Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Congratulations, City of Cortland!

    Tuesday evening, November 29, 2011, City of Cortland common council agreed to roll back the property tax levy by .036 cents per thousand for the year 2012. This is the first tax decrease in decades. It is accompanied by an increase in reserve funding.
    The mayor, common council, boards, committees, department heads and employees have established an example of responsible government, and set a disciplined course for the future. Kudos to Director of Finance and Administration Mack Cook.
    Congratulations, all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Former Cortland Cemetery Chief Charged With Body-Snatching

     A former superintendent of the Cortland Rural Cemetery has been charged with three felony counts of grave robbery, obstruction of justice, and filing a false instrument to obtain an export license. After a preliminary hearing on a bill of information, he was released on $100,000 bail and his passport was revoked. The name of the suspect and a court date for his trial were not released.
     Cortland County District Attorney Sue Benn said that the man and an unknown accomplice dug up recently buried bodies and sent the bodies to Sicily, where they were mummified, misrepresented as Christ-era saints, and sold to Catholic churches throughout Italy. Ultimately, the ghouls netted $80,000 for each whole body.
     "We have evidence that it was a Mafia operation from start to finish," said DA Sue Benn. "We were tipped off by an informer. We have notified the families of the deceased. One of the bodies has been located at a church in Milan. Worshipers at the church thought the mummified body was Saint James, although the remains of Saint James are actually located in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.The body will be returned to Cortland. Italian authorities are still looking for the other two bodies, and have requested Vatican assistance to recover them."
     An Italian government spokesman said that the other two bodies were marketed as Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Major Italian newspapers, magazines and television and radio networks have virtually ignored the story because similar stories appear almost daily in small local newspapers throughout Italy.
     A former Cortland mayor, who requested anonymity because he is a suspect in at least one unrelated case, said:
     "Nothing like this ever happened while I was mayor. I consider it a matter of grave concern.You can be sure the FBI is investigating."
     DA Sue Benn expressed regret and sympathy for the deceased victims and their families.
     "I am withholding the identities of the three stolen bodies with due respect for the families of the deceased. My office is pursuing leads to bring the money-grubbing ghoul's accomplice to justice."
     Readers who believe this story about the dead could be resurrected by music, please click on YouTube link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj2qJx2_0EQ.
     Readers who think this story should be buried permanently, please skip the music and write an obituary as a comment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

City Of Cortland 2008 Cover Up--Mayor Stages Bogus FBI Investigation (Part Two)

     I was an alderperson and my intention at the time was to have a fuel usage policy in place. I never expected such a big deal over a few questions. Andy finally agreed to a new policy for gas usage when I began to question why the wastewater treatment plant personnel used credit cards without any documentation at Sunoco stations in the city and Polkville. All other departments used the county highway garage for fueling.
     After reviewing the Sunoco receipts, it's my guess that Andy fueled his personal vehicle, as there were many receipts from the Syracuse area where Andy lived.
     This is now PAST practice. ALL fuel is now purchased at the county highway garage since Bruce Adams took over at the wastewater treatment plant. The employee stopped fueling his personal vehicle as soon as I became mayor and now gets reimbursed for work-related mileage.
     David Hicks, Don Chambers and John McNerney all said initially that they couldn't talk to me because Mayor Gallagher told them there was an FBI investigation.
     I have documented the stages of the 2008 incident. On July 15, there was a discussion regarding the need for a vehicle gas use policy for city employees. On July 16, there was an article and an editorial in the Cortland Standard about the discussion. Three pages of meeting minutes and the Cortland Standard items appear below. (Click on pages to enlarge.)

Mayor Susan Feiszli

     On July 17, 2008, I emailed Andy Damiano, Director of Administration and Finance, and told him a county employee saw a city employee fuel up his private vehicle at the county garage. I asked if there was a special agreement with the city employee, and Andy responded: "No--absolutely not!"  Then he sent my email to the police chief, who contacted Investigator Paul Sandy. Investigator Sandy contacted me via email asking me to phone him.
     On July 21, I phoned the mayor who said the city employee had an agreement with a former department head to fuel his private vehicle. I also spoke with county Fleet Supervisor Dave Hicks, who confirmed that the city department head had been fueling up his personal vehicles since he was employed in this position in 2001. I emailed Andy Damiano and asked why he hadn't told me about the department head (John McNerney) having this special permission. Andy sent me a separate email stating that he sent my email to the police chief because he didn't want me to try to "hang" him.
     On July 23, I asked for and received from Andy Damiano a copy of a memo giving authorization to fuel the department head's private vehicle at city expense.
     On July 24, I phoned the county garage to request a copy of last month's fuel bill to the city by department. I was told by Dave Hicks that Mayor Gallagher had called his supervisor Don Chambers, who said that any information that I asked for should be sent to the mayor's office first. He was told by the mayor that the city was under investigation by the FBI in connection with fuel usage by city employees.
     On July 28, I requested from Andy Damiano a copy of this county bill.
I also spoke with Don Chambers who is head of the County Highway Department. Don confirmed that Mayor Gallagher had phoned him. Don Chambers suggested any information that I requested should be obtained through the county administrator. Don said the mayor had told him the city was under investigation by the FBI.
     On July 29, I phoned NYCOM and spoke to Richard Sinnot. I asked if it was required that city employees keep logs/records of personal vs. business use of vehicles and fuel. He said they must keep records.

Mayor Susan Feiszli
City of Cortland

City Of Cortland 2008 Attempted Cover Up, Mayor Involved (Part One)

Please click on pages to enlarge.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nobody Knew That Rev. Demott and Mrs. Wiltsie Were About To Run Off

