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A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.


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October 31, 2014

The Incident At Howe Library

Fear, nastiness and dirty tricks sideline public discussion of the Albany City budget

When I was a kid, growing up in a semi-rural town in New York State, I was told by the adults that if you wanted the local volunteer fire department to show up in a timely fashion when your house is burning, then you’d better be on good terms with the fire guys. You’d better buy their raffle tickets every year, and the occasional donation of a case of beer was a good idea. Whatever you do, the elders let me know, you don’t make them angry at you because if you do, when you have to call them, precious minutes will tick by as they take their time on their way to your blazing home.

So I will start this by saying that the City of Albany Fire Department is by far the most efficient and effective fire fighting outfit that I have had the opportunity to witness. Over the years I have had to call the Albany FD several times, including one substantial fire caused by a roofer working on one of my buildings. On that occasion as on others, the Albany FD responded rapidly, worked very professionally and did a completely thorough job. I clutched my head and screamed as they swung axes and tore apart my roofline, but I knew that fire was totally extinguished.

The problems with the Albany FD begin when the fire fighters are not fighting fires. For example, by spreading fear and panic among South End citizens, the fire fighter’s union recently managed to divert public opinion away from the fact that FD personnel are receiving taxpayer money for work that they no longer perform, and FD personnel continue to receive unjustified overtime pay. But what bothers me the most was their cynical manipulation of my neighbors, actions which demonstrated a dangerous contempt for the City of Albany and for those of us who live here.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Attempts To Start The Budget Presentation Meeting At Howe Library
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan Attempts To Start The Budget Presentation Meeting At Howe Library

This past October 15, City of Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan tried to conduct a presentation of the City budget at Howe Library, the South End’s beautiful “crown jewel” of the library system. This was one of eight presentations given by the mayor in different neighborhoods around the City, which will be capped by a ninth presentation at the Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations (CANA) on November 5 at the main library. This is an important partial fulfillment of the mayor’s pre-election promise to bring transparency to the City budget, which under her predecessors was wrapped in secrecy and hid questionable expenditures.

Of course I had to attend the Howe Library presentation, just to see what would happen. I was well aware that the the fire fighter’s union (officially called the Albany Permanent Professional Firefighter’s Association Local 2007) was up to their old tricks, dealing with impending contract negotiations by mobilizing their personal to publicly act in a aggressively threatening manner toward the City administration. At that point it was beginning to look like their tactics had taken a nasty turn beyond merely harassing City officials, so I knew this public meeting would be a raucous show.

But I was not prepared for this level of rudeness and general bad behavior. I watched as South End residents, whipped into a frenzy of ignorant fear by the fire fighter’s union, shouted down the mayor and refused to show her enough curtesy to let her talk about the budget. And through it all the FD employees stood in the back of the room, smiling smugly, pleased with their handiwork.

Fire Fighters Line The Back Wall Of The Meeting Room, Note The Woman In The Orange And White Smock, Center Right
Fire Fighters Line The Back Wall Of The Meeting Room

It was disgusting to watch. There are times when it is appropriate to shout down government officials, to threaten them when they are failing at their duties to the people. This was not one of those times.

To be clear: I was deeply disgusted by both the actions of manipulative fire fighters and by the bad behavior of the South End residents who allowed themselves to be manipulated into acting like spoiled children, as if they were given permission to misbehave. The smirking fire fighters and misbehaving residents treated this meeting like it was a big game. It certainly was not some stupid game, we should all be glad to see the administration attempt to bring transparency to the traditionally secretive City budget.

Most Of Those Present Wanted To Listen
Most Of Those Present Wanted To Listen

The majority of citizens present did not disrupt the meeting, but soon the people in the back of the room devolved into crowd frenzy and refused to stop shouting. Occasionally the fire guys would throw in catcalls. I watched several persons of the the type who regularly hang on the edges of the political scene get caught up in the excitement, yelling and jumping around happily without making much sense. The mayor was forced into silence and stood off to one side as several community leaders stood up and attempted to restore order.

The racial aspect must be commented upon. Every single fire fighter in the back of the room was white, almost all suburbanites. Most of the South End residents in the back of the room who disrupted the meeting were black, with one significant exception. Among these folks was a white woman who began disrupting the meeting with catcalls and shouts before the meeting even started. I can’t prove anything, but she looked to me like a classic planted agitator. I’ll be keeping an eye out for her in the future.

