When we as an editorial board are vetting candidates for public office, we like to hear specifics.
Just saying the town is spending too much money won’t cut it. We want to know where it is spending too much, how much they would cut and what the effect would be on services.
Running a municipality is a very complicated and confusing business.
Spending taxpayer money is a big responsibility.
And being a town supervisor is hard work.
The town of Queensbury’s mostly new Town Board is learning that lesson firsthand during its first two months in office. Several commented this week about the volume of material they need to digest to understand the workings at the town on a daily basis.
One board member called the amount of activity “mind-boggling.”
It also may explain why they are so quick to forgive Supervisor John Strough’s sugar-coating of a Department of Labor inspection last summer that may lead to thousands of dollars in fines.
Despite the supervisor’s reluctance to be front and center with bad news, the Town Board seems comfortable with supporting Strough and concentrating on fixing the problem, even though none of them knew about it.
They should be concerned about that.
While it is refreshing the board is sticking together, especially after all the political backbiting last year, we’re not so quick to forgive Strough’s lapse of memory when it comes to neglecting to implement a state-mandated workplace violence program.
And the Town Board shouldn’t be, either. They should have been briefed by the supervisor about the infractions and they were not.
The board did raise other questions pertinent to Strough’s workload and what can be done to ensure important things — like state mandates on workplace safety — don’t fall through the cracks.
Board member Tony Metivier, who is the deputy supervisor, made some good points that Strough has been acting as his own human resources manager and financial manager.
“How much can one individual take on?” Metivier asked.
It’s an important question to ask for a town the size of Queensbury. Most big companies have trained professionals to handle things like human resources, believing it will save them money in the long run. It is also a reminder that Strough has said on more than one occasion that this would be his last term. He won’t be in office forever, and that could leave Queensbury with some cracks in its institutional memory.
If you look at the recent transfer of power in Glens Falls, it was clear very early on that Councilman Dan Hall was being groomed by then-Mayor Jack Diamond to be the next mayor in Glens Falls. While the final verdict was up to the voters, it allowed Hall to be well-versed in how the city operates before running for office.
Many first-time office-holders do not have that luxury.
This might be a good time for the Town Board to address the issue of future leadership and how each and every one of them can be intimately involved in how the town operates so they can make a judgment if the supervisor needs more help.
The Town Board also needs to show more concern about Strough’s lapses of memory when it comes to bad news.
The good feeling and lack of blame is something new for the Queensbury Town Board, but there has to be accountability.
Forgiveness is good.
Learning from your mistakes is important.
And we hope that is where Supervisor Strough is going, but the rest of the Town Board needs to be involved as well.
The sooner the better.