Friday, March 11, 2011

Wadnola Defends $800 Dinner: "They Drank More Than They Ate" ??

Interesting Article in the Shawangunk Journal this week.



Chairman Defends Dinner

By Paula Sirc

KINGSTON – Of the receipts reflecting the thousands of dollars spent annually by former director of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency Mike Bemis on hotels, conferences and dinners, one bill, in particular, nags at Ulster County Chairman Fred Wadnola, R-Lake Katrine. The item in question is a receipt for an $800 agency staff dinner at his wife's restaurant, Fred's Place.

"I didn't even know about the party and she didn't remember it until they brought the receipt over," he said.

Memory refreshed, Wadnola said that the party was attended by all of the agency's staff, who "drank more than they ate," and was a celebration of the DEC permit that the agency had received. "That was in 2007, when I had nothing to do with the RRA," the county chairman said. "They keep crucifying Fred's Place, yet the agency had a Christmas party at another local place and spent over $900 and no one said a word."

The receipt for the dinner is dated Jan. 25, 2008, which, as reported in the Daily Freeman, was eleven days after the county's environmental committee floated the idea of Wadnola serving on the agency's board.

Nominated to the board by former Minority Leader, Glenn Noonan, Wadnola's appointment was confirmed in February 2008. It was during his tenure on the trash agency's board, he said, that they passed a resolution banning alcohol consumption.

The chairman also defended Legislator Kevin Roberts, R-Wallkill, who he appointed to chair the Government Services Committee that oversees the trash agency. The Freeman reported that in August 2009, while he was on the legislative board that oversees the agency, Roberts asked for and received a $14-per ton discount from the agency for 8.5 tons of debris from his contracting company.

Wadnola said that while he wouldn't have done what Roberts did, it was an innocent misstep and that the legislator was only "doing what contractors do — when they go to different landfills, they try to get the best price they can."

The chairman said that the focus on the RRA has been far too political and that attention should be drawn to the work that's being done right now to make the agency financially viable.

The UCRRA has been under financial scrutiny since August when Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach issued a report criticizing the lack of legislative oversight involved in the operations of the agency. The report examined some $32 million in fees, known as Net Service Fees, NSF, that the county has paid the trash agency since 1992, per an agreement between the county and the UCRRA.

The net service fee — the difference between RRA expenses and revenues — reduces the cost of services to taxpayers and keeps the agency competitive. A 1992 contract with the county requires taxpayers to pay the fee.

Wadnola believes that the agency would "wipe out" the net service fee entirely and begin to repay county taxpayers by siting a county landfill in one of the towns.

"We'd save anywhere from $4-7 million in fuel from trucking everything up to Syracuse," he said.

Noting the improvements in landfill technology since the UCRRA initially tried to site one in the early 1990's, including environmentally-friendly synthetic liners, Wadnola said, "I wouldn't have a problem with siting a landfill in the Town of Ulster — it would produce revenue for the town in terms of a community benefit and for the county and would save taxpayers millions of dollars."


Anonymous said...

The county should get out of the garbage business. Why are the taxpayers buying RRA staff drinks, regardless of where it happened?

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. The Legislative environment committee brings up Fred's name to be on the RRA Board, then 11 days later, they have a $800 party at Fred's Place where they drank more than they ate?

How many people were there to run up a tab of $800?

Anonymous said...

Fred doesn't care if they site a landfill in Ulster? Of course not, he is leaving. Mark my words, 1 year from today, Fred's place (owned by Cynthia, not Fred) will be shuttered and they will be living full time in Florida.

Joe Cigar-Bovis said...

Dump Wadnola and bring back the RED ROVER.

Joe Cigar-Bovis

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, Fred doesn't remember an $800 dinner the RRA board had at his restaurant, yet he remembers that they had a $900 dinner at another place?

Anonymous said...

Is Fred really that dumb? Sorry Kevin, but when you are on the Board that essentially runs that agency you don't get discounts. Is that garbage I smell? Or just the reek of this whole situation? Maybe you both need to go back to a junior high ethics class. It doesn't matter if it's you directly or your relative who profited, Fred and Kevin. If it smells you are supposed to stay clear of it. You don't get to negotiate the bill.
And yes proud you got rid of the alcohol policy while you served on the Board. What an accomplishment to be proud of. Should have extended it even further to say the RRA shouldn't be spending any money at all on "celebrating".
What's next...buying cigars, Fred?

Anonymous said...

So Kevin.
Is the $120 you saved that important? What'd you do with that big windfall?
Buy a new color hair dye?

That may go down as being one of the dumbest moves in political history.
If you're gonna get caught then at least make it something bigger than that.

Anonymous said...

If this really was a fair and balanced look at this issue somebody would take a look at all of the restaurants that the RRA rented out for booze bashes. I don't think their was a restaurant in the area where they didn't get liquored up in. Many with democrat ties, which is probably why the Democrat run legislature didn't seem to care about the RRA draining the County dry either.

Anonymous said...

It is very clear Wadnola does not have the ability to speak honestly. He is a liar. He knows it, the press knows it, and the people who are investigating the RRA know it.

If Wadnola does not see the problem with the whole RRA dinner at his restaurant thing, then he is morally and ethically corrupt.

Can we do recall votes in Ulster County? Once a liar, always a liar. I want my vote back.

Anonymous said...

What is with Ulster County and all of these administrators who have lost their memory?? Fred, Gerry....both from the school district. Must be something in the air at Crown St.

Anonymous said...

I think his appointment was by Mahoney with Catalano telling him what to do

Anonymous said...

So is that why during his term as ULSTER Town Supervisor he tried to change the zoning laws, or dod he forget about that too?