Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the final decision

The use of the "Irish Mafia" may or may not be insensitive. I for one, don't give a dam about political correctness. I think it is a concept that is way out of control. However, I don't think name calling is going to solve anything. I, am an American. I have german, russian, polish and a few other heritages thrown in, but I call myself an American. My father escaped Nazi Germany and I have no ties to the dominant pedigree that runs through my veins. We all come from different countries, even the native Americans migrated from other continents, so give it a rest. We are mutts, end of story. There is no reason you can't be proud of your heritage and celebrate your family, but be an American!

If you speak about national, state or local politics, the two major parties have been so bastardized that it really doesn't matter what the affiliation is. I am living in the present and in this day, we have a Town Supervisor who appears to me to be inept and has no idea what his responsibilities are or what the requirements of the job is. He continually shrugs off questions regarding the financial matters of the town and relies on the "we have always done it that way" form of leadership and governance. Well there is a growing group of concerned residents in this town and we come from all nationalities (heritage), political parties and as discussed Monday night at the East Greenbush Tea meeting, most of us are new to politics and really are getting concerned about our town, our taxes and the values of our homes. If you are concerned, please join us every other Monday (next meeting is April 19th) at 7:00 pm at the East Greenbush Library. We discuss what is happening in town, get reports from people who attend various meetings held in the town so we each don't have to go to every meeting, and hopefully a getting educated on how a Town in the State of New York is supposed to be run. We, as a group, are NOT backing specific candidates, but from the discussion will support a candidate independently from any party who runs on principal, integrity and fiscal responsibility.

Those who are new to all this or an old-timer please join us. You are not asked what party you are with or even your name at the East Greenbush Tea group, in fact last night, as we were made aware, we didn't even acknowledge one great lady until she asked if we were going to continue to ignore her! We are interested in YOUR input, thoughts and questions to make the group stronger.

I am seeking an education and then plan to take that knowledge to my neighbors so we can have an informed electorate.

Last nights meeting was a general discussion, mainly about two topics. 1. finance; where a group member explained just how close the Town was to bankruptcy last month when only one bank bid on securing our bonds as the bid went out on the same day as the junk bond rating and no other bank dared to take our debt on. It was believed the one bank that bid was unaware of our bond status. Had that bank not picked up our debt, ALL of the debt would have been due right then and there. That means we would have to come up with 2.6 million dollars on the spot! Without being able to obtain a loan. Bingo! insolvency and the town goes away and the State runs it. The second topic was what happens now with the two board members who have been suspended. Suspended is my word as the court decision gave a clear and direct path to change the restriction of holding two positions at once. I have stated in the past and will state here again, I don't think a single person should hold more than one elected position at a time, however, the voters decided that it was ok for these two fine gentleman to do just that as we voted for them. Whether you thought they would give up one to accept the other or not, they won the popular vote. To quote Mr. McCabe, "it was always done that way for the last 20 or 30 years"". Even Mrs. O'Brien held both seats in the past. If the County changes to law with a resolution, law, amendment or whatever it is called, I believe the only prudent thing to do is to have Mr. Danaher and Mr. Christo retake their seats on Wednesday night. It was the courts who removed them, it is the courts who showed the legislature the "fix" to the problem and once the issue is removed, they should return to their elected positions. End of story. Neither the remaining town board members, nor the town supervisor removed them from their seats, so how can they keep them from returning to them once the issue is cleared up? If the county legislature approves the court suggestion, the issue is solved.

At last months meeting, I asked the three remaining board members if they would initiate or second a resolution to return these individuals to their seats, Mr McCabe said no. Mr. Matters said yes and Mrs. O'Brien scampered off the topic with, it is a pending court case and she couldn't comment. Well that points back to the courts decision and its remedy is the final say.

It is time to put all the shenanigans aside and let the elected officials serve their full remaining terms.

On another note, Mr. McCabe is the Town Supervisor, but he is part of the legislative branch of the Town government. He is NOT in the Executive Branch. The only difference between him and the other board members is he has the further responsibility to handle the day-to-day operation of the town. This is where I believe he is in way over his head. He does not report on the budget during the town board meeting, he allows the department heads to submit a written report prior to the meeting and state "they have nothing further". Well as a taxpayer and voter in this town, I am the boss and I want to hear their report. I don't think it should be required for me to go to the Town offices and ask (and probably need to foil) to see the department reports. Either the department heads should report the status of their budgets, or the supervisor should report on the budget, current spending and percentage of usage vs. amount of fiscal year that has passed and wether we are above, below or on budget and if above, what steps are going to be taken to get it back on budget, or cause the town comptroller to report this information. A simple one page report showing each budget line, current spending, budgeted amount and balance, period. The Supervisor should have this on his desk, updated almost on a daily basis or at the very least a weekly basis as our spending is far exceeding our income so it should be no big deal. If he doesn't have this document or refer to it on a VERY regular basis, he has failed to meet one of his major responsibilities of his position, fiscal manager. State law, allows him to delegate the work, but he is solely responsible for the fiscal health of this town under STATE LAW!


  1. Hal, I wish you would blog more. I usually don't comment, but I always read.
    I especially agree with this blog.
    I really think our only solution is to remove McCabe and O'Brien.
    I don't care about Irish Mafia. I agree with Ann, we have more important problems.

  2. Anon,

    I appreciate the feedback! and glad you agree :-). I have decided that quality is better than quantity so my blogs have not come quite as often. I also recently started working full time again and have very early hours, so I am shell shocked about 1. working and 2. getting up far to early in the morning. I continue to attend the East Greenbush Tea party meetings and the Town Board meetings and attempt to keep up on issues facing the Town. I will be repeating some of these comments at Wednesdays public comment section of the Town board meeting and we will see what if any answers I get....

  3. I am one of the people Hal refers to - new to town operations and politics. My expectation has always been that the town I live in operate in a functionally effective way that I can take for granted. I like to think that's part of what I pay my taxes (HUGE here!) for. That's not the case in EG and my spouse and I decided if we are going to be concerned and complain we need to get involved. In a town as large as Alabny the media helps keep all the political players reasonably open and honest. There is no media coverage of EG so regular folks need to ask questions and hold the political leadership accountable. That's what we are working to do so if you care too please get involved.