Sunday, March 11, 2007

GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY- TALK ABOUT YOUR TOWN RELATED CONCERNS! PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION--WEEK OF MARCH 12

Feel free to post your comments or concerns about town issues on this blog. Your opinion is appreciated!

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

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2nd Greenburgh ethics panelist resigns today

By LEN MANIACE
THE JOURNAL NEWS

(Original publication: March 12, 2007)



A second member of the Greenburgh's Board of Ethics announced her resignation today, as a dispute grew over the Town Board's decision not to reappoint a long-standing member.

Robin Bauer said in an interview this afternoon she would be submitting her resignation in support of the board's chairman, Thomas Facelle, who announced his resignation this morning, citing interference from the Town Board.

Facelle, a retired New York State Supreme Court Justice, said in a statement that the ethics panel had been rendered impotent by the Town Board's "inaction and attempts at political intimidation."

Facelle criticized the Town Board's decision not to reappoint attorney Louis Schenkel to the board, whose term expired at the end of June 2006. Facelle said he learned Schenkel would not be reappointed on March 1, the day after the Town Board filled a final vacancy on the ethics panel.

Bauer, an attorney with the Westchester Legal Aid Society, declined to give details for her resignation but said, "Judge Facelle is somebody who is ethical, hardworking and I fully support him and his position."

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Any quess as to who the ofending parties on the Town Board are?

Anonymous said...

SHEEHAN AND HIS DUMMIES SHOULD BE HAPPY NOW. WE DO NOT NEED A GROUP ELECTED BY THEM TO OVERSEE WHAT'S WRONG AND WHAT'S RIGHT.WE HAVE A GOOD LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICE,THAT BEING THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S .

Anonymous said...

Has the ethics panel ever done anything?

Anonymous said...

Will the new ethics panel rule on the appropriateness of the bd giving the greenburgh democratic party chair's law firm a contract to review a controversial land use matter? Seems improper.

Anonymous said...

No ethics board? No problem! Ethics have never been a serious problem in Greenburgh politics because there have never been any.

Michael Kolesar said...

Can the Town Council please provide the public with an accounting as to how the $300,000 or more that has been previously provided to the Fairview Fire District was spent, preferably with an opinion from an independent auditor? Were these funds segregated into a special purpose fund or mixed into the fire district's general fund? When has the Fairview firefighters responded to any emergency in Hastings, or Dobbs Ferry or anywhere else? How can the Town Board possibly state that these funds serve a Town wide purpose? Please help the taxpayers understand this before the Town Council wastes more of our money.

resolved? said...

Will the town board pass a resolution regarding the absurd results from last week's american idol?

Anonymous said...

Does the Town own a street sweeper? If so, please use it on Central Park Avenue every week or two. If not, contract out with Yonkers or another neighboring municipality's street sweeping operation. It's been so embarrassing for so long. I'd never open a business on such a poorly maintained roadway. Maybe the town's highway department doesn't think much about economic development, but it's the Supervisor's job to look at the big picture and direct the departments.

Anonymous said...

central ave is a state road, not a town road.

Anonymous said...

So what? The Town should actually WANT to maintain it. Look at Yonkers' section. Yonkers knows that for its own economic benefit, it needs to go above and beyond the State's services.

Also, if the State is supposed to do the street sweeping, then why isn't it? You'd think that Greenburgh would want to hold the State accountable.

Bottom line - I don't really care who does the work, but routine maintenance needs to be done on Central Park Avenue in Greenburgh, and and the Town needs to make sure it happens.

Anonymous said...

While Central Avenue is a state road, the Town of Greenburgh negotiated a one-time payment to accept responsibility for its maintenance, repair and upkeep. The payment went into the town-wide budget and reduced taxes significantly in the year in which it was accepted. Unfortunately, whoever was responsible at the Town level for negotiating the deal forgot that the Town would have to do nasty, expensive things like sweeping, removing snow and repaving. As the Supervisor likes to claim credit for good things which happen on his watch (like lower crime rates) perhaps he should accept responsibility for deals negotiated on his watch - like the extremely short-sighted deals to maintain Ardsley Road and Central Avenue. One time revenue gimmicks are just that - gimmicks. The failures to address underlying issues make Greenburgh look stupid - and the fact we get no significant help from the State might just be because they think our stupidity makes us hopeless. Greenburgh - we've got a Feiner idea!

