Wednesday, June 06, 2007

DID TOWN BD VIOLATE OPEN MEETINGS LAW YESTERDAY WHEN WE DISCUSSED FINANCIAL STATEMENT RE: WESTHELP WITH AUDITORS?

Yesterday, the Town Board held a work session and voted (over my objections) to hold an executive session. Our accountants (Bennett Kielson) discussed aspects of our financial statement for the year ended 2006 regarding WESTHELP.
I believe that this should have been discussed in open session, not in closed session. This is a policy matter -- not a legal matter. The public has the right to know what is being discussed, the options under consideration, the reasons for decisions and what our auditors recommend.
I have requested the Town Attorney to write a letter to the Committee on Open Government regarding yesterday's meeting and to ask whether the meeting should have been open. If Mr. Freeman advises that the meeting should have been open I will request that the options discussed be disclosed to the community.
I do not support closed government.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

.

What a surprise, once again the Town Board acting inappropriately in regard to WESTHELP.

This is truly the gang that can't shoot straight.

Let me guess, Sheehan was demanding the closed meeting and the sleepy dwarfs all whistled along.

Let the public be dammed.

Why is it that our "chief justice" of the town board is so often the one quoting Tim Lewis says this and Tim Lewis says that, but he himself is unwilling to follow the open government rules?

Greenburgh, go to your windows, and scream out that you are mad as hell and you are not going to take it any more (apologies to Network).

Anonymous said...

Paul when will you understand your town council will make you look bad at every turn. Sheehan must go for us to have open government again. Everyone is saying the same thing ,since he came into being,we have become a dictatorship, with him leading the way.Nothing seems to be on the level anymore,He must have a lot to hide. Andy Spano,be careful the nut will be after your job pretty soon. Council members, because of Sheehan your political careers are a thing of the past. He will be starting a new wave of government , wih his puppet Kaminer.They deserve each other.One can readily see who owns the press,Sheehan and Kaminer. Kaminer you had better look for another position before all your doings with Sheehan come to light and you will be without a job.To many you are both considered the lovey dovey pair.Great politics.

Anonymous said...

Tim lewis, remember, your the town lawyer and you should know better than to let Sheehan make a damfool out of you. I thought you knew better than to let him suck you into his web that he has created with Kaminer .and the other three council persons. Too bad tim, it looks like you too will eventually look for another job,He pulled you down also.

did feiner really speak up said...

The audiotape of yesterday's meeting paints a very different picture than the one Feiner is painting.

Town Attorney Tim Lewis insisted that the meeting be closed because he wanted to discuss two of his memos -- one dated May 15 and one dated May 21 -- both of which he claimed were privileged attorney client communications.

The only town board member objecting on the tape is Sheehan. Feiner was silent.

Sheehan repeatedly questioned Lewis whether it was really necessary to go into exec session over this, particularly with Bennett Kielsen, the town auditors present and the subject being WestHelp.

But Lewis insisted and Feiner remained silent.

So with Lewis insisting that the meeting had to be held behind closed doors, Sheehan made the motion to go into exec session. If Feiner objected, he certainly didn't do it audibly.

Anonymous said...

On the "DID TOWN BD VIOLATE OPEN MEETINGS LAW YESTERDAY WHEN WE DISCUSSED FINANCIAL STATEMENT RE: WESTHELP WITH AUDITORS? " thread, a betting pool is being established to see how much blame can be cast off the innocent , much maligned "Town BORED" to Supervisor Paul & Lawyer Tim.

Feel free to step up to the windows to cast your wager.

Anonymous said...

The open meeting law doesn't allow the Town Board to hold an executive session just because it wants to. The law doesn't allow the Town Attorney to request it just to cover his views of financial statements. This is a budget matter, and of all Town Board business, budget matters require public hearings the most. If this is about Westhelp business, and how the money is to be allocated and reported, then we have an absolute right to know because there has been so much politics about it. They want to keep the public from knowing so that they can play more politics.

