Friday, December 22, 2006

LEAK OF DRAFT REPORT VIOLATES COMPTROLLERS REQUEST THAT DRAFT BE CONFIDENTIAL UNTIL INFORMATION CAN BE VERIFIED

The NY State Comptroller has been reviewing the WESTHELP partnership agreement. A draft report was presented to me and members of the Town Board. On each page of the report there was a sentence requesting that the draft report not be shared with the public. During meetings with the State Comptroller's office all the town officials present were told that the release of a draft report would be very damaging to the integrity of the process. The reason: The Comptroller's office indicated to the 5 members of the Town Board (Eddie Mae Barnes, Diana Juettner, Steve Bass, Francis Sheehan and myself) that there could be errors in the report. The State Comptroller's office did not want to release a document that contains errors in it.
The State Comptroller's office has given the Town Board and me until January 3rd, 2007 to respond to their draft. There are some errors in the draft report that need to be corrected.
Today, a newspaper reporter from the Journal News contacted me and advised me that the highly confidential report was leaked. I believe that the integrity of the comptroller's report (which contains inaccuracies) is at stake. I also believe that it was highly unethical and improper to release a confidential draft report that has errors in it to a reporter.
The proper response from the Town Board should have been to wait until a final report was prepared that is accurate. We anticipate that the final report will be released in early 2007. The public has the right to review the comptroller's opinion and findings.

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous. The final report must be given to the public. A report that contains errors in it should not be released. Shame on the leaker!

Anonymous said...

Why is the state dragging its feet? We want our money back from Valhalla?

Anonymous said...

If and when the Journal News publishes the draft report I hope and trust that they will mention that the draft report contains inaccurate information.

Anonymous said...

I am certain the Journal News will indicate the report is draft. Whether they give others a chance to respond within an article, or later -- I'm certain there will be an opportunity.

Anonymous said...

What value is there in publishing inaccurate information?

Feiner is guilty said...

The report was leaked after Feiner himself leaked it to his "personal lawyer" - a resident of Mayfair Knollwood - who, at Feiner's request, then called the state comptroller's office, said he represented the town, and asked for more time to respond to the report's so-called "inaccuracies."

In fact, this business of claiming there are "inaccuracies" is nothing more than an attempt by Feiner and certain individuals from Mayfair Knollwood and the Valhalla School District to smear and discredit the report before it even comes out.

Why? Because the report concludes that Feiner illegally and irresponsibily gave away $1.8 million of town money to the Valhalla School District, that among the abuses Feiner was responsible for funding was $150,000 to a grant administrator employed by the school district who spent no more than 15 days doing any work, and that Valhalla lied about not giving any town money to a private foundation.

The bottom line here is that, like Hevesi, Feiner abused the public trust by squandering millions of dollars of town money on a school district that was all too eager to take the town to the cleaners, and then some.

Anonymous said...

Hey--who leaked this? The only individuals who had access to the report were members of the Town Council and Feiner. Why would Steve Bass, Diana Juettner and Eddie Mae Barnes agree to the leak when they voted for the WESTHELP contract? Every year they voted to release funds to the Valhalla school district, in compliance with the contract. A few years ago our former Superintendent of Schools even presented Bass, Juettner,Barnes & Feiner with an award at a Town Board meeting thanking them for voting for the partnership.

Blame Feiner said...

The report's been in the town's hands for over a month. It could have been leaked at any time. But it wasn't. Instead, it was only leaked after Feiner's "personal lawyer" spoke with state comptroller officials, claimed he represented the town when he didn't, and asked that the town be given more time to respond.

So what happened here? It's not nice to play fast and loose with state comptroller officials in Albany.

With Feiner evidently leaking the report to his friends in Mayfair Knollwood as part of an effort to discredit the report before it even comes out, it wouldn't be surprising at all if th leak came from one of those hard-working investigators who work for the state comptroller's office, who didn't want to see some crummy two-bit politician try to smear their work with false claims of "inaccuracies."

Anonymous said...

Dear Blame Feiner: Are you a member of the Town Council? Did you leak the report? You seem to be trying to persuade readers of this blog that you are privy to information that may or not be true.
Feiner, according to Feiner is guilty, asked for an extension of time to prepare his response. What's wrong with that? Isn't it in the towns interest for a response to be accurate? Asking for an extension of time to respond to an opinion is done all the time in courts of law.
If the report is inaccurate it should be discredited. No one, including Feiner and Mayfair Knollwood community members, wants the report (once finalized) not to be released.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the fuss over who leaked the report or who leaked it first or whatever. What difference does it make?

Feiner claims he stands for open government. Last spring, he leaked confidential memos about a library matter to a village resident claiming he had a right to do so.

Last spring Feiner also leaked a confidential report prepared by the chief of police who was looking into whether the town's e-mail system had been compromised. Again, Feiner claimed he had a right to do so. All part of "open government," he said.

So why all the fuss about the state comptroller's report? Doesn't "open govermment" mean we should get a chance to see what the comptroller has to say, even in draft form? Why was Feiner of all people trying to keep us, the voters, from seeing what was said? What's he trying to protect us from?

No doubt he doesn't like what the report says. But so what?

State auditors are not usually known for getting the facts wrong after conducting a two-year investigation.

For the sake of open government, Feiner should release the draft report in its entirety so we can judge for ourselves what it has to say, instead of Feiner and his supporters judging it for us.

Anonymous said...

A draft report that is leaked is different than a final report. The state comptroller's office advised all town officials that there were possible errors in the draft. That is why they requested confidentiality. After the town submit its response for review by the comptroller's office, the comptroller's office will issue a final report which will be released to the public. When Town Council members leaked this report to the media they did a bad thing. The report, once published in the papers, will contain inaccuracies. The town council is undermining the integrity of the report.

Anonymous said...

There's been no evidence that the Town Council is the source of any leak. There's also been no evidence that the comptroller's draft report contains any inaccuracies.

Both statements are being made by Feiner either posting anonymously or by friends of Feiner from Mayfair Knollwood(posting anonymously).

Those other bloggers (or blogger) also posting anonymously who have been sugggesting that Feiner and friends are trying to discredit the report before it's even been issued seem to be right on the money.

This kind of lying by smear seems to be what Feiner does when he's on the defensive.

Oh, and by the way, I bought my copy of the Journal News today and didn't see any story in there about WestHelp.

Anonymous said...

Hypocrites! This past winter or spring the Town Board voted to ask the police department to conduct an investigation targetting Feiner because he showed a constituent an e mail. After the investigation found that Feiner did nothing wrong the Board directed the Town Attorney to post on his communications to the Board a confidentiality memorandum. I have been told that the Town Attorney's message threatens violators with a misdemeanor.
The State Comptroller's office requested the Town Board members to keep the draft report confidential. Did the Board members honor the request? NO. They arranged to have it given out to a reporter from the Journal News, knowing that the report was incomplete and possibly inaccurate.
Francis Sheehan, Steve Bass -shame on you!

more feiner slime said...

Gee, these Feiner guys won't quit. There's no evidence that any town council member leaked anything to anyone.

