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In a well-written letter-to-the-editor, local a local business and property owner and community organizor alerts the residents of the town of New Baltimore and warns of the forked-tongue of the lame-duck supervisor Susan O’Rorke and her cronies on the New Baltimore town board, and the damage they are doing before they have to vacate New Baltimore Town Hall.
New Town Officers Continue to Urge Residents’ Participation
Letter to the Editor
December 4, 2013
My fellow taxpayers, please note that the next Town Board Meeting for the Town of New Baltimore is scheduled for December 9, 2013.
The purpose of this letter is to provide every member of our community with information regarding the performance of our current elected officials, based on the following official documentation:
- Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) Audit of the Town of New Baltimore’s Procurement Practices – Released 11/15/13 (10 days after the election),
- Town Board meetings, and
- Recent election literature
Based on the facts provided for your review the “leadership” has not acted responsibly, especially when it involves fiscal accountability. As you read this letter please keep in mind that the expenditures in question ($530,634/$135,377) in the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) Audit are approximately one third of our Town’s budget ($l.6M).
Page 3 of the Comptroller’s Audit states:
Fact: “The Supervisor, who serves as the Town’s chief executive and chief fiscal officer, is responsible for implementing Board policy and overseeing the financial management of the Town’s moneys. As chief fiscal officer, the Supervisor is responsible for overseeing most of the Town’s financial duties. The Town’s Highway Superintendent is an elected official and is responsible for overseeing highway operations.”
Page 8 of the Comptroller’s Audit states:
Fact: “Additionally, prior Board approval was required, but was not documented, for individual and aggregate purchases totaling $135,377 of our sample of $165,455. Town officials said the approvals were given in committee meetings. The Supervisor [O’Rorke] and Deputy Supervisor [Norris] told us that they meet regularly in committee meetings with the Highway Superintendent [Jordan] to discuss planned Highway Department purchases, but do not ask for or receive copies of quotes.” [bracketed names added]
The Comptroller’s Audit continues:
Fact: “By not enforcing Town procurement policy, requiring evidence of compliance with guidelines of OGS and county purchasing contracts, and ensuring that written quotations or prior Board approvals were obtained when required, the Board cannot be certain purchases are made at the lowest cost and without favoritism.”
Fact: Based on the Comptroller’s Audit: In just a 14 month period – l/0l/12-3/0l/13 – the Town Highway Superintendent made purchases of $530,634 which were not in compliance with General Municipal Law.
Claim: “A Great Team for New Baltimore” was the title of an October 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor in support of the Democrat slate of candidates for the 11/05/13 General Election. The slate was led by then Town Supervisor – Susan O’Rorke. [Editor’s Note: O’Rorke was voted out, defeated in the November 2013 elections.]
Claim: The letter states about Ms. O’Rorke: “She has promoted open and transparent government together with a bipartisan spirit with her colleagues on the town board. Susan has a great working relationship with Highway Superintendent Jordan and they will continue this relationship to improve our roads. Susan deserves your wholehearted support.”
Claim: The letter ends with the statement: “We believe that these candidates for public office will provide the commitment, experience and leadership that is needed to represent you and will put the needs of the community first. They will work hard for the good people of New Baltimore and will be fully engaged to continue to build our towns bright future. We ask that you support and vote for these candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 5.”
Fact: The above letter was signed by elected town officials: Highway Superintendent-Denis Jordan, Councilwoman-Lisa Benway & Deputy Supervisor-Christopher Norris.
Fact: Wait, it doesn’t end there! Knowing full-well the original content of the Comptroller’s audit, the same three officials (who signed the October letter and approved spending) were the only votes in favor of a 2014 raise for the Highway Superintendent [Jordan] at the November 11, 2013 Final Budget meeting.
In a The Daily Mail article dated November 19, 2013 entitled: State audit takes issue with purchasing, bidding policies the article states:
“In a telephone interview on Monday, O’Rorke said, “Now that the report is public and finalized we will discuss it at the December board meeting.”
After reviewing these documents I thought that if our elected officials owned a private business the company would be bankrupt! However, with the authority to raise taxes and/or borrow money from other accounts, we taxpayers are now paying for their lack of leadership and frivolous spending.
All too often within our community people talk about the deterioration of our society – each of us have a responsibility, as well as the opportunity, as members of our community to initiate change.
Let’s start in our town at the next Town Board Meeting on December 9, 2013.
What do you think these elected officials should do now?
You be the judge!
God Bless our community and best wishes to all for a healthy and prosperous holiday season,
Town of New Baltimore
* We are informed that The Daily Mail is to publish this letter-to-the-editor. The author of the L2E was contacted by Mr Jim Plank of The Daily Mail who was preparing the letter for publication. Are the Johnson Newspaper Corporation and Mr John J. Johnson and the Hudson-Catskill Newspapers group, Mr Mark Vinciguerra, finally getting a conscience and a set of balls to match? We’ll see. Perhaps they’re finally realizing they’re on the losing side in Coeymans and Greene County.