Committee OKs Transfer Of Funds To Community Development Office

OSWEGO, NY – At Monday night’s Administrative Services Committee, councilors approved a request to move funds from the General Fund into the Community Development Office. The infusion of cash would enable the department to move forward while exploring opportunities for creating efficiencies and improving operational performance as it moves into fiscal year 2016, the director said.

Community Development Director Justin Rudgick asked the Administrative Services Committee for $250,000 to cover the department’s payroll for the remainder of 2015.

The funding shortfall within the department was said to be the result of the previous director’s management.

“Right now we are facing a deficit in meeting payroll,” he told the councilors.

They were $168,000 in the hole. On Friday, Rudgick said he discovered another issue that increased that by $124,000, he added.

The $250,000 request includes the estimated shortfall for payroll factoring in the current income collected and the projected for FY-2015 from the administrative fees from the Rental Assistance Program and the interest collected from the Commercial Loan Program, he explained.

Additionally, there was about $53,000 gross time payout for an existing employee of the CDO that was factored into the requested amount that must be paid, he added.

The department is in dire need of some upgrades in software, training, miscellaneous equipment and more, he told the committee.

“Do we have any idea what caused this? How did this happen?” asked Councilor Mike Todd.

Council President Eric VanBuren said the previous director was told to sit down with the council and discuss things. This didn’t happen, he said.

“She chose to not come to the council anymore,” he said.

“We brought this up for three years; over and over again,” Councilor Todd pointed out.

“Negligence and incompetence; Can we get something against her on this? I’d like to see some charges here because she really did abuse her position,” city resident Miles Becker said.

The office was simply not successful in the last two years in landing a large volume of grants, Rudgick said.

“We had a lot of applications in, we landed a few,” he noted. “The office was not progressing in getting grants. The reality is we need to go in a different direction.”

“I don’t think there was anything criminal or anything of that nature by my predecessor. It was more of her management process,” he added.

The committee voted to send the request to the full council for consideration.