Kim to Appoint Second City Attorney
Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim will be naming Michael Phillips as the second City Attorney at the next City Council meeting.
Phillips ran for Saratoga County District Attorney against Karen Heggen during the last election and was soundly defeated. As Phillips' campaign manager was Gordon Boyd, it is not surprising that Kim will now appoint Phillips to the City Attorney job. More cronyism.
Of course, this choice only furthers the chasm between the city and the county.
In addition, as I expected, the Mayor plans to have Phillips take over most of the responsibilities that were Marilyn Rivers'. In addition to his City Attorney responsibilities, then, Phillips will be in charge of Risk and Safety for the city. Given Phillips' employment history, he does not seem qualified.
While the city attorney is often the initial contact person for risk and safety issues in most municipalities, there is normally a full-time person under them to carry out the extensive responsibilities of the job. Typically that position requires a college degree and a number of years of experience in the fields of commercial property and casualty insurance and risk and safety management.
The city website has a long list of skills required for the current Risk and Safety position. They include
-good knowledge of laws and ordinances relating to claims filed by or against municipalities
-excellent knowledge of Public Entity Insurance
-ability to prepare, originate, organize and conduct training seminars
-ability to determine needed reserves for future claims payments
As background to the Director of Risk and Safety's full responsibilities, here is a link to an earlier post.
Ron Kim's plan instead is to have the City Attorney assisted by someone in a newly created position called a "claims manager." That position will require only a high school degree.
It's hard to imagine how Phillips, with no background in municipal law or risk and safety, will manage these responsibilities along with the other legal demands that will be made on his time.
Given the chaotic situation in the Mayor's office, trouble lies ahead.
Kim's Flawed Election Petition
The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee is currently circulating petitions to get their endorsed candidates on the ballot for the November local city elections but had to recall the separate Ron Kim petitions they were carrying. As previously reported, Ron Kim refused to be on the same petition as the other Democratic-endorsed candidates, and committee members were circulating a petition with only his name on it along with a separate petition for the rest of the slate.
Apparently, however, the separate Ron Kim petition had an error and had to be taken out of circulation after it was distributed. Interesting that Kim, who, as he likes to remind us, is a lawyer, either did not check his petition before it was distributed or somehow didn't notice there was a mistake. Pat Tuz, chair of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee, sent out the following email to her committee members:
"The Ron Kim petition has the incorrect spelling of his name. It cannot be used. Please remove it from your pack. NEW Ronald J. Kim petitions will be available this evening after 7:00 on Otis Maxwell's porch.."