    One Sunday morning, Rev. Demott failed to appear at the pulpit of the Presbyterian Church of Cortland. Nobody had been told he would be gone. There was a long wait in the pews of the church, until somebody went up to the pulpit and found a letter there. It was written by Rev. Demott and it said that he had left town with Mrs. Wiltsie.
    It was, of course, a complete shock to everyone because the affair between Rev. Demott and Mrs. Wiltsie was not widely known. It seems that George Wiltsie, Jr. was gay and not all of his trips to New York City were strictly buying trips for his department store in Cortland. Mrs. Wiltsie and Rev. Demott, meanwhile, were having a very discreet and serious affair.
    My father was an elder in the church at the time and wanted to fire Rev. Demott, but the other elders didn't have the guts to do it. So when Mrs. Wiltsie and the minister eloped, the problem was solved. Not the way anybody would have predicted--but solved nonetheless.
    I suspect there was great relief among the congregation when Rev. Demott left. He was later drummed out of the Presbyterian Church.
    There used to be two Presbyterian churches in Cortland, the First Presbyterian Church on Church Street and the North Presbyterian Church at the corner of Alvina and Homer Avenues. At one point--I can't give you the date--the North Presbyterian Church merged with the First Presbyterian Church, which later changed its name to First United Presbyterian Church. Neither congregation liked the arrangement at first. The First Presbyterian membership tended to be snobbish and looked down their noses at the invasion by the less affluent North Presbyterians. It was very un-Christian discrimination. The North Presbyterians felt unwelcome, and to many of the First Presbyterian Church they were.
     We were members of the First Presbyterian Church. I asked my mother why, considering the snooty attitude of the church membership, and she responded: "We joined at the time your grandmother did."
     My parents volunteered for church-related activities and functions. My father was a deacon and then an elder. Dad used to occasionally use the phrase "do-gooder" contemptuously, but in his own way he was a "do-gooder" himself. Besides his church activities, he was a troop committee member in Boy Scouts. My mother and Shirley Thompson were Cub Scout den mothers. Mr. Thompson was general manager of radio station WKRT, which was owned by Leighton Hope.
    My mother was also active in the Women's Association of the church. It was, for the most part, an upper class, snobbish church, and always has been. The membership of the First Presbyterian Church read like a social register. Wickwire, Higgins, Brewer, Marsted McJunkin and more. I used to call it "Country Club Christianity."

Former Cortland Resident

Editor's Note: Please refer to previous post Memories of Cortland posted November 15, 2011.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cell Phone Zombies Take Over Blue Frog Coffee Cafe

     Dozens of cell phone carrying zombies quietly took over the Blue Frog Coffee Cafe on Main Street, Cortland, Friday night. They entered singly and in small groups and sat down at every available seat. Overflow zombies stood behind occupied seats. They ordered Haitian coffee and bird-brain pate imported from Chile.
     At exactly 8 P.M. their cell phones started ringing. The slow-moving zombies, pale and death-like, began a noisy disruptive cacophony of zombie talk. It was an exceptional cell phone event. Interruptions and repetitive questions and answers were frequently heard. It was too loud in the coffee shop to hear orders or converse normally. Every attempt to quiet the zombies failed.
     The owner called 911, and Detective Sgt. Pepper and two patrolmen from the Cortland Police Department responded. After some questioning, it was determined that most of the zombies were former or current SUCC professors and students. A smattering were middle-age business professionals, who had been "transformed" by a mysterious Haitian woman who used to work at the coffee shop.
     Sgt. Pepper fell back on his police academy training and his personal touch of crowd control persuasion. Above the cacophony he shouted: "Silence!" Order was restored. Then he offered to sponsor a special Brain Barbecue--on the order of Bob's barbecue--and also a musical concert, featuring his band, in return for civil conversation at the coffee shop. His proposal was accepted by the zombies, who expressed their satisfaction with doleful cheering. The cell phones disappeared from view. No arrests were made.

     The barbecue and concert is scheduled for 6 P.M. Black Friday in the parking lot beside the Blue Frog Coffee Cafe. Cortland residents are urged to patronize the coffee shop, and meet and talk to real zombie customers.
     The owner of the establishment is an attractive open-minded woman who tolerates these undead zombies and sometimes sings to them. Perhaps this is why she hasn't been "transformed." She invites new and old patrons to sample good food and refreshments, which are listed on the menu. Look for Double Chocolate Zombie Delight, a favorite dessert for visitors.
     If asked, don't go out alone with any of the zombies. Beneath their dull civility, they are all indiscriminate brain eaters.

Editor's note: Curious readers are encouraged to visit:  http://www.zombiesarecoming.com/ and www.thegrumbler.net. View the illustration of cell phone zombies by Victor Kerlow in The Grumbler.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Who Am I? (Number 3)

     I was born on December 3, 1857 of a noble family in the city of Berdychiv. My mother died in 1865, and my father died in 1869. I was an orphan at age 11.
     I was raised by my uncle. At age 16 I traveled to Marseille and I enlisted as a seaman in the French Merchant Marine. For awhile, I was involved in gunrunning, and I experienced a broken heart when an early love affair failed.
     When I was 21, I was wounded in the chest. Some biographers claim it was attempted suicide, others claim it was the result of a duel. I always kept the cause of that wound a secret, so you can draw your own conclusions.
     By 1878, at age 22, I enlisted in the British Merchant Marine. My first British ship was called Skimmer of the Sea. In 1881, I became Second Mate on the Palestine, a ship with a tragic history. Bound for Bangkok in 1883, the ship caught fire in the Sundra Straight and sank. The entire crew reached shore safely, myself included.
     In 1886, I earned a British Master Mariner certificate. By then I could speak three languages fluently.
     After many voyages worldwide and a total of 16 years in the Merchant Marine, I retired in the year 1894. My maritime adventures served me well when I began my second career as an author. My first book, Almayer's Folly, was quickly followed by An Outcast of the Islands. I used a pen name for all my books and stories.
      I wrote about human nature and human emotions. I was denounced as a racist, and praised as a writer who understood human psychology. My writing style was best described by my contemporary friend, Ford Madox Ford, in his essay The Critical Attitude. "He is an impressionist. If he were to describe a murder...(he) would find it necessary to describe minutely the knife with which the murder was committed." In short, I would describe EVERY detail.
      I married Jessie George in 1896 and we had two sons. We lived in England where I wrote most of my books and short stories. In 1923 I visited the United States.
     In April 1924 I turned down a British non-heredity knighthood. Shortly after, on August 3, 1924, I had a heart attack and died.
     I am buried in Canterbury, England, and identified by my Polish name: Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. I am the Polish-born English novelist Joseph Conrad.
     I wrote Victory, Lord Jim, Typhoon, The Secret Agent, The Duel, Heart of Darkness, Nostromo, The Rover, and The Nigger of Narcissus, and some short stories such as Amy Foster.
    

To read a good short biography of Joseph Conrad, click on this Wikipedia link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Conrad

Joke Circulating Among St. Charles Faction Democrats

     There's a joke circulating among Democrats of the St. Charles faction in the City of Cortland. It goes like this:
     A Woodster and a skunk are lying dead on the street. How do you tell the difference?
     There are skid marks in front of the skunk.

