Saturday, February 3, 2007

Who's kidding Who?

Back on Saturday, December 23, 2006, the Observer Dispatch editorial was Whitestown, N.H. Sharing Can Be Model.

Today, February 3, 2007, Stephen Zurek of New York Mills, former County Legislator, wrote a letter to the editor giving the other side of the story. Mr. Zurek said that no one responded to the initial editorial, but that's not completely true. We did respond on the Observer Dispatch Story Chat. Let me comment on Mr. Zurek's Letter to the Editor because the Concerned Citizens for Honest & Open Government are of the same opinion as Mr. Zurek.

In his letter to the editor, Mr. Zurek writes, "We do not need costly outside oversight professionals. Spare the taxpayers. Oversight responsibility rests with town Supervisors Matt Shannon and Earle Reed. It does not require nuclear scientists."

How true that is Mr. Zurek! If, as Mr. Reed keeps stating, he doesn't have the financial experience, he shouldn't have run for office.

Town Law specifically states, and I quote (pertinent excerpt only). To read section 124 of the Consolidated Town Law regarding Town Finances in its entirety, please visit Findlaw:

"S 124. Designation of the comptroller as accounting officer. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the town board of a town in which the office of comptroller has been established may, by resolution, determine that such officer shall be the accounting officer of the town. In such event, all of the accounting duties of the town supervisor shall be transferred to and be performed by the comptroller. In addition to keeping detailed accounting records, the comptroller shall prepare and transmit to the town clerk the report required by subdivision ten or, if the town board shall so determine, the report required by subdivision ten-a of section twenty-nine of this chapter.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve the town supervisor of his duties as treasurer of the town pursuant to subdivisions one, two, three and four of section twenty-nine of this chapter."
So Mr. Reed can hire 10 comptrollers, but Mr. Reed is still ultimately responsible for the town finances. And you and I are ultimately going to pay for his purported "lack of financial experience" in the form of increased taxes.

I asked at the November 1, 2006 budget hearing if Ms. Fairbrother, our very capable town bookkeeper was leaving us---the answer was "no". So we will be paying Ms. Fairbrother her $55,000+ salary and Whitestown has already stated that Ms. Hartman will remain in her bookkeeper job and there will be the added $75,000+ expense of a comptroller. Supposedly, the amount comptroller costs will be equally split between the two towns, but we have yet to see the contract that will ultimately be signed.

On top of that, according to an article in the Observer Dispatch on January 22, 2007, Whitestown has followed the Town of New Hartford and decided to only hold one town board meeting a month. According to the article, Dan Sullivan, a Whitestown councilman said it was "so the new comptroller, who will be juggling two town board schedules, won't have to attend as many meetings".

In contrast, at a town board meeting prior to the end of the year, New Hartford Ward 1 Councilman Robert A. Payne, III, said the Town of New Hartford went to one meeting a month so that they could work around their vacation schedules and Mr. Reed added that everyone knows how well they work in committee so 2 town board meetings a month are not necessary. We will be watching after the new comptroller is named to see just how many town board meeting he actually attends--hopefully he will appear with monthly reports in hand so residents can see just what it is they are paying for and how fast and furiously their money is being spent!

Better yet, I hope that Mr. Reed and Mr. Shannon come to their senses and realize that it is time to cut the baloney and work to reduce taxes for the residents of their respective towns.

March 29, 2007 may be a good time to send Mr. Reed a message!

2 comments:

Arkangel said...

New Hartford's Bookeeper (Carol Fairbrother) is a highly competent employee whose 2007 salary ($57,500) makes her qualified to present fiscal briefing before the regularly scheduled Board Meetings open to the public. Give Carol the title of Comptroller and I have no doubt that she will be extremely effective in this position. It appears the Town's male dominated electorate does not believe a woman can fill these shoes. To the contrary, she would be EXCEPTIONAL!

There is absolutely no reason to incur an additional expense in the name of fiscal awareness. Since Earle Reed lied (i.e. his fiscal knowledge) to the taxpayers while running for the position of Town Supervisor; perhaps, he should be asked to resign his post and the town residents will appoint someone whose level of competence far exceed that of the current supervisor who (by the way) is basking in the sun in Florida and undoubtedly watching the SUPERBOWL Game from front row [stadium]seats.

PERHAPS WE NEED A SLATE OF FEMALE LEADERS? WHAT A WELCOME SITE AND RELIEF!

The Oneida County Comptroller would be better off to stick to his comptroller duties in lieu of giving "advice" to both New Hartford and Whitestown Supervisors.

Steve Zurek, a longtime resident of New York Mills is no stranger to political rhetoric. Steve's opinions evoke much needed discussion into how our elected officials are running local government(s) and the need to question their individual motives.

It appears Steve was unaware of this blog and I do hope that he takes the time to read the fair and balanced reporting that goes into these blogs not mere hyperbole.

It must be noted that much of the downturn both within the Towns and Oneida County has occurred under several Republican leaderships and with the total failure by the Observer Dispatch to offer fair and balanced reading. The bias of the local newspaper does a disservice to the community to which it serves and it has become painfully evident when reviewing the downward spiraling of readership in and around the Oneida County community.

The Observer Dispatch Editorial Board would be better served by shedding their political affiliation (Republican based)and inject into their reporting neutral based articles, however, with a strong investigative position.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that the O.D. will ever rise to the level of a professional newspaper that concerns itself with political and socio-economic issues. Newspapers can change, however, with the current members "change" will not be seen!

I laugh when looking for the finance page and find it included in the Observer Dispatch's Sports section. Too, Monday morning papers are a mere five (5) pages, if lucky. Is this not pathetic?

There is nothing substantive being reported by the O.D. Why? Because there is NO business news, locally, however, there is much news happening outside Oneida County, however, unreported by the O.D.

Maybe, just maybe, we need the Syracuse Newspapers to buy out Gannett's Utica based O.D. and finally we will have a newspaper whose reporting is much more balanced that what this area has been receiving for the past several years.

There is always the Rome Sentinel, too! Advertising costs are much lower in Sentinel than the O.D. Why? Readership is down and distribution has decreased.

I may have somewhat deviated from my original intent, but there is no much negative things to write about this area, it makes me SAD! Perhaps, I too, will move to a warmer and friendlier climate where people are open and honest with one another, this includes local governments and newspapers.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Arkangel,

Earle Reed is the person who has a problem with a woman in control as evidenced by his standing between me and my husband with his back to me when he wanted to talk about the town website. I hate to disappoint Mr. Reed, but I was the one doing the day-to-day grind with the town website.

In my opinion, either Mr. Reed is a chauvinist or a very rude person (or maybe a little of both) and unfortunately, taxpayers in New Hartford will be paying for his narrow-minded views. Carol has been doing the bookkeeping for some time now and the previous administration had no problem putting their faith in her. Mr. Reed should be ashamed of the statement he made to the Observer Dispatch "I'm basically working with a bookkeeper, and that gets me a little nervous". I wonder what Carol thinks about the situation.

See our blog Kudos Mr. Reed--Atta Boy.