Running for re-election as Saratoga Springs’ Finance Commissioner, I try to focus on my solid record and my plans for the next term. But my opponent continues to make untrue statements about me that require strong responses. Responding with facts is especially important because I am told the Morrison campaign repeats these falsehoods when they are canvassing door-to-door.
My opponent’s Sept. 29 Reader’s View in the Saratogian is a case in point. It contains libelous statements which I must address as follows:
1) My vote is not now, has never been, and never will be for sale. To charge otherwise is a scurrilous, fact-free defamation of my character, as well as the integrity of the people she accuses of trying to buy my support.
2) Voters still have a choice regarding who will safeguard the City’s finances when they vote in the General Election. No, candidate Morrison, the electorate at large has NOT had a chance to speak. This race is far from over, and my name (Michele Madigan) will appear on three ballot lines – Working Families, Independence and SAM. As incumbent, I have the skills, the experience, and the proven track record. My opponent lacks experience and her repeated mistruths impugn her character more than anything I choose to say about her.
3) Saratoga Hospital and its affiliated health care providers are a vital resource that serves this City and its people. The quality of care available right here in Saratoga Springs continues to grow and contribute to the value of living in this community. Some difficult choices will need to be made to balance the future needs of the Hospital with the rights of its immediate neighbors.
However, my opponent’s garbled account of this issue does nothing to inform Saratogian readers about the actual status and future course of the Hospital’s desired expansion. The change that would allow for the expansion was adopted as part of the 2015 City Council adopted Comprehensive Plan. If any specific site plans are proposed, these will come before our land use boards, not the City Council.
Thus it is nonsensical for Ms. Morrison to imply that I will play a decisive role in whatever determinations are made regarding the Hospital. Land-use issues are overseen by the Mayor’s office – not the Finance Department. Moreover, it is libelous to imply that whatever vote I might have in the matter has been bought and paid for. She cites my friendship with Hospital attorney Matt Jones, who supports my candidacy and who held a fundraiser for me at his home. Being people of impeccable integrity and ethics, Matt and I recorded every penny that was spent on that fundraiser. My campaign reimbursed Mr. Jones for expenses incurred above the $1,000 personal contribution limit, as required by New York state election law. This was duly reported to the New York Board of Elections as I directed my treasurer to do the right and honorable thing: reimburse Mr. Jones for the excess expenses and report it to the state. This is not “pay-to-play.” Quite the contrary, it is behavior of the highest ethics and transparency. Nevertheless, while our friendship, and his support, are longstanding it is also well-known that I oppose a proposed Comprehensive Plan change to enable development near Saratoga Casino and Clubhouse Drive, a case where he represented the applicant. I remain independent in all such decisions.
4) Finally, the Reader’s View repeats a discredited charge that there has been something improper about my fundraising. A complaint by the Morrison team about the fundraiser mentioned above was rejected by officials who received it at both the local and state levels. Her Reader’s View misleadingly claims that I received campaign contributions from the “Hospital Board of Trustees and their spouses.” In fact, over the years, I’ve received support from just three (out of 18 current members). Two of these individuals are well-known community members who’ve been appointed by multiple mayors to serve our city on various boards. I am proud of their support.
In conclusion, I view my role on the City Council as a solemn trust, and always try my best to act in the best interests of all residents as I understand them. I would prefer to engage my opponent on the subject of the office she is seeking (the public has heard nothing to date about the actual role of Finance Commissioner from my opponent), and the issues that truly matter to people regarding the City’s financial picture. I encourage voters to reject the dishonest and unethical approach of the Morrison campaign, whether you encounter it in print or at your front door.
Thank you, Michele Madigan Commissioner of Finance