Editor's Note: See Woodsters Euphemism Explained in post dated September 19, 2011.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ancient Petrified Cross-Dresser Unearthed In Groton

     Pssts! They're keeping it a secret in Groton--but this reporter heard the rumor in a Groton barber shop and decided to give it feet and wings. If it has a ring of fantasy to it, it belongs in this blog's non-political section.
     Last April, the petrified and burnt body of an ancient Native American cross-dresser was unearthed in a dry cave two miles west of Groton on McNabe's farm. A petrified totem pole painted white and red was also found near the entrance to the cave. The county coroner, Judson Smith, examined the stone-like corpse and declared it was a male, in his early 20's, and in the prime of life when he died. The corpse was radioactive carbon dated to the 3rd millennium B.C.
     How did he die?
     Smith said the petrified man was getting his hair cut, dried and styled, when his hair caught fire and he burned to death. And he may have been stabbed. To arrive at this conclusion, Smith examined the observable evidence scattered on the floor of the cave near the corpse: a long comb made of wood, twin parallel sticks thought to be a primitive styling tool, a pair of crude scissors with short wooden handles and flint blades, and a prehistoric "blow dryer"-- a bellows made of mammoth skin with a wood handle. The scissors were lodged in the back of the corpse between the shoulder blades. All of these items were charred but identifiable. Additionally, a fire pit with traces of unburned charcoal was located near the burnt corpse.
     Smith told the downtown Groton barber that he believes, after studying the evidence, that an ancient barber, perhaps the petrified man's live-in partner, was using the bellows to blow hot air from the fire pit into the hair of the petrified man when sparks set his hair and body on fire. The remains of the presumed live-in partner have not been found.
     All of the uncovered artifacts were labelled and tagged by state police investigators, who sealed the cave with crime-scene tape to keep the public from entering the cave. Representatives of the Museum of Anthropology and Stone-Age Curiosity studied the petrified corpse and other evidence, and will present the results of their findings to the public early next year.
     The cross-dressing part of this story, given the evidence found in the cave, is a persuasive corollary. Smith claims that he found burnt fragments of a rabbit skin skirt and blouse stuck to the corpse, and a make-up kit among the other artifacts nearby. The make-up kit was a large deerskin pouch containing eyebrow tweezers--made of a bird's wishbone--red ocher powder, yellow and green plant dye, and Chanel No. 5.
     No one in the barbershop asked the obvious question--





     Was it the scene of an accident or was it the scene of a murder?
     Did you suppose it would be a question about perfume?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Memories of Cortland

     You asked me for my opinion of Cortland's Main Street today. Frankly and bluntly, it has no class, no harmony. You know the term "urban sprawl"--that is how I would describe downtown Cortland today--in a compact way. It never had architectural cohesiveness, but at one time it did have some nice stores, such as B.T. Jones Jewelry, Burgess Clothing, Fabrizio's, The Brother and Sister Shop, Brotans, The Rose Company, and just off Central Avenue, Latimer's Men's Store. There were other stores too, such as Bentley's Hardware, Newberry's, W.T. Grant and Woolworth's. Sears was located on Groton Avenue. But the storefronts never related to one another, and they look worse now. Montgomery Ward's took up the very prominent corner of Main Street and West Court Street. What a sad looking building it is today!
     The Cortland of my early memory had a certain sophistication and charm. How much of that was real, or how much of it my mind invented, I'm not sure. It is probably a combination of the two. But it did have economic vitality. There used to be a privately owned city bus line, and a train station. There were some large and small factories, such as Brockway, Smith Corona, Champion Sheet Metal, Durkee's Bakery, Cortland Corset, another corset company and Brewer's Metal Fabrication.
     Champion Sheet Metal off Owego Street was originally called Champion Milk Cooler Company. I won't go into details of its demise, but my father saw the handwriting on the wall and took early retirement--wisely, as it turned out. When the plant closed, Fred Compagni of Compagni Construction bought the property. Fred and my father got along well. I think my father respected Fred for being able to make a success of his life using his native intelligence and ambition, despite humble beginnings. Anyway, when Fred bought the buildings he asked my father for advise on what to do with the buildings. My father told Fred the best thing he could do was to tear them all down, and that's what Fred did. There is a painting of the Champion Milk Cooler Company at the Historical Society.
     People shopped downtown. They didn't go to a shopping mall in Cortlandville as they do today. There was a grand department store, G. H. Wiltsie's (not sure of spelling), that was upscale by community standards. We had passenger train service. Student housing was not the problem it is now, except that people were uprooted and houses were condemned or razed or moved as the college expanded. Several houses at the end of Belrose Avenue, for example, used to be in the Prospect Terrace area but were moved.
     Prior to Japanese imported cars, each car brand had a separate dealership in Cortland. I remember Ames Chevrolet, Dillingham Ford, Parker Pontiac, Gleason Buick, Dovi Motors, Brigg's Cadillac in Homer and there was another dealership on Homer Avenue. Every year there was an auto show at the skating rink across from A. B. Brown's. That's a store I forgot to mention earlier. It was really two stores. One sold farm machinery, and the other sold hardware and appliances. The hardware store had a small gift shop area.
     During WW2, Wickwire Brothers was running at full employment. My mother was executive secretary to Charles Wickwire and knew everything that went on in that factory. She made lifelong friends with women in other departments that lasted until her death--long after she stopped working and became a wife and homemaker. When the Wickwire mansion became the 1890 House Museum, I urged my mother to write or tape her recollections but she refused. That was too bad because she had a perspective on the company and the family that nobody else had. So much was lost by her refusal.
     There used to be three men's stores and three jewelry stores downtown. The former were Latimer's, A. Louis and Harold's Army and Navy, which changed the name to Harold's Men and Boys. Dad and I used to get our dress clothes at Latimer's. A. Louis was good, but old Mr. Louis was very pushy to the point of being a pest, so we didn't shop there. Harold's was out of the question, a very unpleasant place. It was owned by a family named Weinburg. Mr. Weinburg had passed away and the place was run by his wife and son, Bernard. The reason it was so unpleasant was that Mrs. Weinburg and her son did not get along very well and frequently had loud arguments in front of customers.
     At one point in time, there was a fire at the Central Avenue Latimer's. That was an elegant store. Inside, it was panelled in walnut. It exuded an old world elegance. After the fire, the business was moved to Main Street but the place was never the same.
     The jewelry stores were B.T. Jones, Fiorintini's, and I don't recall the name of the other. It was located on Main Street next to the old First National Bank which is Alliance Bank now.
     B.T. Jones was another elegant store that carried first class merchandise. It was located at the corner of Main Street and Court Street. The Jones family were what you might call American Aristocrats. He played polo. The polo ground was located where the Super Wal-Mart is located today, which speaks volumes about the direction Cortland and Cortlandville have taken over the years. Mrs. Jones' nickname was Mousie. I don't know why. First they lived on West Court Street in one of those large dignified houses. Then they restored the former Jere Wickwire house on Reynolds Avenue and moved in. That federal style house had been moved all the way from Cherry Valley. I believe it is now located at 7 Reynolds. The Historical Society has a file on the house with an article written when the house was moved from Cherry Valley. I remember speaking to Mrs. Jones during the 1980 fluoridation campaign. She was opposed to it. I will never forget her comment. With exquisite simplicity, she summed up the issue by saying, "It isn't necessary."
     My mother bought clothes at three places. G. H. Wiltsie's department store (expensive), The Rose Company and Leonard's Dress Shop. My mother had small feet and could not find comfortable shoes anywhere in Cortland. She shopped for shoes at The Addis Company on South Salina Street in Syracuse. The Addis Company was also very expensive but she didn't have much choice. Occasionally my mother would go with her friends to fashion show luncheons at the Persian Terrace in the Hotel Syracuse.
     These are just a few of my random memories. I hope your readers find them interesting.

