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Troy Transit Center Proposal Dominates Council Discussion; Mayor Reads Lengthy Position Paper

Despite not being on the agenda, the multi-modal transit center dominated Monday evening's Troy City Council meeting.

Even after the new transit center resolution was due to Councilman Wade Fleming's absence Monday evening, the for the multi-modal transit center still dominated .

A majority of the 20-some public comments lasting for more than two hours Monday evening supported the council's not to award a design subcontract in the amount of $8.4 million for the federally funded transit center, which effectively put the time-sensitive project on hold again last month.

In the revised proposal submitted by Councilman Dane Slater, the cost of the transit center is lowered from $8.4 million to $6.27 million in a final attempt to entice a majority vote.

“That’s the most it’s gonna cost," Slater said. "Everything’s included in that. In essence, that’s what Councilman Fleming brought to this meeting on Dec. 19.”

Slater said he and Fleming approached city management in order to reach a compromise after Fleming voted against the project last month, saying "I’m willing to go now to $6 million, and that’s it."

Councilman Doug Tietz, who has consistently voted against the project, expressed concern over the project's budget during Monday's meeting.

"Is there a plan if it comes in over budget at this point?" Tietz asked.

"I think we did our due diligence to find out if it could be done at $6 million ... and still keep the project integrity intact," Slater said. "There will be a contingency built into that figure. It’s gonna drop down below that, so there’s protection for us.”

Slater said reducing the building size by 400 square feet and changing the heating and cooling from "green" to standard, among other things, helped save money.

The next step, if the resolution is approved, is to hire the construction manager, said Troy City Manager John Szerlag. "And when that happens, that individual gets a hard cap number, which includes the contingency,” Szerlag said.

The mayor states her position

Though council did not vote on the resolution, Troy Mayor Janice Daniels took 20 minutes to read a five-page position paper she had written detailing her thoughts on the transit center (please see attached pdf file).

"It is my expressed opinion that the entire project business model is fundamentally flawed," Daniels began. "The information that has been disseminated by Troy City Management is politically one-sided in support of this project."

Daniels also cited the federal deficit among other reasons for not supporting the transit center.

"Our tax dollars are not even keeping pace on the interest that is accruing on the federal debt," she added.

After her speech, other council members reprimanded Daniels both for the duration of her speech and for the personal attacks on several city employees, including council members Slater and Fleming as well as city administrators.

"I own a company, and never in my wildest dreams would I call my employees to a meeting and ridicule them in front of everybody else," Councilman Jim Campbell said. "You accused people of opening mail, you accused them of stealing, you accused people of having secret meetings – you accused people of a lot of things."

Mayor Pro Tem Maureen McGinnis also took issue with Daniels' speech.

"You can't take it upon yourself to address everyone in excess of maybe 15 minutes when the rules most clearly state you're limited to five minutes," McGinnis said.

"I think we all passed that limit at some point," Daniels replied.

Troy City Council is expected to vote on the new transit center resolution at a special meeting in the near future.

Other meeting items

Troy City Council also discussed:

