Gloversville Mayor Dayton King said this week he’s up-to-date on filing mileage logs for the city-owned vehicle he uses, but one member of the city’s Common Council said the city needs to scrutinize the mayor’s travel more closely.
King faced criticism at a recent Common Council meeting for not turning in mileage logs for his use of the rusting, mid-1990s Ford Explorer with 148,000 miles.
It’s an issue 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio isn’t taking lightly.
Anadio, who sponsored the 2011 resolution establishing a vehicle use policy for the city, wants to add the resolution to the city’s codes so violations would carry criminal penalties.
“I think it is a priority because there’s rules and regulations in New York state law. You have to keep track,” she said.
Though King believes the issue has surfaced because it’s an election year and he’s facing challengers, Anadio said the use of city vehicles has long been on the minds of constituents who call her.
“It’s been an ongoing thing. People do call us all the time, and that’s your constituents. It has nothing to do with politics,” she said.
Anadio said she believes the Common Council is also working on other important issues, such as a nuisance abatement law to be considered this week.
The city’s resolution calls for a daily use log with odometer readings and purpose of use. Spouses and relatives of city employees are not allowed inside these vehicles — a provision King admits he violated; his wife was sick with chronic asthma, so he had to pick up his children from school.
King, who prides himself on being a visible, accessible mayor in the city of about 15,000 people, said he’s unsure now if he’s able to take the mayor’s vehicle to check on roads or head out to a fire, which he’s prone to doing.
The council’s 2011 resolution prohibits the use of a city vehicle between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. without a formal request to the mayor. If the mayor wants to use the vehicle between those hours, the Common Council must be notified within 72 hours of the emergency that required such usage.
King said he saw the mileage logs as a low priority and didn’t fill them out last year. But he believes the issue has surfaced as a means by which competitors and detractors can try to cast a shadow on his administration.
“It certainly has become a political issue. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with money,” King said.
He said he doesn’t expect the mileage log issue to be a campaign killer. His term ends this year, and he’s running for re-election.
So far, Gloversville Fifth Ward Supervisor Michael Ponticello has received the endorsement of the Gloversville Republican Committee to run for mayor, a job that pays $39,000 a year, in November.
“I feel confident, if this is the biggest issue somebody’s going to bring at me. We just need to get back to work. We’ve got a lot of stuff to do, and I’d like to see the council members working with issues like poverty and high taxes,” King said.
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