Tuesday, June 19, 2007

WEEK OF JUNE 18 GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY POST YOUR COMMENTS

Please post your comments about town issues.
TODAY-- Town Bd to address Con Ed tree cutting 5 PM, Town Hall
WESTHELP AUDIT---TOWN BD HIRED AUDITOR IN DECEMBER... STATUS REPORT 3:45 PM
why has it taken so long for review to be completed? Very little work done between December and end of May

115 comments:

Anonymous said...

.


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

Anonymous said...

Fact: Illegal gift of taxpayer funds

Fact: Lies by the town supervisor

Fact: Lies by the superintendent of Valhalla Schools

Suggestion: Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan wants us to get over it just as Bush wants us to get over Gonzales.

Sheehan has the power to prevent an investigation about Kaminer's threat just as Bush has the power to deny that Gonzales should go.

Power withoiut a sense of justice is dictatorship.

Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

1) Ask Young Kaminer what he said.

2) Ask the people whom Young Kaminer told what he said.

3) Then get back to me.

Anonymous said...

I dont think we (the we being Greenburgh, not Valhalla) should "get over it"

I THINK WE SHOULD GET OUR MONEY BACK.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the majority of the Town Bored is willing to take a non-judicial opinion as the "excuse" for forgetting their commitments?

Why is it that the majority of the Town Bored is completely ignoring the possible solutions proposed by Town Attorney Lewis and by the Controller's report?

Is trying to embarrass Supervisor Feiner enough for the silent majority of the Town Bored to forgo their integrity?

What opinion did Lawyer Bob tell Candidate Berger to have on this issue?

Will we get all the way to election day without Candidate Berger issuing any opinions?

Anonymous said...

ASK KAMINER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The problem is that none of the solutions are workable -- you valahalla politicos are going to have to pay for your own trips this year

Anonymous said...

Has anyoe noticed since chief Sheehan and his stoolie came aboard this town has gone backwards instead of foward. Sheehan should resign and take Kaminer with him . We would like to move forward once again instead of fighting amongst ourselves.Could we bribe both of them to go. Bass and Barnes will be outvoted by Brown and Morgan. Juettner can sleep the rest of the time she has left.We have to start talking with the rest of the town residents instead of being at one anothers throat. We all want the same thing a good life and an affordable one.

Anonymous said...

Morgan is starting to get alot of support from fellow Democrats who are tired of politics as usual. Give the guy a chance atleast he is his own man.

Anonymous said...

Dear 4:29

You are right but this is the problem; unless an outside investigation is started concerning the Sheehan/Kaminer Superintendant Incident, you are whistling past the graveyard. Sheehan has already succeeded in covering up the incident. Neither the Journal News or News 12 have run any stories on this clear cut violation of 1st Amendment Rights. Barnes and Juetner have foresaken their fellow female public servant in favor of the Bully. What is needed is someone close to anyone at the Jounal News or News 12 to convince them of taking up the story. The other option would be to solicit the assistance of Women's Groups. Until measures are taken like I have outlined above, Sheehan wins on this issue hands down.

Anonymous said...

Morgan his own man? Hahaha

He is on Feiner slate. How is he getting signatures on petition -- Feiners people???

Anonymous said...

The four anti-organization candidates are on the same petition. So what. Shoud they work four times as hard by having individual petitions?

Morgan, Brown and Beville are independent people. What they have in common with Feiner is that they are challenging the organization, and more power to them. If youy are pointing fingers at people who are not independent, you should point to Bass and Barnes. They are lapdogs for Sheehan and Bernstein. So is Berger, who should have her head examined for getting into this. But then, she isn't looking to stay in Greenburgh Town Hall. She is just a placeholder for Sheehan.

Anonymous said...

Petitions are petitions, where ever he gets them more power to him. Morgan is the man for that position. He should have had it already but the people believed the lies told by chief Sheehan. You could be assured that all signatures are legal. One can't cross party lines for signatures.Feiner,Morgan ,Brown and Belville are the ones to make greenburgh a great place to live.

Anonymous said...

If berger is holding a place for Sheehan, she must be as looney as he is. If this is the case she should be challenged when she decides to run for judgeship.IF this is the case she is not the one for supervisory position and neither for any other position on any slate whether Democratic ,Republican or independent.SHE SHOULD THINK ABOUT TEAMING UP WITH SHEEHAN because she will be throwing away her own career as a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Lots of delusions around here. Brodsky thinks he is going to become the Assembly Speaker. Berger plans to become his right hand person. And we will have Sheehan as Supervisor, at least that is his delusion. Bass would like to become Supervisor also, but since he will be defeated this year that leaves Sheehan unchallenged for the time being.

Anonymous said...

If it takes three, than do not all three incumbants need to go?

Anonymous said...

What are the latest developments in the Sewer Disrict audits?

hal samis said...

I'm getting tired of reading the same nonsensical logic from posters saying that if Morgan and Brown are elected, we're going backwards.

Back to where from whence?

Here's the question for blogland?
You know I keep saying "just three votes" as the shorthand for that everything that Feiner is blamed for, it could not happen if three people on the Town Council voted against Feiner's one vote.

However comment after comment finds Feiner at fault for everything and I gamely keep replying just three votes.

Since all the attributed bad things happen with the Town Council able to prevent them by voting them down but don't, THEN, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KEEPING THE EXISTING TOWN COUNCIL INTACT vs HAVING WHAT IS CALLED FEINER'S TEAM (Morgan and Brown)IN OFFICE when either team's presumed voting would cause the same result?

If we're going to end up with the same result, things can't get worse but might get better.

Or perhaps you need find some reasons(s), other than the hackneyed "Feiner Team" offence, not to vote for them?

If the rule is that you crap out with 7, then it has no bearing whether you rolled 5 and 2, or 4 and 3, or 6 and 1.

Feiner + Morgan + Brown = 3 votes.

Feiner + Bass + Barnes = 3 votes.

Feiner + Bass + Juettner = 3 votes.

Feiner + Bass + Sheehan = 3 votes

Feiner + Barnes + Juettner = 3 votes.

Feiner + Barnes + Sheehan = 3 votes

Feiner + Juettner + Sheehan = 3 votes.

or
Feiner + Morgan + Brown + Juettner + Sheehan = 5 votes.

because what we see is
Feiner + Bass + Barnes + Juettner + Sheehan = 5 votes.

So what's the big deal over who sits with Feiner on the dais? But I will say this. If Bass and Barnes are so sure that Feiner is all wet and they still vote with him; then Bass and Barnes have earned the "go directly to jail" card. Because they had the chance to just say no.

And if the argument is that Feiner has been around too long, then apply that logic equally to Barnes & Juettner.

So find another reason not to choose Morgan and Brown. The old one just doesn't download.

hal samis said...

What do I mean by Feiner + Bass + Barnes + Juettner + Sheehan = 5 votes?

Mr. Bass has put out an email saying the Town Board voted unanimously (all five) to vote on the Con Ed legislation that "he" introduced. Even though the legislation was actually written by others. 5 votes in favor.

Last week the Town Board voted unanimnously to throw caution to the wind and allow the Greenburgh Health Center to proceed without the certainty of a sidewalk.
5 votes in favor.

Today the Town Board voted unanimously to allow sidewalk sales in Hartsdale Center.
5 votes in favor.

Last week the Town Board voted unanimously to approve more change orders for the Library construction.
5 votes in favor.

Last week the Town Board voted unanimously to fund more money to fight the Fortress Bible Church lawsuit. 5 votes in favor.

Soon the Town Board will be voting to fund the defense of the "Steve Bass" Con Ed legislation. Let's assume the same 5 votes before will want to justify their decision.
Say, 5 votes in favor.

In the near future, the Town Board will be voting to approve the settlement of claim for the loss of life of a Health Center patron hit by a car on a road (Knollwood) without a sidewalk. Count on the same 5 votes in favor.

And in the past, Taxter Ridge, WESTHELP, etc. 5 votes in favor.

How different would it be if Morgan and Brown replaced Bass and Barnes?
After all, aren't we told the Town Council is independent and fights Feiner every chance it gets.

We never see just three votes.
What we do see is five.

Anonymous said...

Steve Bass took the credit for the Con Ed tree cutting law. The law was written by Mike Sigal and Dan Rosenblum. He should have had the decency to give some credit to the authors of the legislation in his press release.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Greenburgh 7 budget has been voted down AGAIN, it is time to revisit why we can not have two K-6 schools and cut down on in-district busing costs. We have to come up with 1.4 million in cuts. Time to get to work.

hal samis said...

Dear 8:10,

Where have you been living? Don't you realize that this is an ELECTION YEAR? Mr. Bass is on a roll with all the popular causes that either Greenburgh cannot do anything about or are victims who do not vote locally. Think Darfur, think Con Ed.

Of course he is not going to acknowledge Mr. Sigal or Mr. Rosenbloom. Nor he is he going to acknowledge Mr. Bernstein or the chit chat (which spawned such an idea) at the Westchester County Board of Legislators where he and his co-workers are paid to think up these gimmicks to make their employers look good. You didn't think that the Con Ed issue is limited to just Greenburgh?

At Tuesday's special Town Board meeting, Tim Lewis was on the Agenda with fresh news from the County which will necessitate some footwork in changing our Local Law chapter 220. And this forthcoming amendment will be discussed at the next regular Town Board meeting.
Guess who "volunteered" to "introduce" the matter? Why Eddie Mae Barnes, who first learned about the matter at Tuesday's meeting. Afterwards we can look forward to her email announcing the passing of "her" amendment.

Say isn't she, like Mr. Bass, running for re-election this fall?

What is 220? I won't be the spoiler. See you at the Town Board meeting.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Hal,

You are a nasty tease. I had to leave this blog and go to the Town's web site to find out that section 220 of the Town code is "Flood Damage Prevention".

By the way, building on your "Just three votes", it really only takes any two members of the Town Council to get something out in the public discussion forum. How? Why Robert's Rules of Order provide that if one member makes a motion and another seconds it, presto! So we don't even need three votes. Just two out of five members willing to take on an issue.

Notwithstanding a posting from one of the "Anonymice" on another topic that put all of the responsibility for some things not moving forward because the Supervisor removed it from the agenda, if all of the Council members take that route, what a sad commentary about their lack of leadership.

As far as I know, none of the "Anonymice" have ever held a publicly elected office, so they really don't know how easy it is to raise issues and move forwrad if one wants to. Where there's a will, there's a way. Greenburgh just doesn't have any leaders with a will right now.

From today's New York Times article about Mr. Bloomberg's change in political party affiliation, Mr. Bloomberg is quoted as follows: ""We continue to struggle from big problem to big problem [ in Greenburgh that means sidewalks, flooding, A/B budget issues, unfairness in tax allocations, etc.]with Band-Aids and the bleeding continues and nobody is really ready to stand up and make tough decisions,..."".

Will any of the candidates for any of the Town wide positions offer the public their solutions or just generalities? I doubt anything will be forth coming. Hey, the candidate for Town Clerk might set forth a position that she will actually publish minutes of all meetings on a timely basis and not give citizens a run around when they file FOIL requests? Would that be too much to ask for?

Anonymous said...

We might want to ask Ms Beville about how the Valhalla BOE handles FOIL requests. The ValhallaVoice website is always complaining about something called the "Valhalla Defense". Stretching out all FOIL responses to the legal limit and beyond seems to be part of it.

Anonymous said...

The ValhallaVoice website is always complaining about everything!

They lose their creditability by many of the foolish & inane things they talk about.

Too bad they are so petty & not focused on true student success at appropriate costs.

They would rather complain than get involved in providing solutions.

It's a shame.

They would rather complain.

Anonymous said...

Yes, like their complaining about the illegality of the Westhelp deal.

Anonymous said...

Haven't heard yet that any judicial or legislatative body from New York rule that the WESTHELP agreement was illegal.

Please keep us posted.

In the mean-time, you can return to your complaining!

Anonymous said...

Steve: What is happening with the tree law for Greenburgh trees? If you love trees why won't you support tree protection laws for our town,as the CAC recommends.

Anonymous said...

No in the meantime, we can vote Feiner out to get someone who will get our money back from Valhalla.

Anonymous said...

To 2:16

You think that the Westhelp deal is legal? Sue someone. Otherwise accept that it was illegal and get our money back.

Anonymous said...

As Hal says (and proves Mathematically), JUST THREE VOTES.

Exactly what part of that are you having difficulty understanding?

Anonymous said...

I watched the town council meeting on TV and watched him bully the board into accelerating payments to Valhalla. Time for him to go.

Anonymous said...

Dear 2:38 pm:

Exactly which constitutional & contract law classes have you participated in?

Are you saying a properly executed contract between two parties each of sound (debatable) minds is illegal, because someone said so from the Contoller's office ( note nether Judicial nor legislative ) ?

And if the Controller's office is your authoritative source, then where is the rush from the majority of the Town Bored to address the remedies that were proposed by the Controller's office to make the agreement "legal"?

Unfortunately, you would prefer to make up your own laws and ramble on with half the facts.

That's more fun for you, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Are we talking about bully Francis or bully Gil?

Anonymous said...

There was no requirement to use any of the Comptroller's Office "solutions" -- frankly they are either unpopular or unworkable.

Anonymous said...

