Tuesday, June 26, 2007

TOWN BD WORK SESSIONS SHOULD BE TELEVISED

Francis Sheehan states in his latest gblist e mail that the last Town Board work session was audiotaped by a member of the public. The person who audiotaped the meeting is a long time supporter of Mr. Sheehan. There is no way of knowing if the recording that he is transcribing includes statements made during the entire meeting.
What is needed is for the Town Board to learn from this incident. WE NEED TO TELEVISE ALL OUR WORK SESSIONS--IN ITS ENTIRETY.
The public has a right to know what is happening during our work sessions--who said what, what comments were made. What questions are being asked.
IN ADDITION-- the work session agendas should be released to the public a few days before each work session (the Friday before the Tuesday meeting). Currently, work session agendas are posted only a few hours before each work session--providing the public with no time to plan to attend the work session if they they are interested in attending the meeting.
Finally-- the personal accusations and attacks must stop. Leave the politics to the campaign.

53 comments:

Michael Kolesar said...

At the very least, minutes of the work sessions need to be made available to the public on a timely basis. It's the law in New York State. Go to the Open Government web site and you will see that work sessions are not exempt from the requirement to take and publish minutes. The Town also needs to comply with the law about minutes for the "regular meetings". Minutes should also be routinely reviewed, approved , and published for the Planning Board and Zoning Board.

Anonymous said...

You're right Paul, Sheehan and his cohorts are ready to lie what the meetings are about. It's about time that residents get to know the real Sheehan. He'll get and take what ever he can when ever he can.Residents should know whom and what they elected with Sheehan. what ever he does is not lawful, and his friends try to make you believe differently. he should be impeached .Paul televise everything, proof is needed as to what this maniac says at these meetings behind closed doors..

Anonymous said...

Yes, they should be televised. There is so much fighting and finger-pointing and nasty letters and claims of audiotapes that it is important that the public can see for themselves.

Feiner needs to come clean said...

Based on Feiner's last e-mail (and blog entry), it's clear that the audiotape of the work session must support what Francis Sheehan says -- that Feiner is refusing to account for the millions of dollars in WestHELP revenue that the town's received.

Feiner could so easily defuse the situation. All he has to do is produce an accounting of all the WestHELP money that's come in, at $100,000 a month, beginning in September 2001.

It shouldn't be all that hard to do, since the disbursements to Valhalla and the Fairview FD didn't start until 2004.

Right off the bat, we're talking about $2.7 million ($1.2 million for 2002 and 2003, and $300,000 for 2001).

Now we're told that some of that money, $372,000 per year, in fact, was recorded as rental income on the town's books.

However, according to the town's adopted budgets for 2002, 2003 and 2004, that $372,000 didn't first get recognized and recorded until 2004.

So where's the money Paul? Why are we only talking about $1.4 million? Looks like there should be a lot more.

Instead of coming clean, Feiner's instead going on the attack. He attacks Sheehan for bringing the matter to the public's attention, and he attacks the private citizen who comes each week to tape the work sessions -- as she's been doing for years -- on the ground that she's partisan and can't be trusted. Oh really?

And Feiner's supporters have been relentless in attacking anyone else who might have something informative to say about this, including Heslop, McAvoy, and even Bernstein.

why the smears? To discredit anyone who might report facts that Feiner doesn't want anyone to hear right now.

If Feiner doesn't come clean soon about this -- and if he's got nothing to hide there's no good reason why he shouldn't -- the public will demand an accounting from the state comptroller -- if not from the Westchester County district attorney.

Anonymous said...

Valhalla is still being investigated by the comptrollers office, Lets'wait till all the auditing is finished, their findings are the final word.If one has permission to tape the meetings why is it that some of the things that have come out in the press, have not been commented on up to now by the four board members.Many things have been said at these sessions, Kaminer and his threat for one, Sheehan has poopooed this matter, WHY. What ever he says is never reported. WHY. WHAT EVER FEINER SAYS OR DOES IS REPORTED.Yes we need a television and minutes taken at these meetings. We have to start fighting back .Sheehan has made sure to take away our Democratic way of life,freedom and our voice most of all. We should not bow down to idols.Sheehan please take off to some island where no one knows where your coming from. Maybe the moon will do quite well too.

Anonymous said...

Among the things recorded on the audiotapes of the town board work sessions are (1) the assurances from the Valhalla superintendent that all the $650,000 was needed each year to compensate the district for educating the homeless kids at the shelter (which was shown at the session not to be true) and (2) the gratitude expressed to the town by a Valhalla student -- the son of a Mayfair Knollwood civic association officer -- who told the town board about his all-expense paid trip to Japan courtesy of Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

Francis Sheehan was found guilty of misrepresenting the facts when he ran for Town Board. He said that Kevin Morgan and Allegra Dengler were right to lifer's when they were pro choice. He won the election by lying. How can we trust him?

