Sep 28, 2012

The Saratoga Assessment Office Mess: Ooh Ooh That Smell

We've been tempted to do a long piece on the Saratoga Springs ASSESSOR'S office mess. But, instead, we'll just offer some random bits:

1. We don't quite get Mr John Franck's claim that he could not "fix" the on-the-books error that everyone seems to agree was in place in regards to the setting of assessments on condo properties in the city. Doing so, he claims, would be something called a "selective"  process, which is illegal.

What we end up with, then, is the scenario that caused this big stink fest in the first place: that the only way to get one's condo property assessed at its proper (and lower) level is to get off one's ass and do something about it --  assuming that one knows that is it in error, that is.

Couldn't Mr Frank's office at least made a public announcement or sent a mailer out to everyone effected?

2. The City obviously has the power to subpoena outside (non-employees) individuals in this matter, as witnessed by its handing such paper to gun-slinging blogger John Tighe at one point. Why, then, is Ms Diane Young not being called to the witness stand here? She, after all, is at the heart of the matter on this.

The primary accusation being made by fired employee Mary Zlotnick is that Ms Young was getting preferential treatment from her superiors, thereby tee'ing her up with a nice little blessed sales pitch of  "If you want your condo assessment reduced, you have to hire me or City Hall won't listen to you".  Why is she not being put under oath and asked such questions as "Have you ever written a check or handed cash to any city employee?"

3. There is some thinking that Ms Zlotnick's attorney will run with a "Whistlelower" defense, either here or in a subsequent lawsuit. But Nanoburgh's understanding of the Whistleblower Statue in New York is this: it only applies in matters of public health. Examples: "my company is dumping chemicals into the Hudson" or "my boss lets lab mice loose at night, just for kicks." We're not sure it would apply to Ms Z's benefit; but what the heck do we know?

The Assessment office and process is ripe for corruption in any given town or municipality in the state. The grievance process is optional: most assessment adjustments are made at the whim of officials and their employees in those offices. A flick of a keyboard button and voila: some lucky property owner was just saved $XXX on his or her tax bill. Or voila: a property's value was just raised, making it that much easier for it getting a mortgage.

The system is broken and rotten to the core. It needs to be fixed. Ms Zlotnick is simply making that point in a very public manner --  and at great personal sacrifice.



Anonymous said...

Got a dog in this fight?

Anonymous said...

Agree about the smell.

If it smells like shit, it's probably shit.

Anonymous said...


mamie said...

Looks like something is rotten in Denmark! Franck has been caught and is finding it hard to weasel out of the mess.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great you are covering this story on Franck's department scandal. You and JT seem to be on thesame page. Other bloggers come up short covering this fiasco. Hope you continue the coverage.

Al said...


Anonymous said...

Time for the Franckenfurter to muster up and come clean. You have been hiding this since before last November. Probably been running the scam for much longer than that. We are not going to let this go. You are now under the microscope and each day your disease grows.

Anonymous said...

Franck is on the hot seat. Maybe the guy who sits on the opposite end of the council table, should start some new tirade to take the sting out of the assessment fiasco?

No, not starting up the early closing of bars again, please !!