There was no requirement to use any of the Comptroller's Office "solutions" -- frankly they are either unpopular or unworkable.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it now.

Break a contract because it is unpopular.

Oh and the Contoller is the guiding authority on the legality of a contract, but that same authority's solutions are unworkable.

Just let me know what law school promotes that line of thought. I propably wouldn't want to hire one of their graduates.

You have got to be pulling our leg with these posts. You really couldn't think in that type of convaluted logic, could you?

Anonymous said...

Accordingly, there is no "requirement" to believe that the Controller's office was correct about the contract being illegal either.

Anonymous said...

ASK KAMINER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

3:03
Illegal contracts are not enforcible. If Mayfair Knollwood feels otherwise the courts are there for you. Unfortunately MKCA is not a party to the agreement is it? So that leaves us with the Controller's opinion. It is the executive branch that enforces the law.

Anonymous said...

If any School District needs the money, it is Greenburgh 7. Go away Vahalla.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't the VSD sued for the money? Are they being audited?

Anonymous said...

I expect that the VSD will sue. And they have a better case than many might think.

Anonymous said...

I hope they do sue, then the Council will get off their rear ends and counter sue -- FOR A LOT MORE -- ALL PRIOR YEARS.

Anonymous said...

Dear 8:52 pm:

Interested in a bet on that?

Anonymous said...

1. That the current Supervisor would countersue -- naah --wont take that bet.

2. That TOG would win -- absoultely

Anonymous said...

The way I read that grant, VSD has to pay for TOG's defense. So let them sue.

Anonymous said...

Well boys & girls, step up to the windows and place your bets.

Can we make it like the old wrestling gimmick where the loser leaves town?

Not chicken are ya?

With the wacky way you haters look at the law, this maybe a lot easier than you think…. Even with your mail order law degree!

Anonymous said...

This villager says a pox on all your houses. I scan these posts and see Feiner attacked repeatedly. Here's some credit due: he runs a blog you people read and add to, doesn't edit it, and lets it be. Let's see how long this lasts after Berger is elected.

Sheehan's disdain fo anyone who disagrees with him will ensure this is shut down.

Bass seems too scared to say anything remotely controversial other than to criticize Feiner: his lack of courage in running against Feiner when he had a shot finished him off ages ago with lots of people, and his cozy hand-holding with Bernstein isn't doing him any favors now. That's going to play against him, as it should. He's a despicable two-penny politico and isn't worth even that much.

Eddie Mae, well, what can I say. Exactly what stand has she publicly taken on anything, ever? She's coasted on good sentiment alone and deserves a booting for complacency.

Francis, well, I'll spare my invective until next election season but he's an outright disaster in so many ways it is hard to know where to start.

Juettner, well, you know, she's a calming presence and I'll grant her that much. She's as good as that board gets, and it isn't saying much.

Finally, Feiner. Look, the man is flawed, and he's developed enemies like one does after 17 years, but let me tell you now that the Supervisor slot is a stepping stone for Berger and she couldn't give a rats' behind for the job. She won't work half as hard for Greenburg as she will for her own career, and if you all don't see that, you're in flat out denial. She's a shark with no empathy for anything else otber than her own resume.

hal samis said...

Now treat the following as a serious issue and view it against the backdrop of a Greenburgh election year. And you may learn something.

Tonight I attended the Planning Board meeting to speak at the Public Hearing on site plan approval for the Greenburgh Health Center (GHC).

This is a hotbed because the GHC, while a respected, needed and desirable business, yes business, made a poor real estate choice when seeking a permanent, versus rented, location to house their proposed expanded facility. Complicating this mistake was the GHC's belief that they had hired the right attorney to move them through the various boards, variances and permits needed to legalize their mistake. It has taken about 4 years to get to where they are tonight. Yes, Mike, a tease because I'm not going to say where until the end. As you are aware I believe in exposition so even the dumbest reader can understand. Are there dumb readers? That"just three votes". Anyway...

The remaining hurdle for the GHC has been the need for a sidewalk between Tarrytown Road (bus stops) and the GHC site located on Knollwood Road. In between Tarrytown Road and the GHC are two parcels (a Church on the corner and 297 Knollwood, an office building). Knollwood Road is a State Road.

The problem is that the State, in widening Knollwood, used up much of its right-of-way and thus there is insufficient width to build a sidewalk -- unless easements can be obtained from the two intervening owners OR the Town is willing to undertake eminent domain against these two properties to obtain the needed strip of frontage.

The Town's Planning Board, Zoning Board and the Town Board, itself, have declared that a sidewalk is essential for safety and must be in place before a permanent certificate of occupancy is issued.
The Town Board is willing to let constuction proceed and issue a temporary certificate until the sidewalk is built. In so doing, taking the risk that someone could be hit by a car when, essentially, walking in the road.

Spoiling the normal progression of events is that the State is considering changes for the Tarrytown Road/Knollwood intersection, perhaps even eliminating the underpass etc. Under consideration are a number of add-ons, one of which is the willingness by NYSDOT to include sidewalk construction as part of their changes. While the GHC has agreed to pay for the sidewalk should they have to, it is understandable that they would prefer to have NYS bear the cost.
The problem with this is that NYS's timetable is 2009, 2010 for the decision, the funding and a later construction start. Many things can and possibly will impact upon this between the offer and its realization. The Tappan Zee Bridge discussions may cause the State to hold off on any work on 287 exits (Knollwood is a 2 direction on, 2 direction off exit), the funding may not materialize and/or the perceived urgency or not may move this particular location lower down the list of priorities.
And the State has made promises in the past that have still not been fulfilled. Nevertheless, the "offer" is out there and the GHC would like to be a potential beneficiary.

However this still leaves the unsafe condition until 2010 at the earliest. So the State has offered to approve what they call (really, not a Samis joke) a "multi-modal transportation facility" which in English translates as no more than yellow road striping marking off what is the pedestrian area of the roadway and/or extending into the traffic lane and thus narrowing the roadway. This, says the State, will suffice until such time as a permanent sidewalk can be constructed, whether by the State, the Town or the GHC. The wrinkle is that the State will allow this but ONLY IF the TOWN accepts the entire legal RESPONSIBILLITY if an accident or death occurs. And with all the transcripts over four years stating that there is danger Will Robinson, a lawsuit will not be hard to win. Greenburgh taxpayers townwide are still paying for another accident, this one a falling tree branch on Central Avenue. Incidentally, the GHC has agreed to pay for the costs of building the required sidewalk and have been persuaded to post a surety bond to assure the Town Board that they will be FINANCIALLY able to perform should they end up having to build. However this is for show if they do not actually have to build the sidewalk. Because what they cannot guarantee is that they will be able to obtain an easement to build the sidewalk from either or both of the two properties. In one of those celebrated Greenburgh coincidences, the attorney for the GHC is Mark Weingarten, who also happens to represent the owner (GHP Properties) of the adjacent office building, has not come forward with any proposal from that adjacent owner regarding an easement. One wonders why in the four years that the GHC has been working its convoluted way through the system and paying Mr. Weingarten, why Mr. Weingarten, using his good offices, has not shared any response or offer to solve this continuing problem, you know like "Hello Mr GHP, would you be willing to help my other client, the GHC (venerable and most desirable Greenburgh institution which will have to shut down because its lease expired four years ago) by granting them an easement?" But Mr. Weingarten is either unable or unwilling to share such information with the various Greenburgh Boards. So this same "one" also wonders if the real story will not be favorable to the GHC and the bigger question is why hasn't the Town Board asked it.

You see, if the Town Board really had the balls it would say to the GHC: "it is entirely the mistake of your Executive Board and we're not going to change all our laws to bail you out. What a reasonable person would have done is to admit the mistake, sell the property and find another location more suitable instead of pressuring us to do what is best for the GHC but wrong for the Town. The only party profiting from this turmoil is your attorney." But perhaps that is just a fantasy on my part.

So now we have a GHC which has waged battle to obtain a special permit to build but still lacks the sidewalk conclusion and we have the GHC in before the Town Board to seek an amendment to the special permit to allow the GHC to proceed. This is not far removed from the "Fiddler" line, "Alms for the poor...two kopeks, last week you gave me four kopeks"
"I had a bad week"
"You had a bad week, why should I suffer" But since you are with me here on "You Are There" I have the ability to transport you to the Special Town Board meeting two weeks ago. Let's observe but be quiet, the public isn't allowed to speak. The amendment to the special permit in Resolution form is distributed to the Town Board and the Public. The Public Hearings have already closed and this meeting is for decision only. The first thing that happens is that Mr. Weingarten starts to talk but he cannot as the hearing is closed. However, he was able to remind the Town Board of his "problem". So the meeting is recessed while he, Tim Lewis and Francis Sheehan go outside to "chat". 45 minutes Mr. Sheehan returns with a new version of the resolution which the Town Board quickly votes on without discussion, certainly not allowing the Public to comment. The two versions of the Resolution are alike EXCEPT for "However, after the applicant has exhausted all efforts, to the satisfaction of the Town Board, to obtain the required easements and has been unsuccessful, the Town Board then in effect may be petitioned by the applicant to have this condition re-considered."

What do you think this deliberately worded (a la Sheehan and Lewis) added sentence means?

Does the Town need to assure the applicant that it can petition? We got here in the first place because the applicant utilized such obscure tactics as "seek as special permit" or "request a variance". Did they really need special language as insurance when they have come begging?

Now, perhaps I should add the sentence before.
"The Town Board, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals have determined that a sidewalk is necessary for safe pedestrian access and the Town Board has conditioned this approval to ensure a sidewalk will be built to protect the pedestrians and the town."

Still don't get it? After showing how concerned the Town Board is for the welfare of pedestrians and the Town's liability should one be hurt or killed, they have added the mechanism to allow the Town Board to remove the sidewalk requirement if the applicant can't perform -- as long as it has made a subjective effort. Added language does not appear for no reason. So why?
Well here are some possibilities. Does anyone believe that after the GHC has moved out of their existing facility, built a new one, occupied it and then requests the permanent Certificate of Occupancy that the Town Board will shut the GHC down for failing -- whether willful or otherwise -- the requirement to build a sidewalk? I don't know how long you can renew a temporary CofO but perhaps that might be attempted. On the other hand, the GHC has told the Town that their Lender is uncomfortable with the idea of advancing money toward a construction project which will not be able to secure a permanent CofO. It is always amusing when the Town Board gets clued in second hand that even the Lender knows that something is amiss and then see the Town Board ignore the red flag. But let's take time out for the red flag to Bob Bernstein.

BOB BERNSTEIN ALERT!!!
You can't pin this on Feiner because actually this amendment passed 4 to 0. Feiner didn't have the opportunity to vote because he had left to pick up his daughter. So as much as you would like to connect Weingarten to Feiner to something terrible, Feiner's not on the hook for this one. Who does look bad is Mr. Sheehan but then we assume he wants to be Feiner so befriending Mr. Weingarten is probably straight from the handbook. Who said the more things change, the more they stay the same. It seems that Bass was smart enough not to spend the recess in the hall and be observed in the conference room, thus far away from the scene of the crime. Good instruction, Bob.

Back to business, which now brings us to tonight's (Wednesday) Planning Board meeting to gather in the recent amendment (above), hear Public Comment and then either hold the hearing over or close the hearing and announce a decision at their next meeting in July.

The Chair of the Planning Board, Fran Mclaughlin, feels pressure from above often and tonight must have been one such occasion. Certainly she could see Mr. Sheehan present (Town Board liaison) and Mr. Bass (along for the ride).

So she started the night with a reading of her slef-flagged copy of the Town Board's amendment. Reading almost every line of the 3.3 pages except for one line. Which line did she omit (reverse flag) take a beat and ....let me refresh your memory. "However after the applicant has exhausted all efforts, to the satisfaction of the Town Board, to obtain the required easements and has been unsuccessful, the Town Board then in effect may be petitioned by the Applicant to have this condition re-considered." That's right, she read all the conditions "exacted" but "forgot" to read the line which negates all of them should the Town Board so choose. And rather than shut the GHC down for failing to build a sidewalk, I suspect the Town Board will just eliminate the sidewalk requirement.
The idea is buy time and hope that the State performs. But if not, then the piper still won't get paid.

But there's more. Speaking at the hearing were Mr. Weingarten, Ivan Sargeant (Broadview Civic Association), myself and Mr. Sheehan. Other points I raised were: that if the GHC were just a building, no strike that, let's call it an elementary school, there is no way that anyone would allow the school to open without a sidewalk. I also said if this multi-modal pedestrian facility is an acceptable substitute for a sidewalk (because NYS allows it but claims no legal responsibility) then the sidewalk problem in Greenburgh is settled. I'm sure all the Mayors of the Villages would have no problem with allowing these sidewalks to be built in unincorporated and paid out of the A budget. After all, to restore harmony, what's a few cans of yellow paint going to cost. Hugh Schwartz of Edgemont was absent but I wanted to tell him that sidewalks for Seely Place were also possible with a few gallons of yellow paint. I told Stephanie Kavourias of Hartsdale Parking (closest to what goes on in Hartsdale Center) that the new crosswalk could have been realized overnight at considerable less expense if the Town had just hauled out the yellow paint. I'm not sure if I remembered to point out that when there is snow on the ground, or when the DPW plows come, the road snow is pushed onto the multi-modal pedestrian facility -- and thus sensitive drivers won't recognize the modal, however I did include this in my written comments to the Town Board before they approved the amendment. I did point out that despite the testimony of town experts, every one of the Planning Board members knows as a driver that if someone exits from the Library and makes a 90o right turn the cars going toward Tarrytown will unconsciously swerve toward the right (toward the multi-modal..) to avoid the oncoming car while cars going left to enter the Library may have to pause for a traffic opening and those drivers behind will steer right to get around this stopped car ahead and of course to the right is the multi-modal...If you still don't get it, the multi-modal is a yellow stripe (no curb) dividing what is left of the roadbed from what is left of the shoulder.

