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Bloomingdale Mayor Could Serve Full Time

Dunleavy would also take on business administrator duties.

The Bloomingdale Council may vote this month to approve the borough's mayor to serve full time and take on business administrator responsibilities, an unprecedented move for the borough.

Following an executive session discussion on Tuesday on moving to a full-time mayor model, the council unanimously voted to introduce an ordinance that would allow Democratic Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy to serve in the role. According to the ordinance that was introduced, the mayor is currently paid a maximum salary of $2,000 in the part-time role but would be paid approximately $84,000 based on what the council discussed. His responsibilities would then include the day-to-day management of the borough during standard business hours.

The ordinance's introduction comes two months after former business administrator Ted Ehrenburg resigned from his position after several years. Ehrenburg accepted a position in Bloomfield and Dunleavy had assumed some of the administrator's duties while the borough discussed filling the position. But then, the council discussed him serving full-time in the role instead.

"I think since our administrator left, Jon has stepped up and I am very impressed with his response, his work ethic and the work he's accomplished," Republican Councilwoman Linda Shortman said. "I've met with him several times and we've discussed town issues and goals. We haven't always agreed in the past, but we do have many of the same goals."

Shortman said she "wholeheartedly" supports Dunleavy serving in the role. She also said that "our code for business administrator precludes the administrator from taking part in politics."

Democratic Councilman Ray Yazdi said that Dunleavy serving in both roles also makes financial sense for the borough.

"It's roughly a $50,000 savings to the borough based on what Ted would have been making," he said.

The former business administrator was paid nearly $130,000, Yazdi said. Aside from the salary, Dunleavy would not be accepting a pension (mayors are excluded) and would decline the borough's health insurance. But new Councilman Mike Sondermeyer, also a Democrat, said Dunleavy taking on both roles is not only a good decision for financial reasons.

"We all know the mayor personally and know that he would be the best for the job," he said. "It's best to have somebody who lives in Bloomingdale and somebody who cares about Bloomingdale than somebody who lives outside the community and comes in.

While Republican Councilman Mark Conklin was unavailable for comment, the council's other two Democrats also favored the full-time mayor's position. Councilman John D'Amato said council members reached out to Dunleavy with the idea.

"We kind of approached Jon about this after Ted left," he said. "Jon had filled in for Ted since Ted left and, in my opinion, is doing a great job."

D'Amato said he felt encouraged that all council members voted in favor of the introduction of the ordinance, regardless of their political parties.

"They voted for it which is real positive going into 2013 that we're all on the same page and looking to save some money," he said.

Councilman Rich Dellaripa said he supports the idea of a full-time mayor with the added responsibilities, but he also supports the person who would be doing the job.

"It would bring to the position someone who is emotionally invested in our community and I believe that the quality of a person's work improves when they have a personal, as well as professional, stake in their job," Dellaripa said. "And as the full-time mayor would be serving that function at the pleasure of the council, it would not be difficult if, for whatever reason, it was deemed that it would be in the best interest of the borough to revert the mayor back to part-time and seek out a full time BA again."

Dunleavy commented that he would be excited to fill the role and thinks he could bring about positive change for the borough's residents.

"I was honored that I was asked by all the council members to consider this and I'm confident that I will do the job exceptionally well," he said. "I will get things done, bring results that the taxpayers will feel and I'm thrilled about a substantial savings that I'm able to bring."

The council will vote on the ordinance on final reading at the Jan. 22 meeting at 7 p.m. at Bloomingdale Borough Hall.

