It would be fair to say that Kevin Quinn, a member of the Fulton County Traffic Safety Board, is not a fan of Gloversville Mayor Tim Hughes. That wouldn’t be a problem if Quinn could keep his mouth shut regarding his animosity for the mayor. But he showed at last week’s meeting that he can’t — and deserves to be removed from the board if he refuses to apologize, which he says he won’t do.
Upset with the way Hughes fired his friend, Gloversville Police Chief John Harzinski, for conduct that remains a secret to this day, Quinn minced no words in referring to the mayor as a “pile of pus.” Days later, he insulted Hughes again while talking to a reporter, saying the mayor was known for “fumbling feats of oral flatulism” and producing “more noxious fumes than any number of woodstoves that can ever be installed in the city” (the city recently banned outdoor wood furnaces).
Quinn wanted Harzinski, who was an ex-officio member of the safety board in his capacity as police chief, to be kept on the board as a civilian member representing Johnstown, but the board tabled his motion because Johnstown’s quota on the board is already full. That’s not Hughes’ fault. And while Harzinski’s “retirement” is indeed the mayor’s doing, it doesn’t appear, based on the little that’s known about his dismissal, that Harzinski got too raw a deal. He walked away with a roughly $85,000 settlement, full pension, no blemish on his record and an agreement by the city not to divulge any of the circumstances of his leaving, or to bad-mouth him.
The agreement didn’t extend to any of the former chief’s friends, but perhaps it should have. Quinn’s remarks raise the specter of such a serious bias against Hughes and the Gloversville Police Department that he may be unable to treat the city fairly in his capacity on the county committee. For that reason, he should be relieved of his duties.