Anonymous said...

If anyone misrepresented the funds given to the Valhalla district were the people who disbursed the funds as they saw fit.As one comment read that a trip to Japan was paid for with the money. Vacations, opera, and the such. Feiner should not be condemned for what they did, They misused the funds that were allocated to them to use for the betterment of that area not to be used for themselves. They should be put in jail for mishandling these funds fully knowing that they have committed a crime in doing so,and whomever did use these monies for joyrides ,trips and the such should be made to make restitition to the town of Greenburgh.They cannot say or prove that they didn't know what they were doing was wrong.

Anonymous said...

At least one of Morgan/Allegra said they wanted parental permission for a minors right to an abortion. Maybe both.

I dont know how you define pro-choice, but I want my teenage daughter to have a choice.

Yes, I would prefer she not have an unwanted pregnancy. Yes, I would prefer she be comfortable talking to me about it. BUT IF THE FIRST TWO ARE NOT TRUE, I WANT HER TO ACCES TO A SAFE ABORTION.

THAT IS WHAT I CALL PRO-CHOICE.

Anonymous said...

Yes Sheehan And Juettner lied to win the election, and they were critisized by the comittee for doing this. He will do anything to get to the top,his ways of being a bully will shortly come to an end when the truth comes out from many investigations that are going on. If I were Sheehan I would resign before I was thrown out. The person who does the taping of these meetings is a very fine person,and I know that she would do nothing wrong with the tapes, but I think it will be a good idea if the meetings were televised this way we could see the true colors of the four board members.There should be nothing wrong with this being done.We see the way they speak and act at town meetings, which is the pits,now we like to see how they kill one another behind closed doors.

Anonymous said...

OH what about the promises that Sheehan made in the press about what he wold do if elected. I think he did the complete opposite, He divided Greenburgh. What he does at meetings is ridiculous ,this should be made known to all of us. Yes he comes accross like a saint when he's an usher in his church, believe me he's the devil in disguise.You can also say that he is a jeckle and hyde.Televise every meeting. He's seen at the planning board meetings and if it meets his fancy or wants to make friends he speaks up in favor of the petitioner, so we see him in action there , and know how much of a phony he is.

hal samis said...

I don't have the answer.
I read "he said, she said" and I missed the Town Board work session.
I can't understand how no one can say that they had no idea where the money was resting. Given that the money came as a result of a contract (a finite sum) and this money was supposed to be dispersed (in finite sums), it would seem that alert Town residents, even an alert Town Council, would be aware that something was amiss.

If there was even the slightest smidgeon of a hint that something was irregular, it was the obligation of the Town Comptroller to "blow the whistle". Even before Mr. Sheehan came aboard the Town Council, there was still Mr. Sheehan, interested, private citizen and Mr. Bernstein, interested, private citizen. And others, including Mr. Kolesar, who would have noticed if Mr. Heslop had included even a footnote(s) to the Town Budgets that were issued during his tenure.

Thus, as little as I know or have followed, I continue to point the finger at Heslop because I don't see Feiner waiting on line at the bank with various account deposit slips to deposit checks made out to the Town.

That said, the only reason for my writing this posting is to express my reaction to a statement made by Supervisor Feiner. A statement which I wish he had not made, a statement which, even if made by a person defending himself against an angry mob, should not have been made.

The citizen, as many are aware, who records audio tapes of Public meetings, be they Town Board, Town Board work sessions, various committees, Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, etc. is Ella Preiser. She does it to insure that if she writes minutes, makes statements herself or serves as an all-purpose resource for residents with questions, that what she says happened or what was said is accurate. Her tapes and transcripts are trusted enough to be used, and have been, used in Court. And she has been doing this for at least the past 10 years.

True she is and has been a long-time supporter of Francis Sheehan.
And, she often is in the forefront of those who criticize Mr. Feiner, as she also criticizes the entire Town Board, including Sheehan.
However, when she criticizes Feiner, she does it as an unhappy resident, not to help out Mr. Sheehan who is quite capable of scoring points without help. Interestingly enough, before he joined the Town Board, Mr. Sheehan used to make his own videotapes of meetings, a practice that stopped when he got to the dais.

What Mr. Feiner did, perhaps out of anger, was to impugn the honor of Ms. Preiser, a person whose honor is above reproach. By suggesting that her audio tapes might be "edited" or the transcript could be "less than complete" is an insult, not only to Ella Preiser but to the whole community. If there is anyone in Town whose word is unimpeachable, it is Ella and Mr. Feiner, for all of his years of Town service as Supervisor, is well aware of the validity of such a statement.

