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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, June 27

Finally, clarity

Ok, I guess I messed up and never published this. My bad. I wrote it June 29, the week after I was lambasted for "incorrectly" reporting SSHA Director Ed Spychalski's salary for months. I kept saying it was $152. Here's the June 21 post I wrote about the criticism I received.

Anyway, I was just going to edit a post (typo not content) and I noticed that I never published this post. So here it is. Sorry for the delay and if everyone has lost interest.

I'm sure most people are getting fatigued at the constant SSHA news. I know I am, and that is a bad sign.

However, I finally wanted to set the record straight on Executive Director Ed Spychalski's salary, which I was even a little soft on a definition for as of last week (*that is, last week when I originally wrote this in June).

His salary for 2011, according to the latest figure which I must say makes the most sense, was $144,921. That was base. Then, to get to that $151,956 number, you need to calculate in the one-time 5 percent merit-based bonus, cited in SSHA Chairman Eric Weller's correction to his Compliance and Communication response to the City Council.

At last week's SSHA meeting, I heard Accountant Cindy Gaugler reference "that 5 percent" when I was being attacked for misstating his salary as $152k.

Doing some of the math on my phone, just to make sure I was right, I made sure that would equal roughly the difference between his base and his ultimate compensation and viola!

However, that was dismissed when I asked about it as inaccurate and explained through the terms of mileage, healthcare costs and partial bonuses that I referenced in the blog post at that time.

Now we see what it is, once and for all. Without the bonus, thus, he is being paid $144,921 in the fiscal year starting July 1... unless he gets more bonuses.

And anyway, I still feel comfortable saying he made $152k in 2011, so I will, rather than explain the various ways I've heard it explained that he made $7k more than his salary.

Stay Classy, and sorry again for the delay, Saratoga.

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The city website's new brand of awesome.

Note: My previous post on this topic was deleted by Blogger, so sorry if this one is shorter and angrier, as things almost always are when I write them for a second time.

I may be a nerd (if you ask Online Editor Emily Donohue, I'm sure she'll make a good case why), but the new graphically-inclined (as in graphs, not graphics, though there are some of those too) section of the city's website is just plain cool.

It was created by Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan and has all the finance documents you could want, but also a series of interactive graphs that you can customize for what information you are looking for.

Here's a fuzzy screenshot:

For instance, I just found out that the Indoor Rec Facility's rental fees brought in $93,275 in 2011, representing .2365 percent of the overall revenue to the city that year and 10.2 percent of the Recreation Department's revenue.

Hell, I also found out that the city brought in zero dollars in its fly fishing clinic, something I didn't even know existed!

So if you are a graph/city finance geek like myself, check it out.

Mayoral Commission on Charter Change

"Not yet..." Mayor Scott Johnson told me a week or two ago when I asked him if he was going to be making his statement about whether to form a mayoral commission for charter change.

When I asked him about it shortly after Saratoga Citizen's proposal was voted on by the City Council, he was non-committal but said that he would be making a statement about it in the near future (at that point).

If he creates a charter change commission and it comes up with suggestions for change before the November ballot (I think two months before), it will bump the proposed Saratoga Citizen change off.

I previously had thought that would mean voters would weigh-in on the Saratoga Citizen brand of charter change next year, but SC Organizer Pat Kane told me recently that is not the case. He says it means SC charter change goes away (at least until they circulate another petition).

Anyway, I can't imagine that the big announcement will be that he will not be forming a charter change commission, but I've been wrong about these things before. Maybe he just likes to keep us all in suspense.

I'd ask him again today, but I've left him three messages in three days to talk about the SSHA and I haven't heard back.

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Tuesday, June 26

This, also, is not the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority's website *With brief update*

But this is

After months of being down for undisclosed technical difficulties, the website is back up and running as of this morning.

At the top of the site is a disclosure stating the website is still under construction (which accounts for a few of the typos), but it does have new messages from the director, the mayor, and has minutes up from meetings up through May.

Members of the Board of Commissioners have stressed that there will be more transparency and more information than the previous site, which still had information from 2007 when it went down earlier this year.