A Former Cortland Resident


Editor's Note: The author of this post is also the creator of our $enator $ham character found in the August 2011 posts. Read Letter to $enator $ham and $enator $ham Reply.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cortland County 2012 Budget Exceeds Governor's Cap By Over 100%

COUNTY BUDGET EXCEEDS GOVERNOR'S CAP BY OVER 100%

The citizens of Cortland County need to be aware that their Legislature will vote and approve a budget that exceeds the Governors proposed cap by more than 100%. 

 In an effort to reduce the heavy property tax burden Governor Cuomo has proposed a 2% cap on the tax levy. However, the budget as prepared and accepted by the County Budget and Finance Committee will enhance the levy by more than 4%.  Many factors are filling out the robust budget. Some of the contributors are high retirement costs, higher health care costs, little relief on mandated items and high amounts of overtime within the Sheriff’s department. Once again the overtime budget within the Sheriff’s department is $600,000 and that may be exceeded.

Bonding continues to be another large contributor to the budget. This year the Legislature approved an enhanced communication system and that bond with interest is likely to exceed 20 million dollars. For 2012 it is quite likely they will approve a 30 million dollar bond for bridge repair and culvert replacements. This will add a minimum 1% to your tax burden--over the cap.  Given the lack of financial support on state mandates, Cortland County is on a path of higher taxes for the foreseeable future.

If you can not attend the County Budget hearing on Monday (14th) at the County office building, then make it a point to call your Legislator and ask him/her what effort has he/she made to reduce your tax burden.

Anonymous

Reporter Interviews Cortland Contrarian's Editor

     Following elections in Cortland, a reporter from an area newspaper interviewed editor Jeff Paine of the Cortland Contrarian in camera. The interview took place somewhere off campus. The reporter wore a blind-fold during the interview and used a recorder. At the conclusion of the interview, the reporter submitted a finished article for publication in his newspaper. The managing editor claimed the content was "inappropriate" and refused to publish it.

     Here are some snippets from the interview.
  
     Reporter: The Cortland Contrarian recently supported Mayor Susan Feiszli for re-election and she was defeated. Do you have any comments?
     Paine: We supported the best candidate. We have no regrets.
     Reporter: Why do you mix politics with literary postings and comic nonsense?
     Paine: Why not? My contributors and I believe that politics falls into the same category as comic nonsense, especially here in Cortland.
     Reporter: According to the blog, you have several contributors and an editor chosen for incompetence. Why was the editor chosen for incompetence?
     Paine: A competent editor would work a full day and get paid for it. I am not paid, and I don't work a full day. The Woodsters offered me $500 on condition that I stop work on this blog. I refused the offer. It wasn't enough. I felt insulted and undervalued. Besides, it was the same dirty money that was offered to the mayor for political support and an appointed job at city hall.
     Reporter: If you are not paid, why do you do it?
     Paine: I do it for self-pleasure. I am a latent literary masturbator.
     Reporter: Your blog claims several contributors. With several contributors, how do you arrive at a consensus to release a post on your blog?
     Paine: By majority vote. It establishes our faith in democracy.
     Reporter: The history posts are quite interesting. Do you have a history teacher or historian among your contributors?
     Paine: Yes. As a matter of fact, we have a contributor who specializes in history, another who specializes in literature. But I suspect their professional credentials are counterfeit.
     Reporter: Do you have trouble organizing and editing your posts?
     Paine: Yes. Thanks for asking. I had difficulty with the recent post Miracle Plant Grows On Roof Of Cortland Library. The contributor, who knows nothing about Latin and used some Latin words, offered several revisions after the story was posted. So translating former Library Director Warren Eddy's name into Latin was a chore. I traveled to Rome and back to get it. I'm still not sure I got it right: Warrensia Eddysiae. Case and gender may be incorrect. The Roman I spoke to was drunk--you can shove your to whom. That post had other difficulties, too. It came to me garbled on the Internet, and some words and phrases had to be moved or changed after the story was first posted. It is still garbled, in the opinion of many readers.
     Reporter: Who writes the crazy stories about zombies, aliens, flashers and English-speaking chimps?
     Paine: An English-speaking chimp.
     Reporter: Seriously--
     Paine: I'm serious. We have an chimp on out staff. His name is Sherwood. He's a fugitive from justice at the moment.
     Reporter: Is that the chimp who went on a rampage at the county office building?
     Paine: That's our Sherwood. He does have a temper, doesn't he?
     Reporter: It seems our serious interview just went off the deep end. Do you have a problem with reality?
     Paine: Yes.

