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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Over time, town became more reliant on accounting firm

Have you read the two (2) articles the Observer Dispatch put online tonight that will probably be in tomorrow's Observer Dispatch?

According to the first article, Councilwoman Krupa was quoted as saying,
“Is it Earle’s job, technically? Yes, it is,” she said. “But if he doesn’t have the necessary background to fulfill the function, then you have to go outside.”
Excuse me, Councilwoman Krupa, but it's not only "technically" his job; IT IS his job by town law and if he doesn't have the necessary background to fulfill the function, then we need someone in office who does. Tell us Ms. Krupa, would your employer hire outside help if you didn't have the skills to do your job?

Isn't it interesting that Frank Basile was hired to oversee the accounting functions of the town and yet he allowed the town to overspend the budget line that he was being paid from; in fact, he allowed it to be overspent by more than 3 times the budgeted amount in 2008? It's like the fox guarding the hen house.

Equally as disturbing is the fact that it took Concerned Citizens' questions and criticism before they decided to no longer use Mr. Basile's services. Otherwise, the 2009 contract between Frank Basile's CPA firm and the Town of New Hartford was already drawn up and illegally signed by Earle Reed without town board approval (that is against town law, but the Observer Dispatch merely called it "a gaffe" many gaffes does it take before the OD will say the word illegal in regards to Earle Reed). Mr. Basile was all set to enjoy another year of "holding Supervisor Reed's hand" to the tune of $150 per hour; no worry about the financial part of it. After all, the town was good at moving money around at the end of the year to make up for overdrawn budget lines.

Remember the brochures that Earle sent to our homes when he was running for office? Here are a couple of quotes:
In this letter I will outline what I believe are the most important issues facing New Hartford residents and what I plan on doing on your behalf as Town Supervisor. Secondly, I will review my experience in business and in the community and how I will use both to benefit the Town of New Hartford.
Taxpayers are Customers - I will treat the taxpayers of New Hartford like customers. A good business succeeds when customers are satisfied with the product and service they purchase and receive. Taxpayers in New Hartford are the customers of Town Government and I will treat you as such.
Supervisor Reed, your customers deserve and demand better customer service. You were elected to do a job that you told us time and time again you were qualified to do given your past business experience. Perhaps you should have taken a better look at the job description before you decided to run for office.

Oh, and as far as the statement in the Observer Dispatch that Ms. Fairbrother was awarded $71,544 in overtime the facts. That was no award. Ms. Fairbrother was either given the overtime pay because she uncovered something and the money was to keep her quiet or she pulled a fast one on a Town Supervisor that is not equipped to handle the responsibilities of the job! Ms. Fairbrother was not entitled to overtime or compensatory time...on top of a nice Christmas bonus, your tax dollars just helped Ms. Fairbrother get a bigger pension check when she retires in the next couple of years.

Over the next few days, we will have several comments on this story and on the second story, Town considered rehiring Basile’s firm, including some FOILed documents that might help shine some light on the situation.


Anonymous said...

Most of the article was, to me just covereing for each other but you said out loud the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the blog on the 71K. She's got something on somebody. Unless she drives snow plows, town people don't get overtime.

swimmy said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't salaried people exempt from overtime under FLSA? How are you supposed to pay a salaried person time and a half for overtime? I thought that's why so many people in the professional world are salaried, to avoid egregious overtime.