North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
Fighting For You!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Democratic Chairman deplores last minute acts of desperation by GOP

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley issued a strong denial of the truthfulness of last minute acts of desperation by the Town Republican candidates.

Mr. Ashe and his running mates have mailed a flier and run an ad in which they FALSELY state that Democrats support a village in DeFreestville and that annexation is a direct result of their support for a village.

One can look back through this web page and see statement after statement that repeats our party’s position on a village. We neither support or oppose a village and simply believe in the right of the citizens to decide this issue at the polls. This right has been repeatedly attacked by the current GOP administration using the town attorney and the courts to delay and disrupt that recent, still undetermined vote. We will respect the decision of the people, regardless of what that decision is.

Secondly, we deplore a press release which the media responsibly refused to print in which Mr. Ashe states that Mark Evers is out of town 4 days a week on business. This is an outright fabrication. At most, Mr. Ever’s private sector employment requires him to travel one day a week. He is always in touch by cell phone and computer email.

Other misleading statments in a flier include a "Democratic Official proposing a 24% tax hike".This is likely referring to the Highway Department's budget proposal reflecting the near doubling of fuel projections verses last year's cost of fuel. This is in contrast to the budget proposal of the GOP in which there is no increase planned for fuel cost desite the fact that the price has doubled. This is one of the ways they can claim to be giving a "tax cut".

There is also a reference to Democrats suing the Town Board and costing taxpayers money. What they don't want you to know is that this refers to our efforts to stop the outrageous giveaway of your tax dollars to the town attorney last year in which the majority gave her a 62% lump sum raise of $25,000. Democrats will return the next town attorney to a fixed salary and stop the incentive to litigate and the current practice of billing the town by the hour in addition to a salary.

The GOP also claims we tried to delay a water district when in fact all Democrats did was permit the people who would pay for the districts the right to exercise their right to vote on the bonding. The GOP does not like people voting in this town and they, not the Democrtas went to court in an effort to stop citizens from voting.

In fact, every bullet on this flier is either misleading or a fabrication.

We thank you for your support and the many people who brought these desparate campaign tactics to our attention.

Dan Ashley

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Town GOP a NO SHOW at debate

The entire slate of North Greenbush Republican Town Board candidates and the town clerk candidate were “NO-SHOWS” at the debate held last evening, October 26th at St. Timothy’s Church. The event which was moderated by the non partisan League of Women Voters was an opportunity for candidates to explain their views on the important issues confronting voters in North Greenbush. This was the only debate scheduled which was moderated and run by an organization dedicated to informing voters with no partisan agenda.

“Town Republicans have become “an empty chair brigade” by refusing to stand before the voters and answer their questions”, stated North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley. We believe strongly that every candidate has an obligation and duty to stand before the voters and take this test and I am proud to say that every member of our slate came and answered every question presented to them.

On behalf of the entire Democratic endorsed slate of candidates, we wish to extend our thanks to the League of Women Voters and moderator Irene Wynnczck for giving more than two hours of her time to the voters of North Greenbush. As in past years, the League of Women Voters did an exemplary job of moving things along and ensuring that intelligent questions were presented to the candidates from the audience.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Land grab appears as done deal to Rensselaer School official

Democratic candidates for the North Greenbush Town Board and County Legislative candidate Kevin Harrington reacted strongly today to comments in the Times Union from the Superintendent of Schools in Rensselaer , Gordon Reynolds. Reynolds indicates that city voters should count as an anticipated revenue stream for their proposed new school construction, North Greenbush land at the intersections of RTs 4 and 43 as they consider whether to approve construction of a new school on land already given to Rensselaer by the Republican Majority of the North Greenbush Town Board for which we received NOTHING in return.

“This is simply outrageous”, stated Mark Evers, a candidate for Town Supervisor. It appears that Mr. Reynolds knows something that most voters in North Greenbush have only begun to surmise after the GOP board majority rushed to give CO-Lead Agency status to Rensselaer in the annexation process rather than retain this status exclusively for North Greenbush to fight the annexation.

Town Council candidates Alan Michaels and Ernie Kern agreed noting that “Rensselaer taxpayers should not count on one dime of revenue from the land coveted by developers at the 4 and 43 intersection to pay for a new school. It’s going to pay for our schools and educate our kids, NOT the City of Rensselaer!”.

County Legislative candidate Kevin Harrington whose district would include North and East Greenbush as well as Poestenkill added his voice to the chorus of opposition to Rensselaer efforts to take more land from North Greenbush. “The East Greenbush School district which has responsibility for the education of children in these and other towns cannot afford to have its tax base undercut to benefit another school district. The impact of this annexation proposal is staggering with estimates ranging over 50 million dollars in lost revenues to the district” stated Harrington.

We are joining together to put all those attempting to fast track this annexation that we will use every resource to fight this effort by Republican politicians at the town and county levels to destroy the integrity of the tax base of both the Town of North Greenbush and the East Greenbush School District. The candidates urged the public to attend an informational meeting tonight at 6:30 PM at 555 Broadway in Rensselaer.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

In Memorium

We mourn the passing of
Iggy Tenzyk
A great citizen whose humanity and love of his community will never be forgotten.

Democrats plan belated 150th Birthday celebration

Better late than never is the motto and determination behind the Democratic candidates for North Greenbush Town Board announcement that they will celebrate the town’s 150th birthday even if it has to be a year late.

Mark Evers, Alan Michaels and Ernie Kern believe that the history of North Greenbush and its people should have been properly recognized in 2005, the 150th anniversary of the town’s creation. Instead, the occasion was recognized by a plastic birthday banner strung across the back splash of the ball field adjacent to the town offices on Main Avenue and some foil stickers for town envelopes.

We need only contrast our town with our neighbor East Greenbush which took the time to properly plan a celebration of the community and its people with a memorable parade and other events. We have a great deal of history in this town to celebrate and people past and present that should be recognized, stated Mark Evers, candidate for Supervisor. “From emergency services personnel to fallen military heroes, we have a great deal to be thankful for and many people to whom we owe our continuing gratitude. This was an exceptional opportunity to celebrate the lives of our citizens and to recognize their contributions to our history”, stated Ernie Kern, who at 69 is the senior member of the Democratic slate.

The current Republican administration has not done justice to our community by thinking so little of the purpose and opportunity behind a birthday anniversary of this magnitude, stated Highway Superintendent Mark Premo, who moved here in the 70’s. He said that the entire focus of this administration has been on tending to the needs and birthday wishes of developers and using the town’s resources to further their wish lists. “We need to re-establish the priorities of town government, not by developing land, but rather by developing respect for our past and the many outstanding people that made this town a great place to settle and raise a family, stated council candidate Alan Michaels. “I certainly hope we can create a time capsule as a part of this event, preserving the celebration and the people who took part in it for our 200 anniversary”, stated Michaels. This will be a great boost for our local business community which will certainly benefit from a celebration of this nature.