  • A suicide prevention program led by Daniels. "I believe it’s really important that we make sure all the resources available to our community are readily known," Daniels said.
  • A resolution to change its wireless devices and service plans. The resolution, which was approved, will save the city roughly $19,000 a year, Councilman Doug Tietz said.
  • The postponement of the hearing for the , whose owner is facing charges for supplying a location for illegal purposes. The resolution was approved and the hearing postponed.
Tim McGee January 10, 2012 at 01:30 PM
One of the first items I was taught in the Platoon Leadership course in the Marine Corps was to never...I emphasize NEVER...dress down a subordinate or peer in front of others. The mark of a good leader is to address the problems privately and not in a public forum. As a resident of the city since 1963, I apologize for the lack of decorum and misconduct by our Mayor towards city staff, citizens of Troy and other council members. Her comments and positions are not shared by the majority of people that reside and work in the Troy Community!
firelight January 10, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Unless I am mistaken, opening someone else's mail without their permission is illegal. If this is happening, the citizens have a right to know.
Todd January 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM
In my experience in the business world, it isn't uncommon for a Secretary or an Administrative Assistant to open a manager's mail by slicing open the envelopes so that he can rifle through the letters quicker. Perhaps that was the case with Mayor Schilling and the process just continued with Mayor Daniels until she pointed out that she wanted to open her own mail. Not everything that goes on in Troy is a conspiracy... there are a lot of good people here, and the sooner we start working together, the sooner the city will begin progressing again.
Lucille Musser Arking January 10, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Ms Bernadi , I believe Todd is right on target. I worked many places in my life and every place I worked the mail was opened and often put in priority folders. What the Mayor is not understanding is mail addressed to her and sent to city hall is offical mail and not personal. Isuspect it was done for all mayors and no one thought to ask her. Furthermore Mayor Daniels always trashed city employees before she was mayor and she seems to continue to do so . I can tell you that employees are probaby not comfortable approach her. She needs to follow long standing rules for the legal safety of our city. If I was an employee of the city and sahe trashed me in public as she did the staff last night she would hear from my lawyer either for defamation or harrassment. . I want her to sycceed but she needs to folow protocals . She needs help and maybe the municipal league could help her, but she must seek help and her close friends need to advise her of it instaed of blaming others for her problem . . The miunicipal league really helped my son at his first city managers job fresh out of graduate school . Iknow you can be a positive foorce to her. help her not defend her serious errors . thank you.
mark otto January 10, 2012 at 07:31 PM
The City Manager is a good man. For her to slam him like she did is unacceptable. She has got to go. I can only wait for the recall petitions to go out. I will be taking them door to door till I have blisters on my feet. Ms. Mayor WE HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN YOU! Quit bfore you are recalled.
mark otto January 11, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I think the reading of the paper was a philbuster so the ethics ordinance would ot be brought up. Obviously she? dont want to have to follow ethics or the charter rules
firelight January 11, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Lucille, I enjoyed reading your post. You seem to be a thoughtful person, not a bomb-thrower like so many. I think that the mayor's major problem is that she is not protecting herself. We Americans always say that we don't like, and don't want, professional politicans, but then when we get a regular person (like the Founding Fathers intended), we persecute them for not being a polished, self-serving professional politician. We don't give them a chance. My obeservations lead me to see the mayor as coming to the office with tons of energy and good intentions. I just hope that the cruel, angry hate-mongers won't beat her down so much that she loses this. She wasn't in office a week before someone seached through her personal Facebook pages and found a thoughtless post and began hounding and bullying her ever since --- despite the fact that she has apologized, has met with students and is planning an event to try to help anyone who is hurting. How cruel an angry mob can be!
ClassAct4 January 11, 2012 at 05:12 PM
It appears that the Transit Center still needs to be vetted out. Changing the heating and cooling system from "green" to "standard" may save money now, but incur additional substantial costs in the future. I think it is legitimate to question the ongoing costs to Troy taxpayers, including maintenance and security. In addition, is this the best possible location? We may agree to disagree with the Mayor on some of her positions or actions, but, she does make some thought provoking points.
Ruth Turner January 11, 2012 at 05:46 PM
While there may have been some very legitimate concerns brought up in her rambling, sometimes incoherent speech (did anyone proofread this thing first?!?), I take issue with a primary concept she repeats both in this speech and in comments at meetings and to the press. That is, the mayor continues to believe that she is acting as a "private citizen" regarding her right to free speech and in the handling of her mail. She is the elected representative of the CITY OF TROY, and as such, should be more careful in her choice of words, and in her accusatory statements. As already stated, any business or government leader should know that mail is sorted not necessarily by the name on the envelope, but by the contents within. To call the opening of her "personal mail" a reprehensible and unforgivable act is just one more indication of her naive approach to her position. And to Mary Ann Bernardi, I am not part of any angry mob, but a concerned citizen, who has the same right to free speech that Ms. Daniels so vehemently demands.
Lucille Musser Arking January 11, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Ms Bernardi , I would not mind if she was not polished . It is that she repeatdly lets people know she represents those who elected her . She has not aplogized for any of her hateful words to gays. she has only excused her actions. She fails to listen to advice of professionals. . She trashes our city employees in public. I read her position paper in total it is not the words of a letter or a caring person. Look there are some basic manners taught to me in kindergarden . All people must be treated with respect. at all times. The fact that others have bad manners does not give you permission to have bad manners, An can never have buts in it , it must be i am sorry i did not intend to hurt you , but i did so forgive me. Tell the truth at all times and you need not worry that you said the wrong story. Always think if you would like that done or said about you before saying things about other people. Most of all realize you do not have all the tknowledge or truth in this world . Take notice while other council persons were not voted by all there is litttle about on patch or facebook about them maybe it is about her behavior not her politics.
Lucille Musser Arking January 11, 2012 at 06:45 PM
i very much agree with Ruth Turner .
Lucille Musser Arking January 11, 2012 at 07:05 PM
The truth of the matter related the "free speech" issue is that the citizens are protect from the government preventing them from free speech . In other words it protects us from Mayor Daniels etc preventing us from our free speech . Secondly , there is no protection against the citizens reacting NEGATIVELY to someones free speech . In other words we may say what we want but others who are not the government can reject what we said. Since Mayor Daniels is now the government she can be spoke against about her behavior and policies. Good manners requires we do it with respect. She seems to have a very limited undersatanding of free speech . She must be aware that employees can now sue employers for unfair bullying . She has been a bully not only to the gays but also to our city employees and manager.
Cookiecrisp January 11, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I am so tired of the embarassment caused by Janice Daniels. Everyone I know is ridiculed because we live in Troy. I did not vote for any of those Tea Party morons and I am sick of them.
Cathy Fucinari January 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
The mayor's mail is the property of the city of Troy, it is city business, and is NOT legally hers. It belongs to the citizens of Troy. I don't care what SHE says, the law is the law. It's not like they were opening her doctor bills!
Cathy Fucinari January 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Mary Ann, she is the one who has been trash talking for years, and now she thinks she can act outside of the rules that govern everyone else. Puhleeze.
Cathy Fucinari January 15, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Re location? That is where the tracks are, and we own the property. What else is there to consider.
Lynn Drake January 24, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I think if you are going to comment on these blogs the least you could do is identify yourself. How do we know who we are addressing?
Cathy Fucinari January 24, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Some people don't want to identify themselves, lest they be accosted in public places by people who disagree with them. Cookiecrisp may be one of those people. It happened to me.

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