Oct. 28, 2009: Offering a differing view of situation

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To The Editor:
I feel that I must respond to the scurrilous letter written by Joan Bauer in the October 14 edition. I have served as a town administrator for many years and offer the following information from experience not conjecture. Joan says that the supervisor’s job is a part-time taxpayer-funded salary and benefit package that pays an excessive salary of $30,000.
While the supervisor’s job is considered “part time” there is not one supervisor in the entire County of Ulster that would agree to this description of their duties. All supervisors would tell you that not only is their job full time but in many instances that the job requires more than full time hours. As for the $30,000 salary, that is about the average pay for a supervisor in Ulster County.
Joan also says that a budget increase of only two percent is excessive and that the Shandaken budget does not fund senior citizens but does fund “Snuffy’s” kennel. It seems far fetched to equate Snuffy’s kennel with our elderly population. Shandaken can be proud of its effort and the volunteer work afforded the wayward animals housed in the kennel. Come on Joan, you know dang well that the county, state and federal governments draw tax dollars from all of us to assist the elderly. Major funding for seniors does not and never has been assigned to town government.
Joan also states that the Shandaken supervisor is responsible for the lack of cell service in their community. It is a matter of record that numerous cell service providers have stated that the economy was a reason for not providing service on Shandaken’s tower. Even the intervention of our Ulster County executive has not been able to sway corporate providers of their decisions. By the way, anyone that has not signed the petition has harmed themselves and their community far more than the town’s administrators. Joan, have you signed the petition?
Joan further states that the supervisor absconded with $2,500 in planning board moneys, but later gave it back with interest. Let us be clear, it’s the planning board that would have required an applicant to deposit $2,500 to cover various planning board costs. The planning board chair should have the authority through NYS Town Law or by a Town Board Resolution to take action to set up an escrow account between the applicant and planning board. The applicant is entitled to the interest accumulated from the escrow account while it is in force.
Joan infers impropriety by the supervisor regarding no bid contracts. Wow, sounds like subterfuge doesn’t it? But, oh wait, NYS has procurement laws and Shandaken should have an additional procurement policy in effect. Department heads have the discretion to expend moneys up to an amount set by law and/or resolution. Exceptions to these are items like professional services, auctioned goods, emergencies and more. My remembrance was that it was a professional service contract and if so, “no harm, no foul.”
Joan says that the Phoenicia sewer debacle lies on the shoulders of the current supervisor. Seems that it was the voters of that district that said no, not the Shandaken Administration and certainly not the current administrators. If the media is correct then we believe that the current town board has worked with due diligence in its effort to find a solution acceptable to both the NYC DEP and the Phoenicia community.
Joan, if you have this much contempt for your town supervisor you should have run for a town board position. Oh wait, you have one of those “taxpayer funded salaries and benefit package jobs” too! Remember, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem!

Jerry Fairbairn,
Hardenburgh Resident