Thursday, March 01, 2007

PROPOSED RESOLUTIONS SHOULD BE PLACED ON WEB SITE BEFORE TOWN BD MEETINGS

Last night the Town Board received some criticism for not sharing resolutions with the public before Town Board meetings. I intend to propose a resolution at the next Town Board meeting directing that all resolutions be placed on our web site prior to the Town Board meeting. I suggest that the resolutions be placed on the agenda the Friday before a Wednesday Board meeting -when the tentative agenda is released. If modifications are made later on the modified version of the resolution could be placed on the agenda after the Town Board work session.
We need to make Greenburgh a more open government....

46 comments:

Jim Lasser said...

A step forward. Why not also "publish" the Minutes of the Town Board Meetings as PDF (portable document format) files in an open archive? I assume the Minutes are prepared using a computer and standard word processing software, so "printing" them to a PDF file shouldn't take more than a moment. This would make it easier to know exactly what was said (and by whom) when the broadcast or video archive files are distorted.

Michael Kolesar said...

A more interesting aspect of Mr. Lasser's comment is that one never sees the Town Board vote on accepting any minutes of previous meetings. Look at the agendas of the various Villages and you almost always see the approval of the minutes of a prior meeting or meetings high on the list. Does sate law require the keeping of minutes?

Then, of course, for a little Village like Ardsley, one can go to the Village web site and do exactly what Mr. Lasser states --- read the public minutes. By the way, go to the Ardsley web site and sample them. They are, at least during my tenure, pretty complete and one can get a very good sense of what was said and by whom.

Feiner's conduct disgraces town said...

Last night something momentous happened. The town council finally found its voice and exposed Mr Feiner's venality, corruption, and laziness. Venal, because he improperly sought to derail a proposal for tax relief for disabled persons by insisting on asking why the resolution did not include firemen. After being told he was out of order by town attorney tim lewis, he declared he was overruling mr lewis and would do as he pleased. A respected community leader called in and set Feiner straight after telling Feiner his conduct was embarrassing and shameful as they watched it on television.

Councilmember Sheehan then asked Feiner if he would pledge not to take money from representatives of those persons or businesses that have applications before the town board. Feiner refused to make such a pledge and his attempts to justify this unethical conduct were pathetic at best and more like a deer caught in the headlights. The reality of Feiner the insider and patron of developers and their consultants was open for all to see.

Feiner then objected to hiring a law firm the town had used for 10 years with the greatest of praise and never a word of complaint from the supervisor. Why? Because one of the employees of the 600 person law firm heads the democratic party in Greenburgh. Even though both tim lewis and Greenburgh department heads agreed that this law firm was perfect for the assignment (parenthetically, the law firm's fee was not even being paid by the town) Feiner objected by saying among other things that the opinions of the dept heads didnt matter becuase they only were telling the board what they wanted to hear. Councilmember Sheehan noted that he was almost speechless at the reckless slur Feiner had leveled at town employees. Feiner also claimed he wanted to "interview" this or other firms. Councilmember Bass told Feiner - you are the only full time member of this Board - what has stopped you from conducting an interview over all these months when the matter was pending before the Town Board? Feiner had no answer.

The Feiner era is over. Even Anna Nicole Smith had a better day than Feiner who looked and sounded defeated. There is now an opening in the Town of Yorktown for a supervisor. The same can be said for Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

wow, bitter much 12:04PM? yes resolutions beforehand and published minutes afterwards makes a ton of sense, let's leave it at that

Feiner in poltical chapter 11? said...

Yes, Feiner's (mis) conduct and his "I am the law" declaration was a bit much. And lets not forget his willingness to give 100 grand to the fairview fire district (from the tainted WestHelp money) without a green light from the comptroller's office or a public hearing on the issue. Not only is Feiner's political capital spent, he is bankrupt and might even being looking for a loan.

Anonymous said...

