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Monday, December 28, 2009

Unwanted Attention To Start a New Year


If there's one thing we've noticed in dealing with Al Spain, he does not accept criticism well, no matter how well deserved or delivered. He seems to be one of those folks who believes he is above being criticized for inappropriate actions as a public official, no matter how egregious the mis-step.

Earlier this month when he engineered a town board resolution to retaliate against the new Supervisor by cutting her one and only officer worker forcing the office to remain closed to the public for half of the normal weekly business hours, he probably didn't calculate the long term political costs to himself or his colleagues. Never mind that the retaliation is childish and against a fellow board member who has nothing whatever to do with the legal action under way by county politicians challenging the legality of Lou Desso holding two elective offices simultaneously. His retaliation and demands that the new Supervisor call back a legal action over which she has no control or involvement demonstrates exactly what the lawsuit contends occurs by holding both a town and county elective office. Namely that it creates a conflict of interest.

Telling the new Supervisor to stop the lawsuit or suffer the political consequences embroils the town board in county politics. Al Spain and his colleagues should know this and take a step back before the town suffers from his misguided course of action.

Much progress had been made by Spain and the incoming board members in healing some of the divisions that exist on the board and in the town. That progress begins with building trust and keeping lines of communication open.

Today's Troy Record column gets it just as easily as the public gets it with regard to the retaliation against the new Supervisor. An office such as this is supposed to be open during normal business hours. That's 40 hours a week in which the public, potential business interests and public officials should be able to come to the town offices with a reasonable expectation that the Supervisor's Office is open for business. Al Spain's action to slash the only office worker in the budget to staff that office reflects poorly on him and on each board member who voted for te measure. It places politics ahead of the public interest. If the Talespin staff gets it, so will the public. Let's hope cooler heads prevail before this one starts the year off with controversy instead of the cooperation which had been under way.

You can read the column here.

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