Saratoga Springs mayor’s State of the City address overshadowed by earlier events Friday (with video)

Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim delivers his 2023 State of the City address at City Hall on Friday.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim delivers his 2023 State of the City address at City Hall on Friday.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mayor Ron Kim delivered a State of the City address Friday evening that was overshadowed by events that surfaced this week.

Among the topics in his address Friday was a pledge to create a task force to combat homelessness. Just hours earlier, the Shelters of Saratoga backed out of its Code Blue plan with the city.

It also was revealed that the Saratoga Springs fire chief was on paid leave amid an investigation.

This follows a press conference Tuesday in which Black Lives Matter supporters called out the current administration for its slow rollout of police accountability reforms. 

Kim said currently many of the homeless in the city take refuge at the Woodlawn garage. 

@dgazette Saratoga Springs mayor’s State of the City address overshadowed by earlier events Friday – 2/3/23 More at  – Daily Gazette

“Not only is this inhumane, it’s dangerous for residents, visitors and the homeless,” he said. “It cannot and should not continue.” 

Kim wants to create a task force to find a way to aid the homeless. He said the goal of the task force is to select a permanent site for a shelter and navigation center by the fall and find an organization that can make it happen.

This comes after Shelters of Saratoga Executive Director Duane Vaughn announced Friday afternoon the organization has backed out of leasing the city-owned 5 Williams St. location, formerly the senior center, in order to operate Code Blue. 

“We want to stay focused on continuing to provide a successful Code Blue and additional services, and immediately went to work to find alternative solutions,” Vaughn said. “We will continue to engage our community as our plans progress, and look forward to making an announcement soon.”

Last October, Mayor Ron Kim announced plans to move the senior center, which had been housed in the 5 Williams St. building, to the new addition to the Saratoga Springs YMCA on West Avenue and then make the Williams Street location a year-round homeless shelter and navigation center.

Once the building was vacant, Shelters of Saratoga, which is currently operating a Code Blue shelter at 4 Adelphi St., would move that operation to Williams Street and establish the navigation center to help people with various services.

Kim said he’s reached out to other organizations, such as RISE, about operating the facility as a year-round homeless shelter, not just when Code Blue is in place.

Prior to Vaughn’s statement, Shelters posted a message on its Facebook page noting the decision came after hearing community concerns about operating a shelter at the Williams Street site. On Monday parents, community members and a student of Saratoga Central Catholic School spoke out against the location, which would share over 200 feet of property line with school’s athletic fields.

A petition seeking to move the proposed shelter has garnered almost 1,500 signatures on

The mayor opened his address highlighting the city’s moves toward a more transparent government, noting that officials asked for the investigation into the Darryl Mount case, in which a biracial man died from injuries suffered from a fall off a 19-foot scaffold after being pursued by police. 

Earlier in the week Black Lives Matter members criticized Kim and other city officials during a press conference for not moving fast enough on the city’s police reform plan, implementing a civilian review board and for concerns surrounding the short list of officers to replace Police Chief Shane Crooks, who is expected to retire in several months. 

One of the officers on the shortlist to replace Crooks, Lt. Tyler McIntosh, is among six officers involved in the Darryl Mount case.

Kim said the city also has been transparent with how it has handled the Nov. 20 shooting on Broadway in which police shot a man. 

“If you’ve watched what’s happened subsequently and the terrible incidents just last week, you’ve seen almost everyone applaud the police department and the government in Memphis for releasing the body cam [footage] immediately. We did it even sooner than they did,” he said. “Again it’s transparency and accountability that’s so important.”

He also said the Police Department is completing its application to get accreditation by the state, which was one of the police reform recommendations.

While Kim noted the ongoing construction for the city’s third Fire Department station on Henning Road and the $4.1 million in federal funds the city received to hire 16 additional firefighters, he did not touch on Fire Chief Joseph Dolan being placed on paid leave, which was confirmed Friday. 

Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino confirmed Dolan was placed on paid leave at the close of business Friday — five days after Montagnino received a complaint that Dolan had a conflict of interest because he was employed by two fire departments. 

“The complaint came in late on Friday and we were unable to reach our counsel until Monday,” he said. “We needed time to confer with our counsel and human resources before the decision was made.”

Montagnino said the city has an outside attorney to help investigate the matter and will interview Dolan on Wednesday. 

Categories: News, News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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