Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Another Night to Remember at City Hall: Part II

John Mason recounts today in the Register-Star the discussion leading up to the Common Council's vote to approve giving $100,000 to the Galvan Foundation for the senior center: "Council OKs $100,000 to Galvan for senior center." 

Along with approving the gift of $100,000 from the municipal coffers to a private not-for profit, which Council president Don Moore noted in a comment to Mason after the meeting, had in 2014, according to the IRS, "more money put into [it] than the entire budget of the city of Hudson," the Common Council accepted the terms of a new MOU (memorandum of understanding). It seems the original MOU was never fully executed; the mayor had signed it for the City of Hudson, but no one representing the Galvan Foundation had. The amended MOU, which justified the gift of $100,000, was delivered to the aldermen sometime yesterday, allowing very little time for review, and Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) prefaced his critique of the document by observing, "The changes from the original MOU are important, and the Council should have gotten a red-lined version of the original." 

For everyone's edification, Gossips, using the original MOU as it appears in the minutes for the April 16, 2013, meeting of the Common Council (see pages 167-170) and the amended MOU distributed last night, has created just such a red-lined version. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

Friedman pointed out that according to the terms of the original MOU, "GIF was to deliver a sheet-rocked box, which the City was to outfit and program." Now it seems, with furniture and appliances listed in the amended MOU, that outfitting the space is being taken over by the Galvan Foundation. Friedman objected that there is no indication of how the $100,000 will be spent, and the City has no audit right. He noted that the language about the MOU being nonbinding had been deleted, which meant the document was not an MOU but a contract, and a "poorly drafted contract." He warned that accepting it would be "an abrogation of our duty to the taxpayers." Abrogation or not, accept it they did, with aldermen Bart Delaney (Fifth Ward), "Doc" Donahue (Fifth Ward), Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), Alexis Keith (Fourth Ward), and Abdus Miah (Second Ward) casting 1,193 affirmative votes. When the outcome was announced, Alderman Henry Haddad (Third Ward) told those who voted yes, "You just took money away from seniors." 

In the discussion preceding the vote, Garriga spoke of seniors wanting "their own space." In a statement quoted in the Register-Star, Delaney said that seniors "deserve a center of their own where they can meet and enjoy each other's company." Alas, that's all they'll have, since five aldermen have, probably unnecessarily, given away the money that should have been used for staffing and programming for seniors. 

1 comment:

  1. Someone in our city government ought to study how other municipalities provide services and space for seniors.
    Space is often donated by a municipality or religious organization. Services in some cases are paid for by a nonprofit organization relying on private donations and bequests. Fees are often charged to the seniors for classes, events, meals and other programming.
    It need not be a giveaway or an expected entitlement paid for by the taxpayers.
    The fact that a foundation with large resources is taking money from our city while it flouts just about every rule, regulation and basic ethical norm is beyond disgusting.
    I am appalled and deeply vexed by such stupidity.