Tuesday, August 23, 2016

WDT:City Did Rehire Sligar to Help Fire Chief

            The City has hired, at an undisclosed price, the former water czar to serve as a consultant to the Fire Chief, who the CM says is not adequately implementing staffing protocols.
             Two points on this. One is the delay in this being reported is central to why old media is losing allegiance of the decreasing number of news consumers who even follow such things. It dribbled out through comments here and likely elsewhere.
             The other point is it shows a trend in city, county and school governments where people "retire", draw pensions and then come back on payroll in some fashion. Sometimes there are restrictions on amounts earned, sometimes not.
             Now, as for the core story, this move adds to the cost  of the fight with the fire union and that it was not announced publicly suggests a knowledge it would be controversial. Also there is something amiss in a system where a department head needs a retired head of an unrelated department to help him out.
             Again, a comparison to how it all plays out versus Oswego is not lost on those who learned of the Oswego situation through a link on Newzjunky to the Post Standard. Proof positive, news doesn't stop at the county line.
http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/retired-city-water-head-called-on-to-help-fire-department-20160823

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

If one dug a little more into City business they could find a couple other stories as well. It seems the third floor keeps things under wrap better than previous administrations.

Anonymous said...


That you Jeff for breaking this unbelievable story. I just do not understand why you would "retire" someone, replace them at 6 figures, and then allow them to double-dip the taxpayer by being brought back as a "consultant". What does the water guy know about fire protection, and why was he chosen?

The fact that it was "snuck" through without the pubic even being informed speaks volumes about this administration. Simply stated, the public has a right to know how their money is being spent. This is the second time they have done this recently. Beth Morris was also allowed to double dip when she retired from Civil Service and then came back (in secrecy) to act as the Assistant to the City Manager.

Sligar is a bully for the CM and has shown just how anti-employee he is. He has no integrity and is just a puppet for SA (an expensive puppet). For this administration, that has no respect for the worker or taxpayer. this is apparently business as usual. Unfortunately, this is a very costly way to conduct business. This is probably how things are done at the CIA but this should not be allowed here. We taxpayers need to wake up and start asking questions. If we do not get the answers then we should demand some changes at the top.

The city has been going steadily downhill ever since Mary left. Speak to ANY worker right now and they will tell you just how much things have changed. Everyone I know is counting down the days until they can leave. Think they will be invited back to double-dip? Unlikely.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the pension has to do with it? The pension payout will be paid with that "free money" you love so much.

Obviously, the union guy who was promoted to run the department is struggling and/or giving resistance to implementing common sense fire department changes. I'm not sure who else you would suggest could help fix the fire department, other than a known department head with a proven logic, ingenuity, productivity, skill set. As you know, the fire protection industry if full of people with a one track mind, where they never met an expense that wasn't worth expending. So it really isn't an option to hire from the industry directly.

Anonymous said...

If the new chief cant do the job he needs to either go or appoint another person. People are promoted with the expectancy of being able to do a job.. Some fail, thats human nature But it shouldnt be at our expense. If hes dogging it intentionally fire him period.

Anonymous said...

How is it that the salary he is being paid is "undisclosed"? How can that be?Is there some slush fund that the city has that can be tapped without approval by the council and/or the taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

So I guess money is not really the issue here when you bring in someone with no experience to do a job he has no qualifications for. More lies coming from the third floor. Addison needs to go, she is a scourge on this city and will destroy it before the council is smart enough to realize it

Anonymous said...

Your commentary is dead on.

Bad optics for Chief.

Wonder if he is now a target, his next review should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

That "ingenuity" almost got the city poisoned if it had not been for the people retired and fired when the crisis that involved the water department in the past was kept under wraps as to what "really happened" as a personnel matter. From what I was told, without their advice, we could have been drinking untreated water directly from the Black River. The city was saved potential lawsuits costing millions if someone with compromised health and/or babies died as a result of following that advise. Their reward-job removal.
I understand he gave instructions for people on a dredging job NOT to go to the bathroom if they had to. It was only when a union representative found this out that they used the dredged up sludge to go in. Maybe we could save on city taxes if we converted bathrooms in the city buildings into more office space?
Please understand that this is the same person hired as a consultant.

Anonymous said...

Yes it points out the chief cannot do his job.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the council members feel being dissed by the city manager this way? They need to step up on this and tell her no! she has taken this personal battle to whole new low now, by installing a spy at the fire dept. on the taxpayers dime.

Anonymous said...

This move is nothing more than a hostile take over by City Manager Addison of the Fire Department. This move will only cost more money & make the relationship worse, if that is possible at this point.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Mr. Sligar shows bad judgment by jumping in the middle of this fight for a quick payday!

Anonymous said...