We intend to honor all those whose vision helped make North Greenbush a great place to live and recognize all those whose sacrifices are enshrined in our monuments and gratitude. “It was the builders of North Greenbush like Frank Houser, Sarkis Minassian, Stretch Valente, Sam Valenti of Vilia Valenti, Mary O’Hanian’s Mary’s Grocery, Harry Doakmajian’s Excelsior House and Harry King who owned the house I now live in and who saw the beauty of Snyder’s Lake creating a commercial beach and dance hall in the 60’s, stated Premo. It’s nice to be able to look out and look back at the same time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Town officials engaged in cover-up by refusing to name perpetrator of break in

Criminal trespass resulted in copying of oath book and compromised custody of DeFreestville ballots jeopardizing election

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is demanding that three town officials who used a copy of a stolen public record in an attempt to remove the town clerk from office, either disclose the name of the thief or resign immediately. Their actions were part of a failed effort to disrupt the recent election in DeFreestville.

The Town Board Majority consisting of Supervisor Tazbir, Councilman Ashe and Councilman Styczynski called a special unpublicized meeting last month just prior to the DeFreestville vote to remove the town clerk from office and ran scared when a reporter from a local television station came with a live truck, stated Ashley.

Now the Supervisor and his colleagues, Styczynski and Ashe have been caught using stolen property to further their political objectives and are refusing to disclose which of them or an unknown person, unlawfully entered the Town Clerk’s Office to steal the oath book long enough to copy and return it. The further outrage is that Mr. Ashe managed to pull strings to get himself and his son jobs as policemen in Hoosick Falls and yet he willingly engages in covering up this illegal act and protects the perpetrator, stated Ashley. He and his colleagues thus become accessories to an illegal act and can at least be charged with “Official Misconduct”.

“It is clear that much more is at stake from this break in than stealing an oath book since vital town records, election records and absentee ballots from the recent DeFreestville election were also locked in that room with the oath book. With the custody of the records compromised there is a real possibility that this act may cause a State judge to invalidate the vote and hold a new election.

Ashley demanded that Tazbir, Styczynski and Ashe immediately disclose the name of the person or persons who committed this act of criminal trespass and whether any of them had prior knowledge of the break in or in any way ordered the act. “A trespass of this nature, potentially by an elected town official constitutes a serious breech of professional conduct as well as an act of criminal trespass in the tradition of Watergate. Should the Supervisor or his colleagues be protecting the individual who accessed this Oath Book, it is clear they become complicit partners in an act of official misconduct. If they fail to come clean they should resign their positions and suffer the consequences of a police investigation. Town officials cannot shield a perpetrator who conducted a break in and theft of an oath book without themselves being charged with a crime.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Campaign 2005 in N. Greenbush becomes WAR against Board Majority surrendering town land to benefit developers who finance their campaign.

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley declared last evening’s outrageous vote to surrender to the city of Rensselaer equal footing with North Greenbush as Co-Lead Agencies in the SEQR process for yet another annexation of town land, a “declaration of war by the Republican Town Board members against the citizens of this town.” He stated that “BIG BUSINESS has taken over the Republican administration of North Greenbush and everybody is getting a piece of the pie.”

The Republicans can’t have it both ways, saying they’re opposed to the annexation sought by developers and giving away the town’s advantage as lead agency by literally sharing it with those trying to steal our town. No one in their right mind would give up their advantage in a fight of this nature unless they intended to throw the match, stated Ashley.

“This is an absolute sham”. It’s just like the last two times the GOP surrendered lead agency status, first to the County IDA which then picked our pockets with a 2.1 million dollar tax giveaway to the Oak Hill developer. (Piece a Pie) This drove up property taxes and school taxes, for everyone. The GOP simply threw their hands up in the air without a whimper and gladly accepted a $2,500 contribution from the developer.

Next it was the first land giveaway to Rensselaer to help a developer forward an effort to build projects involving a hotel and school which have yet to materialize. In that deal the GOP said we were getting 4 million in State funds to execute the transaction and instead we got NOTHING while Rensselaer enjoys tax revenues that should have been in North Greenbush coffers. (Piece a Pie)

Now, one land theft is leading to another. With a vote last night driven by a resolution drafted by the town attorney whose husband is a major supplier of building materials, concrete, sand gravel etc, and whose employee, Robert Ashe willingly obeys with his votes, the North Greenbush Republicans are making it easy for Rensselaer to steal away more of our town so that the developers can make more money. (Piece a Pie)

This is the worst administration in the 150 year history of North Greenbush, declared Ashley. This battle transcends Democratic and Republican politics and is instead about making money in the development community using a town government to expedite the process. My greatest fear is that even a sweeping defeat of this Majority in the November election may not prevent them from completing this latest land annexation and one other behind it before their terms end on December 31, 2005. (Piece a Pie)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Board Majority should appreciate home town values inspiring town seal


Board majority should appreciate
home town values inspiring town seal


I wish to applaud a letter to the editor by a Clifton Park resident who as a 4th grader at Bell Top School, entered and won a contest to design the official seal of the Town of North Greenbush. That seal which rests on the wall behind the Town Board dais and graces the letterhead of this and all official correspondence was designed by Kristin (Young) Christman .

I was deeply moved by this letter that Ms. Christman wrote to the Times Union. It demonstrates that today as an adult, she respects with great fondness those things about North Greenbush which inspired her design of evergreen trees, a creek, grass and rocks with the motto “An Ever Growing Community”. It is a sad reflection that the current board majority’s development policies and governing attitude are contrary to the values which inspired this seal created from the heart of a young child which have obviously deepened with the passage of time. Ms. Christman demonstrates the continued insightfulness of her childhood has allowed her to accurately capture this board majority’s devotion to turning North Greenbush into yet “another ugly little town of stores, strip malls and parking lots”. She notes that they have replaced the values which inspired her design with a desire for parking lots, cement, asphalt and dollar signs.

Ms. Christman also writes an astute observation on the current government of North Greenbush which she states has engaged in a “costly obstruction and unresponsiveness to DeFreestville residents, its focus on making money from businesses at the expense of citizen values, cannot be considered a form of growth of which to be proud; it’s like the unwanted growth of a tumor”.

It is my hope that every citizen of North Greenbush will take the time to read this short letter inspired by the sadness of what our town government has become and it’s dismal unawareness of those things that made our town a special place to live. Sadly, it is all too easy to understand why the creative person who designed our town seal feels that its trees, grass, rocks and stream can now be replaced with a “strip mall, a parking lot, wiggly lines to show the smell of asphalt, pedestrians with headaches from the glare of sun on the concrete, pollution rolling into neighborhood windows, and all this laid over a backdrop of dollar signs”.

Thank you Kristin for our seal, for remembering North Greenbush and hopefully reminding all of us of the values we should cherish and pass along to the next generation.

Richard Fennelly
Councilman N.Greenbush

Friday, September 16, 2005

Democrats will vigorously oppose massive annexation of land to Rensselaer

The Democratic candidates for Supervisor and Town Council reacted today to a stunning proposal by developers that would annex large sections of the Town of North Greenbush, some 48 taxable parcels, to Rensselaer. The court action comes on top of an earlier annexation of land to Rensselaer approved in a 3-2 vote by the Republican Majority which resulted in the loss of substantial tax revenue to our town. It also left the town with nothing in return as the “promised” 4 million dollars in State Aid disappeared with the land.

