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Category Archives: Small Town

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

The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review met on Grievance Day, May 22, 2018, and the Final Tax Roll was published on July 1, 2018.

The Office of the Sole Assessor, currently occupied by Mr. Gordon Bennett (an employee of the Town), and the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review (all appointees by the current Town board) is representative of the rest of New Baltimore’s dog-and-pony act, their excuse for Town government: Complete Incompetence and Ignorance!!!

Grievance Day is also a dog-and-pony act, where a gang of five appointees sit and demonstrate how ignorant and poorly qualified they are for determining the quality of property assessments in the Town of New Baltimore. The assessor sits by and listens, not contributing much in the way of assisting the poor wretches or preventing them from making complete asses of themselves and taxpayers!

Here’s this year’s tally of stupidity based on documents provided by the Town of New Baltimore and the official taped recordings of the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Reveiw of hearings held on Grievance Day, May 22, 2018, at New Baltimore Town Hall:

Shyster Michael Biscone of Ravena, apparently a bosom buddy of Mr. Bennett, since they are on a first-name basis, even in an official proceeding like Grievance Day, represents two property owners before the Board of Assessment Review, and presents their cases in a rambling fashion, so you have to pay close attention to understand the bottom line on the tapes. [Editor’s Note: For those of our readers, we are providing links to the Greene County online Property Tax Information website, where you can read everything about the properties we’re discussing. It’s all public access. Just click the links in the text below to go to the property information. The link to the main page, where you can search properties by municipality, tax map number, last name, first name, etc. is Greene County Search. ]

The first property is on Roberts Hill Road (565 Roberts Hill Rd, West Coxsackie NY 12192); it’s actually two properties that were once one but was divided in order to sell them. One has a house on it sitting on three acres (Tax Map No. 28.00-2-31.2). The other portion is 37 acres of undeveloped property (Tax Map No. 28.00-2-31.1). Mr. Biscone, on behalf of David Hales, whom he refers to as a “fine young man,” argues that the two properties should be assessed as one. He also admits that Grievance Day is not the place to argue his reasons but he does so anyway. Hales purchased the property in 2017 for $206,000. Bennett assessed the property for $210,000. The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review, practically no questions asked, reduced Hales’ assessment by $49,000. Why? You’ll never know.

The second property is an interesting case. Again, it’s presented by shyster Biscone and is a property owned by William Brant, who, by the way, gives his address as 72 Brownstone Way, Apt. 410, Englewood, New Jersey (!), and owns the property on US Rt. 9W, between the Best Western and New Baltimore Family Dentistry (Tax Map No. 40.00-4-2.111). He’s had his plan for a for-profit senior living project that has been before the New Baltimore Planning Board for several years now, and has finally gotten approval. If you drive down US Route 9W going South, you’ll come to the Best Western Hotel, and then New Baltimore Family Dentistry. The Brant property is between the hotel and the dentists there’s a cute little cottage sitting in the middle of the field (that’s the Brant property) . In fact, you can see the temporary road leading into the property, where construction preps are being done. Looking towards the back of the property is a small building, a “well house” that is discussed below.

The property is assessed at $120,000 land value, but Biscone somehow convinces the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review that it’s overassessed at $70,000 because of a “well house.” Biscone argues on behalf of Brant that the “well house cost” Brant only $27,000 but Bennett has assessed it at $70,000. If you’re lost here, don’t worry, it doesn’t make sense unless you listen to the tapes about 3 times. It’s a smoke and mirrors act and works for Biscone and Brant because the BAR buys it and reduces Brant’s assessment by $25,000. You’d think the members of the BAR would have the property tax reports in front of them to follow along but Hey! If they did that they might have smelled a rat and caught it. But that would be asking too much of a bunch of sillies trying to look important.

One tidbit that Biscone drops is that he will “drop off a number of receipts” that would prove what he was saying (not that Michael Biscone was ever concerned with the truth). But he never had to do that because the BAR made their decision to reduce the assessment that evening, on May 22, 2018, without the benefit of any proof or documentation.

What’s even more interesting is the fact that Biscone mentions that one of the contractors, whose receipts he was going to produce, is none other than Robert van Etten, New Baltimore Town Board member Shelly van Etten’s husband. What’s even more interesting is that van Etten, who owns an excavation-construction business located in Ravena, New York (only per the address), is the chairman of the New Baltimore Planning Board (and of the New Baltimore Town Committee on Agriculture)!!! Yes, readers, that’s the same Planning Board that kept Brant’s application in Limbo for several years and only just approved it! Does anyone smell something like conflict of interest here? Corruption? Stupidity?

Does anyone wonder Why? Mr. Brant got his Planning Board approval for his project after so many years of hassle? Just saying …

Case No. 3 is a property owner whose primary residence is in Long Island and who owns a property on North Ridge Road in Hannacroix. 2 acres with a 1 family house on it. Mr. Crimeni, whose primary address is 48 Lace Lane, Westbury, NY, is crying poverty. You see, he thinks his assessment is too high and he’s paying too much in taxes for his weekend country estate, comparing his New Baltimore taxes to his $8,000 Long Island taxes. Crimeni’s property (Tax Map No. 4.00-3-20)  full market value is $195,000 and is assessed at $145,000 but Crimeni is still not satisfied. (There seems to be some confusion also in the tax records because on one page for the same property we find the full market value to be $195,000 and on another page we find that value to be $116,000. It also shows it to be a 1-family house but the house has 0 living space! Maybe there’s an explanation for this?) Anyway, Rocco Crimeni co-owns the property with Nicola Crimeni (apparently his brother) and to listen to their story and compare it to the tax records is like, well, it’s like pure steaming bullshit. The original assessment was on a full market value of $195,000 which was assessed by Bennett at $145,000 for the 2 acres and the house. After the BAR heard Mr. Crimeni’s sad story we find that the assessment for the 2 acres and the house was reduced to a full market value of $119,298, and an assessed value for 2018 of $85,000, total tax bill of $ ??? The final assessment is $85,000, a total reduction of $60,000 !!! Great job, Ms Degnen and company!

Just for kicks and giggles, here are a couple of excerpts from the Crimeni hearing:

Crimeni: There was a trailer on the property and it burned down because of a wood stove we had there.

Crimeni: We purchased an Amish house for $38,000…the Amish people built it…it’s a shell…We’re finishing it ourselves.

Crimeni: We’re not rich people … the disparity in Mr. Bennett’s assessment is tremendous…We have a house on Long Island…and the taxes are $8000…

Degnen: You said it was a shed…[Editor’s Note: Crimeni did not say it was a “shed”, he said it was a “shell”! Degnan makes many such mistakes throughout the hearings. Is she hard of hearing or just demented?]…What are the dimensions?

Crimeni: 26 x 28, 2-story…We don’t have the money to finish it.

Degnen: Are you living there now? [Editor’s Note: Apparently Degnen missed the part where Crimeni says he lives on Long Island. She also hasn’t done her homework or she would know that Crimeni’s primary address is on Lace Lane, Westbury, NY!!!] … Do you have water and electricity? [Again, Degnen, homework? Familiarity with properties?]

BAR Member: Do you have the amounts of houses near you…did you bring the houses near you? [Editor’s Note: Apparently the BAR member is asking if Crimeni has any comparables, that is, information on similar properties in New Baltimore. The BAR member should know she should have these or could get them online in a couple of seconds. We did! In fact, if you go to the Greene County link we provided, enter the tax map number and go to the property page, you’ll be able to see the comparables for the property. Here’s the page for the Crimeni property:  Comparables.]

Crimeni: We ran out of money…We don’t have no money … We can’t afford this … [Editor’s Note: Here comes the best one: ] … We don’t live up here!

Hi, I’m the village crazy lady, and I’m on the Board of Assessment Review.

Now don’t you just have to sit down and cry hearing a story like Crimeni’s? Well, he apparently tugged at the heart-strings of the BAR because they allowed him a $60,000 reduction in his assessment, no questions asked!!!

For your information, you can find out any information you want on Greene County properties on the Greene County online property tax site, SDG Mate Online, and can search by property tax map number, owner’s name, etc. It’s all public access and available to anyone who is interested. Here’s the site link: Greene County Property Tax Info .

We could go on with the remaining 6 properties that received similar reductions but we’ve made our point. There’s something really wrong in the New Baltimore Assessor’s Office and on the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review and it needs fixing. We think it’s corruption and collusion because there’s no rhyme, reason, or fair play in these determinations. Here’s why:

Two properties on New Street in the Hamlet have been the subject of a great deal of anxiety and discussion because since late 2016, severe damage was identified. In the one case, runoff from the street caused the collapse of the building foundation, making it unusable. Then Town supervisor Nick Dellisanti (now Deputy Town Supervisor) and then Deputy Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso (now Town Supervisor), together with Town Board member Shelly van Etten, personally inspected the site and identified a number of problems. Two days later Dellisanti, Ruso, and then Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan and Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer visited the site and confirmed the same problems. After that the New Baltimore Highway Department created new problems and the Town was served with a number of Notices of Claim for the damage. In 2017, the Highway Department and Callanan paved New Street and created a mess. We won’t go into details here but if you want details go to our article: “New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways and Board to be Sued – AGAIN!

Dellisanti and Ruso’s game was “deny and hide,” handing the matter over to the town’s insurance company and their lawyers. Town Law would allow the town to make out-of-court compensation to the owner subject to the approval of a NYS Supreme Court judge but NO! they’d rather force the already traumatized owner to have to go to court and then to the poorhouse. That’s Republican fair play, apparently. No one in Town Hall wants to admit the wrong done. In fact, Dellisanti’s personal notes of a discussion with then Superintendent Jordan records that Jordan’s response to the resident’s request for a meeting was, “Let them sue us!” Apparently Dellisanti and Ruso agreed.

The owner of the property continued paying his taxes like a good citizen even though he couldn’t use the property and the damage was continuing because the Highway Department didn’t know what they were doing and Dellisanti and Ruso didn’t either – or they didn’t have the balls to go after Jordan directly. So the property owner requested a reduction in taxes on the collapsing building and the other impaired property, and appeared before the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review with a complete written history of the case and numerous photographs showing the damage.