Although he has stated before that he does not apologize, this is one occasion in which Mr. Feiner should go on record with such a statement. His comment was both uncalled for and wholly inacurate, even if he were acting as his own Counsel with the intent of building a case.

But, the call to televise work sessions should not get lost in the hullabaloo over the "missing dollars and 11 cents" and the Town Board Work Session agenda should be available no later than 3:00 on Monday which would be 24 hour notice.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you really think there are 3 people in all of Greenburgh who voted for or against Town Board (!) candidates based on their position on abortion? Will one of those people please identify themselves?

Anonymous said...

what the hell does abortion have to do with the Town of Greenburgh?
the only thing i can come up with is every Town Board meeting turns into an abortion

Anonymous said...

Samis is still looking at the WestHELP mess with blinders on.

Do yourself and your friend Paul a favor: if Feiner's got nothing to hide, have him circulate a full accounting of all the WestHELP money that's been received by the town to date, starting in September 2001. Then have him show the disbursements to Valhalla, Fairview FD and anyone else, and let's see what's left over.

Heslop doesn't get on board until June 2004, and the problems all seem to pre-date his arrival.

Hal, you've been telling us ad nauseum for months now how much better you are at reading town budgets and the town's financial statements than town staff is. You've been the first to scream "fraud!" at the library's allocated share of public works maintenance costs but those costs don't hold a candle to these.

So Hal, have Paul clear the air and tell us where he put all that WestHELP money that came in between September 2001 and December 2003. It looks to be around $2.7 million.

Oh, and since we know that none of this money was recorded in any of the town's budgets, can you also ask him to show us where it's been recorded in the town's financial statements?

Paul Feiner said...

Regarding the reportin of WESTHELP funds -- please be advised that the funds were previously reported in the town outside village fund comparative balance sheet under the term: "liabilities: Due to other governments." 100% of the funds received were accounted for. We have shown our balance sheet to auditors and state officials.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Do you think that now Bernstein will shut up and stop? Not a chance. Facts never get in his way.

Feiner still needs to come clean said...

Feiner still owes the town a complete accounting of the WestHELP monies.

His brief explanation today does not do the trick.

As of December 31, 2003, the Town would have received approximately $2.7 million in WestHELP money.

As of December 31, 2003, there were no disbursements to either Valhalla schools or the Fairview FD. Those did not begin until 2004.

As of December 31, 2003, the town reported no revenues received from the WestHELP rent.

According to the town's financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2003 (a copy of which is available online), the total amount in the town outside village comparative balance sheet under the term: "Liabilities: Due to other governments" is $1,687,500.

Even if that number is supposed to represent revenues received from WestHELP, you gotta admit that describing it as "liabilities: due to other governments" is a rather fishy way to do it.

At the very least, you'd think it would be described as a receivable in one place and the portion owed to Valhalla and Fairview in another. But it's not.

And to make matters even worse, if that's what this entry is supposed to represent, why are there no comparable entries for the fiscal years ending December 31, 2002 and 2001, respectively?

Feiner's going to have to do a lot better than this if the public's going to believe there hasn't been hanky panky with these millions of dollars in WestHELP revenues.

hal samis said...

Dear Anonymous,

Mr. Feiner is not my creation, my employee or your whipping boy. Thus he doesn't march to my orders.

As there has been a changing of the guard, noted, in Town Comptrollers, then the two previous Comptrollers must have walked off with the Town supply of footnotes when they left Town employ. This could be the only explantation, a new purchasing manager?, for why Heslop could not find any footnotes to use in the Town Budgets he presided over.

There is simply no way that all of this moving money around, secret accounts, depositing and disbursing of proceeds could occur without any of the Town Comptroller's (Heslop and predecessor's) assistance. Likewise, if they remained silent and the allegations stick, then all of them are co-conspirators or co-dependants or simply enablers. And all of them had an obligation to the Town to squeal if there was hokey pokey.

I'm not sure that the attackers and myself are saying anything different at the end of the road. The difference seems to be that those who are anonymous are unwilling to give up their new found asset, the Town Comptroller, while I am insisting that everyone who did wrong must pay a price, be it Supervisor and/or Town Council.

When the Town Board votes, there are no passes allowed for ignorance. Jut like in real life, ignorance is not a defense.

First to go, though, should be those who were not elected to office but are merely hired employees (the removal process for an employee is much less complex than a voter recall of an elected official and the Fall election would come just as soon in any event).

