Committee meeting briefs

Mayor Ann Thane discussed a variety of subjects at a committee meeting held at her office Monday afternoon. Council members Richard Leggiero, Valerie Beekman and Ed Russo were in attendance.

One of the topics discussed was the issue of providing Employee Relations Director Bob Reidy with an assistant. The Common Council recently voted to de-fund a full-time position for an assistant shared by Reidy and Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis. The council agreed verbally to provide a $5000 stipend for both Reidy and DeCusatis in order to allow each to hire their own assistant for the remainder of the fiscal year. However, the council only passed an official resolution to authorize DeCusatis’ stipend. A subsequent resolution to authorize a stipend for Reidy has been tabled twice.

In regards to Reidy’s work, Thane said, “He’s really struggling upstairs to keep up with the work in that office. He needs support staff.”

Thane listed Reidy’s responsibilities, which included his role in labor negotiations, labor management discussions, contract negotiations, employee benefits, insurance, employee discipline matters, the city’s workplace violence policy, PESH violations, employee training, and record keeping.

“This is a lot of work and we need the support staff to keep the department functional,” said Thane. “Mr. Reidy does a fantastic job, he is very well-organized, and he’s very knowledgeable. I’ve been very pleased by his performance, but he needs support staff.”

Thane asked Alderman Richard Leggiero if council members had talked about the issue.

“No we haven’t,” replied Leggiero.

Leggiero asked Thane if there were any issues with the Civil Service Department in regards to Reidy hiring an assistant. Thane said there was not.

Another issue discussed was a finance related meeting that Thane said she had heard “through the grapevine” was scheduled by Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler for Tuesday morning in the council chambers.

Leggiero said that he knew of the meeting but had not been invited because his presence would constitute a quorum. Alderman Ed Russo said he had only heard about the meeting that day.

“I think that’s very strange to have people working unilaterally. It’s not how the council is conceived to work,” said Thane.

When reached for comment later, Hatzenbuhler confirmed that the meeting was scheduled for Tuesday morning and would not be open to the public. She said that she would be meeting with Alderman Ron Barone and her “ad-hoc” advisory board consisting of Mario Villa, Michael Chiara, and David Dybas.

A special meeting of the Common Council is scheduled for Tuesday evening at 6:00pm to be followed by a Finance Committee meeting  for the purpose of discussing capital projects.

Thane also talked about the need for a storage solution for the city’s records. She said that records dating back several decades were stored in a number of locations in City Hall, including the basement, the mailroom, and a room on the third floor that was once used by the Sanford family as a nursery. In addition, Thane said even more records are stored in the building located behind City Hall. She said she is working with the City Clerk to create a strategic plan for maintenance and storage of records, as well as requesting funds to implement a digital scanning and storage system.

After the meeting, Thane led Alderwoman Valerie Beekman and reporters on a brief tour through City Hall to show the areas where records are currently being stored.

Tim Becker

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