So smarting from my allegations of "poisoning the record", Ms. McLaughlin tried again. This time she wanted everyone to see how she had gone overboard to ascertain the facts. That she had called someone at the DOT and asked questions and this person's answers were that the DOT allows "shared shoulders" meaning properly signed multi-modals allowing pedestrians and bicycles in "appropriate areas".
Nice try Fran, but what she didn't ask was if the subject location was an "appropriate area", she didn't elicit that the DOT doesn't care as it assumes no responsibilities for these, they being solely the Town's responsibility (although truthfully I can't imagine how they would avoid being named in a suit) and Ms MsLaughlin also reiterated the DOT timetable but failed to asked the needed question which is the key: that the DOT has no approved funding for any of this. Yes, Fran, you asked questions; just not the important questions.

Why do you suppose the Chair of a supposedly independent Town Planning Board does this? I welcome blogger's opinions. It is interesting to note that none of the other Planning Board members had any comments or questions. What a way to go, Fran.

Meanwhile, the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations was present and despite earlier having written to the Town Board many of my concerns, the CGCA decided not to speak or present another letter because they viewed the outcome as a foregone conclusion.

The Planning Board closed the Public Hearing, keeping it open for written comments only for the next 5 business days. Just in case bloggers want to enter the real world of writing.

Now what's really going on? Well the GHC represents a lot of voters so who in politics wants to offend these voters in an election year?
Especially when each year the GHC attorney raised the issue that despite all the good the GHC does, they would have to shut down unless they could start construction (each year). So something like this "white lie" is treated with great credence by the Town Board. And who is the oppostion? A few malcontents like myself, people who see the hypocrisy in government and will point it out whatever issue is wraps itself around, as long as it is one I can understand. What got me involved was working with Bob Reninger (head of the Broadview Civic Association which being the closest is embroiled in concurrent battles with the Library, the GHC and the unsuccessful effort against the legalization of 297 Knollwood's additional floor) in a shared concern regarding the Library expansion. Just as years ago I had learned from Ella Preiser, that a private citizen can make himself or herself heard. Broadview is adjacent to the Library and across Knollwood from 297 Knollwood, the GHC site and the to-be developed Pondside condo's.

But the point is everything I have written can be read in the transcript of tonight's Planning Board Public Hearing or viewed on cable whenever it is rebroadcast. I apologize for my speaking fervor but speaking into a microphone which in the meeting room goes on and off is disconcerting so it is easier just to speak louder and it is especially galling to address people like Ms McLaughlin whom I do not respect for things such as described above. My obvious contempt for them is matched only by the contempt they hold for the public and the misuse of their office. Watch the tape and see her reaction (maybe it is off camera if the camera is on the podium) when I catch her critical omissions and -- her feeble defense of her omissions. I carry a license to offend and not play the game because I have no designs on public office. But I do enjoy reporting on the inefficiencies and foibles of those in public office.

For example when the Town Board votes for a moratorium on capital punishment or votes to tell the US President that Greenburgh is unhappy about conditions in Darfur (Mr. Bass I'd be more impressed were you to show me a cancelled check made to Darfur aid) which are feel good but not Town Board business, I view this as promotion and not production. The Town Board is paid to solve local problems. With the GHC it is more of the same but with one differnce, a very big difference. The Town Board's indulgence of a the needs of a private business may be laudable except it could turn out to be a very costly one.
By enacting laws, amendments and special permits for this applicant, the Town has made itself liable for very substantial damages if someone were harmed while using the multi-modal. Damages which would be, as per precedent, the responsibilty of both the unincorporated portion, where the facility is located, and the Villages where the facility is not. Does this sound like familiar territory?

But there is even another aspect. Underway is another lawsuit against the Town, brought by the Fortress Bible Church (also from that pesky place, Mount Vernon) which is arguing that Greenburgh is unwilling to bend over, much in the same way as it has done for the GHC, and allow it to build on its nearby site. However, a Church holds a few wild cards distributed just to churches. So the Town is spending big bucks in Court defending itself for, perhaps, imprudent decisions used against a Church while at the same time the Town is opening all the floodgates to encourage a private business, the GHC, which holds no wild cards. It is the reverse posture which should be the game plan, give in to the Church, hold the line on the GHC. But, thank you Town Board.

That is the whole basis for "just 3 votes". Those who are hell bent on getting rid of Feiner know I am right but they are of single purpose. They too would like to get rid of the whole Town Council but feel they need their support to eliminate Feiner. Other than making allowances arising from the understanding the inherent problem in holding a two year job while Town Council critics have the protection of four year jobs, I have been critical of Feiner too and you have seen it on his blog.

But what no one wants to acknowledge is that he is essentially powerless unless given the power by the Town Council votes. Not yet being impressed by Ms Berger, I see the Feiner that we all know (love or hate) as the better of two evils and if we really had a functional and ethical Town Board, then all the problems could not exist. As you can see by the added language to the amendment (twice writ above), the Town Council, under Mr. Sheehan's tutelage is every much the problem, if not surpassing what they characterize Feiner to be. They are just more subtle.

So until we meet here again I repeat "just three votes". Mike K., it may take only two to talk or tango, but three are needed to take action.

And for the rest of you, look forward to new video game in toy stores this fall. It's called "multi-modal pedestrian facilty" and like other action games, players accrue points for each pedestrian they run over. Bonus points if it is a parent with stroller.

Herb Rosenberg said...

Some weeks ago there appeared on this blog an extremely moving letter from a Ms. Roz Leviatin, a resident of Old Tarrytown Road. She told of two residents who were killed by cars while walking on their sidewalk-less street, and the difficulties and frustration of dealing with the police and the Town Council. Until then I had not been very concerned about sidewalks, but Ms. Leviatin’s letter was so eloquent that I drove to Old Tarrytown Road to see for myself. Driving was a harrowing experience. I saw the marker for one of the dead residents, but not the second -- it was to scary to stop the car. And I became a convert to the need for sidewalks.

Thus, Hal Samis’ long posting had a large impact on me, and I hope it will on everyone else. I have driven on Knollwood Road many times without thinking of pedestrians because I don’t recall ever seeing any. But with the Health Center there will be many, and they will be unfamiliar with the street and the traffic. Many will have children with them, in strollers and carriages. Accidents seem inevitable and immense.

What amazes me most -- though by now it no longer surprises me -- is the combination of weakness and short-term political calculation that is demonstrated by the Town Board. How can they not insist on a sidewalk? How can they not exercise their right of eminent domain to get an easement or ownership and build a sidewalk, without waiting for New York State to pick up the tab? How can they seriously treat the “multi-modal transportation facility” -- otherwise known as the yellow line silliness -- as an satisfactory answer?

And above all, how can the Town Board work out an amendment to the resolution that blows an immense hole in everything that came before? It is bad enough that Francis Sheehan -- who has become Greenburgh’s own Dick Cheney -- to author that amendment, but what about Barnes, Bass and Juettner silently going along? Feiner should also not have gone along, but he at least has the excuse that he has been made powerless by this Council. Does the Council take comfort that by the time construction is finished, and the first fatality occurs, they will no longer be in office?

And how can the proponents of the Health Center treat this problem as a mere inconvenience rather than the danger it presents?

It may be late in the day for the Health Center to rectify their mistake in purchasing the seemingly unsuitable property on Knollwood Road. But it is not too late for the Town Board to act responsibly by forcing a sidewalk, through its eminent domain power if necessary, so that the visitors to the Health Center get medical services for the illness they came with, rather than the accident they experience getting there. Accidents are inevitable, and with this record there will be no defense.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Thank you for caring. It is appreciated.

Michael Kolesar said...

The actions of the Town Board in the GHC matter are very troubling given the legitimate concerns that the community has raised.

Even more troubling are actions by individuals during the "process", i.e., private meetings with "opposing" counsel and now the appearance of one or more sitting Town Board members before a Town Committee during that Committee's consideration of a specific matter.

The Village Board in Ardsley has a long standing position that neither the Mayor nor any Trustee will appear before the Village Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals or BAR for two very good reasons. First, not to bring any political pressures real or perceived, on the members in their discharge of the responsibilities that they have taken on and second, not to prejudice the record in case any matter subsequentially comes before the Village Board as a result of any decision that one of those bodies made. Fortunately, the Village Boards in Ardsley have a long history of acting fairly and independently. The Village Planning Board didn't hesitate to unanimously urge the rejection of the Woodlands Senior Housing complex, which the Village Board ignored (along with the concerns of many residents) a few years back. None of those Village Board members still serve in any elected capacity. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

We need a compreshensive code


ALBANY - Municipal officials and environmental groups yesterday decried a measure sponsored by Westchester Democrats in the Assembly, among others, that they said would diminish local control of development projects.

The bill would require that any zoning ordinances, environmental regulations or other rules in place when a property owner applies for a building permit stay in force for six years after the filing.

Municipalities currently can impose new rules on developers until they have begun construction or invested a large amount of money in the project.

Critics of the bill said local governments have a right to make decisions in the best interest of residents and the process of altering development regulations is already rigorous enough.

"We're the government closest to the people, and we need to be able to respond to development over time and be able to change the zoning code accordingly," said Peter Baynes, head of the state Conference of Mayors. "We can't change the code at the drop of a hat; there is an open public process we already have to go through. But this is one of the most important rights of local government."

The bill would let municipalities impose new regulations on a project if there is a change in federal or state law or local officials can "establish that the proposed project is likely to harm or endanger public health, safety or biological habitat."

This means the bill protects the right of property owners to be treated fairly under existing law while local governments would maintain the ability to protect the interests of residents, lawmakers said.

"The bill is an attempt to have a balance between the rights of private-property owners and ensuring that government doesn't act in a capricious manner," said Assemblyman Adam Bradley, D-White Plains, the prime sponsor. "You don't want to have unfettered power in government that deeply impacts a person's private-property rights."

However, "with limited funding and few resources for help," providing detailed evidence of a need for new regulations "would be an incredible burden for many municipalities to meet," Baynes said.

Bradley and other lawmakers said they had received complaints from people who spent "substantial sums" planning a project, only to have it thwarted by new regulations.

But one critic, Laura Haight of New York Public Interest Research Group, said she didn't know "how real those concerns are." And home rule - local government control over development within its borders - would be undermined by the measure.

"The whole idea of home rule is that communities can change zoning rules as they see fit" and are usually keener to the best interests of their localities than state lawmakers or developers are, she said. "If a person feels their property rights have been violated, they can go to court."

Assembly sponsors, all Democrats, include Amy Paulin of Scarsdale and George Latimer of Rye. In the Senate, which also hasn't acted on the bill, sponsors include Thomas Morahan, R-New City.

hal samis said...

How can you tell it is an election year? How can you tell when there is competition for the various positions?

Well, for example the gblist today at 1:55 has an important message from Town Clerk Alfreda Williams. Ms Williams (seeking re-election) has just become concerned about complying with FOIL law: those concerning accepting FOIL requests by email (and fax).
To that end she has asked Steve Bass (seeking re-election) to introduce a local law so the Town can legally accept email and faxes.

Nice try Alfreda. No local law is needed because it exists already within NYS FOIL law which provides that "Agencies must accept requests and transmit records via amail when they have the ability to do so". The "ability to do so" does not mean creating a local law but whether or not the Town owns a computer and has internet access.

What needs to be understood by Ms Williams and those who buy into her and Mr Bass' electioneering is that Greenburgh MUST comply with the laws of a higher authority, i.e. New York State or the Federal government. There is no need to have your own law. What's next?
Ms. Williams asking Ms Barnes (seeking re-election) to introduce a local law permiting freedom of speech or the right to participate in the religion of your choice.

Furthermore, our elected officials took oaths of office requiring them to comply will all existing and applicable laws of New York.

And why Steve Bass? Isn't he still busy monitoring Darfur? Why not Diana Juettner? How come the Town Council never asks her to do anything? What do they know that we don't?

Perhaps Ms Williams would do better as the Town Clerk and Records Access Officer to pass this information on to the Public: that those introducing proposed legislation don't even understand it and most often don't even write it. That all these elction season press releases and "introductions" are only deflections away from real, unsolved problems in Greenburgh which the Town Board is loathe to tackle.

Candidates do not get credit for their efforts in promoting Resolutions about "feel good" issues that Greenburgh has neither the ability to implement or enforce nor do they get credit for passing redundant laws. If it exists as NYS law, Greenburgh doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. And the saddest part of this latest charade is that apparently Ms Williams and Mr Bass don't understand that Greenburgh's enactment is totally unncessary.
The necessary part is compliance and Ms Williams has not been forthright about how she runs her Department because she doesn't need the comfort of a local law. Best stick to taking dinner orders at work sessions.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Hal,

How about requesting the Town Council to launch a police investigation as to why the Open Government laws of the State of New York have not been complied with? Didn't they do an investigation into some kind of email "leak" awhile ago?

