Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Spain Will Be Forced to Defend Much of Evers Record
While long time Democrats are sure to be disappointed that Al Spain is dancing with the Republican party his family opposed for so many years, it can hardly be a surprise after the legacy left over the past two years with his brother Jeff as Democratic Chairman.
From attempted purges of political adversaries to caving in to the politically connected water contractor's demands for more money in an incompetent legal settlement, Spain's tenure on the town board has been to side with his former running mate Mark Evers until he figured out that Democrats whom he, Spain, opposed were right all along about Evers corrupt practices.
Spain did Evers bidding on the Comprehensive Plan, buying in to Evers false claims that the completed plan was somehow defective as an excuse to prevent its adoption. Spain voted to award a no bid contract that has cost the town at least $30,000 to do the plan over again and it is still unpassed leaving developers holding the cards to the town's future development.
Of course by now, Spain has probably figured out that Evers misled him on the value of the completed Comprehensive Plan, but after taking the job of Chairman of the new "politically infested" Comprehensive Plan Committee, it's impossible for him to admit his mistake in judgment.
If Spain runs, he will have to defend a record of permitting the incompetence of Building Department employees who have allowed, with the acquiescence of the town board, the contractor to enjoy a virtual blank check filled with taxpayer dollars. He voted to permit a million plus settlement in water 14 that forced the entire town to pay for the mismanagement. He has done nothing to hold building department staff administering the water contract accountable for countless examples of malfeasance. This includes the fact that not one repair bill involving water 14 construction has ever been charged back to the contractor even when there is clear proof that the contractor caused the damage or need for the repair. He also voted to place an attorney with a criminal record in town court, tarnishing his judgment and the luster of the court.
As Supervisor, Spain would have to negotiate water rates on behalf of the town with his city employers presenting a monumental conflict of interest. And while he has criticized the union contract that has hamstrung competent administration of town hall staff, he has refused to force the Supervisor and the contractual town engineer to pay back more than $40,000 in health insurance premiums improperly paid on their behalf while forcing other employees to pay back illegal insurance buy outs. This inconsistent formula for protecting taxpayers dollars is sure to haunt him in a bid for supervisor. He givith our tax dollars to some while forcing others to pay back with no consistency in such decisions. For example the deputy clerk was allowed to keep an illegal health insurance buyout improperly awarded by the Supervisor while the town's comptroller was forced to give the same buy out back.
Spain has also done nothing to intervene regarding the improper retirement waiver granted to the town assessor after the Supervisor provided false information to the State Civil Service Commission in order to defraud the State Retirement System to benefit a political friend.
It took quite a lot for Spain to come around on Evers, but at least he has recognized the threat he represents to lawful governance. We give him credit for that. But it's sad to see someone who could have provided so much, fall to the misguided impulses of those who seek to profit from town taxpayers while demonizing all who try to hold them accountable. It's sadder yet to find him dancing with the Republican Party that turned this town over to developers instead of trying to mend fences with the Democratic Party his father so proudly personified.
Posted by The North Greenbush Pipeline at 6:00 AM