Gary January 14, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Not a good thing for Bloomingdale. The Mayor should not have ability to perform the council's responsibilities as well as his own. He also was not elected to be a full time mayor. It is unprecedented....no more need be said. Except, Jon, you were honored to be asked, who are you kidding. You have been pushing for this.
Meredith Mascitello January 14, 2013 at 04:54 PM
What happens when the Mayoral term is up? Does this mean that going forward those running for Mayor should be prepared to fill the full time job?
Rich Dellaripa January 14, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Making the Mayor full time is done by resolution of the Council and, as such, it would require the mutual agreement of both for it to happen. If a new Mayor came in and either he/she or the Council didn't want the Mayor to be full time, a new BA would have to be hired.
Karen January 14, 2013 at 07:42 PM
I think that there is a confilct here. I dont think the Mayor should serve in both capacities. Who holds who accountable?
Joann Jarolmen, LCSW, CSW-R, Ph.D. January 14, 2013 at 09:24 PM
What if the old BA made 120,000 and the new fulltime Mayor's position was paid $90,000 and and was effective doing the work of the BA? Wouldnt we be better off if the Mayor did a better job than the previous BA? Or would people have a problem with the $30,000 in savings?
Kevin January 14, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Joann, you do not even live in Bloomingdale. Our local government is a strong council and a weak mayor. This will change with this ordinance. Additionally, if Jon wants to be the BA, let him resign as Mayor, and visa versa.
Rich Dellaripa January 15, 2013 at 02:06 AM
I would be interested to hear how you feel this would shift the balance. A full time Mayor wouldn't have any more authority to make decisions about policies, spending, etc. than he would have today; those decisions would remain in the hands of the Governing Body.
Kevin January 15, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Rich, If he has no more authority than what will he be doing to warrant paying him 84k
Ann January 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM
It sounds like Bloomingdale has another opportunity to save money. Before jumping in with knee-jerk criticisms we can attend a meeting to ask questions. Unless, of course, people would just like to sit back and "react". If Shortman was on board with the idea and impressed with the Mayor's work ethic, it may be something worth thinking about. The initial response, above, sounds quite partisan.
Krikor Etmekjian January 19, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Gary please elaborate on that comment “Not Good For Bloomingdale”. Specifically support your comment since it is as clear as mud as to what your intent was in that post. I saw the loss of Ted as a great loss for Bloomingdale and we have a Mayor that is willing to jump into the breach and discharge the duties of Borough Administrator, at a savings to Bloomingdale. Does the fact that something is unprecedented mean that it should not be attempted? Is there something that precludes a Mayor from being the Borough Administrator as well? Is there some sort of conflict of interest that you are aware of that escapes me? I have known the Mayor for over a decade and in that time my impression is that he possesses exception administrative acumen in addition to being a pragmatic problem solver and believe he will do an outstanding job as a Business Administrator.
catnmouse January 20, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Jon is pleased to be "asked" to be the BA. Who are you kidding? Sir, you attempted to skirt the rules when you were on the council and Rec. leader years ago. You even told the former BA that you wanted his job long before he left! The former BA's starting salary was $82,000 when he started with no experience. How do you feel that you are worth $82,000 with no experience and an extra $2,000 or is that your mayorial salary added on? A Boro admin needs to be a-political, not a die hard Dem. or Rep.!
Ann January 20, 2013 at 10:29 PM
wow....catnmouse is really playing a cat and mouse game---hiding under a fake name and expressing intense, personal anger and yes--even hatred. But there are so few people who have this ferocity of personal animosity that it's easy to figure out who it is. You elected Shortman. Why not pay attention to her comments in the article above? She is clearly trying to shed the partisanship and work for the town. She is being honest. How about all of us putting the town before our personal likes and dislikes?
Kristen January 21, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Ann are you saying if Linda disagrees she is not shedding her partianship if she agrees she is? Are you also saying that she is being honest because she agrees and would be dishonest if she does not agree? I do not think Jon should serve as both mayor and assume the BA responsibilities. He does not have those responsbilities now based on our borough code why should it be changed for him? If he wants and the council agrees that he serve as the BA, he should resign as Mayor. Our government should not change based on who is elected. Just imagine if the majority tried to put one of their people in as the BA because they had control, what would your reation have been then? If you think it is political on one side, then it is also political on the other side.
Rich Dellaripa January 21, 2013 at 07:14 PM
I do not view it as being changed for Mayor Dunleavy. I view it as being changed for the Borough and its residents. There are too many people in this town who are thinking of moving out, or wishing they could move out but they can't because their houses won't sell. So, if I see an opportunity to save the Borough money while providing at least the same level of service, I think it should be pursued, even if we've never tried it before. After all, if you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting. Therefore, I do not view this as having to do with who was elected; if Ms. Huntley had been elected two years ago as Mayor and had showed over the previous couple of months the same level of ability to do and want to do the job, I would be just as wholeheartedly for the change.
