Syracuse Common Council Member Patrick Hogan, a Democrat who is seen as a potential primary challenger to Mayor Stepahnie Minor this year, sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today expressing “profound regret” for her Times op/ed that was critical of the governor’s pension smoothing proposal.

The letter first appeared on the webiste of The Post-Standard of Syracuse.

In the letter, Hogan writes that Miner should be working with people to fix the long-term budget issues rather than “being critical of state government.”

From the letter:

“Instead of being critical of State government, perhaps, the Mayor should bring all parties together citizens, labor, management, business, as well as, all other stakeholders in the community to find solutions to the problems facing our city. You have renegotiated labor contracts, downsized the workforce and reduced spending in state government. We must do the same.”

Miner, the state Democratic Party co-chairwoman, appeared on Capital Tonight Thursday to discuss the op/ed, saying that she wanted Cuomo and other officials in Albany to take a serious look at the structural fiscal problems that local governments around New York face.

In the op/ed, Miner called the proposal akin to a “gimmick.”

But Hogan writes in his letter to Cuomo that the smoothing plan in his budget proposal — which allows local governments to lock in pension costs under Tier Six now against future savings — will ease costs in the short term.

Pension costs are a significant burden; we know it will be sometime before local governments will realize the savings from your Tier VI plan. The pension plan proposed by your administration for municipalities and (endorsed by the NYS Conference of Mayors and our own Onondaga County Executive) will allow the City of Syracuse to bridge the gap in costs until the benefits from the Tier VI plan are realized. It is a creative and responsible plan.

The full letter is after the jump.

February 15, 2013
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor State of New York
Executive Chamber
State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

I would like express my profound regret and offer an apology on behalf of the citizens of Syracuse for the statements of our Mayor criticizing your efforts in helping us find a solution to our fiscal problems. By all objective measures, your administration has been exemplary in investing and energizing economic development in Syracuse.

It seems to me that State government is working to turn around our upstate economy. Your philosophy of government must live within its means, is exactly right. We all know the old ways of tax and spend need to change. The time has come to look at consolidation of government on the local level to deliver services and save money. We cannot continually look down the road to Albany to solve our problems. The City of Syracuse must look to balance its needs and resources and set its own priorities.

Instead of being critical of State government, perhaps, the Mayor should bring all parties together citizens, labor, management, business, as well as, all other stakeholders in the community to find solutions to the problems facing our city. You have renegotiated labor contracts, downsized the workforce and reduced spending in state government. We must do the same.

The current administration took office with a surplus that is depleted; now they look to the state for additional aid; many of us more mature leaders know the days of Mayors traveling to Albany looking for a bailout are gone.

Pension costs are a significant burden; we know it will be sometime before local governments will realize the savings from your Tier VI plan. The pension plan proposed by your administration for municipalities and (endorsed by the NYS Conference of Mayors and our own Onondaga County Executive) will allow the City of Syracuse to bridge the gap in costs until the benefits from the Tier VI plan are realized. It is a creative and responsible plan.

Rest assured there are leaders in Syracuse that applaud your resolve in solving the State’s problems and your efforts in helping us solve ours.

Respectfully,

Patrick Hogan
Councilor 2nd District