12:04 P.M. seems to have forgotten the behavior of Gil Kaminer at the behest of his masters on the Town Council who ordered him to threaten the Superintendent of the Valhalla School System. Has 12:04 P.M. voiced his/her objections to this violation of our basic democratic principles of free speach? I wonder what 12:04 P.M. would have to say when Gil is finally placed under oath under penalty of perjury and sings like a canary, telling the world it was Sir Francis who gave him is marching orders.

hal samis said...

Wow!
Look what I missed by leaving ahead of the votes on what I generally consider just the "housekeeping" votes.
I'll have to watch the reruns.
But...
What I shall comment on is what occurred while I was there to witness.

Mr. Sheehan, the blogged champion of 12:04's keyboard was not so speechless when earlier in the evening he ran over, backed up and then ran over again Town Attorney Tim Lewis.

Now, as it happens, I am not a fan of Mr. Lewis, or most Department heads, so I will only respond to the comments which could very well be submitted by a member of the Town Council or their aide as the work of "anonymous".

However, if reflecting disappointment with how Town Department heads suck up to whomever they feel wields a bigger stick, is now to be off limits for the Town Supervisor, let me be more blunt. Most of the Department heads need replacing and despite this criticism being leveled before, Supervisor Feiner has always defended the Town staff -- much to my consternation. So if Mr. Sheehan is to be viewed as the champion of the staff, it was not so apparent when he attacked Mr. Lewis in a lengthy screed last night just less than an hour before he became "speechless".

And while the blogger is dancing around an more opaque issue, allow me to be more enlightening regarding backstory on the hiring of the law firm, this firm is the one at which Suzanne Berger works. Mr. Bass and Mr. Sheehan both depend on Ms. Berger's continued political support (she is the head of the Greenburgh Democratic Party) for their various election endeavors whereas Mr. Feiner, also a Democrat, is known as somewhat of a Party maverick who does not kowtow to the Party. Now let's add in the widely perceived intelligence that Ms. Berger is being touted as the placeholder for either Mr. Bass or Mr. Sheehan's eventual run at the Supervisor position. Ms. Berger, (from the Villages) though lacking hands-on experience, is regarded as the "spoiler" who will divide the Village vote and also cancel out Bill Greenawalt should he decide to run again. All this is the attempt to map out the 2009 election by capturing the 2007 vote, holding the office for two years and then stepping aside (say, for a dangled judgeship) in favor of Mr. Bass or Mr. Sheehan.
If Feiner survives this Fall's elections, either he or Greenawalt (if either should win) would be harder to unseat; thus having someone holding office who would be willing not to run for a second term would be a "good investment" on the part of either Bass or Sheehan. So, as convoluted as this may appear, it is not so off the wall for Feiner to question the motivation behind Ms. Berger's firm now being the favored vendor.

And while the something "momentous" happened in the blog comment was happening, apparently the blogger did not notice the similarity between the criticism of Feiner accepting contributions from those conducting business with the Town and the best interests of Mr. Bass and Mr. Sheehan in having their patroness receiving similar, PIK largesse.

Finally we have the observation that a "respected community leader" called in to register embarrassment and shame. Whether these two sentiments are of equal proportion is not for me to ascertain; what I do know is that on prior occasions, this leader has also expressed both praise and support in also undetermined proportions. Observing how the wind is blowing is a tradition with most civic leaders, so what happens last night will not be held against anyone when the various communities come a knocking on the door with their needs.

And I suspect that something is already in the works that will assuage this particular leader's concerns. But that's politics or as would be said outside the world of 127 Hillside; it's only business.

I suggest you view these meetings as I do: as entertainment. All the players have underLIEing motives. They're all putting on a show.

Last night the Town Board approved Mr. Bass' sponsored local law supporting hiring union apprentices on Town Construction jobs. Of course, he knew well enough not to introduce it in time for the only construction projects that the Town has going, the $13.8 million for the Library, and it was worded carefully to avoid any chance that the Library contracts may not be signed or voided by "take effect 60 days after the vote". This is truly a win-win for Mr. Bass and to a lesser extent the other team member, Mr. Sheehan. Both can claim concern for unions and their members' votes and both can save money from the Library budget by not being bound by this needless expense.