Yet Feiner is so desperate to salvage what's left of his Hevesi-like career that he's spreading the rumor that his colleagues on the town council are somehow the ones responsible.

Never mind what the report shows, that Feiner evidently illegally and irresponsibly gave away millions of dollars in town money to a greedy school district run by some bullies from the Mayfair Knollwood civic assocication.

This is yet another Feiner tactic. For goodness sake, when the going gets tough, change the subject and go on the offensive, slime anyone perceived to be your enemy and keep on doing it til ya run outta gas or your run outta town.

Anonymous said...

How do you know what the report says? Are you the leaker? Probably. Get the news out there first, and make sure it's bad for Feiner. Forget the facts.

Anonymous said...

Unlike the nonsense over the email, this leak is serious. Of course the usual bunch of Feiner haters immediately start attacking him, but this is really something for the police to investigate. Leaking a draft report that the State Comptroller has requested to remain confidential because of the possible need for correction is really bad news, possibly a crime. It will certainly feed the paranoiacs who always think that they are being ripped off.

I suspect one of the Feiner haters on the Town Council. But we will know when the report comes out and we see who was nice and who was naughty.

Anonymous said...

And what makes you think the report wasnt leaked by the Feiner contingent to draw attention away from the real issues -- which are

1. Were the payments to Valhalla illegal?

2. When will Greenburgh get the money back?

3. Will Feiner be held accountable?

Anonymous said...

No. 2 - Will Greenburgh get the money back?
Daa - Uh - never - I hope - unless your Civic Asso. comes to the Town Board at their next meeting and offers a place for WESTHElP in your school district/neighborhood. We'll be watching and waiting.

Maybe you think you can blow off the homeless and pedophiles - cause it's not really a problem for you - cause you don't live there. My heavens, maybe you even live with the other downtrodden and oppressed folk in "poor" Edgemont.

Truthteller said...

The Valhalla School District and the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association have no right to any of the so-called WestHelp money, and they never did.

In 2001, the Town of Greenburgh had the legal right to turn the WestHelp facility on the WCC campus into senior citizen housing. It did not do so because the county brokered a deal to enable the WestHelp facility to pay the town $1.2 million a year, for ten years, using county money.

Had Greenburgh not accepted the money, the county would have had to locate its shelter somewhere else in the county.

This nonsense that it would have to go to some other location in Greenburgh, such as Edgemont, as opposed to some other place in the county, is pure nonsense being spread by Feiner and the greedy Mayfair Knollwood bullies who recognized Feiner early on for the patsy that he is.

Anonymous said...

So you think Greenburgh and Mayfair Knollwood should have said "no" to Westhelp and the money from rental lease designated by contract for the affected area and instead told the County to put Westhelp in some other Westchester town or village or city.

It sounds like you're saying that since they said 'yes' to Westhelp, you think Mayfair Knollwood should not get the County money from the Lease. It should go to everyone else in Greenburgh, including Edgemont.

Anonymous said...

To Truthteller

Yes it is clear that Mayfair/Knollwood saw a patsy in Feiner. One of the VSD reps at a public meeting said they were lookin for 100K per year -- Feiner gave away the store --

Anonymous said...

If there were inaccuracies, the town could have answered them on time instead of having Feiner's personal lawyer ask for an extention. You have no idea how many people have copied of that report. The Valhalla Schools committee, the Kensico School Principal, BOE members. Once one person gets it they all could have it. I'm surprised it is not on the valhallavoice.com Don't be so worried about inaccuracies, it's the illegalities that will doom the deal

Anonymous said...

If everybody has the report, why not post it on the blog.

Anonymous said...

The people that have the report are the targets of the audit. That is why it is not yet posted all over the internet. Someone in the custody chain leaked a copy. Politicians do this all the time or it could be someone fed up with the cover up. In any case we will know soon if it is hitting the papers.

Anonymous said...

I doubt there are any actual inaccuracies - perhaps a few piddling phrasings or such. I think that the Supervisor is just trying to prolong the inevitable by this propoganda of a leak.

Anonymous said...

This situation provides us a good opportunity to clean up the old-fashioned school district lines.

Unincorporated Greenburgh students shouldn't be going to a school system in Mount Pleasant in the first place. (Yes, yes, I know the history of how no one wanted to attend Woodlands, which is one reason that Ardsley schools are now so overcrowded.) But Woodlands is now better than it used to be, and all students in unincorporated Greenburgh should attend Edgemont schools or Greenburgh schools - period.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you would get much of an argument from the rest of Valhalla or North White Plains. That district seems about to rip itself apart.

Anonymous said...

The town can not re-align school districts. Most residents of many school districts living in unincorporated greenburgh do not want to change, whether they are in ardsly, valhalla, edgemont or greenburgh 7. Many school districts do not want more students. so it will not happen. The state will not approve.

the solution is for feiner to stop playing to voters with illegal solutions.

Anonymous said...

Draft audit questions grant spending by Valhalla schools
By DAVID MCKAY WILSON
THE JOURNAL NEWS
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(Original publication: December 25, 2006)



GREENBURGH - A $6.5 million grant program between the town and the Valhalla schools - funded by the WestHELP homeless complex - violates state law because towns can't give gifts to districts for activities that serve students in only part of the town, a draft report from the state Comptroller's Office says.

In addition, the report questions a $50,000 payment to Kensico School Principal Sal Miele, who was to devote the majority of his time to administering the grant under the program agreement.

School district records showed Miele worked 15 days a year to administer the $650,000-a-year grant, according to the report.

"The Grant Administrator has been paid at least $50,000 annually for 15 reported days of work," the report said. "This equates to an excessive rate of pay of $3,333 per day and demonstrates that the majority of the Grant Administrator's time was not spent administering the Educational Grant Agreement."

Valhalla school board President Grace Stone said the district would contest that part of the report.

"However the comptroller arrived at that number is incorrect," Stone said.

In October, Miele, who is paid $168,351 a year as principal, told The Journal News he worked 12 to 14 hours a week on the grant, or 78 to 91 days a year.

Schools Superintendent Diane Ramos-Kelly and Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner echoed Stone's assertion that the draft contained errors.

The Journal News obtained the draft report as the town works on its response, which is due Jan. 3. It also comes as state legislators consider a replacement for Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who resigned Friday. His office has investigated the matter for almost three years and will proceed with the study, said Dan Weiller, spokesman for the Comptroller's Office.

The draft report did not address how the Valhalla schools had spent $1.8 million since 2003.

Records show the district used the funds for classroom technology and education consultants as well as student trips to the Grand Canyon, discount tickets at the Metropolitan Opera and a dinner cruise for adults around Manhattan. The report said a second audit will address how the money was spent.

"Because of our concerns over how the District has accounted for these funds, we intend to include this issue in a subsequent, separate audit of the District," the report said.

Ramos-Kelly and Feiner both said the report had "inaccuracies," but neither would comment on them, saying they had agreed to Hevesi's request that they not talk about the confidential report.

"I think anyone who violated the request of the Comptroller's Office is doing a tremendous disservice," Feiner said.

