Remove the disease that has infected Knox

To the Editor:

In light of the fact that our previous town supervisor held the office for 42 years, I would love for the cheerleaders of the current administration to explain what era they are referencing when they say Vasilios Lefkaditis has brought Knox back or is making it great again.

The job of supervisor is not the leader of a town, but rather the head of the town board. The board is the CEO [chief executive officer], the supervisor is the CFO [chief financial officer].

The primary duties of the town supervisor are the town’s finances. The current supervisor chose not to do the legally required financial reporting for three-plus years.

Then, when confronted with that fact, he denied that he hadn’t been doing the reporting. This did not change until he was notified that the town was being audited.

I also find it alarming that he just proposed increasing the bookkeeper’s budget line because of the audit.  If proper procedures and best accounting practices were followed, there wouldn’t be a need to pay a bookkeeper to find information for the auditors.

As for saving the taxpayers anything, that is not substantiated in the three years of financial filings that he jammed through in the first half of this year. In fact, according to his own reporting, total revenues have decreased $1,794,830 (reported for 2015) and $1,679,687 (reported for 2018).

Real property tax revenues have remained virtually unchanged for that same period.

Also, total expenditures have increased as well: $1,460,719 reported in 2015 and $1,594,220 reported in 2018.

So where are the savings we keep hearing touted?

For the record, the supervisor’s personal-services line reported to the state comptroller shows an increase from $16,840 reported for 2016 to $28,590 reported for 2017.  A week after this financial report was filed, when I asked the reasoning behind this increase, the supervisor joked, “Did I give myself a raise?” and then asked me to submit my questions in an email (I opted not to as it should be public record).

I also asked why no principal payment for the town hall building was reported in the 2017 financial filing.  This was also answered with a request for me to submit the question in an email.

While it is possible that, since the town had to get corrective legislation for the BAN [Bond Anticipation Note] borrowing anyway, it could have also opted to have the corrective legislation “fix” a “missed” 2017 legally required principal payment; that would have been a conscious undertaking and the supervisor should have been able to explain that immediately.

The town park improvements, the Pucker Street Fair, and broadband access are the accomplishments of the town board and the residents of Knox who volunteered, not the supervisor.

I am unsure of what the VonHaugg family meant to say when they claimed that the broadband access was an example of true leadership, because leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.

The only leadership I have witnessed from the current supervisor is turning a small group of residents of this town against their lifelong neighbors.

People whose children grew up together, who attended school and church together, who pray for each other’s families when tragedy strikes, these people are now supporting a man who has transplanted himself from downstate after leaving Wall Street and convinced them that those people are bad for them and the town of Knox?

How did everyone who supported and worked with a man who got elected for 42 years become the enemies of the town? If you truly want to make Knox great again, you have to remove the disease that has infected our town.

I understand no one is perfect; however, I would prefer to have our town run by people with more integrity than our current supervisor and his current running mates. It seems the integrity bar is being set extraordinarily low in our town and that needs to change or Knox will become the worst place to live in the Capital District.

As a relative newcomer (20 years) and with a daughter who attended Guilderland schools, I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of the candidates running with the supervisor, but the feedback I get when I ask about their accomplishments are certainly nothing I want to air in a public paper.

That said, I will only support candidates who support my First Amendment right to free speech. What about you

 If the VonHauggs are serious about wanting elected officials who serve the residents of the town and listen to their needs, then they cannot vote for Vas, or for June Springer. And next year Karl [Pritchard] won’t have their support either, since every one of them has said that they don’t have to listen to residents, answer questions, or explain their actions.

I find it sad that people get upset that I use dictionary definitions of words and deem that I am twisting words. By definition, “a loser is a person or thing that loses or has lost something.” I can’t claim to know what Ms. Springer actually meant to say, but it is clear by the definition my interpretation of her statement is technically accurate and therefore, not a lie.

As for respect, I have repeatedly witnessed our town supervisor attack and even manufacture events with board members whom he doesn’t control.

I just went back and read town board meeting minutes from 2016 and 2017; I found quite a lot of instances of disrespect directed at board members, including one from a Josh VonHaugg.

Please stop confusing holding elected officials accountable with disrespect. If the definition of respect is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements,” why would anyone expect me to have respect for a man who only chose to do the job he was elected to when the state comptroller’s office announced it was stepping in because of his lack of compliance with the law?

If I had to choose the words that I would use to describe our supervisor, they would be: bully, misogynist, unethical, untruthful, and divisive. None of those words should elicit respect.

We will find out in the coming months whether he did a good job managing our tax dollars (based on the number of individuals requesting to share information with the auditors, I don’t hold out a great deal of hope that it will be good), but equally as important, a small community such as ours needs to be tight-knit and have each other’s backs to thrive, something that was great about our town that he has been destroying.

I plan on voting for the people who have exhibited they will take care of the mundane tasks of leadership, those who are responsive, thoughtful, and most importantly kind. Those are the people who have my support for this election.

That will exclude anyone running locally on the current Republican ticket — something I will have to address by getting more involved on the local level to ensure the Republicans are putting quality candidates on the ballots. 

Brigitte McAuliffe


Editor’s note: Brigitte McAuliffe inquired at the state comptroller’s office about the Knox supervisor’s tardiness in submitting annual financial reports. The state comptroller’s office subsequently decided to conduct an audit, currently underway. She also filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office about the town board’s vote to go through with a multi-use recreational district without proper map or public input; she lives in the area for the proposed district. The proposal for the district was not approved last week. (See related story.)

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