Friday, September 29, 2006

Can one trust the word of elected officials?

Over 4 years ago the Greenburgh Town Board members unanimously approved an agreement with the Mayfair Knollwood civic association. The agreement also was approved by Westchester County & HELP USA, a non profit organization that builds homeless housing.
In the 1980s, proponents of WESTHELP, a 108 unit homeless shelter, promised that the shelter would close at the end of 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period the homeless shelter leadership asked me if it would be possible to approach residents who live near the homeless shelter -and ask them if we could extend the shelter. WESTHELP agreed to respect the wishes of the community. If the community said close down the shelter the shelter would be closed.
It took 2 long years of negotiations (the town hired an outside lawyer to help us). Finally, a unique agreement was approved. The neighborhood would receive additional benefits if the shelter remains open. The Valhalla school district would receive $650,000 a year in grant funds for special educational programs for the students. The neighborhood held a public meeting and voted 90-10 to keep the shelter open, provided the town gives the school district the funds for additional education programs.
This was a win win for everyone. The homeless benefitted because WESTHELP remains open. The county benefits because they don't have to look to build other homeless shelters. The town avoids a controversy. And residents of Mayfair Knollwood get better schools with additional terrific programs.
NOW--some civic leaders who don't live in the Mayfair Knollwood neighborhood are pressuring the Town Board not to keep our end of the agreement. They don't believe that the school district should get to the money promised in the contract.
I think our word should be kept--commitments should be honored. If the Valhalla school distict does not get what was promised, no one will ever trust government again.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe that the town board would even think about breaking their promises. What's wrong with them?

Anonymous said...

ostensibly we are a nation of laws not men. if the arrangement with the valhalla school district is illegal, it is not binding. no future payments should be made until the state comptroller's office has rendered an opinion that this huge gift to the school district (to keep quiet about the shelter) does not violate the law.

Feiner's pants are on fire said...

A new low for Feiner. He knows the Valhalla deal was illegal (therefore it was never a contract and thus not an enforceable promise). We now know the reasons it was fashioned were bogus. We now know the gift money was never proeperly accounted for and it was used for illegitmate purposes.Yet he keeps pandering to his pals in Mayfair-Knollwood about "broken promises." Paul,you have a serious problem with the truth. What a joke that you ask whether the word of elected officials can be trusted! Once again, your pants are on fire!!