But there are two aspects of this new law that should be discussed as an example of how politics affects the Dais. Not one of the members of the Town Board has a clue as to what, in dollars, this law would add to construction costs, what this would cost taxpayers. I asked how much more this would cost if the Library expansion contracts were bound by this law? No one answered because no one knew or even cared. Since there are no other major projects facing the Town in the next two weeks or month, it would have been easy enough to hold off the vote until they had some idea, but nooooh!

The other aspect is that by the wording, this makes the Town that much more married to Unions and the additional costs that are incurred when they appear at the job site. What I am saying is that by taking out the "apprentice language", you have the clear cut path to hiring only Union contractors on Town projects over $250,000.

I suspect that there are lots of residents and voters in the Town who earn far less than the "living wage" of Union members and that the Town Board has little interest in them because they are not organized and can't appear in a group at Town meetings. Furthermore, these residents who wait on you at CVS or Kmart or serve you at Applebee's or even work at the Library are forgotten because they have been effectively disenfranchised because they don't have a high profile. Meanwhile, they also have to pay taxes, taxes which will at some point be higher because they now have to contribute to the Town's cost of paying for "apprentices", a term which really means the guy who fetches coffee yet earns $17 per hour plus benefits.

You gotta really love it because it's hard (impractical) to leave. And when the Town meetings end, the second act begins right here on the blog.

Finally, is it my imagination or are bloggers so clued in that they recognize that Barnes and Juettner are useless, silent and a waste of around $100,000 (together) in taxpayer funds to support them: thus they are scarely mentioned.
When you consider what the cost of maintaining them is...now that's what I call a "living wage" and for just a part-time position.

Thank you Greenburgh Democrats!
(the author is a registered Democrat)

Meeting Watcher said...

Hey, Mr. "Feiner in political chapter 11" I saw the meeting last evening. You say that we should not forget Feiner's willingness to give $100,000 to the Fairview Fire District. Did you see the same meeting as I did? After a couple of people questioned the Board's proposal to give that money away, it was Sheehan who made several speeches suporting that gift, and said the only reason he wasn't voting on it last evening was because the Town Attorney wanted to speak to the Board about it at the next work session. And then Sheehan raked Sheehan over the coals for even wanting to speak further about it. The bully at his worst.

People like you would have some credibility, not much but some, if you were honest in your criticism instead of turning everything into your typical anti-Feiner screed. But I don't expect that you wil do that. Like the shark who will die if he stops moving, you will have no reason to participate in public discussion if you cannot continue your screeds.

Feiner has been Supervisor for more than fifteen years. He has been the same character from the beginning -- many good ideas, many screwball ideas. Why do you suppose all the criticism just started three years ago? Hint. A certain litigant (and the Edgemont elite not getting everything they wanted).

hal samis said...

Hey, Meeting Watcher,

I used the word screed, get thee to Roget.

To be honest, I borrowed the word from David Gottlieb, then of "The Scarsdale Inquirer" who complained about my anti-Feiner screeds.

What goes around comes around.
(source unknown)

Have a nice day.
(ibid)

Feiner is isolated - hurray! said...

In his long and rambling post, Feiner consigliere Hal Samis does not dispute that at long last we may have reached Feiner's final act. Whether this is a violation of omerta, i leave it to the other Greenburgh family (la cosa nostra de edgemont) to opine.

Confidential to watched meeting:
while screwball comedies have been enduring as a genre, Feiner's act is no longer funny. As for Sheehan and Bass, whether you agree with them or not, my point is they are finally standing up to Feiner. In other words, don't expect anymore Feiner shennanigans like the wall in front of webb field or off the books slush funds for Mayfair-Knollwood. This is good news.

Feiner is isolated - hurray! said...

In his long and rambling post, Feiner consigliere Hal Samis does not dispute that at long last we may have reached Feiner's final act. Whether this is a violation of omerta, i leave it to the other Greenburgh family (la cosa nostra de edgemont) to opine.

