Reynolds: Hein outmaneuvers Gallo

Kicking off their summit last week with an exchange of insults, Mayor Shayne Gallo and County Executive Mike Hein then got down to the real business of saving face on one hand and advancing an ambitious plan to consolidate county government and enhance educational opportunities in the city. Flies on the wall report it got pretty tense before Gallo declared his “full support” in a press release clearly authored by somebody other than Gallo. (Gallo doesn’t use the word “excited” and is far more adept at grammar and spelling than this amateurish official communiqué was.)

Reportedly the meeting, called by Hein, started with the mayor demanding why he wasn’t “in the loop” when this potentially far-reaching plan directly affecting city residents was devised by the executive. Hein reportedly said something about his staff thinking Gallo was “quick-tempered” (meaning perhaps that they thought he might have screwed up the planning process) while Gallo said his staff considered the executive “a megalomaniac.”

Fortunately, it did not take a fistfight between the two physically fit egotists to ensure a clearing of the air.


The fact was that Gallo’s public persona as a hands-on innovator took a beating. He wasn’t consulted on a plan directly affecting his jurisdiction, and he failed to rally his troops once the news hit the fan. His back-and-forth between opposing the plan and then supporting it carried the odor of burnt waffles.

Give Hein credit (again) for cunning on this one. Once a blind-sided Gallo voiced his objections to the plan, Hein quickly responded by producing a host of city-based supporters — aldermen, legislators, etc. — who if Gallo had done his homework should have rallied to the mayor’s side. The mayor came across as out of touch.

Hein, despite a tactical triumph, bore some bruises. Off this episode, politicians in the county’s other municipalities have to be wondering when the Sixth Floor Steamroller will surprise them with a plan for their own good concocted entirely in secret with zero input on their part.

The official communiqué, hastily drawn after the 90-minute summit, attempts to deal with both issues. In it, Gallo, with no apparent shame, speaks to fully supporting “an innovative and cooperative plan.” That the plan is innovative cannot be denied. That it was an exercise in intermunicipal cooperation insofar as Kingston was concerned is nonsense.

Gallo got a few crumbs and some egg wiped off a red face. The UCCC adjunct campus originally targeted forSophieFinnSchool(currently on the district’s closure list) at his behest may wind up instead at Meagher School a few blocks away, the first elementary school to get the ax.

As part of the plan, Hein will also sell county office buildings on Flatbush Avenue and South Manor Avenue after personnel are consolidated in the Business Resource Center on Albany Avenue. Given the real-estate market in Kingston, Gallo shouldn’t apply that tax revenue to his 2013 budget, or in all likelihood, 2014.

There are some lessons here. The county executive, intent on reshaping government in his own image, cannot be allowed to operate in a vacuum. The kinds of sweeping reforms he proposes require official input throughout the planning process. To demand less is to acquiesce to Big-Brother government.

County Executive Mike Hein. (Photo by Dan Barton)

RRA revisited

Garbage, perforce its name, is one of those out of sight, out of mind things we’d rather somebody else deal with. I’m always relieved when the stuff I put out on the curb on garbage day is gone — to where, I have no idea — when I get home.

The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, created by an act of the state legislature in 1986 — then-assemblyman Maurice Hinchey was cosponsor — is one of those out-of-sight outfits we don’t care much about as long as they empty the cans.

There are 2 comments

  1. nopolitics

    Evidence Hein is no forward thinker: 1)He “fixed” something that was never broken(ie, Golden Hill HealthCare Facility) by ditching it, with long term consequences of higher costs in a system out of control with costs already; 2)He is in NYC and Albany seemingly more than he is in Ulster County and doesn’t know anything–or have any clue(which everyone ELSE WOULD KNOW IF the media did its job on that) about the day to day operations of Ulster County(neither does the professional managers he has under hire in his office, who can’t stop from stumbling over themselves in trying to deal with any bungling in any dept.–“more on that later”), so Mr. Hein has obviously paid NO attention there). He wants everyone to believe that since he is fighting for the county on water issues his neglect of the other items listed ought be viewed as “water over the DAM.” I view it as more “a brain waterlogged from a sense of his own power.”
    Further, Gallo only seemed so outgunned and outwitted on these issues if you are a media watcher or so stuck on yourself in the media you are hopeless;indeed, the media blew it up to the level of some World War, which it was not. Gallo was RIGHT to criticize this man Hein (who is so full of hubris from his ditching of Golden Hill and his seeming unbroken string of victories), on the issue of Sophie Finn School, and has less egg on his face than does Hein on that one(he merely–and additionally— has fewer SMILES on his face for a photo op–but only those in the media literally forever seem to care about that one at least overtly either).
    Mr. Reynolds, maybe it is about time you hightailed it out of town in Mr. Rooney’s nonexistent F-105–you could try to reach the sound barrier in so doing….(ok retirement in Florida might be a suitable substitute) and let those of us with any actual information on the topic your blather tries to pass off as the last and definitive word fill in for your perennial covering of your ignorance with your supposedly huge level of cleverness that everyone is supposed to be bowled over by and kowtow to. [And if that’s a run-on sentence, I don’t care:Mother Dorothy Robinson(they since became known as “Sisters”) was known to actually side with me moreso overall in the old days than say, Mr. Sottile(who would of course prefer to posit and present the opposite), and I claim “an academic exemption” from overcriticism on that point from HER.(seems Reynolds has already granted Sottile “a bungling exemption” himself). Whether Cardinal Dolan will grant HER the privilege of doing so–or any other Nun– of course remains, well, his prerogative, “per the usual power flow”].
    ” Gore Vidal, R.I.P. “

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