Anonymous said...

Greenburgh - not better, simply Feiner?

Michael Kolesar said...

To the posters of 8:45AM and 9:37 AM, thanks for the one liners. We could use a little more humor on this site, although the issues we hopefully try to address are no laughing matters. But as an aside, one poster keeps blaiming the Town Supervisor for these less than outstanding deals. Didn't they require a majority vote of the then Board members? Where was the Board? Out to lunch also???

Does anyone know or remember when this deal with the State was entered into? That would give us an idea as to who else to include.

Anonymous said...

The majority of the board has abdicated their responsibilities to a single individual on the board, who has higher political aspirations.

The other members of their board have forgotten why they were elected.

The pandering to a select few vocal communities has made this board a case study in dysfunctional government.

Integrity and ethics are hard to find among this majority.

I just don't understand the dynamics of the change because a number of them were good board members in the past.

Was Timmy Weinberg the glue that held this group together in the past?

Still no decision on Feiner's Corruption said...

The Journal News November 12, 2004 HEADLINE: Decision on Feiner is delayed

BYLINE: Joseph Ax, Staff

BODY:
Ethics board waits for possible probe of campaign funds

GREENBURGH - The town's ethics board will not hand down an opinion on whether several campaign contributions to Supervisor Paul Feiner in March were illegal until the Westchester district attorney decides whether to investigate Feiner's actions.

Chairman Thomas Facelle wrote Feiner informing him of the board's decision, Feiner said. When asked for a copy, the supervisor said he had taken the letter home with him this week and had been unable to find it.

Facelle could not be reached for comment.

It is unclear whether Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro will pursue a criminal investigation. Anne Marie Corbalis, a spokeswoman, said only that it is office policy not to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

The case was referred to Pirro's office in early October by the Edgemont Community Council, which represents eight civic associations in Edgemont.

Feiner said yesterday he had not been contacted by the district attorney and accused the community council of politicizing the issue.

Robert Bernstein, the Edgemont resident and lawyer who first brought the contributions to public attention at a Town Board meeting, is a member of the council's board of directors. But he said another director suggested sending the letter to Pirro.

"I don't think we're politicizing the issue," said council President Michelle McNally in response to Feiner's criticism. "I think it is important and necessary in order to have a cooperative and working relationship that there be a sense of trust."

In addition, the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, which includes 40 groups in unincorporated Greenburgh, has also requested that Pirro open an investigation.

Madelon O'Shea, the group's president, sent a letter dated Nov. 8 to Pirro's office. Like the Edgemont group, the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations has often criticized Feiner's leadership.

Feiner sent a letter to the ethics board in October asking for its opinion on whether a $1,000 contribution from D'Alessio Enterprises at a March fund-raiser was in violation of town law.

D'Alessio Enterprises had an application to cut down trees on an Edgemont property pending before the Town Board at the time. The town's code prohibits officials from "soliciting" contributions from parties with pending applications before town agencies.

D'Alessio withdrew his application after criticism from both residents and Town Board members, including Feiner, but has since re-applied with an updated plan. Wednesday night, under pressure from Bernstein, Feiner recused himself from those proceedings.

Feiner's letter to the ethics board did not mention several other donations at the fund-raiser that have generated controversy, including:

* A $1,000 donation from Peter Gilpatric, senior vice president of LCOR, which owns an office complex off Old Saw Mill River Road and has applications for various approvals pending.

* Two $250 donations from Martin Berger and Robert Weinberg, the principals of Robert Martin Co., which has proposed the multimillion-dollar housing project known as Avalon II.

* A $250 donation from the Greenburgh Health Center, which has applications before both the Planning Board and the Town Board regarding a possible move.

Reach Joseph Ax at jax@thejournalnews.com mailto:jax@thejournalnews.com or 914-694-5064

Facelle is the problem said...