Shame on the Town Council. And shame on Tim Lewis. Will we ever have a Town Council which respects the law? Will we ever have a Town Attorney who knows the law? Maybe if the present Council is voted out.

hal samis said...

It is ironic that when Francis was running, I told everyone that even if he can't change things by himself, at least the misdeeds that are concocted behind the closed doors of the basket known as "Executive Session" will no longer be hidden; that Francis will alert us to what is really going on.

Now the reality is that we have met the enemy and it is he. Sheehan is now in his 18th month of paid service. No one doubts that of the four it is only he who does the grunt work, does the research and does the reading. However, the price Sheehan charges for providing this service to his co-conspiraators is too high...their compliance and silence; their ignorance being already a given.

Mr. Sheehan has now had what I call three strikes when at bat: the second being the intimidation tactic to strong arm sewer district silence; the third being the new paragraph to negate the effect of the Zoning Board sidewalk conditional approval re the GHC application; and, the first strike was to hush up the bad news regarding the library expansion. Since the results of this won't be conclusive for at least another year, what I say is really a strike, his last swing is at present being called a foul ball but there are more pitches coming from that still open turn at bat.

Anonymous said...

Jeeze, if this were the Little League (which might be a new moniker to try on) then Francis would now be past strike four.

Lest we not forget, his brilliant managing of Young Kaminer and the threatening of the Valhalla Superintendent (& female) that she better shut up or else. She didn't "shut up" and "or else" happened.

Aren't we all proud Greenburgh citizens of the king and his merry court of jesters?

Wake up Greenburgh. Stop tolerating this foolishness. Let the "Town BORED" know that this is not the way we want business done in our town anymore.

Anonymous said...

The behavior of Sheehan and his puppets on the Town Council needs to be fully investigated. Sheehan has violated constitutional rights at every turn. What Greenburgh citizens need is a lawyer like the late William Kuntsler to take Sheehan and his cronies to Court. Sheehan had a women from Valhalla threatened. What's next???

Remember Sheehan supporters, Francis could easily turn on you as well. He is not to be trusted.

Young Kaminer Speaks said...

Dear 12:04 PM

We have finally heard from Young Kaminer. What's the matter Gil, Francis has you e-mailing on your lunch time now??

You speak of an audio tape. Who recorded it and what is the present chain of posession? Gil, remember, there WERE people who heard you confess to threatening the school district superintendant so don't get yourself in more trouble by lying for Francis yet again.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone see a patern here:

Sheehan gets elected.

The Valhalla School District Superintendant is threatened by Gil Kaminer. She is told that she had better not make a circus out of her public comments. Paul is outraged and calls for an investigation. The rest of the Town Council (including two women) remains silent.

Citizens from a sewer district document that the Town has been assessing sewer district taxes improperly for years. Paul is given the information and acts upon it. Meetings are held between Paul, many department heads and the citizens. Paul and the department heads vote to hire a forensic accounant to sort through everything.

Sheehan gets elected.

Sheehan takes control of this process by requiring that the residents of the sewer district must pay for the forensic study should the forensic accounant state that the Town acted properly. This deal is ILLEGAL. It is a violation of Constitutional Rights. It is illegal for the Town to target a specific sewer district for reimbursement when ALL the sewer districts would have benefitted from this study.

Sheehan gets elected.

Open Meeting Laws are violated.

So, I ask again, does anyone see a pattern here????

hal samis said...

Sorry to report it ain't Gil but
Dear did Feiner really speak up,
(AKA Bob Bernstein),

Of course you weren't actually at the meeting which is why you write in question form.

And of course you didn't actually listen to the audio tape either.

And you are certainly aware of the DIFFERENCE between a claim of attorney-client PRIVILEGE and EXECUTIVE SESSION because the two are different.

But that doesn't stop you from writing under a screen name to guard your own identity while writing about a Town Council which seeks to similarly hide behind whatever impediments to outing the truth as they are able to muster.

