Sunday, February 22, 2009


For how long have city taxpayers been asking the Council to do something about the tremendous cost of running the Fire Department?
Sure there are mini
mum staffing requirements dictated by the State, but the perception on the street is that our paid fire-fighters are in abundance and an extreme cost to the city.

You'll notice that Mayor Sottile has revealed his offering to the press regarding retirement buyouts. We knew this was coming and knew it was a good idea, but had to be hashed out with our Departments. There are contract issues that had to be reviewed as well.

Sottile's proposal would allow city employees who are eligible for retirement to receive about $12,000 buyout. Doesn't sound bad on the surface right? That's because the money offered the retiring employee would be taken out of the proposed salary of that employee had they continued serving.
Point is, the position would not be filled after the employee left.

Jim quoted in the Freeman: “This is going to create more in the way of overtime, but there will be a larger savings in salaries and benefits.”

In these tough economic times, the temptation of a buyout might push a few employees to jump at retiring, but the reverse is true too. These trying times may cause eligible employees to work a few more years to build a bigger "nest egg". So these numbers could go either way.

I would be concerned if there were a rush to retire in the Police Department. It's pretty thin on the streets now and the
officers are already above average on overtime. I would also note...crime isn't going to decrease anytime soon.

This isn't much different than what most of the larger private corporations have done in the past. However that was the past. In these times, those same companies are plainly chopping personnel without regard for the employees. The City of Kingston is more like a big family and would never do anything so rash. Sometimes to a fault.

Thank you Mr Mayor, we will be anxiously awaiting your proposal in committee and expect countless hours of reassurance that this is the course that's best for the city.


Anonymous said...

maybe the mayor should take all take home cars away from all non esential police officers for the city of kingston,such as on call photographers.those services when needed could be acounted for then.haveing a on call photographer on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to justifie assignment of a take home police car at tax payer expence is wasteful.

Anonymous said...

OK, take-home cars for photogs maybe, but the rest of the off-duty personnel who really have to be on-scene ASAP, really do have to have a city vehicle ready to go. Can't show up and operate at the crime scene in the soccer wagon at 3am.

Anonymous said...

Let's change the subject for a moment for something urgently needed...parking for our handicapped citizens who would like to enjoy the same rights as those who are not handicapped.

In question is the strip running from St Mary's Church on Broadway down to the strand (water). There is not ever ONE handicapped parking space. We have many places that people would like to enjoy who can't walk up that steep hill...Art Society of Kingston, Youth Center, Skillypot Antique Shop, Galleries, Restaurants, places of worship. The handicapped are unable to partake in life in Kingston along this strip because there is no parking for them.

Up before the city council at the moment...request for 2 parking spaces at A.S.K. and a loading zone (5 minutes) for artists dropping off and picking up their work at A.S.K.

The Americans with Disabilities is already alerted to this situation and hopefully, a class action law suit against the city won't have to be filed if the committee does the right thing.

Just imagine, empathy, compassion and following the law..all together in one big happy decision by the committee. And even better...supported by our mayor and by Alderman Madsen.

Let's look forward to doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Why not? 2;55.

Anonymous said...

Why not Murtah and Riggs drove the wife's station wagon in Lethal Weapon and look at all the bad guys they caught. You can get one of them lights for 50 bucks.

Cheaper than a whole car.

Mike Madsen said...

Hello 3:00...Odd that you would chose an anonymous comment to request handicap spaces for parking on Broadway.
Nothing to hide here. Just odd that a simple email to me wasn't your first action.
We implement handicap parking spaces throughout the city without much fuss, so where does a lawsuit come in?
Very strange.
Consider your request noted and have a pleasant day. I guess.

Anonymous said...

mike can you tell me why only cdl drivers and no one else in the dpw get tested for drugs. i think all of them should its a good job and people coming in drunk hungover high or buzzed are a danger to everyone. what if they are driving a pick up and crash and kill someone to me its not a big deal to pee in a cup i have noithing to hide and you might get alittle more out of the work force if they were not messed up

Anonymous said...

