Don’t ask, don’t tell. That is the motto of the Oswego County Legislature.
It’s just a little bit different with them it is more, if you don’t ask we won’t tell. If you do ask, it is like you just committed a capital crime.
Let me explain if I can in as few words as possible.
The last Infrastructure committee meeting (that is the regular one not the special one) the committee chairman opened the meeting telling us that one item would be added to the agenda. It was a contract approval to change the electrical supplier for the waste treatment plant on Route 481.
Among the first words out of the department head’s mouth were, we are going to save money.
He stated we have to change because we have gone through over half the money budgeted for electrical supply.
With that being said, I asked how much we are going to save.
Not a good thing to do. The answer was, I’m not sure.
He gave us some paperwork showing us estimated usage for the first 12 months in kWh (now that should have been a clue).
He stated that it was a one-year contract. Saying we would be paying close to 6 cents per kWh used.
It came time to vote. The vote came to me and I said, “no.”
One of the other legislators yelled at me saying something like, “How can you vote no on saving money?”
I said I can vote any way I please.
He said something.
Then I said, “You know what, I’m changing my vote to abstain.”
He said you have to give a reason.
I said, “Fine. I don’t know enough about this to vote in favor of it or against it. Maybe you can look at something for five minutes and vote on it but I can’t.”
I took the paperwork home that night and after reading it a little bit closer I read where it went from 2014 to 2016.
The next day in the health committee meeting, I asked the young lady that had taken notes of the infrastructure meeting if it fact Mr. Visser had said that the contract was for one year or two years.
She said he had said it was for one year. Why she asked. I then read her what the contract said. She then said, “Yea that is two years.”
The next day, I called the person representing the new company trying to sell us an electrical contract. I asked him if what I had in front of me was a one-year or a two-year contract. He said it was a two year contract. I then called the person in our purchasing department. I asked him if he knew that this was a two-year contract not a one-year contract. He said, “No. What makes you say that?”
I said that I didn’t take advance math but if I subtract 2014 from 2016 I get two.
He then looked at the proposal in front of him and he said, “You’re right, Frank.”
I said this was not presented to us properly; it should have been presented showing how much we paid last year and how much we should pay this year under the new plan.
It wasn’t and therefore I can’t support it. Now we may very well save some money. But with penalties for over use and possible penalties for under use, it is in doubt.
Well low and behold. They held a special meeting on a day I couldn’t attend and they passed it changing it to a two-year contract vote.
Now I would say that each and every one of these legislators had a field day when Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it.”
Most people put it a different way.
They said vote now and read it later.
This in fact is what the Republican caucus in the Oswego County Legislature seems to have done here and most of the time.
So again it comes down to “Don’t ask and we won’t tell.” But if you do ask, we may not be able to tell.
Now, you know why the county is heading straight to the Blue Boy.
Frank Castiglia Jr.
Oswego County Legislator for the 25th District