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, 19 March 2024 10:36

Commissioners Moran and Sanghvi Flaunt On-Call Legal Opinion

By John Kaufmann | Saratoga Springs Politics

The controversy over extra on-call pay for city Deputies that surfaced earlier this year will be back in front of the City Council at their Tuesday, March 19 meeting. Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Accounts Dillon Moran has submitted a budget transfer request to Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi to move $6,250.00 to a line to cover on-call payroll expenses for his Deputy Stacy Connors for all of 2024. The funds would be enough to pay Connors for a full year of on-call duty, including retroactive pay for January, February, and the first half of March. Sanghvi has approved Moran's request, putting it on her agenda to move it forward for a Council vote at the upcoming Tuesday, March 19 meeting.

Readers should understand that in the commission form of government, Commissioner Sanghvi as Finance Commissioner is supposed to be the watchdog of city funds and part of the city government's checks and balance system. As such she has the authority to refuse to allow Moran's request to go forward if she deems it inappropriate.

In this case, Commissioner Sanghvi has given Moran's funding request the green light to move forward without even drawing her colleagues' attention to this questionable action at today's (Monday, 3/18) agenda meeting. Sanghvi was fully aware that the opinion issued by the City Attorneys in February raised grave questions regarding payments that were made to three deputies for on-call in 2023 and set guidelines for how this pay should be used moving forward.

Commissioner Sanghvi has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the city's taxpayers' money. On its face, it appears that she and Moran were hoping to sneak this by the Council.

Where Is The Correction?

As readers may recall, the City Attorneys' opinion also determined that the resolution recorded by the Accounts Department regarding on-call pay had language inserted that was not in the resolution adopted by the Council. The language suspiciously attempted to expand the parameters of what constituted being on-call to include non-emergencies, which was used to expand Moran's deputy's eligibility for this pay. In a courteous email, the Mayor earlier this year directed Moran to correct the record. It does not seem coincidental that Moran has not made the correction and insists on paying his deputy for being "on-call" despite the legal opinion.

The Non-Authorization?

If the Council approves Sanghvi's transfer Tuesday night, Moran will approve his deputy's on-call requests, and Sanghvi will pay them. She will remind her colleagues that she was only carrying out their wishes.

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