If it turns out that money was hidden, who should be more aware than a Town Comptroller. Much hay is being harvested by using Feiner's title as CFO but in reality it is not a hands-on position and Feiner is certainly not an accountant. Neither, apparently is Heslop, not even a CPA yet handling a $60 million A&B complex, annual budget. Thus, who is "cooking" the books, who is wearing the green brimmed hat, Feiner or the Comptroller. Does Heslop report only to Feiner the CFO or does he report to the Town Board. In Heslop's emails, is there no room for "cc"?

Furthermore, when the Public was attempting to get information re the process and the awarding of the Library construction contracts, we were told by the Town Council, Mr. Sheehan, that the outside attorney and his correspondence were off limits because his client was variously, the Town Council and then the Town Board. Why was that operational apparatus acceptable but the information stream amongst the Town's outside auditor, the Town Supervisor (CFO), the Town Comptroller and the Town Board is unacceptable? Different strokes for difference folks?

And I've never claimed to be an expert on everything relating to Town finances. That is why I have generally excused myself from commenting on the WESTHELP contract and disbursements; that is why I have generally excused myself from commenting on the A-B issues. But that does not mean that I cannot recognize a duck when it walks, talks and looks like as it waddles across the budget lines of my favorite Town department, the Library.

My interest in this current topic is limited to getting rid of Heslop. The anonymice may trot out every Feiner malfeasance charge in the book; however the water is still unsafe to drink while Heslop is guarding the water supply.

And don't forget, with three Town Comptrollers responsible (their responsiblity was assumed when they each cashed their pay check), not one of them was willing to beat a path to the Town Council and say, "hey, my boss, the Town Supervisor is doing something fishy and I think you should know". Only after a private citizen made the independent effort, did the issue catch the attention of the Town Council.

And aren't you the slighest bit curious about where Heslop is stowing the Credit Union rent and what are the ACTUAL collections vs estimates for Mortgage tax in prior years?
Even just those two years that Heslop has signed off on? I'll settle for just 2006 and 2005.

Smarter people than me are pursuing WESTHELP and A-B issues. I'm happy just to be one of the little people minding the Library's business. $20 million in construction and over $3 million in annual operating and my plate is mostly full.

Have a nice day.

Feiner really needs to come clean now said...

And for those out there who care about such things, the figures in the town outside village comparative balance sheet for "Liabilites: Due to other governments" in the years 2004 and 2005 are $1,819,545, and $1,740,650, respectively.

In other words, these numbers don't track any better than any of the other numbers that Feiner has told us to look at.

It's like telling us the score of the Mets game last night was 10.

And Feiner's line about having shown the town's balance sheet to auditors and state officials is meaningless unless we know what they were shown and what they were looking for.

Anonymous said...

I said that there is not a chance that Bernsein will shut up and stop. The last blog proves it.

Green Burgher said...

Feiner thinks work sessions should be televised. Some of us think that's a nice idea, but first let's have minutes of both the regular and work sessions which do not require filing a FOIL request.
It may not be sexy like broadcasting the meetings over the internet, but it is the law.

samis wimps out said...

Samis is wimping out.

All he was asked to do was ask his friend Paul to provide an accounting of the WestHELP money.

It would have been so simple. The payments come in at $100,000 a month starting in September 2001. As of December 31, 2003, that means the town would have had $2.7 million in revenue.

There were only three disbursements made to Valhalla, but they didn't start getting made until 2004, and they totaled only $1.8 million. Fairview FD got $300,000. How hard could this be?

Apparently very hard. Too hard for Samis even to ask.

Instead, Samis continues to go after town staff -- now it's Heslop's turn. Did it ever occur to Samis that Heslop started the job in June 2004 knowing the state was investigating the town and, therefore, watching Heslop's every move?

The problem with the accounting is not in what occurred on Heslop's watch, but rather what occurred before he was hired. That's the period when Ms. McAvoy and Ms. Berg both abruptly quit.

Who was really running the show back then?

Samis really wants us all to give Feiner a pass, blathering on about his not being a "hands on" CFO and not being an accountant. Blames the ladies, he implies.

But Samis knows the truth -- he knows that Feiner was running the show back then with Gerry Iagallo, that Feiner put Iagallo in charge of the town comptroller's office and that both McAvoy and Berg refused to work under those conditions.

Samis also knows that Iagallo often played fast and loose with town money.

The former town attorney once blew the whistle on a Feiner-Iagallo plan to give away $40,000 of town money to a favored law firm -- not for any legal services, but just for telling them about the Hillside Avenue property as a potential town hall.

So why won't Samis do the right thing and tell his friend Feiner to produce an accounting to put this entire matter to rest?

