LAKEGEORGE-Long-time local resident Dan Hurley announced this week he is a candidate for seat on the Lake George Town Board.
A 50-year registered Democrat, Hurley said he is seeking the endorsement of the local Democratic Party.
A U.S. Army veteran, Hurley served in Germany from 1963 to 1965.
A union electrician for 50 years, Hurley formed his own company in 1978 - Dan Hurley Electric Inc. in 1978.
Hurley said this week that this business experience, particularly managing finances, would serve him well if elected. He said he is now retired, and would like to put his expertise to use for the community.
"I now have the time to help make this town a better place in which to do business and raise a family," he said.
Hurley said his top concerns were the issues of lack of oversight by some of the town board members over town finances.
He said the board had failed in its responsibility to its constituents through its practice of awarding "title pay" stipends that weren't publicly posted nor in many instances, approved by the board. These issues were among 17 criticisms leveled at the board during an audit report released by the state Comptroller's office several months ago. The report also cited other concerns, including lack of sufficient balances in operating fund balances and failure to publicly and officially authorize salary increases, separation payments, and assuring they are equitable.
"The audit clearly showed that the town government needs to be responsive to the concerns of local citizens," Hurley said. "Town board members should have demanded accountability from the town Supervisor - it's their responsibility to know what's going on - they can't be 'Yes-men'"
He added that the pay rates should have been approved by the board and publicly posted as mandated by state law.
"There's got to be better transparency in overseeing things and keeping pay rates reasonable," he said.
Town board members, however, have defended their performance.
Since the audit report, the budget codes have been consolidated and personnel and financial practices have been changed in an ongoing overhaul of town governance, board members have said. Town Board members also said the extra stipends were given based on extra duties or skills, and in some cases represented a savings to taxpayers if positions had been consolidated.
Hurley also said that the town board wasted money in its now-abandoned project to rehabilitate buildings at Gaslight Village.
"There was a waste of money on Gaslight village and there's no complete record of it," he said.
Lake George Town Supervisor Frank McCoy, now in his first term, said his action to exit from ownership of the West Brook Park Initiative - which included the Gaslight buildings - has to date saved the local taxpayers $211,000.
Hurley said he is committed to open government, and he has been listening to local citizen's input.
"I hear and know what people want," he said. "I will bring to the town board the common sense and transparency they crave."