Confidential to watched meeting:
while screwball comedies have been enduring as a genre, Feiner's act is no longer funny. As for Sheehan and Bass, whether you agree with them or not, my point is they are finally standing up to Feiner. In other words, don't expect anymore Feiner shennanigans like the wall in front of webb field or off the books slush funds for Mayfair-Knollwood. This is good news.

hal samis said...

Dear Isolated:

And the last meeting that you attended was....?

You conclude that I don't dispute that this may be Feiner's final act...Sounds like you are an isolated attorney too. "This may be" is certainly not the definitive forecast of an insider.
So what's to dispute?

In the real world, I absolutely believe that Feiner will get re-elected.

However, if you think that it is good that Bass and Sheehan are standing up to Feiner, whether they are right or wrong, then I suggest you need to find one of those 1950's style latin american countries which staged revolutions
every month or so because it very much matters whether they are right.

It very much matters whether they are on the side of the angels or not. Just because they come with a big stick and because they have an aide to help carry it doesn't change things at all.

In the olden days, residents complained about Feiner using the office solely to get re-elected. So taxpayers footed the bill for his salary. And footed the bill for the four dummies which rubber stamped his "commands".

In the new millennium, we have Feiner and we have two vocal council members plus the two dummies and, after the on-camera arguments/posing, they all vote together like before. but "independently". What's different?

Now taxpayers foot the bill for the five Town Board members PLUS the additional expense of the Town Council aide whose time is spent finding ways to get the members of the Town Council elected.

If I were looking for information I'd take the long, rambling post which is accurate over the short, hyperbolic flotsam that passes as a legitimate posting. Anytime.

Anonymous said...

Dear Feiner is isolated:
Bass voted with Feiner against giving a 6 figure contract to the law firm that the chair of the Greenburgh Democratic Committee is associated with. He was not isolated on that vote.
Sheehan and Feiner expressed the same comments re: Fairview fire district getting a hundred grand a year from the WESTHELP.

Anonymous said...

If Bass voted no with Paul, he must know something that the dummy board does not know, I think the mad professor should step down,Since he lied during the campaign,to get this position ,who is he,wanting Paul to swear to tell the truth. He should tell the truth also . I'll make sure that I will not sign up for one of his classes .Did he study in a reform school? He has no respect for the public,who constantly have to listen to his bullish answers.Take the computer away from him and let'see what his answers are. UH.

Anonymous said...

I saw the meeting. Bass went out of his way to say he was voting no on the law firm not for any of the reasons that Feiner was voting no, but because of personal issues he had with their representation in connection with the Avalon project. No one else, including Feiner, seemed to have had those issues.

Anonymous said...

Bass is smart. He voted the right way. He voted against giving a big contract to the law firm that the chair of the Greenburgh Democrats is associated with. He then comes up with an excuse. The bottom line is he did the right thing. He voted against a contract that rewards the Democratic party chairs law firm big time. It's not what you say. It's how you vote that counts.

Feiner ethically sleazy said...

Feiner's arguments for voting against hiring the law firm are completely disingenuous and politically self-serving.

There is nothing legally or ethically wrong with hiring a law firm to represent the town cost free where the town's Democratic chair is not doing the work, is not the billing partner on the matter, and just happens to be one of 600 lawyers working for the firm.

Far worse, however, is Feiner's practice of taking campaign contributions from lawyers and consultants who represent developers and other business interests with applications pending before the town.

The town council members were right to point this out. Feiner's practice is shameless and sleazy, and shows he continues to put his political interests ahead of the people he supposedly represents.

Also, if Feiner were truly concerned about not using a law firm where the town's Democratic chair happens to be employed, he had months to conduct interviews of two other law firms that bid for the right to represent the town in this matter.

As the town's only full-time elected official, he had plenty of time to do this. But he never bothered.

Anonymous said...