That big hissing noise you now hear on North Washington in Hartsdale is the sound of Samis's credibility withering in the wind.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that Bernstein hasn't yet blamed Feiner for the Iraq war. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

This matter sounds like something that should be referred to the District Attorney. Clearly something shady is going on.

hal samis said...

Dear writes just like bubba,

Just like the Town Supervisor does not report to me, neither do I report to anyone named "Anonymous" so suck wind if you feel I didn't follow your instructions. You can even suck the wind that is supposed to be hissing on North Washington Avenue.

Furthermore, wouldn't the assignment be redundant if you as anonymous seems to know the answer already?

Isn't Heslop just the perfect witness. I don't know nothing, I didn't do anything and from June 2004 to June 2007 I just did my job.

But what's wrong the tale as scripted by anonymous Bob?

Samis shouldn't be blaming Heslop because he started in June 2004 and the State Comptroller was already at work. So the problem wasn't on Heslop's watch and the State Comptroller was looking over Heslop's shoulder...

"there were only three disbursements made to Valhalla and they didn't start getting made until 2004..."

Either the three disbursements were all made before June 2004 OR Mr. Heslop filled out and ok'd the checks for signature. It is amazing how much can be done when the State Comptroller takes a break from looking over Heslop's shoulder and goes out for a smoke. If the Town's Comptroller, Heslop, ordered those checks, Heslop's face should also be gracing the Wanted Poster.

But since I am after Heslop, how does McAvoy, Berg, Iagallo become part of this story when Mr. Bernstein has tried so hard to convince us that the Heslop was an innocent and all the faulty systems were the work of the two "women". Because to cut out Heslop, it is necessary to blame someone else because it won't take root that Feiner, himself, went to the bank to open up these mystery accounts, "Would that be the blue or the green or the yellow checks, sir?"

Quick Bob, ask Heslop to take out his calculator. "The payments come in at $100,000 per month starting in September 2001. As of December 31, 2003 that means the town would have had $2.7 million in revenue". Let's see:

Starting in
September, October, November, December 2001 = 4 months = $400,000

January-December 2002 = 12 months
= $1,200,000

January-December 2003 = 12 months
= $1,200,000 = $2,800,000.

Darn that Feiner, he's walked off with another $100,000.

Apparently some things are harder than they would appear from your operating instructions.

Someone is still not ready for Prime time.

Since anonymous is still dredging up the past, like it has anything to do with the issue at hand, what about the $40,000 which was not for legal services. Was it instead a disguised finder's fee or a little token of appreciation?
Or does it come from the same House of Games which explains what was done more recently: more in the costume of campaign contributions made by someone whose employer was soliciting a much bigger contract for legal services with the Town? Hold you hand up if you know what I am referring to?

You see the problem with living, not practicing. life on the high ground is that sooner or later you get your feet dirty when you have to go anywhere. Since you think you are omnipotent, the dirt you think you have on everyone is really the dirt which is coming off your own feet when they can reach the ground. What doesn't get picked up on Ella's tape is the sound of one hand clapping for yourself.

Feiner still not coming clean said...

Samis' arguments are making things worse for Feiner, not better.

The sublease between the town and the county is dated as of September 18, 2001.

It provides that rent shall be $1.2 million for the period from September 18, 2001 through September 30, 2002, and $1,222,844 per year for the balance of the term.

You can do the math and see that for yourself that the amount the town would have received as of December 31, 2003 is around $2,728,000.

But you won't find that amount anywhere in either the town's budgets or in the town's financial statements, and if anyone who says he wanted "flexibility" in spending this off-the-books money actually spent some of that money, you wouldn't be able to know that either, would you?

It's very simple Hal. All you need to do is ask your friend for the accounting.

And about that $40,000. Whether it was a finders fee or a disguised token of appreciation, it would have been an illegal payment under New York law, which is why then town attorney Susan Mancuso blew the whistle when Feiner insisted it had to be paid.

Ms. Preiser still has the tape and transcript of that March 18, 2004 work session meeting, and you can be sure your friend Bobby B. has it too.

The more Feiner delays in providing the accounting that's required here, the more it looks like he's got something to hide.

It would be so easy for him to clear the air.

But he either cannot or will not.

Anonymous said...

"the wind that is supposed to be hissing on North Washington Avenue"

Huh?

Jim Lasser said...

Mr. Feiner -
To impugn the integrity of the individual who tapes those sessions is the very worst sort of political grandstanding.
I know this is not the first communication you've received on the subject - I hope it will not be the last.
Your unfortunate remarks require a public apology - here, in your blog where the remark was made.
Should you choose not to apologize, I hope the electorate will take note of the arrogance born of too many years without accountability.
To those who will criticize this posting - sign your names, don't hide in the shadows when you condone bad behavior, at least have the courage of your convictions.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Preiser's integrity was impugned by Feiner on the town-wide gblist, which also went to all local media outlets.

