The latest payment will cover a $36,000 courtesy credit Hage rescinded in response to questioning from Comptroller Michael Cerminaro, $12,000 in interest on the initial bill and $7,279 in fees for insurance experts.
It also includes $25,000 for work Hage did on a plan for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to explain how the city will spend federal funds during the next five years.Wait! That last paragraph should raise an eyebrow. The public was told that Mr. Hage was being paid to investigate the dealings of and with Grow West, Inc., to protect Utica's interests. Planning on how Utica will spend federal funds for the next five years, however, is beyond the scope of investigating something that happened. The article also mentions that Hage's work included "restructuring the city’s economic development department." That also is beyond the scope of investigating something that happened.
How did the scope of Mr. Hage's work become expanded?
An article posted tonight makes the picture more concerning: Roefaro: I didn’t know Hage still was working for city.
While the public, rightly, will hold the mayor accountable for what happens on his watch, investigation of what happened must not stop there. The mayor claims to have been unaware of Mr. Hage's continued work, while, per the article, Mr. Hage "assumed the mayor knew of his work."
We all know what "assume" means!
Someone, obviously, had to give Mr. Hage his expanded assignment. Who? And by what legal authority did that person give Mr. Hage the assignment? Can any department head simply call up an attorney and retain their services without getting some formal approval? $25,000 is a substantial sum. This situation is reminiscent of the New Hartford Town Police taking it upon themselves to enter into contracts to provide security for private businesses without getting the authorization of the Town Board. Did someone in Utica assume authority that is not there?
Answers to these questions may shed light on who really runs things at City Hall.