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

Tuesday, January 31

Blogging or lack thereof

Remember the days when I used to blog? For those of you who don't, I think I'm with you-- it seems like a lifetime ago.

Believe you-me, it's not because I don't like to blog. Indeed, it's a lot easier than writing a story — unfortunately, lately if I want to blog that would mean a story does not get written.

For those who don't know, we've been down a reporter ever since Suzanna Lourie left us. Add to that another reporter's January schedule which seems to have more vacation days than working days and you get an equation that equals a dead blog (and an unprecedented amount of overtime at The Saratogian).

What is particularly terrible about that situation, is there has been a lot to blog about.

For instance, I started a blog post (which will appear at the bottom of this blog post) two weeks ago and didn't finish it. In fact, I stopped in the middle of a sentence. I don't remember why. Undoubtedly I had to run off to a meeting, accident, fire, scandal, investigate an anonymous tip, etc.

But I want to ensure the world wide web out there, I will return to cyberspace with a vengeance whenever my workload slows enough to allow it.

But here, to at least give the loyal dozen or so people who still check in on the blog from time to time a little something to read, here is a two-week old blog I finally found time to finish.

11:39 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 17. City Hall.
Mayor Scott Johnson sat in his desk, loosened his tie and said "If I heard it once I heard it 1,000 times about the need for transparency in government. Is that what happened here tonight?"

Johnson seemed to be the last person in the City Council chambers earlier that night to know that the vote was coming on assigning the Fire Department to take over ambulance transport service in the city.

"I haven't decided that yet," the mayor said moments before the vote. "Am I the alone here in terms of not understanding this was going to be the vote this evening? We have a lot of unresolved issues that have been raised even tonight."

After a pregnant silence, Accounts Commissioner John Franck responded. "It was my understanding, going into tonight, that it wasn't a definite answer that we were going to vote on this this evening, but after the workshop I feel that the votes are there and that isn't going to change.

Franck said "I think everyone has some unanswered questions," but voted for the measure provided there was a "sunset clause" that would require the City Council to vote to continue with the program after a two-year trial period.

And despite the mayor's opposition to the plan, (here's where I stopped) the council passed the fire department's takeover of EMS service at a vote that came after deadline (11 p.m. — our print story said the vote was coming).

Mathiesen, days later, responded to Johnson's claims. "There was nothing opaque about the vote," he said. He pointed out it had been on the agenda. It wasn't a late add.

However, I will point out that in a conversation the day before with Deputy Commissioner Eileen Finneran, she said the vote was "just to get the ball rolling," on the fire department taking EMS over.

"The ball is rolling," Johnson said. "In fact the ball is gone."

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