The problems first began when New Baltimore Sole Assessor refused to provide the members of the Board of Assessment Review with copies of the property owners request saying, “It’s not our responsibility.” But it is his responsibility to provide the BAR with copies of all complaints, it’s in the Real Property Tax Law!!! At the Grievance Day hearing, Gordan handed the four members present ONE copy, his file copy, of the requests for reduction of assessment on two properties. The hearing was a complete mess, confusion, the BAR couldn’t follow the conversation and Degnen kept on saying, “That’s not our problem. You have to go to the Highway Department,” and had to be repeatedly reminded that the information was being provided for background only, so the Board would understand the history of the problem. Degnen just couldn’t get it. The rest of the Board had no idea what the property was.  By the way, New York Real Property Tax Law requires the Board of Assessment Review to be familiar with the properties they are considering. They were not, which was obvious already in the Hales, Brant and Crimeni cases.

The bottom line: The New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review made all their decisions that evening, during the 4 hours they were hearing 11 case presentations, and did not adjourn to reconsider additional information, did not go into executive session to discuss any details of any property, as they should have done, did not request additional information, and refused to inspect the property. They approved 9 out of the 11 cases for reductions of between $12,000-$60,000, properties whose owners simply thought they were being taxed (Hales, Brant, Crimini) but the properties that were damaged and destroyed because of Town of New Baltimore negligence got NO CHANGE!!!

The Town of New Baltimore, the Office of the Assessor, and the Board of Assessment Review refuse to respond to inquiries or to answer communications on the subject. New Baltimore public servants at work, it seems. Any questions? You won’t get answers from Town Supervisor Mr. Jeff Ruso, Deputy Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, Highway Committee member Shelly van Etten, Sole Assessor Mr. Bennett, or Board of Assessment Review Chairperson, Donna Degnen.

The board is made up of five appointees including: Donna Degnan, Linda LeClair, Ronna Smith, Lynn Taylor, and This year, the members of the  Board of Assessment Review, chose Donna Degnen to be the chair. The fifth member, Bernard “Bernie” Jones was absent on Grievance Day.

The members of the BAR receive $200 each, and the chair, Ms Degnen, $250, with an additional $50 per meeting for meetings beyond two meetings. So that came out to about $50.00/hr for each of the members of the BAR for the 4-hour Grievance Day hearings. Degnen received an additional $50.00. Total for Grievance Day circus appearances: at least $1050.00 to give away almost $300,000 in property tax reductions, the majority of which were totally unsubstantiated if you listen to the tapes!

The Board of Assessment Review and the Office of the Sole Assessor are just as indifferent and incompetent as the Office of the Supervisor and the New Baltimore Town Board.

We have obtained the taped recordings of the proceedings of the Grievance Day hearings before the Board and can only say that the bowel sounds in a special ed class would make more sense than what we had to listen to in the tapes. Degnen was dithering and the rest seemed intent on making their presence and importance known by asking irrelevant and generally uninformed questions. None of the four Board members were familiar with any of the properties presented. Just a minute, one member, Linda LeClair, was the only member who showed any interest in the properties and the only member who had personal knowledge of a property. That’s a very poor showing.

But the Board did hear presentations on a total of 11 properties and granted reductions in 9 of them. Two properties, one literally collapsing and unusable and the other defaced by former Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan’s incompetence, were left unchanged, despite comprehensive exhibits and a clearly well-founded presentation. We think that there’s some collusion/conspiracy with the Town of New Baltimore and the BAR to avoid admitting any damage to the two properties, since, if any department or agency of the Town of New Baltimore admits the severe damage to the properties, it will cause havoc in Town Hall. Town Hall has been ignoring the damage and trying to discourage the owner from demanding compensation in their usual way, that is, let their insurance company lawyers make any court case impossibly expensive. That’s New Baltimore Town Hall at work. They ask for residents’ votes and then send them to the poorhouse when something goes wrong and the resident asks the Town to be fair and evenhanded. It’s a lousy system.

Several of the 9 reductions stand out as particularly loathsome and examples of the corruption in small town appointed committees. But first of all, let’s look at some general facts:

The assessments in New Baltimore are done on the basis of the Full Market Value and an Equalization Rate is applied. The Equalization Rate is a percentage that is applied to the Full Market Value to arrive at the assessed value. In New Baltimore this year the ER is 71.25% which means that the assessed value of properties this year is 71.25% of the Full Market Value. That’s legit in our estimation. But that’s were the legitimacy stops cold.

The total value of the properties is divided into two items: the land value and the property value (living area, etc.). The problems start with the Sole Assessor’s, Mr. Bennett’s method for determining the land value, which has absolutely no rhyme or reason and, in Bennett’s own words, the basis for determining the land value is, “Because it’s easier.” “Easier?” Yes, it’s easier to just apply a random value per acre than doing an actual calculation. It’s easier for Bennett.

Here are some examples:

In the Town of New Baltimore, Bennett has assigned land values to comparable properties as shown in the examples below:

The wide discrepancy in the Sole Assessor’s land values is one example of a huge irregularity.

The chart shows properties that are in the same area of the town, actually the Hamlet, but if you look at the land assessment, compare it to the acreage, and then to the per acre assessment, you’ll see why we are so up in arms about Bennett’s crazy assessments! They just don’t make sense! How can the land value of a property of 0.18 acre be assessed the same amount as a property of 1.03 acres, that is, a land value of $11,000??? Then have a look at the difference in the proportional value (last column) per acre!

A property on S. Main Street in New Baltimore of 0.05 acre (Total assessment: $56,700, Land assessment: $9,600) has a proportional price per acre of $192,000!!! WTF?!?!

We’ve written to Mr. Bennett several times and he refuses to answer. We’ve also complained to New Baltimore Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso about the fact that his employees and appointees refuse to answer inquiries but he’s refused to respond as well. It appears that when New Baltimore officials feel the heat of unpleasant questions, they tend to hide or ignore questions. (See Ruso’s comments regarding the resident’s letter, above.)

What’s even worse is the fact that the Board of Assessment Review was very generous in granting their friends handsome reductions, while denying reductions to touchy properties, like ones that are impaired because of Town incompetence. Here are the results of the Board’s “deliberations”:

The Board’s reductions ranged from $0 – $120,000 but there’s no logic; the stories behind the reductions are, however, very troubling. For example:

Brant is the developer who has the property on 9W, just behind the New Baltimore Family Dentistry buildings. Brant is a developer and has been planning to develop the property to put in some sort of housing project. He’s complaining because he feels his property is being overassessed. So, moneybags Brant pulls on the heart strings of the Board and they give him a reduction in assessment of $25,000.

Another property owner, Spence, is apparently interested in selling the property but wants a reduction in assessment for some reason. So the board hands Spence a reduction of $12,000.

But the worst example we have to offer from our investigations, listening to the hearing tapes, and reviewing the documents produced by the New Baltimore Board of Assessment Review and their determinations is a property owned by a downstater, Mr. Cremini and his partner:

Cremini owns a primary residence in Long Island and 2 acres in New Baltimore, where he and his partner a building a weekend home, which is livable and has electricity and water. Cremini is crying the blues because his assessment is “too” high. He pays about $8,000 in property tax on hi primary residence in Long Island and, convinced the Board that he can’t afford the taxes on his New Baltimore property. So the board reduces his assessment by $60,000!!!! Cremini lives in a primary residence on Long Island, can afford to own more than 2 acres and a house in New Baltimore, cries poverty and the Board reduces his assessment by $60,000!!! Of course, Mr. Bennett agrees.

Another property got a $12,000 reduction. Go figure.

Of course, the Board of Assessment Review doesn’t response to our inquiries regarding the reasoning behind these reductions. But our information comes from the actual tape recordings of the hearings made by the Board, and from the official Order for Change in Assessments and the so-called “minutes” of the Board’s meeting.

Got questions? New Baltimore’s got secrets and no one is talking. But these are the facts, people.

 

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 Sends “Acting Superintendent” to Highway School. Why?

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

*****

 

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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Allegation that New Baltimore Highway Super Helps Employee Avoid Drug Test

Question: Did New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways Denis Jordan Turn a Blind Eye to Drug User Employee?

Time to Wake Up, New Baltimore!
Time to Investigate!


Normally we would not publish a mere allegation sent to one of our contributors but this one is very serious. It concerns the New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways and his poor judgment and misconduct in office. It concerns endangering the public. It concerns putting public property at risk. It concerns helping a drug user evade detection.

Normally we would not publish a handwritten note from an anonymous informer but this one is different. It reports a very serious incident. It reports very serious misconduct. It reports something that is very likely true.

Normally we would not publish something like this about an alleged instance of misconduct by a public employee, an elected official, someone to whom important public works are entrusted. But this time it’s different. It concerns a public employee, an elected official who, like so many in the Capital District of New York, but especially in the Ravena-Coeymans-New Baltimore area, is dishonest, incompetent, and corrupt.


Denis Jordan to employee: “Take two weeks and clean out.”

The allegation is that New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways, Mr Denis Jordan, allowed a New Baltimore Highway Department employee to avoid taking a required drug test so that the employee, who admitted he was taking illicit, illegal drugs, could “clean up.” Jordan allegedly allowed the employee two weeks to clean up and then take the test. In the meantime, the employee was allegedly operating Highway Department trucks on public highways, putting everyone at risk. And Jordan knew this and allowed it. On retesting, the employee failed with high levels of cocaine; he was terminated. Jordan is still employed by the Town of New Baltimore.

What makes this information believable is the fact that the informant knew the contributor’s name and his address! This leads us to believe that the informant is local, and he or she may even be an employee of the Town! In fact, when we compared the postmarks on two pieces of mail, one from the Town of New Baltimore Assessor’s Office and the postmark on the anonymous note, the postmarks were almost identical, except for the dates! They apparently were mailed from the same place. Here’s the actual note our contributor received.


It might be a bit hard to read so we transcribed it for you. Here’s what the author has to say:

“Good day, [name redacted for security]:

“After reading your latest blogs regarding New Baltimore Hwy. Supt. Denis Jordan, I would like to give you some more information to look into.

“Recently a newly hired Town Highway Employee was scheduled to have a required drug test as part of his Employment. The morning of the test, said employee went to the Superintendent [Denis Jordan] and told him he could not be tested because he knew he would not pass. We are told that per the employee handbook, this is refusal to submit to a required [drug] test and the employment of said employee is to be immediately terminated. But instead, Supt. Jordan gave the employee 2 weeks to get clean, and told him he would be retested at the end of two weeks.

“At the end of the two weeks the employee went for testing [deletion] and tested positive for high levels of cocaine, and he was terminated.

“This employee [deletion] operated town equipment and drove town trucks up and down the Highway for 2 weeks under the influence of cocaine. Mr Jordan’s decision put not only the other town employees lives and safety at risk, but also each and every person he passed [deletion] on the highway for those two weeks.

