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If they want to be elected, we’re going to grill them! Re: George McHugh.

Incumbent Town of Coeymans Supervisor, Phil Crandall, has accepted our invitation to be interviewed, we are now negotiating a date and time for the interview.

In his email response to our proposed interviewer, Mr Crandall writes (September 3, 2019):


“Thank you for reaching out to me in regards to an interview. I am happy to schedule that and should be able to get back to you after the holiday with my exact availability and some possible dates. Thank you again”


We are now calling on Mr George McHugh, a candidate expecting to run against Mr Crandall this November, and hoping to take the office of Town Supervisor, and to take control of the Coeymans Town Council.

Our Reaction.

McHugh is campaigning behind an ambiguous campaign slogan, “Take Back Our Town,” which makes us wonder who is taking back whose town, and what’s going to be left for small businesses and for any remaining residents, after the so-called Friends of Coeymans all get their share of the post-election booty.

But in all fairness, we want Mr McHugh to have a fair opportunity to clarify some issues and to show that his commitment to transparency is no bullshit. Back to  our invitation to Mr McHugh. Here are our proposed questions for Mr McHugh:

Dance, Georgie! Dance for us, Georgie!

Proposed Interview Questions
George McHugh
Candidate, Town of Coeymans Supervisor

  1. You were elected to be Town of Coeymans Supervisor back in 2001, served one term, and then did not run for a second term. Why was that?
  2. The question of the Blaisdell Farm property and your housing project on that property has been the subject of a number of inquiries, particularly the fact that the property was annexed by the Village of Ravena at about the time you were Coeymans Town Supervisor, or shortly after you left office. Would you please comment on the circumstances of that annexation and how you benefited from it?
  3. You were appointed to a federal administrative law judgeship. It would appear that you are no longer serving in that capacity. Can you tell us what happened to the judgeship?
  4. Your campaign slogan is “Take Back Our Town,” from whom do you expect to take it back?
  5. Who are the Friends of Coeymans? Do they have names?
  6. According to our information, you serve in several capacities as a paid consultant or employee of the Carver Companies. Will you be resigning those positions if you are elected?
  7. How will your cozy relationships with Carver Laraway and the Carver group of companies affect your fitness to be Supervisor of the Town of Coeymans?
  8. You were outspoken in your opposition to the Town of Coeymans clean air law which purported to ensure good air and environmentally friendly air quality but you campaign on a promise to improve quality of life in Coeymans. That law was passed. How does opposition to clean air advocate quality of life for Coeymans residents?
  9. In terms of improvement of quality of life, and other than opposing clean air, what other proposals do you have for QoL improvements?
  10. In you campaign ads you suggest that you will do a number of things if elected. But our investigations show that you would not have the authority to make good on those promises, since most, if not all of those promises are state level powers. What do you have to say about that?
  11. As former owner of the Ravena News Herald, can you please comment on your relationship with Mark Vinciguerra and the Ravena News Herald, now owned by V. as part of his Capital Region Independent Media?
  12. Do you currently hold an ownership or financial interest in the Ravena News Herald?
  13. What do you feel you can offer Coeymans that current Town Supervisor Crandall cannot?
  14. What would be your major criticisms of Mr. Crandall and the current Coeymans Town Board?
  15. Given the questions regarding the role of the Coeymans Police Department in the death of 19-year old Riley Kern: What would your plan be for the Town of Coeymans Police Department.
  16. Hypothetically, if you were Town Supervisor, how would you good faith in responding to the many questions in the Riley Kern alleged wrongful death case?
  17. There is evidence that acting Coeymans Police Chief Mr. Daniel Contento and Coeymans police officer Ian Foard had handled the Riley Kern investigation not only unprofessionally but professionally negligently. We are aware that you have been in contact and communicating with Mrs Kern about her son’s death. If elected, what would you as Town of Coeymans Supervisor, in cooperation with the Town Board that would be controlled by your group, plan to do to support Emily Kern’s efforts to get recognition for her son, and to make amends for the circumstances of his death?
  18. What would be your five priority TO DO items for immediate action upon taking office, if you were elected Town of Coeymans Supervisor?
  19. What would be your five priority TO UNDO items for immediate action upon taking office, if you were to be elected Town of Coeymans Supervisor in 2019?
  20. Apart from any new industrial developments in the works, and given the small business situation in the Town of Coeymans, what would your plan be to encourage and to support small business creation and development in the Town of Coeymans, particularly in and around Ravena, the Hamlet of Coeymans, and the beautiful waterfront available to the Town and its residents and small businesses?
  21. Will you be continuing your law practice if elected to be Coeymans Town Supervisor? If so, would you continue to provide legal services to Carver Laraway and the Carver Companies?

*****

Well, Mr McHugh and his running mates are running on a number of positions, one of them is transparency. Well, in our opinion, if transparency is such a big concern for McHugh and his group, then he won’t have much of a problem with our questions. Or will he? We’ll find out and when we do, you’ll know, too. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, please read our recent McHugh-related articles:

Russian Mafia in Our Back Yards?

Please don’t Mug Me! Just Pot Me!

The Russians are Coming!!!

To McHugh or Not to McHugh.

It’s your community, too, and we want you to have a say in all of this. That’s why we’re asking our readers to send us their questions for consideration. If your questions are selected, we’ll include them in the interview of Mr McHugh.

As we go forward with the interviews, we’ll post names and questions for the candidates we choose to interview, and ask for your inputs.

Of course, we’ll keep you updated and informed on how the candidates respond, and we’ll share their answers with our readers.

Please send your questions to rcs.confidential@gmail.com. You can also leave a public comment on this blog with your questions.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2019 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2019 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th Senate District, Accountability, Albany County Coroner, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County EMT, Albany County Executive, Albany County Legislature, Albany County Supervisor, Albany Medical Center, AMC, Amedore Homes, Andrew Cuomo, Boris Jordan, Boris Jordan, Capital District, Capital Region Independent Media, Capital Region Independent Media LLC, Carver Companies, Carver Companies, Carver Construction, Carver Laraway, Church of St Patrick, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Conservative Party, Conspiracy, Corruption, Cuomo, Curaleaf, D. W. Contento, Dan McCoy, Daniel Contento, Daniel Contento, Daniel McCoy, David Soares, Death Education, DEC, Department of Environmental Conservation, Elections 2019, Emily Kern, Eurasian Mafia, Eurasian Mob, FBI, FBI Public Corruption Squad, George Amedore, George Amedore, George Langdon, George McHugh, Government, Governor Mario Cuomo, Greed, Hudson Valley, Ian Foard, Independence Party, Investigation, Jeff Ruso, John B. Johnson, Johnson Newspaper Corporation, Johnson Newspaper Group, Kate Lisa, Keith Mahler, Ken Burns, Kenneth Burns, Lafarge, Lafarge-Holcim, Law Enforcement, Lies, Lustgarten Foundation, Marijuana, Mark Vinciguerra, Mark Vinciguerra, Medical Marijuana, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Moose Misuraca, Moscow on the Hudson, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New York, New York State, New York State Police, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Port of Coeymans, Public Corruption, Public Office, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena News Herald, Republican Party Committee, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Riley Kern, Riley P. Kern, Russian Mafia, Russian Mob, Russians are Coming, Selkirk Cogen, Smalbany, Smalbany Articles, Take Back Our Town, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Town of Bethlehem, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Town of New Scotland, Transparency, Travis D Hagen, Travis Hagen, Vote NO!, William Misuraca, William Misuraca

 

Open Letter to County Legislator Patrick Linger and Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione

Funding for Justice

We’re big enough now to start making a real serious difference in how things are done around here. So far, we’ve just been providing information and facts. Maybe it’s time to start rocking some boats through the courts. Just think of it this way: If we were to ask only 50% of our readers to donate only $1 to a Justice Fund, we’d have enough to send a good number of our elected officials and public servants to the new jail they want to build. (We say only 50% of our readers because the other 50% are readers who say they don’t read this blog but practically live on it. That 50% are the state, county, and town parasites who go on this blog to see if they’ve been mentioned today. We seriously doubt that they’d be willing to contribute to their own prosecution fund. Even if we sent just two or three to jail and a couple were to lose their pension rights, that would send a message to the others that they might be next. Send a couple of public employees to jail, have a couple of judges disbarred, take away a couple of attorney’s license to practice their corrupt law. What do you think, readers, voters, citizens? Does that sound like a plan?)


It’s an election year and in the New Baltimore Town Hall they’re still in “lawyer mode,” according to New Baltimore Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett.

It’s and election year and County Legislator for New Baltimore, Patrick “Pat” Linger, running on the Republican ticket, is seeking re-election. Joseph “Joe” Stanzione is also seeking re-election to the Greene County District Attorney Office.

Linger’s and Stanzione’s Republican “friends” in New Baltimore Town Hall haven’t done them any favors! In fact, the way New Baltimore Town Hall has conducted the business of government is likely to have hurt Linger, Stanzione and others very badly, and may even cost them the election. We’ll be doing our best to see to that.

These two politicians seeking re-election have two things in common:

  • They have dropped the ball when it comes to ensuring good government and compliance with the law.
  • They have managed to slip under the radar during their past terms in office, to avoid detection of their incompetence.

We haven’t missed the fact that while the New Baltimore Highway Department was squandering taxpayer dollars, Pat Linger and George Amedore were handing him fistfuls of taxpayer money in CHIPS grants and other state and federal support for highway infrastructure. The New Baltimore Highway Department under Denis Jordan and now under Scott van Wormer, had no training or education to qualify them for planning or designing or even for repairing roads and highway infrastructure. The money was squandered, wasted, and Linger and Amedore just were oblivious, never checking or monitoring how the money was being used. The Greene County DA, Joe Stanzione, was aware of what was going on; WE REPORTED IT TO HIM!!! Nick Dellisanti and Jeff Ruso were also aware of what was going on but couldn’t control Jordan!!! Puppet Dellisanti, we recall, defended his choices of appointees by saying, “Republicans appoint Republicans,” and we see where that got New Baltimore! Residents and taxpayers got screwed!!!

Thanks Linger, St anzione, Dellisanti, Ruso, Jordan, van Wormer!!!
You sure know how to kindle a cozy fire for yourselves…using our money!!!

We think that a local resident has hit the nail on the head when he writes in an

Open Letter to
Patrick “Pat” Linger, Greene County Legislator for the Town of New Baltimore
and
Joseph “Joe” Stanzione, Greene County District Attorney

Here’s what the resident has to say:
(Reprinted in its entirety; we have added the graphics.)

Dear Mr. Linger:
Dear Mr. Stanzione:

You have failed us miserably. You have betrayed the trust we invested in you when we stood behind you and elected you to public office. You have violated your oaths of office. You have shown yourselves to be unfit for public office.

I am writing to you regarding a state of affairs in the Town of New Baltimore, County of Greene, which has been ignored by the incumbent Republican Town Supervisors over three terms: Nick Dellisanti during his two terms in office, and Jeff Ruso, the current Town Supervisor.

We cite here as well the state of affairs that has been going on for almost two decades in the New Baltimore Highway Department under former Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan, and which is continuing under the acting Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer, and will likely continue under the next Highway Superintendent Alan vanWormer, Scott vanWormer’s brother, who is running for that office unopposed and who will be “declared elected,” under New York State ElectionLaw.

Residents and voters, at least those of us who have not been so discouraged by the state of affairs in New Baltimore, and who still go to the polls – for all the good it does and what little difference it makes. New Baltimore voters have for several years now been deprived of their right to choose their elected officials because the Greene County and New Baltimore political party committees are unable to run candidates, and we voters are being force-fed candidates running unopposed; we are being denied our vote. We do not have “elections” in New Baltimore; we may go to the polls but we have a choice of ONE. That’s not democracy.

Business as usual in Greene County and New Baltimore.

Former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti chose not to run for office in 2017; instead, his deputy Jeff Ruso (R) ran unopposed and was “declared elected” though not elected, in fact more than a third of those going to the polls abstained from casting a vote for Ruso. But Ruso’s first order of business when assuming office in January 2018 was to appoint Nick Dellisanti as his Deputy Supervisor. Although the fact that Dellisanti accepted the appointment doesn’t make a lot of sense, the bottom line is that we in New Baltimore have two executives, the Supervisor and his Deputy Supervisor, neither of which have been democratically elected.