"Judge" Facelle hid the fact that the District Attorney declined to pursue the matter. He violated every rule on when the Ethics Board was scheduled to meet. Here we are years later and still no decision by the Town Ethics board on Feiner's actions. Compare with the Hevesi matter - he was investigated in one month of the charges coming to light.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see how much Timmy ment to this board. In her place we got a complete idiot.A person who rules with an iron hand. He has poisoned the other members.This town board is of no service to the public.They all belong in a circus.BY THE WAY SHEEHAN AND CO. THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN STARTING THE 15th.,maybe you could all get a job.

Sheehan is an improvement said...

Surely you jest. Timmy Weinberg was yet another one of those political hacks who voted for the WestHelp Valhalla deal and every other Feiner fiasco. Francis is shaking things up and its a breath of fresh air. The party is over.

Michael Kolesar said...

Maybe the term for a Town Council member should be shortened to two years, like the US House of Representatives, so if the public makes a "mistake", we get to "fix" it sooner rather than later. Of course the incumbents will resist, but power to the people.

Jim Lasser said...

With all respect to Mr. Kolesar, shortening the term of Councilpersons to 2 years will, in my opinion, exacerbate the problem. Elections every two years will encourage incumbents to begin their re-election campaigns immediately following the general election - with the probable result of more political posturing, more smoke, more mirrors and less real movement.
I suggest term limits and slightly longer terms - a maximum of 2 four year terms. I would also like to see a minimum 2 year period after leaving the Board before one is permitted to lobby the sitting Council or Supervisor.
Public service was, traditionally, a brief period in one's life when one made a contribution to the community. It was not meant to be a career by itself. If one possess the requisite skills and drive, one should be able to function in the private sector and thereby able to further the public good by encouraging corporations to become or extend their good corporate citizenship.

Anonymous said...

Hey Still-No-Decision you left out an important fact: the Greenburgh Health Center is a not-for-profit corporation which has an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exemption. It is flatly forbidden by IRS regulations from participating in any kind of political activity. Campaign contribution checks should have been returned IMMEDIATELY to protect the groups tax exempt status. Feiner's campaign finance manager has a positive duty to return the checks, uncashed. The Board of Elections should have, at the very least, sanctioned Feiner's campaign. If Feiner's campaign made a mistake, Feiner should have apologized loudly and publicly for the lapse.

Anonymous said...

To Sheenah is an improvement:

"Timmy Weinberg was yet another one of those political hacks who voted for the WestHelp Valhalla deal and every other Feiner fiasco."

Would you like to apply the same labels to Mr Bass, Ms. Jutner & Ms Barnes or have they been magically cured by the healing powers of Boss Sheenah?

You are starting to sound a bit like candidate-in-training Terry Williams.

term limits said...

dear jim and mike: the case for term limits is spelled feiner and juettner.

Anonymous said...

Term limits for the famous four. NO,NO.What should be in place is impeachment. they are a menace to Greenburgh.

Michael Kolesar said...

I'm open, Jim. However, since incumbents are rarely defeated, can we stand the possibility of eight years of some of these individuals? I'm just trying. I'm not the first to suggest that we need what they call in baseball after one team wins three out of three or four out of four --- a clean sweep.

I am posting this after I called in to the Town Board meeting. We (the public) were just lied to by Mr. Regula. Flat out lied to. Unfortunately, the "rules" are stacked against open, full, public debate. I couldn't call back in and show where he was lying.

I have an electronic copy of the support for the allocation of the costs to the Library for the 2007 budget FROM MR. REGULA. No where does it address any of the matters that he "raised" tonight. Hal Samis is (was) dead on right. We have at best an incompetent Town administration or worse an ethically challenged one.

We have some huge challenges facing this Town. Good honest leadership is the first.

Right On, Lasser said...

Jim Lasser is right.

I didn't used to be in favor of term limits, and I still may not be in other circumstances. But in Greenburgh it is essential.

Feiner has been around too long for the town's sake. A life of pandering is not good government.

But it is not only Feiner. Juettner has been around for about15 years and it becomes plainer and plainer that permanent election is what motivates her, not doing a decent job. Her performance as library liasion has been devastating to the town, and even though she is a lawyer she seems to have no understanding of the legal things that the town is involved in. She should be hounding the Town Attorney, whose abilities leave much to be desired.

Barnes is no better. She has also been around for 15 years. All she does is sit there and go along. First with Feiner, and now with Bass and Sheehan. Has anyone ever heard her make a real contribution.