“Had this employee been involved in an accident and injured [deletion] or killed an innocent person, and his blood was tested, it would have put the town of New Baltimore in deep trouble both legally and financially.

“Once again Mr Jordan has no regard for rules and regulations that are put into place.

“Rules are for everyone else but him!!”

Given the information being provided in this letter and the details, we have to admit it is pretty convincing. How would someone make this stuff up? But what is even more interesting is the depth of the details. This informant must be in a position to know these “facts” or someone close to this person is in such a position.

This is very serious, indeed. So serious that we felt we should publish it for the community to be informed of what’s going on in the Town of New Baltimore and its departments. In fact, this is so serious that we now demand an immediate investigation by the Town of New Baltimore Town Board. Furthermore, it is so serious, we demand that the New Baltimore Town Board request Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione to launch an investigation into these allegations of Mr Jordan’s latest misconduct.

“Where there’s so much smoke there has to be a wildfire!”

Two outcomes are possible: Once an investigation is launched and completed, Mr Jordan may be cleared of any wrongdoing. But that’s highly unlikely given his history. On the other hand, once the investigation is launched and completed, and Mr Jordan is found to be guilty of the alleged misconduct, we would then expect that he be immediately removed from office and charged. The list of misconduct is too long to allow Jordan to choose when he goes and then shoot the taxpayers of New Baltimore the ‘bird” as he cashes his unearned pension checks at our expense. We say: “Where there’s so much smoke there has to be a wildfire!”

We have covered a large number of cases where New Baltimore Superintendent of Highways has been shown to be incompetent, unfit for the position he holds, as well as instances of misuse of Town personnel and equipment, violations of the rules governing proper recordkeeping, continuing training, and the list goes on. The burning question is Why has he been allowed by the Town Board to continue his misconduct without having to answer to anyone?

Town of New Baltimore Town Board, Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione: It’s time to get off the pot and do something about this ongoing situation. It’s high time someone started doing their job and clean up the corruption!

If the New Baltimore Town Board doesn’t initiate some official action on this latest report, given the other information that the Town has been provided, we think a referendum should be held to remove all of the useless puppets from Town Hall. We’ll want a town hall meeting to discuss what’s been going on in the Town of New Baltimore and demand that all elected officials b be present to answer questions and to take responsibility. This includes Supervisors past and present, Highway Superintendent and Deputy, Entire Town Board, Town Justices, too! Enough already of the hanky-panky cronyism and the behind the scenes operations called “executive sessions.” We demand accountability and transparency!

Let’s Get Started, New Baltimore!

The Editor

 

 

 

Coeymans: Hopeless, Disgusting, Corrupt! Shame on you!

The final tally of the November 3, 2015, voting in the town of Coeymans, New York, is in, and the results are disturbing, but characteristic of the backwoods, backwater, backward everything town of Coeymans.

Shame on You, Coeymans Voters!
Shame on YOU, especially, Coeymans Scoff-Voters!

Despite intensive coverage. Despite exposing the facts. Despite recent history and widespread reporting of the scandals surrounding the illegal and unethical conduct and cronyism of Tom Dolan (D), Richard Touchette (D), Jim Youmans (D), and worst criminal of them all, disgraced corrupt town of Coeymans judge, Phil Crandall (D), Coeymans voters put them all in public office on November 3, 2015. Coeymans is hopeless, disgusting, corrupt. Coeymans is too stupid to even be ashamed of itself.

About 3 years ago Coeymans voters gave Touchette and Youmans the boot, only to elect that human, political garbage back into public office: Youmans back to the Coeymans town council and Touchette to the Albany county legislature. Tom Dolan, a.k.a. Dithering-Tom Dolan, despite allegations of absentee ballot tampering about 3 years ago, appears to have misused his position as director of the Ravena Choices program, a give-it-all-away benefits program for local ghetto denizens, recently misused his position to misinform the public (with the enthusiastic circus act provided by Jim Youmans) and disclose a confidential draft report from the Office of the New York State Comptroller. Wrongful abuse of his office. Despite the current attention given to bullies of all ages, Coeymans voted known bully Jim Youmans, also allegedly having an arrest record for harassing his neighbors, back into office where he can continue his harassment of town of Coeymans employees and residents, just as he is known to have done when he last deposited his bloated stench in the corridors of Coeymans town hall.

Phil Crandall was forced by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct for violations of NYS Judicial Law and discrediting the judiciary. In the agreement with the Commission, Crandall had to agree never again to run for judicial office. But that didn’t stop him from running for Coeymans town supervisor! And it didn’t stop the idiots voting in Coeymans from putting the disgraced former town justice, Crandall, who was forbidden from running for judge again, into the supervisor’s office. Now that’s a real deal! Have a corrupt, disgraced judge run the town! Does it get any better, Coeymans? Sure does! Put Tom Dolan, a local loser with a known record of corruption, and Rick Touchette, the other criminal, who got the crooked judge dumped in the first place into office, together with a known used-car salesman bully Jim Youmans. And you wonder why you’re dying, Coeymans?

What’s worse even than Dithering-Tom Dolan’s corrupt practices in the Ravena Choices program and his ballot tampering scandal, is that Dolan, an historical loser, is also chairman of the Coeymans Democrap committee and couldn’t find anything better in the manure pile known as the town of Coeymans to put on the Democrap line. So he had to recycle the available garbage, Crandall, Youmans, Touchette and, of course, Dolan himself. Are the pickings that slim in the town of Coeymans?

Coeymans goes beyond “Shame” !
You’ve really outdone yourselves in stupidity this time!

Coeymans Pumps Raw Sewerage into the Supervisor’s Office and the Town Board!!!
Brilliant Coeymans!


Coming up next: How many dead people and non-residents were included in New Baltimore’s absentee ballots? Will an illiterate, town employee’s ballot be counted (it’s signed in the “witness” space but not signed where the “voter” should have signed)? Will a Democrap judge rule in favor of the idiot? The town employee was apparently not absent but will have to prove that she was absent on November 3rd. And Why?, Mr George Acker, did only about half of Independence party voters show up at the polls on November 3rd?


 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2015 in 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Public Office, AFL-CIO, Albany, Albany County Board of Elections, Albany County Legislature, Arlene McKeon, Bill Bailey, Bitter Bob (Ross), Bob Krug, Bob Ross, Bonnie Krug, Burning the Constitution, Capital District, Carver Companies, Carver Construction, Carver Laraway, Catherine Deluca, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Chris Norris, Christopher Norris, Coeymans, Coeymans Losers Club, Coeymans Town Board, Coeymans Town Justice, Conflict of Interest, Corrupt Judge, Corruption, Cut-and-Paste Joan, Dan McCoy, Daniel McCoy, David Louis, Democrap, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, Diane Louis, Dick Touchette, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Elected Official, George Acker, George Amedore, Gerald Deluca, Gregory Darlington, Harold Warner, Hudson Valley, Incompetence, Independence Party, Indifference, Irregularities, Voting, Irresponsibility, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Jerry Deluca, Jim Youmans, Joan Ross, John B. Johnson, John Luckacovic, Johnson Newspaper Group, Mark Vinciguerra, Matt "the Mutt", Matt Miller, Matt Miller, Matthew J. Miller, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New York, New York State, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, New York State Election Law, New York State United Teachers, News Herald, Nita Chmielewski, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, NYSUT, Official Misconduct, Pete Lopez, Peter Masti, Peter Masti, Phil Crandall, Phillip Crandall, Port of Coeymans, Public Office, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena News Herald, RCS Central School District, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert Krug, Scofflaw, Selkirk, Smalbany, Small Town, Stephen Flach, Stifling Freedom, Stupidity, TCI, Teachers Union, Thomas E. Dolan, Tom Dolan, Tom Dolan, Tony Walsh, Town Council, Town of Coeymans, Town Supervisor, United Federation of Teachers, Voting Irregularities, William Bailey, William Misuraca

 

They ran promising transparency and accountability. New Baltimore and Ravena: Check is in the mail.

tyrant_croppedVillage of Ravena

Many of us have experienced the hell of trying to get the village of Ravena to cough up public access information using the so-call F.O.I.L. (Freedom of Information Law) process established under the New York State Public Officers Law. Nancy Warner and her minions, Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki. It was bad under the Bruno tyranny but not much has changed. They manage to either delay indefinitely, to forget, or to refuse to produce the information requested. Seems it doesn’t bother them that they are violating citizens’ rights to public information or that they are breaking the law.

Our recommendation to the resident who received Nancy Warner’s unprofessional and illicit e-mail: Tell Ms Warner she has no authority to have written any email addressing the resident’s specific inquiry. She is not a sitting member of any committee competent to respond nor is she in any official position to represent the village board on her own. She was out of order and out of bounds when she responded, and the resident should tell her in no uncertain terms that has no authority to have addressed the e-mail to the resident. In other words, the resident should tell Ms Warner to place her broad bottom on the sharp end of a tack; sit on it.

Nancy Warner's Handling of Resident Inquiries How the Village of Ravena Responds to F.O.I.L. Requess

Nancy Warner’s Handling of Resident Inquiries
How the Village of Ravena Responds to F.O.I.L. Requests

Nor does it seem to bother them that they took oaths to serve the public, obey the law and to protect the Constitution. Mayor “Mouse” Misuraca is the village F.O.I.L. appeals officer, which means that he’s the one you have to rely on to overrule Nancy Warner and her sock puppets, Demitraszek and Biernacki, but he’s just a low-key kinda guy, not a hands-on leader. So that means you’re not getting your information.

We are fortunate to have received from one of our readers a recent e-mail received from Nancy Warner that clearly illustrates how she despises citizen’s rights and how she thinks she is servant to no one, least of all a resident of Ravena, and how snotty she responds to a resident’s inquires. Here’s what she writes:

Since I have a Village email address I suggest you use that when you send any emails to me regarding Village matters. I will not respond to any Village emails that come to any other address except that one.

With that said, I will address this one final time. You have had your unit situation for [redacted] Main Street explained to you, both in person & in writing, on several occasions dating back as far as when I was the Deputy Clerk-Treasurer for the Village. The Clerk’s office, the Mayor’s office & the Building Dept have all addressed this issue with you.

As far as I am concerned this matter is closed and no further discussion will be entertained by me. Please stop wasting the taxpayer’s money & the office staff’s valuable time by requesting information via FOIL that you have been given repeatedly.