“The seriousness of this move cannot be understated”, said Supervisor candidate Mark Evers. It has become clear that development interests are financing the current town board majority’s campaign and now those interests are planning to further erode our tax base by taking some of the most valuable real estate in North Greenbush and DeFreestville and move it to Rensselaer where they apparently feel they can get the blank check they need to build whatever pleases them.

Town Board candidates Alan Michaels and Ernie Kern agreed and expressed their concern that the current Board Majority and town attorney are incapable of waging the vigorous legal opposition necessary to stop this land grab. Michaels noted that one of the developers involved in this court action, Oak Hill, LLC donated $2,500 to the so called Victory Committee which is funding the Town GOP campaign. The other party to the court action, the Gallogly brothers, are working with Nigro Development to build a large mall at the controversial 4 & 43 intersection. Nigro is listed on Board of Election records as having donated $900.00 to the GOP victory committee.

Michaels, an attorney, continued with his concern that the current Board Majority and their appointed town attorney, cannot be expected to take thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from these developers and then after years of promoting their plans while dividing our town government from its residents in DeFreestville, turn around and vigorously defend the town’s interests in court.

“It’s pretty clear there is a conflict of interest here and that North Greenbush needs a Town Attorney who hasn’t been spending the last two years fighting for these developers at public expense and now be expected to fight against these benefactors to the political campaign of the candidates whose votes keep her in her job”, stated Michaels. He noted that the current town attorney was directly involved in creating the scheme that attempted to deny people their voting rights in DeFreestville by setting up elaborate and illegal buffers around the illegally rezoned property at the 4 & 43 intersection that Nigro wants to develop with a mall. These buffers were struck down by a State Supreme Court Judge who also ruled the re-zoning by the GOP Majority to be illegal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Candidates file Financial Disclosure Statements in furtherance of Ethics reform

In an effort to lead by example, three candidates for the North Greenbush Town Board have filed sample Financial Disclosure Statements with the office of Town Clerk.

“There is nothing more important that we and the next Town Board can do than to restore the faith that the public should have in the actions of town officials than to make government open and transparent”, stated Mark Evers, candidate for Supervisor. For more than a year, a revised comprehensive Ethics Law has been delivered to the majority by Councilman James Mihalko and it has languished in their caucus, stated Alan Michaels, candidate for Town Council. It’s long past the time for action and we intend to make the passage of this law along with the appointment of a three member, non partisan Board of Ethics one of the very first acts of a new Democratic Town Board.

The apparent conflicts of interest that have cast a pall over the votes and actions of this administration must come to an end. Giving the appearance that you are using the power of your public office to curry favor with your employer or anyone else with whom you might have a business relationship cannot continue in North Greenbush, stated Evers. “We intend to lead by example and so our first act as candidates will be to create transparency with regard to our finances by filing the sample Financial Disclosure Forms created for the consideration of the current Town Board by Councilman Mihalko.” Such a form will be required for all elected officials and key appointed officials like the Town Attorney, Comptroller and Engineer.
“We hope that we can demonstrate to the public that we have no outside financial interests which in any way conflict with the duties of the office we seek”, stated Council candidate Ernie Kern. I hope too that the public understands that we know when it is appropriate to abstain from a vote which could create even the appearance of a conflict of interest, including hiring of an employer’s family member.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Premo asks Town Board to return Highway Funds used for Ashe relative

North Greenbush Highway Superintendent Mark Premo has written the town bard asking that nearly $17,000 in expenditures from the Highway Department Budget and tax rate used to improve the privately owned property of a relative of Councilman Robert Ashe be returned to his budget. The expenditures include more than $6,700.00 for storm sewer pipes and $4,000.00 to restore blacktop and concrete which he surmises was purchased from Councilman Ashe’s employers.

The commercial property on Bellemead Street was improved with drainage pipe during the month of June by a private contractor hired by the town. Efforts to deceive the media by stating that this expenditure was required by a non existent DEC consent order have been exposed as a sham. “As I publicly stated when this took place, it is wrong and illegal for public funds to be expended on improvements to private property.” Now it appears that the board is attempting to take the money from the Highway Department budget forcing town taxpayers to shoulder the burden for this irresponsible expenditure of public funds at the direct expense of highway services.

“As Highway Superintendent, I will not authorize such an expenditure from my budget and I request that these funds be transferred back into my budget codes immediately.” To the best of my knowledge, the town board never specifically authorized the expenditure detailed here for these improvements to the Bellemead Apartments. Frankly, if Councilman Ashe wants to spend tax dollars improving his in-laws property, he and his fellow council allies should publicly vote to authorize the expenditure and take the responsibility for disbursement.

Premo forwarded the correspondence to the Office of State Comptroller and Attorney General in the hope that some independent action and audit may be initiated to restore these funds to town taxpayers and the Highway Department budget. He also asked that an examination of the funding mechanism be explored to see whether any State or Federal funds may have been involved in this expenditure.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Democrats react to Court decision declaring Re-Zone of 4 & 43 illegal

Democratic candidates for the North Greenbush Town Board reacted to the Supreme Court decision declaring illegal their opponents re-zoning of the Rts 4 & 43 intersection to accommodate the wishes of their developer supporters as “a major victory for the people of this town and a clear setback for the development interests running this town board majority”.

The candidates made a pledge if elected to repeal the local law which permitted the box retail project pushed by Nigro Development called Van Rensselaer Square, thereby rendering any appeal moot. Nigro was the developer behind the controversial Oak Hill Apartments and recently made significant illegal campaign contributions to a Republican Committee fronted by this majority with their spokesperson Richard Crist fronting as the Treasurer. He was one of 13 contributors connected directly to development interests out of the 15 contributions made

They called on the majority NOT to appeal the decision and funnel more money into the pockets of the town attorney who is being paid extra for all legal work on top of her salary. “The Courts are the last protection that town residents have until the November election when voters will have an opportunity to take their government back from the developers currently running the town board majority.”

Once again in this latest decision, the Courts have found that this Majority acted to deny the rights of citizens in order to accommodate the developers which control the North Greenbush Town Board. The actions of this board have divided our town because there is no effort to secure community support for zoning and development. We support growth that is pursued by listening to town residents and developing community based consensus for the projects we pursue.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

North Greenbush GOP Slate funded almost entirely by DEVELOPERS

Committee raised nearly $8000 in illegal campaign contributions last
March by failing to register with County Board of Elections

One week ago, the North Greenbush Democratic Committee announced its slate of candidates and warned that the GOP team represented “government of, by and for the developer”. At the time, not even we could have imagined how well we hit the nail on the head.

On July 15th, a committee calling itself the North Greenbush Victory Committee filed $7,590 in itemized illegal contributions from 15 donors. Illegal because before the group could legally raise money for candidates, they needed to register with the Board of Elections and list their depository and bank account. The fundraiser was held last March and only now are we aware they even existed! Of the $7,590 collected, only $498.00 came from 3 corporations not tied to developers. Talk about “concrete evidence” stated Ashley, not one contribution came in the category of “individual” donors meaning that not a penny came from a town resident reaching into his own pocket to support these candidates. This may as well be called the “DEVELOPERS VICTORY COMMITTEE” stated Ashley. The cash should be returned immediately!

