“I have a very big passion for the city,” said second ward alderman candidate Jim Glorioso at a recent interview, adding that running for the city council is “probably one of the best ways to get out there and get things accomplished.”
He said that improving government accountability and efficiency is an area where his prior business management experience could be beneficial to the city if he is elected this November.
Glorioso said he started working for Circuit City at the age of 17 and worked his way up to store director by age 24. As director, he was responsible for approximately 200 employees and several managers, as well as working with the budget and overseeing operations.
From there he went on to manage a Starbucks Coffee store where he was eventually promoted within the corporation to district manager, then regional safety and security manager, then finally to a regional adviser. As an adviser, he was responsible for 1000 stores throughout New England and Long Island, working with directors and vice-presidents on loss prevention, budgeting, efficiency, and operations.
Most recently, he was employed for seven years by Dollar General as a regional loss prevention manager.
Glorioso said he would apply a concept he has used in his management roles called the “lean process” which he described as the process of “analyzing the steps of a task, the efficiency of the task, or the return on investment of a task, refining it to make it either more efficient, more profitable, or cost less.”
“What I want to do is go through a lot of the tasks and departments in the city and see where we are efficient, where we are not,” said Glorioso.
A question he would look to answer for each department is “are we over-staffed in leadership, and under-staffed in ground crew?”
One of the departments he wants to take a close look at is the code department, which he describes as “inefficient” based on an experience he recently had after purchasing two city properties at auction with the intent of rehabilitating them.
Soon after purchasing the properties, Glorioso said he received codes violation notices, even through the city’s purchase contract allows the new owner 18 months to bring the property up to code.
When he brought the matter to the codes department, he said the response was that the department was not aware of the contract stipulations.
“We have a codes department that is not working with the city,” said Glorioso in regards to his situation at the time. “They’re doing something different than what the city wrote in a contract that they were going to honor.”
Glorioso said he then reached out Mayor Michael Villa, who was able to rectify the problem. However he said the experience shows the need to take a look at the operations of the department.
He said that another problem he sees for property owners based on his own experience is that the list of city-approved electrical contractors is limiting.
“If you call down that list, half don’t answer or don’t do it anymore, or don’t live in the city, and then you are down to 2 to 3 people that actually do it,” said Glorioso.
He said the lack of competition causes increased prices for property owners who need work done.
“We really need to look at that process and see if we’re doing the right thing for the community,” said Glorioso.
He suggested the city could do more to attract other area businesses to sign up to take the test to become an approved contractor. With more contractors, the increased competition would give property owners more options and help reduce prices.
Glorioso said that overall, he wants to “reduce frustrations” for people who take the initiative to purchase foreclosed properties and fix them up.
He also wants to take that same concept of increased competition and apply it to city contracts. By his observation, Glorioso said he sees 2-3 vendors competing for a typical city contract, but would like to see as many as 7-8.
Addressing the city’s crime problems is another area that Glorioso says he wants to concentrate on. As the director of the volunteer tip-line and crime prevention organization Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers, Glorioso said he sees information that shows that the infiltration of drugs and gang-related activity in the city is more prevalent than most people know.
One step he would like to see taken is the re-establishment of the city’s neighborhood watch organization. He would also advocate for the city’s cooperation in a middle and high school based program similar to his Crime Stoppers program. He said he wants to make sure that law enforcement agencies have the resources and tools they need to deal with the problems.
Glorioso said he is taking a year off from his corporate career track in order to concentrate on the Crime Stoppers organization and the community. He also plans to run for Montgomery County Sheriff in 2018. He said if elected to the city council and then elected to the sheriff’s position, he would have to resign from the council in 2019.
While pointing out that his election to the sheriff’s position is not guaranteed, Glorioso said, “it still gives me a solid year of getting things accomplished.”
“I’m happy with what’s going on here,” said Glorioso in regards to the progress of revitalization projects in the city. “I think we are going in a positive direction. I’m happy with the direction of the mayor has.”
Glorioso said he wants to help the progress continue, concentrating on fixing up the city’s gateway routes, especially Route 5 and Route 30/Market Street, to make the city more attractive to visitors who might decide to relocate or invest in the city.
“Route 30 is the gateway to the Adirondacks. We should be showcasing Amsterdam as a very positive, bright, nice city,” said Glorioso. “People shouldn’t be driving through the gateway to the Adirondacks seeing buildings that have been run down for years and years, and broken up sidewalks.”
If elected, Glorioso said he could “bring a different view, maybe in a more passionate way to ward 2.” He added, “We need some care and love.”
Gloriosio will appear on the Democratic Party line in November’s election, and will face incumbent candidate Paul Ochal who is running on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party lines.