Fire Fighters Disrupt The Meeting With A Planned Walkout
Fire Fighters Disrupt The Meeting With A Planned Walkout

About ten minutes after the mayor had started speaking, the majority of fire guys present suddenly staged a noisy walkout, obviously planned and obviously meant to show contempt for the City of Albany. The guys who walked out didn’t go very far, upon leaving the Howe Library meeting room they took up position lining the hallway outside the door. Later, when people were leaving after the meeting, the fire guys smirked at us as we passed and said, “Thanks for coming.” As if it was their meeting and their community.

The fire fighter’s union carefully prepared this encounter, it was a fine piece of media and social manipulation. Indeed it was rather scary how effective it was. You couldn’t pay a consultant to do a better job of spreading ignorance and fear. Some of these fire union guys should get jobs working for FOX “News” or for Republican congressional candidates, spreading misinformation about ebola or immigrants or Obamacare. I mean, their manipulations were masterful.

Mayor Sheehan Tries To Continue The Presentation, With Fire Chief Warren Abriel
Mayor Sheehan Tries To Continue The Presentation, With Fire Chief Warren Abriel

The first thing the fire fighter’s union guys did, several weeks before the Howe Library meeting, was to feel out the community to see what techniques would work. I saw one of these probes at the October 1st Council of Albany Neighborhoods (CANA) meeting, where a couple of union guys gave a presentation to us neighborhood representatives. They told us the one thing we wanted to hear, that the fire fighter’s union wanted to develop closer ties with the neighborhoods. Naturally we were pleased to hear that.

They then told us some things that were not exactly true, such as that two thirds of the fire fighters live in the City of Albany. I was certainly impressed by that. After the meeting I learned the truth, that less than one quarter of the fire fighters live in our community, but if you add in all the office clerks, janitors and such then the two thirds figure is more or less accurate. Technically not a lie, merely misleading spin.

I should add that I’ve heard that several of the fire stations in the City really are community based, that most of the fire fighters in those stations actually live in the neighborhoods that they service. One of those, I’ve been told, is the firehouse on Delaware Avenue, you know, the lovely ornate building with the beavers on top. But most of the fire guys commute to Albany to work, and after their shifts go back to the suburbs to spend their salaries and pay taxes.

The Wonderful Incredible Delaware Avenue Firehouse
The Wonderful Incredible Delaware Avenue Firehouse

The two union guys at CANA mentioned to us that the mayor had proposed eliminating Ladder #1, a fire truck assigned to South Station at Morton Avenue and South Pearl Street. Seeing as I live up the street from South Station I was alarmed at hearing this, and asked for clarification. The guys were visibly pleased by my strong interest, but they were careful to not reveal the whole story about Ladder #1.

Later I was informed that Ladder #1 does not have a regular crew. Rather, it is manned entirely by fire fighters who are receiving overtime pay, 24 hours a day, no matter what time or day of the week they are working! It costs taxpayers an extra $1.2 million per year to pay this overtime. The two union guys at CANA kinda forgot to mention this very important detail.

A reasonable citizen who cheerfully pays taxes may wonder how and why such a ridiculously wasteful overtimed boondoggle came about. About four or five years ago our financially incompetent former mayor Jerry Jennings once again needed to balance the City budget, or at least give the appearance that he was doing so. Thus to save money he cut back the number of personnel in the FD, eliminating about 18 positions.

I recall hearing Jennings explain that he was eliminating those FD positions by attrition, that is, by not laying off anybody, but it was still strange how the fire fighter’s union didn’t raise a big stink at the time. It turns out that the former mayor enshrined this unnecessary overtime in the union contract. This gift from the unknowing taxpayers mollified the rank and file sufficiently, I’ll bet they all fought to get assigned to Ladder #1.

Mayor Sheehan Sidelined At Left As First Ward Common Council Member Dorcey Applyrs Tries To Restore Order
Mayor Sheehan Sidelined At Left As First Ward Common Council Member Dorcey Applyrs Tries To Restore Order

Along comes our new mayor Kathy Sheehan, who has been forced to wrestle with the massive budget deficit bequeathed to her by Jerry. Quite naturally Ms. Sheehan wanted to eliminate this waste of money, and quite naturally the FD guys want to keep their free ride on the backs of the taxpayers. What do they care if it rips off the community, most of them don’t live here.