I just want to give credit where credit is due.

The new website of the SSHA is far more useful than its previous incarnation.

It has a lot of interesting info on there (including the budget, which I'll be dissecting over the next few days) and is well put together. By all accounts, it is the work of Ken Ivins.

The minor typo I referred to in yesterday's blog was overshadowed, in my mind, by the improvement to the rest of the site. It definitely puts a (badly needed) "transparency" feather in their cap.

*End of update, please resume your previously posted blog*

In other SSHA news, below is the letter from the SSHA Board of Commissioners to the City Council in response to their compliance and communication letter sent to the SSHA in mid-May (also posted below, as a draft, but I don't think they changed it much).

I haven't really had a chance to parse through it all yet, but I will, and will be writing a story about it for tomorrow's paper (or tonight's website, if you like).

If it appears on your computer as a small box, click to make it full screen to read it (sorry for the technical difficulties).

Compliance and Communication Plan:

Compliance Communication Plan SSHA-DRAFT CCM 05-15-12(1)

Response to the above plan:
SSHA Response 06-21-12

I just received a correction to the response above regarding salaries he referenced. Here is that correction:

SSHA Letter 6-21-12 Correction

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Friday, June 22

Responses to comments on the most recent SSHA story

Good comments to most of the recent Anonymous posts on my last blog post (the ones I actually posted). It's the kind of civic dialogue I think comments are there to promote.

So on to the points raised.

To the first anonymous who quoted the TU article (I actually had the same quotes from Eric Weller in an article or two I wrote. He made them at the City Council meeting on the big screen.)

His/her point was:
As we understand it, Chairman Weller has said in recent days that the Authority may resist HUD's new salary guidelines. Not long ago he was quoted in the following TU story saying that the SSHA was not subject to City or State law, but only followed HUD rules and regs. So is he now saying that the Authority will violate HUD regulations.

Yes, Weller did call into question how HUD would enforce their measures and I know they set aside extra money in the legal fees area of the budget for “possible litigation” with the board, though they would not elaborate on what for. I will be addressing it when I write about the
It will be interesting to see where the mayor's office, and indeed the city council as a whole, will end up on this when they receive the response to their Compliance and Communication letter (my feeling is they will get more of the latter than the former, but since I have received neither on my requests for their response, I'll have to wait and see).

Points from Anonymous #s 2 and 3 which I think are the same person.
The comments were:

Mrs. S. passionately states her husband did not take "a.....penny" for his work with the affordable housing group but the former chair says Ed got a $5,000 bonus for that work. Have I got that right? And why is he getting paid mileage when he was given a car? Actually he maybe not only was given a truck but apparently he (or maybe a member of his family?) had use also of that Jeep with the mysterious EZ Pass that if I recall was Ed's personal pass put on an Authority car. Any way you add it up Ed is more than generously compensated.

Mrs. S. says that, yes. Dennis Brunelle said otherwise, but he said so before it had become an issue.

Co-mingling their funds is a big no-no. I'm not an accountant, so I can't tell what's ok and what's not, but I did raise the issue when I spoke to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. He said he had not heard from his auditors about the non-profit, Saratoga Affordable Housing Group, but that
he would direct them to investigate the potential co-mingling of the funds.

Early on, when we were questioning the board about Ed Spychalski's salary, Brunelle justified his huge pay increases, in part, through his work at the SAHG, saying that if they had to pay a developer for that there would be a hefty fee, so really they were saving money.

Then, of course, came the letters from employees of the SSHA, including Spychalski, all saying the same thing: “It was all volunteer time.”

From beginning to end it seems like the story changed, but I guess the audit will be the ultimate decider.

As for mileage, I'm told he only has the mileage covered when he is officially working, not when he drives to and from work with the taxpayer funded truck. That mileage he is taxed on.

The next comment was:
On a different but related topic. I understand Callucci and Ivins, the Mayor's
appointees, voted to add $7,000 to the SSHA travel/training item in the budget
bringing the total up from $15,000 to $22,000. This seems like a lot but I'm
wondering what other agencies of this size spend on this. Any idea?

