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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Desso Tries for Remount with Double Dipping Law

Those of us who think you can't serve two masters and do it with the consistency and dedication one should reasonably expect from elected officials will not like the picture we will paint here today.

The Republican Majority of the Rensselaer County Legislature introduced a Double Dipping Law at their last meeting which would when passed, have the effect of correcting deficiencies pointed out in a recent Appellate Court decision via the County Charter, that would permit County Legislators to double dip once again by holding a conflicting elective office on a town board.

Three GOP legislators could be directly affected by the passage of that law if they intend to benefit from its passage by holding a second office on the town boards of East and North Greenbush which the court order vacated them from. Naturally, no legislator should take part in a vote from which they might directly benefit from financially so those three affected legislators should abstain from the vote when it takes place at the April meeting.

If they do abstain as the County Ethics Law would require, the legislation will require every remaining GOP vote as Desso's efforts to get Democratic support have failed. However, passage of the law might provide legal grounds for the North Greenbush Town Board to re-appoint the County Legislator. Such a vote would also affirm board members support for the principle of double dipping. Putting a County Legislator back on another public payroll so he can double dip public salaries and pensions is just bad politics.

On another level its bad political judgment on the part of any county legislator to hold a second elective office which carries with it all of the political baggage that goes with the second job. In the case of North Greenbush, the town is still facing a large accumulated deficit which has been estimated as high as $100,000. The town also faces the prospect of adding to that deficit if major cuts are not made in town spending, cuts which will make unwanted enemies for town board members voting to make the cuts or a slew of angry taxpayers if they instead simply raise taxes through the roof to pay for the spending.

Either way, a county legislator stands to acquire a great deal of political baggage by sitting on a town board with a distressed budget, baggage which only damages his posture in the other elective office on the county legislature. Conversely, should a county legislator be forced to vote to raise taxes at the county level, political opponents will seek to spread the blame to town board members who supported his return to power. That's the way the game is played especially here in the rough and tumble world of Rensselaer County.

So while smart political judgment might have a county legislator says thanks, but no thanks to serving on a town board, we're dealing here with an element of pride and possibly some greed for increased pay, pension credits and especially power.

All things considered, we believe that if the local law is passed at the next meeting, Lou Desso will seek to be reappointed to the North Greenbush Town Board at the April meeting and immediately begin his campaign to fill the year that remains on his unexpired term. Should Desso run in November, voters will decide whether they want county legislators to double dip in conflicting elective offices.

Town's New Digs

The new town website is up for all to see. These are the folks that did Lou Desso's campaign web site. They are a local company based in North Greenbush. Take a look by clicking the picture above. You can learn more about the company that created the site here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well there's a step in the right direction. Too bad Lou and his team don't believe in hiring town residents in the town attorneys office?