North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
Fighting For You!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Town Board Should Act on Waiver

The North Greenbush Town Board should review the circumstances surrounding the submission of documents to State officials by the Town Supervisor which led to the issuance of a waiver from the State Retirement system for a politically connected ally of the Supervisor Mark Evers as reported in the Record on February 12th.

Mr. Evers misled State officials in order to obtain a financial benefit for his political supporter, Mr. Harkin. The Supervisor misused his authority to sign documents on behalf of the town board as appointing authority and falsely informed State officials that there was no other qualified applicant available to the town board for this appointment. The reality exposed by the official minutes of the November 8, 2007 Board meeting is that the Board FULLY considered a more qualified applicant, a certified assessor and declined to appoint him in a 3-2 vote.

The Supervisor may have violated several provisions of the Penal Law by submitting falsified business records, filing a false instrument, mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the State Retirement System. He asked how the Supervisor could truthfully sign the sworn declaration on form affirming: “I, the appointing authority, hereby affirm under penalties of perjury… that the statements made herein, are true and correct and that I have determined that …. there are not readily available for recruitment non-retired persons qualified to perform the duties of such position”?

The fact that a more qualified non retiree was available for appointment contradicts Evers sworn affirmation which was the principle criteria to meet for waiver eligibility. Evers action caused the payments of tens of thousands of dollars to Mr. Harkin from the Retirement fund that he would not otherwise have been entitled to.

The town board should vote on a resolution either affirming Harkin’s eligibility for the waiver or formally opposing the waiver based on their review of the requirements. Councilman Al Spain is the Personnel Director for the City of Troy and more than any other Board member, is FULLY capable of determining whether the Supervisor engaged in a fraudulent act on behalf of the Town Board. Mr. Evers spoke for the town board as appointing authority on a matter that may cause the filing of criminal charges. The question now is whether the town board concurs with Mr. Evers sworn declaration on their behalf?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Funds For I 90 Connector Should Be Part of National Economic Stimulus

As our State and National elected representatives have begun expressing support for various projects to be funded by President Obama’s 800 Billion dollar economic stimulus bill now working its way through Congress, it is time they committed to funding a critical piece of infrastructure, the I90 Connector joining the Rensselaer Technology Park with Interstate 90.

Congressman Paul Tonko and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have each voiced support for the development of new technologies needed to make us energy independent and there is nowhere in this State more capable of playing a key role in developing these technologies than the Rensselaer Technology Park in North Greenbush.

The RPI Tech Park is our regions bridge to the future, stated Dan Ashley, Chairman of the North Greenbush Democratic Committee. We have a project that is nearly shovel ready,partially funded and on the drawing board for more than two decades without the funding to complete it, stated Ashley. This is not just a construction project, but rather an investment which creates long term employment opportunities that help us develop critical future technologies we need in these challenging times. It is exactly the kind on economic stimulus that should be given first consideration as part of a long term economic recovery program.

Until this Connector is built, the RPI Tech Park will not fully realize its potential as an economic engine here in North Greenbush, Rensselaer County and the Capital District. As we endure the worst recession in 40 years, it is vital to invest in projects that not only create jobs via construction, but also help produce additional long term employment such as the technology jobs at the RPI Tech Park.

Ashley also noted that North Greenbush would realize additional benefit from this construction by directing significant traffic off of Route 4 and fostering new development along the highway's path. This would preserve the residential character of neighborhoods along the RT 4 corridor.

Ashley urged our local Congressional delegation and US Senators to stand up and be counted in getting the necessary support to fund the I-90 Connector. "We’re talking about funding the road to our future, not a "bridge to nowhere", somewhere in Alaska ", stated Ashley.