Mayor’s power over golf course lessened

Mayor Ann Thane does not have the authority over the Golf Course Commission that she once did.
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Mayor Ann Thane does not have the authority over the Golf Course Commission that she once did.

The Common Council voted Tuesday to rescind a previous ordinance, unanimously passed in March, clarifying the City Charter to make the commission an advisory panel to the mayor and council. Alderman Joseph Isabel, R-1st Ward, who sponsored the change, voted in favor, along with Alderman Richard Leggiero, R-5th Ward, and Alderwoman Kim Brumley, C-3rd Ward.

Alderman William Wills, D-4th Ward, voted against the measure.

Alderman Daniel Roth, R-2nd Ward, abstained from voting on the issue after Wills contended that Roth’s involvement in the matter was a conflict of interest because Golf Commission Chairman Ronald Barone is Roth’s boss.

Roth was appointed by the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, which includes Republican Barone, as the director of the county Veterans Service Agency.

Roth said Wills was “playing politics,” which was “a disservice to the taxpayers.”

Thane’s decision to alter the procedures for booking tee times at the golf course prompted Isabel to sponsor the resolution rescinding the previous measure giving her more power over the course.

In June, Thane sidestepped the commission and Common Council and told golf course employees to hold some tee times during peak hours for nonmembers. The idea came out of an ad hoc golf course committee Thane organized to help generate ideas for creating more revenue at the course.

The council decided not to act on the resolution at its last meeting, July 1, after Roth, who serves as liaison to the Golf Course Commission, made a motion to amend the previous ordinance to clarify the chain of command for enacting changes at the course. The council decided to discuss the amendment at a Golf Course Commission meeting.

Roth held a Golf Course Commission meeting last week at which he discussed amendments to the ordinance, which he said he had planned to introduce at the meeting.

Instead, Brumley made a motion to amend the new ordinance, enacting a chain of command starting with the Golf Course Commission, then the commission’s liaison and ending with the mayor and Common Council.

“This way, the mayor and Common Council still have the final decision,” Brumley said.

After discussion about the amendment, including its validity and need by Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis, Brumley decided to withdraw her amendment and vote on the ordinance as it stood.

After the meeting, Thane said she trusted the wisdom of the group.

“This is what they wanted,” she said. “That’s what democracy is.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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