In 2002: First two things that Ralph Humphreys did was eliminate the town comptroller position and made the town attorney an hourly position instead of a full-time employee. Attorney Vincent Rossi was hired as town attorney at $100 per hour in 2002. In response to eliminating the comptroller's position, according to the 2002 Observer Dispatch article, “Because the supervisor was part-time and the other supervisor had a full-time job they didn’t have the time to do the work. I am just fortunate I have the time,” said Humphreys, who is retired.
Now - Earle Reed is in the process of hiring a town comptroller who will work in the County Comptroller's office and he has hired Attorney Gerald Green at $150 an hour according to the February 1, 2006 town board meeting minutes. Mr. Rossi is well-versed in town law; Mr. Green was noted to say at the February 7, 2007 town board meeting that he is learning as he goes along. Mr. Reed is also retired, but claims to not have the financial experience (fine time to tell us now, Mr. Reed!) and according to a December 20, 2006 Observer Dispatch article, "I'm basically working with a bookkeeper, and that gets me a little nervous", Reed said. Well, Mr. Reed it is the same bookkeeper that Mr. Humphreys was working with. Ms. Fairbrother has been the town bookkeeper for many years and I would hope you would consider her a valuable town employee who knows what she is doing--normally, someone wouldn't talk about a valued employee in those terms, Mr. Reed.
2002 - Another quote from the Observer Dispatch article, "Richard Woodland, D-4, the only Democrat on the Town Board, said he has already seen a difference in how Humphreys communicates compared to the previous town supervisor, William J. Keiser III. He said he’s talked more to Humphreys the past few days then he did to Keiser during his term. “Ralph seems to have some ideas to bring the town forward,” Woodland said. “That’s something the town has (gone) away from the last few years.”
Keiser said he was always available to talk to other Town Board members, including Woodland. “Rich is a little absent-minded and short-minded,” Keiser said. “When I thought it was necessary to talk and have a line of communication I did so. The fact of the matter is how many times has he called me or other Town Board members? It’s a two-way street.” You may or may not remember that Mr. Keiser was the one who put the "gag order" on any information being released to the press.
Now-- Councilman Woodland just sits silently at town board meetings and watches as Supervisor Reed and the other two new councilmen seem to make all the decisions. Councilman Woodland, if you are out there reading this--how much input do you actually have in the day-to-day running of the town at this point? And notice how Mr. Keiser seems to like to publicly call people names such as "absent-minded and short-minded". It just just kind of makes you think of the word "detractor" that Supervisor Reed used to describe residents who had the audacity to question his spending plans and who worked to collect signatures to bring the town board's $5 million bond resolutions to a public vote. Read our blog Word of the Day - Detractor.
Mr. Humphreys treated everybody like their opinion matters. Everyone might not have agreed with all of Mr. Humphreys decisions, but he never made anyone feel that their opinion didn't count. He always made himself available to concerned residents and he always treated residents with respect.
2002: According to the 2002 Observer Dispatch article, “The people are my boss,” Humphreys said. “I am just a small cog in a big machine.”
Now: Supervisor Reed, as he disbanded the Citizens Budget Committee, was quoted as saying in the September 19, 2006 Observer Dispatch "My philosophy is, citizens don't have all the information we have." "My (department) leaders have too many things going on to sit with residents on the committee."
So my friends and neighbors, there you have it. Residents of the Town of New Hartford, N.Y. definitely have change and if Supervisor Earle Reed's first year in office is any indication, you can bet we will see even more changes. Sometimes, however, change is not always for the better--unless of course, you don't mind being kept in the dark when it comes to how your hard earned dollars are spent for you.