Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Plan

Two posters have suggested that I have not offered a plan for Kingston yet. While I have not released all of my plan yet, I have released quite a bit of it. I decided to review what I have released already.

Crime is threatening to overwhelm our city, much like it has Newburgh. No real attempts have been made to seek state and federal law enforcement grants. As a former Assistant District Attorney, I have actually taken criminals off the streets. I understand law enforcement. I also know what the limits of my knowledge are and when to allow the law enforcement experts to make the day-to-day decisions. This combination of skills and understanding will help rid Kingston of the criminal element which is making life so difficult for so many of our friends and neighbors. No other mayoral candidate has the law enforcement and legal credentials that I possess.

My economic recovery plan, which I will be detailing in the weeks and months to come, involves a strategy of multiple facets. There is no magic button to push or one single act which will ignite Kingston’s economic engine. A plan must address multiple areas and change our governing philosophy over the long term. My plan does both.

I believe in less intrusive government. Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is most certainly a part of the underlying problem. I hold this philosophy dear. When I served as 6th Ward Alderman and even prior to that, I submitted budget proposals that would have resulted in tax decreases. I know the city budget extremely well and know areas that can be cut and areas that should never be cut.

I will enact spending cuts in various departments. There are numerous redundancies in our government which serve only to waste money and resources. There are changes in policies that will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime costs. These and other spending cuts must be enacted to first stop the growth of city taxes and eventually lower them.

During my time as Alderman and Minority Leader, as well as my many years involved in local politics, I have become extremely familiar with the various departments in the city. I understand each department’s budget and know where changes must be made.

I am proposing that the City of Kingston eliminate two (2) positions that I believe are superfluous and unnecessary. There is no need for two (2) Assistant Superintendents of the Department of Public Works. There are already positions in the budget to cover the responsibilities of these positions. Cutting both positions saves $144,841.00 based on the current 2011 budget, and likely more in 2012 depending on the contractual negotiations between CSEA and Mayor Sottile.

One of the Assistant Superintendents is primarily responsible for overseeing the pickup of trash. This is the job of the Trash Foreman. The other Assistant Superintendent is primarily responsible for the Sewer Treatment Plant. There are already two (2) Senior Plant Operators doing this job. I have genuine concerns about the need for a second Plant Manager, but certainly there is no need for an Assistant Superintendent doing the same work. Frankly, every job performed by the Department of Public Works is overseen by a Foreman. These Foremen can report directly to the Superintendent. There is no need for a middleman.

The people of Kingston have expressed concern over the pickup of trash, yard waste, and other recyclable items. Superintendent Schupp has stated repeatedly that he needs more laborers to get the job done. By cutting the two (2) unnecessary Assistant Superintendent positions, we will save at least $144,841.00, which will allow the Council to rehire or bring back two (2) of the previously laid off laborers with money left over to apply toward tax relief. The department will thus receive additional laborers and become more financially efficient, with additional money left over as savings for the taxpayers.

I will address the crippling effect of the commercial tax levy. Previous attempts to solve this problem have failed because of poor planning. The commercial tax rate cannot be dropped all at once due to the terrible effect resulting to city homeowners. The rate must be adjusted gradually over a period of years to give businesses much needed relief while not socking it to city residents.

I will order the Corporation Counsel’s Office to conduct a thorough review of all city laws, internal regulations, and procedures being used by the City Planning Board. Though New York State has laws that cannot be disregarded, we must make sure that the City of Kingston does not add to the tangle of red tape preventing business owners and developers from investing in our community. As much as possible, we need shovel ready projects in our city. For too long, developers have presented good ideas only to see them suffocated by the red tape of the Planning Board.

For years, we have dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the city’s Economic Development Department. In the most recent budget, the total expenditures for this department totaled nearly two hundred thousand ($200,000.00) dollars. As is obvious, there has been precious little economic development in our city. Certainly, the money we have spent, which exceeds one million ($1,000,000.00) dollars in the last six or seven years, has not been fruitful.

Therefore, I propose that the Economic Development Office be eliminated and replaced with two more positive and fruitful ideas. First, a small portion of the funding from this department should be used to create a grant writing office. There are numerous state and federal grants available especially in the areas of law enforcement and fire fighting. We need to pursue these grants aggressively. To fund this office would require only about ¼ of the current funding. The balance could be applied to tax reduction.