According to Albany Fire Chief Warren Abriel, the department needs those 18 unfilled positions to stay fully staffed. But the sad fact is that with Jerry’s leftover crippling deficit there is no way that the City is going to hire another 18 fire fighters, not this year and probably not soon. Thus the mayor proposed sidelining this prohibitively expensive firetruck to help balance the budget.

Having tested the waters and found their handle, the fire fighter’s union paid for media advertisements that heavily implied that fire service was being curtailed in the South End. Plus the union guys started meeting with South End civic organizations, telling them their lives were in danger because of the mayor. There were a substantial number of people at that Howe Library meeting who seriously believed that the City was planning to close South Station.

South End Firehouse (“South Station”) At South Pearl Street And Morton Avenue
South End Firehouse (“South Station”) At South Pearl Street And Morton Avenue

This was all pure horsecrap, but it worked. Many people in the South End still remain deeply suspicious of a City government that until recently followed a policy of neglect and repression of the South End, so they fell for it hook line and stinker. It never ceases to amaze me how easily people are led by advertisements in the corporate media as if those paid for ads were biblical word of law.

When I was questioning the union guys at CANA, I alluded to how until recently they used to do building code inspections. At the time I was puzzled by their reaction, they stared at me for about five seconds and then gave a cautious, noncommittal answer to my query. But in a moment they realized I didn’t know the true story, so they smiled and continued with their bullcrapping.

The true story is that the FD personnel are no longer doing building inspections, but according to their contract they must be paid for doing inspections as long as the current contract is in effect. They are being paid extra for doing nothing extra. A person who is well informed about these matters laid it out for me:

The 2015 City budget lists the "Code Stipend" totaling: $341,000. I believe that amount is divided equally among the firefighters. If the department was fully staffed at 245 firefighters, that would be $1392 per firefighter. Buildings and Regulatory Compliance does the code inspections now. Their eight code inspectors get paid $33,825 apiece or $270,600. So, the firefighters stipend is even more than the code inspectors make in toto. Combined, we are paying $611,600 for code inspections.

So the fire fighters are being paid to not do work that other people are being paid to do because it’s in their contract. I think that is just plain wrong. And it is wrong to hide this dirty secret from the taxpayers, and to protect this boondoggle by misinforming and manipulating the public.

Some Fire Fighters Remained Along The Back Wall, Laughing And Catcalling (They Didn’t Like Having Their Picture Taken)
Some Fire Fighters Remained Along The Back Wall, Laughing And Catcalling (They Didn’t Like Having Their Picture Taken)

As an aside, I have to mention that the fire fighters had no business doing building inspections for the very simple reason that they didn’t know what they were doing. As a rental property owner I was on the receiving end of their boondoggle for years. All a lot of these guys ever cared about were smoke alarms, shut off valves on stoves and collecting their stipends.

There were also a handful of these guys who apparently didn’t put out fires but collected the stipends full time. It was a open secret that these full time FD building inspectors functioned as Jerry Jennings’ harassment squad, one of his main weapons against political opponents such as myself. Sometimes these guys would deliberately overload me with violations both real and bogus, and sometimes they would walk around and around one of my apartments for a half hour before they finally found something to cite me for.

One more detail, the fire fighters have far and away the best health care contract, covering their entire families at 80 percent with low co-pays, as the aforementioned informed person put it, “even better than the cops.” While I’m all in favor of complete health coverage I also fully understand that we do not live in a civilized country that keeps health costs down with a single payer system. The sad fact is that City of Albany taxpayers, many of whom can’t pay for or can barely pay for their own health care, can’t afford to carry total coverage for City workers and their families.

People File Out Past The Assembled Fire Fighters
People File Out Past The Assembled Fire Fighters

So by spreading unjustified panic and demonstrating public contempt for the City officials and for the City of Albany, these guys successfully sidetracked the mayor’s attempt to negotiate a new union contract. Because the old contract is still in effect, the fire fighters will continue to receive these free perks for the indefinite future. And there is nothing we taxpayers can do about it.

Exactly one week after the Howe Library meeting, the mayor’s office announced that the City and the fire fighter’s union had come to an agreement, cutting back on other FD services without touching the boondoggles and free rides. This was their goal, they successfully diverted attention away from their perks. So I guess we won’t be hearing any more talk from these guys about “connecting with the neighborhoods.” After all, they are only concerned about themselves.

