Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Procedural Pile-ups

It’s no secret the Troy Council Democrats have been wrong on major issues. A failed attempt to reduce the salaries of city employees viewed as political adversaries, stopping a City Hall deal worth $3 million, repeatedly attempting to accept one-third of a $3 million debt owed by Rensselaer, a series of confrontations that led to one prominent Troy developer to complain and embarrassing e-mails, are just a select handful of the blow-ups that have plagued the Council.

What’s really been interesting is how screw-ups come right out of the Council office. Over the past six months, there have been dozens of procedural errors, misfiled resolutions, special meetings called but abandoned because legislation was not handled properly, ignored committee meetings, the list goes on.

Just last week, it happened again. Democrats are desperate to ram a “settlement” of the Rensselaer water debt – a settlement worked out behind closed doors by Democrats from both cities without the mayor – before a lawsuit proceeds on the issue. But in filing the resolution, they ignored the fact the resolution, however inappropriate and probably illegal it may be, first needs to go before the Finance Committee.

It may be a mistake made simply because Democrats are trying to avoid the firestorm of criticism giving away the debt will cause and want as little public scrutiny or involvement as possible. But it’s still a pretty big mistake.

Council Democrats want to play the blame game and suggest their screw-ups are because they are not getting the help they need. Which is a pretty pathetic argument coming from a bunch who promised openness and effectiveness but instead has gone from one stumble to the next. Other procedural screw-ups:

  • Failed to call a meeting on $2 million in CDBG federal money; the Tutunjian administration had to step in to call a meeting to protect the funds.
  • Violated the City Charter by trying to improperly reduce the salaries of city employees, leading to the record-setting cave-in by Council Democrats on a lawsuit filed to stop their attack.
  • Had resolutions to implement new fees on city businesses introduced at a committee meeting this past spring; no Democrat, however, admitted they were a sponsor of the fee increases.
  • Had numerous resolutions withdrawn or tabled because of a failure to send the legislation to the proper committee or to be filed in a timely manner.

Where’s the openness? Who’s in charge? Your thoughts please!