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Council considering law firm to assist in hiring of accounting firm

Alderman and Finance Committee Chair Jim Martuscello said Friday that he is sponsoring a resolution to be voted on at the next regular common council meeting which would award a $10,000 contract to the Wladis Law Firm. According to Martuscello, the idea was discussed at Thursday’s Finance Committee meeting. He said the purpose of hiring the law firm is for them to serve as a consultant and assist in evaluating accounting firms for the job of helping the city get completely caught up with the required state financial filings and audits.

Controller Matt Agresta said on Monday that he has still yet to file the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 Annual Update Documents. Audits on both of those fiscal years have also yet to be completed.

Agresta said, “The council wants this done as quickly as possible.” He added that especially with the recent resignation of the deputy controller, hiring an outside accounting firm would help expedite his work.

Agresta said he was not opposed to the idea of hiring a law firm to help with evaluating accounting firms. He said the law firm would also make sure that the city had a “solid agreement” with any accounting firm hired, making sure the time line and scope of the project was clearly defined.

Martuscello also said that once the yet-to-be-hired accounting firm has helped bring the city’s finances up-to-date, that he is in favor of hiring another deputy controller.


About Tim Becker

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

7 Responses to Council considering law firm to assist in hiring of accounting firm

  1. AvatarRob Millan says:

    Looks like another Villa campaign donor gets a contract.

    • AvatarTim Becker says:

      I’m concerned with this as well. Here is a link for anyone to view all of Villa’s campaign contributors on the NY State Board of Elections web site

      • AvatarRob Millan says:

        This is after Roemer Wallens (the ‘labor relations’ law firm out of Albany) also was awarded a contract the first week in office after having made a contribution as well.

        I don’t want to turn this into a ‘he said/she said’ rumor mill, Tim, but it was pointed out by others and me that ‘EDR’, ‘ASBESTOS & ENVIRONMENTAL’, and ‘BONADIO’ were all cited by Mr. Villa during his campaign as ‘Syracuse-area companies that have extensive experience in derelict property demolition.’ Lo and behold, are all Syracuse-area businesses, and all are all donors. Let’s see who gets the contract when its up for discussion.

        ETA: Donor ‘GBM PROPERTY MANAGEMENT’ isn’t even listed as a legitimate corporation or company in the State of New York, but a reverse phone reveals Pasquale Baia, who heads ‘Benefits Marketing, LLC’, the former city insurance broker.

  2. AvatarThom Georgia says:

    It’s not the first concerning pay-for-play move by this administration either. Let’s not forget the appointment of ill-qualified Pat Beck as employee relations director, a supporter who also contributed to both the Villa campaign AND the county GOP, and not to mention who, as a senior executive at The Recorder, permitted candidate-Villa free media & unprecedented editorial control over the publication’s opinion pieces.

    Aside from Corp. Counsel, this might be the most influential and far reaching appointment in city government, charged wih responsible labor-management relations and negotiations through every bargaining unit, in every department.

    She has no public-sector collective bargaining experience, no negotiated benefit administration expertise, zero labor-management committee experience, no Taylor Law administration, zero public-sector contract negotiation or administration, much less any credentials in human capital management. But she paid-to-play…

    • AvatarTim Becker says:

      Some of the points you are making here require some qualification to be valid I think. Pat Beck was listed in the Recorder as “Vice President of Sales and Marketing” as late as Aug/Sep 2015 of this year, however do you know first hand that she allowed Villa “free media & unprecedented editorial control over the publication’s opinion pieces?” Also, while I don’t recall any public-sector experience in what I’ve read of Beck’s experience, I don’t think it’s fair to say she doesn’t have “any credentials in human capital management.” Unless you know specifically what her duties were as publisher of the Leader-Herald, I don’t think you can say that definitively.

      Personally, I will give any executive a little leeway in hiring because I do think the ability of a department head to work with the mayor is important. That doesn’t mean we should hire someone is completely un-qualified, but I think it is an important factor.

  3. AvatarThom Georgia says:

    Whenever anyone other than a paid staffer takes up column-inches in a news publication (read as revenue-generating space), it’s a pretty safe bet it was a business decision, and as VP of Sales/Marketing, that position most likely would have some authority in said-decision.

    And my reference to human capital management was, as is the total listing of ideal qualifications, in reference to the public sector (not that I see her listed as holding credentials from the human resources professional society, either). What she did/did not do as publisher of Leader Herald could not be any less of a consideration for me, or for other voters for that matter. We are talking about the Office of Employee Relations in a municipal government. I don’t care if Warren Buffet was appointed to the position . . . he’d still be as ill-qualified as Pat Beck.

    I also take some umbrage with your assertion, Tim, that because she would work well with the new administration, we should give the appointment some “leeway.” Not when one pays-to-play AND the individual is woefully unqualified. That’s not leeway, that’s a pass, altogether.

    I understand the nature of political appointments, but there is the expectation of meeting minimum qualifications; Bill Lorman, also a political appointee in the new administration is, at minimum, an attorney admitted to the bar. His additional expertise in municipal government and previous service as an Asst. Corp. Counsel and Corp. Counsel makes the appointment a well-qualified one.

    And while the city charter does not spell out the qualifications for ER Director like those mandated for Corp. Counsel (which it should be revised to include), the state civil service commission does prescribe minimum qualifications for such a post. I’d like to see the administration defend a side-by-side checklist of minimum qualifications versus those of the current appointee.

    • AvatarTim Becker says:

      “Safe bet” means “speculation” – and speculation is fine as long as we call it what it is.

      I think prior work experience in the exact same field is only one factor in determining a good hire. There’s also equivalent experience, education, raw skills and learning ability, as well as personality and the ability to get along with the boss. And everyone will probably prioritize those attributes differently. So I understand you feel strongly that she’s unqualified, but I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as that. People can and do grow into jobs they have never done before.

      Now please don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t you think your ability to get along with Ann Thane was a big factor in being hired as her confidential aide? I have no doubt that you possessed skills necessary for the job, but did you have prior experience as an aide to a mayor before? I’m not trying to dig at you here, just trying to maintain a consistent viewpoint.