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Town Of Chemung Lays Off Entire Highway Department

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The Chemung Town Board held a meeting tonight where they announced they'll be laying off their entire highway department.

"It's just a simple matter of financial arithmetic," said Chemung Town Supervisor, George Richter. "Our payroll budget will be out of funds in the foreseeable future if we didn't make some sort of decision."

Richter says the decision to cut all six of their highway department members wasn't an easy decision. He says since September the town and the workers union has been trying to come up with an agreement as the town tries to save some money.

 

See more at http://www.weny.com/story/37937987/town-of-chemung-lays-off-entire-highway-department

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Mark    101

From today's Star Gazette:

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It is illegal under the state’s Taylor Law to lay off public employees and contract those services out, according to Krusen.

“I’m prepared to ask the state Comptroller’s Office to audit the Town of Chemung’s books,” Krusen said. “Either they are incompetent or it’s politically motivated. The overwhelming majority of their expenses is highway.”

Someone needs to tell Mike Krusen that it is pretty stupid to come across as a dick in an election year.  Perhaps the voters will tell him soon ...

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Adam    3
1 hour ago, Mark said:

From today's Star Gazette:

Someone needs to tell Mike Krusen that it is pretty stupid to come across as a dick in an election year.  Perhaps the voters will tell him soon ...

Please do not see this as a defense of anyone's actions.and is pure speculation on my personal thoughts...You have to admit something with that situation does not pass the smell test. The sales tax re-apportionment went into effect a few years ago and budgets are done annually so i do not quite buy the sales-tax decrease as the culprit. The Supervsior fired the opening salvo by blaming this upon sales tax; in effect, the County. If you are hurting in the budget, you adjust staffing to accommodate it,  so instead of laying off 2 guys and still providing services, they now have none and no work gets done where is the logic in that? the articles do say the workers are union, perhaps this is a way to end the union?

Or, it could be a completely financial motivation and in that case, someone did not do their homework when budgeting. Towns are entrusted to do what is in the best interest of the community and to run things in clear, ethical manners as prescribed by NYS Town Law. Either way, i would be looking to do the same thing(as the County) to get the answers.

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Spiff    21

Well if the Town Board or Supervisor get a pay or insurance benefits maybe they should suspend those and maybe that would free up some money for the people who actually work.

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Adam    3
3 hours ago, Spiff said:

Well if the Town Board or Supervisor get a pay or insurance benefits maybe they should suspend those and maybe that would free up some money for the people who actually work.

for elected positions it becomes a whole other ball of wax....potentially pay/stipends could have been forgone and placed back into the general funds but there is only a short window of time to do that before the budget is approved

 

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KReed    87

I'm clueless here.....I guess I've always had the impression that it's pretty much rural/agricultural/residential community. 

Can someone from the Town of Chemung shed some light on how many retail businesses there are that collect sales tax? 

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Mark    101
5 hours ago, Adam said:

Please do not see this as a defense of anyone's actions.and is pure speculation on my personal thoughts...You have to admit something with that situation does not pass the smell test.

I agree that there's more to this story than we are hearing.  All I'm saying is that Krusen comes off looking pretty bad by accusing the Town of Chemung admin as being "incompetent" and threatening an audit.  This is the same game he and Santulli have played with the City of Elmira.  You simply cannot deny that all municipalities in the county were hurt to some degree when the county changed the sales tax distribution scheme a few years back. That was a huge loss for the smaller towns, all at the expense of making the county appear to look good, and all of our small towns continue to struggle with the loss of those funds.

I have to say that Richter was pretty mild in his comments on the situation to the press.  He didn't seem point fingers or place any blame.  On the other hand, Krusen chose to make a personal attack on that town's leadership.

 

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KarenK    34
3 hours ago, KReed said:

I'm clueless here.....I guess I've always had the impression that it's pretty much rural/agricultural/residential community. 

Can someone from the Town of Chemung shed some light on how many retail businesses there are that collect sales tax? 

The sales tax does not come specifically from the the Town.  They  sales tax collected in the entire county gets split between all the municipalities. A few years ago they changed the calculation to make the muni's % less than it was and the county's more.  

I thought that excuse ran its course.  It has been probably 4yrs now.

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Adam    3
2 hours ago, Mark said:

I have to say that Richter was pretty mild in his comments on the situation to the press.  He didn't seem point fingers or place any blame.  On the other hand, Krusen chose to make a personal attack on that town's leadership.

Richter fired the first volley when in fact; blamed the move on the decreased sales tax revenues..and by his own statement; claimed the  parties involved were warned of this potential eventuality earlier in the year, further proving this was not a surprise or could not have been budgeted for ..a de facto finger pointed at the County and given the timing of the statement it could be taken as a politically motivated one

The CGR report did indeed demonstrate the decreased revenues to municipalities, but it also demonstrated it has been in effect for 3-5 years. Budgets are done annually, so the excuse does not pass the smell test, but does shift blame. If this issue was not properly budgeted for appropriately, shame on those responsible for doing so as it would seem to be a fairly obvious issue, and IF it is due to other motives, then perhaps it indeed bears looking into.

Ultimately it is another example of how effed up politics has become...if one makes a decision, they should have the conviction to stand by it,openly and honestly come what may.

 

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Chris    343
8 hours ago, KReed said:

Can someone from the Town of Chemung shed some light on how many retail businesses there are that collect sales tax? 

