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

Sunday, September 8

See you on the other side

Well, my time has come. I ship out to Basic Combat Training and then Advanced Individual Training Wednesday, so I'll be away for a while.

The City Desk is in capable hands and I will be returning to my position in February.

Good luck to the city in its budget process, elections and anything else that comes up over the next few months, when I will return a stronger, faster me, ready to deploy in City Hall. 

Zecchini's restitution *Updated*

According to sources in City Hall and the Saratoga County District Attorney's office, Matthew Zecchini, who caused $4,800 in damage to City Hall on a drunken rampage in March, has not paid the city for the full damages in the three months since he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief for the crime.

He had originally been charged with two felonies, but as part of a plea deal he agreed to pay for the damage he caused to the taxpayer-owned building with a fire extinguisher and cinder block. He was also required to enter an inpatient alcohol treatment facility.

With only part of the restitution paid so far, though, District Attorney James A. Murphy III said his office will bring him back before a City Court judge and find him in violation of his conditional discharge. It will be up to a judge to decide if Zecchini should have an extension on his condition or impose new sentences.


Murphy just informed me that Zecchini paid his restitution, in full, after we ran the video of his drunken spree (and then all of the local TV stations followed with). Murphy said " I am pleased with whatever assistance the added publicity may have been to encourage the defendant to expedite his payments."

Just for old times' sake, let's have another look at that surveillance video.

Wednesday, September 4

Politial capital

Well things were certainly interesting at the City Council meeting last night — and not just because of the protestors and people who spoke out on alleged police misconduct in the city.

The discussion over the Capital Program was lengthy and seemingly unproductive.

At first, Democrat Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan walked through most of the 29 items on the list and asked for some clarification of the project, the funding source or asked if they were necessary at all (that tended to be asked of Republican Public Works Commissioner Anthony "Skip" Scirocco).

All of that was to be expected as the Council was poised to adopt the program, but the conversation soon devolved into an argument over what passing the Capital Program actually means.

"This is a bigger, more philosophical discussion here. It's not just about these projects," Madigan said at one point during the discussion. That conversation, in substance, is outlined in this article, though I may update it today with some comment from the Commissioners.

It was, in fact, the same conversation they had last budget cycle. 

At the same time, Scirocco accused Madigan of playing politics when she said she is "not coming out with a tax rate that overrides the tax cap. I will make this tax rate low and flat."

"Commissioner Madigan, that's a wonderful political speech," Scirocco said.

"That's right it is and you're going to be responsible for a higher tax rate" if Scirocco got his way, she shot back.

Madigan wasn't the only one to go after Scirocco, either.

While she and Scirocco were going through his capital requests (which Madigan hinted may be cut to lower the tax rate and Scirocco insisted were "necessary to public health and safety") his opponent for the job, Bill McTygue, was sitting in the peanut gallery.

"WRONG!" he kept — well, not shouting, but grumbling loud enough for everyone to hear.

Scirocco, for his part, started playing into the "conversation," saying "Bog meadow is an alternative to the Saratoga Lake Project, which would have cost $20 million. This one is $1 million, right?" asking City Engineer Tim Wales who was there to explain the capital projects.

(MyTygue: "WRONG!")

Scirocco: "These infrastructure projects are necessary. They were neglected for years and years and years," saying they should have been taken care of by the previous, McTygue administration (which Bill McTygue was integral in).

(McTygue: "WRONG!")

Madigan, Scirocco and eventually Mayor Scott Johnson all said they would rather not have the comments.

"I just can't take the lies," McTygue told the mayor, who said he would have him removed if he couldn't keep quiet.

"Are you ordering me out of the room?" he asked.

"I will if you keep commenting," the mayor said.

"Go ahead," McTygue responded.

The mayor said he should leave, but McTygue didn't move, but also didn't talk for the rest of the meeting (that I saw).

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Decision on statements from Dennis Drue

Monday, September 2

Full copy of the police statement on Darryl Mount, Jr.