Feiner and Bass did the right thing voting against giving the democratic party chair's law firm a contract to represent the town. No interviews were conducted. The contract is worth six figures. There are other firms out there that are equally qualified. The democratic committee will be asked to endorse candidates for supervisor and council this spring. The party contributes funds to candidates running for office. There seems to be an appearance that the firm is being given an unfair advantage.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about one thing. Did Bass tell Sheehan, Barnes & Juettner that he was going to vote against giving the chair of the Democratic party's law firm the six figure contract before he cast his vote? He looked good. They looked bad.
If he felt that the law firm did not do a good job with the Avalon case, why didn't he insist that the council members interview all the firms that competed for this lucrative case?

Feiner is smearing again said...

The contract was not given to the "Democratic party chair's law firm."

The Democratic party chair is not a partner in the firm, her remuneration from the firm is not tied to any Greenburgh business and consistent with past practice, she will not be representing the town in this matter.

That work is being handled instead, as it has been in Greenburgh for the past several years without objection by anyone, including Feiner, by partners at the firm with expertise in local environmental matters.

The Democratic chair is employed at the firm as one of its 600 lawyers.

It is not "her firm" in any ownership sense and any suggestion by Feiner that work was being thrown to "her firm" in an effort to curry political favor from her or from the town's Democratic party is absurd.

Far more troubling is Feiner's continuing to accept thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from lawyers and consultants whose clients have applications pending before the town.

Feiner's actions create an appearance of impropriety in violation of the town's Ethics Code and his shrill and baseless charges at the town board meeting that it is wrong for the town to hire the "Democratic party chair's law firm" is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention away from his own very serious ethical problems.

Village residents take note: can you imagine how you'd feel if your mayors and trustees took money from the lawyers and consultants whose clients have matters pending before your village boards?

Village residents would never tolerate that kind of corruption. Why then should different rules apply to Feiner?

Feiner Guilty Here, Here and Here said...

Samis:
Your capo was called

a. Venal. Why? Because he tried to disrupt a tax relief proposal to benefit the elderly and the disabled with his own grandstanding and even after he was told by Time Lewis he was out of order;

b. Lazy: Why? Because he never even tried to interview the highly recommended Bryan Cave law firm (or any other law firm) when he knew for months the Town Board would be hiring a law firm to oversee a new development (and whose fee would not even be paid for by the Town!); and

c. Corrupt: Why? Because of Feiner's practice of taking campaign contributions from lawyers and consultants who represent developers and other business interests with applications pending before the Town in apparent violation of the Town's Code of Ethics.

So far, your responses to these charges are the equivalent of sleeping with the fishes. Hence, I must conclude you agree that Feiner is guilty as charged.

As for attending meetings, Feiner's former running mate (Allegra Dengler - who recently lost again to the well known Marge Gaffney), said she attended the meetings since she watched them on televsion.

If I were you, I might put some feelers out for a new client and a new strategy. Whacking Bass and Sheehan doesn't work as a defense anymore.

Anonymous said...

There is an appearance of impropriety giving a six figure contract to a law firm that employs the chair of the democratic town committee. There is an extra appearance of impropriety since no interviews were conducted with other firms that had expressed interest in being retained by the town.

Anonymous said...

There is no appearance of impropriety in the town's giving a contract for legal services to a law firm that employs the chair of the town's Democratic Party where:

1. The recommendation to hire the firm was made by both the town attorney and the town's Planning Commissioner, based on a successful prior working relationship with lawyers from that firm on a similar matter. Their judgment as staff members is presumed to be independent of political considerations.

2. The chair of the town's Democratic Party will not benefit personally from the retention since she will receive no remuneration from the law firm that employs her in connection with the representation.

3. Selection of the firm will not result in town board members receiving any financial or other benefit from the town's Democratic Party. Endorsements are voted on by the party's 100+ district leaders. Only endorsed candidates received financial contributions from the party.

Feiner remains a problem, not a problem solver said...

dear anon @11:43:

There is an impropriety of Feiner taking $ from representatives of developers who have applications before the town.

The standard of appearance of impropriety is one that applies generally to attorneys and judges. Once the potential conflicts have been vetted, the alleged appearance may in fact be non-existent. That seems to be the case with the law firm that has worked with the town for over a decade without incident.

Feiner's unethical conduct is readlily apparent and remains unexcused. Again, what stopped Feiner from conducting any interviews.

