Letter to the Editor

mark briglio

by Mark Briglio

Citizens of Lewiston,
In December of 2015, after the departure of former Supervisor Brochey and my removal by the Board Republicans as acting Supervisor/Deputy Supervisor, the town’s cash reserve was liquidated to cover the board’s overspending over the prior many years. Then, acting Supervisor Ron Winkley, with Board approval, passed a resolution to deplete the cash reserves for a quick fix and roled the problems into the next year.
Now, in 2016, why didn’t the new supervisor and the senior board members look at where they could cut spending without having major impacts on services, and share the results with the public?
The Ice Rink was a poor effort and as we all know, an incorrect one. The fact that $18,000 was unaccounted for, and suddenly “found” to extend the rink hours, is just shocking and scary. Who is minding the bank? Would any of us lose track of those kinds of dollars—if we had them to start with? Are there areas in staffing that could have been reduced? Were they holding the department heads accountable for looking at their budgets and seeing where they can be more conservative? Why have these questions – and their answers, if they exist – not been shared with the public, and why pass a new Broderick/Bax Tax without taking a conservative approach in spending and hiring or downsizing?
They continue to hire – at least two people this year – and spend more money at the expense of the taxpayers. That is the easy – and I don’t like to say it – the lazy answer. Why not run the town like a business and follow some basic business minded processes? In this matter it would have been feasible to demand that each department cut spending and assess headcounts, and discuss making some hard decisions. I cannot answer past this thought because it never happened and they moved right to taxation with no investigation!
I am not saying people needed to lose their jobs. But when people retire, that is the time to look to save labor costs. After just having forced a tax on us, they replaced two retirees (and I hear that it may not have been people who even live in Lewiston and got stuck paying the Broderick/Bax tax).
Why did this group not bring their decisions to the public and explain to all of us what they were about to do and what other alternatives were out there? I consider myself a conservative Democrat, and the powers that be at Town Hall ran for office made promises that they would take a conservative approach as well, however, raising taxes and not cutting spending is the opposite of that rule.
Rob Morreale in his first year of office has been the only Board member to question and challenge the irrational business practices and lack of conversation surrounding the tax increase, the hiring of attorneys from outside of Lewiston at great expense, and the hiring of employees to replace retirees rather than putting on a hiring freeze until finances get straightened out. We certainly would all do those kinds of things if it were our own money—why are the elected officials treating taxpayers’ money this way? I think it’s time the public steps up and make their voice heard during the next elections.
I know that I will be voting to make some changes and look at business-minded conservatives to be part of our local government.
I don’t understand why senior board members continue to agree to spend more and not make any cuts and expect the people of Lewiston to absorb the eventual liabilities of their poor choices, and weak managerial skills in forecasting and budgeting.
It’s time for some true changes in 2017. If they cannot follow basic business rules prior to making decisions that impact every citizen, then they need to be replaced. It’s time to elect more business-minded people to government in Lewiston. They should explore the size of government and its spending practices before inflicting higher taxes on our citizens.
Thank you,
Mark J. Briglio
Concerned Citizen of Lewiston
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