Nancy Warner's Motto

Nancy Warner’s Motto

Well, Nancy Warner, we have reviewed the documents you and your office produced in response to the resident’s F.O.I.L. demands and what you and your “office staff” produced was rubbish, incomplete, and unintelligible in terms of responsible recordkeeping. While that didn’t surprise us in the least, we do have to remind you that you are a public servant, elected by some strange quirk of fate, and you don’t have choices in most of your duties and responsibilities. It’s not your little playpen, Nancy! (Your little pigpen, the Ravena Health and Fitness Center has been defunded, remember?)

As to your statement that you won’t respond: It is your duty and obligation to respond to any citizen’s or resident’s inquiries. You don’t have a choice, Nancy. If the resident pees his/her request in the snow and you read it it’s your duty and obligation to respond. So stop your arrogant twaddle, biatch! You’ll respond and you’ll like it!

What’s more, you’ll respond as many times as necessary. If a citizen or resident asks the same thing again it’s obvious you didn’t respond adequately in the first place. So you respond until the citizen or resident is satisfied he/she understands your explanation. That’s your duty and responsibility.

You make the big mistake of referring to the time when you were Deputy Clerk-Treasurer for the Village of Ravena

As a matter of fact, you make the big mistake of referring to the time when you were Deputy Clerk-Treasurer for the Village. That was a big mistake because most of the criminal activity and the poor recordkeeping began on YOUR WATCH, Nancy Warner! We’ve seen some of the garbage you have passed off as responses and documentation and it’s would make a third-grader look like a Philadelphia lawyer. Get with the program, Missy! You’re a public servant.

As far as you’re “concerned this matter is closed and no further discussion will be entertained by me” is totally incorrect. The matter isn’t closed because you want it to be. Not by a long shot. It’s closed when the matter is rectified, when the problem resolved. Who in hell do you think you are to tell a citizen or resident that you won’t entertain a citizen’s requests?

Cathy Deluca and her pigpenWhere'd the funding go, little piggies?

Cathy Deluca and her pigpen
Where’d the funding go, little piggies?

But the part of your e-mail, Ms Witch-on-a-Stick Nancy Warner is when you tell the resident to “please stop wasting the taxpayer’s money & the office staff’s valuable time.” That statement alone shows what a vile hypocrite you really are. But it also had to be the funniest statement you’ve made in your entire misspent life, but especially the stupidest statement you could have possibly have made as a trustee of the village of Ravena, a trustee who cannot be trusted to do what’s right for the people of Ravena, and the very trustee of the village of Ravena who ensured that her girlfriend, Cathy Deluca, got her own playpen (the “pigpen“) at taxpayer expense, the very trustee who spearheaded spending more than $40,000 on used fitness equipment from one of your insider friends, and the very untrusworthy trustee who ensured that the failed and now defunded Ravena Health and Fitness Center (a.k.a. Cathy’s pigpen), run into the ground by your girlfriend Cathy Deluca at taxpayer expense, got funded for two years, sending more than $200,000 of Ravena taxpayer dollars down the sewers. You should have thought of not wasting taxpayer money and office staff’s valuable time when you were doing your own damage to the village of Ravena, Nancy Warner!

Resident to Nancy Warner: Follow these directions!

Resident to Nancy Warner: Follow these directions:
Take a walk!


New Baltimore

They ran promising transparency and accountability. What they are delivering is clear as mud and just as helpful.

Saved by the SmartPhone: What the Supervisor, Deputy Supervisor and a Greene County Sheriffs deputy apparently can’t see, the camera can! No denying that town of New Baltimore supervisor Nick Delisanti, sidekick “deputy supervisor” Jeff Ruso and a Greene County sheriff’s deputy really need to get their eyes — and ears — examined. And town of New Baltimore voters need to get their heads examined for electing this bunch of fruitcakes.

The situation: A public street in the National Historic District, Madison Avenue East, was blocked by a private contractor for extended periods on April 24 and 25, preventing access to the one-way street and the one-way streets connecting to it. No early notice of the closure was provided to residents on those streets. No signs were posted indicating safe detours. No flagmen were positioned to ensure safety. Residents had to navigate the one-way streets in the wrong direction to reach their homes. While going the wrong way on one-way streets the residents were at risk of accident and liability, not to mention ticketing should law enforcement have to investigate. Construction trucks were also using the streets. The town of New Baltimore was contacted regarding this unlawful and dangerous situation.

After several back-and-forth emails and several reminders, a New Baltimore Resident finally gets some answers, if you can call them answers. Here’s an example of New Baltimore town Supervisor’s responses to the resident’s questions regarding unlawful blocking of a public street in New Baltimore. These are the questions and Dellisanti’s answers.

Question: Was the town of New Baltimore notified of the tree removal operations?
Delisanti’s answer: No
Question: Is a permit required for such operations when they affect public transit?
Delisanti’s answer: Yes, block parties, parades, & street fairs.
Question: Is a permit required for operations that require closure of a public roadway?
Delisanti’s answer: Yes, block parties, parades, & street fairs.
Question: Is a permit required for redirecting traffic on a public roadway for private purposes?
Delisanti’s answer: Contact the Greene County Sheriffs office
Question: If a permit was required, was one applied for?
Delisanti’s answer: N/A
Question: If a permit was applied for and issued, when will the permit be available for inspection?
Delisanti’s answer: N/A
Question: What safety or monitoring precautions were provided by the town of New Baltimore during this operation?
Delisanti’s answer: Contact the Greene County Sheriffs office.
Question: If a permit were required and none was applied for and, consequently, none issued, what are the intentions of the town of New Baltimore to follow up on this matter?
Delisanti’s answer: N/A
Between those questions and receipt of the answers, the resident sent 4 other questions:
Question: Has anyone from the town visited the concerned area, specifically, has anyone from the town board or the Highway Department visited the area.
Delisanti’s answer: Yes, both Jeff Ruso & I went to the site; Deputy Superintendent Scott VanWormer went there after he finished with a multi – alarm fire on 9W in Coxsackie; he asked the contractor if any residents complained that the road was blocked & he said no; Scott asked him to open the road and he did.
Question: Has anyone from the town made inquiries as to who is doing the work and blocking off the streets, specifically, has anyone from the town board or the Highway Department made such inquiries since my initial notification?
Delisanti’s answer: Contractor was Jay Biel
Question: Has the town undertaken to involve law enforcement to investigate or to provide safety support during the operations going on on Madison Avenue East and in view of the traffic obstructions and diversions?
Delisanti’s answer: I had the Greene County Deputy Sheriff respond to Madison Ave East at 9:10am on 4/25.  The Deputy Sheriff reported back that the trees and limbs were down & the road was open.
Question: What documentation is being kept of any response to any of my questions.
Delisanti’s answer: I have all of your e-mails & my responses on file.
After having received those remarkable responses the resident writes:
I’m sure that you can appreciate that the qualities of diligence, conscientiousness, honesty, integrity, and thoroughness are high on the list of qualities we might seek, expect in leaders. The fact that you state that you have all of my emails on file but manage to respond to a mere fraction of the questions posed does not bode well for your overall score 😉
So, New Baltimore residents, go on out and close your streets down, it’s legal in New Baltimore — at least according to your town of New Baltimore supervisor, Mr Nick Dellisanti. But don’t have all of those street fairs, parades, or block parties without getting a permit. Remember all those New Baltimore street fairs, parades and block parties we have so many of. DUH! And we understand there’s going to be a new local tax in New Baltimore, the Supervisor’s Vision Surcharge, which will be used for the town of New Baltimore supervisor’s and deputy-supervisor’s vision exams and corrective lenses to help them see construction trucks and traffic cones, providing, of course, they go down to inspect during normal work hours, before the workmen take off for the day.
GET A PAIR

GET A PAIR

And what’s this crappola about “Contact the Greene County Sheriffs office“? What’s that steaming pile of BS, Mr Dellisanti? Madison Avenue East is a town of New Baltimore roadway, your responsibility first, your highway department’s responsibility first, NOT THE GREENE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT’S!!! If anyone has to contact the Greene County Sheriff’s office it’s YOU, Mr Dellisanti! Get with the program. If you want to be supervisor and board member, start doing the job!
Speaking of doing the job. We understand New Baltimore Town Clerk Barbara Finke is again out of the office, on vacation for a month in Italy. Wasn’t there some talk about regular business hours for the New Baltimore Town Clerk and availability of the Town Clerk during those business hours? Seems Ms Finke is absent from the TC’s office more than she’s in; she’s taken more time off than she’s spend in the office. But wasn’t that the battle cry of the current New Baltimore town board and supervisor when Ms Brooks was town clerk? Seems the pot was calling the kettle black. But Mr Dellisanti’s motto is “Republicans appoint republicans.” And we’re not very happy when we feel we’ve been lied to. (We’ll be asking for Ms Finke’s attendance records by the FOIL process soon.)

Mr Jordan’s department couldn’t cough up enough documentation to choke a flea

And as for Mr Denis Jordan, New Baltimore town Highway Supervisor. He’s on vacation, too. But some time ago we learned that a laptop computer was purchased by the town of New Baltimore for Mr Jordan, to help him do his work. Well, it’s obviously not being used to keep records because in a recent response to a Freedom of Information Law demand for information, Mr Jordan’s department couldn’t cough up enough to choke a flea. So what’s Jordan using that computer for, anyway. We don’t expect anyone in New Baltimore Town Hall to know the answer to that one; after all, Jordan and town hall aren’t on speaking terms since the town board demanded their versions of transparency and accountability.

welcome-to-new baltimore

The Camera Doesn’t Lie

(but maybe the supervisor, deputy supervisor and a sheriff’s deputy do have a problem with truth-telling)

We’ve done a slideshow of the photos of the situation for your amusement:

For two days, Friday, April 24, 2015, and Saturday, April 25, 2015, a New Baltimore resident in the National Historic District was communicating with town of New Baltimore Supervisor Nick Dellisanti, and attempting to communicate with town of New Baltimore town clerk, Barbara Fink, about the fact that on those two days the one-way street Madison Avenue East was cordoned off with traffic cones, and on Saturday, in addition to the traffic cones, a large dump truck with an equipment trailer was blocking the street. This was obviously not town work being done, and it was not just closing the street for a reasonable time but for most of the day.

