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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Hatchet Job on Youth Director

Youth Director Jerry Sickles Speaks to the Board above. This is also a link to video of opening of the meeting.

Under the guise of cutting to deal with the long running deficit of at least $171,000, the Town Board voted to eliminate the job of the Youth Director. He had just a couple of years to go for his pension but we think a case is made that he was long ago targeted by Lou Desso who has other plans for the money that funded the job. Passions ran high at the meeting and understandably so.

When you look at the events of last week and the apparent meeting in which Lou Desso and Al Spain told the Director that he was terminated effective at 4:30 Friday afternoon and that the board had already decided the matter, you have to be disgusted with their conduct and misleading actions designed to prevent the politically embarrassing vote which took place last night by getting him to resign.

Worse yet is the obvious disregard f
or the Board's own Finance Committee which it set up to make recommendations on cuts such as these. Here is its stated purpose from the web site

The Human Resources / Finance Committee is charged with reviewing personnel and financial practices of the town and making recommendations for change. It is a new committee, but will most likely oversee development of an HR Handbook, look closely at the financial situation of the town in light of State and local cutbacks and recommend budget adjustments, and recommend changes in policy.

Did this committee recommend the elimination of this job? No it did not and an action by the board to make the cut circumvented the very body it created to make such recommendations? The committee met this Tuesday and it did not discuss the termination of this position. It just makes them look so much worse to jump the gun on the very type of decision the committee they created is supposed to make, had a chance to discuss and recommend, and didn't.

Just as the Comprehensive Plan Committee chaired by Al Spain acted in violation of the State's Open Meetings Law on numerous occasions by meeting without taking correct minutes, voted without required quorums on substantive matters while failing to record those votes, the new Finance and Human Resources Committee, also chaired by Al Spain is doing about as well.

The Town's website shows the following entry for the scheduled meetings of the committee as copied on Thursday June 10th, two days after its meeting on June 8th:

Human Resources / Finance Committee Meetings for 2010

All committee meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00pm at the North Greenbush Town Offices. The Public is invited to attend.

Trouble is the committee changed its meeting date and time to the second Tuesday of each month at 7PM. The meeting of June 8th also featured the presence of a quorum of the Town Board which must always be noticed to the pub

lic. The regular attendees at these meeting include Chairman Spain and Supervisor Ashworth. At this meeting an additional Board member was present in the person of Lou Desso which created an unannounced quorum of the town board. The devil is always in the details and we trust that the notice on the town web site will be corrected just as the numerous short comings allowed by the Comprehensive Plan Committee's adherence to the Open Meetings Law were eventually corrected and in some cases, meetings and votes done over.

It was amazing to see that Desso had obviously asked several pals to come to the meeting and speak for the elimination of this man's job. They were the same crew he had enlisted to come to the meeting which restored him to the job. No Lou, it wasn't too obvious, anymore than that five minute canned speech you gave on the firing wasn't written by you.

Click above for Part 2 of last night's meeting

Odd Happenings

Last night's meeting vote on the Youth Director, besides being an embarrassment to the town, exposed some other odd happenings. It appears that Lou Desso switched the list of appointees for the summer camp and because he altered the language of the appointment resolution to salary per attachment instead of the usual salary per budget, it appears he increased the salaries for some of those hired beyond the

budgeted amounts. Of course that's fundamentally at odds with the firing that took place and it requires a budget resolution that transfers of money from another code to cover any additional expenses.

We'll have to wait and see to confirm this.

Our Town Clerk

To put it bluntly, Katie Connolly was lambasted for unprofessional conduct by a lady who attended her first board meeting in order to tell the board what she ran into when she happened to call Ms. Connolly while trying to get the Court Clerk's Office across the hall. With a few minutes on the clock before closing, Connolly hung up on the lady three times and apparently called the police, and filed a report against her. She was simply trying to get the phone number of the court clerk's office to get a postponement for a traffic court appearance, The lady was out of town in Virginia Beach and had the misfortune of finding out what many people already know about Ms. Connolly. The lady waited hours for the public comment period at the end to begin and got three minutes to tell the world about her Connolly experience.

We'll get some of this video up for your enjoyment later so check back. Here's the story from today's Record.

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