And you may remember a time when many of us supported Sheehan, not because his would be the deciding vote and things might change but because it was believed that having him inside would pierce the veil of Executive Session and bring to the light of day things which should never have been concealed.

Now we learn that Sheehan has added his vote to maintaining secrecy (I'm not suggesting a conclusion that he is leading the charge) and things have not changed.

However, despite your own public opinion of Tim Lewis and his rather unique take on reading law, you choose not to question Tim Lewis' part in yesterday's events but instead see if you can discredit Feiner's role.

The Swiss Cheese is holier than the doughnut; however you comments fall somewhere in between and you are capable of better inuendo than marketing bargain basement epithets over the internet.

Anonymous said...

For those people like me, and obviously Hal Samis, who are amazed and angry at Sheehan's change from defender of the law and openness into an arrogant screw-the-law person, the only way to deal with him is to vote out his cronies Eddie Mae barnes and Steve Bass this year. Do that and after this election Sheehan will br just another mortal rather than the ruthless dictator that he has become.

Anonymous said...

To 4:58

Amen to that. A quicker alternative would be to have a formal investigation into the Kaminer/Superintendant incident. Once under oath, Gil will be forced to tell the truth or risk a year for perjury. Trust me, THERE ARE WITNESSES TO GIL'S CONFESSION. All we need is an investigation to begin and Sheehan is DONE!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The town council wanted to keep the issues quiet during the election season. Fortunately, Feiner is forcing the issues to be discussed in a public setting now, not later.

Anonymous said...

"The Valhalla School District Superintendant is threatened by Gil Kaminer. She is told that she had better not make a circus out of her public comments." This is a threat? Who is she Coco the Clown?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. 10:09 pm:

The Valhalla superintendent was told that there would be consequences if she spoke.

She spoke.

Did anything happen?

Yes.

Threat and fulfillment of threat.

Do you have any other questions?

This seems like an open & shut case, even without Young Kaminer's confession, to which there are multiple witnesses.

If this is not true, then once and for all, have Sir Francis step up and say so.

Rest assured, this will never happen and this game of blaming Supervisor Paul will continue.

If Young Kaminer threatened your mother or sister, with the full support of his boss, would you sit idly and watch. Let’s hope not.

Anonymous said...

The public has a right to know what is going on. Open government is important.

feiner 's lies and valhalla said...

Lets not forget who told the big lies about the Westhelp money - Feiner said he had a legal opinion - lie # 1
thta the money was needed to educate kids in the shelter using the valhalla schools - lie #2

and that the grant was needed to offset a loss in property values - lie 3#


liar, liar liar - feiner's pants are still on fire

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 10:27. If my mother or my sister were the CEO of a $40 million corporation they would not need my protection. If on the other hand either was Klaude Kirshner in a dress that might be a different story. The Comptroller's office said this deal was illegal that is the only consequence worth considering. Are you implying that women in the workplace, in positions of power need chivalrous protection not needed by or afforded to men? This threatened womanhood routine is old and hysterical.

The Crimes of Sheehan said...

The crimes of Sheehan need to be investigated. Sheehan violated the first amendment rights of the Valhalla School Superintendant by having Kaminer threaten her. Sheehan violated the 14th amendment rights of citizens on special assessment sewer districts by refusing to properly adjust their assessments, knowing full well that they were wrong. Now Sheehan has violated New York State open meetings laws. We need something like a Special Prosecutor to come in with subpeona power and investigate these assaults on our rights. A special prosecutor will cost money however, in the end, it will save us money because Sheehan's reckless behavior will wind up costing the Town millions in judgements in future law suits filed against the Town by people who were damaged by these despicable and illegal tactics.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan didn't violate the open meetings law. Feiner did. Feiner claims that while in exec session, the board discussed matters that should have been open to the public.

If Feiner believed that were the case, the law required him to stop the meeting and open the doors right then and there. The town board would then have to take a public vote to go back into exec session.