The agreement under review dates to 2003, when Westchester County, the town of Greenburgh and WestHELP agreed to a 10-year extension for the homeless complex, which is on the grounds of Westchester Community College in Greenburgh's Mayfair-Knollwood neighborhood. Under the original agreement, struck in 1990, the complex was to be given to the town in 2001 under a 30-year lease for low- to moderate-income residents.

With the need for homeless housing still strong, the town agreed to continue the homeless operation for another decade.

Under the agreement, WestHELP would pay Greenburgh $1.2 million a year in rent, with the money divided among the town, $473,000; the Fairview Fire District, $100,000; and the Valhalla schools, $650,000. Funding for the schools helped mollify opposition by the Mayfair-Knollwood Civic Association, which had fought the homeless center's construction in the late 1980s.

Over the agreement's 10-year span, the Valhalla schools would receive $6.5 million.

The comptroller's report says towns can fund school activities as long as those activities further a townwide purpose and all town residents have access to them.

If the gift benefits only the students in one district, then the town needs to provide similar gifts to other school districts in town, the report said. The Valhalla district is the smallest of 10 districts that serve Greenburgh students, with as many as 500 Greenburgh students studying there.

In October, there were 13 children living at WestHELP who attended Valhalla schools.

The report also questioned a payment to the private, nonprofit Valhalla Schools Foundation, which supports school activities, citing the state constitution's ban on gifts from public entities to private individuals or associations. Under the contract, up to 15 percent of unspent funds were to go to the foundation. Town officials said they were advised that the district could not turn over money to the foundation, and understood that portion of the agreement was inapplicable, the report said.

However, the report said the district paid the foundation $5,824 in February 2005, which represented 15 percent of the unspent money for 2003-04.

The district also paid the foundation $30,000 in July 2005 and $24,000 in May of this year, according to documents obtained by The Journal News under the Freedom of Information Law.

That money, in part, helped fund grants for teacher projects.

The comptroller's report suggested three ways to restructure the agreement to comply with state law:

- The town could seek a home-rule law from the Legislature.

- The town could provide funding for noneducational purposes, such as recreational programs and after-school programs that would be open to all town residents.

- The parties could work out a new deal so that WestHELP paid the school district directly, as long as the town received fair-market value for the complex.

Larry Belinsky, chief executive officer of HELP USA, said he was willing to renegotiate the pact

Anonymous said...

Oh, so it seems to me that the inacurricies are that the report did not report all illegalities.

Anonymous said...

I know that one inaccuracy is that they actually raised the administrator salary to $52,000+

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, who says that kids in unincorporated Greenburgh who now are in the Valhalla school district should go to Edgemont schools or Greenburgh schools.

Now you will hear it. You will find out that Edgemont people not only are prejudiced against residents of the villages, but also against residents who don’t live in or near Edgemont. You can’t lose a bet if you bet that the loud voices from Edgemont will yell like hell if there is any movement towards bringing in kids who are now in the Valhalla school district.

Anonymous said...

First,

scchool district lines can not be easily altered.

second, valhalla is contigous with Greenburgh 7 -- not edgemont

Anonymous said...

I dont know if this talk of combining school districts is

1. Typical of Feiner supporters wanting to take attention away from the real problem -- the Valhalla arrangement.

2. Typical of Feiner supporters -- wanting to destroy edgemont --

but --state law --wont happen

Anonymous said...

I thought the state comptroller's report (as described in today's Journal News) had a familiar ring to it. It does. Look what Bob Bernstein wrote about WestHelp in this space back on October 9:

Bob Bernstein said...

Mr. Feiner doesn't seem to understand that however well-intentioned his efforts may have been, as a public official he must always act in accordance with the law -- and when he fails to do so, as appears to be the case here, the public has a right to know about it.

The law permits towns to give gifts to school districts, but the money must always be used for programs or facilities that benefit all residents of the town. There are no exceptions. Every municipal official knows this.

Here, however, the Valhalla contract benefits only residents of the school district. That makes the contract illegal on its face.

It is also illegal in New York to give town money to private individuals and/or associations. Here, however, the Valhalla contract puts millions of dollars in the control of the Mayfair-Knollwood Civic Association, an association of private citizens accountable to no one, whose members must, according to the contract, constitute a majority of the committee that makes the decisions regarding how the town's money is to be spent.

In addition, the contract provides that if Valhalla doesn't spend in a given year all of the money the town donates, 15% of the excess goes directly to a private foundation run by private individuals who can spend the money without any town oversight at all. These provisions likewise make the contract illegal on its face -- and again Mr. Feiner would have known this when he signed the agreement.

The contract is troubling in other respects as well. Since 2003, Valhalla has received more than $1.8 million from the town -- but there is nothing in the contract that permits the town to audit these funds to determine who got the money, how much was paid, and how it was spent. This lack of accountability for public funds is shockingly irresponsible.

This year I understand that Valhalla proposes to spend as much as $880,000 of the town's money on such school-related things as smartboards, interactive schoolboards, additional teachers, field trips, publications and other curriculum-enhancing projects that would be the envy of any school district. The problem is that state law doesn't permit town money to be used for any of these projects, however worthy they may be.

Mr. Feiner seems to think that none of this matters, that as long as he had the support in 2003 of the other town board members when the contract was proposed, that a deal's a deal, it must be honored no matter what, and the law be damned.

However, town board members have each sworn an oath to uphold the law just as Mr. Feiner has. The State Comptroller is expected to issue an opinion soon on the legality of this very contract. It will be difficult to get back any of the town's money if it is determined that the agreement is illegal.

Valhalla school officials should rightfully be concerned too. Under the contract, they agreed to hold the town harmless from and against any liability the town might incur arising directly or indirectly from the town's having provided these grants. Obviously, if the agreement is found to be illegal, there may well be claims against the Town, and in turn, under the indemnity against Valhalla, to get the money back.

Therefore, if Town Board members now have reason to believe the Valhalla contract may be illegal, as I expect is the case, they should be looking at ways to remedy the situation instead of turning a blind eye as Mr. Feiner suggests.

I understand these developments may be personally embarrassing to Mr. Feiner. I know he took credit for the Valhalla contract and staked his reputation on it. But however well intentioned he may have been in trying to devise a way to benefit the Mayfair-Knollwood neighborhood, the ends do not justify the means, he is not above the law, and if this means putting an end to the Valhalla agreement, then that's what must be done.

Finally, Mr. Feiner questions whether I'd still feel the same way if a homeless shelter were to open up in Edgemont, where I live. The answer is that while I'd very much like to have millions of dollars land in my lap too, I'd know better and work instead on finding a lawful way to achieve the same objectives.

10/09/2006 1:18 AM

Anonymous said...

to anon at 10:39

What is your point --

1. That Bernstein was right (as he has been with his lawsuits, according to the courts)?

2. That Bernstein wrote or even influenced the state report -- that is truly laughable?

3. That any rationale person, especially one with a law degree, would come to that conclusion?

Please let me know --

Anonymous said...

