PLATTSBURGH — Mayor Donald Kasprzak appears to have the people behind him.If response to an informal survey by the Press-Republican is any indication, the mayor has earned a great deal of support in his first 100 days.Only one person wrote to question the mayor's approach."I am very grateful for the people who support me," Kasprzak said. "I always try to work in the best interests of the taxpayers, and I am pleased that people are supportive of me."But I know that if I make some unpopular decisions, the reviews might not be so popular in the future."Kasprzak said that while it is nice to receive positive feedback, he does not govern to win popularity contests."As long as I am in office I will always tell the truth and I will continue to do what I believe is right, and I hope that is acceptable to the majority of people in this city."Here's what survey respondents had to say (a few were edited for length):I'm so impressed with Mayor Kasprzak's performance during his first 100 days I was wondering if the good citizens of Plattsburgh would be willing to lend him out to us poor souls down here in Saratoga Springs. We'll gladly trade you for our entire city council.Harry MacAvoySaratoga Springs1. He is 100-percent honest.2. He is not intimidated by corruption or corrupt people.3. He usually works seven days a week.4. The city and taxpayers come first; not business as usual or taking care of cronies/friends.5. He has a wide perspective of what fair job compensation vs. performance is.6. He has 10 years of mess to clean up. If he is re-elected, he can clean it up.Rating scale: 1-10Our Score: 10Paul and Kathy EndersbeeCity of PlattsburghLet's see: we have audits, performance reviews and pledges to end wasteful spending, policies to be written and public disclosure.We don't have an entertainer, but we do have a true leader who is willing to take on the tough issues.It appears that in the first 100 days Mr. Kasprzak has taken on more than any administrator for the past 15 years! Congratulations, Mr. Kasprzak.I was dismayed to hear recently that some people (say)he has some vendetta or hidden agenda. It appears that he feels that nothing should be hidden, and he is going to great efforts to ensure that message. Again, congratulations. This is the "public" sector and not the private sector where all involved can hide behind their glass walls with their curtains closed. As was recently also pointed out, the public-sector manager (and employees) appears to have several layers of protections in the forms of Civil Service and union regulations and contracts to hide behind, thereby lessening their overall accountability for poor or negligent performance.It's time that taxpayers demand more accountability and press for objective, measurable standards that all managers and employees (not just at the department level, but at the council and executive level) must meet before they are automatically continued in their position and voted or appointed back into office.By writing policies and enforcing them, Mr. Kasprzak and the city can begin to protect the city from further abuses at all levels. Gone should be the days of getting paid just to show up and not have to be responsible and accountable.Deborah RibisCity of PlattsburghIn my opinion, Donny Kasprzak has been doing a phenomenal job as Mayor of Plattsburgh. He is "the right man at the right time" to lead Plattsburgh out of its fiscal crisis.Donny came into office proclaiming that "I work for the taxpayers." From day one, that has been his guiding principle. And work he has.He has dealt with many issues that were overlooked in the past, knowing full well his actions would not be popular with the City Hall bureaucracy. That did not, nor will it, phase him because he serves one master: the city taxpayer.I wish him continued good luck and urge him to stay the course.Craig MathewsTown of PlattsburghWe think that Mayor Kasprzak is doing an outstanding job getting the city back on its feet. We both realize that tightening the purse strings is a fact that has to happen if we want to see our city prosper. We are behind you 100 percent, Donny. Keep up the fantastic job, and we will be there on election day to cast our ballot for your continued presence in City Hall.Howard and Marion CarronPlattsburghIt is nice to have the opportunity to praise a politician who is working for the people who elected him. I think he has made a good start shaking up the "status quo" in the city and looking for ways to save taxpayers' hard-earned money.If he keeps the public informed of his attempts at change, I think he will find the backing he requires. In this case "NO" is the word for frivolous spending.Ruth RosoffPlattsburghLike many fellow residents, I enjoyed the privilege of sitting, one on one, with Don Kasprzak prior to his taking office. We discussed a variety of topics that are having an impact on the City of Plattsburgh and its taxpayers. He was extremely well versed and had a grip on precisely