Thursday, September 13, 2007

Soap-box derby

Sometimes it takes the perfect storm of events to show the true brazen gall some city officials have in their demands. Other times, it takes a pair of fresh eyes on a situation to reveal the rampant hypocrisy of a so-called public servant and his soap-box preaching.

As one sharp reader succinctly pointed out, it’s mighty interesting that Police Chief Ed Moore can justify a ludicrously large public safety facility at the same time he and his former number two are suing the hell out of the city over the Erin Dreyer scandal. Ordinarily, this would be a cost city tax payers wouldn’t need to worry about; it would be covered by municipal insurance. But after the carrier decided to stick the city with Dreyer’s legal expenses, it’s not clear what will be covered once the case winds to conclusion.

For those in the cheap seats in the city politics amphitheater, let’s do a quick recap: Dreyer, the city’s deputy Public Safety whore, knocks boots with perhaps the least-charming cop in the department. After getting into Sgt. Dan “Sunshine” Noeker’s pants, Dreyer decided to get lover boy into the chief’s seat. The whole affair hits the press and the Republican-dominated City Council is left with an ugly decision on what to do with the deeply politically connected Dreyer. Ultimately, the commissioners decided to abolish her position, essentially allowing her to collect unemployment for a spell on the city’s tab.

Before the whole affair could blow over like a whiff of ill-timed flatulence, Moore and Cornick decided to sue the city for what is rumored to be hundreds of thousands of dollars. The basis for the lawsuit was that Dreyer somehow undermined the top-cop duo’s reputation somehow and that the only possible way to rectify the situation was to line their pockets with cash.

From the outset, it seemed like a good plan: sue the city, bring the insurance company to the drawing table and make out with a quick quarter million or so; city insurance premiums raise a bit, but not enough that the standard citizen would notice or even care. But then the city’s carrier, New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal, decided they wouldn’t pay Dreyer’s defense, prompting Dreyer to drag the city into yet another legal battle in which she ultimately won. Now, it’s not clear what insurance will cover, if anything at all.

The cops tried to settle the whole affair last year for a rumored $150,000. Though the dollar amount seems paltry in lawsuit terms, the agreement was also contingent on a city decision to improve the police department pension, allowing cops to earn up to two-thirds of their pay instead of topping out at half-pay upon retirement. The pension boost was granted, however the settlement was never signed; you’re welcome, Chief Moore.

Meanwhile, Moore continually ramps up his stumping for a new police station. For the chief, the time is now. He’s got a sympathetic ear with Valerie Keehn, a mayor desperately trying to accomplish something. He’s also has a Public Safety commissioner in his front pocket. But without action soon, all this could change. Enter the politics of intimidation.

There have been reports of uniformed police officers toting clipboards to area establishments in search of signatures to support the Public Safety castle. Moore followed this up with his deleteriously “impassioned” letter to a private citizen and political candidate. And then there’s the public appearance with two the aforementioned candidates, where he felt fit to bash any politician questioning his ludicrously large station; a public servant indeed.

Also, the chief could craft a public safety facility that fits Saratoga Springs; not Troy, not Schenectady, not any other “similar sized department.” Just because the Spa City has as many officers as other municipalities doesn’t mean the city needs the same size or type of department. What he wants is a new castle for his cadre of cops, even if it takes screwing property owners to the tune of $87 per year over the next three decades.

If Moore really cared about the city or getting his beloved station, he’d drop his lawsuit and advise the same of Cornick, who now makes two-thirds his salary for do nothing. The suit is costing thousands of dollars for what amounts to a load of horse dung, sans the sugar-coating. At this point, the only thing damaging Moore’s reputation is Moore himself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the cop was so lacking in charm, how did he get Ms. Dreyer to repeatedly open her legs and vagina for his entry therein?

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horatio, it’s not a $17 million bag drop down payment for a 47,000 SF facility that will cost $65 million in three years, nor is it about $87 per resident on a $250,000 house (is that the AVERAGE household? Hmmm suddenly, affordability goes out the window). The quick math is tantamount to any budget that relies on the public endorsing it, and then required later to pay its actual inflated sum. The numbers thrown around on crayon drawings are not responsible ones. Yeah, “I can build you a building, for that amount, but not with those plans. With real plans, the numbers go way up!” These are real funny numbers. The guys responsible for selling this to the public will be history.