But what’s worse, is that in Town Hall we have a gaggle of clowns who have no idea why they are there, and are blinded by their political ambitions and have forgotten or never knew what public service is; they are not public servants, they are interested only in cronyism and their simple-minded notions of power.

Here’s an example out of real life in New Baltimore, and an example of how Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Ruso and their respective Town Boards, appointees, and hirelings have misused taxpayers, and abused their pubic offices.

You, Mr. Linger, and you, Mr. Stanzione, have been personally informed of these situations by those affected but have done NOTHING. It’s an election year, Mr. Linger and Mr. Stanzione, so don’t you think it’s time you grunted or got off the pot? It’s an election year, Mr. Linger and Mr. Stanzione, so don’t you think you should come up with some answers and some actions? You’ve done nothing so far so now might be a great time to show some good faith, even if it is self-serving in an election year.

First of all, for almost two decades, the former New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, Mr. Denis Jordan, was given carte blanche to do what he pleased in the Town of New Baltimore, squandering countless hundreds of thousands, very likely millions of taxpayer dollars doing more damage than improvement. Why? Because he was allowed to do that by past Town administrations, both Democrat and Republican, and because he was not monitored, despite the fact he had no training or education, and was about as qualified as a cabbage to do the job. His recent resignation and the so-called investigations are in reality a smoke and mirrors game. The investigations it seems are nothing more than a pornographic dog and pony act, making fools of voters, taxpayers, and those adversely affected by Jordan’s incompetence and indifference.

Why haven’t we heard anything more about the so-called investigations? What was the outcome? You investigated a public entity and a public figure but the public has been kept in the dark. Is that your idea of good government? It appears to us that it is.

We don’t hear anything from our elected officials in Town Hall about these investigations. In fact, according to local media, New Baltimore Town Officials claimed not to be aware of any “investigations,” or not to have been informed of them. I find that very hard to believe, especially given the fact that the subject of the investigations was a New Baltimore Department head and an elected official, Mr. Denis Jordan, and the New Baltimore Town Clerk’s office was floor-to-ceiling with banker’s boxes all labeled “Highway Department,” during the investigations. But Supervisor Ruso and members of the Town Board were unaware of the investigations. Were you, Mr. Linger, or you, Mr. Stanzione, aware of the investigations? If so, why weren’t New Baltimore residents and taxpayers informed?

The incompetence and negligence of the New Baltimore Town Board under Dellisanti and Ruso, and their indifference and negligence of the damage that Denis Jordan was doing can’t be made up. It’s real, it’s ongoing, and it’s going to haunt them and you for some considerable time to come. Why? Because it’s scandalous!

In 2016, both Dellisanti and Ruso, along with sitting Town Board member Shelly van Etten, made personal inspections of the results of lack of maintenance of New Street in New Baltimore, and the damage to private property as the result of that lack of maintenance of the roadway owned by the Town of New Baltimore and for which the Town of New Baltimore and its Highway Department were legally liable for repair and maintenance. [Editor’s Note: After two years, neither Dellisanti nor Ruso, nor the Highway Department have responded with any proposal to fix the damage they caused.]

Dellisanti and Ruso, and two days later, Mr. Denis Jordan and his Deputy Mr. Scott van Wormer, again visited New Street, and for a second time Dellisanti and Ruso were apprised of the situation and the damage being done.

Dellisanti, Ruso, and Jordan managed to ignore the ongoing damage, Jordan creating new hazards and damage every time he managed to make an appearance.

Notices of Claim were served in which the Town was apprised in detail of the damage, and the associated liabilities. Dellisanti and Ruso did nothing to cure the damage or to take any responsibility; they simply handed the Notices over to their insurance company, who then handed the Notices to their attorneys.

Why is it that bad government seems to think they can avoid liability and responsibility if they hand their incompetence over to a law firm? Town law provides for remedies but the Town of New Baltimore has, and continues to avoid their responsibilities and forces taxpayers and residents into the poor house because the only possibility is court, lawsuits. But the insurance companies have much deeper pockets than residents. Why should a resident have to fight to get local government to accept responsibility for what they have done? Why should it cost local residents, hard-working honest people, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to force elected officials to do what’s right and to comply with the law.

That’s a good question for you, Mr. Stanzione. You’re the chief law enforcement official in the County of Greene, what’s your position on New Baltimore’s liabilities and failure to comply with the law?

Well, the Town of New Baltimore, and you, Mr. Linger, and you, Mr. Stanzione, have been kept updated on the ongoing damage to a private residential structure in the Hamlet of New Baltimore, which you all KNOW has sustained damage due to the failure of the Town to maintain drainage and roadways as required by the law. The structure has been subject to ongoing damage thanks to incompetent roadwork. The Town has been provided with images, videos, and ongoing updates but the Town has so far ignored everything, and has done nothing.

The Highway Department installed a deep so-called “catchment” that’s almost 2 feet deep and 30 inches across, a booby-trap, but when asked to put in a proper grate, they’ve ignored the request for nearly two years. When asked at least to mark the catchment to avoid and accident, they ignored that request, too! Don’t drive down New Street, New Baltimore at night, you’re risking your life. But you, Mr. Linger, you, Mr. Stanzione, you Mr. Dellisanti, and you Mr. Ruso, all know about this. But you have done NOTHING about it. And now Linger and Stanzione, you’re asking New Baltimore for their votes?!?

In fact, Mr. Linger, we’ve read that you were asked to share your accomplishments with a local reporting medium but you refused to respond. Does that mean you have no accomplishments or that you feel you don’t owe the voting public that information or even a response? Which is it Mr. Linger?

Well, the tax bills come out though, with clockwork regularity. A building’s collapsing because of Town negligence but the building inspector/code enforcement officer and the assessor refuse to inspect the building. The owner pays his taxes on a building that he can’t use.

When asked to inspect the site and to adjust the assessment, the New Baltimore Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, refuses and tells the owner to take it up on Grievance Day.

The owner presents the case on Grievance day to the Board of Assessment Review, a group of appointees, appointed by the Town Supervisor and approved by the Town Board. Again, facts, just the facts, images, answers were presented to the BAR, who granted 9 out of 11 requests for reduction of assessments but denied the requests made by the New Street property owner. This blog reported on that scandal.

The next step was to go before a hearing officer in a Small Claims Assessment Review proceeding (S.C.A.R.) and ask that an independent hearing officer reconsider the BAR’s determination. This was done and Sole Assessor Bennett appeared to defend his assessment, but claimed that the property was not owner-occupied, and therefore, the owner was not eligible to be heard. But the property was and is “owner-occupied” as defined by the law but the more-than-eighty year old hearing officer stopped listening early in the hearing and, despite volumes of proof, sided with Bennett, although allowing a $1,000 reduction in another affected property.

Does something sound fishy here? Well, it gets even better, because New Baltimore’s Bennett responded to the hearing officer’s question, “Why hasn’t New Baltimore condemned the structure?” Bennett replied that New Baltimore Town Hall was in “lawyer mode,” meaning that they would not respond because of liability. [Editor’s emphasis]

If that wasn’t enough, Bennett shot himself and the Town of New Baltimore in the foot a second time when he stated, and I quote from the hearing officer’s official determination:

But first, a quote from the hearing officer:

“Petitioner representative under oath states that the house is used for storage and that it is uninhabitable and unsafe to use as a residence because of structural failures and water damage. Photographs were presented to support the contention that it was uninhabitable.”  [Editor’s emphasis]

And then the hearing officer states and certifies that:

“The Assessor [Bennett] concurred that the property was uninhabitable because of structural failures. Assessor then moved to disqualify the petition on the ground that the property was not owner-occupied.” [Editor’s emphasis. “Not owner-occupied”? Is Bennett crazy or just stupid? Maybe both! He just admitted that the property was “uninhabitable because of structural failures.”]

Well, if I am reading that correctly, the hearing officer was provided with enough evidence and proof to clearly show that the property is “uninhabitable and unsafe,” and Bennett agreed that “the property was uninhabitable because of structural failures,” I am at a loss Why?  Mr. Bennett and the Town of New Baltimore have not acted in good faith and at least reduced the assessment of the property.

I am also aware that the owner/owner’s representative  has addressed numerous letters and emails to the Town Supervisor, the Town Board, the Office of the Assessor, the Building Inspector, the Highway Department asking what they are going to do, what they propose should be done. The owner/owner’s representative hasn’t received a single response from any of those offices!

Sole Assessor Gordon Bennett explained the reason for this is that Town Hall is in “lawyer mode.”  [Editor’s emphasis]

“Lawyer mode.” I wonder if you, Mr. Linger, or perhaps you, Mr. Stanzione, can explain what exactly “lawyer mode” is and whether there is a provision of Town Law that permits elected, appointed officials and public employees to ignore their responsibilities and claim “lawyer mode?” Is that something like pleading the Fifth? I’d be very grateful if you could get back to me on that one. Yeah! Fat chance? Well, if hell doesn’t freeze over in the meantime, there‎’ll be a very special place there for you, Mr. Linger and you, Mr. Stanzione, as well as Mr. Jordan, Dellisanti, Ruso, and Bennett.

Shame on you all!!! You are hypocrites all!

Even if Mr. Ruso, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Bennet, Mr. van Wormer and the others in that den of thieves don’t have any dignity, one would hope that one of you, Mr. Linger or Mr. Stanzione, would have the decency to call New Baltimore to explain, to justify their scandalous treatment of honest taxpayers, or at least to investigate their abuses. Or is that too much to expect, to hope for?

The hypocrisy includes their treatment of veterans. I am a veteran. The property owner of the damaged property is a veteran. I know of others who have suffered at the hands of Mr. Jordan and other public officials in New Baltimore, and those residents are veterans.

I am personally disgusted and affronted by the fact that so many of our county and town officials claim to support and to honor veterans but stab them in the back when push comes to shove. Mealy-mouthed, pabulum-puking hypocrisy is what it really is. Veterans luncheons, monuments, the whole embarrassing hypocritical dog and pony display makes me physically sick.

What’s worse is when you see who’s at those events, it’s a bunch of deluded old men thinking that they are being honored – sometimes they’re even outnumbered by the politicians who all seem to crawl out of the woodwork in time for a photo op, and then exchange a few empty words before making some sort of excuse that they have to be somewhere else.

In recap, we in the town of New Baltimore, the Little North Korea, Greene County, New York, USA, the Third World of the East Coast, are sick and tired of the propaganda and election campaign rhetoric, and the abuse we receive from elected officials who, in reality, are not elected. We are sick of being ignored and subjected to retaliatory or “special” treatment by incompetent public servants, who have their own agendas once they steal our votes. We are sick and tired of public servants and elected officials who breach and violate the contract between the taxpayer and government, the contract that basically says that we’ll elect you, you’ll collect tax paid salaries and pensions, but you have to conduct our business in good faith and fair play.

You have not done that. You have violated our trust. You have violated your oaths of office. You have cheated us. We now demand justice and your heads!

I demand, and I think I can speak not only for the abused property owner on New Street, but the abused residents throughout New Baltimore, for the abused citizens, residents, tax payers and voters who have been cheated and misled by people like you, Mr. Linger, Mr. Stanzione, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. Ruso, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Jordan, Mr. vanWormer and so many parasites like you, that you make amends for your evil, your piracy, your treasons, your misconduct, your incompetence, your shameful abuse of the trust we gave you on election day.

Fix what you have allowed to happen and make those whose suffering and losses you have caused whole again.

And for those of you who were not elected, who were “declared elected,” but not by voters, you are the worst of the bunch because you have not been approved democratically to lead or to govern.

Shame on you! Shame on you all! And shame on New Baltimore for allowing this to happen at all!

Disgusted,

A Concerned Resident

The Smalbany blog has already published numerous articles on the issues presented in the resident’s letter. They are all true and factual. Supervisor Ruso, Deputy (former supervisor) Dellisanti, Sole Assessor Gordon Bennett, the New Baltimore Highway Department under Denis Jordan and Scott vanWormer,the New Baltimore Town Board are all a disgrace to any concept of decency, much less good competent government.