what detriments and deficiencies belie our city.Don has a strategy and is implementing it with great integrity. He's not out to win a popularity contest, and he certainly has not shied away from exposing the fraud and other improprieties that have plunged Plattsburgh into a woeful financial dilemma. He's looking out for all of us!It was with much amusement that I read, in today's Press, the comments of two of our councilors articulating the fact that the mayor is doing a good job. Why wouldn't he? When you're well prepared, have the experience and possess great leadership attributes, what do you expect?Might it be that they are concerned about this fall's election?Mayor Kasprzak, your accomplishments are many in the first 100 days of your tenure. You're doing everything you promised. Thank you for taking the helm and steering us in the direction of fiscal responsibility.Arthur deGrandpre
City of PlattsburghI wanted to take this opportunity to say that this is the finest mayor Plattsburgh has seen in many years. It is a thankless job that he has gotten himself into, but I'm sure he feels someone had to step in and make some changes.Raising taxes is not the answer. There are many ways to cut costs, and it is time for government to get with the program, and I believe Mayor Kasprzak is one of the few that "gets it." He can't please everyone, and that's not his job to do so, but the taxpayers should be their No. 1 concern, which has not been the focus in prior years.I wish him all the luck; he will need it.Ed Kehn Jr.PlattsburghOne hundred days of honesty, openness, facts, truth and dignity in city government — that's what I have experienced from Mayor Donald Kasprzak.I have also learned important political truths and hope to stay involved with the city issues that so affect our lives, as a member of FAIR (For All Interested Residents). Mayor Kasprzak has met with us several times and understands the tragedy of what has happened to our homes and neighborhoods concerning the serious issues of residency, over-occupancy, definition of family, litter, noise and deterioration of residential properties. He supports us in our hopes to resolve these issues within the realm of local ordinances.Many residents have been involved since before 1983 with these serious issues, but nothing has truly been addressed to this point. We trust the mayor will move forward with us in securing honest and fair resolutions. I am excited, hopeful and trusting in his leadership and hope he knows how many honor his willingness to right the wrongs of our hometown city government.Nancy MonetteCity of PlattsburghI think Mayor Kasprzak has done an outstanding job in his first 100 days. Without any doubt, I believe he has the City of Plattsburgh headed in the right direction.With that being said, we have a long road ahead of us, with many issues still to be resolved. However, for the first time in many years, I feel confident that we have chosen the right person to lead us toward solving many of these issues.Much continued success, Mr. Mayor, looking forward to your next hundred days and hopefully several more years!Casey FlynnCity of PlattsburghI want to thank the P-R for giving us this opportunity to share our thoughts concerning Mayor Don "Kaz" Kasprzak. I've known the mayor most of my life but got to know him and his family a lot more during last year's election. People like him and Gov. Spitzer seem to come along when people need them the most.I am a Plattsburgh native and am very thankful for the great people who have influenced and shaped my life in church, public and private schools, the Marine Corps and other traditional settings responsible for shaping values. But every time that I came back home, I could see how everything was slowly deteriorating — not just in appearances, but in attitude.It seemed like everyone was half-stepping and only doing what they had to do to get by. No spirit of neighborhood or reaching out to others with assistance seemed consistently present, except perhaps during the Ice Storm. It was all about "me-me-me" and what can I get for myself and family.During meetings with the mayor where he spoke with a few or hundreds of people I could see that he really cared. When he mentioned, as a reason for running, that "his long-time neighbor told him that she was going to lose her life-time home due to taxes," I could tell by his eyes moistening up that he had been really affected. I also heard the same stories from older people and could sense their deep fears about meeting their basic living costs.Now the mayor must make tough decisions each day that often affect people in very material ways. He was elected to make the tough decisions that will improve our community over the long haul and make it an affordable and inspiring place to live — not just for a privileged few who are politically connected, but for all of us.John W. WelchMorrisonvillePlattsburgh remains generally gray and dingy, in spite of the hoards