He could have apologized to her at yesterday's work session, but he did not. She was there taping, as usual, and distributing to all who asked transcripts of the previous work session which, not surprisingly, substantiate Sheehan's account of what happened in all respects.

But one should not overlook the big picture here, and that is Feiner's continued failure to account for the $2.7 million in WestHELP money received by the town for the period September 18, 2001 through December 31, 2003.

That failure should be troubling to every Greenburgh taxpayer, and to law enforcement as well.

Anonymous said...

Preiser for Supervisor! At least her hours will coincide with those of the Town Clerk.

Anonymous said...

Has the New York Sate Comptrollers office accused Feiner with a crime, Let's wait and see what the final decisions of this audit comes up with. I'm sure all the paper work was given over to the state. If Feiner is at fault,or anyone else, who worked on this plan. We will not know until all their work is finished.So lay off accusing Feiner of mismanagement. We should have competent people who know how to manage a large town, That's something that the entire town board has to work on. Just word of advice please not another person like Kaminer.

Michael Kolesar said...

Just to clarify a fact. According to the Town's published financial statements, the Town Comptroller reports to the ENTIRE Town Council, not the Supervisor.

Therefore, why would the Town Comptroller ask the Supervisor, who probably never took an accounting course in his life, how to account for the WESTHELP related transactions? Pretty strange? If in fact the Town Comptroller did ask the Supervisor, (and that hasn't been documented to the public at large yet, just an "Anonymice" insider's assertion), what specific "guidance" did the Town Comptroller expect to receive? Given that the Town Comptroller reports to the ENTIRE Town Council, were any or all of the members of the Town Council copied or also asked for their non-expert accounting opinions?

"Anonymice" would have the public believe that a professional accountant, having discovered a problen determines that the proper course of action is to do nothing and make no public disclosures for 3 years. Sound like we have a knowledgable competent professional in this key position? Hey taxpayers, it's just our money that goes for his salary and all sorts of benefits. Nothing to worry about, as long as you can wait years for a possible answer.

Are we including the illegally disbursed funds to Valhalla back in the Town's financial statements as a receivable and a corresponding increase in the Town's fund balance? If not, why not? If the Town Board is going to "forgive" this receivable, which if I understand the terms of the agreement correctly Valhalla is bound to indemnify the Town for, when is the Town Board going to vote on this. Ms. Berger, where do you stand on this? (Sitting on a fence along with the decision on Coke vs. Pepsi, I bet)

Anonymous said...

The state comptroller's office is auditing Valhalla's use of the town's WestHELP funds -- it is so far not auditing what the town did with the money it received that did not go to Valhalla schools -- and that's the problem.

Feiner can't seem to account for $2.7 million in revenues the town received from September 18, 2001 to December 31, 2003.

At most, he says he's got a total of $1.4 million in unspent funds.

That doesn't add up and so far, except for blaming his political opponents for attacking him, Feiner's staying mum about why.

We're talking about more than a million dollars of unaccounted for funds that seem to be missing.

Town residents should be demanding that Feiner account for this money. If he can't or won't, town residents may have to appeal to a higher authority who will.

hal samis said...

Dear Anonymice,

Tension, pressure, pain?
Not getting satisfaction from your Town Supervisor?
Still aching to know where the WESTHELP money is and how it has been disbursed?

FOR FAST, FAST, PAIN RELIEF

Call the Town Comptroller, Jim Heslop. If anyone should know it would be him.

Jim Heslop, Town Comptroller
914/993-1528 or write
jheslop@greenburghny.com

Anonymous said...

It would be very useful if those claiming professionial expertise, like Kolesar, would spend a more time reviewing the WestHELP lease and the town's financial statements to see if the "anonymice" are right about the unaccounted for WestHELP funds -- and less time trying to pin blame on Heslop or the town council.

And while it may be difficult for Kolesar, who is looking for an accounting job, to be objective about this, he may discover, if he does his homework, that Heslop did in fact include in the town's financials, starting in 2004, whatever unspent WestHELP funds he was told about.

But can Heslop, who was hired in June 2004, explain what happened to the $2.7 million that the town received in WestHELP revenues between September 2001 and December 2003?

Why is Kolesar not curious about that?

Instead, Kolesar thinks it's more important to place in the town-wide "general fund" all monies that the town should have received from the WestHELP lease since 2001, including all money paid out wrongfully to the Valhalla schools.

Oh, and this supposedly "objective" accountant would like the town's unincorporated areas to foot the bill for that retroactive transfer.

