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

Wednesday, February 24

FOIL'd Again!

Round two of my test of the city's Freedom of Information Law reply and answer apparatus begins today. I am requesting of the city, and a handful of state agencies, the following: "A list of all pending Freedom of Information Law Requests submitted to INSERT AGENCY HERE, including the names of the agencies or individuals making each request."

The results should be interesting.

Also in my request to the city, the surveillance camera footage from Dec 19, 2009 of the cameras in the main hallway in City Hall. From what I'm told, there was some tomfoolery that happened then involving a game of catch with an envelope.

I've also got two interesting articles for your consideration.

The first, forwarded to me by
Saratogian Sports Editor, former City Desk blogger, and competitive bicyclist Andrew Bernstein, is an article posted at NYC Streets Blog on innovations in parking planning and management. It appears as though well planned paid parking has worked in the past to encourage walking and bicycling. Whether or not it will work in Saratoga is yet to be seen.

The second is a press release from the University at Albany's School of Business; they just released their 24th annual Business Climate Survey. The release says that over 30 percent of Capital District businesses surveyed believed that the recent tech-boom has has no effect on the local business climate. Officials at the release event quoted in the release appear to disagree with their business neighbors.

Thanks to
demroc for getting the A-Team reference in my last post. I'm still not sure how I feel about Liam Neeson taking over for George Peppard.


Anonymous Suzanne Kwasniewski said...

I understand the City has contracted an attorney to deflect the FOIL requests. Was this voted on in the City Council, or has the Mayor started spending city tax dollars without proper authorization? Why are we contracting out for so many legal services? Why can't the City Attorney do his job? How much of our tax dollars have been paid to Harris Beach and other well-connected law firms since the start of the Johnson administration? Does anyone else find this disturbing?

February 25, 2010 at 10:05 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 27, 2010 at 8:31 AM 
Anonymous Aunt Edna said...

Suzanne, I agree with you. why are we spending extra money we do not have on this.
Shoe: What FOIL requests are you doing? Just city employees?

March 1, 2010 at 7:05 AM 
Blogger demroc said...

no way, does that mean there is a movie in the making? i hope you got the colonel decker reference, he never could quite catch them.

good luck on getting the tape, every paper around is trying to get that baby. it's funny, the mayor downplayed it as, "no big deal", but yet has hired attorneys to fight the foil request.

March 2, 2010 at 8:44 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did your newspaper see this posting? Why not check it out!

Did you know that several prominant people in this community volunteered to donate more than enough to cover the K9 program for the year and idiot said NO? Yet he took donations for the horse program and is now accepting them for the Car Seat Program. It looks to me that it is political or personal choice not a fiscal choice. According to the Police year end report the K9's were used on 56 calls for service. Thats at least once a week they were deployed to do something. Last I checked the horses couldn't arrest anyone, let alone go into a building to find someone and haven't been out this year. SSPD has a FULL TIME police officer that is in charge of scheduling training, thats right a police officer who sits at a desk for 40 HOURS a Week, for the police. The position is only 3 years OLD. That person should go into the patrol division. Why does Wirthless let the Chief (lives in Wilton) the Assistant Chief (lives in Wilton) and the Captain (Lives in northumberland) take a city owned vehicle home and use city gas to get to and from work. I PAID for those cars in my taxes and I PAID for the gas in them. I saw the Chief in albany watching a football game and then hop into the vechile MY taxes paid for to drive home. And by the way cutting the K9 program saved at most $7500 dollars from the budget. The only thing that helped get police officers back to work after layoffs were retirements and also other police officers LEAVING this police force.

March 2, 2010 at 7:39 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SSPD has a FULL TIME police officer that is in charge of scheduling training, thats right a police officer who sits at a desk for 40 HOURS a Week, for the police. The position is only 3 years OLD. That person should go into the patrol division.

It ia true! What a waste of a position. I think he's the brother-in-law of retired Chief Moore. He does the DWI Patrol every week. He's a top paid cop, with a NO-Show Job.

March 3, 2010 at 7:18 PM 
Blogger Andrew J. Bernstein said...

BTW Patrick,
I also model men's briefs and wristwatches.

March 4, 2010 at 12:49 AM 
Blogger demroc said...

3.2.7. Employee counseling. The Human Resources Administrator
shall provide City employees counseling and
information regarding City benefits and personnel
policies. ( so when a commissioner goes and askes for legal advice, he is, one: an employee and should be helped by the attorney and, two: he was asking the attorney for help regarding questions pertaining to this topic, benefits and what the policy was regarding their termination) specific questions regarding The Administrator shall provide guidance and
assistance to each City department and its employees
through orientation and information sessions."

3.2.10. Grievance. The Human Resources Administrator shall
provide advice and counsel to employees and TO DEPARTMENT HEADS on ALL matters regarding personnel policy and administration,
and shall coordinate any grievance process.

3.7. Public information.
The Mayor shall establish policies and procedures to assist
persons in obtaining accessible public records and public
information. (not hiring lawyer to fight foil requests)

8.1. City Attorney.
There shall be a City Attorney who shall report to the Council
regarding all legal matters affecting the City. The Mayor shall
appoint the City Attorney, and the Council shall establish his or
her compensation. The City Attorney shall serve as general
legal advisor and shall be responsible for providing legal
services and guidance to the City and ALL its departments and
entities. (not only did he drop the ball as human resource director, he failed to provide legal determinations, as the city attorney, that were requested by DPW) The City Attorney shall maintain regular and updated
records and shall report to the Council on the progress of all
legal matters conducted by or on behalf of the City, as required.

hey, what did you ever find out about the selling of the casino?

March 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM 
Blogger demroc said...

nice, you got the video pat. one thing in the article that struck me as odd, where in the chareter does it say that the appointing authority has to deliver the notices. i was looking at it and here is what i found, in the charter.

.role of the human resources director

"J. Official appointments. The Mayor shall make the
following appointments: The City Attorney, in accordance
with Section 8.1 of this Charter, and members of the City
Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Design Review
Commission, Urban Heritage Program Board, Housing
Authority Board of Directors, and Recreation Commission.
Such appointments shall be pursuant to Civil Service Law
and the Public Authorities Law."

"3.2. Human Resources Administrator.
There shall be a Human Resources Administrator under the
direction of the Mayor. The Mayor shall, in accordance with
Civil Service Law, appoint the Human Resources Administrator.
The Administrator shall be a qualified professional in the
field of human resources, and shall be appointed on the basis of
education and experience in human resources work in a like
The Human Resources Administrator shall be responsible for
providing all City departments and entities with the following

"3.2.4. Personnel policies. The Human Resources Administrator
shall develop personnel policies that shall be
forwarded to the Council for adoption or modification
upon the Mayor’s review and approval.(at what point was this policy forwarded to the council?) If the Council
fails to act, then policies shall stand as submitted by the
Mayor. Such policies shall address, but not to be limited
to, such issues as: discrimination, recruitment, hiring,
TERMINATION, harassment, outside employment, vacation
and personal time, benefits, contract administration,
discipline, and other appropriate matters. Po licies
adopted by the Council shall be effective throughout all
City departments and entities, and be consistent with
collective bargaining agreements and Civil Service Law."

"3.2.6. Employee assistance program . The Human
Resources Administrator shall develop a comprehensive
employee assistance program in consultation with
appropriate labor representative to address the health
and welfare of City employees. The program shall be
sent to the Council for modification and adoption.

March 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM 

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