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Thane issues vetoes on street closing, budget transfer resolutions

The city clerk’s office released two veto statements from Mayor Ann Thane yesterday. The vetoes were for two resolutions passed at the last common council meeting on September 15.

The first veto was for a resolution passed unanimously by the council which requested that Police Chief Greg Culick stop allowing the partial closure of Main Street from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays for the Amsterdam Farmers’ Market. The resolution claims that “businesses are being negatively impacted by the partial closure of Main Street on Saturday mornings by the Farmers’ Market.”

In her veto statement, Thane wrote, “This is an anecdotal accounting that has no empirical evidence provided.”

“Direction of staff is an executive function,” wrote Thane. “I will not direct the Chief to disallow this partial closure.”

Thane cited other Capital District cities such as Troy and Schenectady as examples of communities that have closed off streets to entice new pedestrian traffic.

“The Farmers’ Market is welcome to continue until it’s planned conclusion in October,” concluded Thane.

At last week’s meeting, Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler said, “The problem has become you have three businesses that are being impacted by their customers not being able to get to them, for various reasons, because the street is closed.”

When reached for comment last week, the three businesses who are located on the section of Main Street that is closed, and who have hours that significantly overlap the Farmers’ Market, gave varying reactions on the impact the market has had on their businesses. Tony Vellano, president of the Professional Wrestlers Hall of Fame, provided a written statement enthusiastically supporting the market and said that it had resulted in increased traffic and sales. Tammy Bedell, owner of Main Attraction Salon and Spa, said the market had neither helped or hurt her business and said she had no problem with the event. Dan Weaver of the Book Hound gave one example of losing a customer due to the street closure, but also said he had gained a small amount of business due to the event.

Thane’s second veto was on a unanimously adopted resolution transferring $44,564 budgeted for a codes department position to the contingency fund. At last week’s meeting, Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler said the move was designed to postpone the hiring of a codes department employee until next year “to be dealt with by the new administration.” Hatzenbuhler claimed the current candidate for the job lacked adequate experience.

“The individual that they are looking at has no training, he can only do grass and weeds, he has to go through school next year at the city’s expense,” said Hatzenbuhler.

Reached for comment later, Thane said that all city codes officers are required by law to take annual training classes. She said that although her chosen candidate will require certification from NY State as well as some on-the-job training, he would still be able to begin work immediately, taking care of “common complaint issues.”*

“The candidates were interviewed by a small team composed of [City Engineer Rich Miller], [Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis], and myself,” said Thane. “The decision to hire was unanimous. We weighed educational background, experience, and performance during the interview. We were all impressed with the chosen young man and I am confident that he will be a valuable addition to our staff.”

She also added, “per the charter, these are executive decisions and it is improper for the legislative body to second guess this process.”

Thane cited chapter 122 of the city charter as the grounds for her veto.

The Common Council, on recommendation of the Mayor, may authorize the Controller to transfer part or all of any unencumbered appropriation balance to another appropriation budget line; the transfer may be between or within any department or agency provided that no funds may be transferred in violation of any restrictions on use contained in this charter or any other applicable law…

Thane wrote, “As I have not recommended this modification, a resolution approving a modification is not effective to modify a duly adopted budget without my recommendation. I point this out because an override of this veto will not cause this transfer to comply with the City Charter.”

* A previous version of this article did not include “will require certification from NY State”


About Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of LLC which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.

6 Responses to Thane issues vetoes on street closing, budget transfer resolutions

  1. AvatarLuis says:

    $44,456.00 for a person to do “common complaint issues.” Wow, we are a rich community to offer pay at this rate for such common work. Outrageous!! This is top rate pay for an entry level position! You don’t, entry level hire Fire Fighters at this pay rate but she wants to pay this to a person who will be tasked with “common complaint issues” / aka high grass, improper garbage at curb, signs on utility poles. It’s minor level violations, it’s not like your hiring a Building Inspector to review Engineering stamped plans for approval to begin a multi-million dollar construction projects. The Mayor is also misinforming of the training this individual will need. Here is what the state says this person will need. Approx. 125 hrs. of initial state certification training followed by each year after of 24 hrs in-service training. As per NYS Executive Law 381.

    “Reached for comment later, Thane said that all city codes officers are required by law to take annual training classes. She said that although her chosen candidate will need some on-the-job training, he would still be able to begin work immediately, taking care of “common complaint issues.”

    • AvatarTim Becker says:

      $44,456.00 is the total budget for that position. I doubt that’s their gross salary.

      Actually, going through my notes again, the mayor did mention he would have to be certified. I should have included that in the article. My apologies.

  2. Avatardiane hatzenbuhler says:

    Yes, Tim, the gentleman must be certified. He has no background in the field. During the next year, he will have to go to 6 weeks of schooling at the city’s expense. That was not budgeted for. Then next December 2016, after he has completed all the classes, which are scheduled throughout the year, he will be certified. Until then he is not. After Dec 2016, he will attend the annual training that all other certified officers do annually. This is/was not a good hire when there was someone with full qualifications that could have done the job immediately. This was not posted as an entry level job. and Luis is right, he will be able to do grass, weeds and garbage until next Dec 2016 which is a waste at that salary……or shall we call it what it is, a political payback?? This is not in the best interests of the city at this time, in light of all the work that will need to be done from the foreclosure list.

    • AvatarTim Becker says:

      Political payback for who and for what?

    • AvatarLuis says:

      He technically will be able to cite all codes and I believe has 18 mths to be certified. They also have to pass a civil service test before they’re technically hired. This person lacks the legal and technical knowledge to adminaster and enforce any codes. He’s green he’ll be thrown into a eat you up and spit you out world.

      Unless this person has this experience they are a entry level hire.

      This person should work under supervision, none that exist today.

      • Avatardiane hatzenbuhler says:

        Thank you Luis, for the clarification. At no time was the council expecting a new hire with no experience. We wanted someone with experience and background so he could hit the road running. There was a very qualified gentleman. If you cannot find a qualified person, then leave it until the new administration, as this was unfair to the existing staff.