Rennia: Binghamton city government lacks communication

By Perry Russom

March 5, 2014 Updated Mar 5, 2014 at 11:51 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Communication between Binghamton Mayor Rich David and the Binghamton City Council has been called into question.

In city council's work session Monday night, City Council President Teri Rennia requested to see David's timeline on the city's Comprehensive Plan. The some 400-page document outlines the city's direction for the next 10 years and beyond.

When Rennia requested to see the mayor's plan, David asked for a day to review Rennia's request.

"I just think that if we're going to work collaboratively, we all need to have access," said Rennia. "Most importantly, the law says that we are allowed access to all of the records."

Rennia's concern is that changes will be suggested and made in the Comprehensive Plan without city council having the ability to see what was done.

"As elected representatives, we have every right to have access to what the consultants come up with from the information that they solicited," said Rennia, adding she wants the information unfiltered.

"With the context that there's some critical documents or other information that's being withheld, I'm just frankly not even sure what she's even talking about," said David.

The two went back and forth for about 10 minutes, culminating in David telling Rennia that she "went off the rails."

David said he was disappointed in the way Rennia acted in the meeting.

"Most professionals that I know and most adults that I know that have concerns they go right to the source," said David. "They don't go to the media."

David said his office has been going above and beyond in regards to communicating with the current city council.

"I constantly write them emails to all members of City Council on a variety of different topics," said David.

Rennia said she and other city leaders are kept in the dark about various aspects of the city's operation. She mentioned the Chris Thater Memorial race that's being moved downtown and David's effort to renew the city's "property and building nuisance reform law."

"We need to make sure that there is communication and that there is cooperation and collaboration between the administration and city council," said Rennia.

Rennia and David squared off in November to replace outgoing mayor Matt Ryan.

When asked if David thought this was some of the residuals from the campaign battle, David said "the thought crossed his mind."

Following the exchange, city council got back to work. Council approved the hiring an additional police officer but only temporarily. It brings the number of police officers in the city to 132.

The city is expecting one officer to retire in June. To prepare for the retirement, it’s adding one position now so the future officer can train and be ready when the spot opens.

Once the officer retires, the overall number of police officers will go back to 131.