Anonymous said...

Get real! The Town Council is moving away from non partisan government. Reform has come to Albany. Reform and open government is taking small but consistent steps backwards in Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

You want reform? Clean house by getting rid of deadwood and careerists like feiner and juettner. Thats a good first step.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. A blog that is supposed to receive comments about posting the text of resolutions on the town's website shares the fate of all other blogs that have a particular purpose. It becomes a place for the loonies to trot out all their bile and accusations, mostly untrue and paranoid, about the Supervisor.

How about writing comments regarding the posting of the text of resolutions, so that the public knows what the hell the Town Board is going to act on, so the public can react? No. The loonies aren't interested in having an informed public.

Meeting Watcher had it right. The loonies would wither away if they didn't have a patform to spread their paranoid nonsense.

hal samis said...

What stopped the Town Board as a group from conducting interviews?

Ms. Berger is not a partner, merely an employee so nothing is out of order; she has nothing to gain. Is that the rationale? How about being an employee she is not rewarded by the type of contractual annual increases the town's civil service employees receive. Thus, bringing in the Town of Greenburgh might be viewed as a "feather in the cap" by her bosses and could affect her salary reviews, earnings percentages or a bonus even if she doesn't share directly in the profitabiity or losses the account creates, or work on it directly. However, my quarrel is not with Ms. Berger whom have I have no problem with as head of the Greenburgh Dems; I just don't think she brings much to the table as prospective Town Supervisor.

Rather, my quarrel is with those who would disbelieve that there is any potential conflict of interest for those hiring the law firm that she works for.

Ms. Berger has much to say, even if behind the scenes, on who runs for local offices and what level of support the Democratic committee gives them. Since all five of the Town Board members are Democrats, all five are elected (the reality in DEM heavy Greenburgh is that the primary is THE election) and it is in the jockeying for Party support in the Primary that really determines who wins at the November formality. Thus, having the head of the DEM party in your corner is also a feather.

And that's not to ignore the basking in the reflection of DEMS in higher office who might take an interest in local matters through the offices of the local Party Chair.

All in all, the argument always seems to be that Feiner should do everything himself rather than raise questions (say, what does that word supervise mean?) while the four members of the Town Council, are abetted by a legislative aide (spelled F-L-A-C-K) to ease their load. With all their combined talent and worldliness, surely they can find another law firm which won't be viewed as boarding with unchecked baggage.

Anonymous said...

Presumably speaking for Feiner (as he often does these days), Samis slanders the Dem party chair when he says that her "bringing in the Town of Greenburgh" as a client might be viewed as a "feather in her cap" by her bosses and could affect her performance review and bonuses.

In law firms, the billing partner is the person who gets the credit for bringing in a client.

Here, the Dem party chair is not the billing partner. That honor belongs to the lead lawyer from her firm whose been representing Greenburgh on these environmental matters for the past several years.

Samis smears because Feiner smears. It's seems to be the only way they know how to communicate these days.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:24 is one of the "loonies". He is ignorant and biased as well.

I am certain that Suzanne Berger is an honorable woman and is caught in the crossfire of the madness that has overtaken this town, Having said that, let me point to Anonymous 6:24's ignorance and bias.

A lawyer who is not a partner gets a benefit for bringing in legal business. It is usually in the form of an origination fee, which is a percentage of the fees. It is definitely a feather in his (or her) cap. That is why lawyers who are not partners bring in business when they can.

Samis is not smearing Berger. As with the library, Samis is telling the truth and not playing the pandering game that the Town Council plays. It is not a smear to point out that a person who interacts politically with the Town Council may send out the wrong signals when the Town Council assigns legal work to her law firm. There ought to be one standard. The "loonies" who always attack the Supervisor for what they consider acceptance of questionable contributions should not be carrying on and saying "smear" when someone raises the same issue about conduct of the Council and their political allies.

How many times does Samis have to be right before the "loonies" realize it.

Anonymous said...

