Frank's record on the Common Council
Shortly after taking office, Frank sponsored legislation to create a commission that recommended major not-for-profit entities in Albany make contributions to the city’s general fund. The results have been mixed. Some successes were achieved - both Albany Medical Center and SUNY Poly made contributions to the city in recent years - but much more needs to be done.
In 2011, Frank led an effort to have the city better control health insurance costs. In labor contracts negotiated shortly thereafter by the Jennings Administration, new cost-sharing provisions were instituted for new hires.
In 2012, Frank led an effort to reduce future debt issued for the Rapp Road Landfill. Frank pushed for a set-aside per ton tipped at the Rapp Road Landfill while others fought against any set-aside of funds. A compromise led to the creation of a $2 set-aside, which has been used to eliminate and/or reduce debt costs at the landfill in each year since.
In 2013, Frank fought for a fair redistricting process. When it became clear that other council members were attempting to gerrymander Albany’s ward lines by dividing SUNY dormitories (both vertically and horizontally), Frank stood up for student’s rights and called those members to task. A fair set of boundaries was adopted.
In 2014, Frank was critical of a proposed tax break promoted by Mayor Kathy Sheehan for SUNY Poly. Frank identified a conflict of interest whereby Albany’s IDA/CRC chairperson owned property that received benefits through STARTUP-NY while financing for SUNY Poly was under consideration. Within days of Frank’s critique, taxpayers received a far better deal, and an additional $2.4 million was provided for the City of Albany and Albany County.
In 2015, Frank achieved a new contract for Albany’s 9-1-1 dispatchers. Through collaboration with other council members, Frank steadily grew the number of co-sponsors on legislation awarding a contract to the dispatchers. Just days after Frank added a seventh co-sponsor ( Commisso, Bailey, Flynn, Kimbrough, Krasher, O’Brien and Robinson) to his legislation, the mayor capitulated and agreed to a new contract with Albany’s 9-1-1 dispatchers.
In 2016, Frank identified that City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar had illegally borrowed $6 million to cover payroll costs at the end of 2015. Faced with a lack of cash to pay city employees in December, the treasurer hid the borrowing from the Common Council and the public in an effort to conceal the embarrassing fact that the current administration squandered nearly all of the $20 million in reserves it inherited from the previous administration in less than two years.