Tagged with " Michele Madigan"
Jun 14, 2019 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Dems should vote to keep Madigan on Saratoga Springs City Council

I plan to vote for incumbent Michele Madigan in the June 25th Democratic primary for the Saratoga Springs City Council position of Finance Commissioner.

Since taking office in 2012, when the city was in the red, Madigan has successfully managed city finances and demonstrated leadership on projects to enhance city life.

During her tenure the city has held the line on property taxes without service cutbacks, saved significant sums by refinancing city debt and restructuring city health care, and secured a highly favorable bond rating.

Equally important, Madigan reaches beyond the department she oversees to move the city forward, as a strong council member should.

For instance, she is leading the way, with support of her council colleagues, to make Saratoga Springs the first municipality in the state to set up a high-speed fiber-optic network for residents and businesses. In 2016 she created a Smart City Commission, bringing together major stakeholders from the city’s public and private institutions.

More examples: She oversaw development of a solar park on the previous landfill on Weibel Avenue that saves the city more than $60,000 a year. She partnered with the state to fence in dog park on Crescent Street off Route 9. She initiated setting aside two city-owned properties for affordable housing built by Habitat for Humanity. And during her watch, the City Council was key to preserving the Pitney Farm, which has been transformed into extensive community gardens.

I don’t agree with Madigan on everything. Her primary opponent, Patty Morrison, correctly asserts that the structure of city government needs changing, and I’m confident this will soon happen regardless of who’s on the council. To her credit, Madigan has served the city well despite the limitations of the current structure.

With the Republicans not fielding a candidate, the winner of the Democratic primary is likely to win in the general election. I’m sticking with Madigan.

Nov 13, 2017 - Journalism    3 Comments

Commissioners Misuse City Funds for Political Agenda

Counting all the valid votes in an election is a good thing, right? Of course it is.

That’s the rationale three commissioners on the Saratoga Springs City Council are giving for their decision to hire an election lawyer to oversee the process of counting absentee ballots in the hotly contested charter change vote.

In a special council meeting on Monday, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan defended the decision on the basis that proponents of the charter change are hiring a lawyer to oversee the process. Accounts Commissioner John Franck previously told the Times Union that he anticipates the attorney working on behalf of charter change advocates would try to get votes disqualified.

But using public funds for this purpose is essentially unheard of in New York. Election lawyers to oversee ballot counts are hired by candidates or issue activists, not by a local government.

“This is among the most categorically outrageous and inappropriate uses of public money I have ever seen and I work in Albany,” tweeted Ken Giardin, a policy analyst with the Empire Center for Policy, an independent think tank.

Advocates against charter change (including Madigan, Franck and Public Works Commissioner Skip Scirocco) could hire their own attorney using private funds.

So why are Frank and Madigan leading this charge? They need every paper ballot counted to overcome the 48-vote lead pro-charter change advocates had after Election Day. It has been reported that the returned absentee ballots (more than 510) lean Republican, which anecdotally should benefit opponents to the charter change.

Franck said on Monday that his opposition to the charter change was “immaterial,” but it’s hard to imagine he would take this position if his side was leading in the vote.

This was a guest post by David Lombardo, who has covered multiple absentee ballot counts as a reporter and oversaw the absentee ballot count for Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara in 2014.