A Rare Photo Of Ladder #1 From 2009
A Rare Photo Of Ladder #1 From 2009

Just for the record, I want it to be understood that I grew up in a union family, specifically the old time Teamsters when they powerful. Thanks to the Teamsters my family went from poverty to middle class literally overnight. At the age of three I received a life saving operation that I now understand would not have been performed by the hospital except that my family had an excellent Teamster health plan, and that payment was guaranteed. I am always grateful to the union for those two things.

Back when us old Baby Boomers were physically little children, unions predominated among private industries and kept wages and benefits adequate. The old private sector unions forced the corporations to return some of their profits to the society which they exploited, thus these unions performed a vital public service. But those old private sector unions are almost all gone, and we are all poorer for that loss.

Albany Ladder Truck In Action
Albany Ladder Truck In Action

Today almost all of the surviving old time unions are for public employees. These unions get their benefits from the taxpayers, thus they tend to be financial burdens rather than a force that compensates society for corporate looting. That is not to say that public workers do not deserve union benefits, of course they do just like everyone else does. But it has come to this, that since most taxpayers no longer receive union benefits, then too many taxpayers no longer have the means to pay full union benefits to public employees.

It’s been rather amusing to watch all the local union haters take sides with the fire fighter’s union in this matter, such as the corporate media or a certain union hating blogger. This has more to do with hating the mayor, not for anything she’s done or not done but because. I suspect this has more to do with mayor Sheehan being a short, slender female. I guess these people miss having a father figure for their mayor, so much so that they are willing to set aside their hatred of unions for a moment.

Red Light Camera In Chicago
Red Light Camera In Chicago

There’s plenty to criticize in the budget, starting with the red light cameras, which automatically issue traffic tickets if the camera hanging next to the traffic light decides you have broken The Law. I do not like them because I do not willingly take orders from machines, I strongly object to giving the functions of the cop, the judge and the jury to a robot. Justice cannot be automated. I will applaud anyone who douses these red light cameras with kerosene and sets them on fire.

Mayor Sheehan took a page from the former mayor’s playbook when she “balanced” the remaining $2 million in the budget deficit with projected revenue from the cameras. This forced the Common Council, which was skeptical of the cameras, to approve their use in the City or risk being accused of sabotaging the budget for petty political reasons. So with no alternative the Council approved the cameras after the mayor presented the budget.

What if the 20 red light cameras do not generate $2 million next year? In Chicago, the City government deliberately shortened the length of time for the amber signals on the traffic devices, this fooled drivers into “breaking the law” so that the City could collect more revenue from drivers. All I have to say is that if mayor Sheehan pulls that stunt in Albany then I will begin clamoring for her immediate recall and replacement.

Protest Against Red Light Cameras In Chicago Last June

Protest Against Red Light Cameras In Chicago Last June

There are some flukey details in the budget, projected revenue that doesn’t seem to have materialized yet. The mayor is expecting some $1.5 million from PILOTS (payment in lieu of taxes) from some of the numerous big non-profits in the City that are not required to pay any taxes. Hopefully they will keep their promises. She is also expecting revenue from certain projects connected with the much scaled down Convention Center which is supposed to be finished two years from now, which sounds awfully far-fetched to me.

The computer system for the City has not been updated since 1997, many departments are not connected together and many City employees have to look at green screens and start the machines every morning with a C Prompt. That is so obsolete that most young people today have no idea what I just said. It is most laudable that the mayor is keeping her campaign promise to update this mess left by her predecessor, but anticipating a $2 million savings when and if the system is implemented is again terribly close to fantasy.

Coeyman’s Creek At The Site Of Jerry Jennings’ Proposed Dump In Coeymans: Defeated

Coeyman’s Creek At The Site Of Jerry Jennings’ Proposed Dump In Coeymans: Defeated

Closer to reality is the proposed sale of the 362 acres of mostly wetlands near the Hudson River that the City of Albany owns down in Coeymans. Jerry Jennings planned to turn this open space into a “landfill” i.e. a dump that would have supposedly replaced the Rapp Road Dump and most certainly would have accepted garbage by river barge from NY City. Unfortunately for Jerry some of the citizens of Coeymans hired former Save The Pine Bush attorney Lew Oliver to stop the dump. Winning the case was almost routine for Mr. Oliver (since he filed all the papers on time) and Jennings could only fume.

