"Mayor's" Budget Gamble

Last Thursday, I attended the debut of “Mayor” Sheehan’s fantasy budget. Let’s call it what it is because it’s not a budget – it is “Mayor” Sheehan’s “line in the sand” and it is a gamble Albany can’t afford to lose.

Essentially, Sheehan’s daring the Guv to turn his back on the City. The attendees at this unveiling were Sheehan’s prog support network and when they stared in disbelief Sheehan added that without the Governor’s “gift” of $12.5 million, the City will be insolvent – INSOLVENT – INSOLVENT. (yes-that was the echo in the silence of the Rotunda.)

I guess Mayor Jennings too that backyard money tree with him when he retired. I hear the progs searched high and low for it. Perhaps they decided just to use Jennings budgetary talking points. Funny, when Jennings declared there was no money – no wiggle room – the progs called him a liar. What changed? Seems only the bearer of the bad news.

Sheehan smiled from her podium, delivering her fantasy budget as I wondered if she was listening to herself. I wondered if she has even remotely become aware of Albany’s reality.

Sheehan grinned and unveiled her “garbage plan.” (Yes, seems it always comes back to garbage money making in this city) which would cost citizens like my landlord a lot more annually. She nearly glowed when she described how she would find those nasty old landlords who don’t renew their ROPs. That one make me giggle – and now, the Albany Occupier is taking over the Building and Codes Department.

The first thing that I thought of when I heard of this AO Director was when I was eavesdropping on the OA encampment. Their plan for the vacant buildings was to start squatting in those buildings – good plan, huh?

I’m betting this new Occupier will follow in Sheehan’s reality check within six months – maybe. You know how logic-challenged those progs are. I wonder how long it will take the new Diretor (whose selection the Mayor makes us aware, was made because he was the only candidate to accept the low salary for such a thankless job) to realized that the post-Jennings City Hall won’t pass its own inspection and comes very close to meeting the criteria of a vacant building.

I don’t know how often you get by 24 Eagle (City Hall) but the entrance has been boarded up for months – and it’s not even painted to masquerade as a door – per city policy. This main door provides citizens with a grand entrance including a revolving door.

As if a boarded up grand entry isn’t representative enough of the state of the city, there is no hot water in City Hall. Now, sure, it’s an old building but sometimes the staff may need hot water. For example, the washing of the hands in cold water is, besides a chilly process in the dead of winter, an unsanitary process. Is there any wonder that, in this cold drafty building, the staff at City Hall is taking advantage of sick leave – or, better yet, working and exposing the public to some unhealthy bugs.

(I don’t even want to speculate about the restaurant in the basement!)

While sitting in the Sheehan budget debut, one she can’t blame on Jennings, I noticed a new addition to City Hall…a brand new Kronos time clock. As it was explained to me – it seems some of the staff on the payroll might not be in the place they say that they are in on their timesheet. Seems Kronos is going to change that.

Sure, this has been an issue for years but both the auditor and treasurer have signed off on all those time sheets for years. Why are they worried now? Again, look to Jennings, he’s not there to take the blame anymore.

So, here’s what we have…a Mayor who has presented a budget that relies on the “kindness” of the Governor to fill the gaps or give her cover to fire 25 employees….most likely unionized employees. Then, she sends out her allies on the Common Council to talk it up…spread the word on how the Guv needs to fix Albany….”it’s just not fair that we’re fiscally irresponsible.”

All the while, the Common Council will be vetting the unbalanced budget as they must make modifications and approve the final version before sending it back to the Mayor. Now, I’m hearing rumblings that that may not be so easy with Mr. Commisso sitting as Chair of the Finance Committee. AND, I’m hearing that the alternative plan, could be that the “leadership” may bypass the regular process and put together their very own budget committee…all of the Mayor’s friendly faces will be in attendance.

Who knows.

What I do know is that this “Mayor” is pushing the City forward on a wing and a prayer…and the citizens are going to lose in her gamble.

Update: Apparently this blog gets quick action. The plywood was gone from the City Hall door by last night's Budget meeting...however, the "security bars" were not replaced. I'll keep ya posted.

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