Koetzle tries putting lipstick on a turkey

Monday, December 2, 2013
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Backpedaling after the public relations nightmare he created by trying to give himself a $64,000 raise without public input, Glenville Supervisor Chris Koetzle has scheduled an informational forum on the subject for 7 p.m. tonight at the Glenville Senior Center. It’s the kind of thing he should have done before asking the Town Board to approve a salary switcheroo with Operations Director Jamie MacFarland as part of next year’s budget, but better late than never.

Indeed, Koetzle still doesn’t seem to understand that the issue with his maneuver wasn’t so much substance, but style; springing it on the Town Board and public a day after being re-elected to his part-time post and insisting it was too late to even let the public weigh in on it.

He may have said, both before and during the campaign, that he considered the job full-time because of all the hours he puts in, but that’s hardly the same as saying he intended to formally make it full-time, with accompanying salary. In the heat of a campaign, voters could hardly be blamed for dismissing such statements as political — an effort to convince them of his willingness to work full time for less-than-full-time pay (in contrast to his opponent, who was advocating making the post full-time).

That MacFarland didn’t announce his intentions until a day after the election gave Koetzle some cover for not bringing the issue up beforehand; but even if he didn’t know for sure when the operations director was leaving, he acknowledges being aware of the possibility for some time. All the more reason for him to have been more up-front about his plan before Election Day.

As for MacFarland’s “retirement,” it’s unclear whether he would be doing so more than technically. Koetzle wants him to stick around in a part-time capacity for another year, being paid his (Koetzle’s) part-time supervisor’s salary and performing some of the administrative functions he’s performed all along. The town would save a little money on his benefits, but that’s about it.

The outrage expressed by many people prior to the Nov. 20 budget vote was understandable, even if politically motivated in some cases. The board has wisely researched the matter and found an accommodation for formal public input (Wednesday’s meeting). And tonight’s informational session, which also will give citizens a chance to speak out, is also a good idea.

But under the circumstances — plus the fact that Koetzle, a Republican, is asking an all-GOP board to do his bidding — it may not be a bad idea for Glenville residents to push for a referendum, as apparently allowed by state law.

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December 2, 2013
7:07 a.m.
TellCathySteve says...

The Gazette Editorial is 100% correct in calling for a Referendum on this issue. The sad, simple truth is that Supervisor Koetzle and the Town Board cannot be trusted. Not only was this ploy a public relations nightmare, the Supervisor and his Town Board were also in very real danger of breaking town law, as the law does not allow changes to the budget after the Public Budget hearing, which was held BEFORE Koetzle made his announcement. Additionally, and I wonder if Ms. Bethany Bump can check into this, there is some question as to whether or not the public notice that appeared in the Gazette regarding the Public Hearing was in fact actually legal. From what I understand, the notice did not include the date. If this indeed is true, the hearing must be postponed and rescheduled. This Supervisor, who has held elected office for six years simply cannot be trusted to follow the law, especially when the outcome could work against him.

December 2, 2013
8:32 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Past experience tells me that the smart and the right thing to do is polar opposite of what The Gazette thinks.

December 3, 2013
9:33 a.m.
ajames says...

"TellCathySteve" I have no horse in this race but it's evident you do by your slant on the issue. To an outsider like me this sounds more like the same two people doing the job that have been for the last several years but at a cost savings (benefit savings) for the tax payer. Moreover, the person who would "running" the town would be an elected official who would be held accountable for his/her body of work in the position which seems like an improvement to me.

I see it as a cost savings to the tax payer and more accountability. Anything else seems like political postering to me.

December 4, 2013
1:43 p.m.
robbump says...

But didn't Koetzle come before the voters just a few months ago, hat in hand, asking them to "hire" him at that job AND AT THAT PAY? Maybe he should have applied for an "operations director" job at Glenville, or elsewhere, at a higher wage, if that's what he really wants to do.
Don't change horses in mid-stream!

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