It is painfully clear that the team of Ashe, Styczynski and Desso is fueled entirely by developers and the corporations which thrive on development be they law firms, engineering firms or private contractors. This should serve as a warning that DEVELOPERS are running and pulling the strings in North Greenbush, not the people who live here. Leading the pack was Oak Hill Apartments who just got fined $75,000 by the State because they couldn’t spend the time and money to properly construct drainage but had the time and cash to give Councilman Ashe’s shadow committee $2,500.00 Oak Hill also managed to get an undeserved 2.1 million dollar tax break from Ashe’s friends on the county IDA.

The list goes on to include a local contractor who was the recipient of a $300,000 political favor paid for by Water District 14 taxpayers after the low bidder was thrown out and the contract was re-bid to award it to a pal and now grateful contributor, Casale Construction. They gave a $900.00 contribution. How ironic that we get to pay $300,000 more for this district than the low bid Bob Ashe and his majority threw out as a political favor and now the contractor says thanks with what is sure to be the first of many outrageous contributions.

It is also noteworthy that the Treasurer for this cadre of development money is none other than the Ashe Campaign Spokesman who is also the campaign spokesman for the Rensselaer County Legislative Republicans, their candidates, the Republican candidates for Troy City Council , Nassau Supervisor advisor, North Greenbush Town Board Majority and co-owner of Victory Lane, LLC, Richard Crist. Apparently Mr. Crist and this laundry list of candidates he represents is only too happy to be the bag man for the development community that desperately wants to make North Greenbush, the “Concrete Capital of Upstate New York”. This certainly explains why so many people in DeFreestville want a village of their own.
Ashley also noted that the Town GOP Committee violated the law by failing to file a Financial Disclosure Statement.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Boss’s wife receives another big pay day

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley released copies of the latest bill being submitted by the town attorney to her husband’s employee, Councilman Robert Ashe, for payment. The bill is a direct result of the decision by a Republican Supreme Court judge that allows political appointees to reap unlimited payments in addition to their salaries. The decision is being appealed to the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

After Ashe and his GOP colleagues Styczynski and Tazbir voted to give the town attorney a lump sum $25,000 pay raise of 62%, town democrats went to court to protect taxpayers from exactly what is now occurring, unlimited fleecing of the public treasury. This time the sum is $11,388.30 submitted on June 16th for legal work that used to be considered part of the job for which the town attorney was paid a salary.

No more, stated Ashley, this decision opens the floodgates and Councilman Ashe can’t wait to make his boss happy by voting to pay out large sums of public money to his spouse, the town attorney. And what of the obvious conflict of interest presented by using your office to award money to your employer’s wife? Without an Ethics Board to hear the complaints Councilman Ashe will spend the next 5 ½ months dishing out the payments with no one to tell him he’s wrong except voters in the November election.

Ashe and his majority have refused to permit the appointment of an Ethics Board and have ignored the Ethics Law they promised to strengthen as candidates three years ago. How much is enough? That’s for voters to decide and we can only hope that the decision which allowed this practice is overturned before there is nothing left when Ashe’s term is over December 31st.

Friday, July 15, 2005

North Greenbush Class of 2005



Mark Evers, Alan Michaels and Ernie Kern

North Greenbush Democrats endorse candidates

The North Greenbush Democratic Committee has announced their endorsements for offices in this fall’s election. Endorsements include Town Supervisor, two Council seats, Justice, Highway Superintendent and Clerk.

“These candidates will change the face of town government, long at a crossroads on issues of development, ethics, and credibility”, stated Chairman Dan Ashley. The committee endorsed a platform which guided these recommendations to a caucus to be held in the near future. That platform is posted on the internet at http://ngbdems.blogspot.com. The candidates were selected in part by their commitment to this platform as a roadmap for the future direction of town government. “The three Republican candidates are more government of, by and for the developer which has deeply divided North Greenbush”, stated Ashley.

The Democratic Committee is endorsing a “unity ticket” of highly qualified and deeply committed citizens with diverse backgrounds. We stress unity because the Republican Majority’s policies have deeply divided our town and the fact that their ticket resides entirely within the 12198 zip code is evidence of their insensitivity to the to the concerns of DeFreestville residents. “We present three generations of leadership who will guide this town with the candor and civility that will serve to unify this community long divided by a board majority that has put development interests ahead of town residents”, stated Ashley. “ Corporate nepotism and profiteering from public office is about to come to an end.”

Mark Evers for Town Supervisor:
Leading the ticket for Supervisor is Mark Evers, a Conservative who resides in the DeFreestville area. Evers, 52, resides on Paul Art Lane with his wife Kathy. Together, they have raised 5 children. As a boy, he grew up in the Wynantskill area graduating from Wynantskill School, LaSalle Inst. 71' and from Siena College 75’ with a Bachelors of Business degree in Marketing. Evers has an extensive background in coaching youth having spent 10 years in the Twin Town LL and senior league programs along with being on both boards during those years. The Democratic Committee was impressed with his extensive business background in sales management with several corporations, such as ConAgra Foods, Nestle and Kraft. He is currently the National Account Manager for Transpacific Foods. Evers has both managed budgets and sales for territories in excess of $50,000,000.00 and been responsible for up to 9 people while also managing various Regional Food Brokers. He has received several awards over the years and has completed industry sales and negotiating courses along with teaching them.


Alan Michaels for Town Couniclman:
The Committee has also endorsed Alan Michaels, a Democrat who resides on Thomas Drive in the Snyder’s Lake area. Alan is a graduate of Siena College and received a Masters Degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and a Law Degree from the Syracuse University. He is 34 years old. He and his wife Vicki, a physician, have two children, Xander, 3 and Tyler, 8 months. Alan’s leadership skills are found in an impressive resume from Eagle Scout to service as an Assistant Attorney General in Rhode Island prosecuting crime and the State’s representative on the Federal Anti-Terrorism Task Force. He is currently serving at the request of Mark Premo on his Highway Advisory Committee.

Ernie Kern for Town Couniclman:
Also endorsed for the Town Board is Ernest Kern, 69, of Dobert Court in Wynantskill. Ernie is retired from the Times Union where he worked as a printer for years. He and his wife Shiela have one son, John. He is a Conservative. Ernie will give senior citizens a special voice on the town board. We were impressed by his concern for those who are most impacted by the high taxes which exist in our State.

Rounding out the ticket are incumbents Raymond Elliot for Town Justice, Mark Premo, Highway Superintendent and Katie Connolly, Town Clerk. Each of these individuals have served the residents of North Greenbush with distinction and our committee is proud to endorse their re-election bids.

The Committee also commends County Legislator Bill Dedrick who is retiring this year after a long and distinguished career. Bill had seriously considered entering the race for a town board seat but after much consideration, decided to devote more time to his family. Best wishes to Bill with our gratitude.

