Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Back-fired

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for this breaking update: the furtive push for a Saratoga Springs Public Safety castle has officially back-fired. City officials are now making plans to renovate two already used rooms in the Police Station to comply with demands in a state discrimination suit filed by the department’s 11-woman contingent, Commissioner Ron Kim admitted to the Times Union Monday.

The project will convert a roll-call and supervisor locker area into a separately accessed women’s bathroom, shower and locker area. Women officers and employees of the department use a locker area in a converted janitor’s closet and utilize a unisex bathroom accessed through the men’s locker room.

The bizarre configurations of the facilities has caused increasing grumbles among the department’s growing number of women, as it rightly should. Most all public facilities took woman in the workplace into consideration at some point in the last half-century.

“We thought the shower was important because if female officers came off the street contaminated with pepper spray or hazardous materials, they could have a place to go to clean up without taking that stuff home,” said Assistant Police Chief Chris Cole, more than 35 years after Sandy Arpei won a court battle to become the department’s first female officer.


Yes, issues of gender-equal facilities were too far-fetched for the Saratoga Springs Police until this month. Though department heads could find grant money for just about every far-fetched law enforcing device -cash for everything from license plate readers to high-tech spy camera systems -they can’t seem to find any funding to rehab the old police station. Perhaps that’s because they’re not looking.

Even before the state suit was filed last fall, building a new public safety facility became a veritable mantra among Kim and Police Chief Ed Moore. After the suit surfaced, both Moore and Kim took a ‘told you so’ attitude toward what was then the proposed $17 million plan to build a police and court facility nearly four times the size of the Lake Avenue department.

“I have the same opinion they do,” Moore told the Daily Gazette in November.

In that case, Moore must not be a very opinionated guy. He hasn’t lifted a finger to investigate better circumstances for his female workers since becoming chief in June 2003, with exception to stumping for an unrealistic station most taxpayers can’t afford.

There’s no doubt Moore and his predecessor have held out on any renovations in the hope of securing a new facility, allowing their old one to literally crumble into the ground. In wake of the discrimination suite, the circumstances there almost grew dire enough to force a knee-jerk reaction from the city council into building a new station.

But some action needed to be taken with an April hearing in the case looming and no marked progress with the new station. So in addition to funding the plan for a new station, taxpayers will fund a necessary renovation of the old one. Kim downplayed the cost, but declined to discuss how much materials and the in-house labor would run. However, he did take the opportunity to roll out some corny metaphors in support for his unrealistic castle.

“We can continue to put a Band-Aid on a gaping gunshot wound, but at some point we have to do something more dramatic to make sure the patient lives,” he told the Times Union reporter.

Ironically, this same reporter did a story about another Saratoga County police department, which was experiencing problems that sound vaguely familiar. In 2003, Mechanicville’s police station was suffering from “hazardous building materials, falling tiles, corroded floor tiles, no bullet-proof window protection, a rodent invasion, a locker room with no ventilation and lack of space.”

Remarkably, these problems were rectified the within a year and without the $800,000 grant initially requested by the department. In fact, the work was done with $25,000 from the city council and by employing a local contractor. Once completed, the renovations made a believer out of Police Chief Joseph Waldron, who had initially stumped for a new facility.

“I bet you we have added over 1,000 square feet of space here by just tearing down bearing walls,” he said in 2004. “It was like an empty shell. We emptied everything and made it into something.”

So now that renovations are imminent, perhaps city officials can again revisit a full overhaul of the existing police station instead of the senseless project to build a new one. And maybe -just maybe -they can also see for once that things can indeed get done without filling up a room at City Hall with overpriced blue prints.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Random Question from down memory lane. Anybody know if Sandy Arpei had a son named Malcom? If so we went to elementary school together. The things you never knew about your classmates or their families....

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“But some action needed to be taken with an April hearing in the case looming and no marked progress with the new station. So in addition to funding the plan for a new station, taxpayers will fund a necessary renovation of the old one. Kim downplayed the cost, but declined to discuss how much materials and the in-house labor would run.”

 In addition to funding the plan for a new station, taxpayers will fund a necessary renovation of the old one. What ever happened to the money that was set aside two years ago to make the repairs in the first place? Failure by the Commissioner to authorize repairs then, cost taxpayers over $100,000 in December for discrimination? And now we pay again?

 Didn’t in-house labor and repairs result in over 100 code violations in the first place? An interesting use of code enforcement?

 Who’s policing our money? Let’s hope the Council can see through all of this baloney.

