City of Kingston Oversight

By Rebecca Martin

The recent accusations that Lt. Matthews allegedy tried to ‘double dip’ by being paid twice as a city police officer and an SRO at the Kingston High School would be a bold move. Imagine, someone of his stature feeling comfortable to take the chance in requesting to be paid – twice.  How could you blame a simpleton like me for questioning the oversight here and wondering where else there might be questionable department accounting?

I’m no expert, but the whole situation inspires my thinking as to who is ultimately responsible. Isn’t this an executive city matter?  If so, City Hall is  caught with its pants down again. First the safety net and now this?

Come on fellas. Get with the program. You are paid by the taxpayers to manage infrastucture and the budgets that surround it – and that’s really all. How hard can that be? Not so much for those who are qualified. There. I said it.

This is more serious then electing an adminstration out and hoping that another will do better.  It’s a matter of professionalism and responsibility, and that has nothing to do party lines.   I have a feeling this sort of thing is pervasive and whether it’s a lack of attention or sneaky – we may never know.

In the meanwhile, this isn’t acceptable and Lt. Matthew’s alleged actions may impact more than the budget. It may discredit the cases of some or all of  those he put behind bars.  With a six figure salary, stealing from taxpayers and then putting our safety at risk is a very serious crime. If he is guilty, then I hope he will be punished to the full extent of the law. Afterwhich  Kingston – you’ve got to look more closely at department head budgets – and if that’s too much for you to do – then you don’t belong in the leadership positions that you are in. On that note, Kingston Citizens – we need to be paying closer attention. Our government is a reflection of us and if we are apathetic as a community,  then how can we expect anything less?

It’s a bold stance to take, but I believe that someone should be hired to run this city, as I don’t believe Kingston is served by party line leadership any longer. We don’t need the most popular candidate with the most resources to run our city (which by the way, the voter turnout is always a small fraction of the number of citizens in the community. What does that tell you?).  We simply need people who are qualified to do the job.

7 thoughts on “City of Kingston Oversight”

  1. I admire your view, looking to the changing the system. I find it difficult to let go of the responsibility and the failures of the current administration and the disregard for the voice of the citizen that exemplifies their work.
    Kingston needs good government and we do not have it: lets make the changes.
    Changes in the country government putting in an executive has improves Ulster… In the same sense, weakening the mayors office to, let us say, correctly distributing, would be a great improvement.
    How long will it take? Can we get started?
    (Is there a better name than “weak mayor” system?

  2. Comments follow, but most important, again, I greatly appreciate that you put out there something positive that can be followed rather than the status quo to be derided. That is incredibly hopeful!
    One (meaning I) assume that executive/legislative/judicial branches have a checks and balances system built in… it does appear that there are no checks and balances at all with this so called “strong mayor” approach: is it there are no constraints on the executive?
    Closer to home, we’ve had the “no mayor” form of government at the county level and there responsibility was at once diffuse and mercurial (well, I’m thinking of those little blobs of mercury that would skitter about from a broken thermometer)
    What, for instance is in Beacon, Saugerties, New Paltz, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh…
    And even in this more perfect union, at the national level, we have some serious deflections in the court, the congress ,and we have only recently returned a people’s president to the white house as opposed to a representative of business interests which serves to assemble the people in good order to more easily be harvested.
    What we have in Kingston is a boorish mayor and crony legislators, a public employee sector with tenure like sinecures, a disrespect for the lower middle class, a population that makes their living administering social services, on and on and on…
    The bright spot in all this is the new blood, the younger blood in this city. These people are more thoughtful, gracious, adventuresome, hard working and much more civil. And incredibly more open to communication.
    What is epidemic in this city is passive agression… a government that will not communicate, that will not respond, that will not talk to the citizenry with a daily newspaper that is quite perfectly in support. (The Kingston Times excepted) Add to that a population which has been very slow to adopt new means of communication, and it IS hard for a populace to communicate broadly without a vibrant press.
    But in these last few years there have been gardens and conservancies and public cleanups in park and waterfront, music, art, the BAK and the County both have lead public meetings of education and participation that have been superbly executed.
    And we are hurt by a reluctant police force that will not get involved, will not get out of their cars and be with the citizens, and watch crimes grow to something ripe that can be picked large and publicly…
    Yesterday, at an art opening in Saugerties, I spoke with a policeman who was going up and down the neighboring streets, looking for cars that were poorly parked and blocking the streets a bit and then he’d make a list of the cars and the licensees and bring them to the gallery owner to the people could be notified and fix the problem, and he asked the same of people on the street: do you know the owner? Can you call him? (Yeah, they have all sorts of snow problems there, too.)
    But the job was to keep the streets open, not to give tickets and drive away, not to bring in revenue for Saugerties, not to penalize…
    That has to be in great contrast to the direction from the top that comes to Kingston, a comic troupe of Jaberts, Keystone Cops, and tough cops out of Hud (what we have here is a failure to communicate). Actually, we have not enough women and men with more modern dispositions in public service positions and it’s a lot nicer “out here” than it is “in there”
    2010 was really a grand year for Kingston, the best year ever. 2011 will be even better, as the seeds planted and sprouted in 2010 become firmly established.

  3. Hi Rebecca – I hope everyone who has seen this will go to my web-page (there are links there to as well as many other useful resources for responsible citizens).

    As you know, I am a candidate for the office of the Mayor of Kingston.


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