Bring back the old Francis--I long for the days when we had the old Francis fighting for us. The old Francis would never have given a town democratic party boss a big legal consultant job. The old Francis would never have given the construction manager of a 20 million dollar library project a blank check to build a library, devoid of any review. The old Francis would have insisted on open government and citizen involvement. I miss the old Francis. Francis--change back to the guy you once were.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:45 p.m. is full of baloney.

He assumes that Samis is right -- that Ms. Berger must be getting an origination credit for the Greenburgh business -- and that anyone who says otherwise must be a "loonie."

In fact, Ms. Berger didn't bring in the Greenburgh business; others at her firm did. They're the ones who get the credit -- not her.

How does "anonymous at 7:45" know otherwise?

Anonymous at 7:45 also thinks there's no difference ethically between the town's hiring a law firm that happens to employ the chair of the town's Democratic Party and Feiner's taking campaign contributions from lawyers and consultants whose clients have applications pending before the town.

That's absurd.

An appearance of impropriety arises when it appears that public officials may be conferring a financial benefit on a private individual in exchange for receiving a financial benefit themselves.

Thus, whenever Feiner takes contributions from lawyers and consultants representing clients with applications before the town, there is an appearance of impropriety because of the perception that as long as the lawyers and consultants continue to give Feiner money, their clients can be assured that their applications will be looked upon favorably -- at least by Feiner.

As an example, when the lawyer that represented the developer on Round Hill Road in Edgemont whose tree removal permit was being appealed by neighbors raised $30,000 for Feiner at a fundraiser in 2004, there was a perception that, when the developer went ahead and cut down the trees without waiting for the town to rule -- and Feiner did nothing to stop him, there was an appearance of impropriety.

The same was true when, after getting contributions from the lawyer representing the Sunrise assisted living center, Feiner supported the sale of the old town hall to Sunrise at a sweetheart price.

The same was also true when, after getting contributions from a lawyer representing a client seeking to build homes on a flag lot in Edgemont, Feiner took legislation that would have banned flag lots off the town board agenda.

And the list goes on and on.

But what quid pro quo can one point to in the town's hiring a law firm that employs the chair of the town's Democratic Party?

Were the town board members conferring a financial benefit on Ms. Berger? If so, what monetary remuneration had she given them, or may give them in the future?

The answer is that, according to the campaign disclosure forms, she hasn't given them anything.

Also, compared with Feiner, who's got nearly $150,000 in his campaign coffers, the town's Democratic Party has only a nominal amount of money on hand. So the likelihood that Ms. Berger will contribute financially to the town board members is remote.

Nor is this a case where hiring the firm that employs her means that the town is somehow getting a less qualified firm.

Not even Feiner is suggesting that.

Furthermore, any appearance of impropriety that might have been created by hiring the firm was negated by the fact that both he town attorney and the town's planning commissioner recommended that the firm be hired -- and did so on the basis of a prior longstanding working relationship not with Ms. Berger, who was not involved in the matter, but with others at the firm who were.

Greenburgh residents are not stupid. They can see that Feiner's claim of an ethical violation is nothing more than a smokescreen to keep the public from focusing on his own serious ethical problems.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Town Board meeting and almost vomitted when the Council praised Ms. Berger's law firm for the great work they did on Avalon -believe me - getting this East Irvington project down to 440 from 800 is nothing to be proud of.

The project is so huge, especially considering the huge density of Nob Hill and Ridge Hill, which right on top of the new Avalon - and the older Avalon. It is all a game of "let's see how many people we can jam together on the head of needle." The quality of life terrible precident the new Avalon brings to Greenburgh is beyond negative.

Am not usually a Steve Bass fan - but was very happy that someone on the Council understands the destruction of Greenburgh by those who are intent on turning it into the Bronx - with the help of Ms. Berger's firm. Now this great law firm will help the Town with a new mega project(440 units) in Eastview. God help us!

Edgemont - watch out if the Town Council hires this firm to help with your battle against monstrous build outs!

Anonymous said...

CORRUPT COUNCIL- DON'T SPEND OUR $$$ ON YOUR POLITICAL FRIENDS. WE ARE NOT A CASH MACHINE.

