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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Town Board Meeting Tonight

The Town Board is meeting tonight with Al Spain's majority tested on his efforts to hire non resident friends to the town payroll rather than town residents who have asked for the positions. Spain has a major ethics problem which involves the appearance that his vote for one of the attorneys is a quid pro quo for that attorneys free legal representation being currently provided to his brother Jeff. It should be interesting to hear Spain try to argue that the circumstances used by now former councilman Desso to recuse himself from this vote don't apply to him. After all, he's a Spain and the are governed by "different standards".

Desso recused because the other attorney involved, a disgraced former Troy judge, is providing free legal services to him. The other attorney, as we've mentioned, has a criminal record. The pair of non residents sure sets the bar high for representing North Greenbush residents in town court. But as Ms. Hoffman found out when she asked the question which "justified" her last vote on the matter, neither attorney was disbarred for their conduct. Now that's setting the bar right up there as a minimum criteria for supporting folks to represent us in town court. As long as Al Spain's friends have not been disbarred for their less than illustrious past history as attorneys and a judge, they'll do just fine.

North Greenbush can do better and find attorneys who live here, pay taxes here and have a stake in this town. And we have attorneys that lack criminal conviction records and who were not removed from the bench after being charged with more than 50 counts of judicial misconduct. Sure, there are times you have to hire people who don't live here and if the town board simply makes a good faith effort to advertise for the positions and no one qualified applies, than hire a non resident. But at least have the common sense to try and admit that mistakes were made by this board and past boards in hiring non residents when the law required residency.

We can't change the past mistakes but this Board is unwilling to correct the mistake for the past month by acknowledging that these two attorneys are automatically vacated as a matter of law because they are not residents. Steps should have been taken at January's Organizational Meeting to remove them from the payroll and appoint someone legally to represent us in court until the matter could be settled by either permanently hiring a town resident or passing a law that allowed the appointment of non residents which is what Spain wants to do here, tonight, in order to hire his friends. So far, you folks are not looking good.

The Public Hearing on the proposed Local Law to allow Al Spain to hire non resident friends begins at 6:45. The Town Board meeting with the law on the agenda along with the appointment of his friends, begins at 7PM. Be sure you bring your applause signs.

The Check's In the Mail

With a judge declaring that Lou Desso legally vacated his town board seat when he signed the oath of office as a county legislator, we wonder if anyone thought to stop paying him money as a town councilman from that day forward and if they didn't, is Desso paying the money back to the town? We sure Desso is returning the money since he legally should have been removed from the payroll pursuant to the judge's order but we don't know the status of that cold hard cash.

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