Monday, March 10, 2008

Humerous Hinckley Hints ...

Yesterday the Observer-Dispatch editors made two suggestions regarding the Hinckley Reservoir situation:

(1) Create a local review panel for Hinckley and
(2) Move the Destito bill ahead (as opposed to the Butler bill).

Regarding the review panel, the editors suggest creating
a two-county monitoring body that includes elected officials, business people and neighbors of Hinckley, West Canada, Lake Delta and other relevant areas. Each county would be responsible for naming two governmental, two business and two citizen representatives to this panel. The counties should also fund a certain level of legal assistance and a certain level of clerical assistance — by shifting existing positions, not creating new ones.

The group would be charged with producing an annual report on water-related issues, similar in structure and operation to the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board that works to insure that the interests of the people of the Adirondack Park and their local governments are protected.
Wow! We already have the MVWA, Canal Corp., DEC, State Health Department, SEMO, Oneida and Herkimer Counties, etc., involved, but the OD thinks another entity is needed. Although the OD says not to create new positions, just how does setting up a separate entity with a new responsibility of producing annual reports not require additional positions? The OD seems to assume that government employees are sitting around with time on their hands . . . If that is the case, maybe they need to be riffed rather than given a justification for their jobs. MVWA is a prime example of how creating a new entity multiples positions. Positions had to be added because when MVWA's functions were separated from the City of Utica, they could no longer share key personnel. Separate engineering, legal, and financial people were required. An employee can only have one boss ("Personnel 101") . And what good does hiring lawyers do here? Which interests would be represented? The ones who squawk the loudest? The ones tied into the "clique" running things?

Creating another governmental entity will not stop lawbreaking
. It will only provide someone else to point to when something goes wrong.

Both the Destito and Butler bills call for studies of the Hinckley situation. Mr. Butler wants an appropriation of $250,000 for an "independent" study, while Mrs. Destito "thinks a thorough study on water use can be done by the state agencies without spending money." The OD, ever the watchdog of the state's purse, agrees with Ms. Destito.

Mrs. Destito's and the O-D's reasoning are faulty on three points: (1) They presume without a shred of evidence that state employees don't already have enough work to do, or that the work they already do is unimportant and can be put aside. This study will cost taxpayer money no matter who does it. (2) They ignore the fact that the state agencies were key players in last summer's fiasco. They will likely try to minimize their role in creating the problem. (3) Mrs. Destito's proposal is not really that different from what we have now with the Hinckley Working Group - - which is composed of state agencies.

So, if the O-D was in charge, we would have more government, and we would have agencies policing themselves.

They must be kidding . . . .


waterboy said...

What needs to be done is have the Canal Corp stop avoiding two important questions.
Why did they need to over release?
(The canal was already full and so were the feeder canals)
Why did they ignore NYPA’s request to cut back their flows?
The Dam has been run successfully for years, even in time of drought and following the rule curve, it may be old to some people but it works when it is followed.

Strike you mention saving money they why is the State Attorney General representing the Canals but the Water Authority is State Authority too and they have to hire a private attorney at the cost to customers. So the MVWA customers are paying twice for this.

Strikeslip said...

That's a good point, Waterboy. Why should the Thruway Authority (Canals) get State AG representation? Maybe it's because Thruway/Canals is assumed to represent the state ... but it does not, really.

This sort of raises another issue with me. The 1917 Agreement was with the "People of the State of New York" . . . not with a particular agency of the state. If you pay close attention when reading it, it is clear that the "people's" interests are the interests intended to be served . . . not just Canals, or the Water Company's, or even certain named downstream users.

I wondered how it came down to Canals enforcing that agreement, rather than the AG directly -- acting not as an attorney for Canal Corp, but for all interests served by that Agreement.

Greens and Beans said...

A thorough investigation needs to be conducted on all fronts by a bipartisan independent body. I agree that the Canal Corporation violated their ethical responsibility in terms of overusing of the water resources of Hinckley reservoir. I also agree that the 1917 agreement between the Consolidated Water Co. and the People of the State of New York should never have been violated by the Mohawk Valley Water Authority. I agree that an investigatory study conducted by any conglomeration of State agency employees could, at the least be a moot issue and at the worst, shed a light of collusion upon the entire matter. This may save money but not accomplish anything. This would be akin to having Governor Spitzer investigate his own misappropriation of funds (personal or campaign) to surreptitiously finance his mini trips to Washington D.C.

Assemblyman Butler’s bill makes is the most logic. Besides the cost of the independent investigation ($250,000.00) would probably cost less that the Governor spends on his mini escorted rendezvous (trysts) in one year. I guess it comes down to a matter of priorities.

waterboy said...

If your going to spend the money don't waste in on the study, have the state rebuild Gray since all the state agencies appoved the demo of it.

Greens and Beans said...

Valid Point Warterboy, However to rebuild Gray Dam would produce a major cost factor that may well exceed $250,000.00.

But are you entirely certain that “the state agencies appoved the demo of it (Gray Dam)?” If this is indeed the case, perhaps we should FOIL the entire State of New York for any and all supporting documents regarding the razing of Gray Dam. This begs the question as to why would the State of New York become a party with the MVWA (Mohawk Valley Water Authority) in breaking the 1917 agreement for no apparent gain? Do you believe that perhaps ignorance, stupidity or arrogance prompted both the State as well as the MVWA’s decision to commit such a ridiculous blooper? Moreover, if the State agreed with the contention that Gray Dam was no longer of any use, value, or benefit to the residents of the Nine Mile Water Shed, why would they not pursue the lawful avenue to dissolve the agreement before tearing down the Gray Dam? This may also initiate one heck of a Notice of Claim to precede a Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of the Residents of the Nine Mile Creek Water Shed, plaintive vs. The State of New York and the Mohawk Valley Water Authority (aka. MVWA)et al, defendants.

I still think I can smell an odor of malfeasance with this entire Gray Dam debacle.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post and comments! The need for change in management at the OD is long overdue.