     Visitors are encouraged to read Has Anyone Seen Sherwood? in October 2011 postings. J. Paine

Friday, November 11, 2011

Miracle Plant Is a "Plant"

      Shortly after the Miracle Plant story was posted on this blog, the National Security Agency contacted the Cortland Contrarian. NSA informed our staff that the plant on the library roof is a Russian FSB "plant" --which actually spies on the City of Cortland while disguised as a musical biological novelty. The spy device intercepts cell phone text and voice messages, Internet communications, emergency fire, medical and police communications, and reads the minds of senior citizens in nearby high-rise buildings.
      NSA officials said that the FSB plant accurately predicted the outcome of recent municipal elections. The miracle plant communicates via satellite, and NSA was able to intercept all of its communications to Russia, including an observation on city elections.
      NSA officials read a short translated and unencrypted message:
      "Cortland's political secret has been discovered. B.S. baffles brains."
      When Cornell's Director of Plant Physiognomy, Hubert Funk, was notified by NSA officials, he asked if he and his brother could continue their examination of the Miracle Plant. NSA officials told him the plant was a national security threat and told him crudely to "butt out."
      NSA sent a team of dismantling experts, including scientists, engineers and bomb experts, and they removed the plant from the roof of the library and took it away. Strangely, the plant was broadcasting Rimsky-Korsakov music as it was carried off the roof.
      The Business Development Council and Cortland County were notified and they lodged immediate protests to elected officials in Washington, bemoaning loss of tourism dollars and sales tax revenue.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Miracle Plant Grows On Roof Of Cortland Library

     It is a beautiful small evergreen plant that blooms in winter and summer. It is similar to holly, but is distinctively different: each audible flaming-red fruit sings paeans to FDR, and extols the virtue of democracy. There are summer nights when the plant's fruit sing gospel hymns and folk music. It quiets roof-roosting crows and puts them to sleep in summer, but irritates them and keeps them awake and garrulous in winter. No one knows why.
     "This plant has scientists baffled--it is a biological miracle," said Hubert Funk, Director of Plant Physiognomy at Cornell's School of Agriculture. "Besides photosynthesis, it has atypical photovoltaic chemical cells embedded in the leaves, which generate electrical energy. It appears to be a biological form of nanotechnology. Each fruit, about the size of a large cranberry, has a miniature animated facial expression. We don't know how it actually makes music. Truly bizarre," he exclaimed. "Nothing like it has been documented until now."
     Mike Funk, Hubert's brother, who is a cell phone engineer, is trying to decipher the plant's complex electronics. "I suspect this plant operates on a 4G cell phone network and gets its music from YouTube. I have not identified the cell phone network. The data is encrypted, and the frequency keeps changing. It's entirely possible that the signal originates outside earth's atmosphere, somewhere in space."
     Ford and Toyota engineers have studied the plant's electrical storage abilities for adaptation to hybrid cars.
     Cornell botanists and scientists have classified it Planta Phaenomenae, or phenomenal plant. The Department of Environmental Conservation has ordered that it be placed on the protected plant species list. The DEC also nick-named it Warrensia Eddysiae.
     This phenomenal plant was first noticed by people on the sidewalk passing by the library in the evening, when the songs are usually heard. Senior citizens who reside in nearby tall buildings have heard the music for years, and some Republicans among them have complained to police.
     Two years ago roofers inspecting the library roof confirmed the plant's existence. Since then it has been the object of scientific inquiry and speculation, and has made Cortland a city of pilgrimage for curious doubters. It is predicted that it may someday attract as many visitors as Our Lady of Lourdes.
     "This plant is a terrific tourism boost for our city," said Doug Walsh, head of the Business Development Council. "People from as far away as Russia and China will visit our city for its cultural and political oddities."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Student Housing List 2011, 6 Or Less Occupants

Click on pages to enlarge.

Student Housing List 2011, 7-15 Occupants, Part 1

Click on pages to enlarge.

Student Housing List 2011, 7-15 Occupants, Part2

Click on pages to enlarge.

Recipe For City Of Cortland Hasty Pudding

                                                  YANKEE DOODLE

                                          Father and I went down to camp,
                                          Along with Captain Goodin',
                                          And there we saw the men and boys,
                                          As thick as hasty puddin'.

      Hasty pudding was an early American and British porridge of grains cooked in water or milk. Wheat flour, corn, barley or oats were essential ingredients. It was heated or left to stand for baking or frying, and it was usually eaten with maple syrup, molasses or salted meat.

                                Recipe for City of Cortland Hasty Pudding

1. Two quarts ground corn.
2. One pint water or milk.
3. One teaspoon each, essence of Quail, Ferguson, Michales, Bennett, Bird, Dye, Silliman and Ferrer.
4. One heaping tablespoon essence of Tobin.
5. Add half-pint mixture of squeezed Wood, Walsh and Benedict. (This measure should be omitted if concerned about a recent FDA safety warning.)
6. Mix to thick consistency. Add more water or milk as needed.
7. Heat or set aside to thicken.
8. Pray before eating. (You may omit step 8 if step 5 was omitted.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

City Code and Landlord Case, With Postscript Of Mayoral Election Results

     The Cortland Contrarian contributors and editor have read legal precedents and spoken with attorneys who are familiar with the issues of this case. Our conclusion is that the court will force a settlement upon the city not unlike the law drafted by former Corporation Counsel Walsh.
     We believe that mayoral candidate Tobin, Ron Walsh and some incumbent alderpersons have been so advised. Also, they have been advised-for political purposes-to continue to spread a message of hope to their supporters, a message that has strong human appeal.
     Let us assume that a court decision or settlement occurs, after elections, which orders the city to change the ordinance to square footage. What will have been accomplished for SONG and the Hill Association by supporting Brian Tobin?
     Let us also assume that Brian Tobin is elected mayor and that he appoints Ron Walsh as city corporation counsel. They both get the reward they sought.
     As for SONG and the Hill Association, this question will arise: Were they used as stepping stones for political ambition?
     We will find out in the coming weeks and months.

Editor's Note: Brian Tobin won the Democratic primary and was elected mayor in the general election, receiving 58% of votes cast. Less than 35% of eligible voters in the City of Cortland voted in the mayoral election.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tobin-Michales-Walsh Intrigue





Please click on pages for enlargement. One week before the first email was sent, Corporation Counsel Ron Walsh was fired by Mayor Feiszli. Before leaving City Hall, Ron Walsh told Mayor Feiszli: "You'll be sorry you did this."
"Frank" is Attorney Frank Williams, who was hired by Common Council for $5,000. These emails were obtained in the public domain.  Managed obstruction of city government was a deliberate strategy initiated after Walsh was fired. It was mistakenly identified as "dysfunction." Tobin's Democratic primary victory was the coup de grace. If Tobin is elected mayor, Walsh will be appointed corporation counsel. Full circle. For more on government secrecy, visit the Albany Times Union link: 

Landlord Student Housing Assessments


Please click on each small page for enlargement. This assessment information was confirmed by David Briggs to Mayor Susan Feiszli. Note assessment disparities. The following message was posted at  www.syracuse.com/forums/cortland/:
14861.1.

