Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Town Caucus Update

The state Board of Elections has released the 2009 political calendar.

Close watchers of Town of New Paltz politics know that the real town election is at the Democratic caucus. Given the high proportion of registered Democrats, winning the nomination at the caucus is pretty much a sure bet for winning in November. Seats up this year include town supervisor, two town board seats, and highway superintendent. (Do any readers know the terms of the town clerk and town justice? They may be up too if their terms are two years.)

According to this year's calendar, the earliest possible date that the Democratic Committee can set the date is June 9th. Look here to see my earlier post about my problems with a June caucus.

Monday, May 4th is the next Democratic Committee meeting (Village Hall, 7pm) -- most likely the committee will be setting the date for the caucus. Registered Democrats can attend. I'm not going (it's my birthday!) but I will be sure to report back to Gadfly readers the next chapter in the story as soon as it is revealed...

Also -- Village residents! Check out the village board debate on Channel 23 broadcast live from Village Hall on this Friday night, goodness gracious that is May 1st already!

kt tobin flusser

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Unification isn't the real threat

It's not unification that is most likely to destroy the "way of life" people who live in the village want so desperately to protect - it's the lack of solvent taxpayers.
The village board is trying to find another $300,000 or so in budget cuts, and they're running out of things to even consider.  I was told that they might even consider laying people off - people like the ones that are busting their butts cleaning up after us this week.

I was dumbfounded that the situation is so serious, and asked if they had considered other options to keep the full work force, like furloughs and shortened work schedules and pay cuts.  Less of a job is better than none, I would think.  Apparently the unions don't see it that way, and they aren't willing to reopen the contracts.
Now I'm all for collective bargaining, but if this is true it's a case where the members are not being represented by their union.  How does it help anyone?  $300 might mean four to six people (I'm not sure exactly, because benefits have to be considered in the total employee cost) that are out of work.  It will probably mean the same reduction in services as any of the other options I asked about, but with more people jobless.
The only problem I have with collective bargaining is the idea that you can be required to be a member of the union.  This is why unions sometimes - often - don't have their members' interests at heart.  If employees could freely join and leave - and for that matter, freely create and dissolve a union - then groups like CSEA would see enrollment dip when employers are humans, and rise when they become monsters.  There's no reason why union membership needs to be a protected class, and there's plenty of reasons why it shouldn't.
I wonder if that's a contract negotiation point?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Responsive Government

For about eighteen months now I have been a regular attendee at the New Paltz School District school board meetings. This is the second budget process I have had a front row seat for (literally). Throughout these two cycles, myself and others, via public comment at board meetings, and now this year, via a school district budget blog, have requested more detail -- down to the line items -- on the proposed budgets.

And guess what. Last night, by a vote of 5-2 (Rod Dressel and David Dukler dissenting), our school board voted to post the full, detailed, line item proposed (draft 3) budget on the district's website. You can see it here.

WOW! KUDOS to our school board! Thank you for listening.

(See, being pesky works!)

kt tobin flusser

Gadfly Candidate Throws a Party

I've been an observer of the School Board since the Middle School renovation debate began, and I have spoken out about the need to have a mom on the School Board. After careful consideration I have announced my candidacy, and I look forward to your support.

Please join me to talk about the upcoming election, my candidacy, and the challenges our district will be facing in the next few years at a campaign kick-off on Monday, April 13th, 6pm to 8pm at the Mudd Puddle at the Water Street Market.

You can RSVP on Facebook here.