FRom the Valhalla voice


The Journal News reports that the Comptroller's office has found that the Westhelp Partnership scheme granting money to the Valhalla School District for among other things, Ivy league summer camps, Grand Canyon trips and adult booze cruises on the Hudson, is illegal. The report also finds most troubling the $50,000 annual payment to Valhalla's Kensico School principal as the administrator of the grant. A payment that calls for the majority of his time to be spent administering the grant, while Valhalla taxpayers pay him $160,351 a year plus a 6% bonus, plus night differential for attending school functions at his building as a full time school administrator. Further confusing the issue is that official Valhalla School District records reflect only 15 days working as the full time grant adminstrator and according to the Journal News, Mr. Meile claims he works between 78 and 91 days in that function.

The Valhalla School Board President seems confused as to how the Comptroller's calculations were made. The Comptroller, using the official payment of $50,000 and dividing it by the official Valhalla payroll record of 15 days, arrives at the mathematical certainty that Mr. Meile received $3,333.34 a day for 15 days work. That is known as long division.

As far as contesting the findings of the Comptroller, Valhalla will have its own second audit to deal with, as the Comptroller will now begin a new audit to determine just what these funds, were used for. We can't wait for those findings. But long before that audit is complete we expect that Greenburgh will start enforcing the indemnity clause of the grant. We expect Greenburgh Town taxpayers to act to recover the $1.8 million in grants and perhaps $1.3 million more. How many payments did Valhalla get? Three under the grant, but the Westhelp lease is in year 5. Maybe we should start with those who directly benefited with discounted opera tickets, evenings sails and lunch at MacMennimens. Let's see, who had the corned beef?


OK -- so what is the Town Council going to do about demanding the money back??

Anonymous said...

The NY State Comptrollers office, according to the Journal News Report, suggested three possible ways to restructure the Town/Westhelp agreement:

1. seek home-rule law from the NY State legislature

2. The Town could provide funding for non eduacational purposes like after-school programs and recreation, open to all in the Town. (I'm assuming these programs would be offerred in Valhalla)

3. the parties could work out a new deal so that Westhelp paid the school district directly, as long as the Town received fair market value for the complex.

I'm not sure which is the best idea. Any thoughts, anyone?

Greenburgh Taxpayer said...

I dont like any of the alternatives.

1. I dont support a home rule law -- especially as I predict the uses that Valhalla SD put the money to are a joke.

2. After school programs in Valhalla -- give me a break -- that is not central to Greenburgh -
also no one trusts VSD - the money will go to politicos kids going to Japan.

3..dont support. again no trust of VSD

IN SHORT -- UNTIL THE STATE REPORT SHOWS HOW VSD SPENT THE MONEY -- NO ONE SHOULD GIVE THEM ANY

Anonymous said...

How about

1. Putting the money in the general Greenburgh budget.

2. Dividing up the money among all school districts in greenburgh on a per capita basis for after school programs (but I think this will need a home rule law also). So I guess it is option 1

Anonymous said...

#1 is as likely to happen as redistricting school lines.

#2 has nothing to do with Valhalla. They are talking about the Town of Greenburgh residents and programs to include all Greenburgh and only Greenburgh

#3 can't happen because this whole process is now out where everyone can see it, everyone knows the law or at least what is against the law. There will be no more deals made on the front lawns of Mayfair.

They should just put the money in the general fund and get on with the business of government. This is an income stream like any other.

Anonymous said...

#2 -- after school programs for all of greenburgh is absurd. All the different school districts have different needs, etc. One size fits all does not work. The Town should not be in the school business. It cant even run town programs efficiently. This would be 1.3 down the drain.

Anonymous said...

To anon at 7:10,

Yes, the NYS report was suggesting as an alternative after school activities open to all, but the anon at 6:19 seemed to have been suggesting after school activities conducted in Valhalla (probably one of the Greedy Mayfair Knollwood people).

But either way, the Town offers enough after school activities and should not be in the education business.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon at 2:34 on the 25th --

re school resdistricting --

you will also hear various residents of unincorporated Greenburgh in Arsdley and other districts screaming if they have any fear they will be moved to Central 7

In short it wont happen.

This has been proposed before by Feiner supporters but wont happen. So you arent scaring anyone.

Anonymous said...

Re Mr. Feiner retaining a private attorney: Since the Town Board, of which Mr. Feiner is a member, hired at great expense ($450 per hour) to defend their handling of the Westhelp Partnership, but specifically EXCLUDED Mr. Feiner from being one of those represented, despite his position as a Town Board Member, Mr. Feiner was perfectly within his rights to retian a pro bono (FREE) attorney to represent him in this matter.

Anonymous said...

"This has been proposed before by Feiner supporters but wont happen. So you arent scaring anyone."

I'm definitely not a Feiner supporter. Nor was I trying to scare anyone. I was just trying to think logically, as though I lived in a normal American municipality. Try to explain the concept of Greenburgh to someone not from this area; they'd laugh at our antiquated set-up.

I live in a municipality named Greenburgh, but my address is Scarsdale and my school system is Ardsley ... phone number, fire district, etc ... and then there's a concept called Hartsdale that doesn't really exist ... I could go on and on.

So just from an objective perspective, you've got to admit that we have a pretty illogical organization around here.

Thus, my point was not to scare anyone; just to say that it would be more organizationally sensible if Greenburgh kids didn't go to school in Mount Pleasant ... resulting in no Valhalla drama.

Anonymous said...

So out of curiosity, what would happen to students resident in your area? Would you suggest they stay in Ardsley, or do you have hopes that all residents of unincorporated Greenburgh attend either Edgemont or Greenburgh 7, and as you are likely closer to Edgemont students in your area would attend Edgemont?

Anonymous said...

or would you suggest that the ardsley village limits and AFD limits be expanded to be coterminus with the school district?

Anonymous said...

This isn't only in unincorporated Greenburgh. many East Irvington kids go to Irvington schools, Many Irvington kids go to Dobbs Ferry schools, many Dobbs Ferry kids go to Ardsley schools, and so on.

It would be nice if school district lines and municipality lines would agree with each other. I suspect it will be easier to win in Iraq than to make that happen.

Anonymous said...

The problem isnt the various boundaries. Other municipalities have that, and are not constantly at war.

The problem is Feiner constantly disregarding New York State law as to how to charge programs or benefits with the lame excuses of


1. That's how it always been done
2. It was for a good program.

and others.

Feiner's pandering to one group after another has created these problems -- lawsuits and investigations.

Eventually Feiner will go on to another life. The rest of Greenburgh will try to pick up the pieces.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Feiner,

You must stop delaying the release of the report.

Town Council,

You must specifically ask your attorney how best to demand return of the monies.


Any delay will only result in less chance to obtain the money back.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous @ 8:13. The school should be given notice. They were so frantic to spend the last $440,000 that they gave us an added indemnity on the entire grant. It is time to collect.

Anonymous said...

The state is clearly saying the arrangement is illegal. To the council and supervisor, stop with the delay -- you are supposed to represent the entire town, not one small part.

The second study the state is commencing is only what did Valhalla do wiht the money -- no reason to hold up the demand for the return of the money

Anonymous said...

If the County gives the Westhelp partnership money directly to the Valhalla School district, as one of the Comptrollers recommendations mentioned as a legal solution to the current problem, - then the Town of Greenburgh could stay out of the picture completely.