Friday, July 08, 2005

N. Greenbush Police Department brought to full strength

Councilmen Richard Fennelly and James Mihalko joined Supervisor Paul Tazbir in a special town board meeting to appoint Michael Merola to his home town police department on Thursday July 7th. Michael was appointed from the list of eligible residents provided by the Rensselaer County Civil Service Commission. He joins two other officers appointed last month and brings our department to full strength for the first time in many years. The 3 to 0 vote with Councilmen Ashe and Styzcnski absent, will allow all three new officers to attend the Zone V Police Training Academy’s next class which begins July 13th and will graduate in December.

Attending the special meeting and swearing in the new police officer was Town Justice Raymond Elliot who did the honors while his proud parents County Clerk Frank Merola, wife Nina along with family and friends cheered following the ceremony. We were delighted to join Supervisor Tazbir in recognizing the need for this third position to be filled in time for the July 13th training class deadline, stated Fennelly and Mihalko. In this post 9-11 era there is no greater priority than providing for the safety and security of our citizens. Our local police and fire departments along with other first responders must be given the necessary staffing and equipment to do their increasingly difficult mission of public safety.

It is clear also that our town is witnessing an increase in population from development which will continue to increase the demand for police and emergency services. We hope that these recent appointments to our police department will make us be ready when called upon for help. We are certain that all town residents join us in wishing these new officers success as they begin their police careers here in North Greenbush.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The 4.2 Million Dollar Question

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling on City of Rensselaer Officials to return land signed away to the city by Councilman Ashe and his majority on what is apparently a promise never made by State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Ashley was reacting to a warning from Bruno in The Record Newspaper that if Rensselaer didn’t move on the project which would benefit developer, U.W.Marx, the promised 4.8 million in State Aid would “go elsewhere”. “Well, it sure doesn’t appear it is coming to North Greenbush taxpayers who were told by Councilman Ashe that Bruno promised a similar amount to the town in exchange for his vote to give our land to Rensselaer”, stated Ashley. “Once again the Senator has denied making the pledge in order to get his Republican friends on the North Greenbush Town Board to vote to give away the land”.

Ashley asked whether it is the Senator or Councilman Ashe who is telling the truth about the land vote for state aid boondoggle that found Ashe ignoring repeated warnings NOT to vote to give away the land without “contingency language” in the resolution. This language would have protected North Greenbush taxpayers requiring the receipt of the 4.2 million in State aid in order for the vote to take effect.

“Frankly, I believe the Senator, stated Ashley, but it’s clear someone is not being truthful and North Greenbush taxpayers are taking it on the chin”. Taxpayers have been forced to bond the costs of the water tower which Ashe claimed was to be funded by 2 million of the 4.2million in promised State aid. “About the only people happy are Ashe’s employers who managed to profit from the sale of all the concrete for the water tower construction”, stated Ashley.

Serious questions arise from this controversy:

· If the Senator did not make the pledge for State money in exchange for Ashe’s vote, why did Councilman Ashe along with his boss’s wife as Town Attorney giving legal advice and drafting the resolution, use a hurriedly called special town board meeting to give away our land?

Why did they refuse the get the pledge in writing or insert the protective contingency language in the bill as repeatedly requested?

Could it be that Ashe didn’t get it in writing because there was no such pledge of 4.2 million in exchange for his vote?

Could it be that the real motivation for giving the land away rested in corporate profits for Ashe’s employer who could sell a lot more cement in a massive Rensselaer development project than the 17 truckloads sold in the water tower construction?

Then there’s the 4.2 million dollar question, IF THERE WAS NO PLEDGE, WHY DID ASHE DO IT?
The answer may rest in concrete. Smile when you pour!

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Town hired contractor caught installing pipe
on private property owned by Ashe's relatives.
June 16, 2005 Posted by Hello

Ashe uses public funds to improve in-laws property.

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley criticized Councilman Robert Ashe for ordering improvements to private property at taxpayer expense. “First he used town funds to give his boss’s wife a $25,000 raise and now he’s spending our tax dollars putting culvert down on the private property of his former in-laws”, stated Ashley. He even hired a private contractor to do it! The total cost could be as much as $30,000.

Ashley stated that for months plans had been drawn up to do this work and were met with warnings from the Highway Superintendent. Councilman Ashe ignored those warnings and a crew of private contractors dug the ditch and installed the pipes June 15th on Bellemead St. in Wynantskill.

This amounts to use of public funds to enrich and improve the property of a private citizen. It’s unlawful and outrageous, stated Ashley. This is especially so since it was Ashe who once criticized town officials for free a sewer hook up to a politically connected contractor. “Have you been thanked yet?” read the political mailing sent all over town by Ashe. Was it wrong then and right now because it’s a relative of Councilman Ashe, asked Ashley?

Ashley stated that Ashe has been busy trying to justify the unlawful use of public funds by claiming a former Supervisor said it was the town’s fault that this property had drainage problems. A new spin is emerging in which Ashe claims the work is part of another project involving DEC ordered improvements. This is nonsense, stated Ashley, since this property is in no way connected to the that work which was done on the other end of Main Avenue near the Post Office. Further, it is highly unlikely that a State Agency would order a municipality to spend public funds improving private property with storm drains or any other public resources.
Taxpayers should be fully reimbursed for this expense which will run into tens of thousands of dollars in labor, equipment and materials, concluded Ashley.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ashley seeks mystery documents from Ashe and Town Attorney

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling on Councilman Robert Ashe and his boss’s wife, the town attorney, to locate and disclose the often referred to mystery letter both have repeated cited as evidence of their understanding of the need to avoid business entanglements with the town while they hold public office.

Since being confronted with photographs now posted on our website ngbdems.blogspot.com, and published in the Advertiser, both were forced to admit that their company, Bonded Concrete had been making sales connected to water district construction. “We have since April been asking for a full accounting and disclosure of these sales of blacktop, cement, fill, etc and were met with assurances there were no business dealings involving town funds. Now we have been told by the town attorney that “it’s none of the public’s business”. “From no businesses to none of our business is quite a contradiction” stated Ashley.

Every time their ethics are questioned, they cite a “mystery letter”, they claim was filed with the town clerk when they took control of the town board. This letter is in effect, a memo of understanding detailing their intention not to do business with the town.

Ashley stated that the town clerk has conducted a search for the letter and not only does not have it, but does not remember ever seeing it. “Perhaps it went out the side door with highway department records and the my building permit”, quipped Ashley.

For the past three and a half years, Councilman Ashe and his boss’s wife repeatedly assured us they understood the need to avoid the conflicts of interest which would occur had their company been doing business and profiting off his votes and her legal advice regarding town contracts. Now they seem unwilling to produce the alleged memo of understanding detailing their intentions that no one in the public realm has apparently ever seen. And it’s no wonder since publicly they insisted they were not profiting off the town while privately they were raking in big bucks as subcontractors.

Despite FOILing the material on May 25th, the town has refused to surrender it, stated Ashley. “They are instead playing the 30 day waiting game instead of acting to produce the letter and clear the air as to their true business intentions.”

