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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Monday, November 23

No happy holidays here

Despite the Christmas decorations that have already gone up around town, no one was in a very festive mood at tonight's City Council meeting, at which, by a failure to adopt a budget, effectively adopted the budget proposed in early October, thereby eliminating about 40 city jobs.

Happy holidays.

There was some talk, at the council table, of possible finding a few more dollars here or there in the next five weeks, in order to restore a handful of these positions, but no one on the council seemed too optimistic. Who can blame them? These layoffs have been on the table since early October, and if there were no possible moves to save jobs between then and now, what is going to suddenly change now?

One interesting revelation that did come out of the meeting was a statement by Chief Edward Moore, of the police department, who said that he may well leave, so as to create an opening for a younger officer to keep their job.

Maybe we'll see more of this kind of move in other departments? Guess we'll see...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the budget is still fat. The lack of concessions by the union, (along with their 3+4=7% raise at the end of this year that they proposed) will simply drive the public towards being anti-union. They can cry "The sky is falling, and you have no essential services to deal with it!" all they want.

You can offer to sell a life vest for a million bucks to someone on the titanic, but if they don't have the money, they still won't buy it.

Taxpayers don't have the extra income to pay for every city workers health care in full...

And i doubt that any old timers will retire to let someone younger get a position unless its because they start doing physicals and making everyone get in shape.

November 24, 2009 at 1:50 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew do you have a list of names and jobs that were lost?

November 24, 2009 at 8:53 AM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon 8:53: Not yet. The unions have been reluctant to provide that information, but now that the budget appears to be a done deal, I am hoping to get the list from Civil Service.

November 24, 2009 at 1:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to the ambulance RFP..why was nearly $300,000 in revenue ignored by the council? SEMS was awarded the rfp for $1 a month rent for a facility worth over $100,000. SEMS charges for their services...why only $12 a year?? it true that the deputy Mayor is a board member of SEMS?

November 24, 2009 at 2:37 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How come in the comptrollers audit 2008 the city was cited for using millions from contingency to pay water,sewer and general instead of raising taxes due to false projections.Ivins response wont happen again. Estimates for paid parking unproven. Result more lyoffs in spring. Maybe time for state to take over city before this nut makes us next buffalo.

November 24, 2009 at 8:18 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently the public works department failed to consider that National Grid was going to lay pipes along Nelson Avenue in the same area that DPW was going to repave the roads.

Because DPW paved the roads and then National Grid tore up the street laying pipe, the paving job was compromised and will have to be redone. This was a hugely expensive error. I understand that Tommy McTygue went down to the Saratogian to explain this to them. Is there going to be an article? Has anyone asked the commissioner of publi works whether he could have delayed buying new trucks in light of the budget crunch and layoffs?

November 24, 2009 at 8:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone able to confirm that there really were requests from mayor to unions for actual give backs. Any letters or witnesses, or just taking rumor as gospel.

November 24, 2009 at 8:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a few ideas for you Andrew...

Get rid of the horses. Are the union folks really so bad that they will keep these "essential" city employees to use for "crowd control" at the expense of other paid personel?
How much time is on the books for USING the horses as opposed to grooming and training them?

I'd like to see the breakdown of the 40 hours the police that ride them log. How much time on them in crowd control and patroling, and how much in maintenance?

Next, get rid of the 4 cops who roll on "truck patrol" every week. They are there because some very squeeky wheels complained about all the big rigs that roll down their street. Guess what, you bought a house on a truck route, deal with it. That is 160 hours a week that you can cover instead of OT. Let the state handle truck safety. I hear at the last budget meeting they bring in $15,000 per YEAR! That is retarded that we have 4 officers for that. Heck we have half the savings in personel right there with those 4...

November 24, 2009 at 10:03 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew, have you had the oppertunity to compare the union contracts with cities within our state?

November 24, 2009 at 10:31 PM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon 10:03 a.m.: Under a proposed budget amendment (which was not adopted), the city would have sought to quadruple revenue from truck enforcement, thereby making sure that officers in the truck enforcement division worked more, and not less, on making sure truck rules were enforced.

Although the budget amendment was not passed, it is clear that this is a focus of the new Commissioner of Public Safety, Richard Wirth.

anon 10:31 p.m.: No.

anon 8:22 p.m.: please see the story in Wednesday's paper.

November 25, 2009 at 10:09 AM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

anon 2:37 p.m.: Shauna Sutton is not on the board of SEMS.

November 25, 2009 at 1:48 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wirth is not a manager. He needs to understand finances... 4 full time employees to rake in a whopping $60k is STILL a loosing proposition.

You should raise the question how 4 FT positions can be used in such a way. It's disgraceful. The extra $45,000 won't mean a thing when we are paying others OT so these 4 guys can pull over 3 trucks a week.

bad fiscal planning.

How can Wirth own a business if he thinks like this?

November 25, 2009 at 7:15 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew, That's not what she told members of the republican committee. Maybe she's a silent partner.

November 25, 2009 at 10:49 PM 

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