of taxpayer money that has been squandered (best case) stolen (worse case) instead of going to revitalization projects as intended.Some things are new (post Kasprzak), some light is peeking through, and the local media that has slept through the mismanagement and fraud foisted on us by our elected officials (at all levels city, town, county and state included) throughout the past decade or so seem to be awakening.Perhaps they're hearing the noise we taxpayers and disenfranchised citizens are finally making. We're guilty, too, you know. We allowed this to get out of hand. We're the folks that let the media believe (through our viewing/reading habits) that we'd rather watch cute kittens rescued from trees and read about michigan-eating contests than about how our representatives are skinning us.Where are the concerned citizens and media in the Town of Plattsburgh? We have no town engineer, yet we spend hundreds of thousands in engineering services through "no-bid" contracts; town officials and their families are still touring the country (ostensibly to attend training seminars) on the taxpayers' dime; developers who have influence make up their own rules at the expense of local business and landowners, and considering the millions of dollars in misappropriated sales-tax revenue we send to the county (zero town property tax is a grand illusion ...At least it looks like Kasprzak is keeping his word, even, it seems, against ever-increasing resistance by a band of overpaid city managers and undermotivated city councilors. We need, now that we've started the fight, to do more than hold Kasprzak's coat for him. We need (media especially) to take the gloves off and take back the city. I believe that if we do this, the town and county (maybe someday even the state) will make similar reparations to save their political asses!Ed ChampagneTown of PlattsburghI think that Mayor Donald Kasprzak has done an outstanding job during the first 100 days. He is working diligently to lower taxes and address issues that have gone unaddressed far too long. One thing that Mayor Kasprzak has done that I would like to personally thank him for is to take time out of his busy schedule to make an appearance at the Plattsburgh Youth Hockey March Melt Down Tournament. Youth programs like hockey bring in a lot visiting teams, which results in revenue for our city, town.Youth programs have been ignored in the past, which in my opinion was a big mistake, and it's nice to know that Mayor Kasprzak knows the importance and sees opportunity for revenue that youth sports can bring to the area.Jessica McKinleyCity of PlattsburghThere is only one word ... outstanding! He listens, he respects, and he does his job!Elizabeth DuhaimeCity of PlattsburghWhile I've never seen the job description for our city mayor, I believe it would say something about advocating for citizens' best interests in the management of their money for the services in which they pay.In following Mr. Kazprzak's work these past 100 days or so, I believe he is a strong, focused advocate for the taxpayer. His work has required courage, as it is not easy to confront people who are comfortable in their own fiefdoms of power and who may have lost a consciousness to whom they are accountable.In his first hundred days, I believe Mr. Kazprzak has earned his money, if only for calling a manager in the fire department to task for taking unearned compensation time in thousands and thousands of dollars for time he did not serve on the job. Disrespect of the citizenry comes to mind as the details of this emerged. Managers are not hourly workers; they work for a healthy salary and are on call, in person, as needed.It may be difficult to know whether greed, ignorance or misguided information rest at the center of some of the unfolding of this abuse, but this is inconsequential to those of us who pay ever-increasing taxes at extraordinary rates these past several years.I am grateful Mr. Kazprzak is informing himself more intimately of the city's operations and that he is strong enough to keep a focus on the taxpayers' best interests, in spite of the powerful resistance he must receive from those whose comfort levels are being challenged.Thank you, Mr. Kazprzak.Jean MockryCity of PlattsburghOur mayor inherited an unenviable position when elected. He assumed office amidst a difficult budget process. He slashed spending and forestalled a giant tax increase. Many are grateful.Another way to balance a budget is to increase revenues. Many residents recognize that for Plattsburgh to prosper, to keep pace, we need to attract new businesses, new jobs and broaden the tax base. He'll need to network with our governor and with industry.To keep spending down, he could cut pensions to teachers, police and firemen. He could deny them necessary equipment. How would this affect our children's future and our public safety?If he cut Parks Department programs, what of the beauty of our city and our quality of life?