I don't know what other ones make, but the $7k addition was a compromise. The line item was initially cut from $30,000 to $15,000. Ken Ivins pointed out that it was one of the areas they were criticized and suggested initially not raising the $15k at all.

One of the other members of the board --Johanna Dushlek – said with three new members on the board they shouldn't cut back on conferences and other development opportunities and suggested bringing it back up to $30,000. While I don't know how much other organizations spend on these conferences, they are always in places like Las Vegas or Orlando, so it's probably not cheap. Interesting point, though, I'll look into it.

Keep up the intelligent, informed commenting. If you have questions that I haven't addressed, post them and I'll review them so that next time I talk to the board or Spychalski, I can ask them. And of course, keep the comments classy, Saratoga.


Thursday, June 21

This is not the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority's website

However, that site, located at is supposed to be up imminently, according to the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority Board of Commissioners — in particular their go-to computer guy Kenneth Ivins, who owns (is) Ivins Computer Consulting.

Ivins says he is working on the site, which has been down for months (I heard on the down-low a while back that the site was hacked, though I never saw any proof one way or another). He said it should be up in the next week, possibly by Monday or Tuesday, and that it will have a lot more information on it than the previous site hosted.

That was one of a few loose ends I wanted to report on for the SSHA.

Another is the salary issue. I was berated during the public comment period at Thursday's meeting. First, one resident asked a general question about newspapers, but referred to my Wednesday article about new HUD guidelines. "Why do they have to keep crucifying him in the paper?" she asked.

Spychalski's wife also addressed me, saying "I expect you can print an accurate salary," after pointing out that her husband did not receive "a god damn penny" for his work at the Saratoga Affordable Housing Group.

Anyway, I figured I'd take the time to address what some see as a misrepresentation of Ed Spychalski's salary.

I (and every other paper reporting on the SSHA) write that Spychalski made $152,000 in 2011.

In fact, according to members of the SSSHA Board of Commissioners, his base salary was roughly $145,000 ($144,921 as reported today at the SSHA meeting) in 2011.

However, he took home $151,956 in fiscal year 2011, according to Civil Service records.

The difference of those two numbers still evades me. I was told initially by then-chairman of the SSHA board Dennis Brunelle the difference was due to a $5,000 bonus he was paid for his work with the Saratoga Affordable Housing Group (which some have said is improper to begin with), but adding those doesn't make $152,000.

I was also told it represents salary plus his compensation for mileage, but the numbers I've seen for mileage don't add up either.

Now I'm told that the bonus was spread over two years, that mileage is involved, but only some of it, and somehow his health plan may also be involved in compensation.

Anyway, I've not gone with the $145,000 number because it seemed misleading, since he took home $44 shy of $152,000 in compensation in 2011.

I reported it in mid-March, but I did so briefly and vaguely, again because Brunelle told me the difference between Spychalski's $144k-and-some-change base salary was the $5,000 bonus and that math doesn't add to $151,956.

In the end, I trust the numbers I can check. According to an operating budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2012, Spychalski's salary rate is listed as $151,956, so that is where I am going to stay for that year.

However, I will note that the $144k number is supposedly in the 2013 budget (starting July 1). They told me it is $144,921, but I've heard one closer to $144k than $145k, so I'll need to check the budget when the website is up.

Stay classy Saratoga (particularly in the comments).

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Wednesday, June 20

Remember politics?

Sometimes campaigns just put out statements to keep their candidate's name in the news... and by sometimes I mean often.

Today I received a release from Kathy Marchione's campaign for the 43rd Senate seat currently held by Roy McDonald.

The race for the Republican line has already been contentious with strange phantom endorsements in their race to the right.

Today's statement from the Marchione camp is also about a phantom vote.

Responding to a New York Post report by Fred Dicker, Marchione blasted the politics-as-usual back-door deals that she suspects are happening (and probably with good reason, knowing Albany) where word is legislators have been discussing giving themselves a raise (wish I could do that).

"This is typical Albany: secret meetings and shady deals that we don't know about until leaked," she said in a statement. "If Albany politicians want to give themselves a raise, they should propose the idea publicly prior to the election but I for one don't believe one is warranted."