The second thing that should replace the Economic Development Office is an Economic Recovery Team made up of Kingstonians with expertise in business, law, real estate, architecture, and other areas of importance to economic development. For years, the city has hired consultants from outside our city. I believe that Kingstonians have the ability to solve the problems facing Kingston. By creating this group of civic-minded volunteers and allowing them to study the problems facing our local economy, we can use the combined brain power of our city to create solutions and new ideas to unleash Kingston’s true economic potential.

Kingston created a similar team to deal with housing issues. That team offered several valuable proposals that have been implemented by the city and proven quite successful.

This first part of my comprehensive plan will save a large amount of taxpayer money, allow us to tap into other resources and take the burden off our local property taxes, and will provide for new and innovative economic ideas.

I have a thorough respect for the men and women working to keep our City running. I am confident that I can successfully negotiate with our unions to find solutions that will preserve jobs, cut costs, cut taxes and increase the quality of services the residents of Kingston receive. There have been numerous grievances filed against the city for alleged violations of the union contracts. As a trained and experienced attorney, I know how to interpret and negotiate contracts. I also have a significant knowledge of litigation and will be able to save taxpayer dollars by knowing which cases to settle and which cases to fight.

These are just a few of the things I have already proposed. More is forthcoming. I assure the questioning posters and the voters throughout Kingston that I am focused on winning this race and helping the City of Kingston. If elected Mayor, I will get city spending under control, and I will reduce the property tax burden.

Stay tuned because more proposals are forthcoming.


Anonymous said...

Just have to correct you on the "no other candidate has the legal background and law enforcement experience" comment.

Shayne has about 10-15 years of relevant legal experience on you although much of that can be attributed to age.

Once again, all roads should lead back to Gallo versus Cahill and the "government is a positve force for the public's benefit" versus the "government is the problem" argument.

That is what this election should be about and that should be what the public is given the chance to decide in November.

Anonymous said...

Several of your proposals are warranted and are good ideas. We do indeed need to make some changes to jobs that are duplicated because of cronyism and lets face it: the Superintendent of Public Works Mick Schupp does NOT NEED TWO ASSISTANTS to manage a department that has been down sized significantly over the past few years. In fact, while the next Mayor is at it, Schupp himself should be given the boot! He is usually rude and disrespectful when dealing with and that is hard to take when the little guy doesn't even live in Kingston! Also, Economic Development does indeed need to be addressed. Overpaid employee Finkle hasn't cut the mustard so what are we waiting for?

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

Actually, Shayne and I have been practicing law for approximately the same amount of time. I have more experience in criminal law. Shayne has far more experience in family law.

I respect Shayne as a colleague, but my experience in law enforcement is greater than his.

Anonymous said...

your plan presented here makes sense but what really concerns me is how you left your own convention as reported in the newspapers. I understand your motives in leaving early. But it also shows you can't stay in the fire when its hot. You left like a kid who didn't get his way. Whats done is done. But your early departure showed character which would not be not worthy during the negotiating of contracts or opportunities for Kingston.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

9:09 PM,

I left the convention because it was Andi's moment. Staying at the convention would have made people uncomfortable.

I realize politicos are spinning this to their advantage. That's what they do. I cannot be concerned with what the politicos think. I am taking my message to the people of Kingston. I will rely on their judgment.

As far as contractual negotiations, I can tell you that leaving the table at the opportune moment is sometimes a strong strategy move. I have negotiated thousands of deals in my legal career. Knowing when to stay and when to leave is just part of the process.

Anonymous said...

The little guy at DPW has to go. He is out of touch with what Kingston needs. His leadership is a disgrace. Tensions are running high at DPW and physical assaults are now taking place. Schupp does nothing to stop it. My sources tell me he hasn't met with his employees in over a year.

Anonymous said...

Listen, with all due respect to Shane Gallo,the man has been a part of the administration that has practically ruined this city. There is no denying that and it must be considered when voting.

Anonymous said...

you beleave every thing bart and troy tells you the only one that over sees the treatment plat is shupp and the 2 plant operators not the assistants all he does is lend a hand when they need help with something so he dont over see the treatment plant

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

4:53 PM,

You are making my point.