It was obvious that some trees were being taken down but what was also obvious was that there were no signs directing traffic, no flagmen, no safety precautions whatsoever. This was private elective work being done by a private contractor, and so the obvious questions that popped up was: Was the town of New Baltimore administration aware of this? Are these people authorized to close a public street and to redirect traffic. If so do they have a permit authorizing them to do so? Why were residents not informed? Who was liable for residents having to travel the wrong way on one-way streets for the two days, that being the only way they could get to their homes? We think it was reasonable to ask such questions and to get some clear, unabiguous answers from town supervisor Dellisanti or one of his minions. We were wrong.

The resident first fired off an e-mail to the town of New Baltimore clerk, Ms Barbara Finke, copying town supervisor Nick Dellisanti. The email reads:

Dear Clerk:
 Today, on April 24, 2015, tree removal on the Northeast, corner of Rt 144 and Madison Avenue East, the Boyd property, has been going on since this morning.
 On return from an appointment I found that Madison Avenue East was closed and blocked off with traffic cones, preventing access to New Street. In order to access New Street and home, I had to drive opposite to the direction of one way traffic on either Madison Avenue East or on New Street. There were obvious liability, safety, not to mention legal considerations when doing this.
 I have several questions that require answers immediately:
 (1) Was the town of New Baltimore notified of the tree removal operations?
(2) Is a permit required for such operations when they affect public transit?
(3) Is a permit required for operations that require closure of a public roadway?
(4) Is a permit required for redirecting traffic on a public roadway for private purposes?
(5) If a permit was required, was one applied for?
(6) If a permit was applied for and issued, when will the permit be available for inspection?
(7) What safety or monitoring precautions were provided by the town of New Baltimore during this operation?
(8) If a permit were required and none was applied for and, consequently, none issued, what are the intentions of the town of New Baltimore to follow up on this matter?
Thank you for your a.s.a.p. response.
Please confirm receipt of my below message.
Thank you!
Supervisor Dellisanti wrote back:
“I am in receipt of your e-mail and will get back to you as soon as I get the answers to your questions. Barb Finke is on vacation this week, so I will get back to you.
Nick Dellisanti “
The resident hadn’t heard from Dellisanti but at around 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, 2015, reported to Dellisanti:
“Good morning:
“Again, today, on April 25, 2015, at 7:30 a.m. the street is blocked by traffic cones on the Madison Avenue East/Rt 144 one-way end. There are no signs, no flagmen, no indications of detours. The only access to Madison Avenue and New Street is opposite to the posted one-way traffic.
Since I have not heard from you since my timely notification of April 24, 2015, and your response that you would get the answers to the questions I made, I have several additional questions that I would like addressed:
1) Has anyone from the town visited the concerned area, specifically, has anyone from the town board or the Highway Department visited the area.
2) Has anyone from the town made inquiries as to who is doing the work and blocking off the streets, specifically, has anyone from the town board or the Highway Department made such inquiries since my initial notification?
3) Has the town undertaken to involve law enforcement to investigate or to provide safety support during the operations going on on Madison Avenue East and in view of the traffic obstructions and diversions?
4) What documentation is being kept of any response to any of my questions.
I have photographs of the situation if you require them.
I may take the opportunity to have my observations published and to address the New Baltimore town board on this issue after having announced the presentation.
 Looking forward to a satisfactory explanation for this situation.”
Did they or didn't they need a permit to block the street for two days?

Did they or didn’t they need a permit to block the street for two days?

Following that, Dellisanti writes back:

whacky weed necklace
“Good morning. As an update, yesterday I contacted our Highway Department. Superintendent Jordan is out of town, but his deputy, Scott VanWormer said he is not aware of any permits that the homeowner is required to get from the town. I am still waiting for a response from our building inspector , and I’ve contacted the Deputy Sheriff to make an inspection this morning. 
“As soon as I get a report from the Deputy Sheriff, I will get back to you.
“Nick Dellisanti “
and
“At 9:10am the Deputy Sheriff reported to me that the tree job is complete and the road is open. 
Deputy Supervisor Ruso did stop by last night and he did say that the road was open and wood was piled up on the homeowners lawn.
“Thank you,
“Nick Dellisanti”
To which, the now perturbed, that is, pissed off resident replies:
Well, Nick, it appears the town of New Baltimore administration has fallen flat on its arse…again. You guys operate expecting to see the Easter Bunny and see Santa Claus instead, then concluding that there’s no Easter Bunny. You guys may not get it but it’s a matter of timing! You have to look for the Easter Bunny at Easter; if you look in December, you’re likely to see Santa Claus.
The question is not to investigate after the incident! You investigate when the incident is reported. If that’s how local law enforcement is going to perform, we need some changes, maybe starting with the Greene County Sheriff! Another example: When the burglary is reported we expect law enforcement to respond, not to react the day after and report that they found that no one was in the building, then concluding there was no intruder and hence no burglary. Do you follow this line of reasoning?
The point is that on two days the road was blocked off. I posed some very specific questions that I want answered; not a piss-poor report like “Well the dog was not barking when I drove by on Sunday while inspecting the parks.” (Remember that one?) Or Mr Tanner’s famous one, “I went by x times butt didn’t see a dog or hear any barking when I drove by. You’ll have to sign a complaint.” Well, when Mr Tanner finishes his shift with the DOT and just happens to drive by, it’s likely he may not find the dog outside because the owners are home from their outing!!!!
I’m getting the impression that the current New Baltimore town board elected last year is a one-term group; actually I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a one-term group judging by some of the performance. I can only work with what you hand me, Nick.
Excuses or explanations for not being able to respond like the Highway Super is on vacation or the Clerk is on vacation or ‘The lights are on but nobody’s home” does not speak well for performance. From my office window, I still see people driving up Madison Avenue East the wrong way on the one-way street. Can you tell me what’s wrong with this picture? Give it a shot. I know you can figure it out.
Please answer my specific questions and I’ll take it from there. Or don’t answer my specific questions and I’ll take it from there.
Wishing you all the best,
No sooner had the resident hit the send key than he observed several vehicles moving up Madison Avenue East going the wrong way on the one way street; several of these were residents. The only conclusion to be drawn was that they could not get down Madison Avenue East. So what’s Dellisanti and his sheriff’s deputy talking about one wonders? The resident writes:
“No sooner said than done!
The white stump removal telescope truck just drove the wrong way up Madison Avenue East!!!!
Now, that[‘s] safety in the National Historic District!
I really need better answers from you, Nick.
Thanks very much.
followed by:
“At 1:18 p.m., Madison Avenue East in the National Historic District is still blocked by traffic cones and a large trailer/dump truck apparently used to transport excavation equipment. There are no detour signs, no flagmen. Residents are being observed traveling up the wrong way on the one-way streets. What precautions are being taken to control/monitor this situation and to safeguard the safety and liabilities of residents being forced to find alternate routes, forced to ignore traffic safety postings, and forced into potential liability situations?”
and then by:
“The report you allegedly received from the deputy sheriff is grossly incorrect. This is obvious by the continuing work being done, the heavy equipment blocking Madison Avenue East and the traffic cones. Please provide the name of the deputy sheriff providing you with the grossly inaccurate report and the source of the information he received and reported to you.”
and finally by:
“Did Mr Ruso expect, when he stopped by “last night” that the workmen and the equipment would still be there? A bit idiotic, I’d say. They usually quite at around 4:30 or earlier, similar to most such occupations on a Friday. They returned on Saturday morning at around 8:30.”
This is an example of the kind of runaround a resident gets when there is clearly a problem in the Hamlet. There’s a sort of imbecilic reasoning going on in the heads of members of the town of New Baltimore board members and officers — and these characters were elected to replace the last bunch of fruitcakes — that qualify them for what the pestilence of New Baltimore, Cut-and-Paste Joan R., calls “Newbaltimorons.”
high on whacky weed

Dellisanti, Ruso: No obstruction on Madison Avenue East. Hey, man! Did you see that flying pink bison just go by? Freaky, man!

 So the message the town of New Baltimore supervisor Dellisanti and his “deputy supervisor” Jeff Ruso, together with the statement of “deputy” highway superintendent Scott VanWormer is that you can block hamlet streets whenever you like for as long as you like and you don’t need a permit. Furthermore, you can do it and the New Baltimore town supervisor Nick Dellisanti will send his “deputy supervisor” as some time during the night to verify that there’s no obstruction, and they’ll send a sheriff’s deputy who will report that there’s no work going on and the street’s clear. The real message is that we have either a bunch of pathological liars or psychopaths totally separated from reality occupying New Baltimore town hall and the Greene County Sheriff’s substation in the town hall. Either that or they think that residents in New Baltimore are either abysmally stupid or smoking whacky-weed and hallucinating. Whichever the real situation is, it is grave indeed for New Baltimore.
Give us a freakin' break, Dellisanti!The Editor You know, Nick, the one who's holding your feet to the fire.

Give us a freakin’ break, Dellisanti!
The Editor
You know, Nick, the one who’s holding your feet to the fire.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2015 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Public Office, AFSCME, Albany, Albany County Civil Service, Albany County Civil Service Department, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Annette Demitraszek, Annette Demitraszek, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Barbara Cumm, Barbara Finke, Bill Bailey, Bitter Bob (Ross), Bob Freeman, Bob Ross, Bryan Rowzee, Capital District, Carver Companies, Carver Companies, Carver Construction, Carver Laraway, Catherine Deluca, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Chris Gibson, Chris Gibson, Chris Norris, Christopher Norris, Civil Right Violation, Coeymans, Coeymans Industrial Park, Coeymans Town Board, Committee on Open Government, Conspiracy, Corruption, Craig D. Apple Sr., David Soares, Denis Jordan, Diane Jordan, Diane Louis, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Eric Hoglund, Eric T. Schneiderman, F.O.I.L., Freedom of Information Law, George Amedore, Government, Greene County, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County IDA, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory R. Seeley, Henry Traver, Hudson Valley, Incompetence, Irresponsibility, Janet Brooks, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, Joel Coye, John Luckacovic, John T. Bruno, Keith Mahler, Kris Biernacki, Kristine Biernacki, Kristine Biernacki, Larry Conrad, Mary Ellen Rosato, Mayor "Mouse", Mayor "Mouse" Misuraca, Mayor Bruno, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misinformation, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Moose Misuraca, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York, New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Nick Dellisanti, P. David Soares, Paul Tonko, Pete Lopez, Port of Coeymans, Public Corruption, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District, Ravena Elections, Ravena Health and Fitness Center, Robert Fisk, Robert J. Freeman, Selkirk, Smalbany, Small Town, Stephen Flach, TCI, Town Supervisor, Transparency, Village Clerk, William Bailey, William Misuraca, William Misuraca

 

Why Ravena Village Hall Thumbs Their Noses at the Pubic Officers Law…

The legislature’s purpose in enacting the New York State Freedom of Information Law, PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW, ARTICLE 6 SECTIONS 84-90 FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW reads:

“The people’s right to know the process of governmental decision-making and to review the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality. The legislature therefore declares that government is the public’s business and that the public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government in accordance with the provisions of this article.”