Ashley again demanded a full and complete disclosure of all sales to Bonded Concrete, Ashe’s employer and related companies in connection with water district contracts. “It must be a huge number for them to be so afraid of leveling with the public”, concluded Ashley.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Town Attorney should recuse from legal advice on concrete sales

Seeks Financial Disclosure requirement

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley has called on Town Attorney, Linda Mandell-Clemente to recuse herself from offering any position or legal advice to town board members concerning public demands that the town make a full disclosure of all sales that her husband’s company had made in connection with water district construction contracts in North Greenbush.

Ashley made the request after last week’s town board meeting in which the town attorney told the public that it was “none of their business” as to how much business her husband’s company had done on millions of dollars in water district construction in the town. Both of the companies in which her husband is a either an officer or owner or both were caught providing concrete and fill, the later in unmarked trucks, to avoid detection at the site of the new water tower.

At the board meeting Councilman Ashe, who is an employee of the Bonded Concrete division, was asked to provide a full and complete disclosure of all sales his companies have made in connection with water district construction contacts. He REFUSED, as did the town attorney who spoke as if she was representing the interests of her husbands companies in denying financial disclosure rather than the public interest in FULL DISCLOSURE of such ethically questionable business dealings.

The town attorney has in the past acted as attorney for her husband’s company and she clearly has an interest in protecting the embarrassing disclosures of the amount of money the companies have made from town contracts as a subcontractor. Therefore she should recuse herself from giving any further legal advice on the requests for a full accounting of these back door sales which both she and Councilman Ashe have repeatedly assured would not take place while they held town office.

“First it was a pledge that their companies would not benefit or do business at the expense of the town while they held office. Now the song is “it’s none of your business how much business our companies did thanks to our vote to award millions in water district contracts in the town”, stated Ashley.

Ashley also called on the town attorney to be required to file a Financial Disclosure Statement with the town. He noted that a Financial Disclosure requirement was a key component of the revised Ethics Law that Councilman Ashe had demanded back when he said he supported a new ethics law. “While these provisions were included in the revised law, Ashe and his majority have refused to act on the law and hence no one in town government is required to file these statements”, stated Ashley.

A Financial Disclosure requirement would prevent such an occurrence in North Greenbush. “Without Financial Disclosure town residents have no way of knowing whether their Town Attorney is benefiting financially in the private sector from the advice she gives in the public sector as town attorney”. “If this employee is going to be allowed to have input on public policy, we simply must be assured that her legal advice has no ulterior motive”. In this instance , there is a clear conflict of interest in offering such advice.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Happy faces pose after profitable concrete pour! Posted by Hello

Another truck heads for a payday! Posted by Hello

Ashe's company caught cashing in at water tower. Posted by Hello

Ashley demands full disclosure of water district sales to Ashe’s employers

"I had no knowledge the concrete was being poured", Councilman Bob Ashe told the Times Union. They next day they were caught live on CH 6 hauling fill in private unmarked trucks to avoid being detected. Where will it stop, asked North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley as he renewed calls for a full disclosure of all sales to the family of companies which employ Councilman Robert Ashe which are related to Water District construction in North Greenbush. First he votes to hire his boss’s wife as town attorney, then votes to give her a $25,000 lump sum raise. Now his company is racking in big bucks from his votes to award millions in water contracts from town funds. This includes black top, concrete and related products produced by Ashe’s employers. Ashley made the request after disclosures that Councilman Ashe’s company poured the concrete for the foundation of the town’s new 2 million dollar water tower despite REPEATED public assurances that he and the town attorney had taken extraordinary steps to ensure their companies would in no way benefit financially from their positions in town government. For months Ashe and the town attorney had assured us that there were no business dealings involving the town and at last weeks board meeting they told us it was “none of our business” how much business they did with the town!Ashe and his favored contractors have for months, refused to directly answer questions as to whether these back door sales had been taking place. Perhaps these sales explain why the majority board members discharged the previous low bidder in Water District 14, re-bid the contract and caused taxpayers to pay an additional $300,000.00 more than the previous low bidder’s price. Both Ashe and the town attorney have repeatedly stated they have taken steps to ensure that his employers are not benefiting from their positions in town government by securing sales related to their products. Ashe is a salesman for Bonded Concrete and the town attorney is his boss’s wife. Now he says he didn’t know they poured the concrete at the water tower. Didn’t Bob and his boss’s wife, the town attorney bother to tell the boss not to bid on any town work? These sales not only violate the long ignored ethics law, but violate a common sense principle that an elected official should not be voting on contracts which in any way benefit his employer and potentially himself with benefits from a grateful employer , stated Ashley. This adds insult to injury because we are paying $300,000 extra for Water District 14 and now Ashe’s companies have been caught benefiting from town contracts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Police appointments violate residency laws and jeopardize taxpayers

North Greenbush Councilman Richard Fennelly expressed concern that the town board majority has acted in violation of the law, this time to appoint two individuals to the police force. He called their actions a “reckless disregard for law which invites disaster by placing the officers and the taxpayers in a game of legal jeopardy”.

As it was in the case of their votes to appoint a non resident to the Comptroller and Engineer during the past three years, they are now playing politics with the Police Department by appointing two individuals as lateral transfers from other towns who have failed to established residency in North Greenbush at the time of their employment. This is required in the Town Code Section 35-2. Last year, the majority was forced to change the town code to legally appoint a non resident comptroller and engineer by gutting the residency requirements for the positions. Result, we have a Comptroller from Grafton and an Engineer from Troy instead of a town resident receiving these incomes.

The ramifications of this latest action have far reaching consequences for taxpayers and the legal system as Ashe, a current police office and the town attorney knows. Appointing a police officer illegally subjects his every action to legal challenge from tickets to arrests exposing the taxpayers of North Greenbush to a legal game of jeopardy. This will serve neither taxpayers, the officers or the Police Department as a whole. Fennelly noted that the majority admitted to holding meetings, discussions and interviews on these appointments while selectively excluding Councilmen Fennelly and Mihalko.

Years ago, it was Ashe as a candidate charging politics in the police department and appointments made in violation of civil service law. Then Ashe was fighting Jim Germano, the former town chairman for getting his grandson on the police department. Now that Ashe is elected to a four year term, he practices the same actions himself, violating the laws and asking the County Civil Service Commission to approve two lateral transfers that cannot legally be accomplished until the appointees have established residency in this town.

How can the majority forget the actions of Rensselaer County officials in refusing to certify the police department’s payroll because of alleged violations of civil service laws by the town? They based a large part of his campaign on this game of politics and now openly violates the Residency Code that every other police officer has dutifully complied with in order to hire two non residents. Unfortunately, they did not consider any of the 5 town residents certified on an existing county civil service list and eligible for immediate appointment.
“It’s unfortunate that the majority would place the department in legal jeopardy by appointing them in violation of the town’s laws”. They are trained and capable individuals and the majority should have had enough respect for them and taxpayers to require compliance with all laws before appointment.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Councilmen to appeal ethics ruling and pay raise

North Greenbush Councilmen Richard Fennelly and James Mihalko will appeal a court decision establishing a dangerous precedent diminishing ethical standards and public treasuries throughout the state. Upon review of the decision with counsel, we believe the court erred when it found no obligation by an elected official to abstain from enriching a family member of his employer. We are guided by our strong belief that one should abstain from such votes when ever there is even an appearance of a conflict of interest. Voting to appoint and give raises to an employer’s family member is a conflict of interest.

