Town Supervisor Jeff Ruso and his New Baltimore Town Board have voted to send Acting Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program Summer Highway School, a 2½-day program of workshops and kibitzing, all expenses paid, in Ithaca, New York. Seems to us to be a bit stupid, since Scott van Wormer is only Acting Highway Superintendent until the November elections when the new Superintendent will be elected. Once the new Super is elected, van Wormer will return to his old job, that of a highway department laborer. So we have to ask the question, “What on earth was Ruso and his simian Town Board thinking when they decided to send van Wormer to training for Highway Superintendents?”
The Town Board Approves the Deputy Highway Superintendent’s Attendance at Training … 20 years too late!
For the past several years we have been monitoring the New Baltimore Highway Department and its operations. We’ve investigated attendance at training and education events and found that no one, not even former Highway Superintendent, employed by the Town of New Baltimore for at least 20 years, ever attended any highway-related training at all! Upon repeated demands for the production of documents and records under the New York State Freedom of Information Law that would show or document attendance at job-related training and education, the Town of New Baltimore was unable to produce a single document showing that any employee of the Highway Department ever attended training for the duties and responsibilities of the Highway Department. Yet they were being handed a million dollar budget every year and were receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money from the likes of George Amedore, NYS senator, representing the district in which the Town of New Baltimore is situated.
In fact, George Amedore recently informed the Town that they were to receive several hundreds of thousands of dollars more in highway funds — even with the New Baltimore Highway Department, former Superintendent Denis Jordan, and the Town of New Baltimore under investigation for possible misuse and maloperation! Government at work!
“Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.”
Ironically, at the same regular Town Board Meeting of May 14, 2018, the very meeting at which former New Baltimore Highway Superintendent Denis Jordan submitted his resignation and at which the Board accepted his resignation, the Board approved funding to send Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott vanWormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program at Ithaca, New York.
The May 14, 2018, resolution reads:
WHEREAS, the Association of Towns of the State of New York and Cornell Local Roads Program will be holding their 2018 Highway School from June 4-6, 2018 at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
RESOLVED, the Town Board of the Town of New Baltimore approves the attendance of Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott VanWormer and the Registration Fee, overnight accommodations, tolls, and meals for said training.
In the past, no employee, not even the New Baltimore Highway Superintendent, attended any training related to maintenance and repair of roadways and roadway installations! We have the ruin and damage to show that fact beyond any doubt!
We’ve been watching the Town of New Baltimore Highway Department for years and have demanded documents and information about training received by at least the Superintendent or the Deputy Superintendent. Given the problems over the past almost 20 years involving the New Baltimore Highway Department, it should come as no surprise that the Town could not produce a single document showing any training received by Mr. Jordan or his deputy. Now the Town is approving funding — but not informing us about how much – to send Deputy Highway Superintendent Scott van Wormer, to train at the Cornell program in Ithaca, New York. (Editor’s Note: We now have a F.O.I.L. demand out to find out exactly what it cost the Town to send van Wormer to the event.)
The Cornell Local Roads Program changes each season so we don’t know whether Mr. van Wormer will attend a conference dealing with grades of gravel or how to grade a roadway. Apparently the Town of New Baltimore expects Mr. van Wormer to absorb everything during the 2 ½ day conference and come back a transformed entity, a 100% competent Highway Superintendent.  NOT!!!
But the Town Board is missing some very important assumptions about Mr. vanWormer … Just like they claim they missed some very important facts about Mr. Denis Jordan, too. And they’re missing functioning brains, too!
So we did some fact-finding and can tell you that the 2 1/2-day course of meetings includes the following topics (source: Cornell Local Roads Program, Highway School, 2018 )
2018 Highway School Topics
- Recycled Asphalt Pavement
- Preparing for Emergencies
- What New & Used Superintendents Need to Know.
- Highway Signs
- Selecting the Right Repair for Your Pavement
- When to Replace or Repair Equipment
- Asset Management Basics
- Legal Panel
- Stormwater Management
- Shared Services Roundtable
The problem we have with this little nugget is that Scott van Wormer is the current Acting (Deputy) Superintendent and is in that capacity only until the November elections, when the actual new superintendent will be elected. We know of one candidate who has been out getting signatures to get on the ballot: Alan vanWormer, Scott vanWormer’s brother.
Readers will recall that Alan vanWormer was removed as Deputy Superintendent by Denis Jordan when van Wormer announced he was going to run against Jordan for the position of New Baltimore Highway Super, and Jordan proceeded to remove Alan as deputy and then appoint Alan’s own brother, Scott van Wormer, to be Deputy Superintendent. Scott vanWormer is now acting Highway Superintendent and was sent to the Ithaca course at taxpayer expense.
This raises the question of: If Alan van Wormer gets on the ballot, which he likely will, and runs for Highway Superintendent, which he will, what happens to Scott van Wormer? We certainly can’t have a highway superintendent’s brother acting as deputy highway superintendent, can we? Well, in New Baltimore and in Coeymans anything is possible. It is, after all, next to Albany county, the incest capital of New York.
So, we are questioning the logic and reasoning, if any there was, of spending all that money to send the current deputy highway superintendent all the way to Ithaca to attend a highway school intended for highway superintendents, if, in November, just a couple of months away, Scott vanWormer will be resuming his position as a mere laborer in the New Baltimore Highway Department?!?
We’d like to ask Mr. Ruso and his Board of Bozos how they can justify sending Scott vanWormer to the Cornell Local Roads Program highway school when it would have made more sense to wait to send the new Highway Super to Itaca next year to the highway school and at least start a new tradition of training New Baltimore’s Highway Superintendents on a regular basis?
What do you think, readers? Don’t you think we should expect our local officials to use what pea-brains they have to more responsibly spend our tax dollars?
 We noted some interesting connections involved in the Highway School; it’s not as non-special interest as we might have thought; sounds like a trade-show or political convention to us!
“The Highway School features short sessions of general interest in the mornings and 24-28 afternoon workshops lasting 75 minutes each. A partnership with statewide vendors supports the Pothole Picnic on the first day. Over 700 participants, the majority being local highway and public works officials, attend the Highway School every year.
“The Association of Towns of the State of New York co-sponsors the Highway School, and handles all of the registrations.”(Highway School, http://www.clrp.cornell.edu/trainingevents/highwayschool.html, last accessed July 30, 2018)