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Friday, July 23, 2010

The "Obscure Blog"

What an amusing meeting it turned out to be last night as certain board members tied their best to diminish the credibility of this blog in the hope that they could deflect attention away from their efforts to minimize the town's serious financial situation and deficit for political gain.

From Lou Desso to Kelly Hoffman and Al Spain, each took aim at what they called "an obscure blog", so obscure that each of them reads it as part of their daily diet. That conclusion was obvious as their obsession with the information leaks and whose talking to the bloggers seems to be a constant focus of their conversations and apparently their daily routine.

We know they wish this blog were obscure just as they use their position to keep the public in the dark as to their conduct of board meetings. They just can't seem to get that camera in the ceiling working for Time Warner Cable Public Access and we hear it drives them crazy that the obscure blog posts the video of their meetings or at least the You Tube moments. They'd probably be shaken if they realized that the obscure blog is the third link displayed in a Google search of North Greenbush.

Last's night's substantive conversation revolved around the discussion of the new UPSEU contract which fails to take the most basic management steps aimed at reducing the costs of the contract and implementing management supervision in town hall of the bargaining members.

Once again, a contract that provides for no use of a time clock, allows department heads to be in the bargaining unit with people they are supposed to supervise and allows employees who have never been in the town insurance plan to receive a buy out for not taking the insurance. Even employees who already receive taxpayer funded health insurance from other municipalities are allowed to grab a big buy out check here even though they are not eligible for two taxpayer funded health insurance policies.

These folks turned down approval of this contract back in march so they could fleece the town one more time for insurance buyouts. The new contract gives them a 2% raise on top of the buyouts already paid. It does however, reduce the maddening payment amounts and ends the buyouts for new employees, if that's ever likely to happen with finances the way they are.

The contract passed 4 to 1 with the Supervisor voting nay. Taxpayers take it on the chin too many times to call it a good deal from either a management or financial perspective.

The next topic of amusement was the deficit. What deficit, oh I' don't know what it is. I'm sure it's not $400,000 and I know there won't be a tax increase. Those were some of the amazing comments of Super Lou, negotiator, youth director, social director for town parties and finance wizard. He should know what the deficit is likely to be. Moody's Investment Service had no trouble describing it from annual reports filed by the town with the State Comptroller.. It is likely to be around $400,000 less whatever surplus we manage this year which could be $70 to $90 thousand. But fear not says Super Lou, there will be no tax increase even if I don't know what the deficit is. What a relief!

The numbers facing the town are black and white. An estimated $177,000 cumulative deficit was carried into this year. Last night, the town board approved a plan that would require a one time lump sum payment of $221,000 to the State Retirement System by March on 2011. That means the 2011 budget must find the money for this. We're sorry Clerk Connolly, the State will not allow the town to borrow for this type of payment, despite your claims to the contrary when you interrupted the meeting.

If you add these numbers up, the town might just see a $398,000 deficit which would be reduced by any surplus achieved this year. According to Dr. Desso, that surplus could be $70 to 90 grand. Do the math children and tell us where you come up with the $328,000 difference to balance the budget without a tax hike. No wonder they call him Super Lou! And no wonder Spain and Desso can think of no other way to deal with it than to blame the messenger and that "obscure blog" they are all reading.

So sit back and watch a fiscal wizard at work on a slightly less obscure blog thanks to You Tube!

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