We were happy to see that the village board of trustees has voted to reinstate some of the jobs cut or reduced unilaterally by Mayor Joe Booan in his tentative budget.
It means Brian Clancy will keep his Department of Public Works Administrator position and Chief of Police Diana Nicols will remain at full time.
The board also restored the full-time deputy treasurer, a full-time streets laborer, and the parking enforcement officer was returned to a full-time position. There are three seasonal laborer positions for the streets and parks that were recommended for elimination by Booan and have not yet been reinstated. Trustee Lynne Mebust said this week that she believes those positions will be discussion points when the board meets again to hammer out a final budget before the May 1 deadline.
There is nothing wrong with taking a close look at spending and the high costs associated with personnel.
But Booan’s singlehanded approach is the wrong way to go about it. It was the same method he employed when he suddenly announced he wanted to dissolve the village police department and contract with the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office for police services.
That proposal and the most recent elimination of village positions should not have gone forward without first being discussed by the entire board.
The job of DPW administrator is a good example. If that job was eliminated, Booan planned to push the extra work off on the streets, sewer and water superintendents. At the same time, he was stripping the streets department of one laborer and all the seasonal help. Certainly village residents would see a decline in the level of service that department could provide and it’s not clear that’s what they want.
“You can’t cut jobs without cutting services and I believed they were all essential,” Mebust said about reinstating the jobs.
And she is right.
If the mayor has some cost-cutting suggestions to make, we recommend he remember there are six trustees representing the village residents and they should be part of the decision-making process from the beginning.
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