Anonymous said...

I am a former Democratic district leader who voted for Francis Sheehan twice. Never again! Voting to give a Democratic party chairs law firm a big contract is not the kind of practice I want in Greenburgh. Reminds me of the pre Tony Veteran years, when our town government was for sale.

Anonymous said...

Judging from the prior blog post, it looks like Feiner is telling his supporters that the town council is spending hard-earned taxpayer money on "political friends."

Lying like this is part of Feiner's election-year playbook.

The law firm that the town engaged to advise the town on environmental matters concerning the Eastview project is being for not by Greenburgh taxpayers -- but by the developer.

Anonymous said...

The democratic party chairs law firm will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, thanks to the decision of the Town Council. A political pay-o-la!

Anonymous said...

I too have been affiliated with the Democratic party in the city of New York.I'm very happy to say that I did not vote for Sheehan. Anyone that had dealings with him before the election,knew that he was a turn coat. He spoke with a forked tongue.I'ts too bad that he has to serve for the rest of his elected term.We do have the right to exercise comes the next election,if he runs again.I'm sure thatt he gives orders not to put forth copies of the agenders,before the meetings,to start a meeting that is hot and heavy,the same way that he did before he received his great powers. Too bad the rest of the council let him make the meetings a living hell for the people who attend,plus the people who view it on TV.He also is making you stay until all hours of the morning,for work sessions,cutting into your home life. You all must be gluttons for punishment. Wise up.

Anonymous said...

It's the appearance of impropriety that is upsetting. The Town Board should take the politics out of hiring or contracts.

Anonymous said...

The Town Code should be amended to prohibit the awarding of contracts to law firms or businesses that have, among their employees, political party chairs from the town. Avoid appearances of impropriety.

Anonymous said...

Dear 3/3 11:48 A.M.

The way to get rid of Sheehan now would be to demand that the Town Council fully investigate the incident between Kaminer and the School Superintendent from Valhalla. Feiner wanted to have Gil placed under oath to find out who ordered him to tell this woman not to speak up at the Town Meeting. Feiner knew what he was doing. He knew that Gil would tell the world that it was Francis who gave him this order. This is why the rest of the Town Council failed to take up the issue. Bass and Barnes are up for election this year. Should this matter become a hot issue again they might be inclined to support an investigation since if they do not, they open themselves up to charges that they are in favor of using scare tactics against women and supressing free speach. As soon as Gil is placed under oath, Francis is a dead duck!

Anonymous said...

Feiner's career has been built on the politics of personal destruction.

Francis Sheehan, who won't be up for re-election for another three years, did an excellent job exposing Feiner for the fraud he is at last Wednesday's town board meeting.

Feiner's supporters must realize that his televised undoing by Sheehan must have been effective.

Why else would his supporters be blathering on about how evil Sheehan must be?

Congratulations Francis on a job well done.

Feiner has reached a dead end said...

Anon at 10:39 is partially right. An earlier and unrebutted post called Feiner, venal, lazy and corrupt. Feiner's own actions at the last board meeting proved this to be the case in a manner even his political buddies could not dispute. Mr. Sheehan only pulled the curtain higher on Feiner's sleaze.

Anonymous said...

Sheenan shall we uncover some of your shaddy deals.I know that you cannot throw stones.

feiner's attacks transparent ruse said...

shad is a fish. shoddy is what we have in feiner and juettner. its quite transparent that now that the feiner has been unmasked as a fraud by francis, feiner's minion's are biting back. fortunately, feiner must face the voters this year.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the four board members read the comments on the blog ,this is the only way that they will see just how some of the tax payers feel about the library .Take a good look at what is wrong today,and maybe you could save some monies that tax payers do not have.This project will run more than the money alloted,in the begining.We need good planning. The old building with a little change will be just right,and will cost less monies.The new age is computers ,and within the next few years things will change again.WHO NEEDS BOOKS.School have reading sessions ,computers for the students.The new library is a double expense. If you have reading sessions ,and computers in the library,do away what exits in the schools.Money will be wasted if this library gets built .