Pointing to high taxes and unemployment and the sentencing of "yet another state senator" for tax evasion, Marchione said she thinks the last thing that politicians need is a raise (here here).

Then comes the political plug: "
Roy McDonald needs to clearly and publicly promise that he will not go along with this proposal," she said in the last line of the release.

And so he did (when I asked his campaign manager).

"Senator McDonald has consistently expressed his opposition to pay raises for legislators," said McDonald spokesman Mike Veitch, who then upped the ante. "He's even gone as far to say that the amount of time spent in Albany, along with pay, should be reduced."

I personally think they should pay us, but I don't know if that would pass in either chamber.

Anyway, not a bad thing to get McDonald on-record with opposing the imminent pay raise... if that's even happening.

Until next time, stay classy Saratoga [and I don't know if John Tighe stole that from me (who stole that from Anchorman) but I'm launching an official inquiry].

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Thursday, June 14

Jim Murphy's day with The Prince

Well, it seems that all you have to do in the blogosphere is ask and ye shall receive.

Yesterday I posted about a star-studded press conference in the legislative office building in Albany for Animal Advocacy Day. In it, I mentioned that A) I wanted a picture of some of the stars and B) I wanted to know how Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III felt about being in the presence of the stars, who included:

"Prince Lorenzo Borghese, an entrepreneur and New York City-based animal advocate who is best known as the featured Bachelor from season 9 of the hit ABC reality show, The Bachelor, Laura LaFrate an animal advocate from Scotia who was the runner-up on this season of America’s Next Top Model, and acting dog Bocker the Labradoodle, who has appeared in Men in Black 3, Eat Pray Love and War of the Worlds"

Well today, I got both. Here is a picture Murphy sent me:

And the following is his account of his day in the Capital that he wrote while on a train on the way to New York City (this may be this blog's best post ever):

Upon arriving at the Legislative Office Bldg (LOB) for Animal Advocacy Day, I was shown into a private room just off the cavernous 3 story lobby of the LOB (aka "the well") where they had a VIP room of sorts. I wondered if they had mistaken me for someone else and I was accidentally being shown into this room, after all there were about 100 assembly-persons and senators just down the hall. Inside this room, there were 3 people. A woman I had only met "virtually" on-line, Julie Ann, a tireless advocate for animal rights, who volunteers her time for Assemblyman Jim Tedisco. We have Facebooked, and emailed each other about animal rights legislative issues and a bit about Animal Advocacy Day; a woman Marie Shelto, handler for the famous dog Bocker, who appeared in Men in Black 3, Eat Pray Love and War of the Worlds ( Bocker is a Labradoodle, probably the smartest guy in the room and the most well behaved. Bocker has an agent, and a whole entourage who he had given the day off) , and then of course, the Prince.

He is a handsome guy who you couldn't take a bad picture of if you tried. Royal, wealthy and reeked "coolness." I was definitely in the wrong room. Although having lived with royalty for 16 years (two teenage daughters) I was still quite ill at ease. Do you say "Good morning Your Highness", "Hi Prince Borghesi," "How do you do Prince Lorenzo?
" I settled on a firm hand shake and good eye contact and a "Good Morning, I'm Jim Murphy"... he saved the day, he said "Hi, I'm Lorenzo."

What followed was a half hour conversation with one of the nicest most down to earth guys you'd ever want to meet. No pretense, no airs, no affectation. He was just like you and me, except Pope Paul V gave his family most everything south of Rome for 200 miles in 1600 and bestowed royal titles on them. Who doesn't have their coat of arms emblazoned on the front of St. Peter's Basilica? I discovered in the time we chatted that he is a true animal advocate first and willing to work to make a difference. He had followed the case of Ann Arnold through the press; the Greenfield woman who had been convicted of failing to provide sustenance for her 17 horses and he was glad of the outcome. He was curious about the state of NY's laws. Lorenzo was astonished that under our current law we could not bar someone from having pets in the future if they were convicted of animal abuse and he wants to make that a priority in NY, with stiff jail sentences too.

