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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The irony of it all

The truth will soon come to the fore that it is because of Mr. Szerlag acting responsibly that Troy will not be one of the many cities that will start going into receivership soon. Our new governor has already started training DOZENS of Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs) to start taking over cities in the near future. These EFMs learn to be brutal for a living.
I was at the city council meeting in late 2009, I believe, when State Senator Pappageorge and State Rep Knollenberg praised Mr. Szerlag for starting to work on a three-year balanced budget ahead of the curve. They said other cities had not yet woken up to the coming dangers. Yet still, those seeking to discredit Mr. Szerlag will tell you he acted too late. Evidence proves this is untrue.
Sadly, that budget was able to predict vast budget issues that they had to solve with Option 1 which de-funded the library.
Some people will tell you that we are losing amenities due to the incompetence of our city. The truth is they are making cuts earlier than other cities. When those cities recognize their problems, and probably too late, they will have to cut even more brutally, or talk about very high millage increases, to balance their budgets or risk receivership.
Mr. Szerlag has been a lightening rod of controversy because some claim his salary to be $220,000. But it's not. His salary is, I believe, $140,000 and he is receiving his pension while he works, the pension he earned when he worked for the city last time and before he was rehired here by the previous city council.
Let's get the record straight, he got this deal, which does not include healthcare or other benefits, from our previous, majority conservative city council. Today, when Mr. Howrylak complains about Mr. Szerlag's compensation package, it is sheer political posturing. Mr. Szerlag may have asked for this pay, which he continues to argue is less than they would have paid someone else, but previous council, the council when Mr. Howrylak was Mayor Pro-Tem, gave it to him. 

Here was the July 9, 2009 initial vote:
 Action on the Position of City Manager:
Resolution #2009-07-209
Moved by Fleming
Seconded by Kerwin
 RESOLVED, That the Troy City Council hereby APPOINTS A. John Szerlag as City Manager CONTINGENT upon satisfactory contract language being negotiated.
 Yes:    Beltramini, Broomfield, Eisenbacher, Fleming, Kerwin, Schilling
No:      Howrylak
Shows that Mr. Howrylak didn't like him before the details of the contract had been discussed. And at the meeting, July 20, 2009, when all of the details of Mr. Szerlag's contract were discussed, guess who was absent? Yes, Mr. Howrylak. 
A Special Meeting of the Troy City Council was held Monday, July 20, 2009, at City Hall, 500 W. Big Beaver Road. Mayor Schilling called the Meeting to order at 6:02 PM.
Mayor Louise E. Schilling
Robin Beltramini
Cristina Broomfield
David Eisenbacher – Arrived at 6:05 PM
Wade Fleming
Mary Kerwin
Mayor Pro Tem Martin Howrylak – Absent from state
1.Discussion of City Manager Contract
Outside labor counsel, Craig W. Lange, of Roumell, Lange & Cholack, P.C. was present to explain the conditions of the proposed City Manager contract and respond to questions brought forward by City Council Members in a round table discussion. 
And do you know he was also absent at ALL the council meetings where Options 1 and 2 were discussed last year as well?
It seems that the man on council who always tells us he knows all the details, is rarely on-hand when they are discussed. Perhaps that's why he asks so many questions that EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ROOM ALREADY KNOWS THE ANSWERS TO (including little old me and most of my friends!).
So why is everyone so hot to discredit Mr. Szerlag? At least he does his job, and pretty well compared to those not looking ahead, like Garden City.
Apparently it is Mr. Howrylak's job to discredit the city in order to make himself look better in advance of his run for mayor this November.
Don't be fooled.

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