Local level too. Cut and paste, this will go fast......

by hoy13077, 11/07/11 8:45 AM
 


Both Gallagher and Tobin campaigns were sponsored by wealthy landlords on this list who pay 1/2 of their fair share of property taxes compared to other landlords. See which landlord has Tobin signs on their property (i.e. Port Watson Street Commons) then go back to the assessments. Hmmmm.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Leadership Unheralded

2/15/11
Re: Director of Administration and Finance
A number of people have expressed concern over the fact that I have delayed announcing a formal search to fill the position of Director of Administration and Finance, since that position became vacant last year. I understand these concerns but given the problems that developed with the last person to hold that position, I decided it was better to delay a new search.
Nick Mazza – who served in this position on an interim basis and was involved in recruiting the most recent Director – cautioned us that making a poor selection for this position could be costly and challenged the Mayor and Council to work toward broad support, if not consensus, in selecting someone for this position.
The problems associated with Brian Gazda’s tenure and the disagreements between Mayor, Department Heads and Council that surfaced over his performance and ultimate departure proved that both of these positions were valid. And, while I might ideally have liked to replace Mr. Gazda immediately, these problems and disagreements convinced me that attempting to do so, under the circumstances, would be difficult, if not impossible, and could make matters even worse.
Instead, I chose to leave the position vacant while I attempted to assess what went wrong, began to correct the problems and rebuild a more collaborative working relationship between the Mayor’s office, Department Heads and Council. I understood that operating with this vacancy would put a strain on the remainder of the management team but felt it would actually be useful in identifying what we needed from the next person to occupy this position and what had not worked with the previous Director.
Based on the past several months, I believe some, but not all, of these objectives have been met. I believe City Department Heads are again working collaboratively and cooperation with the Mayor’s office is good. Unfortunately, the working relationship between the Administration [Mayor and Department Heads] and Council remains strained and may, in some ways, have deteriorated even further.
I am hopeful, however, that the Council’s recent unanimous support of my nominee for Corporation Counsel is a sign that, despite our differences, we’re all aware that the City’s interests are best served when we manage to overcome these differences and cooperate. I also believe that delaying the formal search for our next Director of Administration and Finance any further would be counterproductive. In fact, I have already been working quietly with Department Heads and consulting with the New York Conference of Mayors and others on this for some time. I now think the time is right to move this project ahead to the next phase.
Currently I am in the process of finalizing details of the next phase of the search process-which will include advertising for the position and how applicants will be evaluated and screened. I expect to have more details to share in the coming weeks but can assure you, at this point, that the process will include ample opportunities for Department heads and Council to be involved.

Mayor Susan Feiszli, Cortland

Woodsters Associated With Modern Bubonic Plague

     Cortland has faced flu epidemics, even typhoid, but never an authentic outbreak of dreaded Bubonic plague. Never say never in Cortland, especially at election time.
     "By God, it's here in Cortland and we have already reported ten cases to the CDC," said Dr. Frank N. Stein, Director of Internal Medicine at CMH.
     The Cortland County Health Department has issued a health emergency alert to avoid an epidemic. Guidelines for the public were issued.
     Bubonic plague is a zoonotic disease spread by infected rodents and their fleas. Symptoms include swelling under armpits, in the groin and on the neck, chills, fever and seizures. It is a lymphatic disease. Humans can die in less than a week if untreated.
     The name Bubonic plague is derived from the Greek bubo, meaning swollen gland. The infection enters the skin and moves to the lymphatics. It is caused by a form of bacteria called Yersinia pestis. Bubonic plague is the cause of the Black Death, which killed 75 million people in 14th century Europe.
     "The ten cases we reported are all Woodster Democrats and they are being treated successfully with streptomycin and an amalgam of Ronald Reagan cheese. These rodents ought to be transferred to an animal hospital but this is an emergency, so we accepted them. It's our duty. Besides," he added with a troubled look, "the animal hospitals have refused to accept any of them."
     CMH staff deloused the Woodsters in a special room before admitting them to Critical Care. They were sprayed with Lincoln disinfectant and washed with Jefferson bleach. Workers at the hospital were wearing protective clothing and heavy linesman's gloves.
     "The last step in the process is to extract all the lies. That takes a very long time," said Dr. Stein.

Editor's Note: See September post Woodsters Euphemism Explained.
   

True Origin of Rental Permit Law

Last night at 8 P.M. I watched an "interview" with Brian Tobin on Channel 2 that Clay Benedict produced. Brian gave himself credit for introducing the Rental Permit Law-which is totally untrue!

The Council hired Don Cheney (land-use attorney) to draft the law before Brian was an Alderman. The reason why this law was even brought up in the first place was because I proposed a Moratorium to stop issuance of building permits for student housing additions or conversions for higher occupancy. My proposal was denied by Mayor Gallagher, Council and Planning Commission.


The idea of the moratorium was to allow time for the City to work on re-zoning that would allow higher density in some areas, prohibit student housing in R-1 neighborhoods, and have a healthy mix in R-2 and R-3 neighborhoods.


As an Alderman Nick DeCarlo did research and brought forward the idea of the Rental Permit Program (before Brian was on the Council) and the Council retained Don Cheney to write the law for the City.


This is documented in Council Minutes.


All of this was close to the next election when Bill Wood had Brian Tobin run a Primary against Nick DeCarlo. Nick lost in the Primary.


As an Alderman, I had planned a Housing Committee to work together on zoning in areas of the City that were affected by Student Housing.  It would include residents from these neighborhoods, along with Landlords, land-use attorney, Zoning and Code officials.


I was also working at the time on appealing the FEMA Flood Maps. When Brian came on Council, he offered to take over the Housing Committee.


The Housing Committee included Vivian Bosch, Amy Bertini, Shawn Smith, one landlord (Chris Calabro), Brian Tobin, Clay Benedict and Tom Michaels.


Many revisions were made to the law. Vivian Bosch brought the revised law to Meira Hertzburg who was the land-use attorney for Thoma Development and wrote the land use and zoning sections for the Comprehensive Plan for the City.


Ms. Hertzburg found many inconsistencies and said the City would be opening itself to a lawsuit as the law was written. Per Vivian’s and my request,  Brian Tobin met with Ms. Hertzburg but never relayed these concerns to the Housing Committee.


I also have emails from Don Cheney who said he had mentioned MANY times that there was a better approach to handle density then the three unrelated law. Mr. Cheney did not meet with the Committee but emailed Mr. Tobin (I have the email) and again Brian Tobin did not relay Mr. Cheney’s recommendation, later saying that “he didn’t understand” his recommendation and therefore didn’t communicate it to the Committee.


All of what I’ve written above is documented.