Royta January 21, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Hey, I"ll take the job for $79,999. This way you'll get even more savings and it won't be the mayor, who some seem to have a grudge against. Of course, I don't know anything about the work and might not do a very good job. But if that was important, people would consider the council's (members of both parties) positive reviews of the work the mayor has already shown and their recommendation. If anyone can come up with specific concerns the mayor should not GET A CHANCE, they should raise them at the council meeting, right?
catnmouse January 21, 2013 at 09:54 PM
There is no animosity at ALL on my part regarding Jon's positions. What I gave was information that is known by residents who have been living here for a long time. My feelings regarding Ms. Shortman's change of mind in support of the Mayor's plan to also become BA puzzles me. I don't want to state my opinion at this time.
Carolyn January 21, 2013 at 11:44 PM
I was interested in Kristen's remark that our government should not change "based on who is elected". That puts me in mind of Ms. Shortman's remark when dismissing people that it was because "they were not with the political party in power".
Ann January 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM
To answer your question, Kristen, as to how I would have reacted had the majority put one of THEIR people in as BA, I would be fine with it IF it were unanimous and also had the blessing of the minority, as this case seems to have. This was evidently NOT a political vote, since it was unanimous. And, "cat", your tone and phrases like "who are you kidding" do betray animosity, despite what you say. And Royta, I like your humor!
Kevin January 22, 2013 at 02:39 AM
You are right Carolyn and that is exactly what the Dems are doing. Kind of you to note that they also do this.
Carolyn January 22, 2013 at 01:03 PM
Kevin (and others): Every party with a majority has the right to select its professionals. The remark I mentioned above related to the "firing" of VOLUNTEERS who had done an excellent job for many years--not to the hiring of professionals. IMO that firing was not justified. As to the current controversy (Mayor as BA)--we are talking here about SAVING money--not spending extra as happened previously with a majority appointed lawyer who cost another $150,000 or an accountant who cost another $10,000 (only to have his advice ignored). At that point I think voters have a right to question. If the voters can save many thousands with this currently proposed move, and if the Mayor does a good job, perhaps it will work out to our advantage. In any event, it should certainly be explored before people go negative! Any majority on the Council can do as they see fit with the professionals- PROVIDING IT BENEFITS THE TOWN.
LORI January 22, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Bravo catnmouse! It puzzles me as well that Ms. Shortman is supporting Mayor Dunleavy. Hmmm, politics, politics, one never knows what goes on behind closed doors, chatrooms, blogs, etc. etc. etc.
catnmouse January 23, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Carolyn, the most important part of your comment is "PROVIDING IT BENEFITS THE TOWN". This is where mistakes are made when leaders fail to make this a priority when analyzing issues for the betterment of the town.
Carolyn January 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Right you are CnM All officials--BOTH SIDES-- need for that to be their priority. And, obviously, all voters too, though that is not always the case. Therefore, nobody on the Coiuncil should be voting in lock-step nor according to personal feelings about individuals, but rather should be considering what is best for the town. And, from the article above, it sounds like Shortman made a decision that this move would be best for the town. We either need to attend meetings and get the details or wait to see if it works to the town's advantage. There is nothing at all puzzling about Shortman's support of the Mayor. On this issue she evidently felt it was best for the town. At least give her credit for voting as she sees it, even if we don't always agree with how she sees it. I would vote for an individual of either party if (and it's a BIG if) I felt they had good judgment and weren't compelled to stay in lock-step.
Karen Hoffman February 07, 2013 at 08:22 PM
I don't understand why a town the size of Bloomingdale needs a full time mayor, nor do I understand why the salary for a part time mayor is so hight. No wonder taxes are so high in Bloomingdale. The politicians in this town think they are running a major city. I is also a disgrace how much the sewer/water bills are for the residents of Bloomingdale are. I know someone who lives in a Duplex and each side is charged the $150 base rate and they share the same sewer line. I would like to see the budget for the water department.
Kevin February 10, 2013 at 02:01 AM
You can see the budget by requesting it at borough hall. You should also be aware that quite a large amount of the adminstrative employees salaries are charged to the water budget even though they do not work for the authority because this reduces taxes... But it does increase water rates. You should also know that there was over $1 million in the water and sewer budget that was transferrred to the municipality when they needed the money.
Karen Hoffman February 11, 2013 at 05:51 PM
As far as I am concerned that doesn't justifiy the high water rates. They are ripping off the people of Bloomingdale. Some told me the budget is $500,000 and there are only 4 employees. Sounds rather high and in the future everytime money is need the base rate is going to go up.
Kevin February 11, 2013 at 09:15 PM
I agree 100% go to the council meeting and complain. It does not help just saying it here. Let the Mayor know that you will not tolerate it.
Kevin February 11, 2013 at 09:19 PM
He was not voted in unanimously.....
Rich Dellaripa February 11, 2013 at 09:45 PM
The resolution to change from part time Mayor to full time Mayor was passed 6-0. There was disagreement as to whether there should be a full time Mayor position, but once that was established, the whole Council agreed Jon should be full time.

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