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Another black eye for Greene County government

July 10, 2019 10:03 pm

There is one thing about government we can all probably agree on, and that is the more government tries to keep a secret in, the more the secret wants to get out.

Greene County officials now want to know who turned the former sheriff’s office on Bridge Street in Catskill into an auction market without authorization.

As a matter of fact, so do we.

The details are almost too comical to relate.

An astute Catskill bed-and-breakfast owner named Pat Ruck spoke to legislators at a county committee meeting Tuesday about seeing pieces of the sheriff’s office being sold off on an online auction website.

A couple staying at Ruck’s Airbnb told her they won an auction and they’re building a house and want to put in “wonderful features.” The guests told Ruck their winning bid was $700.

“They spent two days in the building, taking doors off,” Ruck said. “The building” turned out to be the old sheriff’s office.

Ruck’s guests arrived in a compact car, so they stacked the doors and were planning to come back for them.

“They were going to come back with a flatbed to take the staircase out,” Ruck said. “And they said they were going to need helpers to take all they bid on.”

Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said Tuesday that attempts to get in the building and remove molding showed something had to be done.

“So we shut it down,” Groden said.

Groden is uncertain who was in charge of the unauthorized posting of items on the auction website, and attempts are underway to retrieve the items. He also said he doesn’t know who has the keys to the now-closed county jail.

This isn’t just about a fire sale that was not supposed to happen. It isn’t about an unpopular jail that few want to see built. It’s about a county government where the right hand doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing. It’s about the abuse of trust voters place in their elected officials.

When will the Greene County government get its act together and stop standing in the way of logic and doing what is right by their constituents?

1. You might think that if the Greene County Legislature and the Village of Catskill were really concerned about the taxpayers (LOL remember them - the ones footing the bill to pay the $90,000,000 in obligations to be generated by the new jail?) - that they would at least make a gesture to publicize an auction for the Sheriff's office and the old jail?
2. You might think that bonding and a filing a site remediation plan might be part of the stipulation for entering any bids on a county owned property.

But, you wouldn't be describing this penny-ante and provincially corrupt group of patronage driven Yahoos described as Greene County Government.

It is really time for the public to be demanding an outside investigation into the whole jail affair including the elected (and non-elected!!) officials who have been part of this opaque charade.

To quote Casey Stengel: "When it stinks, you don't need nobody to tell you somethin' smells rotten."
And a "thanks" and 'shout out' to Pat Ruck and her husband John who brought the latest fiasco to the public's attention. Pat's not a physically large presence, but she stood up to the deputy sheriffs and prison guards called out by their chief, Greg Seeley, when he staged 'a spontaneous show of public support' to intimidate dissent at the last public hearing on the jail question. All of us need to continue to stand up against this continued outrage, and vote these Yahoos out of office, starting at the top of the Greene County Legislature. That really seems to be the only cure for the disease of stubborn stupidity and corrosive corruption that seems to have infected our local government.