We Have A Right To Know!

foiled

And they have to tell us! It’s the LAW!

Click on Logo to Read About the NYS FOI Law

Click on Logo to Read About the NYS F.O.I. Law

We all know this section of the Public Officers Law as the F.O.I.L. for short, and some of us who have a need or a desire to know the facts behind what our government is doing take full advantage of the legislature’s intent to ensure that the public is informed.

The problem is this: some of our public servants and local government employees do not want us to know what’s going on and so they are constantly placing speed bumps along the information highway. They sometimes stonewall when responding; they sometimes respond in excess by throwing everything but the kitchen sink in the works and then charging twenty-five cents a page for copying it (a form of passive retaliation); they produce as little as possible making it necessary to submit requests again and again (hoping that you’ll get frustrated and stop), or they simply lie and say they don’t have anything you’re requesting. And then they say they’ve contacted Mr Robert Freeman of the Committee on Open Government and he told them they didn’t have to respond.

The seeds of corruption are still in Ravena village hall, right under Mayor Jelly-Fish Moose Misuraca's bulbous nose!He never cleaned house! Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki, and Nancy Warner are still doing their voodoo!

The seeds of corruption are still in Ravena village hall, right under Mayor Jelly-Fish Moose Misuraca’s bulbous nose!
He never cleaned house! Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki, and Nancy Warner are still doing their voodoo!

Sound familiar. It should. Because Ravena, that model of small town corruption and wickedness has used all of those avoidance techniques and others to prevent residents from finding out what they’re doing in village hall. And Mr Robert Freeman, an employee in the New York Department of State, who heads the Committee on Open Government (COOG) and makes a complete farce of the F.O.I.L., takes Ravena’s calls, listens to their fairytales, and tells them they don’t have to disclose. It never occurs to Freeman that the village of Ravena clerks have been lying to him and manipulating him for years; that’s assuming he even cares, since he’s a fixture in state government and gets paid no matter whom he screws over. —He’ll do his damage, retire, and continue sucking up taxpayer dollars. He’s a parasite.—

What’s worse is that unlike the town clerks, the village clerks are appointed not elected. What does that mean to us residents? Well, you see, Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki, the current village of Ravena clerks, were appointed by the former mummy-mayor John Bruno and his sidekick hatchet-woman Nancy Warner. Now that Bruno is out, Warner is still there keeping her loyal minions under control and terrorized.  Bruno ran the village offices by strong-arming people and Warner was his sidekick, and made certain everyone played the game or got fired. So it is that Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki survived in village hall because they knew how to take orders and play the game. Even with the election of jellyfish William “Moose” Misuraca and his majority on the village council, he hasn’t made many changes—he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on and even if he did he probably wouldn’t have the brains to do anything about it, and Nancy Warner is still there running the show, calling the shots, and oiling the internal workings, which includes running Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki.

Remember also that Nancy Warner and Cathy Deluca are bosom buddies, and Nancy Warner was instrumental in creating the Ravena Health and Fitness Center and handing it over to Cathy Deluca. As long as Nancy Warner is between the axe and the Ravena Health and Fitness Center (Cathy Deluca’s playpen), it’s going to be hard to eliminate both the RHFC and Deluca—but very possible.

So let’s look at a real-life scenario where a resident requests disclosure of information on Guess what? Yup, the Ravena Health and Fitness Center (abbreviated RHFC) by submitting a Freedom of Information Law request for information. The request is for information on the income and finances and monthly figures on memberships of the RHFC. Another request was for the costs for the Ravena Centennial Celebration and how many tickets were sold and how many tickets were given away. All of this information is public access but not in Ravena.

Nancy Warner Clutching Her Chest

Nancy Warner Clutching Her Chest

So the resident submits the requests and Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki get it first. They then go to Nancy Warner to ask her what she wants done with it. Nancy Warner goes pale, clutches her chest, seems to be having an orgasm, and then calls Cathy Deluca who it just happens is the manager of the RHFC, and just happens to be the chairperson and organizer of the Ravena Centennial Celebration. Deluca, when she hears the news, like Nancy Warner, goes pale, clutches her chests, and has an orgasm. Their response: No way! José! We can’t let anyone with half of a brain have any of that stuff; it’ll send us all to Albany County Jail! They have to find a way to refuse to disclose the information, after all it’s a week before elections, and if this stuff gets out, they and anyone connected with them are dead in the water (Right, Tom Dolan?)!

Deluca after the orgasm

Cathy Deluca after the Orgasm

So they cook up some lame-brain excuse why they can’t or won’t provide the documents:

  • You have not picked up previous documents and paid the $4.25.
  • You have not picked up previous documents and paid the $19.00

But both are clear evidence of Annette Demitraszek’s and Kristine Biernacki’s stupidity, and how Nancy Warner doesn’t care how stupid she makes her underlings look, as long as they can prevent the information getting out to the public! (Well, you don’t think for a minute that former Ravena mayor John Bruno or Nancy Warner appointed people who wouldn’t follow orders, do you? And if they weren’t complete slaves to Bruno and Warner, how long do you think they would last? So of course they’re not going to rock the boat or do anything to piss Nancy Warner off, they’d be history. So like the greedy rodents they are, Demitraszek and Biernacki stay cogs in the machine, violate the law, and stay employed in village hall.)

In the first case, Nancy Warner, through Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki, first refused to produce documents requested way back in July 2013 first writing:

“Please be advised that your request for legal services payments does not reasonably describe records in our possession because our vouchers are fiiled in chronological order not by subject.”

If anyone can make sense out of that illiterate statement we’d be grateful for a translation! So what! You can’t find your documents? Or you won’t look for the documents? But that didn’t work very well so they tried this:

“This is to acknowledge receipt of your demand for disclosure dated July 9, 2013 and to inform you that it has been forwarded to the appropriate department.  We are expecting to grant your request in whole or in part by July 23.”

“Forwarded to the appropriate department”? How many departments are there in village hall? It’s the clerk/treasurer who has the requested documents! And its the clerk/treasurer who is forwarding the F.O.I.L. demand to the “appropriate department”? Now which department could that have been, we wonder? Could it have been the Department of Mayor Bruno’s Office (he was still in office at the time) or the Department of Nancy Warner?

So when that lame and transparent attempt to stonewall failed, they then wrote back:

We have been informed by COOG [Committee on Open Government, Bob Freeman] that the complexity of the issues involved in determining whether the materials fall within one of the exceptions to disclosure on item #1-3 will take a significant amount of time.  They advised us to give you a time frame of 90 to 120 days, which would put us into the fall.

The couldn’t squirm out of having to comply so they claim the COOG “informed” them that the “complexity” of the issues would take a “significant amount of time”. What issues could they be, Nancy Warner? Your corruption and thieving? How complex can the issues be? The requester wanted documents that any normal office would have in a filing cabinet ready to go. But the issues are really complex when you consider the corruption under the Bruno administration; they’re still pretty complex, it seems, under the Misuraca administration. Misuraca ran under the slogan “Change!” but only the faces changed, the corruption is still there. When the village of Ravena refused to respond to the FOIL requests, the requester then filed a Notice of Claim, required before filing a lawsuit against the village, and when they didn’t respond by scheduling a hearing to safeguard their rights—rather the rights of Ravena taxpayers and residents, who will have to pay the lawyers and pay for the village’s defense—, the requester then wrote:

“Dear Clerk:
On or about August 15, 2013, the village of Ravena was served with a Notice of Claim by my agent for violations of the NYS F.O.I.L.
As of today’s date, I have not been served with notice of the 50-h hearing date nor with written notice from the village of Ravena to the effect that the village of Ravena waives its right to said 50-h hearing.
Please advise in writing of the village of Ravena’s intentions before lapse of the 90 period allowed for exercising the municipality’s right to 50-h prior to filing my suit at law.
I will not accept e-mail notification of the village of Ravena’s intentions.”

It's Enough to Make a Rat Blush!

It’s Enough to Make a Rat Blush!

The village of Ravena did not respond and did not take advantage of the opportunity to hold the hearing to gather facts about the claim. In other words, they failed to protect their rights and to safeguard the rights of Ravena taxpayers! Why would they do that? you might well ask? Because they were not going to let the information get out there before the 2013 elections knowing how it would incriminate the Bruno administration! They lost anyway.

Coconspirators & Losers: Nancy'Warner's Former Team.

Co-conspirators & Losers: Nancy Warner’s Former Team. Losers: Rocco Persico, John Bruno, Martin Case

But the resident still has time to file the lawsuit against Ravena—and we have information that s/he will file the lawsuit in federal court because the case also involves violations of federal law—adding that to the current violations of the Public Officers Law.

You see, normally the documents responding to a FOIL request can be provided almost immediately when the offices keep their records in order or are not afraid to let the information out. Twenty days after a request is considered fair. But 120 days after a request for a small operation like Ravena is downright ridiculous and is such a glaring attempt to conceal that they’re sure to lose a lawsuit! Who in their right mind would want the information so late anyway? It’s deader than dead, staler than stale!

You see, in that case, Warner’s stonewalling actually kept the responder from actually getting the information for the purposes s/he needed it. Would you have paid $4.25 for something useless, 120 days (4 months) after you needed it? Well, as it turns out, there were other ways to get the message out and that’s what happened. The Result: Bruno, Persico, Case, all Warner’s allies on the village council, got their walking papers in the November 2013 elections. The lesson dumbass bimbos like Nancy Warner should have learned is that they can’t keep the truth from getting out with crooked tactics. The Truth will get out.

As for the second lame-brain excuse for not producing the documents in response to the most recent request about the membership figures and income for the RHFC and the accounting for the Ravena Centennial Celebration, Demitraszek’s and Biernacki’s stupidity is again glaringly obvious!

In this case they claim that they assembled the requested documents and copied them but the requester never picked up the copies. Well, if they had read the original request — assuming those bimbos can read — they would have read:

“Please notify this requester when the documents responding to this request have been assembled. The requestor will then make an appointment to review said documents, and request that copies be made of any documents deemed to be sufficiently responsive.