Then those who feel that VSD is not spending the money wisely or is not accounting for it, could take their complaints to the County.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon at 10:28,

NO, the report did not suggest that the county pay the school district directly -- it suggested that Westhab, a private party, could pay the school district. That would still leave the issue of how Westhap would acquire the property -- and as the report also said, the town would have to recieve adequate compensation.

The reason that the deal was cut in the first palce is that there are no viable alternatives -- if there were they would have been used originally.

The contract between the county and the town is not illegal, nor is Westhab a party to any contract under question.

Anonymous said...

The county pay VSD?

Ha Ha Ha

No one is going to give the greedy crooks of VSD any money.

Anonymous said...

"Then those who feel that VSD is not spending the money wisely or is not accounting for it, could take their complaints to the County"


so Valhalla is saying they refuse to voluntarily provide an accounting ??

Anonymous said...

Valhalla has never provided an accounting to anyone, not even to the town. If you could see the grant requests, the check requests, the notes saying pay this, it's ok with Ned, the purchase orders approved by a part time secretary. There were no procedures or controls in place. I guess they thought they were going to play with $6.5 million dollars with no guidelines and no accounting. It was never part of the Valhalla budget, yet it included payroll, employee reimbusements, capital expenditures like the Project adventure playground and it funded after school clubs.

There is a group in Valhalla that has this information, which I have seen. They say that they will be putting it up on the Valhalla Voice website, now that the state auditors are in.

Rarely does an auditor walk into a situation that is so out of whack and lacking in any control or oversite as the Westhelp deal was. What I want to know is, as there are three more excursions scheduled, in January February and March, are these people actually going to continue to spend funds that are due back to the town for a night at the opera or lunch in New Rochelle?

Anonymous said...

Why should this report be "confidential"? This is not a matter of national security. There should be no secrets from the citizen-taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know exactly who Greenburgh wrote checks to and who had control over such accounts. If Greenburgh did not write checks to the Valhalla School District, Feiner has to answer. If he did, Kelly has to answer.

Anonymous said...

Greenburh wrote the checks to The Valhalla School District. the "grant request" process was really a sham. Valhalla would get its money up front, one check a year. There was no "funding grant requests" That is why they always had a surplus of unspent money that grew to $440,000 this fall. The money was already in Valhalla's accounts when it pleaded to have it released. Apparently they could not think of enough ridiculous projects to spend $650,000 a year on. As a result they are using the $440,000 surplus for this years program. Feiner is only answerable for having set up the illegal scam in the first place, not what Valhalla was doing with the money, unless you connect the dots that the Valhalla programs were ultimately and always controlled and approved by the Valhalla School Committee, a committee of the Town of Greenburgh a majority of which had to live in the Mayfair Knollwood section.

Anonymous said...

who controlled appointments to the Valhalla School Committee?

Anonymous said...

Well, being that it was a committee of the town, it must have been appointed by the town board or Mr. Feiner. It should be in the minutes somewhere.

Anonymous said...

If this money was controlled by a committee of the town of Greenburgh, how can the town now claim the it was not the party that spent the money? And if the town spent the money, who will they try to recover it from? This is not as simple at it may first appear. Which often happens when a deal is put together by a gaggle of lawyers and a handful of greedy clients. In the real world, those lawyers and the clients would be responsible for what they did, in the world of government, the taxpayers foot the bill. The only question is, which taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

In the real world, the restitution would be from the party receiving the money. Greenburgh would look to VSD. VSD might then look to the Valhalla School Committe, if they choose. Problematic is the only party giving an indemnity is VSD. Also, was VSD obliged to use the Valhalla School Committee's recommendations?

Anonymous said...

I dont think there was any contractual arrangement that VSD was required to use the recommendations of the Town of Greenburgh Valhalla School Committee.

Anonymous said...

The Town Board should honor the commitments made by each of the members to the residents of Mayfair Knollwood. I am pleased that Supervisor Feiner is keeping his word. Hope that Steve Bass, Diana Juettner, Eddie Mae Barnes do the same.

Anonymous said...

The town council should not participate in illegal contracts. They do so at their own personal peril. Now that they are on warning, it would be grossly negligent of them to do otherwise. This generally voids most insurance and indemnification clauses.

Anonymous said...

Yea, why are some Greenburgh kids required to go to school in Mount Pleasant anyway? That actually makes no sense. We really should just have all Greenburgh students attending one of our two school systems we have already. Why do we need to dole out our students who live along the town borders to other school systems? If we did our school districts in a normal way, the Valhalla-WestHelp thing would never have been an issue.

Anonymous said...

We have numreous residents of Greenburgh attending schools other than Greenburgh 7 or Edgemont, including Ardsley, Irvington and others.

The problem is Feiner pandering to various groups, not the boundaries. Your proposal is once again, a statement put forth by Feiner supporters attempting to scare people, knowing that the Valhalla residents do not want to go to Greenburgh 7. Had Feiner not put forth the Westhab proposal originally, these problems would not be happening.

hal samis said...

Golly, all the talk and discussion about the VSD, the illegal agreements, the sloppy bookkeeping and the no accountability. This is just the kind of thing that makes Town Board meetings run so late.

In fact, to discuss these matters off camera, the Town Council and the Supervisor had to iron out an agreement in another room which contributed to the lateness of that night's Town Board meeting.

But fear not, when the Town Board returned, Mr. Bass and Mr. Sheehan were proud to announce that a compromise or solution had been effected. And, by gosh, they were so proud of the result that they spend another twenty minutes to tell the residents how smart they were. What they had arranged was to release a portion of what the Town Council (only then but never before aware...so they say) of a now regarded illegal payment but it was alright because, just in case the original agreement was ruled illegal, they had exacted indemnification from the VSD to restore the entire amount of the "illegal" payment(s). In other words: "here's some more loot but you give us your word that you'll give it back, if need be or if not spent." Having not seen the actual paperwork, I fully expect to see something like a "best efforts" or "reasonable" clause.

So we had twenty minutes of the Town Council reprising the Mary Martin song in "Peter Pan" (yet another example of children staying up late at night), "I've Gotta Crow".

Now that we're on the eve of a ruling presumably saying that the well-intentioned, but still illegal agreement, must be retracted, the question to the Town Council is:
How are you going to EXERCISE the indemnification provision and how are you going to COLLECT?

You've already claimed the GLORY; now get back the GREEN. Perhaps, this could be a project for Mr. Kaminer?

Anonymous said...

The Valhalla Schools Committee had the ultimate control over the funds. They could deny any use, approve any use and proposed their own programs which they would, of course, approve. There was supposed to be a similar committee on the Valhalla end, but there never was. As an example, the VSC refused to fund anything that had to do with athletics, but spent 10,000 on the drama club and school play production. The VSC, a committee of the town of Greenburgh had the first and final say on all expenditures. The town handed over $1.8 million and the school district was directed by the VSC on all expenditures. Sure the school district indemnifed the town, infact guaranteed the entire $1.8 million on behalf of the district (the taxpayers), the employees and contractors. But I am not so sure the BOE had the right to do that. Can a BOE in effect waive the rights of its taxpayers, employees and contractors with out their express consent? Arguably the taxpayers in Valhalla received no benefit whatsoever from these funds. No program, for which the taxpayers were legally responsible, was ever funded by this money. The taxpayers are only responsible to fund the items in the approved budget. These funds and these expenses were all off budget. I would suggest that in their attempt to recover the money, Greenburgh name each school board member personally. You may have 15 or so more people to collect from, assuming they are personally liable.

