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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Councilman Franck Wants Answers; City Swears in New Police Officers

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga City Councilman John Franck had some strong words for the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners during the latest city council meeting on January 17.  The accounts commissioner told the council he has “lost his patience” with the Housing Authority Board’s director Ed Spychalski. 

Franck was adamant that Spychalski come before the council and address concerns over a bed bug infestation effecting Stonequist Apartments, as well as the director’s hefty $152,000 salary. Franck also wished to address Spychalski’s hiring of his wife and both his children to jobs within his department.  

Franck is looking for Spychalski to explain why it took almost six months to begin treatment on the apartment building’s infestation.  Franck asked public safety commissioner and fellow council member Christian Mathiesen to send the city’s public health officer, Paul Okosky, and members of the Saratoga Springs Fire Department to inspect Stonequist Apartments, a building owned by the city’s public housing authority. 

Bed bugs were first reported in the building in July of 2011.  The problem was brought before the city council in December when a resident of Stonequist complained that not enough was being done to quell the infestation. Bed bugs are a nocturnal, wingless insect that feeds on human blood. Their bites can cause allergic reactions and leave itchy welts on the skin.  Once indoors, they can be extremely difficult to eradicate without the help of an experienced pest control

Commissioner Franck also claimed that Spychalski’s salary grew over 100 percent from 2006 to 2011, and finds it “atrocious” that he now makes slightly more annually than the Lieutenant Governor of New York.  He is suggesting the board’s members appear to meet with the council at their January 31 meeting.  Franck plans to review the housing authority’s budget since 2007, which was the last time their annual report was provided for the city council. 

In other city council news, Saratoga Springs Police Department (SSPD) swore in three new police officers to their force to begin the meeting: William T. Arpei, Kiel S. VanWagner and John D. Bateholts, Jr. The new officers were all graduates of the Zone Five Law Enforcement Training Academy in Schenectady.

The department also swore in three new investigators. Megan Mullen, Christopher Callahan and Justin Ahigian were recognized before last night’s meeting.  All three investigators should be on the job by January 23. 

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