Two years ago I stood alone, exposing the pandemic waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars in the Ossining town government, and for two years the former Supervisor ignored my concerns, going so far as to describe them as unwarranted attacks or meaningless issues. I didn’t raise “Republican” ideas; I offered common sense solutions to clear and obvious problems. I called for less waste on expensive consultants, stronger financial procurement policies, and more oversight and accountability in order to properly represent the struggling and hardworking taxpayers of Ossining and Briarcliff Manor. The partisan former Supervisor and former Board ignored me and ignored reason.
Today, I am not the sole voice speaking about issues of wasteful government spending. I applaud Supervisor Donnelly for finding common ground between the Democratic majority and the one Republican councilman, myself, on the Town Board. Together we’ve taken steps to reduce the waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars. Today, our local government has addressed many of these problems, proving that no political party has a monopoly over common sense.
In the coming weeks, I will trace the impact I have had on the Town Board’s recent move to take a series of common sense actions that will strengthen the finances of your local government while easing your tax burden. I will analyze, factually record, and interpret the issues, my struggle to raise them, and their ultimate, favorable resolution by the new Town Board.
Even before my campaign as Town Supervisor my board and the public knew how I felt about the waste specific consultants placed upon taxpayers in the Town of Ossining. The outrageous amounts of money spent, despite my warnings and public outcry, only got worse. In 2011 alone the Town of Ossining paid its part-time engineer consultant $319,000. This is nearly three times as much as the town of Mount Pleasant paid that same individual for his full-time job there that same year. In just five years this individual was paid a cumulative $1,064,700 for part-time work. The previous Supervisor and Town Board criticized me for raising the issue. They left the problem unresolved and continued to overpay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for part-time engineering services.
This consultant was also in charge of two main sewer projects. On May 24, 2011 I emailed the former Town Supervisor and former Town Budget Officer, inquiring as to whether the projects would go over budget. They assured me that it would not. Before that, I had presented the Town Board with an article detailing a similar sewer project in a neighboring municipality that went over budget. The Town Board was not concerned. My concerns were ignored. Sure enough, the Ossining sewer project went over budget.
The Town Board has since relieved this consultant of his job for the Town of Ossining. We will enter into an Inter Municipal Agreement to use the Village of Ossining’s engineer for day-to-day engineering services. Under this plan, taxpayers will benefit and the Town will save money without having to cut services. It took two years, but slowly the Town Board has come to recognize, or at the very least to respect, all good ideas, regardless of whether they come from the Democratic majority or from the lone Republican and Conservative on the Board.