Anonymous said...

If the Town of Greenburgh wrote checks to the VSD, how could the VSD not control where the money went?

And in addition to the Town suing every member of the VSD board, please add Kelly to the list.

Anonymous said...

Lets see -- the cash goes to VSD.

Can someone show us the documents that provide that VSD must obtain the consent of the Valhalla School Committee before funds are spent?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:31.

It would appear that the funds were paid by the Town of Greenburgh to the VSD. If the VSD chose to account for such funds off budget and/or under the control of the Valhalla School Committee, that was a VSD decision. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Read paragraph 3 of the Grant. "the Town Board acting on the advice of the Valhalla School Committee, appointed by the Town Board which shall include a majority of members from the Mayfair Knollwood Civic association shall determine which of the programs proposed by the Superintendent shall be funded each school year. The Town shall exercise sole discretion in terms of which programs will be funded through the grant and the aggregate funding for all programs approved by the Town for any given school year shall not exceed Six Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($650,000)" Reading that I don't see how the town can claim it did not have control over what was spent. The Town, in effect, approved the Grand Canyon trips, the moonlight cruises and the Harvard camps. What you have is an illegal poorly drafted contract for which both parties have been inviolation from the beginning. From the beginning the town simply cut gross checks and let the VSC act on behalf of the Town Board. I agree we should get the money back, but from whom? Valhalla cut the checks with approval from the Town. We have met the enemy and they are us.

Anonymous said...

"We have numreous residents of Greenburgh attending schools other than Greenburgh 7 or Edgemont, including Ardsley, Irvington and others."

Yea, that's my point. Ardsley schools for Ardsley residents, Irvington schools for Irvington residents, etc. As an example, East Irvington is not part of Irvington; those kids should go to one of the two schools systems in Greenburgh. Or, East Irvington should sucede from Greenburgh and become part of Irvington. That's that neighborhood's school district and phone number and address and social-community affiliation anyway.

Anonymous said...

If you want to hear griping, listen to the charmed residents of Hartsdale whose kids attend Ardsley schools if the mere suggestion was made that their kids had to now switch to Central 7. Nice thought, but ain't never gonna happen. These people have the best of all worlds - unincorporated benefits, parking and pool privlidges and Ardlsey schools - and nothing is going to convince them to put their kids in the mess that is Central 7.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:15 -- VSD indemnified -- go after them; no ifs ands or buts --

Anon at 1:05 -- for the nth time, the state approves school districts, I dont know who, other than some Feiner supporters want them changed, and it just wont happen.

Anonymous said...

to anon at 6:22, the rest of Ardsley could get the same benefits by de-incorporating. It has happened. could be why all the mayors are so concerned that the village residents not be charged according to state law for parks, etc. Solution is relatively easy. If enought Ardsley Village start to think about benefits and burdens of village. Jay Leon may be a nice guy, but ????

Anonymous said...

to anon at 6:22, the rest of Ardsley could get the same benefits by de-incorporating. It has happened. could be why all the mayors are so concerned that the village residents not be charged according to state law for parks, etc. Solution is relatively easy. If enought Ardsley Village start to think about benefits and burdens of village. Jay Leon may be a nice guy, but ????but ????

Anonymous said...

Heck, I'm no fan of Feiner at all, plus I live in Edgemont which is a great system, but I do agree that the school districting makes no sense around here. When were these districts defined, back in the 80s? Though they look more racially/economically divided, so maybe even back in the 60s? It doesn't matter to me personally because I live solidly in Edgemont, but someone really should look into this matter.

Anonymous said...

" ... state approves school districts, I dont know who ..."

Well, we'll have to find out. It would actually be easier to fix our old-fashioned school district boundaries through the state than locally. I'll do some research during the week.

Anonymous said...

the charmed residents of Hartsdale

I sort of feel bad for Hartsdale, since it doesn't really exist other than the train station area, a firehouse name, and a random zip code region for central unincorporated Greenburgh.

Did Hartsdale used to be a village that was dissolved or something?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:06,

This is more thinking that should encourage Edgemont to incorporate -- we all know Feiner wont protect our school distict. I dont think the state would do anything, but if the villages offer more protection, so be it.

Anonymous said...

anon at 8:08 -- what exactly is wrong with our school districts, and what would you like to be done with them. I would guess that most Gburgh residents are happy with their school districts.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:18

I dont see whats to feel sorry about re Hartsdale -- as far as I know they were never a village.

A long time ago -- in the 60s they used to share a SD with Edgemont, but they decided to leave and join Central 7 becuase they did not want higher Edgemont taxes and did not want to pay for a new high school. Hartsdale's decision. Approved by the state.

Anonymous said...

There are many many school districts not coterminus with villages or towns. Even Scarsdale schools include a few properties in Mamaoneck. Numerous others. Only in Greenburgh do we constantly have budget/allocation issues. Thanks to Paul

The Island of Misfit Toys said...

"Even Scarsdale schools include a few properties in Mamaoneck."

A few properties is one thing - commonly done for child safety, particularly at the elementary level, if a neighboring municipality's school building is nearby.

But we have entire neighborhoods attending schools in other townships and villages. It's like the Island of Misfit Toys for those who live on the outskirts of unincorporated Greenburgh.

As one example, the neighborhood next to Ardsley High School (east of the Sprain off Secor Road near Ferncliff Cemetery; not sure if the neighborhood has a name or not) should be incorporated as part of the Village of Ardsley since that's their school system and community anyway.

We could eliminate a lot of township drama if we'd start the "DE-unincorporating" where feasible (i.e East Irvington, Chauncey, the Ferncliff Cemetery area, Glenville, etc.)

Anonymous said...

And who are you to say "should be". State law governs whether villages can annex surrounding properties. People have rights. If the people/property owners in unincorporaed areas want to join a village, there are legal ways for them to do so. I dont think it can be forced.

Anonymous said...

If East Irvington left, would they take Taxter Ridge with them???

Anonymous said...

If East Irvington left, they could take the Marriott and other commercial proprties on Rte. 119 that currently pay Town property tax.

By State law the "de-incorporating" area gets to draw the new lines.

Those folks in favor of lopping off parts of the unincoporated Town might give some thought as to how much commercial Town tax would be deposited into Village coffers.

Anonymous said...

Under New York state law, a village within a town may not annex land situated in an unincorporated part of the town unless it is in the mutual best interest of both the village and the town to do so. Therefore, if East Irvington were to allow itself to be annexed to the Village of Irvington, such annexation would be subject to approval by both the village and the town - and such approval could be lawfully withheld if the town felt that the loss of commercial tax ratables from the East Irvington unincorporated area would have an adverse affect on the town's ability to fund services and facilities required in the town's remaining unincorporated area.

