Discover the Promise in Greece NY
Feds: Greece Taxpayers Duped !!!

Greece Citizens for Responsibility in Government

The Greece/Kodak property tax scandal is being
portrayed as almost entirely a matter of criminal
misbehavior. We think this view is too limited. The
property tax scandal raises many questions about the
quality and accountability of leadership in Greece
Town Government

Greece Supervisor John Auberger has been quick to
distance himself from the scandal. He wants us to
believe that he had no knowledge of the extent of
property tax changes and in any case was helpless to
do anything about the assessment process. This
explanation is not very plausible. While there are
certainly legal issues involved in the independence of
property tax assessments these do not excuse the
massive lack of oversight by the Town Board nor the
existence a political culture in Greece in which such
an event could go unnoticed and unpublicized. For
these the Supervisor and members of the Town Board
must be held accountable.

Even with the legal issues involved it’s clear from
the reaction of other town supervisors that some
actions can be taken. The town could refuse to
renegotiate as was the case with Supervisor Esposito
of Gates. At the least the supervisor should be
appraised to developments and might even act as lead
negotiator. While assessment is independent the town,
the town board could reuse to sign off on in the end
for reasons of the best interests of fairness in the
town. It should go to court if necessary to protect
the fairness of the tax burden on its citizens. When
is the last time you saw Supervisor Auberger stand up
and fight for anything.

Further as another supervisor noted, the assessors
should not be closely connected in crony-like
relationships as seems apparent in this case. More
than this the question of the 2 million dollar “gift”
from Kodak which was used to finance new construction
at Town Hall remains unanswered. Supervisor Auberger
has bragged that this construction was achieved with
no tax increase to Greece Residents. It seems apparent
that the price of the construction was dear indeed.

If it is true that Supervisor Auberger was unaware of
the tax fraud being perpetuated on the residents of
the Town of Greece, this indicates a major failure of
political responsibility and oversight by the Town
Board. Were town officials asleep at the wheel? There
is no small irony in the fact that a Supervisor who
seems to take a hands on ­ some would say an
autocratic -- approach to Town government, will assume
no responsibility for this outcome. The supervisor
generally limits the public visibility and public
exposure of town administrators and even fellow board
members. Many announcements from the Town seem to
equate the Supervisor and the Town. The supervisor
however is our representative not the embodiment of
our will. The difference is crucial.  

We think the problem here is the creation of a
political culture that is closed and --yes -- 
autocratic. Look at the changes in Town Board meetings
over time. Under Supervisor Boily’s administration,
which itself was far from perfect, at least Town Board
meetings were lively forums for discussion and
debate,. Current Town Board meetings are now poorly
attended with no substantive discussion to speak of.
They start earlier to avoid public attendance and
attention. The all republican Town Board acts behind
closed doors and justifies this procedure as fair and
open. Town Board members vote in lockstep and act more
like fearful puppets that as representatives of the
people who elected them. Town hall is an insiders
game. Some of the Town Board members work for other
republican controlled entities like County government.
While that’s hardly illegal it promotes an insider
atmosphere. There is little room for independence or
oversight. One never hears any public dissent. Under
these conditions it is easy to see how scandal can be
swept under the rug.

Democracy only works in an atmosphere that is open and
transparent. Discussion, and debate, dissent and
oversight all work together to assure that the best
decisions are made. These conditions do not exist in
the Town of Greece. Our officials are not really
accountable to us and they do not seem to have a sense
of responsibility to those who elected them. We are
not sure they deserve our trust

We call for two immediate actions
1) Greece residents of all political stripes ought to
speak out for greater openness and oversight in local
government. We need to work for transparent decision
making that involves all segments of the public as
decisions makers not simply consumers of services.
Town government needs  a loyal opposition whether it
is a dissenting republican or a democrat. 

2) We call on the Supervisor and the members of the
Town Board to be more forthcoming about the assessment
scandal and to acknowledge their sins of commission
and omission in the process. This happened on their
watch and they need to take some responsibility. 

Read the FBI affadavit