North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
Fighting For You!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ashley Requests Review of Health Insurance Coverage

Town Board Members
November 19, 2008

Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act raise questions as to how and why a contractual employee or vender is being provided taxpayer funded health insurance by the town’s provider, CDPHP.

Vender Thomas Murley is listed on a CDPHP document as a covered employee of the Town of North Greenbush. The document reflects a “Billing Period of 11/01-11/30/08”. Mr. Murley was only an employee of the town for a period of just over 5 years from January 1999 until July 2004. Therefore under what authority has he been permitted to have taxpayer funded health insurance after his severance from the town payroll? Clearly, his status as a vender does not qualify him or any other vender for taxpayer funded health insurance. Certainly 5 years of service does not qualify anyone for a lifetime health insurance benefit.

I must call upon each of you to review this taxpayer funded benefit to Mr. Murley and determine whether steps should be taken to obtain a refund of town funds and an immediate cessation to further health insurance payments on his behalf. A Resolution of the Board directing the Town Comptroller would accomplish this.

In addition, I call upon each of you to take appropriate steps to order an immediate review of all payments made to town employees in the past two years as a “buy out” for opting out of the town’s employee health insurance policy. It is clear that payments were authorized to individuals who were not eligible to receive them since they are not a party to any collective bargaining unit which incorporates such a benefit. Further, I call upon you to freeze further payments under the collective bargaining agreement until the town board and its legal counsel, make a determination as to the propriety of the payments made for 2007 and 2008. Specifically, it is necessary to determine whether employees who were never enrolled in the town health insurance are eligible to receive a payment for opting out of a program in which they were never enrolled as a prerequisite for eligibility. If the town board determines these payments were inappropriate, I call upon you to recover these substantial funds as necessary.

In 2008 alone, a GROSS amount of $28,104.14 has been paid out to nine town employees. Unless you act immediately, another equal payment will be made before the end of this year permitting employees to receive a payment equal to 51% of the premium that the town would pay for coverage of the employee. Therefore your immediate action to suspend further payments until a determination is made is critical to protect taxpayers.

I urge you to prevent the town supervisor from continuing to unilaterally issue payments to employees without the authorization of the town board.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ashley Opposes Settlement and 1M Bond for Water Contractor

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley announced his party’s opposition to a Resolution on this Thursday’s Town Board (Nov 13th 7PM) agenda which he believes would authorize the town to borrow more than a million dollars to pay the contractor in Water District 14 who also runs the local Conservative Party.

If this is approved, the contractor will be paid more than 8.4 million dollars on a contract he agreed to complete for 6.4 million. Ashley noted that the Conservative run town board which the contractor endorsed from his perch as Conservative Party Chairman, has agreed to settle with the contractor in court rather than fight for town taxpayers. He further noted that that the town board majority is forcing every homeowner in town to pay for this settlement whether or not they live in water 14.

The Democratic Party opposes this settlement as a sell out of the taxpayers, stated Ashley. It comes at a meeting of the town board in which Conservative politicians like Supervisor Mark Evers has his own hands in our pockets seeking a 280% pay raise for himself with the support of his right hand man Councilman Kern. “While town board endorsed Conservatives are selling out taxpayers to their politically connected contractor, and trying to line the pockets of the Supervisor with a big pay raise, the Governor is announcing billions in proposed cuts to municipalities as our State and Nation face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” stated Ashley. “If I as Democratic Chairman, who runs a car business, were selling cars to a Town Board controlled by Democrats for millions more than the stipulated bid, I’d be run out of town on a rail car”, stated Ashley.

Ashley also noted the effort of this town board to keep the public in the dark as to the purpose of the bonding resolution on Thursday’s agenda. “One would never know the one sentence agenda item was the big payday for the out of control contract which was grossly mismanaged by the town Building Department whose employees approved the payments without required change orders according to the audit released by the NY State Comptroller”. Taxpayers deserve accountability, not mismanagement and big paydays for the Supervisor and his contractor, concluded Ashley.

Our Deepest Sympathies to Amanda's Family

All of us in North Greenbush and on the Democratic Committee extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Amanda Perrotta who passed away last evening after a courageous struggle with Mitochondrial disease.

Funeral arrangement have not been announced.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Judge Andrew Ceresia Endorsed by North Greenbush Democrats


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The North Greenbush Democratic Committee has unanimously endorsed Judge Andrew Ceresia for Rensselaer County Court Judge. Judge Ceresia has served with distinction as our Town Justice for the past 5 years, and has been appointed to serve as an Acting City Court Judge in the cities of Albany, Hudson and Rensselaer handling thousands of cases, both criminal and civil.

“I feel especially privileged to endorse Judge Ceresia on behalf of our town Democratic Party”, stated Dan Ashley, Chairman of the North Greenbush Democratic Committee. The Committee noted Ceresia’s background and experience in making its endorsement. This includes 10 years in the practice of law working in every court in the state (Town, City, County, Family, Surrogate's, Court of Claims, Supreme), as well as in federal court. He has also conducted numerous jury and non-jury trials during his tenure on the bench and as a practicing attorney. Judge Ceresia presently works as an Appellate Court Attorney for the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department. In that capacity, he works with judges drafting decisions in connection with appeals arising out of the 28 counties that comprise the Third Department.

Judge Ceresia’s resume includes service as president of the Rensselaer County Bar Association, a member of the Capital District Women's Bar Association, Albany County Bar Association, New York State Magistrate's Association and Rensselaer County Magistrate's Association. He is also a trustee of the F. Warren Travers Rensselaer County Supreme Court Library, an officer of the Board of Directors for the St. Jude's and Branson Manor Senior Apartments, a member of the Third Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee, a member of the Third Judicial District Character and Fitness Committee, a former officer of the Board of Directors for the Friends of Rensselaer County Family Court Children's Center and a former member of the advisory board of the Rensselaer County Youth Court Program.

Joining in the Democratic Committee’s endorsement are Rensselaer County Legislator’s Keith Hammond and Kevin Harrington. “Our party would be well represented by Judge Ceresia as we seek a to replace our long time County Court Judge Pat McGrath who was just elected to State Supreme Court”, stated Hammond and Harrington, both of whom represent Poestenkill, North and East Greenbush on the County Legislature. They added, "Judge Ceresia is widely respected for his experience, knowledge and judicial temperament."

Chairman Ashley stated that the endorsement recommendation will be forwarded to Rensselaer County Democratic Chairman Tom Wade who has established a selection committee to review candidates for the position which will likely be filled by the Governor pending next year’s election to fill the unexpired term of Judge McGrath.

Dan Ashley Chairman, NGBDC