In other words, he wants the $1.8 million paid to Valhalla debited right now from the B fund and paid over to the A fund. This would be on top of the $1.4 million that the A fund would get in unspent WestHELP funds.

In other words, even though the entire town gets to elect Feiner, Kolesar wants only unincorporated Greenburgh to pay financially for Feiner's having illegally given away $1.8 million to Valhalla.

Who thinks that is fair?

And if we're going to be making retroactive adjustments, why not do them across the board for all instances in which the town erred in charging the A fund when it should have charged the B fund, and vice versa. Why limit it just to WestHELP?

Don't generally accepted accounting principles require that the same rule of accounting treatment be applied equally everywhere?

Anonymous said...

I remember, over a year ago, watching a presentation on the "Westhelp Partnership" that was given by the president of the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Associaition at a Valhalla SD meeting. I remember being shocked to hear him say that Paul Feiner bicyled up to him as he raked leaves in front of his house to begin discussion on the Westhelp facility lease. I believe the lease was expiring at the time, maybe 2001? This, as it was explained to those in attendence at that VSD BE meeting, was the start of what became the Westhelp Partnership. The tape must still exist or maybe the comments are in their minutes. I think this says volumes about how we got into this mess and I don't remember hearing our entire board was on bikes that day.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear readers,

Once again "Anonymice" strikes with unsupported statements. I am not looking for an accounting job. I am and have been gainfully engaged by a number of entities on both finance and accounting matters. Maybe they are all dumb, but they seem to have and are satisfied with what they have received.

Second, I haven't said what exactly would be done with any monies recovered from Valhalla. Equity would seem to me that it goes back as though the transaction never occurred, and if that's the "B" budget, so be it. No harm, no foul to the "A" fund. Heretofore, there has been no statement that "Anonymice" can point to otherwise - he/she just likes to make things up. Of course it's easy to make misstatments and mis charactericize a position when you are gutless and spinless and won't dare identify yourself. A lot tougher to stand up, but then what would "Anonymice" know, he probably hasn't served our country in the armed forces as I have.

"Anonymice" is strangly silent about the role of the Town's Auditors in all of this. How did they tie out the various receipts in the periods he refers to? I am very curious about the whole affair and I don't trust them because they may be part of the problem, what with their donations to BOTH the Supervisor and Mr. Bass. However, I don't rush to unsupported statements. "Anonymice's" assertions and analysis may be partially or wholly on target. Who is going to get to the bottom of this? At this stage I don't know. Would "Anonymice" accept it if I did the audit and reported to the public? Just the facts, Anonymice, just the facts.

Anonymous said...

The state comptroller's report on WestHELP and Valhalla basically said there was no such thing as the "WestHELP Partnership."

Specifically, the state comptroller found that there was a lease dated as of September 18, 2001, between the town and the county, in which the county agreed to pay the town $1.2 million a year for ten years, and that such lease made no mention of any agreement to give a piece of the action to anyone else, including the Valhalla schools, the Fairview fire district, or any civic associations.

The state comptroller also found that the $6.5 million giveaway was not pursuant to any agreement reached in 2001, but rather was pursuant to a grant agreement between the town and the Valhalla School District, dated March 30, 2004, and that there was nothing in that document which referred to any "WestHELP Partnership" or any prior agreement regarding such funds.

In making these findings, the state comptroller specifically rejected Feiner's contention that there was ever anything known as the "WestHELP Partnership."

The town entered into a lease in 2001, started getting $100,000 a month, as of September 18, 2001, and in 2004, the town started making gifts of that money to the Valhalla schools and to the Fairview FD.

Where things stand today is that the town doesn't seem to be able to account for the millions of dollars that the town received under that lease.

Anonymous said...

I guess when the numbers get bigger than one can conveniently count on fingers and toes the Town's responsible parties lose the ability to act.

Anonymous said...

Councilwoman Eddie Mae Barnes tonight will take an important step forward, towards restoring the WESTHELP partnership. The Town Board will vote to hold a public hearing in July so that Fairview Fire Dept can be reimbursed for the funds owed, thanks to the WESTHELP partnership agreement she had previously voted for (along with Bass, Juettner).

Anonymous said...

Councilwoman Eddie Mae Barnes tonight will take an important step forward, towards restoring the WESTHELP partnership. The Town Board will vote to hold a public hearing in July so that Fairview Fire Dept can be reimbursed for the funds owed, thanks to the WESTHELP partnership agreement she had previously voted for (along with Bass, Juettner).

Green Burgher said...

Would someone be so kind as to either post the WESTHELP PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT on the Town's website or post the correct name by which one might submit a FOIL request to the Chief Records Officer (still the Town Clerk?) for a complete copy.
There either is, or is not, such a document - and if it cannot be secured by a FOIL request, as it currently is not on the Town website, I'm betting it doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't exist.

