Golf course sparring continues

Amsterdam 3rd Ward Alderman Ronald J. Barone Sr. wants to be the general manager of the city’s golf course.

And he says he’ll do the job for free.

Barone made the proposal during Wednesday’s meeting of the Common Council’s Personnel Committee. The meeting was held to discuss Mayor Ann Thane’s compromise proposal dealing with the contract of golf course professional Joseph Merendo and the proposed hiring of Richard Scott to manage the course. Thane had offered the plan after she vetoed resolutions approving the contracts with Merendo and concessionaire Laura Elmendorf.

“I want to be part of the golf course,” Barone said. “I want to do it for nothing. All I want to do is make sure the golf course is run well.”

He said he would bring a report to the Common Council every two weeks.

Barone said he has been playing golf on the city course for 50 years. His longtime familiarity with the course and his concern for the city’s taxpayers prompted him to come up with the idea, he said.

Thane said her compromise proposal was in the best interest of the taxpayers, prompting a response from Barone, who also is a former member of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors…

“You think I’m here to hurt the taxpayers?” he asked. “You better take a look at my record in the county.”

Thane continued to advocate for her proposed compromise to hire Joe Merendo as a city employee as well as Richard Scott as General Manager as “the best for everyone involved.” She stated that without the compromise, “Joe Merendo won’t have a signed contract” and therefore can not be issued payments from the controller’s office.

4th Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler countered that because the council had approved the contract and overridden Thane’s veto, that Thane had a “ministerial duty” to sign the contract and that if necessary, the council could direct any city official to sign the contract. “We will have a signed contract for Joe,” Hatzenbuhler said.

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About 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.

4 Responses to Golf course sparring continues

  1. AvatarDavid Weaver says:

    This is wrong on multiple levels. Most importantly, I am unaware of Barone having any experience managing a golf course, experience which Scott has successfully employed already. Second, this seems to violate the spirit of legislation Barone himself supported, forbidding someone from serving on more than one committee. I would assume the purpose of that legislation was to help prevent inappropriate consolidation of power and influence…which could result if a council member with voting powers also supervised a municipal golf court. This would present a definite conflict of interest. It’s sad to see politics override common sense. Scott has proven himself to be highly skilled at operating a golf course, and the opportunity to retain his services should not be passed over. The council members may not like Thane or the the Golf Committee or how this situation has developed….but at the end of the day, all those matters (no matter how relevant) do nothing to change the fact that Scott has the best credentials for the job and (since Merendo apparently will be retained) should at least be brought aboard as General Manager.

  2. Avatarsteve says:

    david you mean not just anyone can be a general manager for the golf course. all you need to do is cut the grass and collect money right. its that easy everyone can be a gm. this is highly insulting to anyone in the golf industry. and you make some very good points. its only illegal or bad if its not in the councils favor. if buciferro was supposed to resign and deemed to not be a city resident then why was he at the illegal meeting? something just doesn’t seem right there.

  3. Avatarrogo says:

    Can anyone estimate how much added expenses mayor compromise would cost as oppossed to “estimated” revenue would be borught in. I have numbers again!!!!

    • AvatarRob Millan says:

      Neither you nor anyone on the Pro’s defense have been able to show why keeping him would be the best solution. Ditching him would be the best; given that doesn’t seem to be an option with an uncompromising Common Council, I’d say a compromise is the next-best way.