Council votes to limit mayor’s car use, pay all gas and maintenance

The Amsterdam Common Council voted 4-1 yesterday to approve a resolution creating rules for Mayor Ann Thane’s use of the city owned car. Alderwoman Valerie Beekman cast the no vote.

The resolution would allow the mayor to drive the car “to and from work or on city business only.” It also prohibits any other passengers from riding in the car who are not there on city business. It requires that the city pay for all fuel and maintenance on the car. Mayor Thane stated in previous meetings that because she uses the car for both business and personal use, she has contributed her own money toward fuel and minor maintenance for the car since she took office in 2007.

According to Thane, the city controller at the time she took office told her that she could use the car for both personal and business reasons and that she should report the use of the car as a benefit on her personal taxes. Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler first introduced a resolution similar to the one passed yesterday back in August 2014 that would have also have prohibited the mayor form driving the car to and from work, but the resolution was tabled. The issue was brought back up last week at a committee meeting.

At the end of the meeting, Alderman Ed Russo, who paused for almost half a minute before casting his vote, explained his choice by referring to the City of Schenectady’s mayor. According to Russo, “the first thing he did when he took office is he eliminated the cars. That’s number one. Number two… in Gloversville, the mayor drives to city hall, picks up the vehicle and leaves.”

“It’s been beaten to death,” said Thane, “This council wishes to engage in this type of conversation instead of how to address blight or economic growth. If that’s what you want to do, that’s ok, we move on.”

After the meeting, Thane said there was a possibility she would veto the resolution.

Tim Becker

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