 Metaphorically suggesting a Band-Aid solution to a shotgun blast is more apropos to this Department’s inability to make effective, efficient and responsible decisions when it comes to considering the Public at large, by throwing good money after bad.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today, the NYS Comptroller spoke to a request by the Thruway Authority to raise tolls for needed repairs and maintenance, by suggesting first, that the Thruway Authority evaluate where they can save money and operate more efficiently. Good advice for our PS Department that seems to assume that by continuing to publicly present their unmanaged facility, that they can continue to bilk the taxpayers for more money. Are the new “in house” modifications up to code or like all of the other “in house” modifications that have resulted in the complaints, the lawsuits and money thrown down the drain.

What does our Finance Commissioner have to say about all of this waste? The only plan for the future seems to be bankruptcy.

2:20 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Good article.

Sadly, it highlights many of the problems caused by the inept malicious public employee system that this country is saddled with.

If these same assholes tried pulling this shit in the private sector, heads would roll.

As far as Kim is concerned, he should be booted out.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HHmmmm- can't believe it took this long for the female employees to get a decent locker room. But does this mean that the female parking enforcement officer will have another place to hide out all day instead of shopping in the stores? There's tax dollars well spent.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous BlueDog said...

It appears Ron Kim's plans for a new building are DOA. I guess supporting Skippy and setting up a Republican take over of the city may not look like such a great idea for the Kheeniacs now. Next this council will find a way to ice the lake as a water source. I don't understand it. The people out at the lake mostly do not vote in the city elections and it appears that the majority of city dwellers want to keep the lake option open. Beware Scott, you could be a one term wonder like your esteemed predecessor.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i prefer the antics of our aging "traffic safety" cop, who parks so frequently @ Sarge's Diner on maple Ave w/ the ass end of his patrol car hanging out. and is generally one of the most unprofessional officers of the law i've ever encountered.

8:58 AM  
Blogger A small "r" republican for fairness said...

Sandy Arpei DOES NOT have a son named Malcolm.

She has three sons, who are all fine men. Two of them are currently officers on the force.

Her husband was also one of the finest officers this town ever had. He is since retired and works security at the Hospital.

John Arpei, who I believe is their cousin, and about to retire from the force may have a son by that name, but I do not know.

4:15 PM  
Blogger T said...

Last thing I read describing the conditions mentioned that adding space for the female officers would require moving the vending machine. Has Kim taken the bold step to do this?

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In today's Saratogian story about the lake water, Finance Commissioner Kenneth Ivins is quoted as saying “It looks like the budget will be one to two million dollars short and we need to cut spending.”

Why are we spending a million on plans for the Public Safety building when the budget is short? Or $17 million for a new building? It's crazy. Rehab the old space, take room from Public Works.

People are upset about the cost of living in Saratoga. Here is a pefect example of why we are paying such high taxes. Stop spending millions on things we do not need.

Let's get rid of Kim or anyone else that wants to building a multi-million dollar monument to themselves with our money.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:34 "would require moving the vending machine. Has Kim taken the bold step to do this?"

First he would have to ask the question, "How can I move it so that it becomes another code violation?" or

"If I move it and hurt my back, can I sue the City?" or

“Maybe I should get help from my X-Commissioner so that we can both hurt our backs and make it almost a class-action law suit” or

"Why didn't I just make the small changes a year ago to avoid the $150,000 discriminatory lawsuit paid by the City?" or

"How many lawyers does it take to do nothing?" or

“If I tell everyone that we planned for everything, does it mean that we planned anything? or

________________________

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Bluedog said...

I like the idea of the water to come from the county as well as the new police department being built. The biggest problem we have is women in the first place.

4:02 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Horatio,

I hope that guy on the bike is not a picture from a family photo album.

6:38 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Bluedog said...

"I like the idea of the water to come from the county as well as the new police department being built. The biggest problem we have is women in the first place."


Hey, Bluedog we all like picture of you riding on the bike with the funnel sticking out of your ass.
It's really funny. You're very talented.

Just a suggestion; keep practicing on your bike and make sure you always wear that helmet. We wouldn't want to see that brain of yours get any more fucked up than it already is.

P.S. When you get a little older you’ll find women aren’t so bad.

9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I make a request... REMOVE THE PICTURE OF THE DUDE WITH A CONE IN HIS ASS.

We don't need a photo of the Fonda Speedway white trash halftime show.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:02 "The biggest problem we have is women in the first place."

Spoken like a surviving Neanderthal. Could the “Blue” in Bluedog be code for Police Hound?

Remember that this debate is not about straightening up the mess that was mostly self-created and ignored, in a more reasonable and tax responsible way. If you own your own property and pay taxes in this City it hits home that those that shout the loudest don’t live within the City’s taxing district.

Is it a wonder why a few sheets of sheetrock and some 2x4’s, a little electric service and in this case a shower could correct in the short term something that didn’t have to play itself out in the Court of Public Opinion for two years costing the City taxpayers $150,000 in penalties? And the most absurd part, is that the previous Council had approved the monies to the tune of more than $1million to make those simple renovations. We taxpayers have been paying the debt service on that account. So its hits especially hard when we learn that this Band-Aid solution requires approval. Someone’s not doing his or her job.