It is clear he is an animal lover and deeply committed to this cause. I applaud him for his outstanding work by assisting us with his name and influence to get Albany to understand the importance of tough penalties for animal abusers.

Lorenzo has teamed with Animal Aids’ veterinary partners for low-cost spay and neuter services in low income areas throughout the United States and uses his business, Borghese’s Royal Pet Club to donate $2 from every new customer purchase and five percent of profits from Royal Treatment pet care products to support a spay/neuter program throughout the country .

Borghese said, "I was compelled to join the Animal Advocacy event to help bring awareness to the plight of abused animals … and to be … a voice for the voiceless. We must come together to end all abuse of our innocent and loving animal friends. I am continually shocked that our great nation hasn't implemented strict, uniform laws to stop the horrific abuse occurring daily. It is my intention to bring awareness to this issue and help get tougher laws implemented.”

At that it was time for us to go to the "well,
" the press event had begun. I know that animals are better off because of his work and his support. I know it was a pleasure meeting him and animal rights advocates are lucky to have him on our side.

James A. Murphy, III

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Wednesday, June 13

Dog Day morning

I really hope someone takes some pictures of today's press conference with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) and Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson).

Both politicians have been involved in drafting legislation for tougher laws on animal abusers and they're getting together for Animal Advocacy Day, so of course their dogs will be in attendance — Tedisco's Corgie Amazing Grace aka Gracie (nicely done, sir, how 'bout a picture next time. I have a soft-spot for corgies — I know county reporter Michael Cignoli is with me on that) and Ball's dog Hannah.

But those dogs won't be the only unusual appearances at a political event.Also in attendance will be (and from here I'll just let the press release take over):
"Prince Lorenzo Borghese, an entrepreneur and New York City-based animal advocate who is best known as the featured Bachelor from season 9 of the hit ABC reality show, The Bachelor, Laura LaFrate an animal advocate from Scotia who was the runner-up on this season of America’s Next Top Model, and acting dog Bocker the Labradoodle, who has appeared in Men in Black 3, Eat Pray Love and War of the Worlds"
I know politics makes strange bed-fellows, but wow. (Yes, those are his links.)

To give credit where credit is due, also slated to be in attendance are:
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester)
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan)
Steve Caporizzo of Pet Connection
County District Attorney Kathleen Rice
Schenectady County District Attorney Bob Carney, who prosecuted the case
that inspired Buster’s felony animal cruelty law
County District Attorney Jim Murphy (I'll have to ask him about being star-struck by Bocker the labradoodle)
Hundreds of pet owners, animal supporters, rescues, shelters, veterinarians

The event, for those who can't miss the action, is Wednesday, June 13th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Well of the Legislative Office Building in Albany, NY. The speaking program, which will be emceed by Steve Caporizzo, from Pet Connection, will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Exciting update!
I found a picture of Gracie on a flier for the event:

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Tuesday, June 5

Last Call politics (Updated)

I wish I could say I wouldn't have to write about last call again, but it seems clear I'm going to have to for the rest of the year as the issue moves through the Board of Supervisors and then to the State Liquor Authority.

Interesting vote Tuesday night. Read the story (and watch a video of two opposing viewpoints) here.

One particularly interesting aspect was Michele Madigan's political move in essentially not taking a stance. "I'm in favor of moving this to the county to decide," she said.

In fact, she cited my article... well, the first sentence of my article which reads as follows:
"The City Council is slated to vote Tuesday night on changing last call at local bars to 3 a.m," which she denounced as wrong.

"We're not voting on changing last call here," she said. "That's not what we're doing here."

She clearly didn't read sentence # 2 which stated, and I quote:

"After the City Council vote, the measure would need to go to the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors for approval. If approved there, it would still need to go to the New York State Liquor Authority Board for approval."

