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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's OK To Appoint Your Friends

That seems to be the underlying message being developed by Democrat turned GOP Majority Leader Al Spain to his two understudies on the town board who so far vote the way Spain wants them to.

Al Spain puts up quite a show when it comes to pointing out that prior town boards appointed what he perceives as the friends of his critics in the Democratic Party. But heck it's ok for Al to use his position as a Council member to appoint his out of town friends to town jobs. And please, let's not point out that Spain's Democratic critics held no appointment power and were never on the town board or able to appoint anyone. Just don't criticize Spain or his fellow Board members for sending town jobs out to non residents who are his pals, even if there are town residents wanting to serve in those positions.

So just who are these two non residents who are spending so much of Spain's political capital and that of the new majority he leads? One, a former Troy Judge removed from the bench for misconduct, was a Troy Council member, one of Spain's "bosses". The other, an Albany election lawyer who helped his brother Jeff take control of the Democratic Committee for a very short time. It was time used to turn the party over to the GOP.

What Spain has not yet disclosed is whether his current vote for this attorney is a quid pro quo for his free legal representation for Spain's brother Jeff who is being sued by the Democratic Committee in Rensselaer City Court for giving away $5,000 in party funds after he lost control of the committee. At least Councilman Desso announced his conflict of interest with the other attorney, recusing himself from these votes. The Troy attorney is representing Desso free of charge in his lawsuit commenced by County Democrats to determine if he can legally hold two local elective offices.

So how about full disclosure Councilman Spain? Is this attorney, complete with a criminal record representing your brother free of charge in Rensselaer City Court? If so, shouldn't you recuse yourself as well from these proceedings and effort to exempt both men from the residency laws imposed by the Public Officer's Law so you can legally re-appoint them to town jobs?

No wonder we don't have a vibrant Town Ethics Board. And we can't wait to see the changes coming in Troy as the Democrats on the City Council look for ways to streamline city government. We're pretty sure the Troy Council won't be looking to hire North Greenbush residents as they seek ways to cut the size and cost of city government, quite the opposite.

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