|This guy? Not a cop. Not a public servant.|
He's a self-employed lawyer in police officer drag.
Signed, sealed and delivered. Public accountability? Transparency in government? Not so much.
The contract approved by the Schenectady County legislature awarding the private Schenectady County SPCA 50% of any money they can gouge out of dog owners through enforcement of licensing, leash and dangerous dog laws, plus control of the balance of the money and access to vehicles purchased and maintained at taxpayer expense took effect on November 15.
So where's the fire ?
Under the terms of the contract, the SCSPCA's volunteers--whoever they may be, because the contract doesn't require them to be peace officers--will have no supervision from the County and are specifically exempted from the rules and regulations applicable to County employees as they go about their public law enforcement activities.
Apparently, Schenectady County was willing to sign just about anything to get out from under the shaky lawsuit the SPCA brought against them. The lawsuit was filed on October 7, the so-called "Vicious Dog Law of 2011" was proposed by October 14, and by October 28 the County Attorney was declaring the whole mess a 'win-win' and urging county legislators to get on board. By the November 9 meeting of the county legislature, it was a done deal.
What makes me think there is more to this story?
Burning, burning desire to address "vicious" dogs?
The "vicious dog law" turned out to be a sweetheart contract between the SPCA and Schenectady County ultimately giving a private corporation control of 100% of monies it generates by the enforcement of state laws. No provisions for audit, and no opportunity for public oversight over the disposition of public monies.
Plus freebie vehicles and maintenance, and some other perks--all at taxpayer expense.
On November 11, the head of the SCSPCA Mathew B. Tully (pictured above) announced that he is resigning. In discussing his "proactive" approach to law enforcement, Tully commented that the "end game" in his suit against the County is to ensure the viability of the SCSPCA.
Schenectady, you was played. Majorly played.
Rhinestone cowboys as bounty hunters
I guess I could volunteer for the Schenectady County SPCA and become a
Why not? I bet I'd look kewl in that navy blue uni and the tool belt and whatnot, too.
I'd probably scare the crap out of dog owners unable to produce a dog license. They'd practically be throwing the cash at me, especially if I were to mention that unlicensed dogs in NYS are subject to immediate impoundment.
Then there are those people whose 10 year-old dogs accidentally escape out the back door for the first time in their lives. Looks like there's good money to be made by not-for-profits in loose dogs. $565 to bail out a stray dog from a shelter operated by a "not for profit"?
Dang. . .
As long as the private not-for-profit holds a contract from the municipality, looks like they're golden. And the Schenectady County contract says specifically that the County will not supervise the SPCA's activities. Can it get any better?
Freedom of Information? Not in Schenectady.
What happens when the citizens of Schenectady County start to ask questions about how public laws are enforced ?
What records will be available to them?
Will they be required to sue a private not-for-profit corporation, which--not for nothing--is staffed by volunteer lawyers, in order to gain access to records which would normally be available to them?
End Games: Private and public.
Schenectady, you've got a crew of volunteers--responsible to no public official--enforcing the law with a "proactive" focus. They take 50% off the top for themselves, and ultimately they have access to 100% of the revenues they generate through their law enforcement activities. Talk about a motive for frivolous prosecutions. . .
The County is doing its best to distance itself from the consequences and wash its hands of any responsibility.
Good luck with that, Schenectady County legislators and public officials. And may you rot in hell.
I don't think this is going to end well.
Not at all.