Next there will be a resolution authorizing the Town Clerk to actually prepare and publish minutes in a timely manner (whatever that will mean)(I suggest not more than 30 calendar days)of all Board (yes, even work sessions are required to have minutes if any decisions are being made, such as to even hold a public hearing, or schedule agenda items) and Committees, i.e. Planning Board, Zoning Board, etc. Who will introduce that one?

No wonder the taxes are higher in Ardsley than unincorporated Greenburgh. We do it right and there's a cost to that.

Anonymous said...

While they are at it, why not request a Police Investigation into the threat by Gil Kamineer against the Superintendant from Valhalla. OOPS, I forgot, it was members of the Town Council who authorized that threat!

FOIL reform needed in G'burgh said...

Samis is so determined to be partisan in slamming anything that Feiner himself doesn't propose that he comes off sounding shrill and clueless.

State law was changed earlier this year to require towns to accept e-mailed FOIL requests -- provided they have "reasonable means available" to accept them.

In plain English, that means that despite the law's being changed, towns don't have to honor email requests if, in the judgment of the town board, it doesn't have "reasonable means available" to process them.

In a dysfunctional town like Greenburgh, which has a long-outdated Freedom of Information Law of its own that doesn't provide for e-mail requests, that means that unless the town board authorizes it, the town can still legally refuse to honor e-mail requests if it wants.

Frequent FOILers like Samis can then litigate the issue of whether the town's refusal to honor emailed requests is "reasonable" -- which of course they never do.

Yet that's what happened in the summer of 2003, when the town refused to honor a series of e-mailed FOIL requests sent to Feiner himself on the ground that town code didn't require the town to accept FOIL requests in that form.

The requests were for documents concerning a politically sensitive A and B budget issue which Feiner understandably did not want to produce at that time to anyone not a "friend of Feiner."

A lawsuit was brought, and at Feiner's direction, the town took the position that e-mail requests were no good. The court ruled in favor of the town, and the public lost.

For those who value open government at the local level, updating Greenburgh's code to prevent that from happening again is of critical importance.

Hopefully Feiner will support this important reform.

It is not surpising, given his opposition in court to answering e-mailed requests he didn't like, that this proposal didn't come from him.

Anonymous said...

The Town Clerk should post minutes of every meeting of the Town Board on the web.
Greenburgh is the only locality that doesn't formally approve or reject minutes of Board meetings. Has anyone ever seen town bd minutes?

Anonymous said...

Hal Samis and Herb Rosenberg made important comments about the GHC sidewalk problem which affects the entire town. Why are the same old people going on and on about Feiner instead of making comments about this problem and what the Town Board is doing about it. Or what they are not doing about it. This one isn't Feiner's fault. If we don't go after the Town Board we deserve the trouble we will get.

hal samis said...

Hello again ECC, got your head up your grassroots?

Please accept my apologies in advance for anything I write that appears to you to be akin to your favored adverb, shrill.

Tough luck about 2003 but as you point out, the law did not exist in 2003 so, even though the Town COUNCIL (just takes three, two of whom, Bass and Barnes, are around running for office today so I know from your vivid recollection of 2003 that you would not want to walk with them) morally and ethically should have complied with your FOIL request; however absent such Law, the Town Board was not bound to do so and the usual method of writing and mailing or delivering a FOIL request to Town Hall/Town Clerk was still available. This certainly would have been less cumbersome than a frivolous trip to Court.

But now we're living in 2007 and the State has clarified and added to the existing NYS FOIL laws. In so doing, despite your history, the premise of my shrillness remains intact and would be so even if Feiner was the source of the promotion. Greenburgh does not need to duplicate State laws, these laws when the source is a "higher authority" which it is, do not require local laws written to insure what already must be, by mandate, followed to the letter.

In 2007, without adding one word or piece of punctuation to local laws, Greenburgh MUST accept FOIL requests and transmit requested information my email if that is the desired media of the inquiring party.

What you haven't raised in all your "sweetness" is why Town Clerk Williams did not seek to supplement existing State law by "going one step better" in 2003 and request a change in local laws to permit email requests. I acknowledge that I say this without first checking to see if 2003 NYS laws PROHIBITED email requests.

However, I object to your characterization of me as "clueless" because as you have picked up the same clue yourself, the Town, to seek non-compliance with the law, would have to portray itself as the first Town in Westchester to operate without computers and internet access and that this admission would be the grounds for the stipulation that it doesn't have "reasonable means available".

I doubt that Greenburgh wants to portray itself, to either its residents, voters, peer communities, of if need be, the Court, as being unable to fulfill email requests for lack of either hardware, systems or personnel. Particularly when the Records Access Officer, Ms Williams, is unable to come to work before noon. And, of course, the Town does have a rather extensive file of Town created and Town received email correspondence and files (most FOILABLE) -- all of which would tend to belittle an argument that the Town does not have "reasonable means". Or what was it that the Chief of Police was summoned to investigate by the Town Council "to see if it had been compromised", wasn't it the Town email system?

But all that pales when you consider that the self-promotion piece for herself and Steve Bass, supposedly to create this local law introduction, was dispersed over... the Town's email system to the Town's gblist.

So which category do you fit in:
Stupid? Defender of this fall's incompetents, sorry meant to say, incumbents? Feiner attacker?

If the latter, then I remind you again, just three votes. But in this situation no votes are needed because the permitting regulation is already in place as part of the State FOIL laws. Meanwhile, if in for a penny, then in for a pound, the Town needs to adopt locally ALL of the State FOIL laws, not just to pick and choose. While this should also be heeded that if the Town Clerk/Records Access Officer is not already complying with State Law, then she should be censured by the Town Board not only for the offense but also for violating her Oath of Office. She needs no local law behind her to protect her rear end from ANY party who would direct her to willfully violate State law.

And if you think about it, isn't the Town Council now taking the position with regard to WESTHELP that since everyone is aware that the agreement is declared illegal, the Town is not bound by it. With this awareness, perhaps Mr. Bass, even thoug eager to get his name out there, needs to introduce instead a new and/or another local law to reaffirm that the Town of Greenburgh will comply with ALL New York State or Federal laws.
That way he won't be dissed for feeling the urgency to introduce a new law every week.

Anonymous said...

" ... Greenburgh MUST comply with the laws of a higher authority ... There is no need to have your own law."

Same with the town's new law that cannot be enforced regarding ConEd's tree maintenance program. NYS law supercedes.

Anonymous said...

perhaps in greenburgh "executive session" should be renamed "the amateur hour" brought by its sponsor - the new york state bar association?

TOM TOPOR said...

To all bloggers....take a break from this crazy blog and join the Nuts in support of your local community theater!

Greenville Community Theater presents...

NUTS

a courtroom drama which may remind some of you of the activities at Town Hall

Saturday June 23 at 8pm
Sunday June 24 at 2pm

Edgemont High School Theater

hal samis said...

Or you cam join me in developing a tv reality show/mockumentary called,
"Town Meeting"

hal samis said...

Or you can join me in developing a tv reality show/mockumentary called,
"Town Meeting"

sorry hal said...

btw, we heard no voice of disapproval from mr feiner regarding the town board vote to allow the health center to proceed with its construction plans without a sidewalk in direct contravention of what the town's zoning and planning board said should be done. sorry hal, feiner is an unindicted co-conspirator here.

Anonymous said...

To Sorry Hal said, it isn't a question whether Feiner is also at fault. Sure he is. The question is whether the Town Board is going to be permitted to allow a condition that is almost guaranteed to lead to serious accidents.

If people can gat the anti-Feiner feelings out of their minds for a minute or two, we might have sensible suggestions about what needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

One option to consider is not to accept the State's proposal regarding this "multi-modal" striping and path. If I understand the State's proposal, the Town would have to assume all liability. Just leave eveything the way it is now. No striping. Is it dangerous? Sure is. If the GHC isn't concerned enough about the "health and safety" of its patients to construct a sidewalk, there are is seems to me two possible outcomes. One, there isn't a safety issue and patients will continue to come to the new facility or two, they express their concerns to the GHC and look to another facility.

hal samis said...

Dear sorry Gary,

What you should have said is that the three Town Council members (Bass, Barnes & Juettner ["Diana, wake up, we're leaving"] should have left when Feiner had to go.

That way, when Mr. Sheehan returned from his private conference with his "amended" amendment, there would have been no one left to vote.

Anonymous said...

In 2003, the state's Committee on Open Government, and several NY courts, all had issued opinions saying towns were required to accept e-mail requests. There was not one single opinion to the contrary.

Only in Greenburgh was this not followed because Greenburgh was reserving for itself the right not to accept e-mailed requests if it didn't want to.

And despite the change in law, and despite what Samis says, towns can still refuse to accept e-mail requests. Unless the FOILer is willing to take towns like that to court -- towns will still be able to get away with it.

Greenburgh is therefore doing the right thing. Hopefully Feiner will support it too.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean "hopefully Feiner will support it too." Feiner has been way oiut front on making things public. You don't need to hope. He has been there done that.

hal samis said...

Dear trying to salvage Mr. Bernstein's reputation aka 1:16,

Since you still want to make me appear wrong, since you persist in dragging Feiner into it, then lets play with all the cards in the deck.

Who was that person in 2003? Why Bob Bernstein who lost and is still trying to defend his pratfall.

The reason Mr. Bernstein lost was because he did not do his homework and the Court told him to pack up his toys and seek Administrative Relief, which was available had he only followed what was the protocol under the State FOIL laws at the time. Not what he interpreted those laws to be, not what he wanted those laws to be, not what I grant was his reasonable request which should have been complied with by the Town Clerk. But since he made it a Legal matter by shopping it to the nearest Court, he has to live with their decision -- or appeal.

And what the Court said in effect, was Mr. Bernstein just mail or deliver your FOIL request to the Town Clerk and stop wasting our time. "Pay the two bucks".

Mr. Bernstein doesn't like to be reminded when he suffers a setback.
Therefore he must strike back at Feiner in whatever manner he can so he seizes upon this simple issue and attempts to complicate it so that his earlier actions would appear justified.

In other words, if I (Bernstein) screwed up before, the situation needs damage control which I can accomplish by supporting my candidate Steve Bass and even Alfreda Williams by lending my weight to their self-promotional schemes and saying: we really need this law.

NYS Law supercedes whatever Greenburgh can parcel together. If it is a copycat law, then it is unnecessary. What the Town Clerk and Mr Bass can do to salvage their sorry reps is to write a new local law that goes beyond the State FOIL laws. For example, hereafter Greenburgh will not only accept emails, faxes but also transmit the search results by fax, email or door to door home delivery, all at no charge. This extra service feature would not trouble the State. However, I don't believe Ms Williams or Mr Bass will be writing this as local law.

So despite what Mr. Bernstein would have you believe, there is no chance that the Town will refuse to comply with existing State Law and claim it does not have "reasonable means available."

The 2003 episode bears no resemblance to 2007 conditions and Mr Bernstein would do well to focus his energy on more meaningful issues in Greenburgh.
He goofed then and won't acknowledge it. Sometimes when your ox is gored; you just get a new ox and move on.

It is curious that in the posting "FOIL reform needed" from 5:21 Thursday, that the author gave us the whole story but managed to avoid who the victimized hero was. Knowing that it was Mr. Bernstein sheds an entirely new light on the matter and explains the animus toward me.
And when the story picks up again today at 1:16, we see the lawyerly
obfuscation: "towns will still be able to get away with it". What is missing is the explanation that should accompany that pronouncement. And what is missing is that there are some upstate towns with part-time staff and volunteers that don't have the resources to comply; but give us a break, don't try and include Greenburgh with those small town exclusions.

So the closing that "Greenburgh is doing the right thing" sounds like Bernstein has given his blessing and that it should be the right thing but then we should do more of the right thing and adopt all of the State's laws as our local laws. This will give Mr. Bass additional exposure and he can keep busy for the next 18 years at the rate of one per week.

I know that this whole matter seems trivial and that it won't harm anyone. so why am I pursuing it. Because every little bit counts when David fights Goliah. My reaction is only to see that readers understand the back story and the real reason that these feel good laws come about and are now being mouthed by Mr. Bass and Ms. Barnes.

You see, I'm of the belief that a four year Council job should yield consistent effort over the entire four year period, not just in the last six months before an election. Thus, this is the obvious question: What has Mr. Bass and Ms. Barnes done for the first 3-1/2 years of their current term? Not very much that they would care to have rehashed in public. So use some judgement this year before voting: since Mr. Bass and Ms. Barnes couldn't see themselves as two of just three votes, you, as a taxpayer and voter, should see yourself just saying no when you encounter their names on the ballot. If they accepted their paychecks for the first 3-1/2 years, what have they done to earn them is the question voters should consider before repeating the same mistake again.
If the results of not seeing just three votes makes you at all concerned, then just say no because you are pissed off at their long, long lunchbreak.

facts on feiner and open govt said...

hmmm, has Feiner released the 2005 memo about the inadequacy of the drainage behind the stores on east hartsdale avenue? Rumor has it that Feiner is stonewalling the ethics committee who are investigating his campaign contributions from developers with applications before various town boards. And wasnt there something recently about a slush fund feiner kept off the books in the WestHelp scam he championed?

feiner as reported by valhalla voice said...