The City Manager is trying to force the Fire Chief out with this move. In the end it will not work. It will only cost the people of watertown more money and increase hostility between the two sides. I call for a vote of no confidence in The City manager. The Council needs to start getting tough with her. enough, is enough.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Addison didn't get her raise, so she is getting back at the city council with this move. Time for her to go as Trump would say "bye bye".

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight;
The City Manager demotes 8 Fire Captains to "save the city money" and then turns around and spends the savings on another consultant. A man bye they way who just retired from the city and is receiving a full pension. So he is basically getting the money that would have gone to essential personal. And the council renewed Ms. Addison's contract for this type of judgment? why?

Anonymous said...

re 11:54
Chief Herman is a good man and does a great job! Addison is the one hiring all of the consultants to do hers!!!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the city manager for having the courage, wisdom, good judgment, fortitude, honesty and leadership to bring in a good man to help the chief redesign the fire department.

She will get slack from the usual pension-OT-hounds and from the guy who hates "loud mouth women", but the taxpayers are on her side and 100% behind her efforts.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Butler & the new City Council voted to renew Ms. Addison's contract as city city manager without a debate, without a job performance review and in the quiet of night out of public view.
So, I say THEY own all of her mistakes past and present. This latest abuse of power and waste of resource with the Michael Sligar hiring is case in point!
If they won't hold her accountable, then hold them accountable in the next election.

Anonymous said...

Sligar fired Gaffney for insubordination. Sligar compromised the water supply so he would not flood out the dredge building that was erected in the basin operating range. Gaffney pointed this out in a senioir staff meeting and it was dismissed by Sligar. Gaffney then pointed out the levels of previous floods anf Sligar said it would not happen again and it was dismissed. When the potential arose Gaffney went against Sligar to protect the water supply. The result was his firing and top staff quit because of it. Gaffney was instrumental in previous floods as the previous Chief Operator was on vacation during one flood and dismissed by Mr. Pilon during the other when Mr. Gaffney was making decisions along with other staff on treatment. TRUTH!

Anonymous said...

So the couple of predictable commenters that are anti-fire department and constantly accuse of pension padding, so how do you feel about Mr. Sligar padding his pension while working in cahoots with the city manager? One difference there is No pension padding at the FD and has no been in many years, but apparently that is not true for city hall.

Anonymous said...

This whole thing has gotten way out of hand. The manager needs to be reined in by council, if not council needs to be replaced ASAP.
It has become very obvious by this latest stunt it is not about money at all. Us taxpayers are getting sold a bill of goods by our elected officials and the way this has been handled will cost us alot of money in the end.

Anonymous said...


Fireman will go and then the Chief.

Ms Addison hired Sligar to do the dirty work and then he'll be gone.

End of story and the Mayor becomes the winner for the city.

Anonymous said...

What Addison is doing is creating accountability; she gave the chief an opportunity to write his own standard operating procedure for deployment based on the city council's direction. He apparently couldn't or wouldn't, so Addison is merely ensuring it gets done. The finish product will have the chief's input, no doubt, but will also hold him personally accountable for some of the nonsense going on right now. Let us not forget the hubbub a couple of months ago was a direct reflection on the chief and not the city council or Addison herself - they are not responsible for the day-to-day oversight of operations. He's been given the parameters he's to work work under; he can either accept them and manage accordingly or keep making statements to the paper like he did today which make him look completely unqualified for the job.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Third Floor Queen is at again. Spending good money after bad to wage war on the fire dept. yet again. When is she going to be held accountable for her poor decision making? She is in over her head and grasping for straws. What is the real angle here? Seems to be more personal on her part for some reason than just contract negotiating?? Media need to did deeper on the personal vendetta angle. I believe there is something underneath all this vitriol.

Anonymous said...

Ok folks: I'm not a fireman. Nor am I a spouse, child, sibling, parent or relative of one. As someone who has lived in many other places than Watertown, I have to ask: what the f&*$ is going on here. First, if this Sligar guy is a "consultant," does he have the credentials i.e. any certifications, knowledge, background or any DBA listed to be a consultant? Is he charging the City consultant fees? Or is he being paid by some secret fund for retired "consultants" that no one knows about until something happens. Seems to me he is a retired City employee who has come back to work under the guise of "consultant" but is really just taking orders from the City Manager. Another issue: I've heard he could very well become the next Fire Chief in an administrative sense. Thank god he would have no say at a fire ground but he could decide to cut any number of services with the swipe of a pen. Someone with such disregard for the safety of the citizens of Watertown should not be the next Emergency Services director. Good god.

FYI: the issue with Oswego's million dollar shortfall in their budget has to do with a contract for water sales that ended but they did nothing to replenish that money and they knew the contract was ending. Dangerous move in a college town with several high-rise buildings.

Anonymous said...

More money wasted on another Addison henchman. Great job City Council for reappointed her again to reek more havoc on our city.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so Mr. Roy got an extra $16,000 and the title HR Manager. So is Mr. Sligar now the new confidential assistant to the City Manager? And if so, how much is he being paid? This is a city government after all funded by the taxpayers. Don't we have a right to know???? Time to put the cards on the table Ms.City Manager.

