CHEERS - To a work program. City of Amsterdam leaders are looking into a cost-free working partnership with the Montgomery County Social Services Department that would have recipients help clean up the city. Apparently, this program has been around since the late 1990s, but it ran into major roadblocks from unions upset that social services clients were doing union employees' work. There's enough work to keep Public Works Department union workers, social services clients, volunteers and others busy. We see no downside to this program and the effect it could have on city blight.
JEERS - To sketchy ethics. If you missed the news about yet another incident of government operating behind closed doors, we sadly bring it to you again. New York's powerful new ethics board refused to release to the public any record of the secret vote to hire a longtime aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as its $148,000-a-year executive director. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which has broad powers to investigate legislators and other officials, denied The Associated Press request for the records under the state Freedom of Information Law. The commission cites a provision of executive law and its own policy for keeping its records confidential and its meetings secret. Board members can be charged with a misdemeanor for talking about proceedings. They probably could afford the fine if they did speak out; members of the board are paid $300 a day for their state work.
CHEERS - To renewing an effort. Since 2002, Two Great Guys Realty, owner of several buildings on South Main Street in Gloversville, has struggled to redevelop the properties. Today, some 10 years later, it appears the developer is still trying to achieve its original intentions. Renovation of the facades on four of the buildings will begin by the end of April. The city Planning Board approved plans for the properties this week. We hope the project earns community support. Everyone will be watching it closely. Let's watch with hope and encouragement.
JEERS - To yet another new mandate. State officials have been saying they plan to relieve localities of state mandates, but the Fulton County Department of Solid Waste and landfills across the state could face new, expensive mandates under a state Department of Environmental Conservation proposal. Fulton County Department of Solid Waste Director Jeff Bouchard informed a county Board of Supervisors committee recently about the "alarming" proposed mandates. One regulation would require the county to buy radiation detectors, which cost $50,000 to $100,000. Our frustration with state government continues.