The Saratoga Sun -

Problem with requesting public documents?

 


A letter to the Editor and to Mayor Zeiger

In the Mayor’s letter to the editor last week in this paper one sentence confused me –“In the last nine years there has never been a request for a copy of the audit. After the allegations of misappropriation of funds and the covering up of the same, I wasn’t surprised to have two people come in and request a copy of it.” As one of the folks who picked up a Town audit and was then maligned here, I want to be very clear - I have never suggested this administration misappropriated funds for their own use. However, since an appropriation is defined as “money set aside by formal action for a specific use” (Merriam-Webster.com) his use of “misappropriation” is fitting. There is abundant proof that money was actually misappropriated for the Town’s use (not allegedly) without formal action (by ordinance) from Saratoga water users with late water bills. This is the unitemized “penalty” as this administration calls it, that this paper called a “phantom number” - and was chastised by the Mayor for stirring the pot by using that term, and that I have called a hidden “interest” charge of 4-7% per month. Only some of these penalties or interest or whatever one wants to call them have been credited by the Town to its citizens (from 1/1/2011 to 11/30/2013 “$42,861.76 of penalties credited back to customers for the same time period”, Saratoga Sun article on 12/11/2013, vol. 127 No. 19). As one of the people the Mayor was unsurprised to see ask for an audit - I don’t apologize for it. It is the right and duty of the public to expect full disclosure from its elected officials. It is also reasonable for consumers to insist on due diligence by the administrators of our money. And I do not understand the Mayor’s very public and frightening anger toward citizens and board members, and the singling out of those who question his appointed officials, for whatever reason. Open meetings, public discussion, citizens involved, that’s what I call a representative republic.

Cindy Bloomquist

Saratoga

 

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