Anonymous said...

Finally,tonight,seven news reported sligar will be paid forty eight and change,figure it as fifty bucks an hour,for this "restructuring" schedudule.Just how long is this taking?I mean,we are talking a set number of personnel,hours and weeks,so what is the holdup?I would guess most personnel managers could do it in a day.I think,it is that they are trying to craft language to do an end run around the contract language for supervisors.That is wrong.If you are a plumber,and make fifty bucks an hour,and your helper makes twenty,why all that needs doing is saying you are a helper too,pay you the twenty bucks,but expect plumber performance.That is wrong,and should be illegal..I am not a fireman,but am a city taxpayer,and I am disturbed by what seems to be subterfuge attempts by our city government to bypass a binding contract,which will end up costing us even more in legal fees.

Danny M. Francis (Eyepublius) said...

It is sickening to see the attacks on the WFD all the while City management gets a pass for f-ing up the city in so many way and cases that I've lost track.



Anonymous said...

What Addison is doing is creating accountability; she gave the chief an opportunity to write his own standard operating procedure for deployment based on the city council's direction. He apparently couldn't or wouldn't, so Addison is merely ensuring it gets done.

Anonymous said...


Accountability? We are paying $50 an hour ($102,500 Yr) for accountability? If this is the case, why doesn't she just fire him for not doing what she told him too? I suspect, (based on his denial of this in the times) Yet another lie from the spy. (845) nice to see tho that they apparently have Wi Fi at Foxy's.

This is a misappropriation of city funds and should be investigated as a possible illegal act. Did this "appropriation" go though the proper channels? Is she in compliance with open government laws? Why do we have to hear about this from a blog? Let me ask you, is this really about the money? Looks like a corrupt practice to me. If the Administration is just allowed to do what ever they want with our money and without going though a formal and open process, what will they be using our money for next? This is not how things are supposed to work. Didn't have these issues when Mary was there.

Anonymous said...

Well, where is the Mayor and city council on this?? Were they consulted at all about this so called consultant?? This city manager is out of control and needs to be reined in now!! She is a complete disaster to this city!!

Anonymous said...

So much for all that money Addison saved on demoting the fire captains. Just turn around and waste it on this nonsense. sickening, just sickening. Not to mention this move just gives the fire union a boat load of new attacks against her.

Anonymous said...

When the fire captains are ordered to be re-instated with back pay and fines & legal fees leave the city in the hole for about a Million plus, maybe then the city council will finally end this farce of a city manager's rule.

Anonymous said...

$48,000 for another consultant?? You have got to be kidding me.
The City Council should be holding an emergency meeting tomorrow to end this crap now!! Call your councilmember today-tonight-tomorrow and tell them to end this crap now!!

Anonymous said...

Here is an opportunity for Stephen Jennings to redeem himself after the failed landlord law proposal. He needs to stand up and publicly denounce this move by the city manager and call for a council special session to veto it. You want to lead Mr. Jennings, here is your moment on a silver platter.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Danny!

Anonymous said...

This is what happens with the Peter Principle. They take your average ordinary union fire guy and promote him to head the department. He is able to struggle and barely do the job, but as soon as something unusual comes up, like the need to write a new SOP, the guy can't do it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Accountability? We are paying $50 an hour ($102,500 Yr) for accountability?


You're a real dolt if you think he's going to be working on this full time.

You're an even bigger dolt if you think being derelict in one order is going to lead to being fired.

Honestly, go back to your little sandbox and try not to get any in your nether-regions - you obviously haven't got a clue as to how things work "in the real world."

And trust me, when "Mary was here," you had a lot of latent issues that went unchecked that are still being sorted out today.

Danny M. Francis (Eyepublius) said...

4:40 you are spot on... I totally agree... but will happen next cycle?

Campaign to replace City Manager I see that as a very outstanding issue ... shall we run with it? I'm willing to do that, but are enough in the voting booth willing to support that as a major campaign issue ...

Anonymous said...

Well there you have it..."campaign to replace city manager".
Sounds good.
Anyone care to bet, if that campaign will set a new city election record for losing by the most votes???

Anonymous said...

Re 8:03
Nice to see they are paying attention down there at foxxy's.
And YES, IT DOES SOUND GOOD....

Anonymous said...

Danny, did you just announce your candidacy for city council??
I sure hope so, you would be a great voice up there.
I think you have a winning issue also.

Anonymous said...

9:09, I was obviously being sarcastic and it is obviously a retarded campaign idea.
You guys already ran a fire union guy and came in dead last.
The voters are behind this the city manager.
The tax payers are behind her.
The council is behind her.
The only ones not behind her, are a few people living on a golf course
And a bunch of union employees who live outside of the city and had to cancel their rally due to lack of interest.