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Amsterdam, NY ,



Mayor's wheels Vehicle proposal on hold

Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - Updated: 10:23 AM


The Amsterdam Common Council voted 4 to 1 Tuesday to table a resolution limiting the mayor's use of the city vehicle.

The resolution stated that "numerous complaints [were] made publicly by residents concerning the mayor's use of the city's vehicle for personal use."

When city clerk Susan Alibozek read the resolution Tuesday night before the council vote, 1st Ward Alderman Edward Russo immediately made a motion to table it for a committee of the whole meeting.

Four council members were in favor of the motion; 4th Ward Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler was the lone dissenting vote.

Russo said he made the motion because he doesn't agree with the resolution.

"I disagree with it," he said. "The mayor was allotted that car."

He did say there needs a policy for city vehicle use.

"There needs to be a policy for what the limits are, like the mayor can't just take a ride up to Caroga Lake," he said, hypothetically. "There have to be limitations, and there are other cities and villages that do that, so I think we're going to have to look into it."

The draft resolution demanded the mayor only use the vehicle for city business, and unless she goes out of town on city business, the vehicle should be parked at city hall.

According to the resolution, the mayor would be required to use her personal vehicle to and from city hall, and would not be permitted to use the city's vehicle for personal use like "grocery shopping, the gym or transporting children."

If approved, the mayor would be required to maintain a log of vehicle use; only obtain gas for the city's vehicle from the Department of Public Works garage; keep a record of all mileage from any New York Conference of Mayors business she attends; and observe all the "rules of the road," including speed limits, and use of equipment for hands-free driving.

Mayor Ann Thane said she's suspicious of the timing of the resolution because receipts she had collected for the car's maintenance and upkeep disappeared from her glove compartment Aug. 1.

Thane asked Amsterdam Police Chief Gregory Culick to send a police officer to her office to investigate the missing receipts.

"I find it very odd they were stolen just before this resolution," she said Tuesday night.

Thane said she has $1,500 worth of receipts saved that she had her secretary file in January when she started filing new receipts for the year.

The receipts were for gas, windshield wipers, car mats and car washes.

"I started keeping the receipts because people were coming after me about my car usage, so I religiously keep these receipts to show my investment in the car," she said.

Thane noticed the receipts were missing the same day she saw the draft resolution.

"It was just so spooky," she said. "The last time I saw them was about two weeks ago; it's just so odd they disappear just when this resolution pops up and I'd like to prove my investment in the car, because I have no reason to rid myself of the receipts -- this has me really unsettled."

Thane said she doesn't know if anyone on the council knew she kept a receipt collection but she's "always been open about it and talked about it publicly."

The committee of the whole will meet Aug. 12.


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