The act of voting clearly benefits the councilman’s standing with his employer and therefore he should refrain from participating in any such votes. It is clear that voting against such an appointment and raise places the elected officer at risk with his employer. The Town Code of Ethics requires recusal under these circumstances. If this ruling stands, an elected official will be permitted to vote to enrich his employer’s family without restrictions or pay limits.

As elected officials, we believe that an important public policy issue arising from this decision continues to expose town taxpayers State wide to last minute lump sum retroactive pay raises from board majorities to their political appointees as their terms of office expire. We believe this to be a significant error in the ruling which a five judge panel is more likely to consider as an ominous threat to public treasuries in every town in this state.

The Councilmen also expressed concern that the decision failed to address the issue of a lump sum bonus being an unlawful gift prohibited under the State Constitution. No where is this question addressed by the lower court.

They concluded by reasserting the need to enforce the long ignored Town Ethics Law by appointing a bi-partisan Ethics Board so that neither the public nor elected officials must go to court to resolve ethical issues. Such boards provide guidance to elected officials and we now have at least one complaint on file from a town resident which has been ignored because the Majority on the Town Board has refused to either appoint an Ethics Board under existing Town Law or revamp the Ethics Law with proposals they have allowed to languish for more than a year without a vote. We doubt that a truly bi-partisan Ethics Board would endorse the standards for recusal accepted by this Majority or the lower court. North Greenbush residents expect a higher standard from their elected officials than they are being allowed, stated the Councilmen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

GOP Majority’s decision to REBID Water District a $300,000 mistake

How much more will taxpayers have to pay for a glass of water?

With the opening of re-bids for Water District 14, it is now clear that the politics of trying to award contracts to political friends will cost North Greenbush taxpayers dearly, stated Councilmen Richard Fennelly and James Mihalko. The Councilmen reacted to the opening of the new bids in Water District 14, weeks after Majority Board Members Ashe, Styczynski and Tazbir ignored warnings that dismissing the bids including the low bid of 6.1 million dollars would expose taxpayers to the risk of a dramatic increase in the cost of construction. Those repeated warnings have sadly materialized with new bids opened Tuesday April 26th.

The stated reason for re-bidding by the Majority was that only two bids were received. Since only two bids were received this time, shouldn’t we expect the Majority to re-bid again in the continued interests of saving the taxpayers of the water district money?

The new low bid from Casale Excavating is 6.4 million, some $300,000 more than the previous low bid from Highlander which the Majority discarded. This cost must be shouldered by taxpayers if accepted.

It has been clear from the onset that the Board Majority would have awarded the contract had the politically connected high bidder been the low bidder. In dismissing the bids and re-bidding, the majority was giving the high bidder another bite at the apple and exposing taxpayers to the increased costs which inevitably would result from re-bidding.

During the process which led to this tragic decision, the Board Majority ignored the recommendation of its engineering firm and a law firm hired to review the bids and the bidders and Councilman Fennelly, ALL of whom recommended awarding the contract to the low bidder, Highlander Construction at 6.1 million dollars.

Councilmen Ashe and Styczynski have invested their political futures with the high bidder, Casale Construction, which has immersed itself in local politics on behalf of the board majority. The high bidder was deeply involved in Conservative Party primaries for control of the town committee on behalf of the majority. The contractor’s brother and Councilman Ashe’s son were on the same slate of candidates attempting to secure the committee and its invaluable endorsement in the town elections. They were also rumored to have been behind an expensive campaign to win voter approval for the district, despite being the high bidder.

Now the new bids are in and taxpayers will take it on the chin with $300,000 in additional costs over the low bid which the Majority threw out.
Submitted by,
Councilmen Richard Fennelly and James Mihalko

Monday, April 25, 2005

Ashley calls for full disclosure of Water District business from Ashe and Town Attorney

4/25/05

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling on Councilman Robert Ashe and his private sector employer’s wife, Town Attorney Linda Mandel-Clemente to make a FULL DISCLOSURE of all sales of materials from Bonded Concrete and associated companies subcontracted for all Water District Construction in North Greenbush.

Ashley made the request after learning that the high bidder in Water District 14 may have used the private sector employer of Councilman Ashe to provide materials in these publicly financed water districts. This vender is also owned by the Town Attorney’s spouse raising questions about the ethical propriety of the these sales.

How much town money did Councilman Ashe’s employer reap in sales from Water District construction? That’s the question both of these people should answer, especially in light of their often repeated assurances at Town Board meetings that they have taken great pain to ensure that their company does not benefit from town contracts while they serve in positions in town government, stated Ashley.

It is certainly my hope that these sales which benefited the Councilman’s employer played no role in the bizarre decision to throw out the bids in Water District 14 and re-bid the contract. The original bids included a low bid some $600,000 less than the one submitted by a politically favored bidder. Was it all about the sub contracts and the sales given to Ashe’s employer?

It’s time for an outside independent accounting of all the funds expended on water district construction, concluded Ashley. He noted that taxpayers may learn tomorrow at 3PM when the new bids are opened just how much more this district will cost as a result of the re-bid decision.

Dan Ashley
Chairman, NGBDC

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ashley seeks fulfillment of 4 million dollar pledge from Senator Bruno

4/19/05

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is seeking immediate fulfillment of a pledge last year from Senator Joseph Bruno that would give the town of North Greenbush 4 million dollars for projects in exchange for the town giving land to the City of Rensselaer.

Last year, the town board majority was jumping through hoops to give away taxable land within its boundaries in exchange for 4 million in State taxpayer dollars to be used for various project in North Greenbush. These projects included a water tower which the town board was forced to bond because the money never materialized.

We are now in a new fiscal year with a new State budget passed and yet not a word from the Senator or the Republican Majority on the Town Board as to when if ever North Greenbush will receive these funds.
The City of Rensselaer has our taxable property because the Republican Majority did not bother to protect taxpayers with contingency language when they held a special meeting last year to give away the land to Rensselaer.

Once again we have a happy developer who can move forward with his plans at the expense of North Greenbush. It’s time that North Greenbush taxpayers received the funds promised in exchange for this land giveaway, concluded Ashley.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Democrats release election platform

4/14/2005
The North Greenbush Democratic Committee has issued a platform to protect and improve the quality of life in North Greenbush. The platform has been endorsed by the majority of the 16 member town Democratic Committee and will serve as a guide for the selection of candidates for the policy making town board in this years town elections.
The Democratic Committee is committed to encouraging qualified town residents who are committed to improving the quality of life in our town to review the platform and if they embrace its guiding principles, to contact the committee for consideration of endorsement for elective office.
Three key positions must be filled this year including Town Supervisor and two at large Council positions which are currently held by Republicans. Democrats need just one more seat to gain a working majority to implement the platform on behalf of town residents.
"We cannot change the face of town government without the involvement and support of the citizens of this town and therefore we urge residents to become involved in a spirit of public service", stated Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley. The platform can be viewed in its entirety at our website located at http://ngbdems.blogspot.com and the committee may be contacted at ngbdems@nycap.rr.com.