She said she did not want to tell the county to make the change county wide, but (maybe didn't read) the resolution she voted to endorse said:
"WHEREAS, this City Council recognizes that its partner, the County of Saratoga Board of Supervisors, has the sole authority to enact a measure to constrain the adverse effects on the public and City employees tasked with protecting the public associated with the on-premises sale of alcoholic beverages, that measure being the county-wide change in the time of last call from 4 a.m. to 3 a.m."
Below is the full resolution, if anyone out there is interested in reading it. While Madigan did not want to take a stand on last call issues, she did, since she voted to approve the below resolution:

WHEREAS, the Saratoga Springs City Council has great appreciation for the historic
and contemporary resort nature of Saratoga Springs as a destination for rest, relaxation,
nightlife, and entertainment, and

WHEREAS, this City Council has a responsibility to protect the public health, safety and
welfare from adverse effects associated with the on-premises sale of alcoholic
beverages at establishments licensed to sell such beverages within the City of Saratoga
Springs, and

WHEREAS, this City Council has taken numerous measures to constrain the adverse
effects on the public and City employees tasked with protecting the public associated
with the on-premises sale of alcoholic beverages at establishments licensed to sell such
beverages within the City of Saratoga Springs, and

WHEREAS, this City Council will continue to work with local proprietors to constrain the
adverse effects on the public and City employees tasked with protecting the public
associated with the on-premises sale of alcoholic beverages at establishments licensed
to sell such beverages within the City of Saratoga Springs, and;

WHEREAS, this City Council recognizes that its partner, the County of Saratoga
Springs Board of Supervisors, has the sole authority to exercise one measure to
constrain the adverse effects on the public and City employees tasked with protecting
the public associated with the on-premises sale of alcoholic beverages, that measure
being the county-wide change in the time of last call from 4:00 AM to 3:00 AM;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Saratoga Springs City Council asks
Saratoga County Board of Supervisors to support a law that will change the permitted
hours of on-premises sales of alcoholic beverages at retail in the City of Saratoga
Springs, prohibiting such sales on Sundays from 3:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon, and on any
other day from 3:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M.

AYES: 3 (I filled this in)

Madigan called me this evening to explain her stance on last call in the county and the vote she cast Tuesday night.

"I just want to see this issue solved once and for all," she said, adding she did not think it was "politics as usual" as my tag indicates.
"I’m completely disinterested in this issue, and the county needs to solve it or this issue is going to keep coming up year after year after year," she said.
"All I wanted to do was kick it to the county," she said. "If the county board of Supervisors wants to change last call, fine."

Madigan, though, said she thinks the issue was being rushed.

"I think the bar owners are working with the city hand-in-hand," she said. "I personally feel the city needs to give bar owners more time to see if their efforts pay off."
"This is a divisive issue. Somebody needs to look at it once and for all."
She said she was divided on the issue, but she was in favor of the county deciding. "Last night was a tough vote for me," she said.

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Monday, June 4

More than one way to skin a cat (with a short update)

Over the weekend, I wrote a story about how bar owners are trying to address some of the issues raised by Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen regarding late night on Caroline Street.

In the course of talking to Mathiesen about some of the ways the bar owners and he have been dealing with last call issues, he brought up an interesting proposal which I had never heard before, though he said it was something he has discussed previously.

He has been looking at some way to have bars and clubs which are open past a certain time pay a fee for the cost to the city of policing the area. Mathiesen said he brought it up to bar and club owners in January.

"We need to look at ways of cutting those costs," he said, citing police overtime expenses and the number of police it takes to handle large crowds late at night.

*The next paragraph is the short update. I neglected to include this to begin with, but it was part of Mathiesen's argument. It seemed to speak to a couple of the comments that came in overnight and this morning. I meant to include it the first time but it slipped my mind. My apologies (And by the way, I don't particularly mind people leaving the same comment five times, but it doesn't mean it will get posted any sooner, I need to review them first and for good reason).

Mathiesen pointed out that special events — such as the Saratoga Race Track, 5k races and other things that require special police details — already have to pay extra fees for emergency services. Last year, for instance, according to Saratoga Assistant Fire Chief Peter Shaw, the around 38 percent of the Fire Department's overtime costs were reimbursed by special contracts. I don't have the figures at this point for how much police overtime was taken care of through reimbursements.

Bar and club owners have said that rolling last call back an hour — which is supposed to be voted on at tomorrow's City Council meeting (though it will then need to go to the county and then the state) — would hurt their bottom dollar significantly.