Have we all been fooled? Has the chief puppet master who simultaneously sues a City Commissioner and negotiates new union contracts, demands now that taxpayers pay for a bloated budget while intimidating not only a public (while in uniform), but also two Police Commissioners who seem to enjoy his camaraderie, and a mayor, as you say, conscience of her, ‘what I’ve done list’, into doing what he himself has been unwilling to do with all those other previous elected officials - finally take over City Hall?

Public Works is the diversion. That’s where you are supposed to look. A 32-year ‘ELECTED’ official is being taken to task by a 32-year ‘PROTECTED’ public servant. Power and money is what this is all about. And while PW spends money on the city, PS spends money on itself. This is not about individual police officers, their work in the community isn’t going to change; this is about the Empire. Look closely at the Public Safety Department, it has the largest budget and demands an unacceptable tax burden for facilities that could be accommodated for 1/3 less. And once you build it, you will have to FEED IT. And on in the end, it will be the retirements of a bloated department that will require feeding – enough to break the banks of residents, who have not yet moved to Wilton to avoid city taxes soon approaching their school tax burden. Upwards of 60% rank and file live outside the city and do not pay city taxes and certainly not the 30% tax increase that they demand city residents to pay.

I don’t like using the word “lie” or adding to or denying the ugly rumor that the Public Safety Commissioner has completely forgotten about HIS OWN campaign promises from last season, or that Public Safety is about Enforcement and Public Works is about Building but, the 30% is a legitimate taxpayer concern that CAN BE substantiated.

We Saratogians do deserve the truth, as pointed out in a recent Public Safety mailing. Point one makes a tax impact claim - is this based on Charter requirement 3.1.1? Point two is a lie if not merely a deliberate distortion. It certainly IS the Mayor's Capital Program. From our City Charter, current edition, under section 3 Mayor:
3.1. Capital Program.
In conjunction with the Capital Program Committee, the Mayor shall be responsible for preparing the City’s Capital Program for a six-year period. The Capital Program shall be submitted to the Council for adoption. The program shall consist of Capital projects and capital equipment, be listed by Department, and contain recommended priorities.
3.1.1. Capital projects. Each capital project shall contain the following information:
a. A description of the proposed project and its estimated total cost.
b. The proposed means of financing, indicating the amount proposed to be financed by local taxes, and the amount, if any, estimated to be received from the Federal government, the State government, any other government, nongovernment or private entity, or any other source of funds procured for the project.
c. The proposed method of financing, indicating the use of reserve funds, grants, transfers, current taxes, notes, bonds, or any other type of debt obligation or similar devices to be used to finance each project.
d. The expected useful life of the capital project, the cost of annual maintenance and upkeep, and other expected operational and personnel-related costs.
e. A general summary description of the project and additional comments and recommendations of any department, board, officer, or agency affected by the proposed project.
The quiet spin has been that Public Works has not maintained the deteriorating Public Safety quarters. It is however, a duty that falls within the responsibilities assigned to the Commissioner of Public Safety and funds for the ongoing maintenance and repairs of those facilities should find a line on the Public Safety budget. Instead of "Building for the Future," how about a more Charter-related slogan like, "Responsible Management?" Again, here's the City Charter:
Title 5 The Commissioner of Public Safety
The Commissioner of Public Safety shall be responsible for the protection of City residents and their property from crime, fire, hazard, disorder, and natural disasters.
5.4.G. Public Safety facilities and equipment. The Commissioner of Public Safety shall be responsible for management and care of lands, buildings, equipment, and apparatus of the Police and Fire Departments and those of such other departments as may from time to time be vested in the Department of Public Safety by the Council.

When the public finally wakes up, it will be the proverbial tax and spend politicians that will be thrown out of office to be replaced by a more conservative model. Perhaps, that is the plan all along?

Successfully playing on political loyalties, passions, frustrations and anger, the puppeteer has most residents distracted from what is really taking place. Our foolish name-calling and petty scrapping is not what this is all about (doesn’t it feel like a football game?). We’re ALL being used. We all need to open our eyes, (yes, even you new guys) it's not too late.

The focus of the 2005 election, Politics in Public Safety, is alive and well. Maybe, something Wirth thinking about? In the end, it WILL BE the tax bills not the bulletproof toilet room.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one who is REALLY costing the city money with lawsuits is Tom McTygue. Then there's all the money he incompetently squandered on "planning" the Saratoga Lake Plan. He thinks he can shove this down people's throats, but folks by the lake aren't buying it. And one has to ask, now that the city has paid out a million bucks for an incompetent plan, what's in it for Tommy? If the Lake plan were to go through, no doubt he would find a way to make lots of money off of taxpapers. But the FBI is on to him.