“And you will certainly have noted our remark in that same e-mail:

If you proceeded to make copies of documents you presumed to be responsive, it seems you may have failed to read the demand in its entirety.”

Ravena's Jellyfish Mayor

Ravena’s Jellyfish Mayor

So Demitraszek and Biernacki made a mistake, didn’t read the clear instructions in the FOIL demand and now are trying to turn things around and use their error to avoid producing the documents requested in the most recent request! Congratulations, Ravena! Your new mayor, monkey-mayor William “Moose the Jellyfish” Misuraca, never cleaned house and now has John T. Bruno’s rodents, Nancy Warner, Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki still doing their voodoo in village hall. Actually, it’s Nancy Warner protecting her partner-in-crime Cathy Deluca and their illegal money pit, the Ravena Health and Fitness Center. But the writing is on the wall: The Ravena Health and Fitness Center, Cathy Deluca’s illegal playpen, the moneypit that is losing money and sucking up taxpayer dollars to the tune of more than $105,000 plus, is on the chopping block. If Misuraca doesn’t cut that scandalous money pit from the Ravena village budget for 2015, he and his village council deserve to be tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail!

An so the, street talk is that Nancy Warner is not going to embarass herself by running for Ravena trustee again; she’s sure to lose the election — and if her husband, Ravena village court parasite, Harold “Hal” Warner, corrupt ex-Albany cop who was condemned to a desk job in Albany for his civil rights abuses, of course later made a village justice so he could continue his abuses of civil rights — thinks he’s going to be re-elected, he’s dumber than we had previously thought. Back to Nancy Warner: So she has to do her damnedest to keep things rolling for at least another year for her protegée Cathy Deluca. But even so, Nancy Warner will still retire from village hall with a pension; she may get to keep all she managed to pilfer and still collect taxpayer dollars. She’s a parasite and we’ll still be paying her when she’s gone, unless we get her, Bruno, and their cronies convicted, and punished for their crimes against this community for more than 25 years! Same is true of that parasite bottle-blond bimbo Cathy Deluca!

But we see through their cheap tricks and we will support our neighbors’ rights to get the information out of that brothel they call Ravena village hall, even if their municipal jellyfish-pimp Misuraca just wants to sit there stroking his tentacles. You see, Misuraca and all elected officials owe their loyalty to the constituency, to the voters and taxpayers of this community, village and town. They don’t owe loyalty to their crooked friends down the hall, like Cathy Deluca and Nancy Warner. Cathy Deluca and Nancy Warner will to the same thing that Jerry Dirty-Hands Deluca and his bosom buddy Gregory Darlington did: like the rats they are, they sucked what they could out of this community and then jumped ship. Wake the hell up, Misuraca! Where are your loyalties, Mayor Misuraca? Do we even have to ask that question?

So-o-o-o….

Unless the village of Ravena responds to the most recent demand for disclosure of records relating to the income and expenditures of the Ravena Health and Fitness Center and to the costs and revenues of the Ravena Centennial Celebration, this blog will assist a number of residents who have experienced the village of Ravena’s stonewalling tactics in filing first a Notice of Claim for violation of New York State laws and federal laws, as well as residents’ civil and protected rights, followed by a lawsuit that will force them to comply and to pay damages. We hope also that they will lose all or part of their pensions for their criminal activities.

In Our Ongoing Battle to Clean Up Local Government

In Our Ongoing Battle to Clean Up Local Government
Starting with the brothel on Mountain Avenue, Ravena.

If you have had experiences similar to these, please send us your name and contact information so we can discuss your case with you and whether it makes sense for you to join the other residents in filing the Notice of Claim and the lawsuit against the village of Ravena, Nancy Warner, Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki, William Misuraca, and John Bruno. Contact us at rcs.confidential@gmail.com. We intend also to go after Mr Robert Freeman and the Committee on Open Government through the NYS Attorney General and the Office of the Comptroller for Mr Freeman’s abuse of office and complicity with the unlawful and illegal abuse of public office we observe in the village of Ravena municipal government operations.  We never publish your personal details or the information you provide without first obtaining your consent. We can be trusted!

Meet Nancy, Annette, Kristine, and Cathy's New Friends! The Editor

Meet Nancy, Annette, Kristine, and Cathy’s New Friends!
The Editor
 

 

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in 18 USC § 4 - Misprision of Felony, 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, Albany, Albany County Civil Service, Albany County Civil Service Department, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, Annette Demitraszek, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Barbara Cumm, Bill Bailey, Bob Ross, Bryan Rowzee, Capital District, Carmen Warner, Carver Construction, Carver Laraway, Catherine Deluca, Catherine M. Deluca, Cathy Deluca, Cecilia Tkaczyk, Chris Gibson, Chris Hughes, Civil Lawsuit, Civil Right Violation, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, Committee on Open Government, Conspiracy, Corruption, Craig D. Apple Sr., Daniel Contento, Danielle M. Crosier, David Soares, Deluca-Warner Fitness Center, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, Eric T. Schneiderman, F.O.I.L., FBI, FBI Public Corruption Squad, FOIL, Formal Written Complaint, George Acker, George Amedore, George Langdon, Gerald Deluca, Greene County, Greene County Sheriff, Gregory Darlington, Harold Warner, Hudson Valley, Incompetence, Investigation, Jason Albert, Jena Misuraca, Jerry "Dirty-Hands" Deluca, Jerry Deluca, Joan Ross, Joel Coye, John Luckacovic, John T. Bruno, Keith Mahler, Ken Burns, Kenneth Burns, Kris Biernacki, Kristine Biernacki, Law Enforcement, Leah Darlington, Mayor Bruno, Meprision of Felony, Michael Biscone, Michael J. Biscone, Misconduct, Misdemeanor, Misuse of Public Office, Monitoring, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New Baltimore, New York, New York State, New York State Civil Service Department, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Comptroller Audit, NYS Senate, Obstruction of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, Paul Courcelle, Paul Tonko, Pete Lopez, Peter Masti, Public Corruption, Ravena, Ravena Centennial Celebration, Ravena Health and Fitness Center, Retaliation, Robert J. Freeman, Robert J. Freeman, Sean Eldridge, Selkirk, Smalbany, Small Town, Stephen Flach, Thomas A. Boehm, Thomas E. Dolan, Tkaczyk, Tom Boehm, Tom Dolan, Transparency, Village Clerk, William Misuraca

 

Barbara Finke, Interim New Baltimore Town Clerk, For Example…

wind blown

Blown Away!

A short time ago we wrote that this country is no longer a two-party democracy. No, we’re not suggesting it’s even a multi-party country because the two major political parties, the Republican and the Democratic, are no longer unified nor are they much different. The many minor political parties are either whack-jobs or simply different flavors of the mainline parties. In other words, our politicians from both parties are practically indistinguishable in their double-talk, and they can be distinguished only by the self-serving personal agendas, pretty much power and greed. These characters can’t even be trusted to stay in one party and they move from one side of the aisle,  blown by whichever wind is coming through the window.

There Can Be Only ONE “Best” for the Country

Big Problem for our Elected Officials Epidemic Incombetence from the Local to the National Level

Big Problem for our Elected Officials
Epidemic Incompetence from the Local to the National Level.
And it starts locally!

Elections are just around the corner: It’s time to start asking questions.

There can be only one “what’s best for the country,” and there can be only one truth but somehow our politics has been stuffing any number of “bests for the country” and many versions of the “truth” down our throats for a couple of decades now. Why haven’t we choked on the lies yet? Well, we can look locally for one of the answers to this question and to the national problem. We’re too stuck on ourselves and have lost any sense of community. Instead we rally behind empty slogans like, “It’s for the kids!” and then bitch and moan when our elected officials start picking our pockets. Ever ask yourself why that is?

poof2The POOF! Phenomenon: Here’s another farce of our so-called democratic process. On the campaign trail, our candidates for public office tell us everything we want to hear. They sugar coat everything, promising anything. Then they disappear. POOF! They’re elected and then conveniently forget everything they said. Why is that? Here’s why: We don’t hold them accountable! We don’t take them by the scruff of the neck and shout their own slogans and empty promises into their hairy ear holes! That’s why.

Single-candidate Elections? And while we’re on a roll, how is it that our mainline political parties can’t come up with at least two candidates on a ballot so that we voters have at least the illusion of choice. How dare our political parties not put up a candidate to oppose the incumbent or a candidate who is running unopposed! Where’s the choice when there’s only one candidate and that candidate is unopposed. How is it that at the very least the two mainstream parties can’t cough up a candidate.

Our System is Just a Logrolling Contest.Just Two Lumps on a Log.

Our System is Just a Logrolling Contest.
Just Two Lumps on a Log.

We are fortunate to have some correspondence that clearly illustrates much of what we are talking about. It’s very obvious when we take a local example and trot it out for the public to read and make their own decisions.

North Korean Election Practices in New Baltimore. We are experiencing that little embarrassment in New Baltimore, where the current appointed, interim New Baltimore town clerk, Barbara Finke, is apparently being run by the Republicans with Independence Party endorsement, unopposed by the democrats or any other political party. But is this good for the town and its residents? Isn’t running one candidate endorsed by all parties what they do in North Korea?

Barbare Finke was an absolute dud when she was on the New Baltimore town board during the O’Rorke dictatorship, and she frequently sat like a little mouse while the lunatics had their way with the town. When she decided not to run for town board again, and the previous town clerk was forced to resign, Finke was appointed by supervisor Dellisanti and his board majority to be interim town clerk. Was this all planned in advance, we have to wonder?

Our elections have become farces for the political parties! Now, the office of town clerk is basically an administrative/file clerk office; it doesn’t require a hell of a lot of smarts in a town like New Baltimore. So maybe it’s a custom-made job for someone like Finke but why don’t we get a choice? Finke apparently will run for election to be New Baltimore town clerk but if voters don’t have a choice in another qualified candidate, it’s like Finke is being appointed to an office that the law says should be elected. Smell a rat?

north korea election

During these past several months that Barbara Finke has been the appointed New Baltimore town clerk, we have asked her several times to tell us what she’s been up to and what improvements she’s been making in the New Baltimore town clerk’s office. Finke refused to respond to our several requests. In fact, when she and board member Jeff Ruso were wandering around New Baltimore hamlet collecting signatures on Finke’s Independence Party ballot petition; Finke does not have the Independence Party line, though (What happened, Barb, Jeff? Apparenty you guys pissed off George Acker, Greene County Independence Party Chair, and they threw your petitions out?), they were again asked to provide some positive press for themselves: Send us an e-mail telling us what improvements you’ve made in the New Baltimore town clerk’s office. Their response: 0

Editor’s Note: When we hear the line, “She’s been working really hard!” we say that can mean one of two things: Either she’s working real hard but spinning her wheels because she hasn’t a clue what’s going on. Or she’s working real hard and getting a lot done. Well, the fact that Ms Finke and her keepers were unable to or declined to provide any information on what’s being done, innovations, improvements, changes, etc. means only one thing: The wheels are spinning but there’s no progress!

