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Friday, May 8, 2009

NG Attorney Says Troy Comes First

You can't serve two masters. But the GOP's apparent choice for one of two town justice positions told members of the Troy City Council last night that his job in Troy, not the one he holds here in North Greenbush, "will always comes first". Charles Sarris was appointed by the North Greenbush Town Board last year to be the town's water district attorney. He's the guy who handled the legal work which resulted in a controversial sell out settlement with the contractor in Water District 14 which later turned out to be anything but an accurate assessment of the money the contractor wanted to be paid to complete the district. No problem, though, the town board majority just voted to approve more money to the politically connected contractor by using a state grant of $100,000 which should have been used to pay down the debt, not spend more than the legal settlement and bonding authority permitted.

Last night Sarris was told by members of the Troy City Council that he would not be confirmed as the City's full time Corporation Council unless he resigned what even Mark Evers says is a conflicting position as the North Greenbush attorney who must also negotiate water contracts, and water rates with Troy on behalf of North Greenbush. Sarris placed himself in a position of negotiating with himself on how much North Greenbush pays and how much Troy receives for water.

Hey, nice work if you can get it and we hear that Sarris agrees with himself so much he can hardly believe it! But, it got worse last night as North Greenbush residents learned they were being shortchanged in the deal as Sarris refused to resign his conflicting post in North Greenbush stating the Council was violating his civil rights. He told the Council as published in today's Record, “Two weeks ago, we met to discuss items on this agenda. … I explained my situation to you and each one of you told me you supported me,” said Sarris, who said the memo felt like a violation of his civil rights. “I’m very distressed, I’m angered, and I’m hurt.”

From the Record, this quote: "Sarris said he acknowledged the council’s concerns but pledged that his position with the city would always come first." Well don't that make North Greenbush residents feel good? Troy's interests will always come first above those of North Greenbush.

You can also read about this in the Times Union which reports that the City Council will hold a Special Meeting to reconsider the Sarris appointment. Won't that be fun? But we think that isn't likely to happen once the Council realizes that the City Charter states that such an appointment becomes automatic if the Council fails to act up or down after two consecutive meetings. Last night's meeting had the measure tabled and if it was the second consecutive meeting after the mayor submitted his name to the council for confirmation, his appointment would be automatic absent a formal vote to affirm.

Of course, that does nothing to change the status in North Greenbush. Let's face it Mr. Sarris, if you cannot discern a professional conflict of interest as large as an elephant, the Troy City Council can and so can the residents of North Greenbush. Is this the kind of judgment you would bring to the courts of North Greenbush? It's high time you do yourself, the people of Troy and North Greenbush a favor, and resign one job or the other immediately because this issue will rage in both municipalities until you do or until the Town Board is pressured and forced to fire you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder of City Council Member Henry Bauer will vote on this appointment. North Greenbush Councilman Al Spain, who is Troy's Personnel Director, voted to appoint Bauer as a NG town attorney. Doesn't the City Council ultimately vote to approve the water contracts Sarris is negotiating with himself? Troy appears to be running North Greenbush. Time for a big change.