Opinion - Saratoga Springs Politics

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

Monday, 27 November 2023 09:35

Kim, Moran, and Sanghvi Throw The City Under The Bus

By John Kaufmann | Saratoga Springs Politics

Saratoga Springs needs two City Attorneys. This city has had two City Attorneys since 1973, with the exception of a period during Mayor Kim's tenure. By my count, that is fifty years. According to the latest version of Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi's budget, Sanghvi has defunded the second attorney.

The defunding of the City Attorney position is part of a more complex deal between Accounts Commissioner Dillon Moran, Mayor Ron Kim, and Minita Sanghvi.

Moran is the big winner in all of this. Sanghvi has taken the money that funded the City Attorney position in the Mayor's office ($105,276.88) and shifted it to the Accounts Department to fund a Risk and Safety position there thus transferring authority over Risk and Safety away from the Mayor and granting it to Moran.

Readers may recall that during his first year in office, Kim, with the support of Public Safety Commissioner Montagnino, Public Works Commissioner Golub, and Sanghvi, had Risk and Safety transferred from Moran's department to the Mayor's office. The Mayor was adamant as to how important this reorganization was. He argued that the Risk and Safety Director needed to work more closely with the City Attorney.

Apparently, having lost his election, Kim feels less passionate about the need for Risk and Safety being in his office. He also has offered no pushback about losing the funding for the second City Attorney who works under the Mayor.

Readers also may recall the ever-morphing approach to staffing the City Attorney's office. When Kim came into office, one of his first acts was to fire both City Attorneys. He saw little urgency in hiring a City Attorney initially, touting his own credentials as well as those of his Deputy, who is also an attorney. After a series of legal debacles, he rehired Tony Izzo. Over time, he hired an additional attorney who was supposed to manage Risk and Safety as well as provide the Council with legal services. We all know how this strategy worked out. For those who may not remember, our insurance carrier refused to continue to underwrite the city. The insurance company cited a dysfunctional Risk and Safety program as the primary reason for their decision.

According to the November 22, 2023 edition of the Times Union:

Kim and Commissioner of Accounts Dillon Moran also said that the city Risk and Safety program will revert to the Accounts Department on Dec. 1. 

TImes Union November 22, 2023

I have learned that the Assistant City Attorney, Michael Phillips, who was supposed to be handling Risk and Safety, is leaving his job on November 30, 2023, so this may explain the date for the reorganization.

Putting aside the inconvenient truth that all this reorganization has been done behind closed doors, it is unclear how, in this year's budget, this move can happen on December 1. There is currently no money in the 2023 budget in Accounts to pay for a Risk and Safety position for the rest of this year.

Given Moran's history of indifference to procedure and detail and his abusive and overbearing style of management, I find it more than worrisome that he will oversee Risk and Safety.

It is hard to tell how much of this is Democrat Moran trying to expand his power and how much of this is a partisan move to weaken the new Republican Mayor.

What I do know is that the city needs two attorneys, and it was reckless of Sanghvi to have defunded one. The city also needs a Risk and Safety program that functions effectively. What is going on here is highly controversial and needs to be debated publicly by the Council. Let Mayor Kim explain why suddenly the city no longer needs two attorneys and why, after insisting that his office must oversee Risk and Safety, he is supporting moving it back to Accounts. Let Sanghvi explain why she is supporting this reorganization.

 

Read 1269 times

Blotter

  • Saratoga County Court  Tammy Mahan, 53, of Hudson Falls, was sentenced to 5 years’ probation after pleading to felony burglary, charged in Moreau.  Lovell T. Roper, 30, of Manhattan, N.Y.C., pleaded to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth-degree, a felony, charged September 2020 in Moreau. Sentencing April 4.  Emily Burke, 23, of Greenfield, was sentenced to 8 months local incarceration, after pleading to criminal contempt in the first-degree, charged June 2023.  Jacob E. Saunders, 21, of Malta, pleaded to felony aggravated family offense. Sentencing April 12.  Keenan Washburn, 22, of South Glens Falls, was sentenced to 5 years’…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 1 Linden Ct to Benjamin Kalesa for $465,000 Garth Ellms sold property at 1053 Rt 50 to JBH Property Holdings LLC for $250,000 Emily Brown sold property at 328 Kingsley Rd to Chelsea Leach for $350,000 Debra Heller sold property at 65 Cornerstone Dr to Donna Belanger for $385,000 Traditional Home Builders and Developers sold property at 39 Mallory Way to Matthew Curran for $677,160 Barbera Homes Kelley Farms sold property at 20 Paddock Pl to Jessica Ruchlicki for $856,572 Brian Campoli sold property at 21 Mourningkill Dr to Patrick Rodman for $329,900…