It was bound to happen. A town board majority driven to expunge any acts of progress by their political adversaries who came to power in the previous town election, could not wait to move on those who may, in their eyes, be benefiting in some way from the decisions of the past majority.
It started with the absurd re-do of the Comprehensive Plan and the resulting delay of any official town support for the I-90 Connector. Everyone viewed as a part of the prior majority's team was removed from that committee, a no bid contract was awarded to a politically connected company to redo the work already completed, and more than a year later, developers, not town residents, call the shots on development in North Greenbush.
One other area that town government saw improvement was the retaining of a private company to handle the town's payroll. For a nominal fee estimated at around $6,000 a year, the outside vender handled the bi-weekly creation of pay checks for town employees. This included complicated deductions, benefits and direct deposit capability that ensured a correct check was delivered to every town employee each pay period.
But the new majority saw the company as a politically connected payback to one of their ardent critics. The son of Democratic activist Robert Price worked for the company that the town retained to handle payroll services. The desire to punish Price for his frequent criticism of the mis-steps of the Supervisor and his cronies in town hall, created a false perception that the town payroll could be done just as easily and competently by town employees. This past week, that perception crumbled as the town made a financial 911 call to the company they couldn't wait to fire. The payroll competence of town hall employees resulted in a panic call to the payroll provider the Board had dismissed to do the payroll once again.
It's an extremely complicated process with many laws governing the computations of the deductions in the payroll process. That's why the vast majority of private companies and so many small local governments in this country use a professional payroll service to compute and deliver a correct pay check for employees.
So North Greenbush took another step backwards by firing their vender who produced their employee payroll. In the process, they found out how valuable and important a correctly produced check delivered on time to their employees really is. Such a service inoculates town government from adverse transitions of new administrations and yet that is exactly the step backwards taken by this Board majority. They have forgotten the total lack of transition cooperation that was offered by the outgoing 2005 administration that left the Comptroller's Office crippled in so many areas, including payroll and accounting software.
Instead they fired the payroll vender believing they were punishing a salesman who represented the vender when the services were secured early in 2006. Too bad they didn't know that no residuals are paid by this company to their sales people once the account is secured. All the town administration did was to punish themselves, while the confidence town employees are entitled to, that their pay cheeks are delivered on time and correctly, went out the door, just like the Comprehensive Plan. Nice work boys!