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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Common Council Meets about Investigation

Mayor Roefaro's secret investigation that has attracted so much attention lately may not be so secret after all. During the common council caucus on Monday (4/26) Bill Morehouse, common council president, opted to go to executive session so sensitive details about the investigation would not be leaked.
Without the Mayor in attendance (or J.K. Hage III) one has to wonder how any questions were going to be answered. And, if the council is unaware of the nature of the investigation then why call the Executive Session? These questions and many more were raised by two of the six reporters in attendance.
"It seems everytime you want to avoid the public you use these broad interpretations of the law" said one, reffering to judge Garramone's interpretation of executive session guidelines. "I want this on the record that I object to the Executive Session" said another.
Garramone countered "these guidelines are's in the law".
A prolonged debate between the local press and Garramone ensued leaving neither side satisfied. Bill Morehouse took it as a sign to adjourn and made his first unsuccessful attempt. But not before letting each person know where he stood on the issue. "The people were not served today" he said.
There were a lot of people on the council who wanted answers; among them, Lorraine Arcuri. She openly questioned Ed Bucciero's blind support when he gave a yes vote during the Board of Estimations meeting. She wondered aloud how much can be spent. "Does he (J.K.HageIII) have a blank check?"
Zecca cleared the air with his extensive knowledge of budget protocol. "There is a $15,000 cap on spending" he said, adding, anything additional would have to be re-approved.
The caucus was briefly interrupted again when a reporter who just received breaking news asked the Council about Gro West and their possible involvement in the probe. no one on the council was aware of any connections with Gro-West. But one need not look to far to see the connections.
It is conceivable that Gro West, a non-profit based on State St. in West Utica is involved. The group has been dealing with the city for over a decade. They have been involved with many revitalization projects and have figured prominently in the effort to turn around urban blight.
Today (4/26) the O-D reported a source within city government admitting as much but no one wants to talk about who in the city may be affected by the probe.
Some early frontrunners are former czar of economic development Bob Sullivan.
Why Bob?
His sister, Linda Sullivan-Fatata, is the missing link. We all need to ask ourselves why she is not handling the internal probe. After all, she is corporation council for the city of Utica.
Perhaps there is a conflict of interest.
Michael Cerminaro is another frontrunner. His many gaffes as comptroller could have potentially cost us millions. The most recent are unnerving because he seemed totally unaware of the mistakes until the mayor enlightened him.
The plot thickens.

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