It appears that secrecy is a still invoked policy by the town board majority and some of those they employ. Unfortunately, both the board and their allies are learning the hard way that secrecy is a difficult task to master in a democracy and runs contrary to its principles.
Yesterday the Troy Record reported the arrest of the Board's recently appointed Comptroller on two serious felony charges which occurred on Christmas Day and which were apparently kept secret until just recently. According to the report, on the very day the Town's Assessor was being appointed to a conflicting job as Town Comptroller, he had been arraigned by a Troy judge on the felony charges just hours earlier. That apparently didn't stop Councilman/Legislator Lou Desso from voting to make the newly charged town official the new Comptroller. Imagine how foolish Desso and his colleagues look voting to make someone Town Comptroller just hours after he was arraigned by a judge on two felony charges.
Did they know about the charges and appoint him anyway or did he keep them in the dark as well? These are questions, the answers to which make this town board look totally irresponsible and foolish. They failed to exercise even the most basic due diligence before making the appointment. The reason for their hasty move makes them look even more foolish. It rests in a simple desire to politicize the Comptroller's Office and further isolate the Supervisor in her efforts to serve as the town's elected CFO.
Sometime last week, the controversy surrounding the appointment caused the Assessor to resign as Comptroller. The resignation no doubt embarrassed Lou Desso and Al Spain giving credence to those critical of the move placing both offices under one appointee. The reasons for these criticisms are documented on this blog in various letters to the editor, all of which detail sound reasoned issues which demonstrate the numerous conflicts of interest created by the dual appointment. What they do not do is wallow in "personal attacks" of the appointee. Until yesterday, the resignation, like the arrest, was kept secret.
According to the article announcing the resignation in today's Record, the new Comptroller resigned January 20th after "personal attacks", apparently by both the Supervisor in her letter to the Advertiser of January 13th and letters from members of the Democratic Committee. Again, decide for yourself whether the content of the letters, all of which appear on this blog, contain personal attacks or valid criticism of the situation and the conflicts of interest created by one person holding the two positions simultaneously.
We disagree that the Assessor or any Board member was attacked personally in the letters published in the Record and Advertiser. But we understand their efforts to try to make the actions of those criticized "victims". It's called "attack the messenger" and in this case, the messengers are anyone who criticizes the actions of this board.
“He resigned because he was unwilling to tolerate the actions of a few who attempted to discredit him and hurt his family,” Desso said in today's Record. Horse feathers Mr. Desso! He resigned because you and your majority thoughtlessly and recklessly placed him in a no win situation in your haste to remove a Comptroller who was competent and politicize the office with someone who you felt would be more responsive to your demands. The question, however, is whether you Mr. Desso and your majority were aware of the felony charges when you made the appointment January 4th or whether you just didn't perform due diligence before rushing to put him and the town in an untenable situation. Personal attacks indeed.