Veterans?!? The writer mentions an important point that we may have overlooked in the past but now have focused on: veterans and how they’re treated. And Yes! we have noticed the so-called Veterans Luncheon and the Veterans Monument at Town Hall. New Baltimore has a Veterans Committee, too. You have to wonder if that so-called committee works as well as the other New Baltimore “committees,” it’s a wonder we have any living veterans in New Baltimore. Our opinion as veterans: Keep your casseroles and mealy-mouthed speeches and give us the justice we put our lives on the line for!!!  And all you cowardly parasites who never wore a uniform in your lives, don’t give us your bullshit about how you love your veterans!!! Put your policies where you’re foul-smelling mouths are!!

By the way, Mr Linger, Mr Stanzione: Were either of you in the military? We mean other than the boy scouts, girl scouts, or National  Guard or Reserves? How about you, Mr Ruso, Mr Dellisanti: Were you ever in uniform? We mean other than Albany Girls Academy, that is.

Yes, it’s an election year and this is the time to make your voices heard, that is, if you haven’t been deprived of a voice through your vote. It’s uncanny that so many people will put up with having their rights taken away without uttering even a whimper. How can real Americans tolerate “unopposed candidates” or “uncontested elections” without screaming at the top of their voices: NO WAY!

Either do the job or get out of Town Hall! Do the job or get out of County government!

And we’d like to know more about this “lawyer mode” thing Mr Bennett has revealed; is this a new fad in Town and Village government? And what’s the deal with the Town’s refusal to respond to letters and correspondence? Too cowardly to take a position on the questions asked about how you operate the Town? Are the questions about taking responsibility and complying with the law over your heads? Yeah. We can see why you’d try to hide. Confused are you? Look, either do the job or get out of Town Hall! Do the job or get out of County government! And what about the Town of New Baltimore Town Board’s responsibilities in terms of public safety and good stewardship of public resources? Have we turned a blind eye to that, too?

You! Yeah, YOU!
Your ass is grass, dude, and our foot’s a lawnmower!

Mr Ruso, Mr Dellisanti, Mr Bennett, Mr Jordan, Mr vanWormer, Mr Linger, Mr Stanzione, and others can run but they won’t be able to hide.

Letters will be going out soon the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (and the Office of Real Property Services), the Office of the New York State Comptroller, and the Office of the New York State Attorney General, demanding investigations or at least inquiry into what’s going on in New Baltimore (and Ravena/Coeymans, too). We’re going to ask Why? Mr Patrick Linger and Mr Joseph Stanzione have dropped the ball on so many issues, Why? they’re asleep on duty. We’ll also drop Mr Cuomo cc’s of the letters to see what he has to say about his Repukelican friends in Greene County.

We will allege conspiracy to obstruct justice, to deprive citizens of their civil and protected rights, election fraud, violation of oaths of office, unlawful deprivation of rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the New York State and United States Constitution (3rd, 5th and 14th Amendments), violation of due process rights, breach of contract, among other violations and crimes, tortious negligence, unlawful eviction (constructive eviction), discriminatory practices. The list could go on but rest assured, the evidence and the proof for these allegations and others is clear, conspicuous, and incontestable. Mr Ruso, Mr Dellisanti, Mr Bennett, Mr Jordan, Mr vanWormer, Mr Linger, Mr Stanzione can run but they won’t be able to hide.

How is it possible that New Baltimore, Greene County has such a bunch of irresponsible, despicable morons running the show. How can they get away with destroying private property, avoiding any notions of fair play and good faith, and still sleep at night. Well, when you have no conscience, you can do anything and still get a good night’s sleep. new Baltimore Town hall, Mr Patrick Linger, Mr Joseph Stanzione, Mr Jeff Ruso, Mr Nick Dellisanti, Denis Jordan and Scot vanWormer are living proof of that!

New Baltimore & Greene County Elections.
What we have to choose from..
One Big Garbage Sorting Operation!

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Alan van Wormer, Allan Jourdin, Amedore Homes, Barbara Underwood, Bernie Jones, Beth Schnecke, Bob Ross, Chuck Irving, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Civil Rights, Code Enforcement Officer, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Conspiracy, Constitution, Corruption, Crystal R. Peck Esq., D. W. Contento, Daily Mail, Dangerous Conditions, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Democrap, Democratic Party Committee, Democrats, Denis Jordan, Department of Taxation and Finance, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Donna Degnen, Eileen Vosburgh, Eilleen Vosburgh, Elected Official, Election Fraud, Elections and Voting, FaceBook, Felony, Fraud, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Hudson Valley, Irregularities, Voting, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Faso, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Linda LeClair, Lisa Benway, Lynn Taylor, Marjorie Loux, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Veterans Committee, New York, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Protected Rights, Public Corruption, Public Office, Public Safety, Ravena News Herald, Real Property Tax Law, Republican Party Committee, Retaliation, Robert van Etten, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Town of New Baltimore, Trident Insurance, VanEtten

 

Jeff Ruso and his Board: Hide and Deny

New Baltimore Town Supervisor & Town Board’s

Response to Resident’s Open Letter: Hide, Delay and Deny.

New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso.

First of all, the Town of New Baltimore, Supervisor Jeff Ruso’s and the Town Board’s response to the Open Letter we published which lambasted Ruso and the Town Board about Columbia Greene Media’s report on the so-called “retirement” of controversial Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan. The response, if it can be called a response in any sense of the word, is taken directly from the July 9, 2018, minutes of the regular meeting of the New Baltimore Town Board.

If you happen to have missed our article, “Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair,” you can read it here.

After adjourning to go into executive session on the motion made by Supervisor Ruso and seconded by Councilwoman vanEtten, the Board returned to public session with the following statement:

Supervisor Ruso: We discussed a couple matters that were about employees and we did not come to a resolution so there is no factual data to present or take Minutes of. The last thing I want to do is I really want to make mention of one item. I received correspondence on Saturday from one of our Town residents outlining a lot of issues that the person has with the Highway Superintendent or the former Highway Superintendent. I’m just going to reference it here; I’m certainly not going to read it, but I wanted to acknowledge it’s receipt and that’s all I think we should do at this particular moment. Do you agree with that?

Tal Rappleyea, Esq.: You received correspondence and you announced it. [Editor’s Note: In other words, “Screw the residents.” And for that statement Ruso and the Town Board pay him $800.00?!?]

Supervisor Ruso: That’s all we have for tonight. (Editor’s Note: Translation: “Thank you, Tal, dear, for covering my ass on this one. I can safely hide and deny now.”)

And so, that was the New Baltimore Town Board’s response to the scathing letter addressing not only former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti’s and current Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso’s  and the New Baltimore Town Board’s cowardice and lack of integrity in the matter of the Denis Jordan resignation and investigations in process, but also other matters concerning other departments in the Town’s administration. (See our companion articles in this mini-series. Use the links below.)

What we’d like to call our readers’ attention to is the short shrift Mr. Ruso gives to a very disturbing state of affairs in the Town’s administration and to the now very public controversys surrounding the former Dellisanti board and the current Ruso board. Nothing was said to defend himself or the New Baltimore Town Board. Nothing was said to put the public’s mind at ease about what’s going on in the Town of New Baltimore. Ruso’s remarks and his lacky’s, town attorney Tal Rappelea’s response says it all:

“I’ve received correspondence…from one of our Town residents outlining a lot of issues … I’m just going to reference it here; I’m certainly not going to read it, but I wanted to acknowledge it’s [sic] receipt and that’s all.”

Thank you Mr. Ruso for letting Town residents and the general public know what’s happening on your watch. Apparently, you don’t give a damn about keeping the residents and taxpayers of New Baltimore on the up-and-up on the top-secret scandals in the Town.

We understand that you may not want to read the letter, Mr. Ruso. That would violate your current policies of Hide and Deny. And we certainly didn’t think you’d have the gonads to do anything about it now or at any time. You’ll just follow your town shyster’s advice and mention you received a letter, “you received correspondence and you announced it,” that’s all. We pay town attorney Tal Rappelea over $800 a month to provide that kind of anti-resident advice.

But we published it in its entirety as well as excerpts in our article, which we hope everyone will read and take the time to appreciate your public remarks for what they are. Continuing cowardice! (Click here to read the article.)

We are watching the situation very closely and we’ll report and analyze the responses of the Office of the New York State Comptroller and the Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione’s investigations of  former New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan’s activities and malconduct, as well as the complicity of past supervisors and town board members. Denis Jordan didn’t act alone and if the Office of the New York State Comptroller and the Greene County District Attroney are investigating only Jordan, they’re doing a half-assed job of it. They need to connect the dots and get all the rats in the one sweep of the net.

Read the other installment to this mini-series of articles on New Baltimore’s hidden scandals.

Anyone with any sense for history will remember the Nazi’s famous phrase: “We were only following orders.” Well, that little pea-brain excuse didn’t save them from the hangman’s noose. We shouldn’t let it work for the Highway Department employees like Jordan’s Deputy Superintendent of Highways (now acting Superintendent) Scott van Wormer and Scott van Wormer’s brother, now running again for the elected office of Highway Super,  Alan van Wormer, now Jeff Ruso’s little pets, nor for the members of the Town Board, especially Shelly van Etten, who was and continues to be on the New Baltimore Highways Committee, or past supervisors like David Louis (Dem), Susan O’Rorke (Dem), Nick Dellisanti (Rep), or Jeff Ruso (Rep), nor for County Legislator Patrick “Pat” Linger, who seems to be spending more time doing espionage on the Dem’s candidates for this November’s  elections than legislation or keeping tabs on New Baltimore, the Town and residents he’s supposed to be representing. Same goes for George Amedore, New Baltimore’s state senator, who kept feeding Jordan big bucks for “highway improvements,” which were scandalously wasted right under Amedore’s snotty nose and the noses of New Baltimore Town Board, Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione, and others who should have been protecting the citizens and taxpayers of New Baltimore, but didn’t.

We say bring the standards of the Nuremburg Trials to New Baltimore and Greene County and hang those who think that the current policies of Hide and Deny and the pitiful excuse, “We were only doing our jobs, following orders,” just won’t work.

Just doing my job. Just following orders.

Go to another article in this mini-series:
Return to Main Page

Go to other articles in this mini-series on New Baltimore:

Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair

New Baltimore Sends “Acting Superintendent” to Highway School. Why?

New Baltimore Property Taxes: Absolutely No Rhyme, Reason, or Answers!!!

The New Baltimore In-Justice Court and Kangaroo Judges: Thomas Meacham, A Case Study.

 *****

 

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Accountability, Alan van Wormer, Amedore Homes, Burning the Constitution, Civil Rights, Crystal R. Peck Esq., David Louis, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Diane Lewis, George Amedore, Government, Greene County, Greene County Court, Greene County Independence Party, Independence Party, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Misconduct, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democratic Committee, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Budget, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Highway Law, New York State Supreme Court, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Official Misconduct, Pat Linger, Public Corruption, Rob van Etten, Robert van Etten, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, Town Law, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Transparency

 

New Baltimore Sends “Acting Superintendent” to Highway School. Why?

Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his New Baltimore Town Board have voted to send Acting Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program Summer Highway School, a 2½-day program of workshops and kibitzing, all expenses paid, in Ithaca, New York. Seems to us to be a bit stupid, since Scott van Wormer is only Acting Highway Superintendent until the November elections when the new Superintendent will be elected. Once the new Super is elected, van Wormer will return to his old job, that of a highway department laborer. So we have to ask the question, “What on earth was Ruso and his simian Town Board thinking when they decided to send van Wormer to training for Highway Superintendents?” 

New Baltimore Town Board Hard at Work.

The Town Board Approves the Deputy Highway Superintendent’s Attendance at Training … 20 years too late!

For the past several years we have been monitoring the New Baltimore Highway Department and its operations. We’ve investigated attendance at training and education events and found that no one, not even former Highway Superintendent, employed by the Town of New Baltimore for at least 20 years, ever attended any highway-related training at all! Upon repeated demands for the production of documents and records under the New York State Freedom of Information Law that would show or document attendance at job-related training and education, the Town of New Baltimore was unable to produce a single document showing that any employee of the Highway Department ever attended training for the duties and responsibilities of the Highway Department. Yet they were being handed a million dollar budget every year and were receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money from the likes of George Amedore, NYS senator, representing the district in which the Town of New Baltimore is situated.

In fact, George Amedore recently informed the Town that they were to receive several hundreds of thousands of dollars more in highway funds — even with the New Baltimore Highway Department, former Superintendent Denis Jordan, and the Town of New Baltimore under investigation for possible misuse and maloperation! Government at work!

“Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.”

Ironically, at the same regular Town Board Meeting of May 14, 2018, the very meeting at which former New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan submitted his resignation and at which the Board accepted his resignation, the Board approved funding to send Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program at Ithaca, New York.

The May 14, 2018, resolution reads:

WHEREAS, the Association of Towns of the State of New York and Cornell Local Roads Program will be holding their 2018 Highway School from June 4-6, 2018 at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

RESOLVED, the Town Board of the Town of New Baltimore approves the attendance of Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott VanWormer and the Registration Fee, overnight accommodations, tolls, and meals for said training.

In the past, no employee, not even the New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, attended any training related to maintenance and repair of roadways and roadway installations! We have the ruin and damage to show that fact beyond any doubt!

We’ve been watching the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department for years and have demanded documents and information about training received by at least the Superintendent or the Deputy Superintendent. Given the problems over the past almost 20 years involving the New Baltimore Highway Department, it should come as no surprise that the Town could not produce a single document showing any training received by Mr. Jordan or his deputy. Now the Town is approving funding — but not informing us about how much – to send Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer, to train at the Cornell program in Ithaca, New York. (Editor’s Note:  We now have a F.O.I.L. demand out to find out exactly what it cost the Town to send van Wormer to the event.)

The Cornell Local Roads Program changes each season so we don’t know whether Mr. van Wormer will attend a conference dealing with grades of gravel or how to grade a roadway. Apparently the Town of New Baltimore expects Mr. van Wormer to absorb everything during the 2 ½ day conference and come back a transformed entity, a 100% competent Highway Superintendent. [1] NOT!!!

But the Town Board is missing some very important assumptions about Mr. vanWormer … Just like they claim they missed some very important facts about Mr. Denis Jordan, too. And they’re missing functioning brains, too!

Not completely brainless but pretty close!

So we did some fact-finding and can tell you that the 2 1/2-day course of meetings includes the following topics (source: Cornell Local Roads Program, Highway School, 2018 )

2018 Highway School Topics

  • Recycled Asphalt Pavement
  • Preparing for Emergencies
  • What New & Used Superintendents Need to Know.
  • Highway Signs
  • Selecting the Right Repair for Your Pavement
  • When to Replace or Repair Equipment
  • Asset Management Basics
  • Legal Panel
  • Stormwater Management
  • Shared Services Roundtable

The problem we have with this little nugget is that Scott van Wormer is the current Acting (Deputy) Superintendent and is in that capacity only until the November elections, when the actual new superintendent will be elected. We know of one candidate who has been out getting signatures to get on the ballot: Alan vanWormer, Scott vanWormer’s brother.

Readers will recall that Alan vanWormer was removed as Deputy Superintendent by Denis Jordan when van Wormer announced he was going to run against Jordan for the position of New Baltimore Highway Super, and Jordan proceeded to remove Alan as deputy and then appoint Alan’s own brother, Scott van Wormer, to be Deputy Superintendent. Scott vanWormer is now acting Highway Superintendent and was sent to the Ithaca course at taxpayer expense.

This raises the question of: If Alan van Wormer gets on the ballot, which he likely will, and runs for Highway Superintendent, which he will, what happens to Scott van Wormer? We certainly can’t have a highway superintendent’s brother acting as deputy highway superintendent, can we? Well, in New Baltimore and in Coeymans anything is possible. It is, after all, next to Albany county, the incest capital of New York.

So, we are questioning the logic and reasoning, if any there was, of spending all that money to send the current deputy highway superintendent all the way to Ithaca to attend a highway school intended for highway superintendents, if, in November, just a couple of months away, Scott vanWormer will be resuming his position as a mere laborer in the New Baltimore Highway Department?!?

We’d like to ask Mr. Ruso and his Board of Bozos how they can justify sending Scott vanWormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program highway school when it would have made more sense to wait to send the new Highway Super to Itaca next year to the highway school and at least start a new tradition of training New Baltimore’s Highway Superintendents on a regular basis?

What do you think, readers? Don’t you think we should expect our local officials to use what pea-brains they have to more responsibly spend our tax dollars?

Millions Spent by Untrained Highway Department Employees: The Results.


[1] We noted some interesting connections involved in the Highway School; it’s not as non-special interest as we might have thought; sounds like a trade-show or political convention to us!

“The Highway School features short sessions of general interest in the mornings and 24-28 afternoon workshops lasting 75 minutes each. A partnership with statewide vendors supports the Pothole Picnic on the first day. Over 700 participants, the majority being local highway and public works officials, attend the Highway School every year.

“The Association of Towns of the State of New York co-sponsors the Highway School, and handles all of the registrations.”(Highway School, http://www.clrp.cornell.edu/trainingevents/highwayschool.html, last accessed July 30, 2018)


Go to other articles in this mini-series on New Baltimore:

Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair

New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his Board: Hide and Deny

New Baltimore Property Taxes: Absolutely No Rhyme, Reason, or Answers!!!

The New Baltimore In-Justice Court and Kangaroo Judges: Thomas Meacham, A Case Study.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Alan van Wormer, Amedore Homes, Callanan Industries, CHIPS, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Cornell Local Roads Program, Crystal R. Peck Esq., David Louis, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Department of Taxation and Finance, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, DOT, DOT, Greene County, Greene County Court, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Independence Party, Highway School, Independence Party, Jeff Ruso, Joe Stanzione, Joseph Stanzione, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meave Tooher, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York, New York State, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patrick Linger, Peckham Materials, Peckham Materials Corp., Peckham Road Corporation, Public Safety, Rob van Etten, Robert van Etten, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Shelly van Etten, Sole Assessor, Tooher & Barone, VanEtten

 

Open Letter Blasts New Baltimore Supervisor, Town Board over Jordan Affair

New Baltimore Town Board Served with an Open Letter Exposing their Indifference and Negligence in Dealing with Malconduct and Incompetence of former Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan Malconduct and of his Deputy Superintendent Scott van Wormer.

Letter Broils New Baltimore Town Supervisor and Town Board: Incompetent!


An example of the abject stupidity and short-sightedness of the New Baltimore Town Board (Greene County, NY), the Greene County Independence Party, and the Greene County Republican Party is the fact that they are now circulating petitions to get Jordan’s Deputy Supervisor Scott van Wormer on the ballot to be elected to be Town of New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways. This is the same man who was hand-picked by the criminal Denis Jordan to be his deputy, his lacky, and the same man that stood by watching, and participating in Jordan’s unlawful activities and said and did nothing. It’s incredible that the Town of New Baltimore would even consider keeping him on the pay roll, much less out of jail, for not coming forward and exposing what was going on in the Highway Department under Jordan. Now they want to put his monkey in Jordan’s chair. Unbelievable!!!


The New Baltimore Town Supervisor, Jeffrey “Jeff” Ruso (R), and The New Baltimore Town Board, Mr. Scott Brody, Ms Kelly Downes, Mr. Charles “Chuck” Irving, and Ms Shelly van Etten, were served with an Open Letter on Monday, July 9, 2018, by a local resident on behalf of several other New Baltimore residents and the community. The Letter does not paint a pretty picture of former Town Supervisor, now Ruso’s “Deputy Supervisor,” Nick Dellisanti (R), Town Supervisor, then “Deputy Supervisor,” Jeffrey Ruso’s, or the Town Board’s performance over the last several years of former New Baltimore Supervisor Denis Jordan’s alleged unlawful activities in the Town at taxpayer expense. Jordan was forced to resign under investigation by several agencies.

Also mentioned in the letter is Greene County District Attorney, Joseph Stanzione, claims to be investigating Jordan and his activities, but is just as weak in making a statement as Ruso or Dellisanti. The local Democraps may be backstabbing crooks but the local Repukelicans are backstabbing cowards, it appears.

The Letter refers to the June 12, 2018, by Columbia-Greene Media (CGM) reporter Richard Moody that appeared in the CGM newspaper, the Daily Mail, in which Mr. Moody reports on Jordan’s resignation, the investigation of the New Baltimore Highway Department, the New Baltimore Town Board’s glossing over the situation, and District Attorney Stanzione’s understatement. (Read the entire article ‘New Baltimore highway superintendent resigns; department under investigation.”)

The Letter also provides a so-called Memorandum of Law which points out all of the state laws that provide the Town Board with the powers to have prevented and avoided, or at least curbed Jordan’s devastating activities in the Town but which the Board and Town Attorney Tal Rappelea, as well as DA Stanzione ignored.

The Smalbany Blog was cc’d with the letter and we are providing it in its entirety for our readers’ information (See the link at the end of this article.).

Here are some excerpts from the Letter:

The letter starts out setting the tone by describing what can fairly be said to apply to most of the local municipalities in the Capital District (Albany, New York) region:

“Many of us in this Town of New Baltimore are angry and fed up with the corruption, indifference, back-scratching, cronyism, and lack of integrity in our local Town officers and employees. It’s a country club of log-rollers, and the residents and voters are being handed the dirty end of the stick.”

The Letter rightly tars and feather’s Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso at several points, but we’d like to include also former Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, now Ruso’s “deputy supervisor,” in the statement:

“Mr. Ruso, you are blowing more than smoke when you evasively stated, “It’s more like he retired.” It’s me, Harold W. Vadney, you are facing now, and you know I know the truth and the background to former Supervisor Nick Dellisanti’s and your own stormy relationship with Mr. Jordan.”

In the article, mealy-mouthed Ruso tells the reporter, “It’s more like he retired…” But Jordan didn’t “retire,” he resigned and he resigned under investigation by both the Office of the New York State Comptroller and the Greene County District Attorney! The author of the Letter correctly observes:

“If he “resigned,” there would be a clear and substantial reason for his resignation. If he resigned, the taxpayers of this community and the voters need to know the reasons. He is, or was an elected public figure; the public has a right to know. The reasons given by Mr. Ruso are not reasons; they are speculation. They’re also very weak-minded and are a slap in the public’s face.

“Do I need to inform you, Mr. Ruso, members of the Board, that there is a vast difference between “retiring,” Mr. Ruso, and “resigning.” The implications of “retiring” or “resigning” for the individual and to the Town and taxpayers is enormous.”

The general impression made by Supervisor Ruso, and Town Board member “Charles” Chuck Irving, who states in the article, ““All I know is that he resigned,” and the author of the Letter sharply but accurately notes:

“How can it be true that the very people sitting at the table before us didn’t know a thing about what was going on in the Town. That’s reprehensible! That’s simply unbelievable. What are you hiding and whom are you protecting. My guess is you’re hiding your own culpability and negligence in allowing this charade of local government to get to this stage in the first place, and the ones you are protecting are yourselves, for your negligence and indifference!”

This blog has reported for years and has directly contacted the New Baltimore Town Supervisor, the Highway Department and members of the Town Board about former Superintendent of Highways Jordan’s unlawful and unprofessional activity and incompetence, so it’s a very true statement when the Letter strongly criticizes Ruso and the Board with some strong words:

“Mr. Ruso, you are quoted as having said that “The Town is not investigating.” How can the Town be so negligent and indifferent as not to have investigated. The Town has been served with at least 4 Notices of Claim citing the Town of New Baltimore, the Town Board of New Baltimore, the New Baltimore Highway Department, Highway Superintendent Jordan, and all that the Town does is ship the Notices of Claim off to the Town’s insurance company, who then ships them off to a law firm, who then proceeds to protect the insurance company’s interests while trampling the rights of Town residents and taxpayers! Is that how you serve this community and its residents? Is that what we elected you people to do? You avoid fair play, justice, and your fiduciary obligations to residents and taxpayers in this Town? You beg for our votes and then you defecate on us!”

and

“Your statement, Mr. Supervisor, that the “Town is not investigating Jordan,” is an embarrassment and an admission of neglect, indifference and incompetence on the part of the office of the New Baltimore Supervisor and the Town Board.”

We have to ask the same question that the author of the Letter asks when he questions that if outside agencies are investigating the New Baltimore Highway Department, how can it be possible that the Supervisor, Jeff Ruso, and the entire Town Board of New Baltimore know nothing about the investigations? That’s a classic example of a bare-faced lie!!!

