Duo hits Hein’s of­fice bud­get

Pay­roll, postage spend­ing would be cut in Democrats’ pro­posal

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­tri­cia Doxsey pdoxsey@free­manon­line.com pat­ti­at­free­man on Twit­ter

Two county law­mak­ers have amped up their battle with Ul­ster County Ex­ec­u­tive Mike Hein, propos­ing amend­ments to the ex­ec­u­tive’s pro­posed 2017 spend­ing plan that would re­duce fund­ing to his of­fice.

Leg­is­la­tors David Don­ald­son and John Parete in­tro­duced bud­get amend­ments that would cut the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pay­roll by $210,774 and spend­ing for postage by $16,040.

The amend­ments were among a dozen that over­all would in­crease spend­ing to the ex­ec­u­tive’s pro­posed $325 mil­lion spend­ing by $283,776. Of the 12 amend­ments, seven would in­crease spend-

ing by $744,590, while five would re­duce spend­ing by $460,814.

The two Democrats are of­ten at odds with Hein over a va­ri­ety of is­sues, in­clud­ing, most re­cently, a pro­posal to move the county Fam­ily Court fa­cil­ity out of the city of Kingston.

The cut to postage is in di­rect re­sponse to a mailing sent out by the ad­min­is­tra­tion days be­fore Elec­tion Day, urg­ing peo­ple to vote on the ref­er­en­dum.

Don­ald­son, D-Kingston,

and Parete, D-Boiceville, de­cried the mailing as a mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds. Ul­ster County District At­tor­ney Hol­ley Carn­right said there was noth­ing crim­i­nal about the mass mailing.

On Tues­day, Don­ald­son said he cut fund­ing for the postage line be­cause “we’re not go­ing to have an­other bal­lot ini­tia­tive that they can un­scrupu­lously cam­paign for.”

He said the pro­posed re­duc­tion is equal to what the ad­min­is­tra­tion said the mailing cost was on the ref­er­en­dum.

Don­ald­son said the ex­ec­u­tive has filled the de­part­ments through­out his ad­min­is­tra­tion with peo­ple who serve at the plea­sure of the ex­ec­u­tive and whose job is to con­trol in­for­ma­tion and “stay on mes­sage, re­gard­less of ac­cu­racy.”

“He claims he has seven em­ploy­ees,” said Don­ald­son. The re­al­ity is he has a lot more, but they’re buried in de­part­ments as deputies and deputies to the deputies.”

Don­ald­son said that as a per­cent­age of the over­all bud­get, the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pay­roll is 0.32 per­cent, higher than that of Westch­ester County, which has a $1.8 bil­lion bud­get, and of Or­ange County, which has a $722.1 mil­lion

bud­get. As a per­cent­age of the over­all bud­get, the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pay­roll spend­ing is less than that of Dutchess County, which has a $458.7 mil­lion spend­ing plan, and Put­nam County, which has a $151.5 mil­lion bud­get.

Don­ald­son said he doubts if the res­o­lu­tions will pass, but said he hopes they will make other law­mak­ers think about the Leg­is­la­ture’s role. “I be­lieve the leg­isla­tive body is no longer a branch of gov­ern­ment, it’s more like a de­part­ment. Too many leg­is­la­tors are stick­ing their heads in the sand.

“We are an equal branch

of gov­ern­ment, and my take is he’s over­spend­ing in his area,” Don­ald­son said.

Don­ald­son also joined with a num­ber of other law­mak­ers to spon­sor an amend­ment to re­store $550,000 to the county comptroller’s bud­get that was cut by Hein. Comptroller El­liott Auer­bach said he was the only elected of­fi­cial to have his bud­get cut by the county ex­ec­u­tive; Hein’s of­fice has said Auer­bach was the only elected of­fi­cial not to sub­mit a bud­get that pro­jected lower spend­ing than the year be­fore.

Other pro­posed amend­ments re­flect the pri­or­i­ties

of spe­cific law­mak­ers who pro­posed in­creases to fund­ing for some pro­grams and de­creases to oth­ers.

Parete has pro­posed adding $20,000 to the bud­get for a hous­ing study, while Sauger­ties leg­is­la­tors Chris Allen and Mary Wawro pro­posed adding $5,000 to fund a sum­mer camp in Sauger­ties.

Carn­right, mean­while, has asked for an ad­di­tional $91,290 for an ad­di­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tor in his of­fice.

The Ways and Means Com­mit­tee will meet at 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, to take up the pro­posed bud­get amend­ments.

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