Cheers and Jeers

CHEER — To a successful start of the summer season for The Glove Theatre. Last weekend, the Beatles tribute band “Hey Jude” played to a packed theater on a Friday night with more than 250 people attending. (That is 250 people who probably would have lingered longer and spent more money if there were more places to eat and have a drink downtown — something many people are working really hard to change.) They repeated the draw again on Sunday with Sawyer Fredericks’ premier of his video, “Gasoline,” which was filmed at The Glove. Once again, The Glove had a packed house of people in downtown Gloversville. As Stanley Bojarski, a board member of The Glove said recently, The Glove is the jewel of downtown Gloversville. And one of the things that keeps that jewel sparkling are the group of dedicated volunteers who strive to keep The Glove open and continue the legacy of quality entertainment right in our own front yards.

CHEER — To the town of Johnstown for wanting to get its departments’ record-keeping straight. Every business, and a municipality is a business, needs checks and balances, and that comes from good record keeping. Each department head, each manager, has a duty to keep some sort of monthly report, if even for themselves. That report should show the department’s successes, its challenges, its opportunities and going forward. Not only does it give the person in charge of everything — for Johnstown, its supervisor — knowledge of what is going on in each department, but it gives the department head the opportunity to see what is working and what is not. The report doesn’t have to be long or complicated and once a manager is in the habit of doing the reports correctly, it becomes easier. It isn’t always pleasant to change things from the way people become accustomed to doing them, but sometimes change is necessary and not so bad. Sometimes you can teach an old dog some new tricks.

JEER — Speaking of checks and balances, in the town of Mayfield, the former town clerk was recently charged with embezzling more than $35,000 from the town by the state comptroller’s office and state police. Dorothy Hart, who was an elected official since 2002 until she resigned in 2015, was allegedly paying off her home mortgage and car loan with the town’s money. She allegedly found a way to cook the books so no one was noticing $27,000 in property tax fees missing. She also reported in her monthly report (see above for our take on the importance of them) that she had turned over $8,000 of the dog licensing fees to the county treasurer, which the state comptroller alleges she did not. These thefts were done over a period of four years — 2011 to 2015. Mayfield Supervisor Richard Argotsinger claims that since the clerk is an elected official, “the town board has no control over that position” when asked about any checks and balances being in place to prevent that sort of thing. While mayors, supervisors, town boards and city councils are limited by the reports they are given, when it comes to taxpayers’ money, some sort of follow up to certain monthly reports involving money, as well as internal audits should have been in place so that the missing cash would have been noticed sooner. Other municipalities should take heed from this alleged crime and we hope going forward, something will be done to protect the taxpayers and residents of every municipality with some sort of checks and balances in place.

JEER – To the county Ethics Board for sending the ethics complaint against Gloversville Mayor Dayton King, councilwoman Marcia Weiss and city attorney Anthony Casale back to the city Ethics Board after the city had made it absolutely clear there were too many conflicts of interest to make a decision. But, bounced back into their conflicted court, the city’s Ethic’s Board went ahead and determined there was not enough “evidence” to find Weiss and Casale guilty of any ethics misdeed. But, board member Ellen DiScioscia resigned from her position on the board and said she did so because there should have been more investigation into the charges against Weiss before a determination was made. It was unfair to the city board to still have to decide on something they had already said there were “too many conflicts of interest” to decide. The county should have held onto the complaint until they had a full board and then make a determination instead of sending it back to the same board that didn’t want to decide in the first place. While Weiss and Casale are officially cleared, the fact is the city’s Ethics Board, which pushed the decision onto the county and then made the determination anyway, has muddied the results. Like most issues in our country these days, no one is on the fence — it’s one side or the other and no in between. Those who believed Weiss and Casale were guilty of an ethics violation, still believe they are guilty and those who believed they were being persecuted, still believe that. Nothing was settled and people are still divided.