Sunday, March 23, 2008


During the public hearings on the Town's budget, in discussions with many residents, and in postings on this blog, people have raised their concerns about the issue of overtime spending by many of the Town's departments. I would like to take this opportunity to tell our taxpayers about some of the actions and initiatives that have recently begun.

First, as many of you may know, The Town appointed a new Comptroller on March 12th. .

1. The Payroll function which is part of the Town Comptroller's department has issued a report on overtime spending which reports the overtime dollars by department and individual for the respective payroll period which is two weeks. This report has been provided to Town Board members and others within the Town.

2. Our new Comptroller undertook an analysis of the first report that he received and immediately identified actions that should be undertaken to improve the Town's understanding of these costs. Mr. Kolesar designed a new reporting format that will greatly enhance the Town's ability to analyze both the amount of time and hours expended. In addition to increased information, the Payroll department will save time and further minimize the chance of an incorrect payment of overtime as a result of this new report.

The first department that was introduced to this report was the Police Department last Thursday, March 20th and Mr. Kolesar has reported to me that both the Police Chief and the staff member in that department responsible for this activity were very pleased with the initial presentation. In fact later that day, the information provided to me from Mr. Kolesar, indicated that the Police department requested additional features. The Comptroller then refined the report Thursday and Friday and provided this back to the Police department for further evaluation. By noon on Friday, the Police have agreed to implement this new reporting format immediately and the Comptroller expects this new data on either Monday, March 24th or Tuesday, March 25th. This new format will facilitate the analysis of overtime by individual, by rank, by date, by reason code just to cite some of the new possibilities. Once all of the issues, if any, are addressed, the Comptroller has indicated that he will roll this out across the various Town departments.

The Town is listening and being proactive. We can provide examples of real results. The Comptroller has indicated to me that he will incorporate a review of this item is his recurring oversight activities. Department heads will gain new insight into this aspect of their department's operations. It's a win for all.


Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Kolesar has to review this and report back on the following:

1. Are there procedures for individuals working OT? Are they reasonable, are they adhered to?

2. If overtime is needed, does the department first see if anyone else working that shift could work the hours?

3. Does the department offer OT to the lowest paid person who can handle the job? Is there a department state of mind that junior people cant bid for OT? That they wont get promotions if they volunteer? What is being done to avoid this? Do we tell new hires that OT is required?

Anonymous said...

4. Does the amount of hours worked for the OT code seem reasonable?

Anonymous said...

Paul what were your other comptrollers doig all these years screwing the residents.
You were told over and over again about the goings on but you did nothing.
It was a great thing that Kolesar was chosen for the job and we hope that he will get down to the nitty gritty of the goings on.
FINALLY someone will do something that has taken over the employees of this town as a plague.
No one cares so let's do what we want attitude.
Kolesar has a big job ahead of him.
Let's hope that he has the you know what to bring honesty back to this town.

Anonymous said...

Dear 10:03: Paul did not have a cooperative Town Board for at least 4 years. He now has a good Board and is making smart decisions. Remember, it takes 3 votes. Feiner has only one.

Anonymous said...

Good choice, Paul. With Kolesar, Morgan & Brown on board -- you have an administration that is going to be second to none!

Anonymous said...

WE HOPE////////

Anonymous said...

I will beleive it when I see it.

Anonymous said...

With all the employees we have here in Greenburgh there should not be any overtime if they were doing their job.
Start cutting jobs and we will see better results, since the ones that you cut out are not needed.
It is time to get rid of dead wood.
Treat this municipality as if it were a very large corporation that has to answer to stock holders.

Anonymous said...

Attention all Fairview Fire District Residents. Tonicht Tuesday March 25, 2008 from 5pm - 9pm their will be a vote at the Fire House located on Worthington Road. The fire districh wants 9 million dollars for a new fire house. Please VOTE NO. Our taxes keep on going up people are getting laid off, we cant afford this. VOTE NO!

ed krauss said...

Mike Kolesar is without a doubt the "rightest" man for the job, and he's more than qualified to perform admirably. However, to make a souffle, one must crack many eggs.

And there's the rub. In order to do the job right, Kolsar needs the cooperation of the department heads whose personnel he will be investigating,as well as the department heads themselves.

In addition, he needs the unqualified support of the town board, the entire town board, to back him up during this process. This, by the way,a process which definitely may reflect poorly on the "OLD" board,the "NEW" board, and the supervisor himself.

