Letter: Trolley Management Issues in the County

Dear Editor:

While the article appearing on Philipstown.info Aug. 10 on the use of the trolley car was an interesting expansion of our transportation menu, it should not mask the underlying management problems which continue to afflict the system.

Has the Tamagna/Odell crystal ball forecast of sky-high revenues from MV transportation been clouded by the reality of hard numbers? During the past few weeks, weeding out credible, substantiated information provided by Transportation Manager Vincent Tamagna has been frustrated by shell number games. As of this date, the following appear to be the results for the year’s operations:

Due to Mr. Tamagna’s inexperience in all matters transportation, the county hired a consultant for $65,000 to write the RFP. The sweetener to approving the MV contract was Mr. Tamagna’s boasting of a bounty saving of $5 million over the life of the five-year contract. Not two months later, at the State of the County Address, Ms. Odell congratulated Mr. Tamagna on securing the contract at a savings of $4 million. A million here, a million there. However, persistent efforts to obtain cost comparisons between the old contract under First Transit of White Plains and the new contract with MV appeared to result in only a savings of $235,366, a far cry from the original Tamagna and Odell bloated estimates. Nor was I provided substantiation of Ms. Odell’s May 15, 2014, press release claims of $1 million in cost-cutting efficiencies.

Projected increases in ridership were equally difficult to pin down. Was the increase in ridership figures for veterans being transported to medical appointments due to duplications or repeaters?

Equally troubling was the apparent failure by Mr. Tamagna to disclose his brother’s relationship to the successful bidder, Dallas-based MV. I have not been able to determine whether Mr. Tamagna’s brother was in the employ of MV before the contract or was employed subsequent to the contract award and what exactly is his position and salary. Presently he is sitting in the [county] Planning Department’s renovated supply room on Fair Street [in Carmel] equipped with central air, desks, cubbies, flooring, etc. Estimated cost to taxpayers is approximately $14,000, obtained from various Highway Department budget lines. If, in fact, his employment occurred prior to the contract, then Mr. Tamagna should have disclosed it on the ethics form required of all county employees.

Who is being held accountable in this questionable Tamagna/Odell scheme? Are we, the taxpayers, being taken for a ride?

Dini Lo Bue
Putnam County Legislator, District 8


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One thought on “Letter: Trolley Management Issues in the County

  1. Many thanks to Legislator Lo Bue for her tireless efforts on behalf of Putnam’s overburdened taxpayers. Am I the only one who wonders where Cold Spring’s own legislator, Mrs. Scuccimarra, is on this issue? After all, as an actual resident of the town, she should be aware that most of the time the trolley is driving around virtually empty. Whether it’s due to lack of PR or the fact that for whatever reasons people are not using it, the trolley seems like a waste of money in these cash strapped times. When you see the kind of money that’s being sent, maybe it would be cheaper for the County to provide car service for the seniors, veterans or anyone else who needs a ride.