Authority over Housing Authority?
"You need to do your job tonight and take a vote on this resolution," Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan told Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen, who was trying to table the vote on disapproving Housing Authority salaries proposed by Madigan.
Mathiesen said he did his job every City Council meeting.
"You're not doing it tonight by asking me to table this resolution," she responded.
Mathiesen was arguing that he needed more information about the salaries before he could vote to disapprove the SSHA salaries Tuesday night.
That was, ironically, the same argument Mayor Scott Johnson used to justify voting for the disapproval, something he said was "not a vote of no confidence" about the SSHA, just a vote that indicated he did not have enough information to make up his mind.
Meanwhile Madigan and Accounts Commissioner John Franck basically said Mathiesen was making their point for them.
They have repeatedly requested information from the SSHA and though some has been provided, the supporting documentation for the salaries has not been among it.
SSHA policy requires that they basically justify the salaries they pay their employees.
"I cannot even fathom how you can justify a public employee's salary doubling in four years," Madigan said (again to Mathiesen).
As an explanation, here's something from a year and a half ago:
"(Executive Director Ed) Spychalski’s 2011 compensation is $151,956, not including benefits, including the use of a publicly-owned vehicle. His starting salary in November 2006 was $74,777 and he has received $77,179 in pay raises since then."That included two bonuses, so in the fiscal year that starts next month his salary is being proposed as about $145,000.
"Is he overpaid? Possibly," Mathiesen said. "Is he outrageously overpaid? I don't think so."
Mathiesen said he needed more information from the Housing Authority before he would vote on the issue.
"We've been talking about this for 19 months now," Franck said.
Here's another couple tidbits from past stories:
According to the State Comptroller's audit of the SSHA conducted last year, Spychalski makes more than 93 percent of the housing authority directors in the country.
That includes the directors Plattsburgh, Troy, Schenectady and Albany, each of which handles “significantly more tenant rentals” than the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority.
In fact, Spychslki at his peak made about $45,000 less than the New York City Housing Authority director, John Rhea, who managed 178,882 apartments, 2,602 residential buildings and 334 developments, according to its website.
Anyway, it's unlikely the vote will have much of an effect on the SSHA.
They vote on their 2013-2014 salaries with their budget Thursday and Board member Al Callucci said he expects the budget to pass, as is.
"There's no reason it shouldn't," he said, after the City Council meeting.