Both of these women may have been good once, before they discovered that this is a lucrative position, with a big salary and free health insurance and decided to make it a lifetime job, even if it meant becoming mice.

Lasser, can you start a movement to get term limits?

Anonymous said...

Can't figure out why Sheehan, Bass, Barnes and Juettner won't support the Supervisor's proposal to give the public reasonable notice as to what is on the work session agenda. This is a good government, open government proposal.

Anonymous said...

You'll see term limits in Greenburgh shortly after pigs fly. Term limits would require a change in the Town's charter and there isn't a single member of the Town Board who would entertain the idea of amending the charter because that would open the door to changing over to a professional town manager as the chief operating officer of the town.
The small-town small-mind syndrome is part of the "charm" of Greenburgh - sadly, we the small-people of Greenburgh, having swallowed the charm, are choking on it. Perhaps every property deed and every lease needs to carry a warning about the choking hazard presented by local politics

Term limits proposal said...

Greenburgh is a one political party town. One way to get term limits is to have the town democratic party condition its endorsement on an agreement by its candidates not to become career politicians on the town board. Of course, a candidate once elected could run independently of the party, but he or she would have to answer for their breaking their word that they agree to some form of term limits. It seems that most bloggers agree we need term limits in greenburgh. Now we need a way to get it done. Arent you glad the presidency has term limits?

Anonymous said...

In the People's Socilist Republic of Greenburgh, election to office is for life. Commissar Paul and his ruling clique have fallen out with each other - no surprise, Stalin and Trotsky grew to hate each other too. Don't upset the applecart or the KGB will get you.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone deny that Francis considers himself SIR FRANCIS, 1st Emperor of Greenburgh? It is Sheehan who runs Greenburgh with an Iron Fist. Any complaints about the shortcomings of Town Government must be directed toward him. His reign started fourteen months ago. Feiner is Supervisor in name only. Sheehan runs the show and the type of government that he has delivered is the reason why we fought the Revolutionary War in the first place! Sheehan is a tyrant who believes himself to be above the law. As a Zoning Official, he enjoyed making people cry. As a Town Board Member he ordered his Prefect, Gil Kaminer to threaten a School Superintendent. Sheehan is slowly but surely eroding our rights. Shame on Bass, Juetner and Barnes for empowering this meglomaniac.

Anonymous said...

paul - stop complaining. your party is over. time to move on.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed the way Sheehan and Bass sweet talk the head of the Edgemont association.What's going on men,are you making some deals.Should this be reported to the ethics committee.She was not present last night, but her name came up with all smiles,on your faces.

Anonymous said...

From todays NY JOurnal News



The county is also endorsing a proposal to bar teen drivers from having other teenagers in the car unless there is also a licensed adult at least 21 years old present.


This proposal is a terrible to single mothers like myself who have enought trouble getting teenagers around. If you dont want you kid driving, dont let him.

What is Cousins position on this? Brodsy?

Anonymous said...

As a new resident of Unincorporated Greenburgh, I am really surprised that there are no term limits. Two four-year terms would be more than sufficient.

I'm also surprised that there's no mayor or town manager. It all seems like a 1950s government system for Hooterville, with Mr. Haney at the helm. The government system around here just doesn't seem to match up with the make-up of what Greenburgh actually is.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan will be in charge of the comprehensive study.This is a terible mistake. He is only in good graces with Edgemont since he gives the civic assoc. whatever they want or what ever they report to him that should be passed. Wake up civic assoc. We all know that Edgemont never gets under his skin,as the other assoc. This is why we need a manager to take over.SHEEHAN is trying to wear many hats,which has caused only disaster in Greenburgh.I do hope that the other civic assoc. speak up when he holds the special meeting.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Ethics Board will rule on the appropriateness of Sheehan receiving campaign contributions from Suzanne Berger, democratic party chair and then giving Berger's law firm a 6 figure contract. Sounds unkosher to me.

Anonymous said...

1) Sheehan is an ethical guy because he believes in the importance of honoring contracts.(Nope)

2) Sheehan is a benevolent boss because he will not allow any public discussion of the threats that his aide made to someone who wanted to exercise her first admendment rights. (Yep)

3)But is Sheehan really unkosher because he believes in double standards; one set of rules for him and one set for Supervisor Feiner? (probably)

Anonymous said...

when are we going to ask, no demand, for our money back from VSD?

and will the council please remember that most of the people in VSD dont live in Greenburgh, dont vote and are probably most of the posters there.