The ones I can think of off the top of my head would be Dandy Mini Mart, Chemung Spring Water ( if they haven't moved), the brewery down there maybe, possibly Farmland Animal Park, and there's a couple little places I can't think of right now. 

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Chris    343
4 hours ago, Adam said:

Richter fired the first volley when in fact; blamed the move on the decreased sales tax revenues..and by his own statement; claimed the  parties involved were warned of this potential eventuality earlier in the year, further proving this was not a surprise or could not have been budgeted for ..a de facto finger pointed at the County and given the timing of the statement it could be taken as a politically motivated one

Richter also said that it was largely due to the refusal of the CWA to make concessions. 

As for Krusen and his statements, well, he doth protest too much methinks. Every criticism of the county is necessarily a "political move". 

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Adam    3
6 hours ago, Chris said:

Richter also said that it was largely due to the refusal of the CWA to make concessions. 

As for Krusen and his statements, well, he doth protest too much methinks. Every criticism of the county is necessarily a "political move". 

"Richter says the main reason(emphasis mine) they're hurting financially is due to the loss of sales tax proceeds. But he says the decision to lay off the workers was not just his alone."  That is a quote from a story on 4/11, the Union issue did not become the main reason until 2 days later, reported in the Star Gazette. 

It cannot be said enough, the sales tax issue, (while not helpful) has been in effect for years, there has been plenty of time to plan a budget accordingly failure to have done so seems like an either devious, or stupid mistake. if it was because the Union, well why not say so from the get-go? Perhaps because there is a high sentiment of the County being the boogie man, it provided a scape-goat, and if Krusen is correct about his politics, enables Richter to help his candidate down the road

I have my issues with County politics, and will gladly discuss them, but i have a bigger issue with the lack of testicular fortitude and honestly over all

 

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Chris    343

Actually the story from 4/11 did mention the Union, just not in as great detail. 

Simple arithmetic says if you have less money, whether it be from something that happened now or three years ago, you either have to cut spending or increase revenue. Not having access to the town of Chemung budget, how are any of us to say if this is "incompetent"? 

As for political motivation, is this going to be Krusen's M.O. everytime someone disagrees with him or does something he doesn't like between now and Election Day? ( There's a question you can ask him. ) Because quite honestly it's gonna get old pretty fast. 

Are my or others' comments here "politically motivated" alone because I support a different candidate? Or is it possible that people can have a different outlook without having a hidden agenda? 

Maybe that "high sentiment of the county being the boogie man" is deserved, at least in part. Maybe not. I guess the voters will get to decide in November. Their track record over the past couple years ie: dealings with the City and now Chemung certainly aren't helping.

 

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Chris    343

Additionally, Richter didn't and couldn't make this decision on his own. This had to go through the town board. Did they all vote that way out of "political motivation" as well?

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KReed    87
14 minutes ago, Chris said:

Additionally, Richter didn't and couldn't make this decision on his own. This had to go through the town board. Did they all vote that way out of "political motivation" as well?

It seems a bit theatrical to single out Richter (on the Elect Mike Krusen FB page) and then announce to the SG that you're prepared to ask the Comptroller to investigate.

If one were a litigious sort, they might think casting such aspersions are grounds for a libel suit. 

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Adam    3
2 hours ago, Chris said:

Additionally, Richter didn't and couldn't make this decision on his own. This had to go through the town board. Did they all vote that way out of "political motivation" as well?

No, but it is Mr. Richter that initially blamed, as was quoted in the first story, the County...so in that respect it could be seen as a political move(not the vote, but the public statements). Regarding budgeting, according to the reading, they were aware of this issue at budget-time so why weren't funds found/arranged/raised etc at that time? Why pass a budget then approve a contract, or conversely; why approve a contract before passing a budget but not arrange for funds to cover it before doing so? between those choices made, and if they are going against the Law as noted by Mr. Krusen, then perhaps an investigation IS warranted again something in that situation(based on information at hand) does not add up.

I want to clarify, i do not know Mr. Richter at all, and have only met Mr. Krusen 2-3 times, so i really have no real dog in the hunt, i just am starting to believe (in certain aspects) the County is not the mustache twirling villain some would have people believe

 

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Chris    343

Richter is simply the representative, speaking for the board to to the media. 

The coverage by The Morning Times was a little better in explaining the reason for the higher expenses if I'm reading it correctly, and it looks like the budget was approved prior to coming to an agreement with the union. And again if im resding this correctly, they were told it could bite them in the ass. 

Depending on the costs of that, and the needs of the town this Winter, it's conceivable they would be spending more than expected. The town can't suddenly levy higher taxes to cover it, so the board took the step they saw fit. 

It stinks people got laid off, but frankly it happens and I wonder why suddenly it's such an issue for Krusen. And why the current County Executive is silent about it. 

Couldn't be political though. 

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Chris    343
4 hours ago, KReed said:

If one were a litigious sort, they might think casting such aspersions are grounds for a libel suit. 

"...I've never seen anything so politically motivated and absolutely incomprehensible in terms of its impact on employees and the potential impact on town residents." Star Gazette

"In an e mail to Richter Thursday, Krusen stated that he does not believe that this a county or town issue and "in fact I think it (is) much more sinister." The Morning Times

Not being a lawyer, I don't know if that could be considered libelous or not, but seems to play around the edges to me. 

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Chris    343

Screenshot_2018-04-17-13-55-12.png

Again, does he know that things in the towns don't operate like they do at the County building? Where is isn't just one person making decisions?

But he goes solely after Richter and Richter alone. 

Wonder why?

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