You say the 2nd Assistant is not needed to watch over the Sewer Treatment Plant. I agree wholeheartedly. That's the point. His assignment is unnecessary and therefore the position should be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

as a recent commercial property purchaser,i 100% agree that the planning board needs to rethink their ideals.after enduring 6 planning board meetings i went from an encourging,enthusastic,and hopefull busisness owner to a discourged,confused.wondering why i made the misstake to buy commercial property in the city.the entire process was hurtfull,burdening,and in NO way encourging from the planning fact i was greated with resistance and personal opinions,( chuck polacco's )than policy.they will stack the deck so much that no one let alone a commercial property owner would ever want to stay here.i have SERIOUSLY considered defaulting on my morgage because i feel like i have made a "GRAVE" mistake.not to mention i am not compleatly done with the planning board.i still have to endure more ridicule,and opinion.i will bring my keys and morgage papers this next time.beacuse i am not going to continue in a community that is in NO WAY busisness FRIENDLY.

Anonymous said...

4;53, the assist. superintendent Eddy Boyle drives around with plant operator and mayor's neigbor Allen Winchell everyday and has lunch with him often. Boyle spends more time at the plant then he does anywhere else holding Allen's hand. If you go to most treatment plants in the Hudson Valley you usually have operators actually OPERATING the machines, not having laborers do it for lousy trainee pay. In other plants, you dont have the operators out driving around the city with other supervisors on jobsites that dont involve them whatsoever, they should be in the plant working, NOT DRIVING AROUND with assist. superintendents. Is there special treatment given to the mayor's neighbor Allen Winchell? I think so and so does other employees on the payroll. why doesnt the operators have to call in thier lunch breaks like everyone else? The other operator GOES HOME every day for lunch when the contract says you get 1/2 hour for lunch...he is usually gone for a good hour. Is Schupp ok with this? other employees see this stuff and it causes poor morale. There should be no place for double standards in the dept. and assist. superintendent Ed Boyle allows it so maybe Rich is right...perhaps we dont need this position after all!

Anonymous said...

You stated:

"For too long, developers have presented good ideas only to see them suffocated by the red tape of the Planning Board."

Please detail which particular good projects were suffocated?

AVR was a poor project and has become a decent one thanks to the planning process. Sailor's cover was a terrible project (think Riverview condos in esopus) especially when contrasted against the tremendous progress the Hudson Landing has made. So it was good that has gone away. The Kingston Meadows project is in a floodplain and simply should not be built.

The parking garage - bad timing/market wouldn't have supported it regardless. Ultimately it never made it close to the planning board stage of things anyway.

What else is there that I am forgetting that was of significance that has been squashed. Not seeing a lot.

What the city needs is its new comp plan developed, its broadway overlay district adhered too.

It'd be nice if the sweeps program went along broadway and cited violations (signage is well out of accordance with zoning). For example, the beautiful millard building has been ruined by garish signs the last two years.

Anonymous said...

Your on the right track - cut spending.

Anonymous said...

Hey 4:53 if more eople listened to bart and troy maybe there wouldn't be so many problems in kingston.

seems thestwo guys have proven time and time again where all the wasted tax payer money went.

remember the stock piling of chemicals, extravagant gifts for co-workers, employees padding there overtime. They brought all this to light so they saved the taxpayers a lot of money.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


See the comment above yours (8:52 AM).

Anonymous said...

I agree with earlier post i too see Ed Boyle driving around with Alan Winchell, the plant operator who should not be out driving around but working within the treatment plant. Thats what we pay him for, not cruising around with Boyle. And i also agree that we dont need 2 assistants for Schupp either, it is overkill and expensive. Recently, there was a new weedwhacker that was missing and no one seemed to know where it was. Guess where it turned up? Ed Boyle had 'borrowed" it for home use and it only turned up because when the footage from the cameras at the DPW facility was checked out it showed Boyle leaving the facility with the weedwhacker after hours. Hmmm...this has gotta stop!

Anonymous said...

Joe Marchetti is right - Unsafe, dirty and unaffordable. Kingston must address all these or continue to wither on the vine.