If for any reason Mr. Kolesar has to fear for his job because he exposes waste, he also needs the backing of the entire town- villges and unincorporated. Because, after all, we wil be the primary beneficiaries of his findings. And, trust me, he will uncover waste, and waste that goes back decades.

So if you want to be part of the Genisis of cost-effective government in Greenburgh, you have to show your support for Mike.

If he has the proper backing, he can do wonders for a town that is in dire need of miracles.

By the way, 10:38, I don't agree with your assessment that Paul had a hostile board for four years. It was more like two. And, besides, he's been in office for 17 years, so for at least 13-according to your numbers, he didn't have a hostile board. On the otherhand, I agree with you, he has a less hostile board to work with, so let's look forward to an output, a NEW output, driven by a NEW board.

Anonymous said...

Credit Paul and the new Board for hiring an independent new Comptroller, Mike Kolesar. Paul could have chosen a rubber stamp but did not. I'm proud to live in a town that appreciates independent thinkers like Mike

undertime is a problem too said...

i hope mike also figures out a way to measure "undertime"

those on the payroll contributing little other than increasing our taxes

Anonymous said...

He is already being "BSed" by the Police--
When he has the guts to take on the
Chief & actually finds out just how few men are actually out on patrol as opposed to "special assignments" & in HQ, we will know he is for real??
How about checking on the size of the Police fleet of vehicles now & even 5 years ago??

Anonymous said...

Greenburgh Police should not be involved with EMS in the Villages. This is a cost to Unincoporated residents that should be borne exclusively by the Villagers. All Greenburgh Police personel should remain within the confines of unincorporated unless an emergency warrants otherwise. This is a MASSIVE WASTE of unincorporated taxpayer money and a huge benefit to the villagers.

Anonymous said...

The big difference is the villages get a civilian medic for 50,000 and the Town gets a police medic for 100,000
What do you think?
Maybe everybody should have civilian medics

Anonymous said...

The villages pay the town for the EMS service that they get.

Anonymous said...

mIKE your biggest job is finding out about what the police dept. is all about.
Too many on the payroll who are not fullfilling the job that they were hired for.
The chief demands more and more money each year but where does it go.
Nothing seems to change in the building, samr personnel sitting arround and not enough on the streets.
Yes the chief yells the loudest at meetings which in doing this he convinces the board that he is right and the public is wrong.
Well now let's see if he can pull your strings.
We are awaiting a good report from you on this one matter.

Anonymous said...

Police medics are cheaper than civilian medics. You can pay 6-7 police officers to be medics for the price of 1 sole civilian medic.

Anonymous said...

police medics are not cheaper than civilians. Paul why don't you do a survey and see how many arrest or tickets are writing by police medics compared to a regular patrol
officer. I bet it's way low, because they are not on patrol that long. Just ask Kevin Morgan,
he knows all to well.
What do you say Paul and Kevin lets make change.

Anonymous said...

Paul and Hal,

All the campaiging for the team and the just 3 votes. Well now you have it and your comtroller. So you better cut costs.

cuz it is on your head now.

Anonymous said...

What proactive? I dont see anyone addressing the tax increase?

hal samis said...

Dear 8:03,
Speaking only for myself...

Look how adroit I am.
I only argued for "just three votes" and what did I get?
Five votes.

But according to the law of diminshing returns:
Five votes + Kolesar = One correct voice.

It took a lot of arguing to get that voice.

But I'm optomistic that the ship of state will remain afloat and arrive safely at its intended harbor.

Even if it may encounter some stormy weather while at sea.
It's not where you start but where you finish.

But don't worry; I won't be part of the dance band on the Titanic.

And if the time should come, I'll be the first to warn everyone about sighting an iceberg and, when to abandon ship.

Until then, settle back and let me "take you on a sea cruise".

Because, "the name of the place is, I like it like that".

Anonymous said...

Really, Hal, lets start counting

1. The payment to the Fairview FD

2. Paul is saying no need to cut police/OT

hal samis said...

Dear 8:33,
I am counting.
Counting who is voting.
So far I see five like votes, not just one.
Going forward, when you see something irksome, let's refer to the Town Board which allowed it to happen and I'll be more likely to agree.

And there is also the voice crying out for the fundamental revisit to the rest of the items on the benefits page.

However is one man enough to cover all the bases?

Consider the "players" that the Town hides in the bullpen.

