Council overrides veto, Mayor offers compromise on Golf Course issue



Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane offered a compromise Tuesday in the ongoing controversy over the Municipal Golf Course.

Thane knew before Tuesday’s meeting that aldermen planned to override her veto of resolutions renewing contracts with golf professional Joseph Merendo and concessionaire Laura Elmendorf. Her compromise plan included hiring Merendo as golf pro and Richard Scott as golf course manager. Scott was recommended by members of the city’s Golf Commission.

Under Thane’s proposal, Scott would be a city employee. The base salary for Scott would be $49,000 per year. The city would receive all the golf cart revenue as well as a percentage of pro shop revenue and teaching fees. Thane wrote that this plan would benefit the city by  approximately $30,000  per year.

Merendo is not a city employee. He currently receives a salary of $25,500 per year as well as all golf cart, pro shop and lesson revenue, and he pays a part-time ranger, two other full-time employees and three part-time high school students. He absorbs the cost of carts and the pro shop.

Thane wrote that her proposal “allows for increased supervision at the course, better marketing and increased membership/greens fees.” Her plan also “lifts the burden of managing employees and the cost of caring for carts and the pro shop” from Merendo while allowing him additional benefits, including access to the state retirement system. Scott would benefit from having “a popular golf pro” on staff, Thane wrote.

Council members took no action on Thane’s proposal; they will discuss it further at a Committee of the Whole meeting on January 29.

“I hope the council would pay attention to what is being offered,” Thane said afterwards. “The proposal for a golf course manager is sound. It comes from a year and a half of study. Commission members really have done their homework.”

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.