On the other hand, there is no such town approval requirement if East Irvington or any other unincorporated area of Greenburgh, such as Hartsdale, Fairview or Edgemont were to incorporate as their own villages within the town.

Anonymous said...

In the end, that may be the answer, that all of Gburgh should be encouraged to form/join a village.

East Irvington would take Taxter Ridge costs and get commerical property.

Hartsdale would take Harts Woods and get commercial property.

Someone (the remaining Greenburgh 7 area) would take Glenville Woods.

Any interested villages would share costs of Young (Elmsford and say Fairview) and Veterans (ARdsley, Edgemont and Hartsdale.

The town infastructure could be reduced. Villages could contract with Town for police or sanitation; there would be minimal need to layoff critical first responders.

Maybe the Town is just too big and complex to manage the unincorporated area, and at best can only provide essential services. The Villages would run planning and zoning.

Anonymous said...

The average Greenburgh resident (unincorporated) pays less in taxes than taxpayers in villages pay. It doesn't make sense to break up the town.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:34 --

then according to your logic the existing villages should de-incorporate??

Anonymous said...

The existing villages would never vote to de-incorporate because their leaders recognize the value to be had in having village control over municipal taxing, spending, zoning and planning, and the peril they and their fellow village residents would face if such local decision-making were left to Greenburgh's town supervisor and town council.

Forming villages out of Greenburgh's remaining unincorporated areas would add another layer of government, to be sure, but these governments could work together in ways that the current villages do not, to share the costs of providing municipal services.

Therefore, the idea of forming such villages would not only put Greenburgh's unincorporated areas on an even playing field with the rest of the town, but municipal taxes might well end up remaining less than those paid in the existing villages.

One thing's for sure: no village mayor would ever get away with illegally and irresponsibly giving away millions of town dollars to a school district where 2/3 of the residents come from different towns.

Yet that is what Greenburgh's supervisor has done with Valhalla.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:14.

That may be a good idea. Frankly, I think it should be explored BEFORE the new town courts/public safety building is contracted for. I think also any committe to explore has to have not only the village mayors, or other reps, but the real leaders of the unincorporated areas, not the Feiner puppets.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 4:35

Who are the "real leaders" of unincorporated Greenburgh? It sure isn't the Feiner bunch, because Feiner stopped having control powers a couple of years ago. Do you mean the four Town Council persons? They are puppets for those who shout and demand loudest and they are gutless, except when it comes to protecting their positions. Do you mean those who come and shout and demand at Town Board meetings and who have no interest in anything but their own benefit? Do you mean the guy who starts lawsuits when he doesn't get what he wants?

I don't know why, but leadership in unincorporated Greenburgh has become a joke and the joke won't be over until we get a group of responsible and principled Supervisor and Town Board, which means none of the current bunch.

Anonymous said...

Unlike the villages, the town's unincorporated areas have no elected officials of their own. Their leaders are the presidents of civic associations representing a hundred or more homes in their respective neighborhoods, and the leaders of the umbrella civic association organizations, such as the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations (which has about 40 or more dues paying civic associations) or the Edgemont Community Council, which represents the eight civic associations in Edgemont.

The unincorporated areas have other leaders as well. They serve on the zoning and planning boards or simply come to town board meetings on a regular basis and voice their opinions.

The "guy who starts lawsuits" is a nasty way of referring to the president of one of Edgemont's civic associations. He brought two suits, one on Taxter Ridge, and the other on all other town parks open town-wide.

He brought the suits not because he didn't get what he wants, as the blogger suggests, but because he believed Feiner was acting unlawfully in insisting that the Town had a legal right to charge only unincorporated area residents for the cost of town parks and recreational facilities that are open town-wide.

So far, the court seem to be in agreement with him, not Feiner.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous at 12:23 A.M.

You say that the leaders of unincorporated Greenburgh are not the Town Board but “the presidents of civic associations representing a hundred or more homes in their respective neighborhoods, and the leaders of the umbrella civic association organizations, such as the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations (which has about 40 or more dues paying civic associations) or the Edgemont Community Council, which represents the eight civic associations in Edgemont.”

You mean the civic associations that fought the Health Center that other civic associations wanted? You mean the civic associations in Mayfair Knollwood that are in a battle with other civic associations about the grants to the Valhalla School District? You mean the Edgemont Community Council which is arguing with other civic associations about who should get sidewalks first? You mean the groups in Hartsdale who demand more and cheaper parking and to hell with everyone else? You mean Attorney Bernstein who lectures, threatens and attacks everyone who disagrees with him? When you say leaders include those who “simply come to town board meetings on a regular basis and voice their opinions” you mean those who come and make demand after demand to satisfy their own interests and areas (whether Edgemont, Fairview, Mayfair Knollwood, Hartsdale, and so on)?

No, in a democracy we elect leaders. If we have lousy leaders it is because we elected them. We can elect new ones, starting in November. Let’s just make sure the ones we elect pay more attention to their obligations and spend less time passing the buck and ducking responsibility.

Anonymous said...

The Town Board is elected by the town as a whole, including village residents. Village residents are represented by their respective mayors and boards of trustees. Unincorporated area residents have no elected leaders of their own.

They must therefore rely on a Town Board, which is not answerable solely to them. As a result, because otherwise their voices would not be heard, civic associations play a far greater leadership role in the town's unincorporated areas.

You may not like some of their leaders each of whom is elected by their respective neighborhoods, but they perform a valuable role.

For example, the ECC's leadership drafted the legislation that the Town Board passed unanimously which allowed the health center to open up on Knollwood Road.

And when the developer who cut down trees in Edgemont while his tree permit was pending was discovered to have given Feiner a $1,000 campaign contribution, it was a civic association president (attorney Bernstein) who drafted amendments to the tree code (also passed unanimously) to protect the unincorporated areas from developers who cut down trees before their appeals are decided.

Anonymous said...

Civic associations are fine but they represent the interests of their areas. I stress "their areas." They don't represent the entire unincorporated area except when the interest of the entire area agrees with their own area. Just watch the current fight between the civic associations in Mayfair Knollwood and other civic associations. And you know there are always disagreements between the civic associations, depending on who wants what and who is getting what.

As far as the unincorporated area not having the right to elect the Town Board, you are right. But four of the Town Board members live in the unincorporated area, and the one who lives in Ardsley is considered by Ardsley as a traitor. Recent comments made by village representatives make it obvuous that they don't believe that the Town Board is giving anything but lip service to the wishes of the village residents. The answer is still electing a good Town Board.

Or maybe the real answer to the electoral problem is a divorce between the unincorporated area and the villages, and both can live happily ever after. More and more residents of Edgemont seem to be favoring this, and it may finally be the only answer.

Anonymous said...

Rather than a divorce, which would be terribly expensive for the villages, I favor forming new villages out of the unincorporated areas so that everyone in town would be on a level playing field.

The Mayfair Knollwood debacle is not about civic associations fighting with one another.

According to the state comptroller's office, it's about Feiner illegally and irresponsibly giving away $6.5 million in town funds to a school district where 2/3's of the residents don't even live in the town. That Feiner did so at the request of a civic association in no way justifies what he did.

Anonymous said...