Albany taxpayers paid $5.2 million to buy this land in Coeymans, plus some incredible amount of debt service, taxes and other costs to maintain this land over the years. I am delighted to hear that mayor Sheehan apparently has a buyer lined up for this land who is willing to pay $5 million, thus ending the bleeding of cash. This amount is included to close the budget gap, let us all hope that the sale goes through as planned.

Perhaps I am ignorant but I still don’t understand why homeowner (homestead) taxes are going up and commercial taxes are going down in this $176.3 million budget. I think the idea is to make a more level playing field for businesses that want to locate in the City, until recently I had no idea that Albany had the highest business taxes in the region. This is one of those things I wanted to hear discussed at the Howe Library meeting, but thanks to the fire fighters and the misbehaving residents such was out of the question.

Except for the red light camera automated justice robots, I am willing to cut the mayor a lot of slack on these items, for now at least. It is pretty clear that for the first time in living memory we have a mayor who is identifying the structural problems of the City’s finances and is trying to solve them as best she can. The true test will be a year from now, will the 2016 budget look more solid and less like the wishful thinking of a teenager with a stack of credit cards.

Press Conference In Lincoln Park

Press Conference In Lincoln Park

The Monday following the Howe Library meeting mayor Sheehan called a last minute press conference to announce a planned improvement for Lincoln Park. It was a drizzly but warm enough 9AM in the morning, but this was in my neighborhood a five minute stroll from my house. Not surprisingly, with such short notice, The Wife and I were some of the few local residents to attend, but enough corporate media showed up and duly reported the announcement to make it worthwhile.

The mayor’s announcement concerned dealing with a longtime dangerous problem, the crumbling steps in front of the Lincoln Park Pool House. This was a big surprise to me, I had no idea that several community advocates, particularly Willie White of AVillage and Second Ward Common Council member Vivian Kornegay, had been lobbying for the replacement of these steps for years. Both of them were present and shared the podium with the mayor, both were very happy people.

Jerry Jennings had no interest in fixing these steps, nor did Jerry’s predecessor Thomas Whalen. That’s 30 years of neglect. At one point Jennings tried to sell Lincoln Park Pool to a privateer, and managed to get a grant to renovate the Pool House so as to sweeten the deal. But because the neighborhoods around the park united in opposition to the sale, the State was not going to approve the “alienation” (privatization) of this parkland, so again Jerry could only fume. But we got a spiffy renovated Pool House.

The Crumbling Steps At The Pool House

The Crumbling Steps At The Pool House

So Jerry had no reason to fix the steps, why should he? Two different people at the press conference related to me a story about the first Mississippi Day event in 2012. Jennings showed up and at one point tried to walk up the crumbling steps, slipped and landed on his face, injuring his wrist. I suppose that was a tragedy and we shouldn’t be laughing about it, but well, you know how it is.

So mayor Sheehan announced that she had found $300,000 to replace the steps and to add a handicapped ramp next to it, thus making it Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. That seems like an excessive amount of money for the project, but I guess those ramps are what drives up the cost. Perhaps there will be money left over to fix some of the nearby walkways in Lincoln Park, most of these much used pedestrian byways have not been replaced in over 100 years.

Just before the press conference started, I noticed the mayor all by herself for a moment, so I sidled up to her and asked her a few questions. What exactly I asked her, concerning the Howe Library meeting the last Wednesday, was not important. And of course, she is always very guarded when she talks to me, you never know what’s gonna end up on this blog.

But I found out what I wanted to know. You see, after all that nasty rudeness directed at her, after being subjected to what any alpha male would have considered devastating humiliation, it sounded to me like she didn’t hold any grudges. The South End citizens were terrified of uncontrolled fires and of neglect by their City government, and the fire fighters were trying to hang on to their boondoggles. It had nothing to do with her personally.

Announcement On A Rainy Morning

Announcement On A Rainy Morning

Those weren’t her words, those are mine. All she told me was that things were falling into place, and that in a couple of days there would be an announcement of a settlement with the fire fighter’s union that included the cost savings that she was looking for. That was all settled and done for and here we were taking care of the rotten steps at Lincoln Park Pool.

Almost immediately, I racked that up in my mind as the most amazing thing of all. For the first time in living memory we have a mayor who is not an egomaniac who punishes entire neighborhoods and uses City resources to target individuals who do not show the mayor enough respect and obedience. This gives me hope for the future of our City. I just hope the rest of the City can appreciate that.