“Furthermore, and an even more scurrilous and specious evasion of your duties and responsibilities, Mr. Supervisor and members of the Town Board, is the statement, the indictment of you all in fact, that “If there are outside authorities investigating, I would not know about that?” Isn’t it your job to know about that, sir? And isn’t it your jobs to know about that, ladies and gentlemen of the Board?… It was YOU, Sir, ladies and gentlemen, and your predecessors’ duty to have investigated Mr. Jordan, but you were derelict in that duty, and now you are playing ignorant and innocent. But we know better, don’t we?”

The author of the Letter wipes Supervisor Ruso, former Supervisor Dellisanti’s and the entire New Baltimore Town Board’s faces in doggy doo, and doesn’t for a moment forget the disservice and incompetence, even malpractice of Town Attorney Tal Rappelea, when the author cites numerous provisions of New York state law and authoritative legal opinion to show how incompetent and indifferent the Supervisors, Town Board, and the New Baltimore Town Attorney, Tal Rappelea, were when turning their backs on the residents and taxpayers of New Baltimore.

“…[New York state] Town Law provides you with every possible opportunity to have taken charge of Jordan’s activities, to provide relief and compensation to the residents and taxpayers whose properties were damaged by Jordan’s incompetence and negligence — and I might add, the Town’s indifference and complicity in Jordan’s malfeasance —, and the means to have removed Jordan, and even to have made Jordan personally liable for any provable damage or waste he might have caused. It’s all provided in the New York State Town Law and New York State Highway Law…”

Far be it from the author of the Letter to leave it at that! He actually provides the Town Supervisor and the Board with a so-called Memorandum of Law listing and explaining the provisions of law that were available to the Supervisor and the Board, but were ignored!!! (Memorandum of Law re Hwy Super and Hwy Dept.)

“Then and now the Town Supervisor and Board played the three-monkey-game: See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. Good for monkeys but pretty shoddy practice for an elected supervisor and elected board members who have the power and authority to have eliminated evil or at least to have controlled it, but refused to do so, while aiding and abetting it to the detriment of taxpayers and residents.”

It is clear that the entire Town of New Baltimore operation is a failure, and that the corruption and incompetence, the abuse and indifference was not and is not restricted to the Town Highway Department and its crook Superintendent; New Baltimore Town Hall is infected through and through.

“But the abuse and indifference goes beyond our elected Supervisor, Town Board, Superintendent of Highways, and extends to our appointees and employees. The Code Enforcement Officer, the Sole Assessor, and the tax-paid Board of Assessment Review all have refused to budge when it means doing what’s right.”

The author doesn’t leave the abuses and violations at New York State Town Law and Highway Law, he accuses the Town elected and appointed officers, Town Supervisor Ruso, former Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Superintendent Denis Jordan, and others of violations of civil and constitutional rights and violation of their oaths of office!

“Let’s now move from your ethical and moral dereliction, from your administrative failure, beyond your violations of tort and contract law, to some violations of some US and New York constitutional violations, which you also managed to accrue.”

A very appropriate and brief final paragraph sums up the author’s challenge and his demands on behalf of residents, taxpayers and the community of New Baltimore:

“Mr. Supervisor, Mr. Deputy Supervisor, ladies and gentlemen of the New Baltimore Town Board, Mr. Jordan may be gone but the spectre of his acts and omissions haunts this Town Hall; Jordan may be gone but we still have the wounds and scars inflicted by his incompetence and indifference. The question remains: What do you intend to do to cure the injustice and to heal the wounds?

The Town of New Baltimore is just one sorry, pitiful example of the rampant corruption and incompetence that we find in our local elected officials and town halls. The nit-wits that stroll through our communities around election day campaigning, smiling, promising, begging for votes, once in office screw the daylights out of residents, voters and taxpayers. We all become invisible until the tax bills come rolling out. The Jordan affair was allowed to happen. It was allowed to happen because New Baltimore Town Hall allowed it to happen. It was allowed to happen because the gutless cowards working with Jordan were ignorant, stupid and indifferent to the unlawful and unprofessional conduct that was happening right under their dirty noses and overhanging bellies!

It’s worthwhile to repeat the Letter’s last paragraph and ask the Town Board, Mr. Ruso, Mr. Dellisanti, Mr. van Wormer how they are going to repair the emotional, psychological, physical and fiscal damage done by Jordan and his deputy van Wormer, and how the Town of New Baltimore is going to make those who suffered damage during Jordan’s term whole again?

“Mr. Jordan may be gone but the spectre of his acts and omissions haunts this Town Hall; Jordan may be gone but we still have the wounds and scars inflicted by his incompetence and indifference. The question remains: What do you intend to do to cure the injustice and to heal the wounds?”

The letter was distributed to the Town of New Baltimore and the Town Clerk was requested to distribute the Letter to the Supervisor and the members of the New Baltimore Town Board on July 9, 2018, in time for the regular public meeting of the Town Board. The letter was also copied to the Smalbany Blog, to the publisher of Columbia-Greene Media, LLC, Mr. Mark Vinciguerra, the editor of the Daily Mail, Ms Mary Dempsey, Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione, and the Office of the New York State Comptroller, Office of Local Government.

Mr. Patrick “Pat” Linger, Republican/Independence Party Greene County Legislator representing the Town of New Baltimore, was copied separately, as was New York State senator Mr. George Amedore, representating New Baltimore, and who we cited in an earlier article for his irresponsibility in channeling money into the Jordan highway department, taxpayer dollars that were completely squandered under Amedore’s nose (See our article, “George Amedore, NY State Senator for 46th District, Needs to do Some Homework“), the Town Boards, and at least two Town Supervisors’noses (Dellisanti and Ruso), as well as on the watch of county legislator Patrick “Pat” Linger and Greene County DA, Joseph Stanzione.

They’re Running for Election and the Petitions are Circulating

Please sign my petition…give me your vote!

They’ve come out of the woodwork again and are asking you for your support and your vote. What are you going to do? Just sit there with your thumbs up your butts as usual?

Patrick “Pat” Linger is running for re-election in November, as is Jordan’s former deputy (Jordan replaced him when A. van Wormer ran against Jordan), Alan van Wormer (Jordan’s Deputy Highway Superintendent Scot van Wormer’s brother), who is now running on the Republican/Independence Party ticket for the office of Superintendent of Highways. And you thought Ravena was the only community with an established incest tradition? We say that house needs cleaning. The house needs fumigating to get the stink and the vermin out. Remember all of this on election day. We’ll be there to remind you.

Thank you for reading and becoming active in cleaning of the Town of New Baltimore.

Something stinks in New Baltimore Town Hall and in the Greene County DA’s Office. What’s that smell?


Click on the links below to read the original documents.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 2018 Elections, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 2Luck.com, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Amedore Homes, Arlene McKeon, Baynes Law Firm, Bitter Bob (Ross), Board of Assessment Review, Bob Ross, Brendan Baynes, Capital District, Catskill-Hudson Newspapers, Charles H. Stahlman, Charles Irving, Charles Stahlman, Chuck Irving, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, Corrupt Legislature, Corruption, Crook, Daily Mail, David Louis, David Louis, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Deputy Superintendent of Highways, Diane Jordan, Diane Lewis, Diane Louis, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Elections and Voting, Fat Cat Antiques, Fat Cat Transport, Fourteenth Amendment, Fraud, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Independence Party, Harassment, Hudson Valley, Ignorance, Incompetence, Independence Party, Indifference, Irene Beede, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kurt Froehlich, Lynn Taylor, Marjorie Loux, Marjorie Loux, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meave Tooher, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Nepotism, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Family Dentistry, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York, New York State, New York State Civil Service Department, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, Notice of Claim, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Public Corruption, Public Office, Ravena News Herald, Scott Brody, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Tooher & Barone, Town Board Meeting, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, Zach Stahlman, Zachary C. Stahlman, Zachary Stahlman

 

Smalbany Knew, the Daily News Knew, Greene County DA Stanzione Knew, but New Baltimore Supervisor Ruso Didn’t Know.

 How can New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso deny that the Town of New Baltimore forced Highway Super Jordan to resign? How can New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso say he wouldn’t know if outside authorities were investigating the New Baltimore Highway Department and Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan? How can Ruso be so ignorant of what’s going on in his town and everyone else is reporting on it, including our Smalbany blog for the past at least 4 years, the Greene County DA, the state Comptroller’s Office, the Daily News and Hudson Valley 360, just to name a few. But Ruso knows nothing?

So finally the Catskill Daily Mail picked up on the Denis Jordan scandal in New Baltimore. Congratulations, Daily Mail, it only took you about 4 years to get off your dumbasses and inform the public about what has been going on in New Baltimore for almost 20 years.

Congratulations, Daily Mail, but you fell short of any real reporting. But that’s no surprise, given the quality of the overall reporting. But then, you’re not called Hudson Valley 360 for nothing. You see, 360 means that you’ve made a totally nonsense turn only to arrive where you started from. Now does that make sense? They keep inventing themselves and are now the Hudson Valley 360. They’re not fooling anyone, really. We all know that they are not in the pubic information or the news business, they’re main focus is advertising. Just pick up one of their so-called newspapers and you won’t have any trouble seeing what we mean. In fact, Columbia-Greene Media Corp or CGM as they like to refer to themselves,  a division of Johnson Newspaper, is a full-service advertising agency and publisher of digital and print newspapers (judging from that sentence lifted from their website, their English ain’t all that great, either).

But the Catskill Daily Mail print news and Hudson Valley 360 did put out a blurb and a blurb it was, about the Town of New Baltimore Highway Superintendent’s so-called “voluntary” resignation. Now an involuntary resignation is when you get fired, and that’s what it’s called, “fired,” “terminated,” “pink-slipped.” So a resignation, by definition, is necessarily “voluntary,” isn’t it? Now, you may be given the opportunity to resign or be fired, in which case you have a choice and you might resign, instead of being fired. But that’s still not really what happened in New Baltimore, and we all know it, including Mr. Jeff Ruso, who knows damned well both he and his predecessor, Nick Dellisanti would have given their right arm to be rid of that incompetent dodo, Denis Jordan.

Since 2013, we’ve published at least 42 separate articles about Denis Jordan or that mention Denis Jordan in some negative context. How could you possibly not know?!?!

Smalbany Articles about Denis Jordan

And we know that Mark Vinciguerra and others at the Columbia Greene Media Corp. were well aware are what’s going on in New Baltimore because they read this blog and, to make matters even worse for Columbia Greene Media, we’ve informed them directly about the wrongdoing in New Baltimore. So, again, we have to ask, Where have you been for the past 4 years, CGM?

Columbia Greene Media is one thing. They are a private advertising and “news” reporting company and can do whatever they like.

New Baltimore Town Hall
Home of the Ho’s

But when it comes to our elected officials, that’s were the big buck stops! That’s why, when we read the blurb in the Daily Mail and on Hudson Valley 360, we almost had a fit. Here’s why…


But first a little historical — or histerical, or both — background:

In the article “New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Resigns; Department Under Investigation,” published in the Daily Mail and Hudson Valley 360 on about June 12, 2018, the author, Richard Moody, reports our illustrious New Baltimore Town Supervisor, Jeff Ruso, as having “denied that the town forced Jordan’s resignation.” What a load of steaming New Baltimore bullshit! Ruso and his predecessor, former Town Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, would do anything to rid themselves of that boil on their butts, Jordan. But they didn’t have the balls to do anything. We have personal knowledge that Ruso and Dellisanti were looking for any way possible to get rid of Jordan and they both knew, as did their predecessors, former New Baltimore Town Supervisors Susan O’Rorke and David Louis and their Democrap boards at the time, what was going on in the New Baltimore Highway Department under the direct supervision and authority of Democrap dodo Jordan. The problem was that Democraps take care of Democraps and most were on Jordan’s favors list. So they didn’t want to kill the goose laying their golden eggs, did they?

So the Democraps over several election cycles ran New Baltimore and Jordan remained a Democrap as long as it served him. Jordan ran successfully 4 times and has been New Baltimore Highway Superintendent for almost 20 years. How does it happen that someone with barely a high-school diploma, no education beyond high school, no training in engineering or a related field, never attended any continuing education courses in highway maintenance or related subjects, although there are quite a few very good ones like the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP), but was allowed (by voters and with little supervision by the Town Board) to run a complex department spending hundreds of thousands, millions of tax payer dollars?!? Well, it’s called local politics, the favors system, and very little county or state oversight. It’s criminal so why isn’t it covered in the local press, like any other crime or cases of corruption? Because locals like to keep their very dirty laundry hidden.