If that had occurred, the public might have learned the real reason this meeting was held in executive session.

When any town board goes into exec session, its members are supposed to keep the matters discussed confidential.

But Feiner proclaims in the interest of open government that he has the unilateral right other board members don't have to disclose what occurs in exec session if he feels like it -- and so he's telling anyone who'll listen what he believes took place.

Feiner, of course, is not exactly an unbiased reporter here -- and neither of course is the gullible Journal News reporter who swallowed Feiner's story hook line and sinker.

Faced with a supervisor who won't play by the rules, the Town Board should make public everything that was discussed at Tuesday's exec session because the public is entitled to more than just Feiner's account of what occurred.

Second, the Town Board must from now on reject any further requests to go into exec session if Feiner is present. State law recognizes that there are times like negotiation of contracts, consideration of litigation matters, and discussion of personnel issues, when the public interest requires that the town board go into exec session.

But Feiner won't adhere to those conventions. And therefore it makes no sense for the town board to adhere to them either. Who loses in these situations? The public.

Episode VII Return Of The Evil Sith said...

Keep pointing fingers at Paul all you want. Everyone knows that since the Dark Sith Lord Emperor Francis took control over his empire, our freedoms are being whittled away. Fear not however. There are still many a good Jedi out there ready, willing and able to battle the evil Sith Lord Sheehan and his cohort, Young Kaminer. Freedom and Democracy will reign again in Greenburgh.

"Trust not Emperor Sheehan, the Dark Side runs strong in him" Jedi Master Yoda

Episode VII Return Of The Evil Sith said...

Keep pointing fingers at Paul all you want. Everyone knows that since the Dark Sith Lord Emperor Francis took control over his empire, our freedoms are being whittled away. Fear not however. There are still many a good Jedi out there ready, willing and able to battle the evil Sith Lord Sheehan and his cohort, Young Kaminer. Freedom and Democracy will reign again in Greenburgh.

"Trust not Emperor Sheehan, the Dark Side runs strong in him" Jedi Master Yoda

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:11 am,

Are you saying just because a non-judicial organization said something is "illegal", that it makes it right for a Greenburgh town employee, under the direction of his boss, a Greenburgh elected official, to threaten someone (be it either a man or woman)and violate that individual’s first amendment rights?

Additionally, is it appropriate in your eye to follow through on the threats? Is one to assume that what happened in this instance was because the Superintendent had the “audacity” to speak in public? A threat was issued by a town employee and followed through on by the town board.

You have a very perverted sense of right and wrong.

You are allowed to disagree over WESTHELP. That is your right. Your first amendment right, in fact. But to sit and make excuses for reprehensible behavior, where threats were made and followed through on is disgraceful.

Separate the issues. This is very wrong and you are very wrong for advocating and supporting it.

And shame on the town board for sticking their heads in the sand. Steve and Edie should not be allowed to continue. This is a reckless disregard of their sworn responsibilities. Francis & Diana need to be retired on the next go-around.

The people of Greenburg are entitled to much better and more honest representation.

Anonymous said...

If the Town Council could be trusted to be truthful then we could forgive many mistakes. The truth is that the Town Council cannot be trusted anymore. They are preoccupied with short-term and long-term politics, whether Francis Sheehan or Steve Bass is the future Supervisor and fighting with the Supervisor, so their mistakes cannot be forgiven.

Anonymous said...

9:46

She is a public official, told not to bring a circus to a board meeting. Who cares? She should have heeded the advice, even as a professional courtesy. Imagine if every town and school board appeared at each other's meetings with imagined grievances based on illegal deals. From what I read and see on Channel 12 she has her hands full keeping track of the condiments in the VSD lunch rooms. I doubt if she'll be filing any Federal lawsuits anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Dear 1:06 pm:

I’m glad that you can't follow simple logic and you feel the need to try to throw diversions to support your weak case. That speaks volumes, wouldn’t you say?