The Journal News reports that $500,000 in Westhelp funds are sitting unreported and unaccounted for in Greenburgh Town accounts. This is in addition to $440,000 that the school district has accumulated in its accounts from under spent grants. Combined this is nearly a $1 million slush fund of taxpayer money meant to help homeless people.

The Greenburgh money that was originally meant to be paid directly to the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association. But even in Greenburgh, that would be illegal.

According to the article, town board members did not know this money existed, but the president of the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association did know.

Supervisor Feiner says he did not include in the budget because he wanted to maintain "flexibility" on how the money is spent.
"Once it's in the town budget, you can't say it's for one neighborhood," Feiner said. "Then it's in a town fund, and we had indicated we would give priority attention to Mayfair-Knollwood."

I suppose if you have the "flexibility" to hide the funds you would have flexiblity not to report what you spend it on.

We hope the Comptroller's office is paying attention.

truth about Bernstein said...

Thank you Mr. Samis for letting us know about Bernstein's past lawsuit regarding FOIL requests, and about his dodging the truth and trying to spin the law. It is something he always does, that's why I have stopped trusting anything he says, and now I know how far back it goes.

And naturally when you say something that exposes Bernstein immediately some letters come out with tirades against Feiner, the all-purpose defense against everything bad that Bernstein has done.

Anonymous said...

After reading the agenda for the next town board meeting, I have a question. Why would the Town allow the Police Lt's, sargents and detectives work for lower pay on certain overtime details ? This should only be worked by regular patrolman. sounds like they want to pad thier salary for retirement.

samis really is clueless said...

The truth about Samis is that he generally doesn't know what he's talking about -- and his posts prove it.

Take this new FOIL law. He thinks Greenburgh doesn't need to do anything -- that the change in state law allowing e-mail requests is self-executing and legally binding on Greenburgh.

Unfortunately, it isn't -- not until Greenburgh says it will accept e-mail requests and identifies to whom they should be sent.

But the new state law then goes on to say that the e-mail request has to follow some state-mandated form that's supposed to be developed and posted online by the state Committee on Open Government, which so far hasn't happened yet.

Hopefully, Greenburgh won't go along with that nonsense. If a citizen wants to file a FOIL request with the town, and wants to do it by e-mail, he or she shouldn't have to fill out some cockamamie form on line.

All anyone should have to do is say, "This is a FOIL request" and "here's what I want." Period.

If Greenburgh simply tracked what the state law says, like Samis says it should, we wouldn't be able to do that -- and that would be wrong.

Even Bob Freeman of the Committee on Open Government agrees with that. He's been saying for years that citizens should be able to file FOIL requests via e-mail or any other method, including walking into a town clerk office, without having to fill out any forms.

But Samis wouldn't know about any of that.

Feiner WestHELP "lawyer" faces 2-6 said...

According to today's Journal News, Feiner's WestHELP lawyer has just pleaded guilty to felony charges and faces 2 to 6 years in prison.

Feiner retained the lawyer last November to assist him in preparing his own personal response to the State Comptroller's draft report finding the $6.5 million giveaway of town revenues to the Valhalla School District to be illegal and in some respects unconstitutional.

The lawyer, who lives in Mayfair Knollwood, advertised on his website that he was representing the Town of Greenburgh on the WestHELP matter. He later changed it to be say he was just representing Feiner.

Feiner retained the lawyer after assuring town board members at a televised town board meeting that he would not retain separate counsel. The very next day, the lawyer telephoned the state, said he was representing the town, and asked for an extension of time to put in the town's response. The state comptroller granted the request not realizing the lawyer was representing only Feiner.

Here's the article for those who may have missed it:

Lawyer faces prison after admitting he stole from clients

By TIMOTHY O'CONNOR
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: June 22, 2007)
WHITE PLAINS - Francesca Salvi lives in hope and fear after the lawyer, who she says ripped her and her husband off, pleaded guilty to grand larceny.

She hopes that suspended lawyer Chase A. Caro repays the more than $300,000 he owes in proceeds from the sale of their Shrub Oak pizzeria last year.

She fears that if he does repay it before he is sentenced, he won't have to serve any jail time.

"He turned our lives upside down for six months," said Salvi of White Plains. "He put us through hell. He should pay for it."

Caro pleaded guilty yesterday in Westchester County Court to one count of second-degree grand larceny, a felony. He admitted he stole $310,000 from an elderly Peekskill man he represented in a home sale. As part of his plea agreement, he has to repay the money he owes the Salvis and his other victim. He faces a prison term of up to six years when he is sentenced Oct. 29.

Caro declined to comment on the case yesterday. His lawyer, Sharon McCarthy, also declined to comment.

Salvi said if she had known anything about the Peekskill man's problems with Caro, she never would have hired him to handle the sale of Francesca's Pizzeria. The day of the closing last fall, she said, Caro was "acting all nervous." They handed him the checks, made out to him, and expected to receive about $350,000. Instead, Caro ducked out without paying them, she said.

What the Salvis did not know was that another client was also having trouble getting the money that Caro owed them from a real estate deal. Herbert Newkirk received more than $470,000 as a result of settlement from litigation involving his Peekskill home. But he saw none of it. In November, Caro sent Newkirk a check for $310,000. It bounced.

Newkirk, who has since moved to Yorktown, could not be reached for comment.

A state appellate court suspended Caro's law license in January at the recommendation of the First Judicial Department Grievance Committee which started an investigation in December after the Salvis filed a complaint.

Francesca Salvi said she was thankful for the attention the district attorney's office gave the case and glad Caro has been convicted. But her family is still recovering, she said.

"You just don't know the stress this puts on a family," she said.

hal samis said...

The first thing you need to know about Samis is that I use my own name which means I can't be like those who can say anything because it has not attribution.

The second thing you need to know is that I do my homework and when I don't I state it up front in the posting. As I did today at 2:40 for example. As I did on my recent Central 7 postings.

Who should you send FOIL forms to?
Try the two job titles that Alfreda Williams holds: Town Clerk and Records Access Officer. Do you think another position need be created just to service Email FOIL requests.

Where can you get FOIL forms? Why go to the New York State government site (I have it, will post it but I don't think I can save this comment and go to my address book).

But let's address this comment from someone who is clued in like 6:08. Greenburgh can ignore NYS FOIL Law by not accepting Emails. Let's not accept tax bills. Let's not accept any Greenburgh laws. If Greenburgh can break the law, then so can residents of Greenburgh; the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. Who on the Town Board wants to spend a night in jail with Paris Hilton? Certainly not Mr. Bass.

Now how am I supposed to respond when you mention Bob Freeman? My first reaction was to call Terry Williams and ask if would be able to open a summer school class just for bloggers who don't make any sense but he would probably say we don't have the dollars. So my second thought is to rake you over the coals by saying that Bob Freeman supported what you are claiming. Just putting him in your posting next to your comments does not marry him to your position. What you have used Mr. Freeman for is to say that he thinks no one should have to file any forms. I think so too but is that the substance of the promotional amendment that Bass and Williams have sent out? No.
Is Mr. Bass and Records Access Officer Williams now pushing to do away with FOIL request forms as per Mr. Freeman. Note too that Mr. Freeman has neither legislative or enforcement power. Meanwhile if your earlier paragraph is correct, then everyone has a beef with Mr. Freeman for not getting out the "mandated" form in a timely manner. I didn't see you mention anything that every municipality can have their own "mandated" form either. But, I would expect that Mr. Bass and Ms Williams will now include a new Greenburgh form as an attachment to their amendment.

But let's go back to the dark ages before the State permitted Email filing. What happened when you went to the Town Clerk/Records Access Officer and said, don't give me a cockamamie form, here's my form and here's what I want. Period.

That sounds pretty good. Let's not stop with Greenburgh; let's try it on other governments and say don't bother with the form, here's what I want. Period.

But what I admit to being clueless about is the identity of this blogger. The comments and conclusions are far too stupid to be those of the usual Edgemont Community Council suspects. As I'm really at a loss this time, I'll have to make do and say it had to originate in the environs of the Town Council.

But hey, if the Town Board follows the standards for FOIL requests as set by this blogger, I'd even go along and support it too.

As has been pointed out, I make a lot of FOIL requests and if the Town Clerk/Records Access Officer is willing to run her franchise under these standards, let's all support it.

And next Town Board Meeting, if there's anything you want, go to the Podium and tell the Town Board:
This is what I want. Period. Tell them "samis is really clueless sent you".

Anonymous said...

SAMIS IS NOT CLUELESS. If the supervisor and his disfunctional board would listen and read in between the lines when Samis speeks we would have a great town. He knows his apples and tries to enlighten all at the town hall meetings. Too bad we do not pay attention to all his facts and figures,concerning all the monies that we are paying out,and will be paying more next year.Pay atttention to his comments,and you will see that he knows what he is talking about. Thank you Samis, you should be running for a seat on the board. If sheehan resigns, we hope,, how about running for his position,

hal samis said...

www.DOS.STATE.NY.US/COOG/
RIGHT_To_KNOW.HTML

About that 2003 lawsuit said...

That comment Samis made about that 2003 lawsuit where Feiner got a court ruling that said Greenburgh didn't have to honor emailed FOIL requests merits a response.

First of all, the Greenburgh ruling against e-mail requests was one of the reasons Governor Spitzer signed the law specifically directing all state entities to accept e-mail requests.

Second, the FOIL lawsuit was filed because Feiner was refusing to produce, among other things, any documents that would reveal whether the Taxter Ridge purchase would be charged to the A or B budgets. Prior to the court's ruling, the Town produced documents which answered that question, but left other related document requests unanswered.

Third, the e-mail request was in conformity with the town code. All the town code required (then and now) is that the request be "in writing." Feiner's legal position -- astonishing thought it may be from a self-proclaimed proponent of open government -- was that an email request was not a request "in writing."

The town's argument that FOIL requests had to be in writing on a special "form" issued by the Town Clerk had no basis in the town code. It didn't then, and it still doesn't. There is no mention of any FOIL "form" anywhere in the entire town code.

The town's position was, at the end of the day, an embarrassment to the town, to Feiner, and to the state because it turned the concept of open government on its head.

The chair of the state Committee on Open Government was incredulous when he found out about it -- which was why, when a good government Democrat like Spitzer became governor, one of the first things he did was sign into law the FOIL amendments expressly requiring e-mail requests to be accepted.

This is one of those legal histories that you can look up. Feiner's name is on the decision. He'll be known in the lawbooks as the local politician who fought for the right to refuse to honor emailed FOIL requests.

Some legacy.

BASS, WILLIAMS IN PANIC MODE said...

Seems like Steve Bass and Alfreda Williams are in panic mode. This is the first time that Alfreda ever useed the town e mail system. Steve is trying to change his ways, realizes that Sheehan's tactics against the people are backfiring and hurting his re-election campaign.
Sonja Brown, Kevin Morgan and Judith Beville are everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I found this list of Feiner's 2000 campaign contributors. It looks like his Westhelp attorney is on it twice,ok but what exactly is Westhelp in the next to last line? The homeless shelter, the VSD or the Westhelp Partnership?


Paul J. Feiner (D)
Swig, Weiler & Arnow Management $10,000
Teamsters Union $5,000
Caro & Assoc $2,500
Elmwood Summers Inc $2,500
National Cmte for an Effective Congress $2,500
Cuddy, Feder & Worby $2,250
Caro & Graifman $2,000
Columbus Construction $2,000
David Norr Inc $2,000
Evergreen Asset Management $2,000
Glickenhaus & Co $2,000
Jonathan Rose & Co $2,000
MacAndrews & Forbes $2,000
Metropolitan Life $2,000
Oceana Publications Inc $2,000
Pace University $2,000
Peter Guggenheimer Architect $2,000
Union Bank of Switzerland $2,000
Westhelp $2,000
Ginsburg Development $1,750

Anonymous said...

Bass is simply a non-entity in Bernstein's pocket. Why would any thinking person vote for him? Because he shows up for events? Because he acts like he listens?

If he doesn't go down this time, he will the next. More and more people are sick of him and sick of Sheehan. They're venomous, none too smart, and useless.

hal samis said...

Anoymous about 2003,

It is astonishing that, as written by the anonymous poster,
any Court would politely show Mr. Bernstein the door marked exit. As written, you would never know that Mr. Bernstein lost the case. As written, you would think the Court flipped a coin. As written, you are not told why; only that everyone in a 500 mile radius was astonished and incredulous.

Since the Court decision re this FOIL matter was not appealed I am going to make the broad assumption that there was neither merit in bringing the matter to Court in the first place or, the practical decision re time and expense led to Bernstein's decision to walk.

But despite all the posturing and the attempt to retry the case before a lay internet public, I generally am disposed to look beyond this posing when the writer habitually exposes his Achilles heel and abandons rationality by obeying the rote command to attack Feiner and twist whatever LIES nearby to pursue this goal.

Without any baggage, wouldn't a first time reader think that Feiner was the Defending Counsel?

What keeps coming to mind is if the issue was so obvious, was this Court case the poster child for justice is blind?