So if their is a divorce between the unincorporated areas and the villages, as you say more and more Edgemonters would like, the Town of Greenburgh could become in effect, if not in name, the Town of Edgemont. Must admit, that sounds pretty classy.

It does however bring to mind some nagging doubts about Edgemont's devotion, or even mild concern, for the fate of the rest of us unincorporated Townies.

Your leaders,if unhappy, are pretty quick out of the starting gate into the courtroom, which makes the rest of us more than a little concerned for our fates.

Anonymous said...

No one in Edgemont is seeking to create a "Town of Edgemont." However, some Edgemont residents think Edgemont should incorporate as Greenburgh's seventh village.

In addition, many of these same residents think that, to be fair to the rest of the unincorporated areas of Greenburgh, these other areas should likewise be incorporated into villages of their own, like a Village of Hartsdale, a Village of Fairview, etc.

Some of these other potential villages might not have the same tax base that Edgemont has to support the providing of municipal services. However, were it possible to work cooperatively with the town, municipal services could be shared in such a way that areas other than Edgemont could be treated fairly.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 5.12pm - Don't worry - Edgemont is making such a stink in the Town via public hearings and Court proceedings against the rest of us, that it will surely receive enormous attention now and in the immediate future with whoever is on the Counci or whoever is Supervisor. You're on your way to whatever you want, but remember, the Town Board cannot reduce your School Taxes, which is your real problem.

I predict, in case you're interested, that there will be no move on the part of Fairview or Hartsdale to incorporate as villages and "share" the commercial tax base that Edgemont says it has. By the way, which unincorporated area has the largest tax base would be an interesting study.

I do like your tree law initiative and your work for the health center on Knollwood. But do give the rest of us a break. We deserve something too. Direct your leaders in the ECC to sue your School Board instead of the rest of us in the Town.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont gets value for school tax dollars -- more than can be said for town dollars -- which are not that much higher than G7 -- enuf said on that.

Anonymous said...

Edgemont values the schools -- without the Feiner supporters fighting the budget we would not have had to have a second budget vote last year.

Anonymous said...

Give us a break! "without Feiner supporters fighting the budget, we wouldn't have had a second school budget vote last year" - what a crock. People were fed up - some of them barely knew who Feiner was - (not dummies, but people who focused on where most of their tax dollars were going - to the school -).

Anonymous said...

Once word got out in Edgemont that Feiner and his supporters were leading the effort two years ago to defeat the school budget, Edgemont voters came out in record numbers to get the exact same budget approved by an overwhelming margin.

Few in Edgemont will ever forget Feiner's role in getting robo calls telling Edgemont to vote against the budget, his promise to record his own robo call urging a yes vote -and his reneging at the last minute, and the nasty personal attacks made on the Internet by Feiner's paid campaign aide against those who had written letters in the Journal News supporting the budget.

Few will also forget the false and misleading letter that Feiner's Edgemont campaign manager sent to Edgemont residents in the heat of the battle and, when confronted with the true facts, his sneering refusal to retract anything he said.

Little wonder that Feiner has so little political support these days in Edgemont.

Anonymous said...

And laugh if you want, if the Feiner camp would be so cold as to try to vote down a school budget for political reasons, what else would they do.

Anonymous said...

That's easy. The Feiner camp would find new and inventive ways to defend Feiner's having illegally given away $6.5 million in town funds to the Valhalla School District, where two-thirds of its residents don't even live in the town, town money is used for cruises, trips to the opera, nights on the town, class trips to the Grand Canyon, and sending politicos' kids on all expense paid trips overseas, among other things.

What's truly amazing is that while school districts like Edgemont have to watch every penny of what they spend, Feiner agreed to give a school district $6.5 million with no requirement that it account to the town for any of it.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Feiner. But I am puzzled. Why are all the angry bloggers saying that Feiner gave away $6.5 million when the entire Board did it -- Bass, Barnes, Juettner and Timmy Weinberg. Aren't there legitimate things to criticize Feiner for without piling on with invented nonsense?

Feiner Lied said...

Regarding the illegal gift to the
Valhalla School District, Feiner lied to the rest of the Town Board by telling them the contract had been vetted legally. The draft report also punctures another of Feiner's lies - that the WestHelp facility negatively impacted Mayfair-Knollwood as the Comptroller found this assertion had no basis in reality.

Anonymous said...

Feiner also lied to the town board when he told them that the money was needed to compensate the school district for the cost of educating out-of-district kids living at the shelter. The Comptroller found this assertion by Feiner to be bogus too.

Turns out there are only of handful of kids at the shelter, and when the Comptroller checked in May 2006, there were none! And any such district costs are covered in any event by federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Grants - a program started back in 1987 to ensure that all homeless children in America have a right to a public school education.

Anonymous said...

How do you know what the report said? It hasn't been released?

Anonymous said...

The report was leaked to the Journal News. It was front page news last week.

Before that, for partisan political purposes, Feiner leaked the report himself to the Valhalla School District and to his friends in the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association so that the lawyer he hired from Mayfair Knollwood could prepare a rebuttal.

There is no secret about this. The lawyer advertised on his website that he was doing this work.

Anonymous said...

As the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association controlled the town committee that controlled the funds in Valhalla's accounts, they knew where this audit was headed. Even as they pleaded for an extra $440,000 and had their stooges on the Valhalla board put taxpayers in two other towns on the hook for $1.8 million.

They have a copy of Controller's report, for sure. The only ones who haven't seen it are the residents of Mount Pleasant and North Castle, who in the end will have to pay the bill.

Anonymous said...

From original post

We anticipate that the final report will be released in early 2007. The public has the right to review the comptroller's opinion and findings.

WE WANT TO SEE IT. ENOUGH PEOPLE HAVE IT. FORK IT OVER.

Anonymous said...

Isn't today 1/5/07 the last day for comment by Mr. Feiner's personal attorney? There is nothing stopping the Town from releasing the report or their comments.

Cuomo investigation needed in Greenburgh said...

Cuomo to review 6,000 member-item grants
By JAY GALLAGHER
ALBANY BUREAU

ALBANY - Jumping on the reform bandwagon, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo yesterday said he plans to review all 6,000 member-item grants approved since last fall "and seek to recover any misspent funds."

"The taxpayers of New York must be assured that their hard-earned tax dollars are used for legitimate public purposes - period," he said. "The starting point is to restore the public trust in its government."

Cuomo's actions follow recent charges that some lawmakers have diverted some of the $200 million a year set aside for projects they select in their districts into their own businesses or own private uses.

DEAR AG CUOMO: Please come to Greenburgh. We have a "contract" with the Valhalla School District you may want to look at.

Anonymous said...

Do you think our new AG might wonder why Westchester County is subleasing its own building, on its own land from the Town of Greenburgh? How about that for Mt. Vernon or Yonkers tax dollars being mispent? That could call the entire $12 million sub lease into question. He might be very interested in those kickers that would pay the Town Greenburgh $1,000 per homeless person per night when shelters in Mt. Pleasant exceed an arbitrary limit. I doubt he envisioned his little homeless shelter becoming a commodity exchange for people who are not homeless.