Mahoney’s council attendance questioned

GLOVERSVILLE -The Third Ward’s former councilman publicly criticized the ward’s current councilman recently, alleging he cannot be reached by his constituents.

Former 3rd Ward Councilman Donald Ambrosino, of 19 Fox St., was a public speaker at the Common Council meeting at City Hall.

He took current 3rd Ward Councilman Stephen Mahoney, who didn’t attend the session, to task claiming Mahoney is unreachable by the public.

Mayor Dayton King said Friday he conferred with City Attorney Anthony Casale on the issue of Mahoney’s attendence. Casale recommended the mayor talk to city Labor Attorney Brian Goldberger, and King said Friday he was in the process of trying to reach him. King said he will ask Goldberger and the council to look at current rules regarding council attendance.

Councilman-at-Large James Robinson couldn’t be reached Friday for comment.

Mahoney, a Prospect Avenue resident, was absent Tuesday night. According to the City Clerk’s office, Mahoney has been absent the last four council sessions. Those are: the regular meeting meeting Tuesday night, the council’s special session Aug. 21 to name new Fire Chief Tom Groff, as well as the two previous regular council sessions on Aug. 12 and July 22. He attended several council sessions in July and June.

“I truly feel we do not have representation in the ward,” Ambrosino told the council.

Mahoney returned a phone call to The Leader-Herald on Friday saying he missed a few meetings because he was on vacation and also he’s not happy with the council.

“I’m a little distraught about the things going on at the meetings,” he said.

Mahoney said missing the Groff meeting should “not count,” as he didn’t have enough notice.

Mahoney said he’s “absolutely” responsive to his constituents, many of whom he’s talked to in person lately. He said he had 27 phone calls Friday he’s trying to respond to.

Democrat Mahoney ran unopposed in November 2011 to replace Ambrosino, who didn’t seek re-election. Mahoney’s four-year term on the council expires at the end of 2015.

Ambrosino said he is “totally disappointed” in Mahoney. He said the Third Ward has many issues to address this summer and the city does too. He said he personally understands how important it is to stay on top of issues, having served himself as a councilman.

Mahoney was absent during Tuesday’s action on a couple items involving proposals to change city government.

Ambrosino said he has tried many times to reach Mahoney by phone, but was unsuccessful. He said he’s stopped at Mahoney’s home and there’s no answer. He asked city officials to take action on Mahoney’s alleged unaccessibility.

King said he has talked to Mahoney this summer.

“I’ve reached out to him and talked to him on a couple things,” the mayor said.

King said it was his understanding Mahoney “wasn’t keen” on the city manager proposal, which the mayor vetoed. He said Mahoney’s non-attendance may have been a protest to the rest of the council on that issue.

The council on Tuesday couldn’t override the veto because there was not enough votes.

The council voted 4-1 to override King’s prior veto of a previously established local law to revise the City Charter to allow a city manager form of government. Only 2nd Ward Councilman Arthur Simonds voted against overriding the veto, but the council didn’t have enough votes to override it, so the proposal won’t go to a public referendum. The council would have needed one more vote in favor of the override.

King said if any member of the public can’t reach their ward council member on an issue, they should contact any other council member or himself at City Hall.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.