City Manager Slams 'Inaccuracies' in Troy Mayor's Position Paper
John Szerlag said Janice Daniels made false statements during the Jan. 9 City Council meeting that damaged his reputation.
UPDATED: Troy City Manager John Szerlag has released an eight-page response that rebuts several statements Mayor Janice Daniels made in a position paper she read to the City Council on Jan. 9.
In his response, Szerlag said the mayor's paper is "filled with inaccuracies and has damaged my reputation."
In the paper, Daniels reiterated her opposition to the transit center project and accused two council members of "interfering with staff operations" and city management of opening her mail at City Hall.
Daniels wrote that she has "no confidence in our City Manager's ability to continue to perform the duties granted to him in this position."
Szerlag provided an argument for nearly every point Daniels made in her position paper. He said Daniels lacks knowledge in the budget process, citing her statements about the city funding the transit center project (paragraph 7 of Daniels' letter).
"When a municipality, Troy included, budgets for capital projects, the capital
amount includes other revenue sources aside from property taxes," Szerlag wrote. "In the case of the transit center, these sources included funding from the Federal Government. Note as City Manager I do not budget money, the City Council budgets money."
Daniels also criticized city employees for opening mail sent to City Hall that was addressed to her. She said that on or around Dec. 16, she requested that no one in the office open her mail.
Szerlag said in response that it is a common practice for clerical workers to open mail addressed to city officials that is not marked "personal" or "confidential."
"The reason we do this is because some mail is time sensitive, and the person holding the position may not be available to open mail. Another reason is that much correspondence is routine in nature and may be handled by clerical staff. That said, we have honored your request to not open any of your mail and you should know that you are the first Mayor to make such a request. You are also the first elected official that has indicated that you will be recording your meetings and conversations with City Administration."
Daniels also accused the city management of having "politically one-sided support of the transit project." She said the documented costs to taxpayers has been understated by officials.
Szerlag said this statement is false. He said all viewpoints are publicly expressed at council meetings.
"I work for a governing body; and the only time a governing body can speak is through its resolutions at a City Council meeting. City Management then carries out policy directives in accordance with council resolutions and ordinances, something we have done for the past ten years with regard to the transit center. And if any individual Council member disagrees with what the majority of City Council desires, it must be taken up with them at a Council meeting, and not with me."
At Monday's City Council meeting, Daniels would not comment on anything specific in Szerlag's letter but said, "I'm very happy that we've got more discussion and more information available to the public."