Mayor Susan Feiszli, Cortland

Friday, November 4, 2011

Corporation Counsel Walsh Drafts City Rental Occupancy Law

When Corporation Counsel Ron Walsh sent this to city council, only Aldermen Tobin and Michales were against it. Alderman Quail asked questions and then there were no other remarks from council. I asked Walsh to draft it. The landlord lawsuit happened the following week. By then it was too late to do anything.



I have letters from Knickerbocker, Land-use Attorneys, Jim Place, Chief Glover, and City Assessor David Briggs who were in full support of the square footage approach vs. the 3 unrelated.  On this advice I based my decision and recommendation to Ron to draft the letter.
Mayor Susan Feiszli, City of Cortland.


City Hall – Law Department

Ronald T. Walsh

Corporation Counsel


25 Court Street, Cortland, New York 13045



Phone: 607-753-0872
Fax: 607-753-0385




To: Mayor Feiszli, Members of the Common Council

From: Ron Walsh, Corporation Counsel

Date: 6/11/2010


Re: City Rental Occupancy Law


I have been asked to draft an amendment to the City of Cortland Zoning Code that would legalize occupancy levels of rental housing units at the number of occupants registered under the rental permit program as of August 1, 2010. In other words, if a landlord admits in his/her permit application to having four unrelated tenants in a single dwelling unit, the use would be deemed to be in compliance.


The proposed language for the amendment is as follows:


ANY RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT DULY REGISTERED PURSUANT TO THE CITY OF CORTLAND’S RENTAL HOUSING PERMIT LAW ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 1, 2010, THE OCCUPANCY OF WHICH EXCEEDS THE LEVEL ORDINARILY PERMITTED UNDER SECTION 300-2 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF CORTLAND SHALL BE DEEMED TO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ZONING LAW OF THE CITY OF CORTLAND AS A NON-CONFORMING USE EXISTING PRIOR TO THE ADOPTION OF SECTION 300-2 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF CORTLAND


This approach would accomplish a number of objectives –


  1. It would likely forestall time-consuming and costly litigation. As you are aware, the City is facing at least one law suit in connection with the definition of family and our residential occupancy regulations. I have been told that we can expect a challenge to our rental permit law also. A conversation with Steven Lagrue, the attorney for several of the more militant landlords, leads me to believe that these law suits would go away if the city adopts this measure.


  1. It would provide Dave Briggs, the City Assessor with an accurate indication of the income potential of various properties, which in turn will allow him to appropriately adjust the tax assessment of these properties. There would also be a disincentive for landlords to over-report occupancy levels, because the more occupants they report, the higher their property tax assessment would be.


  1. It would secure buy-in from the landlord group to cooperate with the rental permit program, and it would result in hard and fast numbers of occupants of housing units.


  1. With hard and fast occupancy levels established for all rental units as of August 1, 2010, the City will be in a much stronger position to prosecute future illegal expansions of occupancy. This would potentially stem the expansion of rental housing into single-family, owner occupied neighborhoods.


This amendment is constructed such that a landlord would not be in a position to claim in the future, that at their housing unit was grandfathered for occupancy of more than 3 unrelated people. The level of occupancy would be fixed at the number registered under the rental permit program as of August 1, 2010..


If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Wood, Tobin and Hayes Opposed Mayor's 2011 No Tax Increase Budget

Wednesday night (November 2, 2011) the City held its second budget workshop on the Mayor's tentative budget. Department Heads did a phenomenal job with their presentation and received applause from those who attended for keeping within their budget, and looking for ways to increase revenue and save taxpayers' dollars and to enable a second consecutive budget with a 0% increase in taxes.

After the meeting, my husband came to pick me up at City Hall and was visibly upset. Chuck told me that we had received a political flyer from Mr. Tobin that claimed he had voted against the 2011 City budget because it was "dishonest". I immediately went back into Council Chambers and asked Mr. Tobin what he meant by that comment. Mr. Tobin floundered and then said that he thought the anticipated sales tax revenue was too low. This was in reference to last year’s budget that Mr. Tobin voted against which was a zero percent tax increase. During the middle of a recession with unemployment at an all time high and people out of work, I considered that a prudent move. Not dishonest.

Obviously the majority of the Council agreed, as the budget was approved 6-2 ( I believe that Ms. Hayes voted along with Mr. Tobin) and has proven to be solid and well thought out. We will finish this year in the black without the need to use reserve funds.

I would like to make note that the only resident who spoke out against my budget during public comment was former Chairman of the Democratic Committee, Mr. Bill Wood.

If there is any dishonesty taking place, it is in Mr. Tobin's claim. As your Mayor, I only proposed a tentative budget. Per our Charter, it is the main responsibility of Council to modify or amend as they see fit prior to the budget being brought to the public for comment and final adoption. If Mr. Tobin felt that strongly and calls himself a leader of the council, he should have been able to convey and convince the majority of Council to go along.

What Mr. Tobin’s campaign literature displays are feelings and opinions with no basis in fact. If the budget was "dishonest" then I am assuming the remainder of Council must be "dishonest" - as they decided to adopt it as basically proposed.

The only item the Council changed was to eliminate the entire contractual line from the law department to the Contingency line due to previous Corporation Council overspending

It should be noted that this was the first time in 20 years that budget amendments did not exceed the overall appropriations brought before Council for approval.

For the past twenty years, our former Director of Administration and Finance controlled the appropriations and brought a single budget amended proposal to the Council at the end of the year. It was always passed without comment.

In closing, was it Mr. Wood and Mr. Tobin who felt that taxes should be raised and that the Mayor and rest of Council were “dishonest”?


Mayor Susan Feiszli

Mayor's Dysfunction Or Leadership?

