Santa Council first gifted Moore and former number-two James Cornick their settlements in their lawsuits stemming from the departmental buggering of Erin Dreyer, the city’s one-time deputy public safety whore. As most can recall, the crime-fighting dynamic duo claimed Dreyer and boss Tom Curley destroyed their reputations in their attempts to drive them into retirement before both were banished from office in 2005.
Even Dreyer’s dismissal wasn’t enough to stop Cornick’s march-of-tears into retirement. The 54-year-old former assistant chief despairingly left the department this year with nothing to show for his three decades of service apart from a mammoth pension and a paltry yearly salary that remained nearly $5,000 away from reaching six figures. Rumor has it he’s only one $95,000-per-year paycheck away from collecting public assistance. At least until he and Moore were arbitrarily given $65,000 worth of public assistance.
Cornick’s share of the settlement more than doubles the amount he’s already set to earn in retirement through the city next year. Not too shabby for a guy who’s education never extended beyond criminal justice classes at Schenectady Community College. Moore, on the other hand, will have drag his kiester into the station each week to keep collecting the $98,000-per-year he already bilks from city taxpayers. At least with the settlement, he’ll be able to drag it in style; perhaps in a new Jaguar.
Keep in mind, Saratoga Springs has already dished out more than $34,700 in legal fees to defend Dreyer, who was deemed uninsurable by the city’s insurance carrier, largely because she could have and should have been removed from the position the minute she starting nailing cops in the department. Regardless of the cost, Public Safety Genius Ron Kim said the settlement was necessary to “sweep up after the circus” he encountered when first elected to office.
“It closes the books on a very bad chapter in the city and moves us forward,” he said before voting in favor of the big payout.
Yes Ron, settlements in the six-figure range can clean up an awful lot. But when the mess created by Dreyer was purged more than two years ago, it almost makes sense to drag these two cops through the court system in order to give them the long and very public beating they’re deserved. In fact, the cash doled out to these guys would have been better spent exposing them as the bullying tax-dollar spendthrifts they really are.
Acquiescing to these mercenaries didn’t tighten the council’s purse strings when it came time to pick a design firm for the second item on Moore’s wish list. When discussion on the proposed public safety facility arose, Kim jumped in to assure everyone that choosing a firm proposing to build a $14 million building didn’t necessarily mean they would design a $14 million public safety building. Just because they’ve been asked to build a facility within the the capital comittee’s estimated $17 million budget doesn’t mean they’ll actually use all that money right? After all, why would a firm design what was outlined in the RFP they were sent?
“These are professionals, and they can work within a budget,” said Kim.
Or at least a budget totaling more than $14 million before all the normal added costs are factored in. Selecting the design firm also locks the city into building a new facility, as suggested by the Rochester-based Labella Associates. In other words, it appears as though options such as rehabbing the existing building or adding on a new addition –concepts that might fit within the $8 million allocated by the city –has gone out the window with the Dreyer’s defense.
While the lame duck mayor and outgoing finance commissioner downplayed the significance of a vote, it certainly advances the project to build a new structure into the planning stages. Sure, the incoming council could reject the project outlined by Labella. Then they could attempt to pin the $860,000 design cost poor decisions made by their predecessors.
But in reality, it’s a lot easier to work with something that is already on the table. And in this case, it’s a castle between 39,000 square feet and 45,000 square feet. Merry Christmas, chief; maybe Labella will make this year a trifecta for you and design in a drive-thru donut shop for the boys in blue.