The Erin Dreyeraffair was brought about by the previous Commissioner of Public Safety. As long as we have a commisssioner form of government - with at least one Commissioner, McTygue, who doesn't bother to try to follow the current charter - we are going to have problems like this. The police chief and ordinary citizens are going to be the victims of this unmitigated incompetence.

You're just trying to change the subject from the need for a new police station because you support McTygue all the way,

5:47 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

McTygue, McTygue, McTygue. Sometimes I feel like Jan Brady here. , My friend, YOU are the one changing the subject. The subject is the proposed police station and how it’s going to make buggers like me broke, not Tom McFuckingTygue.

And allow me make this blisteringly clear: I support NO politician. There are some I might bash more than others because they commit particularly egregious acts while in public office. However, the fact that one camp takes a disproportionately large number of lumps here doesn’t mean I wave a banner in favor of the other. Simply put, I despise politicians with every last ounce of my mortal soul; all of them, no matter what lying brand or manifestation they take.

Now onto your second postulation about McTygue “costing the city money with lawsuits;” do tell when the last time the Public Works fixture has SUED Saratoga Springs. I’d love to hear about it. Because last I checked, he hasn’t ever filed a lawsuit against the city. Moore, on the other hand, is suing the city for what is bound to be a sum of cash in the high six- to low seven figures. At the same time, he’s all the more willing to stick the already-suffering middle class tax payers with a nearly $100 per year increase, which will rise as the city struggles to heat not one but two mammoth buildings. That’s what we call hypocrisy.

This is a plan that can be stopped, tweaked and made better. But instead, it’s being rammed through on a plain of politics so that the do-nothing mayor and her Public Safety lackey can claim they’ve actually done something in office. Unfortunately, their followers seek to obfuscate the dire consequences of this plan by dragging in accusations that have nothing to do with the real issue at hand and are largely unfounded even if they did.

Once again, I find myself poised to vote against a candidate rather than for a candidate, so that bad politics doesn’t make it off the drawing board. Maybe Moore, Keehn and Kim can afford an extra hundred or so in taxes, but I cannot. Voting McTygue out of office won’t stop this plan; voting Keehn and her lap dog out of office just might.

As for the first poster: Frankly, I always assumed it was the sergeant's utter lack of charm that landed Dreyer in the sack. Misery loves company. Two perfectly miserable individuals just happen to gravitate toward one another in an area where there just happens to be a bed and a six-pack of condoms readily available.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now onto your second postulation about McTygue “costing the city money with lawsuits;” do tell when the last time the Public Works fixture has SUED Saratoga Springs."

Here, you distorted what I said because it suits your biases. McTygue is not suing the city, people are suing McTygue and his kid brother Billy for the hydraulic oil leak, etc., etc. And the McTygues have made sure the city picks up the legal tab for their incompetence and chicanery. It's all part of the corruption racket in this city that McTygue is a leader in, along with many developers and others who have controlled the city for a long time at the expense of taxpayers. Voting McTygue out of office will save city taxpayers LOTS of money on unnecessary legal bills. Admit it, you're just a shill for McTygue and his cronies, like Gordon Boyd. But a lot of people in this city have McTygue fatigue these days. Of course, the FBI is currently very interested in McTygue. So is the DEC.

You would do a public service by listing the money for legal expenses that the city council has authorized just this year to cover the McTygues' legal expenses. But of course, you wouldn't want to hurt Tommy.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the first poster. Horatio you unfortunately are obligated to print "all the news that fit to print", and this response no doubt provided its author with a secret bit of pleasure to type the words for all to read. While far more salacious than the local rag's "Lawsuit Log" that featured an update of the then Deputy Commish, its purpose was no less inappropriate than imagining body parts. Not alot goin on at Stonequist these day, Huh?

