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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Do You Want Fries and a Drink with Your Whopper?

According a June 2009 Observer Dispatch editorial regarding the hiring of Heather Mowat:
Town Councilwoman Christine Krupa said Mowat was one of four people interviewed, adding that the town received between 10 and 15 resumes. Some applicants had seen the O-D story; others had been recommended by word of mouth within the accounting community, Krupa said.
Wow...10 to 15 applicants just because an article regarding the town finances (no job listing) appeared in the Observer Dispatch.

Concerned Citizens FOILed all resumes, letters of interest or applications, etc., but Ms. Krupa denied our FOIL for all but Ms. Mowat's resume; so Concerned Citizens presented the town board with a FOIL appeal at the June 9, 2009 town board meeting. The town board voted to give us the information with some of the information redacted. Past practice has been to just give us the resumes when we submitted a FOIL request without redacting any information.

It's been over a month since the town board approved our appeal; Councilwoman Krupa has failed to give us the resumes. A couple of weeks after the appeal decision, we sent an inquiry to the town clerk as to where the information was; in reply, on July 9th, Councilwoman Krupa sent us an email that said:
It is still my intention to respond to Ms. Lawrence with a detailed analysis and the educational history of the applicants that provided resumes. I'm about half-way through the process and unfortunately got side tracked. I will be responding ASAP.
FOI Law does not call for Councilwoman Krupa to create a record...the records were already created when the resumes were submitted to the town. All Councilwoman Krupa needs to do is produce the records...very simple. Looks like there are none, but you decide.

We agree with the OD editorial when they said that no one is disputing Ms. Mowat's qualifications; it's the process that stinks and will leave some doubt in taxpayers' mind because it is apparent that Ms. Mowat was hand-picked by Supervisor Reed with no one else getting a chance to apply.

We also blogged about the $6,800 Standard & Poors invoice for the credit rating for the bonding of the New Hartford Business Park improvements. The purchase order signed by Councilwoman Krupa stated that it was a budgeted expenditure. Since we already had a copy of the 2009 Adopted Budget showing $0 budgeted for that line, we FOILed the budget worksheet. Today, the town clerk forwarded an email to us from Budget Director Heather Mowat:
-----Original Message-----
From: Mowat, Heather
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2009 12:04 PM
To: Young, Gail
Subject: FOIA Request - 2009 Budget Worksheet for 2009 Bond Rating

There is no worksheet for the 2009 budget that outlines $6,800 for the February 2009 bond rating.
Of course, we already knew that; the expense is also listed as an unanticipated expenditure on the FOILed spreadsheet we received for budget modifications that were approved at the last town board meeting.

And speaking of the town board, are we to believe that the town board really didn't know in November 2008 when they adopted the 2009 budget that they were going to have a bond vote in March 2009 and would need a rating from Standard & Poor's? That would be a tough sell considering that the town board approved a bond resolution in 2008. Yet, as usual, not not one of them spoke up...they just keep voting voted 'aye'...except for Councilman Payne who did vote 'nay' a couple of times in an effort to shut out the public!

Looking at the FOILed Budget Modification spreadsheet, it would appear there have been several unanticipated expenditures...and that's not including the times that they had to pay Attorney Green $150 an hour to Close the Barn Door.

Do we really think that we will get a full and accurate accounting of where the fund balance went? We might want to look behind those "closed doors".


A Friend said...

Those "Dummies" look just like our five elected [town] representatives.

Can you tell me which one is Earle Reed, Town Supervisor?

Thank you.

A Friend.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for airing the continued arrogance about the secrecy this poor town board is guilty of.