Council actions proof that change is needed

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCommissioners John Franck, Michele Madigan and Skip Scirocco displayed disturbing behavior at the Sept. 19 and Oct. 3 City Council meetings: disrespect of the Charter Commission’s independence and a contempt for the citizens these commissioners were elected to serve.By current charter rules, the charter review process must remain independent of any sitting commissioner’s influence.How else can citizens get an objective review and recommendation? Nonetheless, Commissioner Franck demands that the financial data in the Charter Commission’s report should be verified against his data.This makes no sense, as it will taint data independently collected during the review process.City Attorney Tony Izzo persistently, and correctly, advised the commissioners not to influence the charter review process.Yet these three commissioners continue to ignore his counsel.In addition, Commissioners Franck, Madigan and Scirocco falsely imply they can review the report before it is sent to city voters. The commissioners’ only right, like that of other voters, is to cast their one vote on Nov. 7 — nothing more.Why do they think their constituents are not capable of coming to their own conclusions without undue influence by their politics?Now Commissioner Franck has refused to have the city pay the legitimate cost of mailing the revised charter to voters. Voters are taxpayers, and they have a right to access, and be given adequate time to review, the revised charter prior to voting this November.The commissioners’ obstructionist behavior is further proof that politics must be removed from the city’s operations.Patricia RobertsonSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Adults must be role models for our kids

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The Oct. 15 letter of Lois Mills regarding high school football players imitating the example of NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem had a serious flaw: namely that she felt that the students were being leaders in doing so, while clearly they were being followers of, in my opinion, faulty role model Colin Kaepernick.It’s sad to see that someone who is benefiting in the millions of dollars yearly from a country that gives free food through food stamps and pantries, health care through Medicaid, education from Headstart up to college, salary through unemployment, and housing through Section 8, creates a means of drawing attention to himself during the National Anthem.If he, and other attention seekers truly care about whatever issue they take, let’s see them work for that cause or donate some of their millions to change things. After all, who really needs all that money to live a good life? Better yet, let them find a country that suits them. Or don’t they really care about things? If they really cared about anyone or anything besides themselves, they would not demand those exorbitant salaries. They would take more equitable salaries so that tickets to games would be reasonably priced, and families could actually afford to buy tickets for the games.And they would try to be good role models.It’s time for teachers, advisers, parents and supervisors to stop letting naive, inexperienced children run the show. It’s time for all of us to be role models — good role models.It’s time to realize how good we have it in this country. Even the slightest knowledge of world news would have us kissing the ground in thanksgiving for this free land we live in.Theresa NowickiPattersonvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationLocal movie theater operators react to green lightSchenectady County warns of possible COVID-19 exposure at Schenectady restaurant, Rotterdam barlast_img read more

Towns deserve share of county sales tax

first_imgSchenectady County currently shares 25 percent of its sales tax revenue with local governments. The majority of tax revenue goes to the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority and the city of Schenectady.This rip-off has been going on for years, and local communities have been short-changed by the county Legislature. Tony Jansenski advised that the county faces its own challenges and doesn’t have to share sales tax revenue at all — “That’s not something we have to do.” We do it because the Legislature is sympathetic to the needs of the municipalities.It’s very upsetting to think that my town of Glenville relies on Mr. Jensenski’s sympathy for our town and others to share tax revenue distribution. Metroplex and the city of Schenectady have rebuilt the city of the backs and support of all communities.It appears that the county Legislature is throwing a bone to our communities with no meat attached. The response by Tony Jasenski only signals that there is no opportunity to move forward with change.Charles BrownGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes After reading the Sept. 10 regional news on sales tax distribution, I was appalled by the response of Tony Jansenski, chairman of the Schenectady County Legislature. Glenville town Supervisor Chris Koetzle provided the town’s position on sales tax distribution given to local communities who contribute to this revenue stream. Schenectady County now keeps 75 percent of sales tax money. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Guest column: The city is addressing Jay Street fire issues