But Dellisanti and Ruso are supposed to be Republicans? Right? Correct. And they bend over willingly to get the Conservative and Independence parties to endorse them and their candidates, not that there are that many. That explains why Dellisanti and Ruso were so keen to get rid of Jordan not only because he was ignorant and incompetent, and corrupt, but because he was overconfident, thinking that he had his voter base (after all, he took the last election by one vote only. Big base, right? But then there’s the fact that absentee votes were mismanaged and no one demanded a recount.)

While the Democraps in New Baltimore are and have been corrupt and crooked writ large, the Repukelicans are hell bent on ignoring the people and taking care of their visions of “prosperity” — the problem is that they don’t have any appreciation of local culture or history, they have no intelligence or training in government, civics, economics, development, and they want to run the town like a business, which does not work.

Former supervisor Dellisanti, for example, came from downstate, around New York City. In terms of New Baltimore and its culture and lifestyles he might as well have been from Uranus. He didn’t have a clue how to deal with locals. Two terms and out he went — he “voluntarily” decided not to run again for office; after all, it’s easier to quit than to learn or to fight for what’s right.

Current Supervisor Jeff Ruso ran for Town Supervisor back in 2011 but lost to Democrap Susan O’Rorke, a real bitch and a super-disappointment, Dellisanti ran against O’Rorke in 2013 and won; he was re-elected to be Supervisor in 2015. When Dellisanti decided not to run for a third 2-year term, his deputy, town board member Jeff Ruso, who lost his bid for Supervisor in 2011, ran. Ruso ran as a Repukelican — the New Baltimore Democraps didn’t come up with a candidate, so Ruso was unopposed. When there’s only one candidate to choose from, that’s not democratic process; you can vote for yourself and be the only voter and stil win. That’s just about what happened with Ruso in 2017, when he finally was elected — no one ran against him — unopposed, the only way he could win. (We asked voters in New Baltimore to withhold their votes for unopposed candidates, not to give them any numbers; more than 33% of New Baltimore voters who went to the polls responded by not casting a vote for unopposed candidates. That was a clear message to Ruso and others running unopposed.

Back to the Jordan scandals …


What’s even worse is that New York Town Law practically handed Supervisor Dellisanti and Supervisor Ruso the very tools to have gotten rid of Jordan but they never moved an inch to do it legally. They had the power of the purse string and could have used financial strategies to get control over Jordan and stop his illegal activities. They had the power to call Jordan before the town board and have him report about what he was doing. But they didn’t. They could have called Highway Department employees before the Town Board and questioned them. But they didn’’t. They could have asked the Greene County DA to step in and help get rid of Jordan. They didn’t. They could have made a petition to the New York State courts to remove Jordan for a great many reasons. But they didn’t.

In the meantime, Jordan was having his way with taxpayer dollars and playing all sorts of favorites games while ignoring very serious problems in Town’s drainage and roadways.

Thanks to Jordan’s negligence, incompetence, indifference, and utter vindictiveness, some property owners in the Town of New Baltimore have suffered incredible losses and damage to their property and the Town of New Baltimore supervisor, who is the chief financial officer of the Town, and the New Baltimore Town Board, instead of making good and playing fair, seeing that justice is done, simply handed the problems over to their insurance company who then handed the case over to their lawyers, who did everything to deny residents and taxpayers justice! That’s our New Baltimore democracy at work. That’s what at least 4 Town Supervisors and their boards have done to residents and taxpayers in New Baltimore by not taking action against Denis Jordan.

New Baltimore Town Supervisor should hide his face in SHAME when he admits that the Town of New Baltimore is not investigating Jordan. He’s also either damned ignorant and stupid or a bare-faced liar when he claims that if outside authorities are investigating, “I would not know anything about that.” That’s simply too stupid or too crazy to believe. How on earth could outside agencies be investigating a Town of New Baltimore department and a Town of New Baltimore elected official and the Town Supervisor, Jeff Ruso, claims he knows nothing about it?!? Maybe someone should investigate Ruso for severe brain damage!

How is it that this Smalbany blog has known about these “investigations” since last year – and reported on them, although exact details were not available. How is it that the Office of the New York State Comptroller is investigating and Ruso knows nothing about it? How is it that the Columbia Greene Media Corp, the Daily Mail, Hudson Valley 360 know about the investigations but New Baltimore Town Supervisor Ruso doesn’t know anything about the investigations?

This stinks of more lies and corruption and it gets worse because Jordan is a Democrap and the New York State Comptroller’s Office is a Democrap-run office in a Democrap state administration. Greene County DA Joseph Stanzione is a Republican as is New Baltimore Town Supervisor Ruso and the majority of the board. We’d like to think that justice will be done objectively but we all know better than that.

We need to see a public outcry, a public demonstration of solidarity in New Baltimore. We need to see our neighbors in Coxsackie, Greenville, Coeymans, Catskill and Coeymans show up at the next New Baltimore Town Board meeting on July 9, 2018, at 7 p.m. to make many, many voices heard demanding fair play and justice in our towns, and a stop to the lies like those we are hearing from Jeff Ruso and others. We need honesty, integrity, fair play and justice in our towns. All American government starts in our towns and villages, our hamlets and in our families. What we allow to happen at home we soon find in the White House!

YES!!! The State Comptroller’s Office and the Greene County District Attorney did receive complaints and we know where those complaints came from. We also know that at least Nick Dellisanti and his sidekick Jeff Ruso have known for the past at least 4 years what was going on and did little or nothing. We want to see something done NOW, Mr. DiNapoli and Mr. Stanzione. Did you hear us? We said NOW!!!

P.s. Mr. Ruso and your New Baltimore Town Board, you have done a lot of damage and we’ve lost a lot of confidence in you. Payback time is just around the corner and it’s called election day and you are called past history (that’s redundant, we know, but we just wanted the Columbia Green Media Corp to know we can write like they do, too.)

Final Word from the Editor

First of all a word to all our readers who live in La-La-Land and refuse to believe the facts and truth we publish. For four (4) years now we have been disclosing the truth about what has been going on in the New Baltimore Highway Department, New Baltimore Town Hall. We’ve been telling you about what has been happening to honest, hard-working New Baltimore residents and taxpayers at the hands of our elected officials and our town employees. It took four years for the Greene County DA to wake up and do something. It took four years for the local trash media, Columbia-Green Media, the Johnson Newspaper Group, etc. to wake up and tell you all what was and is going on in our town. We’ve been on watch for you and telling you as it was and is happening. You’re welcome, I’m sure.

If you are stupid enough to believe that Supervisor Jeff Ruso, after having been in the thick of it for at least 6 years, can claim ignorance of what’s been going on, ask us. We have had personal discussions with both Ruso and his predecessor, Dellisanti. We’ve been present at meetings to assess the damage caused by Jordan and his team of Yahoos. We’ve spoken to Dellisanti and to Ruso about the work done by Jordan on private properties and both Ruso and Dellisanti admitted they knew but “couldn’t do anything about it.” That’s the truth. But it was a lie. State Town Law, and we told Dellisanti and Ruso, provided a number of ways to solve the Jordan problem; problem was that there were too many cowards in Town Hall to put the law into action.

When residents and taxpayers appealed to the Town to remedy problems in roadwork and drainage in the National Historic District — that was back in 2006!!! — nothing was done. In 2016, when Dellisanti and Ruso personally visited New Street together with Denis Jordan and his deputy Scott vanWormer to view the situation and the damage to private property resulting from Jordan’s negligence and indifference, they were made fully aware of the situation. They did nothing!

When Callanan was paving in the Hamlet and Jordan was nowhere to be found and Callanan, under the supervision of Jordan’s deputy, Scott vanWormer, were dumping tons of blacktop and creating hazards, the Town was informed and they did nothing!

When residents went through the process required by the law of serving the Town of New Baltimore and its officers and board with Notices of Claim, official notices of complaint and claim, regarding the damage done by Jordan during his time as Highway Superintendent, the Town of New Baltimore, under Dellisanti and Ruso, DID NOTHING. Well, they did something: They turned the cases over to the Town’s insurance company, the Argo Group, through the Town’s insurance agent Marshall & Sterling of Leeds, NY.

Here’s Dellisanti’s and Ruso’s idea of fair play and justice for New Baltimore taxpayers: New Baltimore insurers Marshall & Sterling (Leeds, NY), Trident Brokerage, and Argo Group (Bermuda) (the Town of New Baltimore is dealing with an off-shore company enjoying the tax sanctuary of Bermuda! Nice going, patriots!) are being paid to work against New Baltimore Residents and Property Owners with good faith claims for damages. The Albany law firm of Bailey, Johnson, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C. have been hired by New Baltimore’s insurers and New Baltimore to make sure New Baltimore residents, property owners and tax payers don’t get justice and fair play! Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Don’t WE pay the bills in this town? If we as private citizens damage town property our sorry asses are in jail! Maybe that’s where our Town Board, our Town Sole Assessor, Gordon Bennett, and definitely our Town Superintendent of Highways, Denis Jordan, should be!

For More Information Please Read Our Articles:

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2018 in 2017 Elections, 46th District, 46th Senate District, Abuse of Public Office, Alan van Wormer, All the Justice You Can Buy, Allstate Insurance, Amedore Homes, Argo Group, Assessment Review, Bernie Jones, Bitter Bob (Ross), Board of Assessment Review, Bob Ross, Charles Stahlman, Chris Norris, Christopher Norris, Chuck Irving, Civil Right Violation, Civil Rights, Columbia-Greene Media, Conflict of Interest, Conspiracy, County Legislator, Crystal R. Peck Esq., Daily Mail, David Louis, DeLeonardis & Peck P.C., Democrap, Democrats, Denis Jordan, Denis Jordan, Donna Degnen, Eleanor Luckacovic, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Fat Cat Antiques, Fat Cat Transport, George Acker, George Amedore, Gordon Bennett, Government, Greene County, Greene County Attorney, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Grievance Day, Hudson Valley, Independence Party, Indifference, Intimidation, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Justice and Courts, Kathy Rundberg, Linda LeClair, Lisa Benway, Lisa Patierne, Lynn Taylor, Marjorie Loux, Marjorie Loux, Mark Vinciguerra, Marshall & Sterling, Marshall Sterling Insurance, Meave Tooher, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Assessor, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, New Baltimore Town Board, New Baltimore Town Budget, New Street, New York State, New York State Constitution, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Highway Law, New York State Town Law, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, Nick Delisanti, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Assessor, Office of the Comptroller, Pat Linger, Patricia Hildebrandt, Patrick Linger, Patty Hildebrandt, Poll Misconduct, Public Corruption, Public Safety, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, RCS Central School District, RegisterStar, Resignation, Scott Van Wormer, Scott VanWormer, Senate District 46, Shelly van Etten, Smalbany, Sole Assessor, Susan K. O'Rorke, Tal Rappelea, Terry J. Wilhelm, Terry Wilhelm, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Tom Meacham, Town of New Baltimore, Town Supervisor, VanEtten, Voting Irregularities

 

Who are the Thought Police in Your Community? Do you know?

“As members of a community, even as citizens of a nation, we are frequently exposed to and have to cope with what is known as groupthink, a phenomenon that may seriously compromise our image of ourselves, our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, community leaders, and may also compromise our moral rights of personal dignity and autonomy. And yet, groupthink is precisely what underlies much of our “training” in how to be good citizens and in the so-called education programs and our social organizations, and is pandemic in most of the institutions in which we work. Groupthink,  shamefully, has been a part of our religious institutions since time immemorial. Agendizing, brainwashing, programming.”

Anonymous Contributor.

We, as citizens, as members of our community, parents and educators, as human beings we are told that we have an inherent and guaranteed right to speak freely and openly about most subjects without the stigma that might apply to a person living and working in a different country. We would like to think that people, especially our elected leaders and our educators, tend to listen to us and give some weight and importance to what we have to say; consequently, we can and should play an important and proactive role in deciding how we live, work and are governed, and in order to do this, we must make our leaders aware that we are aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and implement ways of avoiding this insidious, infectious, and fatal phenomenon in our communities and in our lives. Once people are made aware of the groupthink phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

Groupthink.[1] It’s everywhere and it’s toxic! It’s dehumanizing. It perpetuates lies and factoids. Yet you love it! It makes things so much easier when you don’t have to use your own brain and you allow yourself to be programmed to think, speak, act, perform according to the in-group’s agenda.

