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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Separating fact from fiction...

Yesterday's article in the Observer Dispatch, New Hartford town and village disagree over police commission sounds like the Village of New Hartford is trying to use bully tactics to reinstate a police commission that was out of control.

The article states:
The establishment of the police commission was a key part of a 1982 memorandum of understanding in which the town agreed to provide police protection for the village. The village abolished its own police department at that time.
A December 2, 1982 article, states that some time in 1981 or 1982, prior to the adoption of the 1982 village budget, the town and village police departments combined forces as a cost-cutting measure for the village taxpayers:
The village did not have to increase taxes in 1982 because the town and village police departments were combined, he [Mayor Kazanjian] noted. This saved money because all town and village residents paid for one department with a shared group of employees and equipment, instead of footing the bills for two separate departments.
However, according to a June 3, 1982 Daily Press article, the town board voted to form their own police department because the village cancelled their contract to provide police protection to the town. The article says the town police department would be operational by August 1, 1982.

Then according to an article dated October 6, 1983 Daily Press article, Town Urged to Take Over Police Force stated:
The police department now is owned and operated by the village, although the department is providing coverage to the entire town.
Guess the village didn't abolish it's police department in 1982 after signing a memorandum of understanding with the town; according to the article, the police department was still owned by the village in 1983. Could it be that that the Memorandum of Understanding was to set the rules for the combination of the two departments under the ownership of the village that occurred sometime in 1981 or 1982 and had nothing to do with the town taking over operation of the police department?

The 1983 article goes on to say:
"the police commission set up by the village and town of New Hartford recommended that operation of the police department be turned over to the town."
The reason:
"The commission, consisting of five town and village residents, studied the issue for about six months and found that cheaper and better coverage could be provided if the town ran the department."
On September 16, 1984 a referendum was held for village voters to decide whether the Village Police Department should be consolidated into a municipal police department run by the Town of New Hartford. According to the article, Mayor William Keiser asked village residents to support the referendum consolidating the town and village police departments because it would save village taxpayers about $20 per thousand.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of consolidation, 210 for and 33 against. According to an article we found dated September 19, 1984, only about 16.2% of the eligible voters actually took the time to vote, more than the 100 voters that Mayor Keiser anticipated would vote.

Yesterday's OD article goes on to say:

If the town arbitrarily abolishes one of the agreement’s stipulations, village officials are concerned there would be nothing to stop it from abolishing others.

“Next step, they could take the police car out of the village,” Ryan said. “Next it’s, ‘provide your own police protection.’”

Ouch, that would hurt, wouldn't it Mayor? However, it is highly unlikely.

Bottom line, in 1984, the village police department was "consolidated" with the town police department; not combined by a 1982 memorandum of understanding. The OD article even makes mention of the fact that the MOU expired Dec. 31, 1983.

Perhaps it would be in the best interest of all concerned if the Mayor tried to work with the town board instead of using threats of a lawsuit and silly statements to try to pressure them to give in to his demands. Every article we found stated that the "consolidated" police department would be run by the town.

Town law clearly states:
...such board of police commissioners or police commissioner shall have and exercise all the powers relative to police matters conferred upon the town board pursuant to this article.
In other words, the police commission, absent a town law to the contrary, assumes the powers of the town board. The abolished police commission was clearly out of control as evidenced by an anonymous letter sent to Concerned Citizens warning us of the commission members' desire to "hurt" us. The letter made it very clear who were the people that were the "most dangerous". Outstanding members of the community, eh?

Total control in the hands of some people is dangerous and underscores the old adage...Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Town of New Hartford Code section 25-5 refers to an adopted resolution of the Town Board on December 18, 1985 that defines the rules, regulations and procedures constituting the operating procedure of the Town of New Hartford Police Department. We have FOILed that resolution.


Anonymous said...

The appearance of the village attorney last night at the Town meeting was the icing on the cake. Watching him walk up with legal papers in his hand and tell the Town Council that they had a contract and had to bring back an advisory board or something. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

gus is a joke. Really, the town board has nothing to fear.

Anakin said...

Mr. DeTraglia is a poor excuse of an attorney. He was using his "bully" powers or so he thought.

What he fails to understand is that town people do not give a damn what he had to say.

Bring it on Gus...we are waiting to pounce on you.

Anonymous said...

I hope come election time the residents of New Hartford remember those involved in this charade and vote accordingly. These officials and their contingent of scanner toting Dudley Do-Rights need a reality check when it comes to their role in the Town and it's future.

People and businesses are attracted to New Hartford for many reasons such as our beautiful neighborhoods, a good school system, convenient access to the best retail stores in the area as well as up until recently a reasonable tax rate.

Contrary to the "scanner contingent's" belief, people don't come here because we have the shiniest firetrucks or an police department that is both overstaffed and over equipped. Don't get me wrong, I understand public safety is very important part of New Hartford's success but the taxpayers can't afford to maintain the albatross Chief Philo left us.

At a time when ALL Town departments are being asked to tighten their belts, there is much NHPD can do and should do to maintain a good police presence while not breaking the backs of the people that pay their salaries.

Obe Wan Kenobe said...

I read in the New Hartford Town Crier that the New Hartford Village Officials have named former Chief Raymond Philo as Grand Marshal?

What will be do next? Name Officer Joseph Corr (posthumoulsy)? Former Chief Philo does not deserve to be recognized as Grand Marshal.

Here we have another example of the "good old boys" promoting their family and friends.

What a joke having former Chief Philo as the Grand Marshal. Is there not anyone else worthy of such recognition? Hell, there are so many that could be considered for this, however, the Village picks the bottom of the barrel.

Sad, sad, sad day for New Hartford residents. I hope they let them know what a poor choice they made.

Anonymous said...

Grand Marshall Are you joking ?? What the hell did he do for this Town ? Who the hell made this decision ?