Editorial: If it was wrong to hire the new clerk, then why vote to hire her?

Saturday, June 2, 2012
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The Schenectady City Council members who were critical of a back-door proposal to hire a new building department clerk, then voted in favor of it, ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Their sensibilities were properly offended by the approach to the hiring taken by Building Inspector Eric Shilling: So impressed was he by the as-yet-unnamed woman who ran the code enforcement training program he recently attended that he offered her a job on the spot to run the department’s front counter.

Maybe that’s the way it gets done in the private sector, but it’s a little different in government: A position like that should either be posted (if it’s civil service); or if it’s a contract position, it should be competitively bid. In this case, Shilling liked the woman enough to offer her $20 an hour for what seems, at best, a glorified clerical position, with a promise to raise her salary to $25 an hour next year. For those who don’t feel like doing the math, that works out to full-time equivalents of $41,000 and $52,000, respectively — which seems like a lot of money considering the city’s financial plight. Who cares how talented the woman is or how badly Shilling needs someone familiar with code enforcement to run his counter? He can find someone to do it more cheaply.

Granted, he’s still relatively new to his job, but in a situation like this, isn’t it up to the mayor and council to rein him in? And why bother criticizing him if you’re still going to give in to him, as council members excepting Barbara Blanchard and Vince Riggi ultimately did by approving the appointment?

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June 2, 2012
7:15 a.m.
wmarincic says...

That's always the way things get done in the (Socialist States of Schenectady) the city is union and democrate run and BTW, the Gazette supports these people so stop acting like you are appalled.

June 4, 2012
1:14 p.m.
tonijean613 says...

This has nothing to do with being Socialist or GOP Corporatist run or union related. It's due to the lack of a Progressive Town Meeting system and lack of residents access to ballot initiatives like they have in Liberal Socialist Massachusetts -where before returning to Schenectady I was given the ballot choice of voting for or against budget line items- from shutting down a fire house to replacing a school roof. I would like to inform the people of Schenectady that MA eliminated their County Level of govt in the 1980's- has an incredible school system, highly paid unionized workers and tremendous services- yet MA property and school taxes are at least 30-40% less than NY. MA residents have more control regardless of what party is in the majority.

June 4, 2012
1:41 p.m.
wmarincic says...

You can thank Mitt Romney who was Mass. Gov. from 2002-2006 who cut a 1.6 billion dollar deficit by cutting spending. It was conservative Mass. that did that not progressive Mass.

June 4, 2012
1:50 p.m.
smith says...

I'm glad you wrote about this and your reporter covered it. It seems Eric Shilling has significantly overstepped by taking it upon himself to interview someone, and arbitrarily set the pay. And the pay is absurdly high, as we see from an offer to do the job at $14 an hour--or simply comparing it to other employers. Is there not an official hiring process or is anyone allowed to go out and offer jobs at will? I am astonished the council did not take Mr Shilling out to the woodshed. I hope you continue to investigate and comment on this.

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