Were the argument left to stand on its own merits, I might have bought it; but when I am promised that one gallon will take me 100 miles, that guarantees that I need to keep checking both the HOT AIR gauge and the ODORMETER.

My problem with believing anything that comes from this writer's keyboard is that it runs contrary to the simple fact: that to do almost anything at the executive level of Town, it depends on three votes. Mr. Bernstein knew this in 2003. Mr. Bernstein knew that he could block Mr. Feiner if he lobbied for the three votes. Yet Mr. Bernstein lost the battle at the Town Board and he lost the battle in Court.

Of course, knowing that three of the current Town Council were on the Town Council in 2003 and Bob in 2007 is supporting the same two in their campaign this year, doesn't this seem the slightest bit weird? You've all seen Feiner at meetings; no one would describe him as Mr. Smooth Talker or the Svengali of Speaking. So how did Feiner persuade the 2003 Town Council to follow his lead? And if they believed Feiner and misjudged that Bernstein was really Mr. Right, do we want to retain the services of these dummmies even if they claim the born again exemption?

Even if Mr. Bernstein vouches for them?

So let's have another look at the response (merited), and his numbering. You can check my work if you refer back to the 9:14 post.

First: One of the reasons that Spitzer signed... (Bernstein says don't tell me, show me)...Did Mr. Spitzer cite this specifically? How many other reasons were there? What were the other reasons? Every year the Journal News does a week's worth of articles on "Sunshine" issues. Seems like there is a lot more to write about than just this one case. And was this just another "feel-good" law out of Albany because if Mr. Spitzer reads Emails from Greenburgh he would learn that his law is ineffectual unless Greenburgh passes its own version.

Second: This would be the same argument that the Court said was irrelevant and thus threw the case out. Just like it is also irrelevant in 2007 when the writer is responding to my posting that in 2003 Greenburgh did not have to honor Email requests. The writer himself has said that Spitzer only signed the law in 2007. So what new ground is uncovered regarding this. Instead, it is just another excuse to argue the merits of another larger case, not addressing the one that I wrote about.

Third: To me, "in writing" seems to mean exactly what it says. The reasons that Email is not accepted as proof is the same reasons that pot busts, where pot is found concealed in a public place, don't hold up in Court either. Anyone can send an Email, anyone can even gain access to another's computer to send an Email. The nature of a FOIL request is not an Email with verifiable electronic signatures, with intricate access codes. There is no signature executed in front of a Court Officer or Notary. In 2003, for many reasons, Email was not a legal instrument which probably was "one of the reasons" that Spitzer signed the law in 2007, to award it that status for this specific purpose (FOIL). So as "astonished" as the blogger may be, Feiner was on solid legal ground. There are other "astonishing" aspects of Open Government tolerated by porponents; one that comes readily to mind are "Executive Sessions" but none of the Town Board's 5 members seem "astonished" when they vote to commence one. So the blogger has missed an opportunity to throw another dart at Feiner: if Feiner is a proponent of open government, how can he allow "Executive Sessions". Maybe Bernstein can get Steve Bass to get Suzanne Berger to get Richard Brodsky to get the ever "astonished" Bob Freeman to get Governor Spitzer to sign a law doing away with them also. Why does this make me think of Passover?

Now on to the unnumbered comments.
In the matter of...
"Feiner's name was on the Decision"
Horrors! So was Bernstein's.

Feiner will go down in law history as the local politian who...
Pick one:
a) never returned
b) shot Liberty Valance
c) knew too much
d) knew too little
e) followed the letter of the law
f) beat Bob Bernstein in Court

So for now "that's all fffolks"
But first let me prove that I am not clueless...
Colonel Mustard
Kitchen
Gun

hal samis said...

I'm back because on the way out I say that "someone found" a list of Feiner campaign contributors in 2000 and "needs help" in determining the origin of WESTHELP.

Let me share one of those clues I don't have. If you look at the original campaign filing forms, you might see not only a name but also an address. Connecting the name with the address may be just the ticket you need to resolve your "confusion".

By the way, Town Attorney Tim Lewis had an office in 60 East 42nd Street in 2000. So did Caro.
With this list as proof, now you've got the weapon to get rid of Tim too. Hooray!

I'm done.

Anonymous said...

Samis, don't you know that Bernstein always wins and is never wrong? When he loses a case he really wins because Feiner's name was also mentioned in the case somewhere. That no matter what the judge says, Bernstein always can explain it away, and his hangers-on will know that Bernstein is right and the judge either didn't really say what he said or else didn't understand what he said.

If you don't understand this then you don't understand the town, and you absolutely don't understand Steve Bass and Eddie Mae Barnes.

Anonymous said...

So Samis defends Feiner's refusal to honor e-mailed FOIL requests?

Let me get this straight: He and Feiner think that a written e-mail request is not a request "in writing."

And they take this whacko position because they can't be too sure whether the sender, who presumably signed his name, along with an address and telephone number, is a real person?

You gotta be making this stuff up.

If Samis is right,I'm shocked and disappointed. I really thought Feiner was one of those "open government" types. If Samis is right, then Feiner's just posing as someone who wants "open government."

It's "open" when he wants to expose something he doesn't like, but "closed" if it has to do with anything else, including mistakes of his own, like maybe not complying with the law.

If Samis is right, having someone like Feiner in office, is downright scary.

hal samis said...

Anonymous at 9:50,

IN 2003,
open or closed, Email was unsigned, much like your posting is also unsigned.
IN 2003.

IN 2007,
Email became allowed under the law.
If you haven't been reading, Spitzer made Email permissable by signing such a law.
Unlike Steve Bass and Alfreda Williams, he did not sign a law which already existed.

In 2003, Bob Bernstein lost the Court case he brought to argue that Email was the equivalent of writing. He has been "smarting" ever since from this spanking. One would assume that he would prefer that is allies would not create reasons to remind him of his defeat. I am happy to be the vessel to respond to this silliness.

Thus, once more, that Samis is right (or wrong) is not the issue. The Court said in 2003, that "Feiner" didn't have to accept Email FOIL requests.
Bernstein, who believed the opposite was true and went to Court for substantiation, lost.

Personally, as one who uses FOIL often, it often is more convenient to use Email for filing and if it were allowable earlier I would have had not objections. Certainly having documents sent by Email saves the charge for photocopying. But it is not fair to accuse Feiner and the Town Council of breaking existing laws while at the same time accuse him and the Town Council of failing to follow non-existing laws.

This whole flap started over my accusing Steve Bass and Alfreda Williams of self-promotion by saying Greenburgh needs to pass a local law which allows FOIL requests to be processed by Email.
Since it is popularly perceived that Feiner sits on one side of the fence and Steve Bass and Bob Bernstein sit on the other, I just can't understand why those on the Bass/Bernstein side of the fence can maintain both arguments:
**Feiner is against open government because he wouldn't accept Email FOIL requests AND
**Greenburgh needs a local law to make Email FOIL requests legal, even though NYS recently passed the same.

What is really scary is how some bloggers give "anonymous" a bad name. One would think that more people would use their real name if only to disassociate themselves from the level of stupidity that comes from the keyboards of anonymous bloggers such as 9:50.

Hopefully this will end now; it is an open and shut case. That was then and this is now. Or you can remain forever stuck in 2003, as an 11 year old.

Anonymous said...

What Feiner did in 2003 in refusing to honor e-mailed FOIL requests speaks volumes about his behavior in 2007.

I'm glad anonymous pointed it out.

How else can one explain Feiner's $6.5 million illegal giveaway of town revenues to the Valhalla schools, his $500,000 off-the-books slush fund for a civic association, his taking of thousands of dollars in contributions from developers with applications pending before the town?

As the Journal News pointed out earlier this year, Feiner thinks there's one set of rules for him and another set of rules for everyone else.

There are two kinds of gadflies out there: those who believe in open government totally, and those who, because they think they're smarter than the rest of us, believe in open government only selectively, i.e., when it suits them.

Gadflies like that usually end up costing the rest of us lots of money.

They're also the ones who, when logic and common sense fails them, simply call those who disagree "stupid." Samis uses that word a lot.

It's clear what kind of gadfly Feiner is.

Anonymous said...

Samis, I'm glad that you are informing the public and that you know what you are talking about. Don't worry about people like the guy who wrote at 3:50 P.M. Others have pointed out that whenever someone tells the truth about any of the Town Council the same old bunch starts their repetitious attacks on Feiner.

hal samis said...

Dear Stupid at 3:50,

Actually a gadfly is a persistent, irritating critic, a nuisance, one that acts as a provacative stimulus; this description fits you like a glove. If you're not sure of what a word means, there is always the dictionary.

Is "anonymous" that you thank yourself a family member because inbreeding is said to pass the stupid gene along?

Otherwise how to explain that socking it to Bernstein in 2003 has anything to do with the vote of the Town Board? Or even accepting campaign contributions?

Read your own posting again and see if any reasonable person would not reach the same conclusion: that you must harbor a death wish to embarrass youself so badly in public. Even if you don't sign your name, it certainly doesn't help your "cause" to have nothing you write have any basis or exhibit any of the logic or common sense that you say you value. Perhaps you need to show your work to a friend before you post again; until then, stupid is still the operative word.

Anonymous said...

Someone out there keeps cleaning Samis's clock -- something Samis clearly isn't used to -- and all Samis can say in response is that the writer is "stupid."

Samis writes like a spoiled child who's annoyed that his balloon popped.

I wonder... when Feiner looks in the mirror, does he see Samis smiling back?

Anonymous said...

Every action that bernstein criticizes feiner for implementing had the support of the other members of the town board. feiner can't act alone.
Bernstein may think he has the support of the town council. they may yes him to death but actions speak louder than smiles.

feiner to blame for town's ills said...

Did the town council support Feiner's having solicited tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from developers with applications pending before the town?

The answer is no. They jump-started an effectively defunct ethics board which is now investigating Feiner's violations of the town's ethics code -- and according to the published minutes of those meetings, Feiner's not cooperating.

Did the town council support Feiner's illegally giving away $6.5 million in town revenues from WestHELP to the Valhalla schools?

Yes. But when the state comptroller pointed out that it was illegal and that Feiner had no evidence to support his rationale for giveaway, they canceled the gift. Only Feiner voted the other way. And if Feiner and his running mates are elected, town taxpayers from both the town and the villages can kiss that money goodbye.

Did the town council support Feiner maintaining a secret off-the-books slush fund containing hundreds of thousands of dollars in town revenues from WestHELP?

No. Town council members said they didn't know Feiner was setting the money aside and keeping it off-the books. When they found out about it, they made sure the money was put back on the books and hired independent counsel to investigate how this was allowed to happen. Feiner was opposed.

And rumor has it that the amount of money in the slush fund was far greater than the $500,000 that's been publicly reported.

Feiner seems never to take responsibility for these gross lapses in judgment. He blames the town council for letting him get away with it. Or he blames Bernstein, as if he were somehow to blame for Feiner's problems.

The town council has learned that Feiner is so untrustworthy these days that they can no longer take his word on just about anything anymore.

And forget about taking his word on anything. We taxpayers are finding out that we just can't afford him anymore.

hal samis said...

Dear 1:12,

The Town's Comptroller is named Jim Heslop. His office is on the second floor, just past the temporary library children's room.

You can get to the Comptroller's office by stairs or elevator or by phone or by FOILable email.

Any member of the Town Council is allowed to stop by and ask "Jim, before I vote on this issue, is there anything I should know..." or
"Jim, is there any unreported money being parked anywhere? If so, how much and where is it?"

And, if any of this is true, which member of the Town Council has found the votes to dehire the Town Comptroller? Whereas I don't necessarily disagree with all of the conclusions arising from the questions, I wonder why nothing punitive has followed. Business as usual seems to be the order of business. Whereas Feiner may be the Town's CFO, he does not handle the books, make the entries, move the money around. The first step in setting things rights is to root out the employees who created the dead ends, the false leads, the improper entries etc. Why are they still receiving pay checks?
If this is really an important issue, why is the Town Council not acting? Because I am not privvy to the back story, nor are other bloggers, the longer that nothing is done; the integrity of the allegations becomes diminished.

Why is Mr. Bass bringing us Resolutions to duplicate State law?
Why is he not, instead, bringing us a Resolution or at least hosting a Hearing on what happened and what steps are being taken to prevent it from recurring? Of course, it is not fair to single out Mr. Bass when there are three others, Barnes, Juettner and Sheehan to ask the same questions.

That nothing is happening, at any level, makes the blog comments and blog rumors become questionable themselves. If bloggers really care, they, in turn, would spend less time with me and more with getting answers from the people involved and have the power to cure.

And why is no one starting with Heslop as though he, being the Comptroller, isn't enough reason? Because, just as Feiner has never practiced law even though he holds a law degree, bloggers still have a field day trying to hold Feiner responsible for legal matters even though there is also an employed Town Attorney, Tim Lewis. But one thing that Feiner clearly is not, having no resume line to support this, is an Accountant. The title CFO goes with the job but no one has ever said that an accounting or auditing background is the requirement to hold the dual position, Town Supervisor/CFO.

Lest I forget, both the Town Comptroller's office and the Town Attorney's office have all kinds of underlings reporting to their Department heads. With all the problems and shock that the Town Council registers with each new unearthed incident, who has been fired within these Deaprtments?

