By now, many of you have seen the story on the Freeman web page revealing that the shared services agreement between the County and City on tourism --which would save taxpayer money-- has been approved by the County Legislature but has stalled in the Kingston Common Council. Why has it stalled?
Here is the official explanation from Alderman Tom Hoffay, the majority leader.
"At Tuesday’s meeting of the Kingston Laws and Rules Committee, however, Common Council Majority Leader Thomas Hoffay said the matter should be shifted to the council’s Finance/Economic Development Committee. Hoffay, D-Ward 2, who chairs that committee, said that because the agreement would have a financial impact on city taxpayers, it should be reviewed by his committee."
This is hogwash. The Finance Committee must be involved if the proposal requires additional spending of taxpayer money, but not necessarily if money is to be saved. The Alderman-at-Large decided the appropriate committee and it should have been passed.
So, what is the real reason for the delay? The answer involves a little "Inside Baseball". It goes back to the Democrat Primary for Mayor in 2011. Tom Hoffay was the leading force behind the Hayes Clement campaign. As a result, Alderman Hoffay and Mayor Gallo --to put it lightly-- do not like one another.
Consequently, now that Shayne has become Mayor Gallo, we have seen Alderman Hoffay quietly block a few things proposed by the Mayor for seemingly innocuous reasons. Now, Hoffay has temporarily blocked this latest proposal. Kingston taxpayers stand to save about $40,000 while county taxpayers stand to save $15,000.00.
People are largely unaware of the inside baseball within the Common Council. Having served on the body, I can tell you that the real reason things are supported or opposed often have nothing to do with the public comments and are too often personal and frankly silly.
Did I ever play politics on the Council? Sure, I did; however, I never did so in a way that blocked potential savings to the taxpayers. There is a time for political baseball, but never at the expense of the taxpayers.