Platform of the North Greenbush Democratic Committee 2005
*Community Based Zoning by restoring a Master Plan Committee consisting of TOWN RESIDENTS from all areas of the town.
*End Conflicts of Interest by passing and enforcing a comprehensive Ethics Law within 90 days and the appointment of a non partisan ethics board free of gridlock.
*A commitment to reduce taxes by ending waste, paid spin doctors and FIXING the salary of the Town Attorney.
*Protecting our schools and tax base by vigorously opposing IDA tax breaks like those given to Oak Hill Apartments.
*Return open government by ending the GOP practice of early morning town board meetings aimed at diminishing public participation and awareness.
*Restore residency requirements for key town jobs such as Comptroller and Engineer which have been outsourced under the current administration.
* Oppose Republican plan to eliminate elected office of Highway Superintendent, replacing it with an appointed patronage bureaucrat.
*Respect for the laws and restoring trust by ending the pattern of town officials violating the rights of citizens and Court decisions which have chastised their actions.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Ashe Votes three times to pay his Boss’s Wife

3/25/05
North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley called Councilman Ashe’s conduct at the March 24th Board meeting an arrogant disregard for the ethics law. He stated that Ashe’s three votes to enrich his boss’s wife were “a slap in the face to a pending Supreme Court decision on the legality of his first vote to pay her a $25,000, 62% retroactive lump sum raise.”

“$25 grand is apparently not enough to satisfy the boss’s wife”. Rather than tabling the cryptic last minute addition to the Holy Thursday agenda until a judge has ruled on the legality of Ashe voting to enrich his employer’s wife, Ashe together with his loyal colleagues Councilman Styczynski and Supervisor Tazbir voted to reward the Town Attorney with an additional blank check pay raise which will allow her to earn unlimited money on top of her salary.

They were so anxious to reward the boss’s wife that the trio quickly voted to pay her an additional $150.00 an hour to defend them in two lawsuits. Last November they were planning to give her just $100.00 an hour. One of these lawsuits was caused by the town attorney’s poor legal advice and conduct in mishandling a petition filed with the town. Now she gets to make a pile of money because of her conduct. The trio has put into place for the town attorney, an incentive to litigate since she now will get paid on top of her salary for litigation. She must be busy because she did not attend the meeting which is part of her duties so taxpayers had to pay her deputy $100 per hour to take her place.

Most people did not know that the two resolutions to hire an attorney to handle these cases meant a paycheck for the town attorney. But the council majority knew and they also knew that they could not pass these two resolutions until the first law was filed with the New York Secretary of State. Therefore their vote to hire her was premature and illegal since the enabling law, just passed, had not been filed with the Secretary of State. The Town Clerk has this duty and has 15 days to do so.

“This whole matter revolves around the ethics of Councilman Ashe using his office to enrich his private sector employer’s wife which is at the core of a lawsuit initiated by Councilmen Fennelly and Mihalko.”
Ashe’s three votes send a message to the Court that he doesn’t care what the judge thinks about his ethics, he’s going to vote more pay raises for his boss’s wife and doesn’t care if the Court says he has a conflict of interest requiring recusal.”

“What’s being added to the Councilman’s pay package at Bonded Concrete this time”, asked Ashley? What will he receive in exchange for his vote, more vacation time, a raise, free use of a company vehicle? Whatever the reason for his blind obedience to his boss’s wife, the perception such a vote creates is more than enough reason to abstain. It’s bad judgment, the same kind of bad judgment that cost him his police career and found him on the receiving end of two misdemeanor convictions prosecuted by the District Attorney.

Ashley concluded by criticizing the arrogant behavior of Councilman Styczynski. His vicious personal attack on Councilman Fennelly’s personal life has no place in politics or a town board meeting.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Councilmen seek DeFreestville Post Office and Zip Code

3/22/05
North Greenbush Town Councilmen Richard Fennelly and James Mihalko are seeking support for a DeFreestville Post Office and Zip Code. “We are writing to Postmaster General James Potter as well as Congressman Michael McNulty in an effort to lobby support for the proposal”, stated the councilmen. Both men stated that while the idea has been talked about off and on for more than a decade, a concerted effort has yet to take place to sell the need for a post office branch to serve the Defreestville side of town.

“This is a time when many DeFreestville residents feel that the town board’s development policies have seriously divided the town. A Post Office will promote unity while recognizing DeFreestville’s unique identity.” DeFreestville is a growing community as evidenced by the many new housing developments which have arisen since the last time a Council member suggested such a move more than a decade ago. A trip to the nearest Post Office should not be long enough that it must be planned with other chores as is the case in DeFreestville who must go either to Wynantskill, Sand Lake, Rensselaer or East Greenbush for postal services.

A Post Office not only provides a vital community service, but equally important, it enhances a community’s identity”, stated Fennelly. “I can’t think of a better way to show the residents of DeFreestville that there are voices in town government that recognize the need to protect and enhance the identity of this important part of our town while working with them for a better community,” “This is one idea from town hall that will be met with applause and not a lawsuit”, stated Councilman James Mihalko.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Ashley calls for review of court security

3/14/2005
North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling for the appointment of a Courtroom Security Review Board in the wake of the second tragic incident in a week involving judicial personnel or their families.

The case in Atlanta Georgia is nothing short of shocking, stated Ashley. “Court room security must be reviewed here in North Greenbush, Rensselaer County and throughout the state”. The question must be asked, “Are there uniformed standards and training for court security personnel which would help prevent an incident like the one in Atlanta which resulted in the murder of a judge, court reporter, and two law enforcement officers, while wounding a third officer. It would appear the answer is no, for security procedures and training are varied from court to court, stated Ashley.

It is apparent that there must be a comprehensive review of the security procedures and training aimed at ensuring that no one will be in a position to grab an officers pistol and shoot those in their view. It is also critically important that the courts be staffed with trained personnel and not be subjected to political considerations as is the case in some jurisdictions. The issue of Court Security must be taken seriously and not subject to political patronage.

Ashley noted that the Federal Courts appear to employ the greatest common sense keeping armed Marshals’ weapons out of view and under the cover of clothing. This is in stark contrast to the situation in Atlanta and the past practice here in North Greenbush where a side arm has been clearly visible and an inviting target on the security officer, who until a recent gun accident, had been working in the town court. It might also be wise to remove guns from the court rooms altogether as it would invite a lower level of potential violence should an incident occur.

A Court Security Review Board empanelled at least at the county level and preferably at the State level could review security procedures and make urgent recommendations on the manner in which court personnel carry their weapons and the training necessary to correct current procedures.

A review of this problem may prevent a tragedy here such as that which occurred in Atlanta. “I urge county and state officials to act immediately to empanel a group of qualified law enforcement officials such as our elected Sheriffs and local Police Chiefs, members of the judiciary from the state, county and town level and members of the BAR Association to review court security and recommend uniformed standards of protection.