To say Lou Desso has big ones is an understatement. He managed to become the first person to get a high level job as a county Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health without so much as a college degree, the first to our knowledge to be given such a job without a degree. The payday, some $81,000 annually.
Of course, he intends to keep collecting a salary on the North Greenbush Town Board to enrich his pension credits. The feds will have to weigh in on this one as he is likely a walking violation of the Hatch Act while holding the county job and serving on a town board.
But recently we learned Desso wants even more money in his pocket, $10,000 more to be exact, for holding the ministerial title of Deputy Supervisor. He has been pressuring board members to approve the payout and has met with resistance to say the least. The title he holds has never been awarded a salary in the history of the town. Most towns do not fund the position as it requires no work other than occasionally running a town board meeting in the absence of the Supervisor.
But Lou wants some extra cash and he will stay in the face of town board members as he tries to get it. Let's hope they have enough stamina to just say no.
UPDATE: Last night's town board meeting might have been mistaken for a silent movie as board members, staring in an episode of "Desso Do Right" sat silently when asked repeatedly whether the star had asked them to support a $10,000 annual salary for his unfunded title as Deputy Supervisor.
All five cast members sat in silence when given the chance to deny a lobbying effort by Desso and whether they would support such a salary for a position which does nothing. Better yet Desso himself sat in silence when asked whether he asked fellow board members for their vote on such a stipend to supplement his public paychecks and efforts to build a pension with the State Retirement System.
We can only imagine how one town resident must have felt after earnestly suggesting that the board try to negotiate more favorable terms with contracts like Time Warner and a phone company vender because often they will lower their prices for services if pressed. Here he was trying to save the taxpayers a percent or two on a bill only to learn that Mr. Desso was trying to grab an extra $10 grand to feather his nest.
We can only hope that the board members have enough guts to stand up to Mr. Desso before they get hung with a $10,000 annual payday vote for the boss.