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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In an attempt to figure out the Gradall mess...

we FOILed more documents that were just received. We still have a couple of more FOILed documents regarding the Gradall purchase, and we will post them as soon as received.

On September 21, 2006, the Highway Superintendent signs a lease/purchase agreement for a 2006 Gradall from Vantage Equipment. The lease/purchase agreement states that part of the lease money will be used to offset the cost of the new Gradall.

February 7, 2007
Page 5

Authorization for Competitive Bid – Gradall
The Highway Superintendent stated that he would like to go out for bids on a Gradall, explaining that the Town could continue to lease, but should look into the cost of acquiring this piece of equipment. In response to Councilman Reynold’s question, the Highway Superintendent responded that the vendor would apply some of the lease to the cost of a Gradall. Thereafter, Councilman Woodland presented the following Resolution and moved its adoption, which was seconded by Councilman Reynolds:


RESOLVED that the New Hartford Town Board shall receive sealed bids for the purchase of one (1) Used Multi-purpose Excavator, in accordance with Town specifications; all bids are to be received by the Town Clerk’s Office no later than 10:45 A.M. on Monday, March 5, 2007 and then shall be publicly opened and read aloud at 11:00 A.M. on said date and in said Office; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED that the said Town Board hereby authorize and direct the Town Clerk to publish the legal requisite Advertisement-Invitation to Bid in The Observer Dispatch.
Don't remember exactly what Councilman Reynolds question was, but he was obviously talking about Vantage Equipment because that is who the Highway Superintendent signed a lease/purchase with. We also don't know why the Highway Superintendent said we should look into buying this piece of equipment; it was part of the bonding...the town board was looking into buying the equipment. Looks like some back-pedalling once the Highway Superintendent realized that we FOILed the lease/purchase agreement. Most importantly, how can the vendor apply some of the lease to the purchase price unless said vendor wins the bid??

I must say that since we mentioned the fact that the Highway Superintendent did not have the authority to sign a lease/purchase agreement, the town board minutes always seem to call it a lease. See the agreement for yourself and you decide. Why else would a lease agreement be written on a "Sales Contract"? See the back-pedaling by the town attorney at the April 11, 2007 Town Board meeting:

Page 6
Lease Agreement – Grad-all

After research, Town Attorney Gerald Green determined that a Highway Superintendent has the right to enter into a Lease Agreement but the Town Board must approve the amount. In September 2006 Highway Superintendent Cleveland had entered into a Lease Agreement, the amount of which needs Town Board approval, and would like the Board to authorize the Bookkeeper to transfer existing funds to cover this expense. Thereafter, Councilman Reynolds presented the following Resolution for adoption; seconded by Councilman Waszkiewicz:


RESOLVED that the New Hartford Town Board does hereby approve the Lease Agreement entered into between Highway Superintendent Roger Cleveland and Vantage Equipment, LLC for the lease of a Grad-all at the rate of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) per month and does further authorize Bookkeeper Carol Fairbrother to make the following budgetary transfers:

2006 Budget Transfer
From DB5130.4 to DB5130.44 - $15,000.00

2007 Budget Transfer
From DB5130.2 to DB 5130.44 - $ 5,000.00
After some research??? Town Attorney Green, don't you think that you should have done the research long before April 2007 since the lease/purchase agreement was signed in September 2006? Isn't that what you are being paid to do? By the way, Attorney Green, is it ethical for you to keep "covering up" the misdeeds of Department Heads and elected town officials?

Anyway, we must say to Attorney Green... "nice try"... but shouldn't the Highway Superintendent have come to the Town Board anyway when he looked at the 2006 Approved Highway Budget and realized that he only had $1,500 in Account DB5130.44 Equip. for Rental? In fact, even if Highway Superintendent Cleveland didn't bother to look at his 2006 Equip. Rental Account balance prior to committing taxpayer dollars, surely when the 2007 budget was prepared in October 2006, Mr. Cleveland should have made sure that he had money budgeted for the lease of the Gradall; that is if it was a lease..cough...cough. However, as you can see, Mr. Cleveland's budget contained no money for equipment rental in 2007. I thought town law says that money can't be spent that isn't budgeted unless the town board approves and does a transfer to cover the expense PRIOR to the expense being incurred. Perhaps it further cements the fact that this was a lease/purchase. Highway Superintendent Roger Cleveland "gambled" on the fact that no one would collect signatures to bring the bonding to a mandatory vote as evidenced by his premature "disposal of 'needed' equipment" and his signing of a lease/purchase agreement before the town board even adopted the bond resolutions. How arrogant...guess you lost the bet, Roger...

Attorney Green, obviously, by calling it a lease, you think you have covered everyone's tail, but the fact remains that it was being called a lease/purchase by the town board until they realized the ramifications of calling it that and it was written on a Sales Contract and Roger Cleveland did not have adequate monies in his Equipment Rental budget line to cover the expense. Case closed.

Back to the bidding. According to Roger Cleveland, there was only one (1) bid submitted. So on November 18, 2007, we FOILed the bid specifications, the bid sheet and the non-collusive bidding certificate for the used multi-purpose excavator that the Town now hopes to buy with the bond monies that would be voted on March 29, 2007. As coincidence would have it, the one and only bid was from...Vantage Equipment, LLC.

This is the flimsiest bid proposal we have ever make, model, year, etc. and the Town of New Hartford accepted this bid. Why? Let's all try to guess...

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

Jerry Green gets paid $150 per hour for what?

If Mr. Green thinks we are ignorant or just plain stupid...I would suggest he get a good law firm to represent him in a malpractice action and too, his legal firm who has a signed contract with the Town of New Hartford for Stormwater Issues.

I suppose Mr. Green's law firm, (Paravati, Karl, Green & DeBella. 12 Steuben Park, Utica, New York) would welcome a complaint brought before the Grievance Committee, Syracuse, New York?

If I were the firm's partners...I would call him into a meeting and ask him, "where did you get your law degree?"

Any reputable lawyer (legal firm) would not allow such ignorance or stupidity to flow from the mouth of one of their kindred spirits.

Thank goodness not all attorneys practice law like Jerry Green!

I would not doubt if Mr. Green was brought before an ethics committee...he would raise some kind of "insanity" defense. This does seem to be the style of (at least) another town attorney.

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

You have to understand that Attorney Green is "learning as he goes". Town law is a new area for him.

Unfortunately for Attorney Green, Concerned Citizens has forced him to "speed up his learning curve" by bringing the improprieties of town government to the foreground. Although we can't say he has been very appreciative of our efforts.

And let's not forget that Attorney Green is Chairman of the Republican Party that has been in control for years. Apparently, he feels an obligation to "cover the a$$" of Roger Cleveland who is also a Republican committee person.

Unfortunately, no one is above the law and Attorney Green should stop making it appear that everything is 'just a little mistake'. The town board minutes are riddled with 'little mistakes' since this administration took over.