Mayor Lou Rosamilia put the ball back in Council President Rodney Wiltshire’s court by saying any member of his administration will voluntarily testify so there is no need for the Council to issue subpoenas.
It was a good move by Roasmilia. He avoids looking like he was fighting the inquiry – as opposed to when he vetoed the ordinance allowing the Council to issue subpoenas – and rather makes it look like he and his administration are being nothing but open and transparent and willing to cooperate with the process.
Plus, and perhaps more importantly in the grand scheme of things, by hearing from the players directly involved in the demolition on King Street and on the King Fuels site, we are all closer to knowing who did what and why. Rosamilia - whether he knows or not or whether or not he wants to know or not - can say he and his have nothing to hide and if something untoward is revealed he can claim ignorance and be just as shocked and surprised as anyone else. Even Wiltshire, while on Talk1300, said he thinks Rosamilia was not aware of what actually transpired prior to the demolitions.
In other words, look for someone to be the “fall guy.” But the thing with “fall guys,” is sometimes they are the ones responsible and should be held accountable.
Anyway, some say the agreement waters down the investigation because as Wilford Brimley said in Absence of Malice: “Wonderful thing a subpenee.”
With a subpoena, the testimony is automatically under oath and the Council can also demand to see records like contracts, emails and other exchanges related to the two demolition projects.
Wiltshire can still put those giving testimony under oath, can still demand the related documents and proceed as if he were issuing subpoenas but he really had no choice but to accept Rosamilia’s fig leaf. If he didn’t, he ran the risk of appearing to politicize the process and so far he has kept the inquiry above the fray – which is no easy task in a city like Troy.
In the end, Rosamilia had nothing to lose by offering up members of his administration. If he didn’t Wiltshire would have just overrode the vetoes, issued the subpoenas and they would be forced to testify anyway. Let’s see if they are under oath and if the Council also has access to all the relevant documents and communications.
According to the Times Union, the eight who will testify are:
Fire Chief Tom Garrett, who ordered the demolition of the King Street buildings, a row of buildings owned by attorney Don Boyajian, Bill Dunne, the planning commissioner who is at the center of the King Fuels demolition, his assistant Andrew Kreshik, Dave Sheeran, a code enforcement officer, Andrew Peterson, an employee in the planning department, Corporation Counsel Ian Silverman, Mike Hayner, who is heading up the Department of Public Works and Deputy Mayor Pete Ryan.
Obviously Rosamilia has no control over those who probably have something to offer but are not employed by the city. They include Boyajian, J.R. Casale, the proprietor of Bomber’s and a representative from Ditano and Sons.