The waterline is about providing water to all those imaginary people that are supposed to be moving into Saratoga County. Next, the volume of the roadways will be increased to accommodate the flood of commuters that are envisioned. The transportation plans begin incorporating ideas for supplemental rail transportation (widening the Northway) and speed circles so that traffic can flow with “less pollution”. All this said, like the chicken and the egg, most Saratoga Springs residents will simply lose their community. For now, you have to question whether we should be paying for the utility that will generate that growth outside the City or should we control our own costs and destiny?

Today’s paper indicates that the infection is becoming an epidemic...another lawsuit against the City!

I think I'll go over and trip on the sidewalk after today's icy rains forecast or fall down the front steps or slip on the shiny corridor floors. Could help with my tax bills.

Maybe if dozens of people fall in front of City Hall it could be a class action suit? Know any lawyers?

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how we now have people talking about taking space from public works now that a certain guy is gone. When McTygue was there they wouldn't dare mention such a thing. Tom said no so we can't do it!

2:06 PM  
Blogger scoop said...

And now I see Saratoga is getting sued over one hour of sick time. Who needs the horses when the city provides this kind of entertainment.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:06"I love how we now have people talking about taking space from public works now that a certain guy is gone."

That "certain guy' publicly stated at Council two years ago that his department could move out to accommodate the space needs of the growing and cramped PS Department. The other "I'll have it my way or no way" guy said no.

When the second guy promoting his big castle was asked, “Why the facility needed to be so big (3 1/2 X current size)?” He responded, ”We’ll fill it up!” Ca-Ching badda bing!

It seems that PS has now created the climate for union workers to supplement their salaries by suing the City. First, you don’t make the repairs, then you sue because the repairs were not made, then you make the repairs. Ca-Ching badda bing!

I understand the City employment office is screening their applicants closer than before. Anyone named Susan, Sue, Sumi are now regarded as a little suspicious. Badda-Boom.

5:23 AM  
Anonymous The Real BlueDog said...

BlueDog 4:02 is someone who wants to be my evil twin. What's up with that???

6:12 AM  
Anonymous mamie said...

McTygue was there for 30 years. Why didn't he give some of DPW space? Why did his offices always get new rugs while the rest of us in city hall got shit for the past 12 years? Why new DPW trucks by the boat load when PS got no police cars or fire trucks?

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mamie: "McTygue was there for 30 years. Why didn't he give some of DPW space? Why did his offices always get new rugs while the rest of us in city hall got shit for the past 12 years? Why new DPW trucks by the boat load when PS got no police cars or fire trucks?"

 First, we know you are not one to requisition purchases, because we never buy our trucks by the boatload.

 Let’s see, the Finance Department got some new carpeting last year, and the Mayor’s office had a small investment, although they did do substantial interior work in the building department several years’ back.

 Accounts recently got a new but cheap doorknob in its front room and they moved some furniture around.

 The Public Works Commissioner just added a new office since his predecessor didn’t have one.

 The Web Master in the basement got to open his window.

 If there’s a new rug, where is it?

 As far as vehicles go, I think you will find that between the Public Works Department and the Police and the Fire Department (they both are under the management of the PWCommissioner), it will be the PSD that has way more newer, shinier, larger and longer, faster vehicles with way, way more sirens, a horse and a dog and the usual assortment of tazers, shotguns, and all of the other weaponry that is legally required for them to have to uphold justice (and the American Way) in this Metropolis.

 If all you got was shit for 12 years, are you sure that your not working for the Water Department in Utilities (that would be DPW sweetie) assigned to sanitary line repairs?

 As far as being there 30 years, that Commissioner managed his Department. Most of his employees are out at the garage, treatment plants, landfill sites and actually responding to 14 square miles of roads and properties. They don’t have rugs.

 If you feel that you are being discriminated against and you are a 12-year City Hall employee, why don’t you sue if you want a rug?

2:29 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

mamie said...8:24 AM

"Why did his offices always get new rugs while the rest of us in city hall got shit for the past 12 years?"


Poor, poor, Mamie.
Working down in city hall all of these years and getting nothing. It must be terrible for you poor city workers to have to walk on old rugs.

The city ought to fire the whole bunch of you assholes and privatize all of the city operations.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:24 "Why new DPW trucks by the boat load"

We stopped getting trucks by the boatload since McTygue's great grandfather stopped working on the Erie Canal.

Is this flap all over a rug?

Time out (that's paid personal time) on the Victims Bench with a Yoohoo and some chips.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Mamie said...

