Home Community Letter to the Editor: Newburgh needs new leadership

Letter to the Editor: Newburgh needs new leadership

To the Editor:

The most recent cyberattack serves as further evidence that the City of Newburgh’s dysfunction will persist due to incompetent municipal leadership, contributing to the ongoing disarray. So where was our fearless City Manager Todd Venning when a huge cyberattack was breaching the city’s technical infrastructure?

Orlando. Yes, he was mingling and making small talk in the Sunshine State.Todd was in attendance at the 118th Annual Conference of the Government Finance Officers Association, which kept him too busy to deal with the collapse of Newburgh’s IT infrastructure. Strangely, Todd was on this escapade to receive recognition for his leadership of City Hall, an organization that is presently incapable of carrying out fundamental local functions. To protect our city manager’s ego, the City of Newburgh covered the costs of travel, lodging, and other expenses for several employees to attend the conference and accept an essentially meaningless award.

Let me be clear: the city recently paid over $37,000 to bring Council members and senior staff to an off-site retreat. This is just another blunder for which there is now no download or debrief available to the public. Nothing suggests that our so-called leaders gained any insight from their lavish weekend retreat. We’re now shelling out even more cash to send important executives to accept an award. Todd is having a good time, but Newburgh is immobile.

As of this writing on Friday, June 14, four days have gone since the first cyberattack, and we still don’t know almost anything. The city has not provided many specifics, which is ironic because Todd was receiving an Orlando transparency award at the same time this was going on. Compared to the City of Newburgh, Orange County and Executive Steve Neuhaus have been more open about this issue!

The most annoying thing about the entire situation is that. Even though hacks regrettably occur frequently, Newburgh City Hall’s glaring lack of openness and contact with the public is disgusting. Gaining greater understanding of what’s going on would be extremely beneficial to preserving citizens’ faith in city operations.

It appears that Todd Venning was too preoccupied with his recent travels to notice this message. This is unfortunate, as our City Manager has instituted an unprecedented ban on public dialog and information sharing, all while accepting a performative and hollow award that honors transparency.

This is the right moment! There is an enema in this city. Let’s start at the top and clean up City Hall. We require a new beginning. Remove the egotistical mayor, empty the executive office, and fire the absolutely incompetent and obliging City Council. This disastrous lack of leadership should serve as a spark for significant change: the people of Newburgh must band together and demand policies that will, once and for all, bring about long-lasting change.

Fisher, Hael Stewart, City of Newburgh


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