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Vetoes vetoed: Council overrides 8 of 9 line items in city's budget

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - Updated: 10:21 AM


The Amsterdam Common Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday overriding all but one of Mayor Ann Thane's nine line-item vetoes of the adopted 2014-15 city budget.

The council opted to wait and discuss the final veto Monday at a Committee of the Whole meeting.

The vetoes the council voted to override include the reduction of golf fund administrative charges from $50,000 to $10,000; a reduction of $8,731 from the controller's budget for accounting interns; a $2,100 reduction in the contractual shared services allocation; a $4,000 reduction for records management equipment; a $16,000 reduction in funding for citywide cleanup events; the removal of a Department of Public Works supervisory position at a salary of $56,363; the removal of the employee relations/civil service staff at a salary of $38,509; and a $46,076 reduction in funding for a police officer position, based on an expected retirement.

Thane, who issued her vetoes June 12, said the council's action isn't good for the city.

"And, this isn't good for the taxpayers," she said. "This is going to make it difficult next year when we go into the budgeting process and operational efficiencies are going to fall by the wayside."

She said she was shocked the council overrode her objection to cutting the city's cleanup weeks.

"I was especially surprised they cut the city cleanup, when it's to fund the two volunteer cleanups we do a year, and we picked up 24 tons of garbage so far in six years. Come on," she said.

Thane's final veto, the elimination of the corporation counsel's assistant at a salary of $31,211, was put on hold until Monday so the council can discuss it more.

Daniel Roginski, the current assistant to the corporation counsel, went to Wednesday night's meeting, asking the aldermen to rethink their decision to eliminate his position.

"I think it's important that I come here to defend my position," Roginski said.

"Personally, I am a lifelong resident of Amsterdam, and I am just trying to survive so that I can remain in the city," he continued. "When I took the job, I was expecting it to exist for more than two years, so it's a little bit unfortunate for me, because I have been banking my career on this, and not just that I have to pay rent, I have to pay for loans, I have to pay for food, I have to pay for car insurance, and this is kind of undermining the integrity of the city of Amsterdam as a place to hire."

Roginski said he hasn't taken a day off since he started his position, and he hasn't entered the health insurance or pension systems.

"I'm not costing the city as much as anyone else, and I believe I'm qualified and efficient, and, ultimately, my position is to increase the productivity of the corporation counsel's office, which has brought revenue into the city. More revenue than my salary," he said. "It's hard to believe my position is that neutral."

The council listened to Roginski without making any comments.

They'll meet again Monday at 6 p.m.


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