Chairman of the Ulster County Legislator, David Donaldson, lashed back today in a letter to the editor over an editorial written by the Daily Freeman that was UNFAIR and MISLEADING.
Your editorial of Sat, 1/06, 07 was unfair, inaccurate and untruthful. You pulled one sentence out of the State of the County address and something said off the cuff to a reporter and distorted it beyond belief. You claimed that the Democrats had forsaken everything else for the completion of the jail, which is a lie. In the “State of County ” address, it showed that we “restructured and consolidated departments, reorganized staffing, reduced spending, increased service, stabilized finances while creating more accountability and transparency." was burdened for years with double digit tax increases that topped off with a 39% increase last year. The Democrats delivered a 7.5% increase for 2007. This represents more reform in one year then what was done in over a decade. You decided the people did not have the right to know what was in the “State of the County” address. Instead you ran a critique of the address that was full of criticism from the minority leader. At the least, report the news before you interpret it.
Claiming I changed my stand on investigating the Law Enforcement Center is misleading at best. Overall I believe the LEC is a crime, but I told a reporter I have not personally seen anything that would be considered criminal by a court of law. I further stated neglect, incompetence, and poor timing were rampant. There are 100s of boxes stacked full with information. There were various contractors, subcontractors, architectural firms, and the hired managing firm, along with various other personnel. They all have their own ideas, opinions and agendas. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that we may draw conclusions but in the end causation will be riddled with opinions. Consequently, “getting to the bottom of it” will be in the eye of the beholder. I never said we would not investigate.
I voted against this project and spoke against it at every opportunity. It passed because a majority of the legislature at that time felt differently.
When the new democratic majority was sworn in January 2006, the project was in disarray and worse than imagined. Rampant finger pointing forced the project to a virtual standstill. All were running for cover. Similar occurrences have happened elsewhere which shut the projects down. No one wanted to see 70 million spent sitting idle. With that, in the “State of the County” January, 06, I stated, “Success has many relatives, failure is an orphan. I will not point fingers today. That time will come. We are presently weighing our power of subpoena. That may help get to the bottom of this fiasco. For now, our first concern must be to get the job done.”
I have not changed from that position. “Concentrating on blame must be a discussion for AFTER the completion”, as noted in the January, 07 “State of the County” address. http://www.co.ulster.ny.us/
We all would love nothing more than to get to “the bottom of it” and make those at fault pay. In our society that is usually done through the courts. There are various civil lawsuits that require sensitivity or they will cost the taxpayer significantly more in the end. I understand it is less expensive for you to report a story without doing any work. Researching the court papers filed by all the litigants and going over the various documents and reports does take time. However, reporting the news should be your priority rather than running Associated Press stories, gossip columns and misleading editorials.
We will continue to reform county government to better serve the public by concentrating our efforts on what is most important to the taxpayer. After the completion of the project, we will do what is prudent at the right time. I have faith that the Chairman of the Law Enforcement Center Oversight Committee, Richard Parete, will do what is right “at the right time”. He and his committee have certainly not tried to hide anything in the past.
Chairman of the Legislature