Friday, May 22, 2009

Answering to the Truth - Is Carey Capable?

I couldn't help but be more than a little skeptical when I read Mayor Carey’s opinion piece in last week’s PC (see the blog posting below). Irked by the borough assembly’s recent actions to propose an ordinance to let voters decide if the borough should have a professional manager, Dave let a few loose cannonballs fly. He accused the assembly president, Milli Martin, of arrogantly closing the borough building to TOPS, the weight-loss support group, because they didn't live in her district. He cited Milli's supposed callousness as an example of the need for an elected official who represents the entire borough population, rather than a borough manager, a position he feels would be answerable to only the assembly.

But is Mayor Dave answerable to the truth?

After the shooting incident at the hospital, the borough examined some safety concerns that might exist. Carey was adamant that the borough building only be used for governmental purposes and he was very uncomfortable with the practice of leaving these buildings - especially the white house on Binkley which contains all sort of records and equipment - unlocked after business hours.

But his memory conveniently became selective and in his self-aggrandizing posting in the Clarion, he slammed Ms. Martin to score political points.

Is it any wonder that there is growing grass-roots desire to check Mr Carey's ego? The assembly passed two ordinances at last week's meeting that would create job descriptions for mid-management positions in the borough and to give personnel that have been dismissed an appeals process.

Carey sees these measures as a challenge to his authority. But maybe it's just a way to keep checks and balances in government and to keep crony politics out of the borough's daily operation.

I imagine Mayor Carey envisions himself as a man of honor. I think Ms. Martin deserves a very public apology. Dave, are you man enough?


Anonymous said...

If anyone thinks Carey is telling the truth, then they're not paying attention.

Anonymous said...

The Man Who Knew Too Little

What is with Mayor Carey? I listen to the Assembly meetings on the radio and have yet to hear him answer in a straightforward manner any question asked of him. It’s either “I don’t know”, “I don’t have that information”, or someone else has to answer for him.

Seems to me that the Mayor should know the answers to items on the Assembly agenda, especially when the item is sponsored or brought to the Assembly by him.

For example, what about the extra $32,000 or so in his personnel budget? Assemblyman Smalley asked three or more questions about it, including whether it goes to his Chief of Staff or Special Assistant. One answer given was that it was for benefits.

When Mr. Smalley pointed out that was a separate line item, this amount was specific to salaries, the Mayor gave two answers: none will go to the Chief of Staff, and “I don’t know what the rest is for, HR would have to answer”, but HR was not at the meeting. He also rambled on about maybe using some to hire a temporary grants person? That position is already advertised as full time. There are only four people in his office including his secretary.

A Mayor spouting his conservative interest in borough finances should be able to justify and defend tens of thousands of dollars in extra cash in his own personnel budget and not just blather on, unless of course it is true that he has no clue or that he is being either evasive or dishonest.

The Assembly should not have approved the budget with such an unknown in it, especially as frustrated as they sounded trying to pry any answer from the Mayor. They would not have passed any other department’s budget with such vagueness and lack of knowledge. He needs to be held accountable, not just appear to be. After all, the borough budget is upwards of $70Million. If he can’t account for thirty-grand, we’re screwed.

The Assembly has handled this train wreck called Carey with patience and dignity, not stooping to airing his ineptness in public and by finding ways to correct his errors through ordinances and resolutions. It seems that actions from the Assembly to protect employees is more a borough-preservation effort than power grabbing.

They take the heat and criticism in silence. How can they explain publicly what this guy is actually like or how his actions have already damaged the borough and employee morale without sounding vicious?

After all the Mayor wasted no time firing experienced employees, replacing them with mostly inexperienced ones, each with an appearance of cronyism. Look at the HR Director, Spruce Bark Mitigation Office Director, Road Service Director, and Grants Manager positions.

With the exception of the Roads Director that does have experience and the Grants Manager which is being advertised, neither of the other two seem to have any grasp of their functions. In several cases, a number of fired lower level employees were “unfired” when he realized he blew it and the Assembly called him on it. This is true of Spruce Bark employees and a Public Works employee.

The Grants Manager is a position that has had a hand in bringing in close to $50 Million to the borough. But Christmas time brought a change, terminating the position June 30 this year. Though a quasi-replacement is in place, the replacement leaves in a couple weeks.

The unfunded, unnecessary Grants position is now advertised (before being approved in the budget) with a salary range upwards of $80,000 to begin July 1st, just one day after the position is to terminate as no longer necessary. New title, same job, new crony?

Had the Assembly not taken action to require their input in job descriptions, salaries and hiring it is highly unlikely this position would have been advertised at all (again see HR and Spruce Bark).

Demand substance ansd answers.

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