Gloversville ice rink’s future cloudy after dispute
GLOVERSVILLE – After a dispute over reimbursement for a sign, the future of the city ice rink is cloudy.
The Common Council voted 4-3 against providing Recreation Commission member Matt Sherman a reimbursement of $135 for a sign he purchased last year for the ice rink.
Sixth Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski, 2nd Ward Councilman Arthur Simonds and 3rd Ward Councilman Stephen Mahoney voted in favor of the reimbursement.
However, Councilman-at-Large James Robinson, 5th Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli, 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth and 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio voted against it.
Wentworth said the sign was purchased in February by the Young Professionals Group, which Sherman is a part of, on its own.
She said Recreation Commission members weren’t even appointed at the time the purchase was made. Months later, she said, they didn’t bring the sign and reimbursement request to the commission in March.
Sherman said he started the YPG when he moved back to the city.
Last year, he said, the Recreation Commission was non-existent so the group made the purchases for the benefit of the city.
“Last year there was no commission, so we were like, ‘Hey, let’s get this sign for the rink,'” Sherman said. “I do not feel like getting scolded twice by the Common Council. I think what we will do is move the rink next year because we own all the materials, and I have spent 70 hours of my own time [working on it], not with my family. If someone from the city would like to do that they can and that’s fine.”
A similar situation arose before, when the group purchased lumber for the rink without commission approval and reimbursement was denied.
Sherman said he has an interest in making the city better for its residents, but he has no interest in being “scolded” by the council.
“I am done,” Sherman said. “That’s it.”
Sherman, a member of the Recreation Commission, came to its meeting this month seeking reimbursement for the sign.
Members of the commission were uncomfortable with approving the reimbursement and passed it on to the commissioner of finance, for the Common Council to vote on.
“Recreation Commission members as individuals cannot make purchases on their own,” Wentworth said. “I understand there is money there, but the process needs to be followed.”
Wentworth said because it was an 11-month-old bill and no authority was granted by the commission for Sherman to purchase the sign, the council decided to vote against it.
“I thought we had a clear procedure last year when this incident came up before. I feel like we have came right back to the same issue again,” Simonds said. “What is it going to take for the Recreation Commission to follow procedure?”
Mayor Dayton King said he agreed that they should go through the appropriate channels, but mentioned there may be a misunderstanding about how money can be used.
“Whatever needs to be purchased for the rink can be spent with commission approval at your next meeting,” King said. “Whether it is a snowblower or other materials you need for the rink, that is a decision that can be made by the commission members.”
Commission Chairman Jeff Ashe said this morning the commission will discuss the possibility of reimbursing Sherman at the next meeting in February, but couldn’t say whether it definitely will happen.
“Recreation Commission members dedicate their time, they shouldn’t have to spend their own money too,” Ashe said. “I can’t say it will or won’t happen but we will certainly discuss the options.”
However, City Attorney Anthony Casale said he does not believe the commission will be able to vote on the issue of the reimbursement after the Common Council voted against it.
Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.