Anonymous said...

The demand should be made now, so the VSD can put it in their budget. They could probably include it in a contingent budget and pay it even if their budget goes down.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least someone has figured out why the Supervisor, faced with the choice between telling the truth and prevaricating, inevitably chooses the latter. It seems he's saving up Flagrant Liar miles for his retirement....

Anonymous said...

A campaign slogan:
Truth or Feiner?

Anonymous said...

2 years ago the Fair Elections Campaign Committee found Sheehan guilty of misrepresenting the truth in his literature. He hasn't learned.

Anonymous said...

Feiner's been cited by the Fair Campaign Practices Committee so many times they just photocopy their letters to him.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it ,many of you want Paul Feiner out of office. Do you have someone in mind ? Please do not answer with,BASS,SHEEHAN OR GREENAWALT. If you think we have troubles now we will be asking for much much more,if the answer is YES.We do not need a legislator,a teacher or a lawyer.We need a good business person with good managerial skills.

Anonymous said...

What this Town needs is at least two CPA's on the Board. Greenburgh is a 57 million dollar a year business and there is no one on the Board with proper financial credentials. If we had CPA's on the Board, I for one would feel more comfortable with the financial decisions that need to be made. Presently, the entire Town Board is in over their heads and given the constant turnover in Comptrollers, they don't seem to be of much help either.

Anonymous said...

Greenburgh needs leaders who are smart, fair and honest.

It doesn't matter whether they are lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, CPA's, or any other profession.

CPA's alone are not the answer.

The town's outside auditors are all CPA's. That firm not only gives political contributions to Feiner, which compromises their independence, but it allowed the town to fail to record for at least three years $1.2 million in annual revenue from the WESTHELP deal. In addition, it allowed the town to illegally keep "off the books" a $500,000 slush fund of taxpayer money accumulated from the WESTHELP deal.

On top of that, the CPA's from that firm have consistently failed to identify and address numerous A and B budget issues.

It's not just that the CPA's from that firm are bad. An activist CPA from one of the villages has recently been touting pro-village positions that serve only to divide the town and, even though it's not practical economically, encourage secession.

The point is that being a CPA is not enough, or even necessary.

To hold town-wide office, the individual must demonstrate qualities of independence, fairness and honesty.

Anonymous said...

I am a CPA, and I don't think CPAs on the board are the answer.

First, most practicing CPAs can not afford to give up their "day job" for board service. Certainly not to be a full-time supervisor.

Second, municipal accounting is so specialized, that most CPas that do not do governmental accounting do not have a real background in it.

What I think we need to is for the Supervisor to become a part time job and for the Town to have a full-time professional, not elected, in charge of the town. We should move away frim a supervisor who so desperately needs his salary he will promise anything to anyone. We need people who, if not re-elected, will not lose their livlihood.

I would like to see people campaign on the promise of a part time supervisor and a full time executive.

Anonymous said...

There was such a candidate 4 years ago. He got trounced, Feiner garnered about 70% of the vote - but only about 13% those eligible to vote did so. That means that a mere 9.1% of the possible voters pulled the lever for Feiner. That should tell you something very important about how most people regard Town government.

Anonymous said...

IS IT NOT ODD,SHEEHAN AWARDS THE CONTRACT TO S.BERGER'S FIRM ,AND SHE THEN ANNOUNCES THAT SHE IS RUNNING FOR SUPERVISOR.WATCH OUT THE BULL DOG IS LOOKING OUT FOR HIS OWN POSITION COME ELECTION TIME. GOOD TRY SHEEHAN.I,M SURE THAT THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU.AS SOMEONE POSTED WHAT DOES SHE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT TOWN POLITICS. YOU COULD READILY SEE SHEENAN'S ERRAND BOY WHISPER IN HER EARS AS TO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE AND SAID.HE WANTS TO RUN THE WHOLE SHOW. BERGER STAY WITH THE LAW FIRM.YOU KNOW WHAT YOU GOT ,