Jeff Altamari, the architect of the Saratoga Springs Charter Commission’s misleading financial analysis of the proposed charter, may know Wall Street, but he doesn’t know Main Street.
Mr. Altamari’s confidence in the savings he claims will accrue from a change to a city manager form depends heavily on the elimination of the four existing commissioners and the five full-time deputies. This assumption is especially stunning since, for all the interviewing they like to say they did, the commission never talked to the deputies to find out what they do.
More importantly, Mr. Altamari displays no understanding of how Civil Service and public employee unions figure into the elimination and reconfiguration of work responsibilities. City Hall is not the corporate world where jobs are eliminated and employees assigned new responsibilities at the discretion of the boss. He and the charter commission and their supporters may find they are in for sticker shock when the true value of the work the deputies do is assigned to a new and more expensive Civil Service position by the new city manager.
When I hear Mr. Altamari tout his corporate credentials and refer to the business world as the “real world,” as he did recently on Look TV, I can’t help but think of the recent resignation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Secretary Price and now other Cabinet members coming from the private sector have come under scrutiny for using taxpayer money to fly in private planes when cheaper transportation was available. “I guess I wasn’t sensitive enough to the taxpayer,” Mr. Price admitted as he left his position. One could say the same about Mr. Altamari and the charter commission members.
Jane Weihe, Saratoga Springs