On Friday, January 6, 2023, Saratoga Springs Deputy Mayor Angela Rella delivered the above notice to the City’s Human Resource Office advertising an opening for a City Attorney. The salary for the new City Attorney is listed as $95,000 to $120,000 for an average work week of thirty to forty hours. (It’s a salaried position so what is the story with thirty hours?)
It is unclear what the posting of this position means for the future employment of Tony Izzo, the Saratoga Springs’ current City Attorney.
Neither Kim Nor Rella Bothered To Advise Izzo
After delivering the position posting, Ms. Rella left early on Friday. Izzo only learned about the posting because other people in City Hall happened to see it.
Izzo, who served as the city’s Assistant City Attorney for almost thirty-five years before Ron Kim appointed him City Attorney in early 2022, is well-known and well-liked in City Hall.
Neither Mayor Ron Kim nor his Deputy Angela Rella had the courtesy of meeting with Tony Izzo to inform him of his status which now seems to be up in the air with this posting.
Commissioner Sanghvi's "Right Sizing" Budget
A look at how Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi has designated money for City Attorney positions makes this situation particularly confusing. There is $93,600 for a City Attorney in the current 2023 city budget that was adopted in November. Tony currently fills this position. Finance Commissioner Sanghvi also set aside another $70,000 for a City Attorney in an attachment to the budget.
Finance Commissioner Sanghvi set aside money outside of the 2023 budget for six new positions in the city. One of these six positions is identified as being for a City Attorney. Money for these new positions was allegedly not included in the city’s budget because it was supposedly unclear as to when these new positions would be filled.
The use of this device conveniently minimized the size of the budget increase from 2022 for the Mayor’s office as it did not include money for another City Attorney nor the funding for a second new position in his office.
This budgeting device is often used when estimating a starting date for a position is hard to predict. It is useful if filling a position first requires the candidate to acquire special training, for instance at the Police Academy, and it is unclear when that training could occur.
In the case of hiring another City Attorney this makes little sense, though, especially since the position was quickly advertised at the beginning of this budget year.
Why Commissioner Sanghvi did not just include the position in the regular budget is unclear.
Current City Attorney Izzo's Status
It is unclear what the status of current City Attorney Tony Izzo is now.
Are we going to have two attorneys on staff again even though Kim began his term in office swearing the city didn’t need any City Attorneys? Is Tony Izzo going to be demoted? Is he going to be terminated? Where does Tony Izzo fit into this configuration? Who knows? There is only silence from the Mayor’s office.
It's About Human Decency
The idea that neither Kim nor Rella bothered to inform Izzo on Friday of the posting for a City Attorney position is just shameful. Kim has every right to employ whomever he wants as the City Attorney, but his office also has a responsibility to treat Tony Izzo with respect and courtesy by making clear to him what his status is or will be.
This incident was not an anomaly. It is reflective of an attitude that pervades City Hall these days. Employees are routinely ignored or dealt with rudely particularly by Mayor Kim and Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino. The treatment of Izzo simply amplifies publicly what is going on in City Hall daily under the current administraion.