Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Mailbag...

We get plenty of mail from our readers and most of it we answer privately, but when someone sends a comment to the blog, we usually just approve the comment to be posted under the comment section of the particular blog and write a response if warranted. But sometimes a person writes to an older blog entry so our readers may miss that particular opinion unless they read the archives.

In this particular case, a comment was recently sent to one of our older blogs and the writer left no email address so we couldn't respond to them personally. The comment pertains to a subject that we are not yet done reporting on:
get a real problem has left a comment on the post "Harley Davidson Police Model Motorcycle Donation.....":
you people need to get a real clue!!! your going to have the nerve to wine and complaine about officers that put there lives on the line so you can live in peace??? You should be ashamed. Next time you get robbed or someone decides that there going to mug you and you have to wait 25 min for a trooper to come form waterville you let me know how that works for you.
Dear get a real problem,

When a town government continues to keep information from its residents, we really don't care if it is the police department or the Highway Garage. There are laws in place that we expect all officials to respect and obey.

The only reason it was made public that the police department obtained a 2008 Harley Davidson Police Model Motorcycle was because Concerned Citizens received information on our tipline, not because the Police Chief or town board made the information available in a public meeting.

Our issue with the whole thing is:

1. The town clerk never bothered to question the police chief when he requested her department to add a $25,000 vehicle to the TOWN insurance without town board approval or without having any idea of how said vehicle came into the town's possession...in fact, the first response that we received from the town clerk when we FOILed the information was that she is not aware of the town police having a Harley motorcycle.

2. The police chief signed a lease with Harley Davidson that created a liability for the town should anything happen to the motorcycle and he did so without town board approval. Concerned Citizens FOILed a copy of the lease; it was not signed by the "donor", it was signed by the Police Chief. As far as we know, the Police Chief does not have the authority to sign a contract without the approval of the town board. It's a little ridiculous that the town board passed a resolution to accept the donation and asked about the cost to the town on March 12, 2008, yet the insurance was placed on the motorcycle on November 16, 2007 and the lease contract was signed by Chief Philo on November 19, 2007, don't ya think?

3. If you look at the tape of the March 12, 2008 town board meeting at about 41 minutes into the meeting where the Police Chief finally talks about the donation (that would be AFTER Concerned Citizens wrote a couple of blogs about the incident), you will see and hear a very "surprised" town board. Either they are very good actors or they really knew nothing about the motorcycle donation (although, we must say we highly doubt they knew nothing about the donation...it's probably more likely that they just didn't want you to know, but they got caught "with their pants down", so to speak).

This incident, along with other instances where the town board has blatantly not obeyed the law in order to keep the public in the dark, is very troubling; one has to wonder what is going on that we haven't heard about yet. We are only reporting the things that we have been able to identify.

So to you, get a real problem, we can only say, if it doesn't bother you that the police department feels they are above the law, so be it. Perhaps it is you that needs to get a clue! By the way, are you implying that the State Troopers just sit in their barracks in Waterville waiting for a call from someone before they go out on the road? We could have sworn that it was a State Trooper that we passed on 840 the other day...

As a side note, a couple of other people emailed us and asked what will happen after year two when the "donor" is no longer paying for the lease. Since the lease is in the name of the Town of New Hartford, one can only guess...of course, that would assume that the town isn't already the one paying for the lease...we suppose we could FOIL that information...

With this blog, we are now done reporting on this incident...unless, of course, we find out something else...

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