Friday, April 6, 2012
More trouble in Congress Park as Michelle Riggi overcharged for Casino rental.
Long time working foreman in Congress Park, Betty French was ordered out of the park Tuesday and told she would be serving what some would call a retaliatory disciplinary sentence in the tool room of the cities garage after filing her second labor grievance.
French who until late last fall was doing the Casino bookings had those duties removed by Anthony "Skip" Scirocco, Commissioner of Public Works for Saratoga Springs claiming it was a clerical job and French is a "Working" Supervisor.
Since that time bookings have been chaotic and billings misleading. At a recent soirée insiders claim Michelle Riggi was substantially overcharged for her husband's seventieth birthday party. Riggi paid to rent the Casino on Thursday and Friday with more hourly charges for staying after 3:00 pm for the Saturday night party.
While many will say the Riggi’s can afford it others are claiming that first of all, it's wasn't an event Thurs. & Fri, the event was on Sat. Secondly, the City should never have charged Riggi's $2500.00 for Thurs. & Fri. for the vendors to decorate because the Casino was open and available anyway. All they should have been charged was $250/hr. for any hours past 3:00. They were charged a total of $7500.00 for a three day rental instead of $250.00 for the 14.5 hr. overtime, a total of $3,625.00 for a total overpayment of $3875.00.
I know many will say so what, but this single instance of over-billing is just one example of a poorly run facility and one symptom of an acutely mismanaged department . While DPW enjoyed its best winter season in memory and employees had little to do, none were ever dispatched to get a head start on clean up in Congress Park. During the recent heat wave as mobs flooded the Park the beautiful Carousel lay dormant with Scirocco either incapable or unwilling to be flexible, refused to open it.
That brings me back to where this began. Since Betty French had her booking responsibilities taken away Donna Buckley has repeatedly mishandled booking, overcharged renters and violated labor contacts. Buckley who seems to have a very close personal relationship with deputy commissioner of public safety Eileen Finneran, who is said to spend hours in her office, has driven Congress Park into the ground.
While Buckley’s official title is Executive Secretary w/job description below.
50% Secretarial/clerical support to the Comm. of Public Works: Operation of computer, calculator, copy machine, fax machine; answers telephone calls, reviews incoming mail & answers general correspondences; schedules Comm. appointments.
10% Attend various functions as the Comm. representative
5% General public relations & handling of complaints
5% Assist in the preparation of the annual budget & responsible for the maintenance of the budget
5% Assist in developing & implementing dept. policies & procedures
5% Review time sheets; monitor & tabulate employee accrual
5% Advises new employees of DPW policies & procedures
5% Clerical support to Comm. & Deputy Comm.
She is more the official DPW hatchet women protecting Skippers toadies and persecuting his enemies.
I guess French falls into the latter group. As of today Betty French will spend her days far removed from Congress Park that she managed so well. You can find her marooned in the City Garage in a windowless room counting shovels till retirement day supervising no one.
And who is looking after the park? Booking and billing will continued to be mishandled by political appointee Donna Buckley.
And who will be supervising the park grounds crews who have 33 acres that need constant care, raking, mowing, etc? Rob Wheelock, Supervisor of flower crew will be stopping in the park to instruct the laborers when he can find the time, but do you really want to know the kicker in this?
Deep moles in City Hall have informed me that this whole debacle was a ploy once Betty French was out of the way to promote Geraldine Loya to working supervisor of the park, isn’t that just sweet?
You can read more about Loya HERE.
Till next time, wear boots, the shit is pretty thick in this town.