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Tuesday November 23 2010 headlines

Nov 23, 2010 1:10 am
Comptroller: Hudson District schools failed to claim for services; Co-Principal Tom Gavin suspended one week for threat at board meeting
From Lynn Sloneker in unmuffled:
"An audit by the Office of the State Comptroller found the Hudson City School District failed to claim eligible special education services totaling nearly half a million dollars during the 2008-09 school year, losing the district an estimated $115,064 in reimbursement revenue, according to a report released late last week. As the result of an examination of records covering the period of July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, the Comptroller's team determined the district processed claims for less than 50 percent – 122 of 307 – of all Medicaid-eligible students enrolled in the four district schools. Auditors further found the district lacked 'written policies and procedures to define the responsibilities for collecting data, monitoring student eligibility, documenting services, submitting and reconciling claims and monitoring the receipt of payments.' In an Oct. 28 letter to Chief Examiner Kenneth Madej, Superintendent of Schools John F. Howe acknowledged the recommendations contained in the report, and further noted that HCSD 'recognizes the importance of maximizing revenue sources related to Medicaid and will focus improvement efforts in the areas noted in the audit report.'"

She also made several Twitter posts from Monday night's Hudson school board meeting describing some type of altercation.
unmuffled Twitter posts:
• Packed house and Tom Gavin threatens Steve Spicer after discussion about week from hell at HHS. Hudson Police Commissioner breaks it up.
• Later in the meeting a who's who of Hudson come forward and speak in support of making Spicer principal of JLE.
• Staff present for 'discipline' discussion lay blame for last week's violent chaos at HHS on students' use of cell phones.
• BoE decides Gavin's behavior merits a one-week 'out of school" suspension.
• Would have been hard for BoE to ignore Gavin's threat...he acted out in front of some of the city's most distinguished people.

John Mason in Register-Star further explains:
"Hudson High School Co-Principal Tom Gavin has been suspended for a week after he allegedly threatened fellow Co-Principal Steven Spicer with violence at Monday’s Board of Education meeting. Gavin had just reported to the board on a week of mayhem at the high school, featuring group fights in the hallways and classrooms, suspensions, superintendents hearings, and an all-school lockdown on Thursday. Several teachers and members of the public then rose to give their opinions on the origins and cures of the violence. Much of the discussion focused on the school’s non-enforcement of the rule against use of cell phones. Finally, Spicer rose to say, 'Let’s enforce the code of conduct. Kids don’t understand — if you let them break rules, they don’t understand you can’t break other rules. There has to be one rule for everybody.' Spicer told the Register-Star that Gavin then threw down his coat and gestured for him to come out in the hall. 'He invaded my space, he pointed his finger in my face and said, "What the hell were you telling those people I wasn’t enforcing the code of conduct for?"' Spicer said. "I said, "We’re not. We’re letting kids wear hats, doo-rags, scarves and listen to their iPods." Then he got really mad, pointed his finger back in my face and said, "I’ll give you code of conduct."' Then city of Hudson Police Commissioner Ron Grant separated them, he said. The confrontation between the two principals put the cap on a difficult week for the district."

Wheels grind slowly for courthouse upgrades
Diane Valden in The Columbia Paper tells a 20-year tale of the Columbia County Courthouse's failure to comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). But give the county a break, they only began to attempt compliance for the Hudson building in 2003, she reports. "Under the current timetable, the County Courthouse will become ADA compliant by sometime in late 2012 or early 2013," Valden writes.

Have Columbia County bridges been repaired?
Mike McCagg in ccScoop pulls out a 2008 state report card on bridges in Columbia County and their ratings. He says, "a rating of 7 is the gold standard assigned to new bridges" which is not particularly exact. Then he lists all the substandard ratings in the county, those under, "the 5 rating threshold set by the state as meeting standards":
• Hildebrandt Bridge in Claverack, 3.9 rating
• The Ferry Street Bridge in Hudson over the railroad, 3.5
• Schoolhouse Road in Stuyvesant over the railroad, 3.6
• Hall Hill Road in Ancram over the Roe Jan Kill, 3.2
• State Route 295 in Chatham at the intersection with Interstate 90, 3.8
• Albany Turnpike in Chatham over the railroad, 3.4
• County Route 9 in East Chatham over Indian Creek, 3.4
• White Mills Road in Chatham over the railroad, 3.6
• Millbrook Road in Claverack over Loomis Creek, 3.7
• County Route 7A in Copake over the Roe Jan Kill, 3.4
• Fingar Road in Greenport over the Mud Creek, 3.9
"The report also classified the Hildebrandt Bridge – along with one on Empire Road in Copake – as 'functionally obsolete' by the state, meaning the bridges are unable to meet current standards for managing the volume of traffic they carry," McKagg wrote. "The Empire Road Bridge is being replaced, Copake officials said."

CSEA FOIL reveals Paterson administration's recent DEC hirings
From Civil Service Employees Association:
"A CSEA Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request has shown that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added 36 top-level management/confidential positions to the state payroll since July 1, 2010, despite a state-hiring freeze. Eighteen of the 40 positions have a base salary in excess of $100,000 per year."

Bank of Greene County stockholders rewarded
Dick May in Seeing Greene reports:
"Directors of Greene County Bancorp Inc., governing parent of the Bank of Greene County, bestowed upon stockholders a special dividend, of 20 cents per share, on top of the regular quarterly dividend, of 17.5 cents a share. Their announcement may well have triggered the recent jump in the market price of GCBC shares, ahead of the November 12 ownership deadline. By way of explaining the bonus, the directors cited “strong earnings performance over the last several quarters” plus the coming increase in Federal tax rate on dividends. Consequently, a dividend paid by the end of this year is worth more than the same amount paid in 2011."

Nov. 23 birthdays include Harpo Marx, Krzysztof Pendericki, and Hamid Hassani.
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