Permalink for The Incident At Howe Library

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Comments:
If you are having difficulties posting a comment, please email Daniel Van Riper. We are experimenting with our spam filters, and we do not want to exclude any legitimate commenters, just spammers!


Posted by:GH
Posted on:11/03/2014
Comments:
Thanks as always, Dan, for your insights.


Posted by:cek
Posted on:11/04/2014
Comments:
What GH said, with the addition that I couldn't agree more with your last two posts.


Posted by:GH
Posted on:11/05/2014
Comments:
One more thing: as a dues-paying and tax-paying civil servant, thank you for your tax dollars (and mine).


Posted by:Ms
Posted on:11/12/2014
Comments:
Thanks for all the information , Dan.


Posted by:Richard Stevene
Posted on:11/12/2014
Comments:
Well done but far from truthful. I have lived here 64 years. I am retired from Council 82. health insurance... ask the Mayor what we proposed when she was Treasurer,she sat in the meeting. You did a good cover but your progressive attitude is anti Union.


Posted by:EB
Posted on:11/13/2014
Comments:
So much misinformation here. Talk about spin....This mere opinion piece is disisgusting.


Posted by:Jb
Posted on:11/13/2014
Comments:
You may want to recheck your facts before you start throwing out rediculous facts about the fire department that are untrue. You say that ladder 1 is run solely on overtime payed fireman... You're a moron. There is no validity to that statement at all. Those are the same fireman that go into work every shift and they most definately are not paid overtime for work. You say how the department robs the city in overtime pay when the cities the one that cut 18 positions just like you said during the Jennings administration. With those 18 positions there was no need for over time pay because the department was fully. However none of you seem to do your research on that. The city could have hired 5 more fireman this year and greatly reduced the overtime crisis they created instead they tried to eliminate a ladder. Especially the most important ladder in the city that serves the areas covering both the port and mans the cities water rescue boat. Which happen to save a man from his car earlier this week with less than minutes to spare. Good thing ladder one wasn't closed! Maybe you should be applauding the efforts of these men that ultimately led to keeping open one of the cities most important ladders. And if you're so concerned about taxpayers paying for the union working fireman, how come there's no mention about the blocks of campus housing for both st rose and u albany that receive free service from our albany departments. Yes that's right, nothing mentioned about how the department is obligated to serve both campuses when neither of them pay for the service. Maybe you should buy your own gear and be the next person running at a burning building that could collapse at any moment and then maybe you can criticize the men and women that do. Losing a ladder to them is losing a large piece of equipment the ultimately can save their lives. So next time before you begin ranting about how the fire Union is robbing you blind you should probably pull some of your facts from something other than a bullshit media source.


Posted by:Dan Van Riper
Posted on:11/15/2014
Comments:

Jb- There is one "rediculous fact" that you forgot to mention, both here and at the lively Facebook discussion about this article. At the time of the posting of this article Ladder #1 was manned entirely by overtime collecting employees, and had been for years. But a week later the Fire Fighter's union agreed in negotiations to end this boondoggle. My source for this information? Mayor Sheehan, at the November 5 CANA budget presentation.

What I said about the Albany FD as being an excellent fire fighting outfit was not just words, I know this from experience. But understand Jb (or is it BW?) there are a lot of men and women in this City who are working hard to make this community a decent place to live. You deserve your fair share of compensation, but this City does not exist for your sole benefit. This is what you fail to understand.


Posted by:Ralph Spillenger
Posted on:11/25/2014
Comments:
I just discovered this blog and it's right up my alley. I was unsuccessful and very naive about making Albany a better place. Mr Van Riper, Can you send me an Email as I can't seem to connect using your links as it tries to setup Outlook and fails


Posted by:John
Posted on:11/25/2014
Comments:
Dan -

I'd be leery of what the Mayor has to say, as her statements in these budget hearings were not always precisely accurate when strayjng from the talking points. She stated that "nobody was getting raises", yet several employees not in bargaining agreements are in fact getting substantial raises.

It's also kind of weird that the city is blowing big dollars on computer systems, but the fire administration had no budget or implementation plans for an electronic medical record system, which would be cheap, and would either drive revenue or allow for intelligent negotiation with Mohawk Ambulance, which has been milking the city for years.


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