Irving Janus mainstreamed the term in 1982. [2] According to Janis, groupthink

“[h]appens when in-group pressures lead to deterioration in mental efficiency, poor testing of reality, and lax moral judgment. It tends to occur in highly cohesive groups in which the group members’ desire for consensus becomes more important than evaluating problems and solutions realistically. An example would be the top executive cabinet (the president and vice presidents) of a firm, who have worked together for many years. They know each other well and think as a cohesive unit rather than as a collection of individuals.” [my italics]

We can find groupthink in our workplaces, churches, schools, social media, government, and Yes! even in our homes.

Janis identified eight symptoms of groupthink, which are noteworthy and which I will briefly describe below.[3] Persons affected by groupthink may exhibit any of these symptoms:

  1. An experience of the illusion of invulnerability. This illusion produces an unreal sense of optimism and the sense of empowerment to take risks, sometimes extreme, which the individual would not otherwise take.
  2. Acceptance of a collective rationalization. The individual ignores the red flags and warnings and refuse to reassess their biases, prejudices and assumptions regarding reality.
  3. Belief in the inherent morality of the group. The individual and members of the group are convinced of the righteousness of their beliefs and become indifferent to the ethical or moral effects and consequences of the group’s decisions and actions.
  4. Establishment and adoption of stereotypes of out-groups. Stereotypes are a facile way of dealing with the “others” and do not require thinking or decision-making. De rigueur negative presumptions and characterizations of the “enemy” render rational and effective responses to conflict unnecessary. Cookie-cutter responses are the result.
  5. The imposition of direct pressure on dissenters. Any deviation from the presumptions and dictates of the group results in sanctions. Individuals, group members are discouraged from expressing alternative views, or representing positions conflicting any of the group’s views.
  6. Requirement of self-censorship. The individual and members of the group are required to ensure that any questions, doubts and deviations from the group’s “consensus,” program, or agenda are not expressed. The individual must “watch his/her mouth” or be sanctioned.
  7. The illusion of unanimity. The views and judgments, decisions and actions of the “group” or of the group’s statutory and declared leader(s) and majority are assumed to be unanimous, justified and reliable.
  8. The presence of self-appointed ‘mindguards’. Certain members isolate and “protect” the group and its leader(s) from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. These are the “thought police” who ensure that any information that can potentially threaten the group or its leaders is filtered out and neutralized.

In other words, the phenomenon of groupthink seems to have grown out of and fits perfectly into the framework of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” with its implications of superpower invulnerability, collective processing of carefully cooked data and information, a sense of moral superiority of the group’s decisions and actions, the facile handling of non-members by the application of stereotypes, direct suppression and sanctioning of any opposing thought or expression — the individual “watches his mouth” to avoid attracting attention to himself and possible sanctioning —, all communications and indicators seem to indicate that “everyone is on the same page” and “stands united.”  Finally, the self-appointed “mindguards,” the Orwellian “thought police,” ensure that everyone toes the mark, knows his place, and follows the “party line.” Sounds awfully much like PC, political correctness, doesn’t it?

The Thought Police or Mindguards ensure that you don’t think out of the box.

As I mentioned above, groupthink is easily observed in our schools, churches, public servants, social groups, the workplace, etc.

Here’s an example that comes from my college days when I worked as an encyclopedia salesperson. We were trained to ask potential purchasers questions that they could not disagree with, such as, for example: “You do care about your children’s education, don’t you?” or “You want your children to have the best available information for school, don’t you?” Once they answered in the affirmative, they were cooked. It was sort of like asking a veteran the question, “You do love your country, don’t you?” Or a clergyperson asking a dissenter, “You do believe in God, don’t you?” Ask those sorts of questions and you get a commitment to groupthink; the rest follows once the individual is on the slippery slope to group membership, willingly or not.

It’s certainly easy enough to self-test yourself by asking yourself if any of the above symptoms could possibly apply to you…but be aware of the sneaky symptom of “self-censorship” because you might actually be unaware that you are self-censoring; you may actually believe that what you say you believe is in fact what you believe. (Please go back and reread that last part. It’s important and you really didn’t understand it, did you?!)

Everyone connected to the same “brain”, the core-group’s!

Here’s a real example: I was at my fitness center and struck up a conversation with a guy who was working on a neighboring piece of equipment. The conversation started out on muscle groups and doping, use of anabolic steroids, doping scandals, and how natural fitness was desirable over and against taking performance enhancers. The conversation drifted to the inquiry, “What do you do?” The guy was intelligent, apparently well-read in the subject of performance enhancers in athletes, and was no dummy. He responded by telling me he was a “personal income tax auditor” for the state of New York. What followed was a textbook example of groupthink. He commenced by telling me how interesting his job was because he was making sure everyone stayed honest. Everyone should pay taxes. Not everyone was honest, some people were honest but ignorant. The tax department and auditors were there to protect the public. He was happy doing what he was doing, and he liked his work. He was protecting honest citizens from the crooks and the parasites. New York state took care of its people unlike those states with no personal income tax, states that provided sanctuary to people who want to keep their fortunes but not share by paying personal income taxes. Basically, you can’t argue with this guy because what he is saying is superficially true, ethical and moral. But, and there’s the clincher, his thinking from one subject to the other was schizoid! He was very individualized, independent, even liberal when discussing the social and personal impact of performance enhancers on non-professional vs. professional athletes, and the use of performance enhancers in the guy-next-door who works out to stay healthy or attractive. His lock-step “tax department” jargon and speech, almost soapbox preaching, was groupspeak, the product of groupthink. Can you identify the symptoms?

Here are two more examples I found on a professional networking site, LinkedIn, which is slowly morphing into a Facebook-type social media space. Whereas LinkedIn was originally intended to be a forum facilitating networking among professionals, the parasites slowly infiltrated and started their social justice preaching and religious proselytizing.

One characteristic of social justice and religion is that both are fertile ground for a bumper crop of groupthinkers. Example 1: Social Justice. This example is remarkable because it is so homogeneous in the majority responses and because of the sheer number of responses: 5,013 Likes, 321 comments! Synopsis: A young woman with Down’s syndrome appears in what is obviously a staged video, in which she receives a call from a fast-food chain, Chik-Fil-A, in which she is offered a job paying $11.50/h. It is her first real job and she is elated at the offer and accepts.

The groupthink: Actual comments: “Awesome!” “Wonderful!””Isn’t Chik-Fil-A a great company!””The story brought tears to my eyes!” “It made my day! We need more stories like this!” But many of the comments were condescending: They mentioned “learning disability” and how remarkable it was that this young woman had “won,” how employment “is a right,” and other misguided slogans associated with what we know as PC but was described by Janis as groupthink. The censorship/sanction/thought police action: A commenter posted some reasonable, dissenting, conflicting thoughts about the reality of the situation in terms of stereotyping highly functional Down’s syndrome  persons as having “learning disabilities,” a bucket term that stereotyped them unfairly. That she was hired on her merits and if she didn’t have what Chick-Fil-A needed and wanted, she would not have gotten the call. That Down’s syndrome persons are highly desirable in service jobs with customer contact because of their personality characteristics, as was pioneered by McDonald’s some time ago, and that these corporations are exploiting vulnerable persons with Down’s syndrome because they are perfect for these low-paying jobs, and it creates a very positive social image for the corporation, so-called “organizational health.” (See the McKinsey report below.)

Needless to say, the “mindguards” were quick to respond, and butchered the commentor for being “a Grinch,” for not “caring” and for his “dripping sarcasm.” Not a single comment out of more than 300 comments and replies accepted the truth of what the commenter wrote; almost all condemned him for not sharing the majority’s groupthink. (Click here to read the actual comments made by the commenter and some of the replies.)[4]

The value of hiring persons with Down syndrome is not lost on the corporations![5]

The economic benefits of hiring persons with intellectual challenges is not lost on the corporations, as is demonstrated by the McKinsey report[6], but we’re not supposed to talk about the dark side of Julia’s hiring because the group think won’t allow anyone to pop their bubble of denial or distract them from their happy, be nice, love fest by suggesting reality. That’s groupthink.

Here’s another from the same site, LinkedIn. This time it was a religious fanatic known popularly as a “Jesus-freak,” someone who posts an inflammatory statement about how Jesus is the truth and everything else is a lie. First of all, such posts are more Facebook quality and have nothing to do with professional networking, so it shouldn’t have been on LinkedIn in the first place. So the original post by one David Wood, who describes himself as the “Executive Producer Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Resurrection of Jesus Christ LLC, School Of Hard Knocks,” and his project as:

“The Resurrection Project unites the Body of Christ, to launch a global love movement, a feature length movie, and a video game, and tell the story of Jesus’ Christ resurrection and the 40 days that followed. “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ” is the greatest love story ever told.” www.theresurrectionofjesuschrist.com [Author’s note: My italics; I have not undertaken any editing of Mr. Wood’s English.]

His post was simply:

That was it. My first reaction was that Islam never claimed that Muhammad was God. Nor does Buddhism teach that Buddha was a god. The name applied to God in Arabic, and hence in Islam is Allah, which is merely an equivalent of the English, God, so that point is really moot. And the fact that Wood claims that his Jesus is the “only one God” reveals a bit of tunnel vision, even religious and theological ignorance. This is groupthink at one of its worst moments!

My point is this: Approach that post as I did, with the above reasoning, and you will obtain a clear lesson in groupthink.  The post received 51 Likes and 15 Comments but was seen be hundreds, perhaps thousands who didn’t want to “offend” by responding. (Or perhaps because religion is not as popular as Down’s syndrome? Or because the message was so bizarre? Who can say for sure?)

Those three examples should suffice to convince even the hardcore groupthinkers of their affliction.

The kinds of groups that are particularly at risk for the groupthink phenomenon are, of course, groups that we could characterize as cliques, whether consisting of 3 or 3000 persons. Cliques don’t need to be small and a whole company or department may become a clique. The group or clique should be cohesive for groupthink to develop; cohesive factors may include ethnicity, similar interest, and physical appearance. Members of a clique often isolate themselves as a group and tend to view the clique as superior to anyone outside the clique.

Cliques can form in any age group but they are most associated with groups whose members have gotten stuck in an adolescent or late childhood developmental stage, the stage when individuals normally form and become members of such groups. Accordingly, groupthink is characteristic of individuals who may have gotten stuck in a pre-adult developmental stage.

Facebook is a well known huge groupthink-collective in which groupthink can be diagnosed at various levels in the interactions from the very top, where the Facebook Standards and the thought police are active censoring deviant thinkers, that is, anyone who may not agree with Facebook or its policies, to the smaller yet equally repulsive “groups,” which may be “open,” “closed” or “secret”. The problem and real danger associated with Facebook and other social media that functions by exploiting the groupthink phenomenon is the sheer numbers of people who can be and actually are affected by the clique(s).

The proven disorder of Facebook Addiction or Internet Addiction Disorder make the problem even worse because once subscribers are addicted, they are captivated by the groupthink phenomenon and cannot escape.(See our article on Facebook Addiction Disorder on this blog.)

It’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process.

Another problem is what I would call the “Room 101” factor[7]:  the fact that in terms of groupthink, when Facebook decides to deactivate an account for one reason or another, whether for a period of time certain (days, weeks, etc.) or permanently, this “punishment” practice has a psychospiritual effect on the affected individual, similar to being shunned or banned froma group or a clique. It is a powerful motivator to keep people under their thumb, a control strategy, that works extremely well once Facebook has hooked a person, and the person is sufficiently invested in Facebook in terms of time spent online and digital friends collected, such that the now addicted subscriber will feel the psychosocial pain of being “deactivated.,” in a sense placed in isolation by Facebook without the benefit of due process. Yes, it’s the beginning of the end of open communication, autonomy, and due process. Similar, in fact, to “vaporizing” a dissenter in Orwell’s “1984” where the dissenter is simply made to disappear, as if he never existed. [8]

The recent reports of Facebook’s cooperation with the US and Israeli governments to deactivate certain Facebook pages because their messages are “inconvenient” is a very disturbing step taken in the direction of thought control, Thought Police and Mindguards. That’s why we’ve been trying to get through to our readers to campaign against social media like Facebook! (See our articles on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg‘s ambitious agenda to become God. Once he’s got a fifth of the world’s population addicted to Facebook and can control what they read, hear, see, and say, he’s well on his way to become the next Dictator in Heaven.)