What industry wants a city in decline? What types of businesses come to a city with poor schools and unsafe and unsightly streets? Would they bring good jobs?As a business owner for over 25 years, I recognize the need to constantly reinvest to keep my business healthy. If we don't have the courage to invest responsibly in our city, it will fall further behind. It won't become more affordable; it will become less viable and less comfortable and will take even higher taxes each year to keep it afloat.By his own admission, our mayor's style is to "stay behind his desk." We need a mayor who'll put his feet on the pavement, who'll go to Albany and Washington, who'll go to work for our city.Proverbs 29:18 says "without a vision, people perish." If his vision for Plattsburgh is simply counting pennies, our future is threatened.While I'm grateful to Mr. Kasprzak for his initial tax cuts, his subsequent efforts belie a limited game plan. We need a mayor with more of a responsible vision for our future.Tim MerrickCity of PlattsburghMayor Donald Kasparzak is doing a fine job at correcting our city's ills.Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. MurnaneCity of PlattsburghWe welcome this opportunity to express our pleasure at having made the right choice in voting for Don as our mayor. He has certainly made a positive effect, acting in the behalf of all the citizens of Plattsburgh. Keep up the good work. You have our continued support.Tony and Barbara McMartinCity of PlattsburghIt appears that Mayor Kasprzak is doing a good job so far. He is trying to initiate systems for all departments to follow that should eliminate abuses of overtime, comp time and other expensive practices that have become common over the years, costing the taxpayers a great deal of money unnecessarily.Go, Donnie, you have our vote.John and Tete HuruCity of PlattsburghDon Kasprzak has done a great job as mayor, this in light of the fact that he inherited a neglected, inept, dysfunctional Mayor's Office.Jim McArdleCity of PlattsburghFinally, a politician that has told our community the truth!Mayor Kasprzak seems to be looking out for the taxpayers dollars, instead of trying to further his own political agenda, as did the former mayors of this community. Bravo Zulu!If only, we had more politicians in our great country to do the same.Think how great a country we could truly be.Gerald LackCity of PlattsburghSo far, I am favorably impressed with Mayor Kasprzak. I have e-mailed him on a few occasions, and he has always responded.One time I sent him a list of sidewalks that hadn't been shoveled after a snowstorm. He said he would pass the info along to the appropriate department. The sidewalks were shoveled, even one that had remained untouched after two snowstorms.He does produce results, but there is still work to be done.Luke T. BushCity of PlattsburghIf you live in or near the City of Plattsburgh during the past three months, you have undoubtedly heard thunderous sounds emanating from several different parts of the city. Not to worry! It is not the beginning of Armageddon. It is, instead, the sound of all the free candy stores closing throughout the city.Yes, it appears to be true. No more free candy will be doled out! It was discovered that, while lots of people were happy at first in the city, thinking the candy was completely free, they recently learned that the candy was bought on credit and that the bills were now coming in. And, boy, were they whoppers!To make matters worse — unpalatable, really — was that a new mayor came in and began to check on where all that large store of candy was going. Turns out, while regular taxpaying people were going home with free penny candy, the keepers of the store were taking home boxes of chocolates — and the best kind at that! Now that just didn't seem right to the mayor. He called in some outside help because everyone connected with the free candy stores was hard to convince that there was anything wrong.More people are beginning to see that maybe the candy store should have had good managers who kept track of who got what and maybe not have taken so much candy home themselves. They forgot that, in this world, there is no free candy.The new mayor and some of his new friends, who are now seeing the light, had said he is determined to keep the candy stores closed while inventory is being taken.When they open again, the candy will no longer be free, and caretakers will have to keep track of it with reports. Let's hope he changes the locks, too, and keeps track of who has the keys this time.Arnold P. BurdeauCity of PlattsburghThe central thrust of Don Kasprzak's campaign for mayor of Plattsburgh was his commitment to complete a thorough analysis of the city's budget and find controls for "runaway spending." We are grateful that Mr. Kasprzak has re-introduced fiscal restraint in the city's financial planning. It is refreshing to have a politician who actually delivers on campaign promises!Ken and Barb AdamsCity of PlattsburghMayor Kasprzak has provided a much-needed wake up call to the city establishment and the Common Council. We now have a mayor who understands management and sound policy instead of self-serving photo-ops and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.The city government has been seriously lacking common-sense business practices since former Mayor Clyde Rabideau left office and the city council has been missing in action for sometime.Some city department heads fully believe they are doing us a favor by drawing unbelievable high salaries and Cadillac benefits without any accountability.Mayor Kasprzak has hit the ground running, armed with his prior experience as one of the most active and fearless city councilors in Plattsburgh's history. He has a core belief in fairness and understands that taxpayers are entitled to a fair return on their tax dollars.The weak excuses of the past two mayors and council that a 35-percent tax increase is acceptable will not be tolerated by Kasprzak.It is a shame that the problems in the city have manifested to such a level that there are virtually no areas that aren't in need of repair. A million-dollar deficit in the fund balance that was unknown to the council, who approved expenses that created the deficit, is unbelievable. Department heads that get overtime benefits without working overtime defies logic. This lack of responsibility would have never occurred on Kasprzak's watch.I give him an A+ and have full confidence that he will continue to have a major impact at bringing accountability back to City Hall. Repairing Plattsburgh's financial disaster won't happen overnight, irrespective of Mayor Kasprzak's considerable skills. The city establishment has acquired some bad habits that won't be easily changed, but Kasprzak has delivered the message that I hope management and unions hear and the citizens support.Mark P. Dame
City of Plattsburgh