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, Horatio. What area would that be? The people should be told. I never met Dreyer and cannot comment on her alleged charmlessness or miserableness, but she has certain apparent qualities, as the sergeant and anyone with eyes could obviously recognize, that most public officials lack.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to do something! What we have is not working. Putting the idea out to the public is not wrong. Getting more accurate information and clearing up issues are the next step. Instead we are just jumping down their throats!
Hostility is NOT the answer.
This will not be voted on before electionday, so lets just stay focused not angry.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Frankly, you’re trying to compare apples and oranges while throwing a quick McTygue jab in. My point is that it’s a bit bizarre how Moore, a well-heeled civil servant, finds it easy enough to stump for a station while he is himself suing the city for money that could otherwise be used for such a project. Not to mention, his lawsuit is utter bullshit. He’s still the chief, his number two is now RETIRED, and the chance that his so-called reputation has been tarnished in any conceivable way is absolutely preposterous.

Onto McTygue. I am aware of several lawsuits in recent times, mostly stemming from the water issue and connections thereof. They are filings against the city by a private individual or company, not a city official. While I’m not versed enough on the whole history of these suits, the general gist seems to suggest they’re deeply political in nature, as are their rulings by county Judge Thomas Nolan, who more often than finds favor with the county Republicans.

How much have these suits cost the city? Well in the cases I’ve read, nothing more than court costs, which as we know can be high. And quantifying this in any sort of line item manner would be difficult, seeing as though they were probably litigated by the city attorney’s office.

So paint me however you care to paint me. I’ll leave this sort of leg work up to you. If you’d like to tabulate these costs and then send me your results, I’ll review them and see if they indeed implicate McTygue –a part-time elected official –in such wanton waste. Otherwise, I’ll just stick to my original argument: Chief Moore is a hypocrite bilking city taxpayers. If he'd drop the suit, perhaps I'd think a bit higher of his calls for a massive station.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone remember the ducks.I think T Mac said he'd rather go to jail rather then paying a $1,000 fine. that wound up costing taxpayers $4,000 instead. and recently he just lost the civil case because they wouldn't give the afro-american guy a full time job.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horatio; get your facts straight. Moore never sued the city. Read the court documents and you will plainly see he sued Curley & Dreyer as individuals, Then your buddy McTygue, McCabe and previous councilmen Lenze and Towne voted unanimously to indemnify Curley, thereby transferring a lawsuit against the real culprits to the taxpayers. By the way, I hear Moore asked for an apology in lieu of the money and both Curley & Dreyer refused, forcing a settlement for money instead of a simple apology by the two. Why don't you bash the crooked politicians who circled the wagons to defend their buddy Tom and Erin; could it be that you are one of their inner circle?

6:04 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

You are right with one regard: Moore’s suit did not name the city, unlike Cornick’s. But at the time, the wagons that were circling around Curley were largely painted with a big red “R” on the sides. Upon doing a cursory search, I could find no record on how the council voted. But you are also correct in saying that either McCabe or McTygue would have needed to vote in favor of protecting Curley, as he needed to recuse himself from the discussion.

Still, this whole thing didn’t need to travel through the legal process. It’s just that Moore knew he had a slam-dunk case. The Republican majority at the time erred big time when they refused to can Dreyer, enough that Moore saw he could drag the whole affair through the court system long enough that the city would ultimately side with paying him off, rather than going to a jury.

Look, I’m not going to let anyone off the hook for the Dreyer flap. As far as I’m concerned, the council at the time –and each member by extension –did the city a major disservice. And the fact that a two-bit whore like Dreyer threw herself around the police authority like an oversized silverback speaks volumes to Moore’s leadership.

I will say this in Dreyer’s extremely limited defense: She did claim she was going to lower police overtime, which is a hot-button issue with any flatfoot out on the beat. Dreyer’s intentions were certainly nefarious, but to achieve them I’d suggest she was endeavoring to do something that would have benefited the tax payers. There’s a reason a fucking sergeant in that department is making as much as the chief, and it ain’t cause of all the “good police work.”

You are right to aim the guns at the crooked politicians. They really botched one good in the Dreyer case. Watching it unfold was like watching a slow-motion replay of two jets colliding in midair. But Moore saw his chance to suck off the gravy train and brought his industrial strength straw to the trough. I’ve heard the BS story about “he’d be willing to accept an apology” too. But I’ve heard that same story in just about every tort case I’ve followed. Want to guess how many of them have resulted in payouts? Here’s a hint: all of them.

Lastly, I’m deeply humbled by your closing assertion. While I’d love to champion myself as some sort of deep throat insider, I’m nothing more than your standard hack, albeit a deeply professional one. In fact, when the wagons circle, I’m usually the guy getting crushed under the wheels along with all the other citizens whom aren’t served by this nation’s broken political system.

7:41 AM  

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