No need to fire all of us assholes! The problem was solved when we kicked his worthless ass out of office.!
Anon: 5:23 it's funny you badda bing. Sounds like you were close to the scene as far as McTygue goes. Wasn't that his trademark! Dead Fish! Maybe a horse's head!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:43 "No need to fire all of us assholes!"

Hey, you got some serious stuff goin on. I suggest you skip the chips have two bottles of Yoohoo, three boxes of Milk Duds and some Exlax.

Don't sit on that bench too long, and don't go near my rug.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News Alert: Mayor to appoint a "Blue Ribbon" Committee to oversee the Commissioner's Blue Man Committee’s mini-blue committee.

The desperate, “I am in charge here” appointment by the previous Mayor is quite unorthodox since, it is the Mayor who is the lead person on any Capital Project. Would you really appoint someone to oversee a $10 million project that manages a Department with over “100 safety violations” and can’t get a bench out of the way or least get 9:43 a small rug?

It’s time to build "a fiscally responsible plan" for the future.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

12:12,

Sorry about the picture. It is very Fonda Speedway. I just couldn't find a better image that just spelled "back-fired" in the Ron Kim sense of the term.

2:06,

I could be mistaken, but wasn't it McTygue's idea to move his guys out of City Hall and let the Police have that space. I know it's been suggested before, but Kim's Krew downplayed the thought by saying the renovations would cost too much.

mamie,

FYI, every time you see a black and white Saratoga Police cruiser, you're looking at a vehicle that's less than six months old. So it's hard to say the PW guys are driving around brand new cars without checking out the cops' new digs. And seeing as though they've wrecked three cruisers in the last three months, they're probably due for a few more $32,000 whips.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Flash: The Public Safety Deputy Commissioner thought to introduce a little humor in tonight’s City Council agenda by highlighting the fact that the bathroom on the second floor of City Hall now has hot water after 30 years.

What's fascinating, is that in more than 30 years, it apparently wasn't a big enough problem to bring to Council and publicly complain about. Makes one wonder whose complaining about a rug?

I can’t wait to hear how the Council responds to her request for money for the renovations, that are the result of the $150,000 fine which was the result of not doing the renovations which had been approved and financed two years ago? It’s not that they shouldn’t approve the funds, but that little “in-house” locker room and shower job just cost the City $157,000. It will be interesting to hear if the Council questions the Commissioner on how well planned this absurdity was.

It kind of takes the (“ha-ha-still-fighting-McTygue) chortle out of the hot water repair. And we thought some people could grow up?

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, what's up with this bold declaration to finally collect legal fines? Why not just announce comprehensively fining illegal parking and illegal truck traffic?

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point about rugs is McTygue pissed away money on rugs while there are many other more important items to address out there. Fuck you and your Tommy is great band of merry men.

5:15 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Anonymous said...

"The point about rugs is McTygue pissed away money on rugs while there are many other more important items to address out there. Fuck you and your Tommy is great band of merry men."

I thought the point concerning the complaints about the dirty rug was the fact that city workers didn't like getting their pants and skirts dirty when they had to get on their knees.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shot 8:26

We sure there is a lot of that going on! Who was the most recent that got transfered to Accounts?

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

30 years and that bag of shit never fixed the water once. but it's ron kim's fault. somethings never change.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:45 "somethings never change."

Do you have any idea what you are writing about? Thirty years is a long time for City public servants to have ignored a faucet that wasn't connected. Were these Public Safety Department personnel? Did these discriminated against employees belong also to the Courts? Was it a public bathroom? Was it a private one in Public Safety? Was it ignored perhaps because the personnel chose another lavatory?

Truth is, you don’t know. All you know is that it was made an item to report on with the attachment, that it went on for thirty years. I would be more concerned that those who used it for that time did not find it worth mentioning or that their respective Commissioner did not put the faucet repair in his budget or bring it up the old fashion way, a requisition.

You seem so aggravated over the claim, perhaps you should cogitate on this: The “small repairs” to the Public Safety woman’s locker room cost the taxpayer $157,000, when it had been approved by the Council two years ago and would have only cost only $7,000.

Our Public Safety force is 70 +/- strong and patrols less than 15 square miles and want to build a $20 million facility. The County Sheriff is 200 strong and patrols the entire County 812 square miles and they want to build a $15 million PS facility. The State Police patrols the Interstate. The City has a population of approx. 26,000 people. The County is over 200,000. We pay in our County tax, a portion of the County cost to provide services to the other communities (like Wilton and Clifton Park whose populations exceed ours). The outrageous behavior of our elected official and administrative staff (considering that more than 60% do not contribute to the taxes that the demand be raised) in that department to complain for two years about their “injustices” and their own “illegal” modifications that were accomplished under their own Public Safety inspection oversight is insulting. Feeling ripped off yet?

And then, there is of course the hot water complaint?
I guess, "somethings never change."

2:30 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


View My Stats