What’s even worse is the fact that Finke doesn’t appear to realize that she’s on “probation” these past couple of months, and you’d think she’d be doing back-flips to make a good impression. Nope. Not in New Baltimore!

You’ll recall a couple of weeks ago we announced that US Congressman Gibson was rumored to be appearing in New Baltimore (See our article: Beware: Residents Are Asking Questions). So a resident contacted the town of New Baltimore through the clerk’s office–after all, the interim clerk, Barbara Finke, is a member of the Republican party (Anonymous New Baltimore board member: “Republicans appoint Republicans!”) and also a member of the New Baltimore Republican Club and works with Jeff Ruso, town board member and president of the New Baltimore Republican Club–since Finke would certainly know about the visit of a US congressman to the area. Wouldn’t she?

So a New Baltimore resident [name is unimportant] sent an innocent email to the New Baltimore town clerk asking about Gibson’s alleged visit:

“Good morning:
Can you confirm that Congressman Chris Gibson was in New Baltimore on Thursday, September 4, 2014.
Where was he and at what time?
Where and when was his visit announced?
Thanks very much for your PROMPT response.”

And it’s a legitimate question for a resident to ask, isn’t it? Does the New Baltimore Town Clerk have any information on the congressman’s visit. Pretty fair question, isn’t it? Well, not according to Barbara Fink. So Barbara Finke, helpful little public servant that she is, writes back to the resident:

Barbara Finke's Notion of Service.

Barbara Finke’s Notion of Service.

“Thank you for your recent email.  The information you are requesting would be better addressed by the office of Congressman Gibson as they would be aware of his schedule.

This is an official email account of the Town of New Baltimore and it is improper for receipt of this type of email via this town account.

Thank you,
Barbara Finke”

Nice response, right? If that’s the way Ms Finke is responding to residents as interim town clerk, even before she’s actually elected by voters (= appointed by default), dare we even speculate on her arrogance when, if she’s actually elected to be New Baltimore town clerk? Wouldn’t it have been nicer if she simply lied and said something like, “I’m sorry but I have no information on a visit by Congressman Gibson. You might want to try contacting his office for his schedule”? Yeah, that sounds better, doesn’t it?

The resident responds to Fink with the following:

“Dear Ms Finke:

Excuse me, Barb, but if a member or member of the town board of New Baltimore is (1) phoning residents to announce the Congressman’s visit and (2) the Congressman’s visit is taking place on town of New Baltimore property or public property it seems to me that the acting town clerk of New Baltimore (YOU!) would be informed and would be able to answer responsively. Moreover, if an elected official, the Congressman, is visiting the town of New Baltimore, it would seem appropriate that the board–and the town clerk would be so informed–and would want the residents of the town to be duly informed. I may be wrong, but that would be a reasonable assumption. Unless there were (1) some sort of miscommunication in town hall, (2) some sort of discriminatory or unethical practices going on, (2) inappropriate use of town properties, or (3) you may want to inquire with your supervisors, Dellisanti or Ruso, who may be able to inform you on what’s going on in the town.

How is it that the phrase “[Possible Spam}” occurs in the subject line of your response? The original e-mail was sent from my personal e-mail to a single addressee, your town e-mail. How can that be “possible spam”. You may want to revisit your e-mail settings on that account to avoid future problems. I’ll address this in another forum at some convenient time in future.

While you may be correct about Congressman Gibson’s office being aware of his schedule, I may be correct in assuming that you might be aware of what’s going on in the town of New Baltimore, where you are town clerk.

I am aware that the email is “an official account of the Town of New Baltimore”, and as a resident/taxpayer in the town of New Baltimore, I have every right to avail myself of its use for good faith inquiry and business. Your comment is entirely out of order and unappreciated. Moreover I don’t need you to provide that sort of information, just the information I requested is all I require or your statement simply that you do not have that information, or more apparently, that you are too arrogant to provide it.

And PLEASE don’t lecture me on your opinion that “it is improper for receipt of this type of email via this town account.” I doubt very much that you would survive a debate in town or municipal law with me so I’d advise you to be more prudent in your feeble attempts at burocratese. Know your place! Your pedantry is not appreciated.

That having been said, please be assured that I am not impressed by your performance nor by your presumptive arrogance, and that fact may not bode well in an election. You would do well to accept some tutelage from your father-in-law. Your response is totally inappropriate and if that sort of response signals what your response would be IF elected to be town clerk, you might as well resign now.
Thank you for your attention.”

New Baltimore town board member Jeff Ruso, who is also president of the New Baltimore Republican Club, got involved and wrote back.

go play your games

Damage Control. Pick up the pieces and continue playing your games.
(He’s giving you the “Sign of the Anus” Mr Ruso.)

“I wish these message were to me instead of others, I can clear things up.
1. I organized the meeting for Sept. 4th.  It was a Rep. Club event.
2. I sent an email to a number of people in the town.  It was not town business and I kept it on my personal account as a result.
3. Mr. Gibson was not there, and there were no plans or expectations of his being there.  A representative of his campaign was indeed there.
The club meetings are seldom well attended.  The most frequent topic for those meetings is to plan for our major events i.e. corned beef dinner.  We do occasionally have an outside speaker, maybe once a year.  
If there are other questions I would be best to clear them up.
Jeff”

To which the resident responded:

OK. Let's Play Whatk-a-Mole.You're the mole!

OK. Let’s Play Whack-a-Mole.
You’re the mole!
(Did that hurt, Mr Ruso?)

“Nothing really to clear up…now. should have been cleared up before it happened. But stuff starts to happen when:

  • Fragmentary information or inaccurate information gets out w/o clarification
  • No information gets out officially, but gets circulated “on the street”
  • No official statement is published on an event
  • Public servants/interim appointees to elected offices get drowned in their own egos and become arrogant (pissing off potential supporters)
  • The pubic is left in the dark have to find their own answers and draw their own conclusions
  • Political party offices are held by sitting elected officials; the water gets murky and interests get ambiguous etc.

When you write things like: “I wish these message were to me instead of others…” I really have to wonder what is going on in your head. How in hell is the public supposed to know who the “me” is? How in hell is anyone supposed to know it’s a “Republican club” event? How in hell is anyone supposed to know if it’s Chris Gibson, a Chris Gibson aide, or Shirley Temple or Barbara Walters who’s going to appear? If the events are poorly attended have you ever asked Why? and What can be done to improve attendance (really not an issue in the seminal problem)?

It seems that the much-mouthed “transparency” has become a bit obscured, doesn’t it? Now I don’t want to be the one to tell you “elected officers” how to govern but perhaps a short announcement in one or two of the local rags might have pre-empted any misunderstandings?

Perhaps a more forthcoming, polite, professional response by the interim town clerk might have been more appropriate?

Perhaps complying with commitments might be more conducive to dialogue.

You guys need to address residents’ concerns and stop the politics, LISTEN, and pay attention to yourselves; otherwise it’s going to backfire badly. If this keeps up you will not enjoy my support. Ms Finke has already overplayed her hand and is about to pay the piper at a high cost of political capital squandered. I sure hope you have a viable candidate in the wings.

Maybe the problem is that we were given to expect a lot, maybe too much. Maybe the board and its members just aren’t up to doing better than most of their predecessors. Again, maybe a bit of self-reflection might be the prescription; like the Desert Fathers taught: “Pay attention to yourself” ; in other words, take a critical look at yourselves and many of the problems can be eliminated.

In the meantime, you’ll be on stage and under scrutiny just like surrounding communities. Seems to get them moving…

Just trying to be helpful.”

So, the lesson is this: We have to constantly remind our elected officials that they are public SERVANTS. We have to constantly remind them that the are where they are because WE put THEM there. We have to constantly remind them that they are paid with our tax dollars and if they don’t behave, they’ll be out on their dumb arses! It also becomes a problem when a sitting board member is also a sitting officer of a local political club. Remember our comments in an earlier essay to the effect that a candidate may run with political party endorsement but once elected he or she serves everyone, not just his party. Do you think these guys and gals have forgotten that fact. We haven’t and November’s approaching real quick and we won’t let them forget it either.

Maybe if more residents responded like the resident above, the community might be in a far better way than it is when residents just sit on their hands.

Hello! Anybody out there?!? The Editor
Hello! Anybody out there?!?
The Editor

This is not the end.

Those in National Politics would benefit from taking this message to heart…and maybe to Washington, too!
Stay tuned for upcoming installments on local politics and elections!

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, 2Luck.com, Abuse of Public Office, Accountability, ACLU, Albany, American Civil Liberties Union, Andrew Cuomo, Arlene McKeon, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Barbara Finke, Bitter Bob (Ross), Bob Knighten, Bob Ross, Candidate, Carver Construction, Chris Gibson, Chris Gibson, Chris Norris, Christopher Norris, Coeymans, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Board, Eleanor Luckacovic, Eleanor Oldham, Elected Official, Elections and Voting, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, Eric T. Schneiderman, FBI Public Corruption Squad, George Acker, George Amedore, Government, Greene County, Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County District Attorney, Greene County Elections, Hudson Valley, Hypocrisy, Incompetence, Independence Party, Indifference, Investigation, Jean Horne, Jeff Ruso, Joan Ross, John Luckacovic, Misconduct, Mismanagement, Misuse of Public Office, Monitoring, Moose Misuraca, New Baltimore, New Baltimore Conservancy, New Baltimore Democrats, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Elections, New Baltimore Republican Club, New Baltimore Town Board Member, New York, New York State Board of Elections, Nick Dellisanti, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, Official Misconduct, Paul Tonko, Pete Lopez, Politics, Port of Coeymans, Public Corruption, Public Office, Ravena, Ravena Coeymans Selkirk, Republican in Name Only, Republican Party Committee, Sean Eldridge, Selkirk, Shame On You, Shelly van Etten, Small Town, Stephen Flach, Tkaczyk, Town Board Meeting, Town Clerk, Town Supervisor, Transparency, William Misuraca