first_imgThis will result in a larger staff and we will have the ability to provide street facilities, nuisance and housing inspection coverage for the city. Also, all inspectors will receive cross-training and be designated code enforcement officers so that every officer will have the same enforcement authority. This approach will give the city greater staffing, better training, improved efficiency and allow the Buildings Department to take a proactive approach to further address life-safety issues and complaints and reduce blight.To implement this, we persuaded a recently retired senior code enforcement officer to return on a part-time basis to provide in-service training and ensure that best code enforcement practices become consistent and institutionalized.7. The inspection of all multiple dwellings for code- and life-safety compliance is a priority for us, and we plan to have each and every one inspected within the next several weeks. We have worked hard to make sure the database of our multiple dwellings is accurate and will monitor it closely. The Municity program will provide a real-time listing of multiple dwellings with a built-in tickler system, ensuring inspection and follow-up within three years. To formalize this, we will ask the City Council to amend the City Code to require inspection of multiple dwelling properties at least once every three years, irrespective of tenant occupancy or property owner changes.8. Once Municity is fully operational, we should have the ability to provide quarterly reports on the city’s website. This will enable us to promote transparency, as well as provide relevant information and announcements to the public about code enforcement. 9. As part of this effort, and not limited to multiple dwellings, we are conducting a complete review and revision of our existing policies and procedures to make sure that the operation of the Buildings Department reflects best practices. Assistant Corporation Counsel Krystina Smith has been instrumental in this effort. Our efforts will be most successful if we also review our fees and penalty structures for code violations to make sure that we are properly incentivizing good and poor landlords.Strategic fee/penalty planning should encourage landlords to take care of their property. We averaged 990 code violation prosecution filings per year from 2013 through 2017, with average annual fines of $97,290.10. We are preparing an internal Code Inspection Curriculum (based upon the Department of State training program) for in-service code enforcement officer training, which we will require for all our officers. This will be supplemented by the required annual Department of State training. Categories: Editorial, OpinionAgainst the backdrop of the Jay Street fire tragedy that claimed the lives of four people, it is important to reach out to our community to talk about changes being made in the Schenectady Buildings Department.Some of the changes are visible and some are not. Some changes will provide short-term benefits, but all will provide long-term improvement in fire safety and property maintenance inspections within the city.The basic purpose of code enforcement is to protect the health and safety of our residents. This requires more than issuing tickets and taking code violators to court.The housing stock in the city has been stressed for many years, and solving the problems will necessarily require a multi-faceted approach. There is no silver bullet. We cannot simply hire or train more code enforcement officers and think we have done our job.We have developed a plan that involves short-term goals and improvements and long-term objectives.Some of the short-term changes involve upgrading the operation of our housing code enforcement procedures, as well as structural improvements within the Buildings Department.A summary of some of these changes and improvements that we plan, or have already implemented and intend to make permanent, are as follows: 1. We hired Chris Lunn as Chief Building Inspector in September of 2017. The guidelines for his role involve transparency, professionalism and a mandate to promote the life- safety of all City residents. He brings 27 years of building trades experience and a can-do attitude to the job.2. In December 2017, we issued an executive order placing the Office of the Building Inspector and the Bureau of Code Enforcement under the direct supervision of the commissioner of public safety.Since the commissioner has supervisory authority over the police and fire departments, we can now ensure there is good coordination between these departments.3. In early January, Assistant Police Chief Jack Falvo was appointed as chief of the Buildings Department. Chief Falvo has extensive experience supervising the Field Services Bureau and brings that skill-set to the Buildings Department. Chief Falvo will help coordinate the efforts of the police, fire and buildings departments to make sure that inspections and enforcement are thorough, timely, and effective.4. The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University of Albany engages in research, consulting and shared partnership projects at the local, state and federal level.We have partnered with the cities of Amsterdam and Gloversville in working with CTG and are implementing a program/protocol called Municity. This partnership will help us combat urban blight and building inspection issues with a shared-data approach, enabling us to track problem properties and owners. This new program has the potential to be a model for statewide implementation, and there is considerable work being done to make this happen.5. We have begun providing Municity training sessions for staff members. Our target is to have the program fully operational by October 2018. Municity will enable us to establish a comprehensive and trackable database of all multiple dwellings in the city, as well as closely monitor inspections and violations.6. There have been several recent significant staffing changes. We are moving three housing inspectors that were formerly assigned to other city departments over to the Buildings Department. More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation 11. As part of our long-term planning process, and because the goal of code enforcement is to upgrade the quality and life-safety of the housing and building stock, we have begun out reach to the neighborhood and landlord and tenant associations.We are fortunate that Schenectady has always been, and continues to be, a neighborhood-based city. That is one of our great strengths.It is important to recognize that there are limited resources available to us, and strategic management is a key to getting the best results.Many effective solutions to current urban issues arise from public/private working partnerships.These structural and policy improvements should enable us to significantly improve the effectiveness of our code enforcement and fire safety and property maintenance inspections in the city.The best results possible are likely to involve help and assistance from sources not usually involved in traditional code enforcement.Nineteenth-century solutions to challenges in 2018 are likely to have little chance of success.There are existing opportunities to achieve solutions to the city’s housing stock problem. We will continue to work together to make that happen.Gary R. McCarthy is the mayor of the city of Schenectady. Michael C. Eidens is the city’s public safety commissioner.last_img read more

Haslemere nets 19% profit rise

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Lasalle to raise £100m for high-yield plan

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Inner City

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Big breakthrough

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The market in minutes

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Mongolian president placed under quarantine after returning from China, state media ULAA

first_imgMongolia’s President Battulga Khaltmaa and other government officials have submitted to a 14-day quarantine after returning home from their visit to China, the state news agency Montsame reported on Friday.Battulga is the first head of state to visit China since the country began implementing special measure to curb the coronavirus outbreak in January.He arrived in Beijing with Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar Damdin and other senior government officials on Thursday, and held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.They were taken into quarantine as soon as they arrived in Mongolia as a precautionary measure, Montsame said. Topics :last_img read more