Go to valvallavoice.com and click under "WestHELP fiasco." There you will find downloadable copies of the county lease that was entered into as of September 18, 2001 (the one that pays the town $100,000 a month for ten years), and the town's $6.5 million illegal giveaway to the Valhalla schools, dated as of March 30, 2004.

It's truly amazing that for citizens of Greenburgh to obtain documents as important as these, involving millions of dollars of town revenues, they have to go visit the website of a non-Greenburgh activist in the Valhalla schools.

You can also find a copy of the state comptroller's findings on that site as well.

If Feiner had wanted you to see any of these documents, he would have had them posted on the town's website.

hal samis said...

But he doesn't prevent you, on his own site, to tell where the lease etc. can be viewed.

Nor has the Town Council provided residents with this information. The Town's web site belongs to the Town; the Town Council could also have arranged for these documents to be posted.

Jim Lasser said...

Hal -
You've been hanging around with lawyers too long. The Supervisor has been a vocal proponent of open government. True "Open Government" would post agendas in a timely fashion and minutes of public meetings on its website.
Sadly, I have never heard any of the part-time members of the Town Board make the kind of unambiguous statements praising "Open Government" - so I am not sure any of them actually support it, except as some vague notion best left to seventh grade civics class. On the other hand, the Supervisor has proclaimed his support of "open government" loudly and repeatedly.
Here is a really easy opportunity to demonstrate that he means what he says - this takes only ONE.

hal samis said...

Jim,

The Agenda of the Town Board Work Session is the sole property of the Town Board. When the Town Board elects to show us their underwear, then it becomes posted.
Feiner could post an Agenda at any time but we would squawk loudly if that was not the Agenda that the entire Town Board decided to follow.

The Town Board (all 5) need to understand that even though it is called their work session, it is still subject to open meeting law.
When the Agenda becomes available is perhaps not a legal issue but what needs to be insinuated is their view that being courteous and considerate of the voting public is not a sin.

Jim Lasser said...

Hal,
You've deftly ignored the posting of minutes. If you tell me that once adopted they are the property of the Town Board, your nose will grow very long indeed. If there are no minutes I expect you will join me in an Article 78 proceeding to unseat the entire council and the Town Clerk for failing to uphold their oaths ov office. The law requires a written record of the business transacted, a nicety which seems to be largely missing in Greenburgh.

hal samis said...

Dear Jim,

What's that you say, I haven't grown deft I just have to remove this bean from my ear.

Ok, bean out. Re the minutes

You have given me a homework assignment which means I'll have to call Ella. Once before I had discussed this with her (noticing that the Town Board never voted to accept minutes) and she said that the minutes of the Town Board meeting do exist, abiding in a notebook somewhere with the Town Clerk. Frankly I never pursued the matter because being there in person is a legitimate substitute for reading the minutes.

So before you rush to 78, you need to know if the minutes do in fact exist. It seems to me though, that with all the bigger things that they can be busted for, they being the Town Council and the Town Clerk, the more practical approach is to publicize their shortcomings whenever possible in the hope that they will either lose or lose by winning with a total of 8 votes. If the argument, that Mr. Bernstein would have you buy, is that it doesn't matter who runs against Feiner as long as they're not Feiner then it also holds true for Bass, Barnes and Williams. Their opponents aren't them either.

Personally, I'd sooner vote for a doorknob than Berger, Bass, Barnes and Williams. Enduring them again is more years of the solution being the problem. I have met the enemy and it is them.

Anonymous said...

alfreda williams doesn't post minutes of work sessions anywhere

hal samis said...

Did my homework (called Ella).

The only requirement under open meetings laws for taking minutes at work sessions is if a vote is taken.

Generally, the votes occur duing Special Town Board Meetings which only mean a Town Board Meeting at other than the usual time. Thus when the Town Board hold Special Town Board Meetings, they should maintain the same format in which they hold Regular Town Board Meetings: a format which includes Public Comment.

You might look at the dates of passage of various Town Board resolutions and if you see one that is not a Wednesday, you would be correct is asking to see the minutes from that meeting.

Jim Lasser said...

Thank you Hal.
Now, if there are actually minutes of both Regular and Special Town Board meetings, why can't they be posted on the Town's website? Why are the minutes of previous meetings not reviewed and adopted at the beginning of each and every Regular Town Board Meeting? Past practices notwithstanding, doing so might create a more business-like atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

Does the Town Clerk take notes at the meetings? How many people have ever seen any minutes of Town Board meetings? They are not published? They are not released to the community.