“Holding a gun to our city” Censure Ward 5 Council member Don Tallerman

Tonight, as the council discussed a draft resolution for charter reform that we helped to create, we listened in shock as Ward 5 Council member Don Tallerman accused KingstonCitizens.org of corroborating with Neil Bender’s Kingstonian lawsuits, saying that our volunteer advocacy group was “Holding a gun to our city”.

When charter reform was introduced last year, the concept was delayed in part because of Council member Hirsch’s concerns of KingstonCitizens.org’s support of a city manager form of government.

Resisting charter reform means a delay, in part, of the council being able to hire their own staff and having a voice in the decision making process for boards, committees and commissions. This is all due to the City of Kingston having a strong mayor form of government governed by a city manager charter from a 1993/1994 decision. It is well documented and it is why our current strong mayor system holds so much power over our legislative body.

A year later, and in support of our entire community, we created draft language to help our council, taking the time to do some research and looking at communities similar in size and scale locally (all of which is cited in the original google document for the entire city to review) for a resolution that would allow the council to hire its own staff, have a say in the appointments/removal of committee, boards and commission members and formalizing mandatory training for council members (the Board of Education has yearly trainings).

Disregarding the substance, Tallerman said that KingstonCitizens.org’s main supporter is engaged in a dozen lawsuits. “Why would we entertain a suggestion from an entity who is holding a gun to our city…if a constituent comes to me with a good idea, and at the same time they are holding a gun up to the head of my family, no I’m not going to listen to that constituent when they are holding a gun up at my family’s head.”

Is it appropriate for an elected official to use a gun reference to describe the advocacy work of constituents? What’s the message he is trying to deliver? He ought to be censured for what he said tonight.

“Holding a Gun to our City”

Let’s set the record straight.

  • KingstonCitizens.org has been advocating for a transparent process from the start as it pertains to the Kingstonian project. As community members, we have that right;
  • We do not condone a $25 million dollar/25 year PILOT for luxury housing;
  • We haven’t any lawsuits against the City of Kingston;
  • Our organization hasn’t a relationship with Neil Bender.  

We are not alone with our concerns about the Kingstonian project.

Why is Ward 5 Alderman Don Tallerman Angry at KingstonCitizens.org?

Over the years, we have called for Council member Tallerman to recuse himself from any Kingstonian project vote due to his conflicts. We’ve created a timeline of those items as well as to how it pertains to our recent charter reform request. REVIEW the timeline

CORRECTION:  The speaker Jessica’s title is Empowerment Coordinator. Her comments regarding the Kingstonian are her personal opinions and do not reflect the opinions of the YMCA. 

5 thoughts on ““Holding a gun to our city” Censure Ward 5 Council member Don Tallerman”

  1. Tallerman is not running for RE-election. But, why did he not recuse himself from all Kingstonian voting?

    I find that decision troubling.

    He owns a catering business and event venue directly across the street from the proposed Kingstonian and would seem poised to benefit more than any single business owner from a new garage and boutique hotel.

  2. Here once again is an example of an elected official with his own set of facts. For his remarks, If anything, they suggest why the charter revision is needed and the City Council becomes better educated. Kingstoncitizens.org is owed an apology by the Kingston City Council. I have long applauded all the work and advocacy this organization (and its founder) has done on behalf of Kingston’s citizens. Many people thank you for it and more would if they understood what it has accomplished on their behalf!

  3. I have been working with elected officials across NYS for years now. It is very common for them to attend NYCOM and related municipal associations for intensive training on municipal finance, law, land use, legislative process, etc. People who serve government professionally spend years in training and are required to continually update our credentials. This isn’t easy stuff. Our public service demands that we be aware of the consequences of our decisions. “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance” (attributed to Confucius).

  4. Keep up the good work. Councilman seems like not the brightest. Questionable how the mayor can chair the committee that decides whether to give N Front st to the developers. That is part of Kingston’s legacy; part of the walled city. Also, what happens if the developers go broke? Do they get to auction off the gifted property as their own? Are these political favors the mayor is doling out or is their some personal compensation going on? Is the DA or Atty General investigating.?


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