Different gov’t to be discussed

GLOVERSVILLE – The Common Council will host a variety of speakers during its meeting Tuesday, including people who will talk about a different form of government that was suggested for the city.

Jerry Faiella, executive director of the New York State City/County Management Association, and Jason Molino, the city manager of Batavia, Genesee County, will speak about the benefits and answer questions about potential concerns on the change to a “city manager” form of government.

Molino previously said he’s helped the city of Batavia move forward and improve its financial situation. He said Batavia, much like Gloversville, experienced an industrial downfall years ago and had to overcome large financial deficits.

Both are scheduled to be accompanied by Meredith Robson, city administrator for Beacon and president of NYSCMA, Bob McEvoy, Schenectady County manager and director of policy and government affairs of NYSCMA, and John Burin, retired city manager of Elmira.

The discussion on a change started in April, when 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth brought up changing the form of government from the mayor overseeing the day-to-day activities to having a city manager replace the mayor and the commissioner of finance.

Since that time, Mayor Dayton King introduced an idea to eliminate the ward restrictions within the council and have open citywide elections for all the seats on the council.

However, the uncertainty in how the city may operate played a role in making one employee take another job.

According to a memo from Commissioner of Finance Bruce Van Genderen, the Deputy Commissioner of Finance, Theresa Butkevitch, notified him Thursday she found employment elsewhere.

She said one of her reasons for leaving is the proposal by the council to change the form of government and “the resulting inherent control by the council,” according to the memo.

Van Genderen also noted the other reason she mentioned is the treatment of non-represented employees by certain council members and the unfavorable terms of employment-compared to union employees-regarding benefits and time off.

“She views both of these things as a deterrent to a career with the city,” Van Genderen wrote.

This morning, Butkevitch said her last day will be July 3. She declined to identify her new job.

However, she did confirm the reasons mentioned in Van Genderen’s memo are correct.

“I don’t blame Theresa one bit for choosing to look out for her family,” King said. “It is clear that some members of the Common Council are not thinking about the unintended consequences of their words and decisions. We will struggle to fill this position with someone who is as intelligent, outgoing, experienced and upbeat as Theresa.”

“I’m sorry to hear she feels that way, but she knew when she took the position that it’s an annual appointment and there are no promises,” Wentworth said this morning about Butkevitch’s decision. “If someone promised her a position, they were wrong in doing that because it’s an annual appointment.”

In other meeting business:

David Anderson will revisit the issue of the proposed War Dog Memorial that was first discussed in April 2013. Anderson is proposing to build a memorial in the veterans memorial park at the north end of Kingsboro Avenue.

Davis Yohe and John Varecka from Liberty Affordable Housing is expected to provide an update about the Estee School project for senior housing.

DPW Director Kevin Jones is scheduled to discuss the 2014 paving program.