Fully paid lifetime medical benefits may once have been a reasonable and affordable enticement for those embarking upon a "high pressure" career in government and its enfant terrible, civil service burdened its workers with all of its demands such as dress code and productivity but there is a major trend that can't be ignored by those providing and sponsoring this benefit.

It is not the first response that medical costs are rising that is the killing the taxpayer. True, medical costs have risen and for the most part this is due to new medical technologies requiring capital investment by providers and for individual patients, dependence upon newer and higher costing drugs.

It is the desirable result of these advances in medicine that have really brought the pain.

Because, people are living longer.

Which means, in no uncertain terms, that the Town is providing medical benefits for retired employees or qualifying departing employees for ever longer periods of time.

And as the pool of surviving beneficiaries increases (and here you can add in the increasing medical care costs), the taxpayers are on the hook for larger and larger deferred financial obligations as payments into the State retirement systems rise by a multiplier (even without the to-be-announced shortfalls in 2010 -- previews of the problem came this year when the Town announced a round two budget increase due largely to declining interest income but, when the State finally owns up to their holdings of worthless or near worthless lnvestments, don't find yourself standing near the fan).

Statistically, 30 years ago (around the time that medical coverage was coming into vogue), people retired at 65 and courteously died at 74. I don't have the current numbers but my suspicion is that people retire at 62 or 60 and live to their mid 80's

It is these extra years of paid coverage that are the killer for town budgets, the last straw that broke the camel's back.

The Town needs to revisit these give-ups and consider (1) increasing benefit commencement at a cited age, not after years of employment thus giving the Town some breathing room until the age threshold is reached (2) requiring co-pay during employment and co-pay thereafter (3) averaging earnings over the employment not weighting the most recent years (highest earnings) before retirement.

That would require a "tough" not flaccid approach to union negotiations and perhaps the Town needs a negotiator with balls instead of their current team.

Nothing wrong with tolerating an occasional strike or work stoppage. That would temporarily reduce labor costs from lost wages/benefit contributions.

And, if memory serves, when the former, elected Town Board rushed to pass the "tough" Ethics Laws, they still had time to exclude campaign contributions from labor unions -- after all, the Town doesn't do business with them.

There really is so much on the books that is "rotten" in Greenburgh, that Shakespeare would have to live to 100 to write it.

But then, consider the cost of his earned WGA benefits.

Anonymous said...

Why do you hate civil servants so much? is it because you received a ticket or you couldn't pass the test. If Chief Kapica said he needs 120 police officers, he probably needs them. How else are we going to provide the people with car seats, tech rescue team that is called how many times?/school resource officer/ 3on 3 basketball/ and so on.

hal samis said...

Does 3 on 3 basketball utilize the official PD zone system?

I don't hate civil servants.
To the contrary, I envy them; I think they have the least stressful job in the world which pays dividends when considering their longevity post retirement.

The problem for taxpayers is that they are paying for this starting now.


Please use the space above to add the appropriate Yiddish phrase.

Anonymous said...

You're joking right. Hal get a ticket. I dont think he has a car, so that would be tough.

I'ld like to know, last night I saw 3 or 4 police cars pull over some guy on Underhill. Read the JN, no big arrests. I would like to know why we need a flotilla of police officers for something so minor it doesnt make the paper.

Anonymous said...

The Valhalla audit is in! Check it out at:

Anonymous said...

Are we going to ask for our money back that was mispent?????????

the right thing said...

the bullies from valhalla owe the town a big apology.

the cowards like juettner and sheehan should remember - 2009 is coming.

paul - the right thing is to demand a return of the illegally obtained and misspent funds.

Anonymous said...

Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations
The Board did not provide sufficient oversight over District financial operations. We identified significant deficiencies in the internal controls over the accounting for and disbursement of WestHELP Grant monies, payment of employee compensation and fringe benefits, the Treasurer’s office and computerized data. For example, of the approximately $1.7 million expended for the Grant, approximately $456,000 was not expended in accordance with the Grant agreement, proposals or applicable laws. Furthermore, the Business Administrator chose to be reimbursed for a term life insurance policy that combined death benefit protection with the opportunity to direct the investment of net premium dollars into a broad portfolio of investment options. This selection provided him with benefits greater than provided for in his contract, resulting in $38,500 in unnecessary costs to District taxpayers. Finally, District officials paid a retired transit police officer as a vendor, while also occasionally paying him as an employee through the normal payroll process. As a result, this employee may have received retirement benefits in excess of the amounts allowed by law and the District may be held liable for taxes, penalties and interest.