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Wednesday, October 24

In this corner...

Things were testy at the City Council Tuesday night as Public Works Commissioner Anthony "Skip" Scirocco requested (demanded) money be restored to his budget.

Scirocco said layoffs are coming if he doesn't get $127,231 back in his budget, as I laid out in the story yesterday, but Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan disagrees. If you want all of that back and forth, read the story.

Madigan pointed out that his budget was already up by $311,541 over last year's budget (3.6 percent).

In the comprehensive budget, contracted services are up $178,663.32, equipment was up $111,000, and retirement and health insurance went up by $107,121. The only thing down was personal services, including labor, which dropped by $85,243. He said all of his costs, gasoline, utilities, materials, are up and "we still have to provide a service to the public."

Of course, the arguments Tuesday were on more than just those issues, but for that, let's go to the video:

There was the dispute about whether a $175,000 increase would impact the tax rate. Madigan said it would. Scirocco said he didn't believe it.

"You don't believe it will increase taxes?" she asked.

Then there was the argument about how Scirocco made his request. In the beginning of the workshops, Madigan said she would  only accept budget adjustment requests if commissioners filled out a form she provided. She argued with the mayor about it during his budget workshop and last night Scirocco said she wouldn't be receiving one from him.

"If you would like your changes to be added to this spreadsheet, I'm sure I will get them in the format I requested. Thank you," Madigan said over Scirocco.

"You already got them. You're welcome," Scirocco replied.

At that point, behind Scirocco, Deputy DPW Commissioner Tim Cogan said said something that included — quite clearly — the word "bullshit."

Madigan simply said "I don't appreciate the language from your deputy. Thank you." 

Don't let the "Thank yous" and "You're welcomes" fool you, those aren't the two words they wanted to direct toward each other.

Later in the meeting, Cogan stood up in front of the council and apologized for his language, saying "it comes out of this frustration with this whole budgeting process."

Later I asked Madigan if she'd accept the changes as submitted, she said "I think I can understand them. I wouldn't be that petty."

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 24, 2012 at 8:33 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

skeletons from her past? women with power and authority seem to bother you. So what. You are no one and she is the finance commish. Give me a break.

October 25, 2012 at 1:16 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

Sorry, I didn't read that first comment closely enough. In it, there was a crude attack on Madigan's intelligence. I'll edit it, because other than that I think it's an appropriate comment.

From anonymous at 8:33 p.m. Oct. 4:

Again Madigan is proof that she is a puppet of John Franck. He puts her up to challenge the republicans and she *Doesn't know enough* to know better. I guess maybe Franck knows some of the skeletons that she has from her past. He is in the hot seat with the taxpayers by using selective assessments to help out his friends and himself. So Madigan is doing his dirty work. Failure to do so will expose the truth!

October 25, 2012 at 4:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucian,

Perhaps some of the Public Works labor line could be increased if the Council took a closer look at other expenditures.

Case in point. The mayor's budgets for "outside" legal services. Need to justify his expenditures here and ask for a periodic report on the outcomes of these cases (see below).

Law Firms Hired during January 2010 – June 2011

The following law firms (excepting those referenced in Overview) were retained by the City Council to provide various legal services. These firms were hired based on actions of the City Council reported in Council meeting minutes.

• Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hufner, LLC, to provide legal services to City land use boards, $160/hr., $20,000 yearly cap, Motion 10-13, Jan. 19, 2010

• Bailey, Kelleher & Johnson, to advise City Council on City Attorney Scala’s workplace violence incident, $170/hr., $1,000 cap, Feb. 16, 2010

• Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hufner, LLC, to provide legal services to City regarding zoning ordinance amendments, $160/hr., $4,295 cap, Motion 10-186, June 6, 2010

• Unidentified “outside counsel” to provide oversight of defense team in Anderson v. City trial. Council authorizes the mayor to retain counsel at $200/hr., cap at $5,000. June 15, 2010

• Harris Beach, Mayor failed to properly requisition for monthly retainer fee of $10,000 for period Feb. 2010 through June 2010 for “general labor advice.” To honor the $10,000 invoice Johnson had to go to the Council. Franck voted against the expenditure because “proper procedure was not followed.”

• Fitzgerald, Morris, Baker, and Firth at $170 per hour, no cap, to provide the City with legal counsel on the recent actions undertaken by the Civil Service Commission in modifying the job responsibilities and abilities within the Building Department. Motion 10-219, July 26, 2010

• Fitzgerald, Morris, Baker, and Firth at $170 per hour, no cap, to provide the City with legal counsel on the recent actions undertaken by the City Civil Service Commission in restricting the ability of the assistant building inspectors to issue building permits. Motion 10-220, July 26, 2010

• Fitzgerald, Morris, Baker, and Firth, LLC at $200 per hour, no cap referenced, to defend the City in an Article 78 proceeding, matter of Saratoga Citizen, Inc., against John P. Franck, City Clerk of the City of Saratoga Springs, Motion 10-265, August

• Brown and Weinraub as legal counsel for the proposed charter revision at $200 per hour, no cap referenced, and this will come out of his self-insured retention fund. Motion 10-222, July 26, 2010

• Fitzgerald, Morris, Baker, and Firth, LLC at $200 per hour to defend the City in an Article 78 proceeding in the Matter of Saratoga Citizen, Inc., against John P. Franck, City Clerk of the City of Saratoga Springs, Motion 10-265, August 25, 2010

• Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hufner, LLC, to provide legal services to City land use boards, $160/hr., $20,000 yearly cap, Motion 11-23, Jan. 18, 2011

• Discussion and Vote: Right to Appeal from Saratoga Citizen vs. the City of Saratoga Springs Court Decision, Motion 11-51, Feb. 15, 2011, no firm named, no $ amount specified. Mayor Johnson moved and Commissioner Wirth seconded to give the mayor permission and authorization to direct outside legal counsel to file a notice of appeal by February 17, 2011 in the matter of Saratoga Citizen, Inc. vs. the City of Saratoga Springs.

• Discussion and Vote: Permission to Perfect Appeal in Saratoga Citizen vs. Franck and Saratoga Springs. Motion 11-81, March 15, 2011. Mayor Johnson moved and Commissioner Wirth seconded to proceed with the appeal as filed; to perfect the appeal and present it to the Appellate Court for determination, no specific firm named, no hourly fee referenced.

Mayor Johnson advised the previous estimates for the appeal ranged from $10,000 - $20,000. After further negotiations, the figure has been reduced to $7,500 and to be capped at $10,000 for legal services for appeal. This will come from the city attorney budget line.

Ayes – 3

October 25, 2012 at 5:19 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You actually think the comment made by anonymous 8:33 p.m. Oct. 4: Is appropriate? You must be kidding.

October 26, 2012 at 8:00 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

I should have said, was not inappropriate, with the exception of the attack on her intelligence. I may not agree with the full comment, but I'm not going to keep someone from saying it.

October 27, 2012 at 11:06 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick to your guns Lucian! She attacked the housing authority with no facts and probably is waiting for the Audit to come out to do so again. Only this time they will defend themselves. She is the one that decided to get into politics so things tend to get ugly. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Maybe distancing herself from other commissioners would be a good idea before next year. The cover up continues in he accounts office.

October 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM 

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