RE; Handicapped Parking

Sorry. I am not computer savvy. Couldn't figure out how to post any other way. No mystery! :)

Glad that you will advocate for handicapped parking in the mentioned area. I heard the opposite from someone in Ward 9. Bad news travels fast as we know.

We can't wait to be able to park for the next 1st Saturday at A.S.K. Haven't been able to attend an opening in months due to no parking.

Thank you for your support.

Anonymous said...

The problem with with handicapped parking is too many people have the permits that don't need them. As for the buyouts - its not going to entice anyone unless the already have met the 30 year retirement requirements. Just icing on the cake for those that were already going to go. I'll wait to see who leaves and I'll bet they're in the good old boy network.

Anonymous said...

the "manning clause" is not dictated by the State but rather by the contract between the FireFighters Local and the City.

If you want to push some "hot buttons" you might want to suggest that the number of "men" in the manning cluase be lowered.

Anonymous said...

anon wrote:

The problem with with handicapped parking is too many people have the permits that don't need them.

Response: This is an entirely different issue. I agree. However, us handicapped people who cannot walk up the hill need spots to park along the street. We need even more than on a flat strip.

Thank you for understanding.

Anonymous said...

In regards to drug testing, the writer is wrong about who gets tested. Non CDL drivers that work on certain equipment get random testing. All employees are subject to reasonable suspicion testing. If you are not getting enough out of your workforce you should look at whos directing them.
5:48 if you know someone who is drunk or buzzed on the job make a report. Don't be a coward and write on the blogs, be a man and stand up for what you believe in. If you know of someone drunk or buzzed on the job it is your duty to report them. You seem to have a lot of knowledge on the subject, be a man and report it.

Anonymous said...

Why not take an inventory of all of the city jeeps that are being riden around the city are these leases all necesary?

Anonymous said...

Gorsline get another bonus before he goes. Wait and see.

Anonymous said...

The city payroll is bloated now with way too many employees then are needed. If $12K per employee is all it takes to get them off the payroll for good, that cannot be a bad thing. Yes the upfront cost may be a tough pill to swallow. But broken out over 20-25 year period it is cheap and necessary. You will see the State of NY doing the same thing in the near future in order to trim their payroll costs and that will cost them a lot more than 12K an employee.

Anonymous said...

5:48 You do not know what you are talking about. The city can test an employee for drugs or alcohol if they want. Why not have pre-employment testing and require all DPW personell to have a CDL. It is federal law that CDL operators be drug tested. If a non CDL driver has an accident then the police could ask them to submit. Most DPW workers are professionals and don't do drugs or alcohol at work.

Anonymous said...

to 7:57 i dont not have alot of"knowledge"on the subject I was just asking a question no need to get defensive.It seems you have more knowledge on the subject then me. I was under the impression that a cdl driver also know as a heavy equipment operator were the only ones to get tested.If i worked there i would be very concerned about making a statement look at what the woman in the harassment suit are going through

Anonymous said...

9:52 lol ur in the dark if you dont think people use drugs at the dpw. I totally agree with you that ALL employees be tested before hiring and during employment. lowes and other stores use that practice so why not the city. Oh and drugs include mary jane

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the council or the Mayor do more to promote Volunteer fire fighters in the City? These are individuals that do the job at little or no cost to the tax payer. All of Ulster County other than the City is protected by Volunteers. Yet in the City the Vols are treated like 2nd class citizens and get little respect and no thanks for the job they do. It is a simple formula, increase the number of Vols and you can then decrease the number of career fire fighters needed. Saving the tax payers money over the years, not a 1 time buy out.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Woerner is not running for reelection? I was in the mall and I overheard a very well connected and popular old timer saying that he is not running. That would be good news if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Is that Woerner from Ulster you are talking about who is leaving. Couldn't be better news. He protected that evil animal hoarder and abuser. Woerner couldn't care less about the animals.