We know that the Police Department
takes it Departmental responsibilites seriously.

Feiner is the man at the top; in theory the buck stops with him but, in the real world, we know that this is seldom the case. What I do not understand is why when we're talking about big bucks, not one Town employee has been punished? Feiner can't be doing everyone's job in the Comptroller's office. Feiner must be a very busy person making ledger entries, running to the bank to make deposits, transfering money among accounts, writing checks and getting everyone's cooperation in looking the other way.

If Feiner is the bad apple that has spoiled the bunch then the voters will deal with this at the polls. In the meantime, what is the Town Council doing about the hired guns, the rotten apples that can be thrown out without voting machines?

You can only keep a balloon aloft for so long, eventually you use the last of the ballast. Either these financial matters are going to deflate under their own weight or the ballon is going to crash. The Town Council acts merely as ballast and, with every hint of a breeze, they panic and climb over one another to flee as though a hurricane had just attacked Town Hall. We need a Town Council that is willing to steer and take pre-emptive, versus reactive, actions. So far they have remained silent. Why haven't they gone after the bad apples on which they can perform triage?

True to form, I predict that anonymous bloggers will respond saying I'm shielding Feiner and blaming everyone else. Who will be impartial enough to argue for what is the proper, logical and doable first step -- get rid of the Town Comptroller?

Finally to 11:58,

Dream on.

Stupid is a very good word. People have a really clear mental picture of what the word means. And when they read the blog, the confirmation of this descriptive term appears right in front of their eyes.

Generally speaking there is nothing wrong with having a clock cleaned, even when the clock is keeping accurate time. Just like when you go for a physical, even without reporting chest pains, the doctor still checks your ticker. However, there is no one on Feiner's blog who has cleaned my clock yet. Saying it is so, just isn't the same as proving it. One thing is clear, in 2003 Feiner did clean Bernstein's clock. Ouch!

Herb Rosenberg said...

And besides, in September 2005 the SCOBA Report described the bad accounting that was not disclosing the full WestHELP rent (which Bernstein typically twists to make it seem that it doesn't do what I just said) and urged more transparent accounting to show the full rent and the disbursements from it, and the entire Town Board received a copy. There is certainly no indication that they paid any attention to it.

Furthermore, in December 2005 I sent an email to the entire Town Board, in which I specifically pointed out the accounting problem and the unaccounted money. As with the SCOBA report, there was dead silence from the Town Council.

So, Mr. 1:12 A.M., whoever you are (and you are certainly not really anonymous)the Town Council certainly did know of the $500,000 -- the thing you and your cohorts consistently call a "slush fund" -- which was being kept aside in the B fund balance, and if they didn't, as they now say, it is bbecause they weren't doing their job. You may choose to believe them, but the evidence is against them on that one.

And when you say that "when they found out about it, they made sure the money was put back on the books and hired independent counsel to investigate how this was allowed to happen" you are again making things up, typically. The money is still in the fund balance and has never been transferred to the budget as legally required.

I don't recall Feiner being opposed to hiring an independent counsel. But I do know that the independent counsel was hired many months ago and so far there is no indication of what, if anything, they found, or indeed, whether anything is being done by them at all.

If you signed your name to your innuendos and falsehoods you know that you couldn't get away with this kind of stuff. So keep posing as anonymous. We know.

Anonymous said...

Dear "Feiner's to blame……."-

Please pass this message on to Sir Francis & Bobby B. (chuckle, chuckle):

1) News Flash: Supervisor Paul may be a person of interest in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, too; and

2) Have the police department check to see if anyone put a "mickey" into Steve's coffee right before that Dakfur resolution was introduced. They may find out that whole scheme was Supervisor Paul's fault too.

You know Young Kaminer walks around a lot behind the Town Bored dais; was he anywhere near Steve's coffee cup that night? Even if he is caught, no need to worry, he can tell that old gag about another Town Bored member putting him up to it.

And for the record, I never have seen any anonymous poster who has cleaned Mr. Samis' clock, or clocks for that matter. As far as I am concerned, he has been pitching shut-out ball here for as long as I can remember.

PS - Do you think Bobby B. might discover this blog one day and start posting?

You can now return to the "stupid" name calling now.

Booby B. we know ye said...

Bobby B. has been posting under his professional name of Anonymous. Sometimes he uses another non-name. His writing and insults are unique and instantly recognizable.

the buck stops with Feiner said...

Rosenberg is deluding himself, as usual, when he says his SCOBA report blew the whistle on Feiner's slush fund.

The report did nothing of the sort -- even though the scandal was staring at the Feiner-appointed SCOBA members in the face -- and if Rosenberg now wants to claim he wrote some memo which did the trick, he ought to post it for the world to see what he actually wrote instead of what he says he wrote.

In the fall of 2006, when Feiner proposed his budget for 2007, Feiner was still recognizing only $380,000 of the $1.2 million in town revenues from the WestHELP contract, and Feiner's $500,000 slush fund (which is now rumored to be a much bigger dollar amount), was still off-the-books.

So what did Rosenberg do? The answer is nothing. Not wanting to undermine Feiner politically, he smugly kept his mouth shut.

So who came in and undid what Feiner was trying to do yet again?

The Town Council did -- because if they hadn't, Feiner would claim they were as much to blame as he is.

And Rosenberg "doesn't recall" Feiner being against the hiring of independent counsel to look into this? Rosenberg was not only in the room, but he himself was so opposed to the hiring of independent counsel that he started screaming at the town council members, refused to sit down when his five minutes was up, and later had to apologize for his rude behavior.

And as for Feiner, even though the counsel was recommended by the dean of Pace Law Schoool, Feiner didn't like the person, he didn't like the cost, and he insisted on total control over what was being investigated.

That's when he threatened to hire his own counsel -- Chase Caro, the suspended Mayfair Knollwood lawyer who recently pled guilty to felony charges.

And who was to blame for causing the mess in the first place?

Samis wants to blame Heslop, but he's on record saying this was a mess that he inherited.

Should we blame his predecessor? Ms. Berg, the former head of a state association of town comptroller's, quit after just four months on the job, saying she couldn't work for Feiner. Sounds like she might know something.

Perhaps then we should blame her predecessor? But she quit too -- right around the time she would have had to account for the WestHELP money. Was she being asked to do something improper and refused? If so, who asked her to do it? And when she left, did she make a report of the wrongdoing to state authorities? (Rumor has it that she did exactly that).

And what about her assistant, the deputy comptroller, who was acting comptroller before Heslop joined, and before Ms. Berg joined? She quit too.

What are we to make of all this?

It doesn't take much to infer that Feiner himself is responsible for the fishy accounting. His quotes in the Journal News certainly make clear he saw nothing wrong in dong what he did.

As the JN reported:

Supervisor Feiner says he did not include the money in the budget because he wanted to maintain "flexibility" on how the money is spent.

"Once it's in the town budget, you can't say it's for one neighborhood," Feiner said. "Then it's in a town fund, and we had indicated we would give priority attention to Mayfair-Knollwood."

Keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the town budget each year so Feiner could have "flexibility" he wouldn't otherwise have in how its spent is the very definition of a slush fund.

Putting aside Rosenberg's obsession with whether this money belongs in the A or B fund, which is an important issue too, this gross error in Feiner's judgment is huge. Very huge -- and those like Rosenberg and others who continue to defend Feiner over it are as much a part of the problem as Feiner himself.

herb rosenberg said...

The blogger who at 5:18 PM wrote under the name of "the buck stops with Feiner" and previously (many times) wrote under the name "Anonymous" but whose identity is not in doubt for a nanosecond, has gone overboard in his vitriol and rancid imagination. It is, as I have had occasion to say before, a situation that every time he is confronted with a fact he must go wild with untruths, exaggerations, inventions, and bile. His comments about my alleged behavior are absolutely nutty. I won't, and can't, try to answer such nuttiness. I long ago learned that it is unwise to get into a pissing contest with a skunk. I will simply quote verbatim the knowledge that SCOBA and I imparted to the Town Board in 2005.

The SCOBA Report of 9/20/2005 (which is not my document, by the way, but a report worked on and approved by 16 members of SCOBA, 9 of whom were residents of unincorporated Greenburgh) decided that we would not make recommendations but present facts and leave it to the Town government, Town Attorney and Town Comptroller to take the facts and act on them.

On page 17 and 18 of the SCOBA Report there appear the following statements:

"Because the Town was advised by the Michaelian Institute that the grant of Town funds to a civic association was unlawful, the grant to the civic association has not been paid and the funds so allocated have been segregated and are in an account at a financial institution."

"We suggest that the Town Attorney consider (i) whether the substantive and procedural requirements have been met for the grants to the school and the fire districts, and (ii) the appropriate budget placement of the funds (now held in a reserved account) originally granted to the civic association."

"We note that this transaction is recorded on a “net” basis, i.e., the net rental after the grants. We suggest that the Town Comptroller consider whether this transaction should be recorded on a more transparent basis – i.e., that the entire rent of $1,222,844 be recorded as revenue and the grants be recorded as appropriations."

On 12/21/2005 I wrote an email to the Town Board on several matters, including the WestHELP rentals. That email included this sentence:

"In that connection, you should be aware that the $100,000 that was to be a “political” gift to a civic association, until the Town Board was advised that such a gift would be illegal, is sitting in an unidentified account."

The $100,000 was the annual gift, totalling $500,000 and referred to by the obsessive writer as a "slush fund." The funds were always in the B fund balance as a "deferred revenue" (and still are) but the writer must always put things into such a lunatic anti-Feiner mode that whatever merit he may have gets lost in his ranting.

The facts are simple. The Town Board made a mistake in doing the WestHELP deal, at least the way it was done. It wasn't evil, it was illegal. In 2005 the Town Board was advised by SCOBA that there may be illegality and by SCOBA and me that moneys originally meant for the civic associations was being held in a separate account and not being allocated to the town's budget. The Town Board did nothing about it -- they asked no questions and gave no answers. In late 2006 the State Comptroller submited his audit report and then, and only then, the Town Council suddenly got religion. Feiner, who has the quaint notion that a promise ought to be kept, has asked that the WestHELP deal be renegotiated. I make no comment about that whatsoever.

Those are the facts, and all of the mysterious but well-known agenda-driven writer's spinning and insults and attacks won't change the facts.

In short, what I was trying to say, in response to his earlier comments at 1:12 AM, is that the Town Council cannot claim that they didn't know, as the writer maintains. They knew because they were told, but they did nothing, as is their custom. And they should admit it and take responsibility.

I repeat that the writer is a conscious and intentional liar and I will reprint the worst of his lies which I wrote about in my earlier posting.

"And when you say that "when they found out about it, they made sure the money was put back on the books and hired independent counsel to investigate how this was allowed to happen" you are again making things up, typically. The money is still in the fund balance and has never been transferred to the budget as legally required."

It says a lot about Mr. Anonymous, Mr. the buck stops with Feiner, also well-known by his real name, that he cannot argue honestly about anything at any time. His poison has done incalculable damage to the town.

hal samis said...

If you inherit bad genes you are said to be "at risk" for certain diseases.

If you inherit bad bookkeeping, and you are a CPA and a Town Comptroller, you are, by any measure of professional standards, supposed to fix what's wrong.

If you don't fix it or at least bring the bad news to the Town Board that "Greenburgh, we have a problem", when the cars with the flashing red lights roll up with the men in dark suits and grim looks on their faces, you will find yourself in deep doo-doo.

Mr Heslop has prepared two Town Budgets since Ms Berg's departure.
Have we seen any accompanying footnotes that some of the line items may have to be restated? I might be able to excuse him for not knowing what he was doing if I didn't know that he earns $130,000 for apparently just copying the work of the previous Comptroller.

But when he looked the other way and allowed $309,000 in 2007 for Library building maintenance (no library, remember) and did not change it when the error was brought to his attention at two Public Hearings on the Town Budget,
this attitude kind of eliminates any sympathy/courtesy that otherwise one might want to extend to him. And, makes me skeptical that he would not want to change things which he knows are wrong if that is the way they were done before. In this case, his predecessors had the good fortune to have an operating library in an operative building which might have explained how THEY assigned building maintenance.

"But we can't blame Heslop" 5:18pm says the comedian, 5:18, with the paper bag over his head because "Heslop is on record that this is a mess he inherited". Other than my immediate reaction to say 'doesn't this sound like passing the buck', I feel that as a good citizen I should warn the Police Chief that, if his men arrest anyone, the arresting officers should be prepared in case the perps say "I didn't do it". Apparently in blogland, writers are unprepared to deal with this contingency.

And why should they have to struggle with troublesome reality? If everything is Feiner's fault, then that makes the conclusion simple. And in that these bloggers are on the same page as Heslop and Tim Lewis.

Finally, it is nice to see that Mr. Rosenberg will grudgingly be allowed to continue his "obsession" with who pays, A or B. I'm sure Herb will cherish 5:18's "that's important too" even more than earning an A or a B for his comments. Feiner got his usual F and it looks like on this particular round I am getting a "bye".

That's it for now because I've got to make sure my clock is working. I don't want to miss the show Wednesday night. All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing! Diana Juettner is scheduled to speak on the Library.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Rosenberg is telling it right and Bernstein is telling it wrong. Good to know.

the buck still stops with Feiner said...

