Syracuse auditor candidate says decision to close senior center made 'in a closet'

Steve Kimatian / photo by Craig McDowell

A candidate for Syracuse City Auditor has some harsh words for city hall.

Republican Steve Kimatian says the decision to close the Ida Benderson senior center is a prime example of what's wrong with city government. He says he wants more transparency in the decision making process.

The city announced last month that it is closing the Ida Benderson Senior Center to save about $1 million over 10 years. Seniors were told the services would be moving to the Salvation Army. However, Kimatian says seniors were not given a chance to weigh in, and the decision was made in secret. "There is no doubt the Ida Benderson decision was made in a closet and was then communicated to everyone else, including the other elected officials who themselves have responsibilities to their constituents and should show what's going on and be able to discuss it."

Mayor Stephanie Miner did meet with seniors earlier this week to discuss their options moving forward.

In his push for transparency, Kimatian says he wants all city meetings that include deliberations to put aired on cable and streamed online. He says this opportunity can be created during negotiations with cable companies. Kimatian wants those proceedings to be interactive for the people who can't make it to the meeting. He also wants free wifi around the city.

Democrat Martin Masterpole is also running for City Auditor. He is currently the 17th District Onondaga County Legislator. Masterpole says he wants to work on efficiencies within the city government, and working with the county to expand consolidation.