obtained a copy of the policy Spain proposed from the town board room left on a chair. Here is the policy Spain proposed.

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