Opinion - Saratoga Springs Politics

The below blog posts are written by John Kaufmann.
These opinions do not reflect the views of Saratoga TODAY newspaper.

Tuesday, 28 March 2023 09:26

Michele Madigan Takes Mayor Kim To Task for Misrepresenting Grant Program

By John Kaufmann | Saratoga Springs Politics
Michele Madigan Takes Mayor Kim To Task for Misrepresenting Grant Program
[JK: I received the following critique from former Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan of statements made by Mayor Ron Kim in a recent Times Union article. ]
In a recent Times Union article Saratoga Springs solar project awarded city funding: City Council votes to award $150K Mayor's Non-Profit Grant to Pitney Meadows farm by a staff reporter, Mayor Ron Kim took credit for an established non-profit grant program that was officially established in 2021 during my tenure as Finance Commissioner and approved unanimously by the City Council at that time.
At the March 21, 2023, Saratoga Springs City Council meeting Mayor Kim presented a grant tapping this funding assignment, stating that the grant program was created in 2022 by a Council resolution to provide local non-profits with potential city funding. Mayor Kim also released the following statement: “The grant program was created in 2022 by a council resolution to provide local nonprofits equitable access to city financial support. Historically, the only consistent resource for supporting identified priority needs has been the annual Community Development Block Grant Entitlement Funds, and annual allocations to select nonprofits through the mayor’s budget.” [I contacted the Times Union, and they have edited the article and removed his statement.]
The grantee, Pitney Meadows Farm, is a well-respected, longstanding contributor to the city. They would likely pass any protocol established. That does not change the fact that the taxpayers have no idea how they were chosen, and what other deserving non-profits might have been considered. There is no evidence that the established application and awarding of funds established in 2021 regarding a CDBG-type review, evaluation, and recommendation were followed. There is no evidence of attorney approval that this is an appropriate use of the funded assignment (required). Yes, Mayor Kim is an attorney – he is not the city attorney or impartial regarding this grant. 
It is an election year, and nothing looks better for an incumbent mayor (who will likely have a primary opponent in former Commissioner Chris Mathiesen) receiving press for a generous distribution of taxpayer funds for a great cause, minus the established application and award process. Mayor Kim is quite good at pointing fingers to unfairly blame predecessors and, on the flip side, taking credit for established programs he had nothing to do with.
Michele Madigan
Former Commissioner of Finance 2012 -2021
Currently running for County Supervisor
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