     The editor and contributors to the Cortland Contrarian have received and read a 16 page FOILable copy of minutes of a city department head meeting held February 24, 2010. In attendance were Mayor Feiszli, Alderpersons Craig, Ferguson and Tobin, Corporation Counsel Walsh and all department heads. Names of department heads were blacked out on the copy, but handwritten department head comments in the margins were retained.
     The purpose of the meeting was to review administrative action taken with regard to former Finance Administrator Bryan Gazda, who was on paid administrative leave at the time of the meeting. Mayor Feisli said that department heads had concerns about the performance of Mr. Gazda. Alderman Tobin related that council had a list of fifty three concerns, which was reduced to sixteen questions, and presented to Mr. Gazda for his response. He did not disclose Mr. Gazda's response.
     "Alderman Tobin noted that one of the concerns was whether or not there had been any negative job performance evaluations on him during the first six months. Alderman Tobin noted that to the best of his knowledge no one had said anything during the previous administration."
     Immediate criticism from department heads followed Alderman Tobin's comment. One department head said he had sent an email to Alderman Tobin and reached out to Alderman Quail. He went on to state "that the council was misled in a public meeting on what Mr. Gazda gave the council information on." A general discussion about Mr. Gazda's performance and conduct followed.
     "Alderman Tobin stated that the idea was to hold Mr. Gazda accountable and let him know what the job expectations were. Besides some job performance issues to address, there are also anger management issues to address as well."
     Two department heads asked why the council was going to bring Mr. Gazda back.
     "Alderman Tobin stated that it was the mayor's decision to put Mr. Gazda on administrative leave and he has not been eliminated. The council is making a decision about what they think is in the city's best interest."
     These comments invited more criticism and challenge from department heads, who said they were looking out for the interests of taxpayers too. One department head "asked if the city had hired a Director of Administration and Finance trainee. He stated that he thought that was what everyone felt because Mr. Gazda had no knowledge."
     It was apparent from the minutes that city council wanted to extend a trial period for Mr. Gazda, to delay his immediate termination, but department heads wanted his employment terminated. Several department heads said they had been contacted by the media with questions on this matter and wanted to know how to respond. Corporation Council Ron Walsh stated that these questions should be directed to the mayor. There followed a discussion about legal issues attached to public comments on the subject of Mr. Gazda.
     Corporation Counsel Ron Walsh stated that he was "not comfortable about giving advice in this situation as he had applied for and interviewed for the position of Director of Administration and Finance." He recommended outside counsel.
     One department head asked if there was some legal reason why council was not discussing Mr. Gazda and why, with over one hundred years of dedication and experience to the city, department heads are being disregarded for one person. Alderman Tobin stated that the council had talked about how they could dismiss him. Mayor Feiszli stated the city wanted to do it legally. Department heads continued to press for termination of Mr. Gazda's employment with the city, citing the many disputes they had with him.
     At one point in the open discussion, "Walsh stated that the council members should ask what the council proposed to accomplish when department heads don't respect him. How can we go forward and then wait for an evaluation in four months?"
     Alderman Tobin noted "there is a process and part of the process will be clarifications of what is expected in this position as this will impact him in his position as well as fellow employees. This will be discussed, the council will not just hand him a job description, they will discuss with him their expectations of what he needs to do when interacting with his subordinates." (A handwritten note in left side margin: What was the outcome?)
     Alderman Tobin noted that the council "would be making a list of things Mr. Gazda has done, a list of what he needs to fix." (A handwritten note in left side margin: Where is the list?)
     "Mayor Feiszli noted that she would like to spend the next four months trying to get out of this mess rather than writing documentation of what Bryan is doing or not doing. She explained that a lot of time has been spent on this issue and it needs to be done with and taken care of. She felt there was not a working relationship with him and she stated to council members that if they wanted Mr. Gazda to come back, they were going to have to figure out how it was going to work.
     "Mayor Feiszli noted that she would continue to place him on administrative leave and she will be placing this item on the next council agenda. She went on to state that the mayor has the power to remove him with council's approval."
     On a discussion about confidentiality and FOIL, the mayor stated "that she had been asked to record this meeting and asked to take minutes and no executive session had been called, so that the minutes of this meeting were subject to FOIL."
     Other non-related issues were discussed toward the end of the meeting. The mayor indicated that she would put the job performance issue of Director of Administration and Finance on the March 2, 2010 council agenda. The controversy surrounding this issue was described by area media and political opponents as "dysfunction" and it was pinned entirely on Mayor Feiszli.
     What do you think?

Editor's Note: Readers may contact City of Cortland and request a FOIL for the complete minutes of the February 24, 2010 meeting.  www.cortland.org

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Strategic Planning Committee Criticized

Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2011 5:09 PM
To: Brian Tobin
Cc: Susan Feiszli; mayor; Linda Ferguson; Dan Quail
Subject: "City dept. heads question intern questioning" - page 3 Cortland Standard

Dear Mr. Tobin -

I'm upset by the article in today's Cortland Standard. At the January meeting of the Strategic Planing Committee held in the Mayor's Conference Room - the first that you chaired - I raised concern that the department heads might not be comfortable with questions asked to them by interns. At the time you discounted my concern, but you did allow that you would "work with the Mayor". I took you on your word.


If you have spent any time working in government, you would know that minus some sort of approval from leadership, department heads are not going to speak freely with interns who may be unknown to them - especially in a politically charged City Hall. If you had worked with the Mayor as you indicated you would, she could have let department heads know that it was OK to speak with the interns and even let department heads know their names. The students who were trying to help us out would have had a much easier time, if you had put politics aside and done the right thing.


I asked to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee under Mr. Quail's
leadership because I felt his concerns were genuine and sincere. I too pay
taxes in our City and I'm deeply concerned. I even used my professional contacts to bring Deb Warner and Vito Shisciole to Cortland at no cost to the City. Ms. Warner and Mr. Shisciole have been involved with government consolidation for many years in Syracuse and Onondaga County and I thought they would bring a helpful perspective. Based on feedback I have heard, their comments were well received.

Under Mr. Quail's leadership, the Committee was insightful, interesting and, I believe, filled with good intentions. I actually thought we might be able to make a difference.


Under your "leadership", it was clear from the first meeting you chaired you
were there to steal ideas and use the Committee for personal/political gains for yourself. Given your announcement last week, I see that I was right about your aspirations. You have shown me that you will stop at nothing to further your personal/political agenda. You will use citizens, business leaders, whatever it takes. You will even jeopardize the integrity of a SUNY educational experience for two students for your gain. Shameful! In a few short months, you took something worthwhile and turned it into a disgrace. In the beginning, we had concerned residents and business people, their involvement has trailed off. I understand Hugh Keegan (who owns and runs a business in our City - and has for 20 years) has thrown in the towel. In general, people do not like to be used - I'm no exception. From the article in today's paper, I understand the word "deceitful" was used to describe your actions. I'd use the same word, but I'd add disgraceful and dishonest to the sentence.


I understand politics; I've been involved in successful political and issue
campaigns at the local state, and federal level since 1989 so I get it!
Citizen's count on our elected officials to separate the politics from the
governing. You have failed to do that. The primary is four months away and
there is important City business to be done. How about showing some governing?


In frustration,

Editor's Note: The concerned citizen who sent this email authorized publication but requested name deletion.