...David Reynolds opposed the measure on the grounds that it could commit the town to the consolidation process before officials had enough information to make an educated decision about whether to support the move.Oh, pray tell Councilman Reynolds, why weren't you asking those kind of questions in 2008 when the town board was secretly making plans to purchase 19 Campion Road?
“I think there are an awful lot of unanswered questions,” Reynolds said after the vote. “What are the costs? What will it do to the county tax rate? What about the level of service?”
On February 8, 2010, after finally learning that in 2007 Alesia & Crewell was asked by Deputy Supervisor Reynolds to perform a limited evaluation of the Kellogg Road Community Center, and to the best of our knowledge the subject never was entertained at a town board meeting prior to February 2010, Concerned Citizens decided to FOIL all invoices received from Alesia & Crewell for payment of services rendered together with the total dollars paid to this firm.
Among the documents we received was a signed agreement for architectural/engineering services in connection with:
...the interior alteration and addition project which will convert an empty 10,000 square foot shell building located at 19 Campion Road in the Village of New Hartford into Town Court facilities and Town Departmental Office space.According to the agreement, Phase I services was for a fixed fee of $22,500; Phase II services for a fixed fee of $48,250; plus, reimbursable expenses for actual cost of printing, long distance telephone and travel at 50.5 per mile. The agreement was signed by David Reynolds, Deputy Supervisor on 5-27-08.
However, the agreement was never brought before the town board even though the town board was scheduled to meet on May 28, 2009, one day after the agreement was signed by Councilman Reynolds. Besides the fact that the agreement was never approved by the town board, by town law a deputy supervisor is only authorized to sign in the absence of the supervisor. Mr. Reed was at the May 28, 2008 town board meeting and could have very well signed the agreement after a proper vote of the town board; therefore, Deputy Supervisor Dave Reynolds didn't even have authority to sign the agreement!
Funny thing is that according to Police Commission minutes, the building plans and hiring of Alesia & Crewell was openly discussed by members of the police commission with Councilman Reynolds in attendance at those meetings; but not a word in the Town Board meetings.
We actually received an anonymous tip that the town board was trying to keep this information out of the view of the public...particularly those damn Concerned Citizens. According to the tip we received, the town board wasn't the only one trying to keep us at bay; a town justice was also trying to make sure that the we could not stop the acquisition of 19 Campion Road, but in the end they all got fooled...the Wicks Law did them in! Unfortunately by the time the town figured out that the Wicks Law was a problem (not sure where Attorney Green was during the intervening time), they had already paid over $30,000 of unbudgeted monies to Alesia & Crewell.
According to invoices and vouchers we received from the town clerk, Councilman Reynolds approved payments to Alesia & Crewell on..June 6, 2008 for $4,245; two (2) invoices on July 3, 2008, one (1) invoice for $16,980 plus one (1) invoice for $2,000; and the last one on August 1, 2008 for $7,000. That's a grand total of $30,225 from account AA1010.4 - Town Board Contractual.
Problem was, that account only had a 2008 budget of $5,500. Town law does not allow a town board to spend unbudgeted money; a transfer of funds should have been made to cover the invoices prior to payment.
No problem though...Councilman (Deputy Supervisor) Reynolds has everything under control...there's no need to worry about a little town law...pay the invoices anyway; we'll worry about the shortfall at the end of the year.
However, it wouldn't be fair to just blame Councilman Reynolds. It is customary for each councilperson to visit the supervisor's office prior to each board meeting to review the bills and initial them authorizing payment. Guess no one on the town board bothered to look to see if there was sufficient money in the budget line identified on the voucher before they signed off. Hell, most of them probably didn't even know what the payments to Alesia & Crewell were for and never bothered to ask.
Come year-end, when all accounts have to be at brought to a zero balance, Earle Reed sent an email to Carol Fairbrother:
The attached budget transfers are requested to balance overdrawn accounts for 2008.Five (5) pages of transfers to cover overdrawn accounts; the first transfer being $27,742.23 from Account AA1440.44 - Engineering Services/Sauquoit Creek Basin to Account AA1010.4 - Town Board Contractual, the account the Alesia & Crewell invoices were paid from.
Councilman Reynolds is right on one point in his March 10, 2010 statement to the press...there are an awful lot of unanswered questions; the first one being...who do you think you are fooling? You spent taxpayer dollars like a drunken sailor during the Reed administration with no regard for town law or town taxpayers. You certainly weren't worried about spending over $30,000 that wasn't budgeted and now all of sudden you are worried about the costs of consolidation and the impact it will have on county taxes?
If we were you, we'd be more worried about that unethical vote that you cast even though you vowed in an October 24, 2009 Observer Dispatch article, Possible conflict of interest looms for Reynolds:
When asked why he had participated in the meeting if he meant to recuse himself, Reynolds would only say, “I support the review and study of the possible consolidation. When that process starts, I will recuse myself.”Councilman Reynolds, the consolidation process IS underway...it's definitely time to recuse yourself! You're way too close to the situation to be objective, if you know what we mean!