The same “vaporizing” occurs when someone “unfriends” or “blocks” another subscriber who may have violated the group-leader’s or the group’s groupthink policies. Have you been Facebook vaporized recently? You wouldn’t know if you had been because Facebook strategically keeps it a secret; only the vaporizer and Facebook know it. Same applies when someone has a grudge against you on Facebook: they simply report you for such-and-such, and you find yourself deactivated. Groupthink à la Facebook!

The groupthink phenomenon can be avoided but only if the clique or the group is willing to acknowledge the phenomenon, to recognize it in their group, and sees the benefits of avoiding the phenomenon.

Fred Lunenburg (2012) proposes a number of possible ways to avoid groupthink in a group, including[9]:

  • Encouraging group members to state and air objections, doubts, and questions,
  • Promoting impartiality rather than stating preferences and expectations of the group at the outset,
  • The group leaders should periodically discuss the group’s policies and practices and report their transactions back to the group, inviting feedback,
  • Members should be invited to challenge the views of core members (and leaders),
  • At least one member should play the role of devil’s advocate, expressing objections or critiquing group policies and practices, and beliefs,
  • Where there is devil’s advocacy, members should spend time and effort evaluating the warning signals of developing groupthink inherent in adverse responses,
  • Alternative scenarios should be constructed by group leaders in evaluating any rivaling intentions,
  • In the case of a member who appears to consistently rival the group’s polices or practices (Red flag! Think groupthink!), the member should be asked to express as vividly as he can all his residual doubts,
  • Group leaders or core members should present the entire issue to the group to elicit feedback and insights before making any definitive choices or decisions.

Group coherence and decision making has clear benefits over individual decision making. This is especially true when a decision must be made under conditions of uncertainty.[10] Some of the benefits described by Bonito (2011) include[11]:

  • Improved decision quality
  • Higher level of creativity and creative thinking
  • Improved decision acceptance and organizational learning
  • Increased decision understanding
  • Enhanced effectiveness in establishing objectives, identifying alternatives
  • Greater decision accuracy and avoidance of errors and glitches

Admittedly, these benefits may be less related to the actual outcomes of decisions than they are to group morale and satisfaction; we can agree that groups should and probably do perform better when

  • Group members present a variety of relevant skills that differ sufficiently but do not create constraints or conflicts;
  • There is a division of labor or effort, input;
  • Individual inputs can be “averaged” in such a way as to arrive at a group “position.”

Are you controlled by the Thought Police, the Mindguards from the cradle to the grave?

By now you might be asking yourself the question: “That having been said, and while applicable to business decisions or to Facebook and other moderated social media, how does that apply to spiritual care or to our lives in our communities and the nation at large?” Well, in order to answer that question, I have to ask you to step out of your stall in the sheeple box, and think about the environment in which you live. Ask yourselves if you can identify groupthink in these situations:

  • In your church or faith community. (Hint: How do you talk about other faith or belief groups)?
  • In the Sports Association or Social Club. Do you have to toe the mark in what you talk about?
  • In your political or social club (Hint: When at a Republican Club or Democratic Club or American Legion occasion, are you careful what you say?)
  • In your children’s schools (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a Board of Education meeting or just sit simmering? At a PTA meeting what do you feel you can discuss? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • At town board or village board meetings (Hint: Do you speak your mind at a board meetings or just sit simmering? Do you even attend any of these?)
  • Have you ever avoided going somewhere or doing something because you were concerned what “they” would say?
  • Are there subjects or topics or language that you avoid specifically to avoid being stereotyped or labeled? Do you choose political correctness over truth and honesty? Do you do that out of fear of the Mindguards?

Are you being stalked by the community or social media Thought Police, the Mindguards?

At home do you have open discussions with family members or are some subjects simply avoided or off-topic? Are the Thought Police at work in your home? Or are you letting the Facebook and social media thought police do their work for you? Have you seen your kids today?

When is the last time you looked at what your schools are teaching to your children? Have you ever openly questioned what they are being taught? Or are you letting the Mindguards manage your kids’ minds?

At work do you challenge social injustice or do you simply turn your back hoping it won’t hit you next? Are you open in discussing what you feel needs to be considered for change? Do you suggest improvements? Or are you living in constant fear of being “vaporized,” “unfriended,” “blocked” by your employer or even your workmates and coworkers?

Have you been castrated by the Thought Police, the Mindguards?

Most of us will find ourselves interacting throughout our entire lives with employers, educators, community members, governing bodies, committees, or just with our families. We take these interactions for granted; that’s a big mistake..Each of these environments is at high risk of the groupthink phenomenon, and we need to start thinking about the nature and quality of those interactions. Can you identify the symptoms of groupthink in any of your relationships or interations?

We frequently say that “emotions are contagious,” but we don’t frequently admit that not only emotions but the environment created by the attitudes and thinking of leaders and core members in a group are just as contagious in the form of groupthink.

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink

Those of us who are aware of our lives will admit that each group or community has its own culture, and if we are to work effectively with the members and effetively serve the ourselves and our community, we have to be aware of the groupthink phenomenon as it most certainly exists in that group or community. Ask yourself if you feel your teachers, your administrators, your elected officials, local law enforcement are listening to you and your concerns and their attitude towards the “necessary evil” of your opinion must be tolerated rather than facilitated. That attitude extends to all the members of the community, including educators, elected officials, law enforcement, etc.,  and the symptoms of groupthink can be quickly and easily identified if you care to look. How do we deal with that situation armed with the awareness of the probable existence of groupthink?

Organizations like schools, religious institutions, government, social organizations are hotbeds for the groupthink phenomenon because they are founded on very clear principles of operation and program; they have their” agendas.” The objectives and goals of the group are clearly defined and the members are controlled by the assignment of specific tasks and imposing protocols. The agenda is clearly defined. You simply don’t dissent or rock the hospice boat. Groupthink.

Institutional Agendas Define the Group.

 

As “tradition” the groupthink may have developed as a response to the local culture, whether it be socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, etc. In this case, it is a response to the exigencies of doing living and functioning with that demographic mix, and is almost a requirement for survival. Is this “positive” groupthink? Perhaps, but it goes without saying that unless the establishment leaves the door open to open discussion, sharing of insights, correct interpretations of warning signs and red flags, it can quickly transmute into “negative” groupthink.

As the organization leaves the traditional, local, “family” orientation or organization and moves towards the group or the corporate systems, groupthink becomes more of a high risk than a positive stabilizing factor. This is where the culture of the group or corporation overshadows the individuals that move it as well as those who consume its products and services. Rather than being an evolving, “living” organism, it is a monolith. Again,I can’t help but cite Facebook or the federal government as outstanding examples of such a negative development.

A number of large multinational corporations like IBM, 3M, Anheuser-Busch have recognized the threat posed by groupthink and have implemented and developed processes to prevent or at least to mitigate its deleterious and prejudicial effects within the components of the organization and on the organization as a whole. Lunenburg (2012) discusses some of the ways they have approached prevention of groupthink by way of methods like devil’s advocacy and dialectical inquiry. McDougel and Baum (1997) discuss the application of devil’s advocacy to stimulate discussion and avoid groupthink in focus groups.[12] McAvoy et al. discuss how devil’s advocacy and the principles of sensemaking can be used in a method they call the “agitation workshop” as a method of challenging the false consensus created by the groupthink phenomenon.[13]

Do frequent meetings and evaluations work to avoid groupthink? More likely than not, they may actually promote groupthink when leadership reiterate at each meeting the same expectations at the outset, setting the stage for a more limited and controlled conversation that does not allow for alternative discussion. But such meetings and evaluations and be highly productive if, at the outset, the leaders or facilitators are aware of the symptoms of groupthink and some of the methods to directly avoid it, as well as the quasi-paedagogical methods of enhancing creative thinking, even improving performance by institutionalizing dissent!

We can and should play an important and proactive role in making the organizations and leaders with whom we work aware of the groupthink phenomenon, its dangers and risks, and ways of avoiding the phenomenon in our environments. Once people are made aware of the phenomenon and ways to identify it and prevent it, we are on the path to reclaiming the efficacy and authenticity we once enjoyed but lost in the wake of the development of corporate control of our institutions and the chilling of interpersonal relations by online social media.

By using your brain you can avoid the dangers of groupthink!
The Editor


Notes

[1] Irving Janis originally coined the term groupthink in 1972. (Janis, Irving L.  (1972).  Victims of Groupthink.  New York: Houghton Mifflin.)

[2] Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascos (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin.

[3] For a more comprehensive discussion of the eight symptoms please refer to Janis’ Groupthink, Psychological Studies, above. A brief and very helpful overview of groupthink is provided in What is Groupthink? (http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm, last accessed on January 8, 2018, 2018).

[4] The “Julia got a job!” obviously scripted video is synopsized on YouTube in the following words: “A heartwarming video shows the moment a teenage girl with Down syndrome receives her first job offer. A girl named Julia gets a phone call from a Chick-fil-A employee in Rancho Murieta, California. ‘I was just calling to offer you a position here,’ the woman says on speaker phone. ‘Your pay rate would be 11.50 per hour, would you like to accept?’ ‘I do,’ Julia says, her face overcome with emotion. As the woman tells her that she will start in December, Julia breaks down in tears of happiness. ‘Oh my gosh,’ she can be heard saying as she thanks the woman profusely. Julia’s family then encircles her and gives her a massive hug while chanting ‘Chick-Fil-A’. “ (AutoNews- Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5101331/Teen-girl-syndrome-cries-s-given-job.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490)

[5] According to McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm that serves private, public and social sector institutions, in a report entitled, “The value that employees with Down syndrome can add to organizations,” we read “[H]owever, some companies have chosen to tackle the far more complex challenge of hiring people with intellectual disabilities. Those that have done so have found that these people can add value to organizational health (an organization’s ability to align, execute, and renew itself faster than competitors so that it can sustain exceptional performance over time). Employees with Down syndrome are a particularly interesting topic of research, as they have a number of characteristics that both increase the challenges associated with inclusion and bring added benefits.” [my italics] (McKinsey & Company (2014) “The value that employees with Down Syndrome can add to organizations” (Vicente Assis, Marcus Frank, Guilherme Bcheche, and Bruno Kuboiama), last accessed on January 9, 2018.)

[6] Ibid.

[7] I’m referring to the notorious Room 101 described in Orwell’s novel “Nineteen-Eighty-Four,” the room in the Ministry of Truth (MiniTru in Newspeak), where dissenters were taken for “processing,” most never to be heard from again. “You asked me once,” said O’Brien, “what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.”  (“1984” Part 3, Ch. 5)  In “1984” the Inner Party persecutes individualism and independent thinking known as “thoughtcrimes” and is enforced by the “Thought Police.” The Ministry of Love (Miniluv), the ministry in charge of torturing dissidents.  The protagonist Smith is subjected to many forms of torture and is forced into the horror chamber known only as Room 101.

[8] Mind Control – George Orwell BBC 101 Documentary last accessed on January 9, 2018.

[9] Lunenburg, F. (2012).” Devil’s Advocacy and Dialectical Inquiry: Antidote to Groupthink”. International Journal of

Scholarly and Academic Intellectual Diversity, Vol 14, No. 1, pp 1-9.

[10] Nikolaidis (2012) defines uncertainty as “the condition under which an individual [or group] does not have the necessary information to assign probabilities to the outcomes of alternative solutions. (Nikolaidis, E. (2012).  Design decisions under uncertainty with limited information. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.)

[11] Bonito, J. (2011). Interaction and influence in small group decision making. New York, NY: Routledge.

[12] McDougal, C., F. Baum, (1997) “The Devil’s Advocate: A Strategy to Avoid Groupthink and Stimulate Discussion in Focus Groups,” Qualitative Health Research, Volume 7, Number 4, pp 532-541.

[13] John McAvoy, Tadhg Nagle and David Sammon, (2013) “A novel approach to challenging consensus in evaluations: The Agitation Workshop,” The Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, Volume 16 Issue 1,  pp 45-55.

 
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