"If they are making that much money then they can certainly pay the cost for having police downtown," he said. In the past he said it amounted to welfare for the businesses because it costs the city more money for police than they bring in through sales tax.

At least two bar owners, though, have not heard of that plan — at least not substantially.

"It was a brief, couple minute discussion," said Tom Clancy, owner of (surprise, surprise) Clancy's Tavern on Caroline Street. But he said it was dropped after no one could come up with a way to ensure that it went specifically to late-night policing and overtime, not just to the general fund.

John Baker, owner of Gaffney's, remembers things a little differently. As he recalls, the discussion (which he too said was brief and ended with the general fund question) was about having a fee tacked on to cabaret licenses, which are necessary for any business wanting live music, and it was modest (he said $250).

Baker, though, said he wants numbers on how much police overtime is spent late at night and how it correlates to the time of last call.

"As a business person, I'll pay my fair share, but I don't want to be penalized for being legally open," he said.

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Friday, June 1

Not letting people vote is generally not a popular decision.

And cue the political fallout:

Wednesday night, John "Jasper" Nolan told me there would be no Saratoga County GOP Committee endorsement because they did not want people outside the 43rd Senate District voting.

Instead, the previous Friday, he declared Roy McDonald the winner based on 59 percent of the Saratoga County GOP Committee members WITHIN THE 43RD SENATE DISTRICT voting for Sen. McDonald.

Nolan said it made more sense than having the entire committee -- half of which (Clifton Park, Ballston, Charlton, Milton, Galway, Providence, Edinburg, Corinth, Hadley and Day) will not eventually be included in the 43rd district -- vote on the endorsement.

He said those on "the other side" want the whole committee to vote on who the Saratoga GOP Committee endorses, something he called "kind of crazy."

By "other side" I took him to mean supporters of Kathy Marchione, the other Republican candidate running for the 43rd District, not Democrats.

Thursday, Chairman of the Wilton GOP Committee Scott Kingsly said he is "deeply troubled by and disappointed in the leadership of Chairman Nolan by his recent decision not to call a meeting of the Saratoga County Republican Committee."

Perhaps most intriguing about this statement is the fact that Kingsley says he personally supports McDonald, meaning the lack of a vote is not just alienating those on "the other side" but also those who were on Nolan's.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.

Later in the day, the Marchione camp shot off a press release welcoming Nolan's withdrawal of "fraudulent McDonald Endorsement."

I forwarded that release to McDonald's camp and asked for a reply, but haven't heard back yet.

“After the events of the past week, I think it’s more apparent than ever that we need to have a fair and open meeting to decide who our party will support for State Senate,”
Marchione said in the release. She is now calling for "a fair and open meeting of the Saratoga County Republican Committee."

She then said McDonald should want to join her in the process, after "previously embrac(ing) the fraudulent endorsement and the backroom politics behind it.
"This is Saratoga County, not Albany. That doesn't sell here," she said.

Here's the release from Kingsley.

(Wilton, NY, May 31, 2012). Today, Scott Kingsley, chair of the Republican Committee in the town of Wilton, responds to media reports that Jasper Nolan is refusing to call a meeting of the Saratoga County Republican Committee to endorse a candidate in the 43rd State Senate race.
“I am deeply troubled by and disappointed in the leadership of Chairman Nolan by his recent decision not to call a meeting of the Saratoga County Republican Committee.
As a personal supporter of Senator McDonald, I am offended that I will not be able to represent my election district and formally verbalize that support in terms of a vote. As the chairman of the entire Wilton delegation, I have a duty to protect against the disenfranchisement of the majority of my colleagues that support Kathy Marchione.
While there is a disagreement between the two parties as per process of such a meeting, because the written rules are silent, standard Robert’s rules of Order suggests that the entire body vote on the rules.
It is unfortunate that democracy within the Saratoga County Republican Committee takes it on the chin before Chairman Nolan loses a vote. Because of the chairman’s actions, bringing the party together after the primary will even be harder. I am afraid that this primary may become more about party leadership than any particular issue (sic).”

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