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City of Johnstown — Who’s in charge?

The recent newspaper articles regarding the city of Johnstown’s financial operations, i.e. lack of adherence to internal controls, accountability, departmental cooperation, “pervasive inaction,” you name it, are very disturbing. To read that the city’s chief financial officer is “generally met with resistance and even instances of compliance refusals” by departments is alarming and cause for great concern. How can the city treasurer perform essential functions of his job, which include safeguarding the city’s assets, reporting on the financial condition/position of the city, and complying with required state and other reporting mandates, when there appears to be an atmosphere of disrespect and non-cooperation among the city’s departments, including the Water Department?

How can the taxpayers of Johnstown make informed decisions regarding the city’s ambulance service, or any other service, if the treasurer is unable to provide accurate financial information because of a lack of cooperation among department leaders?

How can the taxpayers of Johnstown trust the leadership of our city when this type of counterproductive activity seems to be pervasive in our city government?

This type of behavior is detrimental to the structure and operation of our city government and is unacceptable. It is disappointing and embarrassing. It begs the question: Who’s in charge? Is it some disgruntled department director or group of directors? And why is this type of behavior allowed to continue?

Section C-3.0. Article 3 of the Charter for the City of Johnstown New York states: “The mayor shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the city. The mayor shall be responsible for the day to day administration and supervision of all city affairs, departments, offices and agencies of the city…..” Section C-3.3 of the City Charter states that the Common Council shall “have the management and control of the finances and of all the property belonging to the city.”

So, we know who’s in charge, or who is supposed to be in charge. Why this behavior is allowed to continue is a question that should be answered by those “in charge.” At the same time, I would ask our leaders to try and remember why they chose to be in their respective positions. Hint: Your mission is to serve the needs of and provide for the greater good of the citizens and taxpayers of the city of Johnstown. This inexcusable behavior won’t get us there.

JOHN SAGAN

Johnstown

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