Fact: Threat by town employee
Fact: Fulfillment of threat by town board

If I ask you as a "professional courtesy" to stop Blogging here, will you stop?

Imagine how simple it would be for the Town Board to conduct business, if no one ever showed up or ever had an opinion.

In fact let's get rid of this democracy thing and establish a monarchy. How does King Francis sound to you?

How are you going to feel when the monarchy says "you" no longer have any first amendment rights?

I would look forward to your response, but remember that professional courtesy thing you are promoting!

Anonymous said...

Will you Valhalla people please go away? This is either old news (oh wait, its is not even news, the threat was advice) or an attempt to avoid the problem of the Valhalla money should be retunred.

Anonymous said...

1:19

What standing did this offended woman have coming before our town board? She was not a resident. She was not a party to a town contract, at least not legally. She mostly represented two other towns entirely and as a Greenburgh resident, I don't care for her wasting our town board's time. She was there for theatrics and became the star of the long running soap opera, The Young and The Kaminer. Let it go, you seem to be the only one offended.

i am angry said...

To 2:16.

No, the earlier writer wasn't the only one offended.

I am offended by your rudeness, nastiness and contemptuousness.

Do you think that only residents are allowed to speak to the Board, even if the matter they are speaking about affects them directly? And don't you think that the grant affected them directly? If you are not interested in hearing those with whom you disagree, turn off the TV.

The grant was illegal, but that wasn't known at the time it was made, not by Valhalla and not by our Town Board. Why shouldn't the Valhalla school official speak and argue about it. In fact, if I remember, this was before the Comptroller's report came in, and it wasn't at all clear that the Comptroller would say that it was illegal.

I live in Greenburgh and I am pleased that the grant was deemed illegal, because I don't think that such a deal should have been made. But I wasn't there, so I hold my fire. You weren't there either, so show a little restraint if you can.

Was the school district's presentation of its views any less a circus than every public hearing -- the Greenburgh Health Clinic, the arguments over the budgets, the sidewalk arguments -- I don't think so. So quit dumping on people just because you are unhappy with their views.

No matter what, for an employee of the town, especially the representative of the Town Council, to warn a person (male, female, or other)not to speak, not to make a "circus" before that person even opened her mouth is disgraceful. And you are wrong to say let it go. Kaminer, and the Council who protect him, are still there, and rhe Council is as contemptuous of the residents who disagree with them as they and Kaminer were when the grant was discussed.

With people like you no wonder that Greenburgh has become such a nasty place.

Anonymous said...

To 2:10 & 2:16:

What exactly then is the statue of limitations for threats made by a town employee (who is paid with my tax dollars) and fulfillment of threats on "non-residents" of Greenburgh by the town board?

Because the majority of the town board is embarrassed, but through their silent majority has the ability to make believe this never happened, is that enough to say it never happened?

Another question, does your e-mail imply then that only Greenburgh lawyers can make applications in front of the town?

Your interpretation of the first amendment continues to amaze me.

Anonymous said...

Since Sheehan has arrived on the scene, the Constitution ceased to exist in Greenburgh. I think its about time to unleash the ACLU on this Republican who became a Democrat only in order to gain power. Sheehan governs like the most right winger one can imagine. Just think of it, when a women wishes to express her 1st Amendment Rights she is threatened. Is this America? Sheehan is NOT A DEMOCRAT. He was a registered Republican who ONLY became a Democrat because he knew that a Republican could not get elected in Greenburgh. The ACLU needs to be brought in and put an end to the tyranical regime of Emperor Francis The 1st.

Anonymous said...

SHEEHAN RESIGN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE this is the only way to get back our town.Electios are coming up this will be the opportunity to get rid of two more ,Bass and Barnes. We have to put up with Juettner for a while but you never would know wether she is present or not.IT"S time to start thinking about Morgan and Brown . If they prove themselves they could go for another run if not they too will be outvoted.