Carman should have done more to promote downsizing of the county legislature

To the Editor:

In last week’s edition of The Altamont Enterprise, Lee Carman responded to two issues that I had raised during this campaign.

The first issue relates to the downsizing of the Albany County Legislature, a campaign promise that he made when he ran for the legislature. His response was, “we” requested a bipartisan commission consider the downsizing of the legislature.

I do recall learning after the fact that a few public hearings were held on the subject but the turnout was light. Of course, that was the plan from the beginning with the lack of widespread notice to the public. And the fact that it was a bipartisan group from the legislature does little to give the taxpayer confidence that this is a serious effort, that is, for the legislature to determine its own fate.

Here is what Mr. Carman should have done:

— 1. Invite his constituents to attend a legislative session and to speak at the public comment period in support of a referendum to downsize;

— 2. Seek the support of the several public interest/government watchdog groups all of whom spoke at a previous legislative session in favor of a referendum when County Legislator Paul Laudato pursued the subject in September 2002;

— 3. Schedule news conferences with local area newspapers; and

— 4. Start a blog on the subject.

In short, turn up the heat! Seek the support of others and educate his constituents. And, the legislature should not be the body to rule on its own fate. It’s up to the people with a countywide referendum.

The second issue relates to my stating that the New York State Comptroller “has issues” with Mr. Carman’s filed time sheets at the legislature. A local daily reported in June that the state comptroller’s office had sent a letter to the Albany County Legislature that Carman and 19 other legislators had listed ineligible work activities….

All that said, I thought Mr. Carman was the most qualified candidate running on the Republican ticket this year. Sadly, the Republican Party under Chairman Matt Nelligan has made mass mailings this last weekend of the campaign to McKownville residents and to others packed with false information, a campaign tactic introduced to this town by Mark Grimm and Warren Redlich several years ago.

At this writing, on the day before the election, I and Guilderland residents can only hope that their efforts will fail.

Gerard Houser, coordinator
Guilderland
Community Gardens

Editor’s note: Nikki Jones, a spokeswoman from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, told The Enterprise that DiNapoli had asked for clarification on some of Lee Carman’s timesheet entries, and that the clarifications had been submitted, reviewed, and approved as valid.

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On Nov. 19, seventy-four of the goal of 100 district residents participated in the first summit on the future of Guilderland schools.  Altamont Mayor James Gaughan was one of the residents who participated.