Nowhere in what Rosenberg quoted from the SCOBA report (which by the way was buried in a footnote) does it say that the town is illegally maintaining hundreds of thousands of dollars "off-the-books."

Rosenberg says the money wasn't "off the books" but in a "deferred revenue" account. Oh really? Where'd he get that from? It doesn't say that anywhere in the town budgets that Feiner submitted. There is also no mention of any such "deferred revenue" account anywhere in any of the financial statements that were certified by the town's outside auditor.

Rosenberg assures us the only amount that Feiner kept off-the-books is $500,000. There are some who say that an examination of the actual bank account shows the amount of money held there was much greater than that. Has Rosenberg actually seen the bank statement?

But assuming it was only $500,000, that, and Feiner's comment that he needed to keep the money off-book to maintain his "flexibility" in how he spent it shows appallingly bad judgment.

Yet Rosenberg holds Feiner blameless. Why?

SCOBA was a committee appointed entirely by Feiner to assist him -- not the town board -- in drawing up the budget. This was not a committee whose membership was approved by the town board.

In fact, Rosenberg is a pro-village advocate who wouldn't allow unincorporated area civic association heads to participate because he thought they'd be "biased." Maybe that's why the report didn't get the attention Rosenberg thought it merited.

In any event, the SCOBA report was issued in the fall of 2005.

Even if Rosenberg had understood that he had stumbled upon an illegal slush fund, which as is obvious from the SCOBA report he did not, why didn't he get Feiner to stop the practice in time for the 2006 budget?

And for goodness' sake, why didn't he get Feiner to stop the practice before Feiner put out his 2007 budget?

Why did Rosenberg keep so quiet?

Only after the town council took action did we hear from Rosenberg. Rosenberg then pressed his anti-council agenda, as if the town council were responsible for Feiner's misdeeds.

Samis likewise refuses to acknowledge Feiner's wrongdoing. Instead, like Feiner refusing to acknowledge his own responsibility, Samis attacks the town staff for not doing its job.

So Samis points the finger at Heslop. However, Heslop made clear that he found out about the off-books revenue within days of his taking the job -- when the state comptroller's office notified him that the entire WestHELP deal, including the town's accounting for its revenues, was under investigation.

Not knowing what he should do, he told the state comptroller's office all about the slush fund and decided to maintain the status quo until the state comptroller could complete its audit and made its recommendations. You don't fire town staff for making that kind of judgment.

Instead, you ask how it happened that Heslop inherited this mess in the first place. Hopefully, we'll know for sure when the independent counsel -- which Rosenberg, Samis and Feiner all fought -- issues her report.

"slush fund" defined said...

For those like Rosenberg and other Feiner apologists out there who refuse to recognize the fact that Feiner got caught maintaining an illegal "slush fund," here's Wikipedia's definition of "slush fund."

"Slush fund is a colloquial term which has come to mean an auxiliary monetary account or a reserve fund. However, the term has special meaning within a context of corrupt (including but not limited to) political dealings by governments, large corporations or other bodies and individuals. Slush funds can have particular elements of illegality, illegitimacy, or secrecy in regard to the use of this money and the means by which the funds were acquired."

Feiner has admitting keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars of town revenues off-the books so that he would have "flexibility" in spending it on behalf of the Mayfair Knollwood Civic Association.

He knew that if the money he promised to spend for the association came out of the town budget, his giving it to the association would not just be illegal, but unconstitutional.

So he kept the money off-book and off-budget. That's what made it a slush fund.

Herb Rosenberg said...

I said that it is unwise to get into a pissing contest with a skunk, especially the well-known skunk who keeps dodging the facts and distorts all over the place -- something he has to do because the true facts are against him. I am sure that this response, which will be my final response, will get further distortions but I cannot keep on trying to pick up slime.

1. Mr. the bucks still stops here (for shorthand I will use the general initial “B” to refer to the blogger, for the sake of saving space) forever tries to discredit the SCOBA Report. I invite readers of this blog to read it and see for themselves. I think it is still available on the town’s website. If not, let me know and I will email it to you. It will not be difficult to see B’s distortions.

2. I learned that the $500,000 is in a deferred revenue account in the fund balance by asking the Comptroller, after the SCOBA Report was issued. It is something B can also do, instead of throwing out innuendos, rumors, and falsehoods.

3. I don’t assure that only $500,000 is “off the books” as B puts it. I have no knowledge of any other amounts. If there are any other amounts then B should so state, instead of continually referring to rumors -- rumors which, I suspect, he has started and is perpetuating.

4. I do not hold Feiner blameless for not putting the $500,000 into the budget. Quite the contrary, I have been critical of Feiner as well as the Town Council, and the Comptroller as well, for continuing to keep the $500,000 in the fund balance. I have met with the Town Attorney and the Town Comptroller to discuss it, and I have written more than once to Feiner and the Town Council about it. As I have said more than once, the Town Council pays no attention to anything that isn’t acceptable to the Edgemont royalty.

5. B is right that SCOBA was appointed by Feiner and not the Board. The Board was not interested in any study because any idea that Feiner has is automatically rejected by the Town Council. In fact, Steve Bass was so insulting to SCOBA that important members from the unincorporated area described him as a rude fool.

6. B can continue to call the $500,000 which is in the bank a “slush fund.” He is reduced to this kind of name-calling as a substitute for reasoned discussion. That is the way it has been with him right along.

7. “Why did Rosenberg keep so quiet?” Obviously B doesn’t read or pretends that facts have not been written. The SCOBA Report wasn’t quiet. My December 21, 2005 email to the Town Board (with copies to the Town Attorney and the Town Comptroller) wasn’t quiet. Will B ever speak the truth? He says that “only after the town council took action did we hear from Rosenberg.” The Town Council took action in the fall of 2006, about a year after SCOBA and I informed the Town Council of the improper accounting and the existence of the funds originally intended for the civic associations which were not properly accounted for.

Have I left anything out? Oh, well, enough said about B’s almost rabid spinning. It will never stop because, like a shark, he must keep moving. But I have no intention of continuing this contest with a skunk.

Regarding B’s efforts to discredit Samis, I will let Samis answer that one. All I will say is that the distortions and weird explanations that B makes in his response to Samis are not worthy of a professional.

Anonymous said...

Whatever credibility Rosenberg may have had in Greenburgh was lost last year when he admitted lying to the town council about Feiner having leaked him confidential material.

He said he was just trying to coverrup for Feiner because he didn't want to see his friend get into trouble.

Why should anyone believe "white lie" Rosenberg now?

The answer is that no one should.

Anonymous said...

Because Rosenberg makes sense and he states facts, that's why.

I remember that when the police investigated this they found no problem and the Journal News slammed the Town Board over it.

So stick to facts, mister.

Anonymous said...

The facts are that Rosenberg admitted lying to the town council. It's in the police report.

Rosenberg doesn't make sense when he calls Feiner's $500,000 slush fund "deferred revenue." That is Rosenberg's "white lie" way of whitewashing what Feiner did.

Rosenberg meanwhile sees nothing wrong with Feiner having taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers with applications pending before the town -- presumably because those applications don't affect him, a village resident.

So if Feiner violates the town's ethics laws -- and thumbs his nose at the ethics committee's investigation -- it's no skin off his nose.

Rosenberg also doesn't see anything wrong with Feiner's illegal $6.5 million giveaway of town revenues to the Valhalla schools.

For someone who supposedly makes "sense," the irony here is that Rosenberg insists on the one hand, that such revenues belong in the town's "A" budget, so village residents can share in the windfall.

Yet on the other hand, Rosenberg supports the re-election of Feiner and his running mates, all of whom are pledged to send that $6.5 million in town revenues right back to the Valhalla schools as soon as they get the votes to do it.

Herb Rosenberg said...

Oh, how the rabid reach.

1. I don't call it "deferred revenue." The Comptroller does. ASK HIM BEFORE FOAMING AT THE MOUTH. That is the way the Comptroller handled it. And it is wrong. It should be transferred to the budget as real revenue. The reason it hasn't been transferred to real revenue is because the Town Council knows that under the State Comptroller's opinion, and the opinion of their own Town Attorney, this money is town-wide revenue. The Council would like to break the law and put it in as B budget revenue. That's why nothing has been done.

2. When did I ever say that I see nothing wrong with Feiner taking "tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers with applications pending before the town." If the lying writer can show me where I have said that I will deliver to him a certfied check for $10,000. The writer and his friends need to lie in order to cover the weaknesses in their ludicrous attacks.

3. The writer says that I don't "see anything wrong with Feiner's illegal $6.5 million giveaway of town revenues to the Valhalla schools." I am amazed that the writer and his patrons use such flagrant lies. In my 12/21/05 memo I told the Board that the Valhalla School grant was "political gift" and an "illegal gift" that was unconstitutional. I stood up before the Town Board at a meeting and told the Board that they have no right to give money to the Valhalla School District. Interestingly Bernstein got up later and said the same thing, even acknowledging that I made that statement and that he agreed with me. I used to think that these people believed their lies but now I know that they repeat these lies because if they stop lying they go up in smoke, because there is nothing else there.

What garbage will the writer write next?

hal samis said...

Dear Mr. Bernstein and the "groupie" at 8:29,

Although I have no objections to the company and I'm not firsthand familiar with their positions relative to hiring independent counsel, I do know that I have never made any statement, for or against, hiring independent counsel. Please correct your files, Bob.

Heslop as "hero"? Heslop (according to Bob) reported dutifully to the State Comptroller all the dubious transactions but "decided to maintain the status quo until the State Comptroller completed its audit and made his recommendations".

Who is the Town's Comptroller, Heslop or the State Comptroller.
Mr. Heslop says (per Bernstein) that he identified faulty bookkeeping within days but decided to perpetuate it until the State Comptroller agreed it was faulty.

If Mr. Heslop knows what he is doing, he should apply his knowledge on the behalf of those who pay his salary. There is no excuse for maintaining a tainted system. However, Mr Heslop clearly is not a thinker, an innovator. He prefers the comfort level of doing it the way it was done in the past, tainted or not, and will only change it when someone else (State Comptroller) shows him how to do it.

Firing Mr. Heslop is exactly what the Town needs to do.

Whether Feiner is at fault or responsible is not the subject of my posting. Voters will have to make that determination. What I have been attempting to do is point out that the office of Town Supervisor, Feiner in this case, cannot do anything "wrong" without the help, assistance or "complicity" of other Town employees (Town Council and staff). For six months I have been repeating, "just three votes" as the proposition that if problems are so apparent after the fact, then it is the job of the Town Council not to prevent the "after the fact" quarterbacking from ever occurring. They can do this simply by defeating the red flagged matters or even implementing their own legislative fix. But they do not.

The second stage of this is to get rid of the town employees who provide the adminstrative support which permits these "dubious" transactions to be implemented. If these policies are as clear to everyone as they are to bloggers, then good employees, employees with guts, will just say no.

Assuming that the Town Council will support those employees who either refuse to perform illegal duties or "blow the whistle", then who would get fired for doing their job? Department Heads, if not their staffs, can only be fired "for cause". If the only staff we have are toadies, then Greenburgh cannot afford them.

Waiting to collect the buck from its point of origin is a two-year cycle. By then the "buck" has accrued an additional expense item, "interest". If you really want to save bucks, then the responsibility is that of the Town Council and the Town staff.

This is still a Democracy and the Public is entitled to have their choice assume the elected office.
And citizens are also allowed their right to quarrel with the result. However, so far, residents have been offered no choice because even though a name has been proffered, Ms Berger has not emerged as anything more than a hollow shell.

Just three votes AND
fire the toadies.

Feiner Slush Fund $1.4 Million said...

I am calling on Supervisor Feiner, the town’s Chief Financial Officer, to make a clear, unambiguous statement that all unspent WestHELP monies that were deposited in one of the town's bank accounts but not accounted for in the totals of either the General (A) Fund or the Town Outside (B) Fund be moved to the General (A) Fund and properly credited in the budget. That amount is $1,448,349.11.

Normally, when the books are closed out each year, any unspent monies are added to one of the town’s fund balances, which are printed in a year-end budget that is widely distributed to the public. With the WestHELP money, however, I have learned that the rent money received but not spent remained in one of the town's bank accounts but was not added to fund balance totals. In a November 10, 2006, article in The Journal News, Supervisor Feiner is reported as saying that he didn't include $500,000 of the funds in the budget because he wanted to retain flexibility on how the money is spent. The amount that currently has this "flexibility" is $1,448,349.11. Such flexibility with taxpayers' money must end. That amount needs to be moved to the General (A) Fund immediately, and normal year-end accounting measures followed.

The Town Comptroller has been relentless in stating how troubled he is in how the WestHELP money has been handled, following a practice that pre-dated his being hired in June 2004. At last Tuesday’s work session, the Town Comptroller specifically asked for direction. After "directing" the Town Comptroller to move WestHELP money to the General (A) Fund, unless overruled by the Town Board, the Supervisor would not disclose to the Town Council (Eddie Mae Barnes, Steve Bass, Diana Juettner and Francis Sheehan) and the public present how much he wanted transferred or where the money was currently located. Even though numerous questions were asked at the audiotaped meeting, the Supervisor said he did not have to answer, but would answer in a "carefully worded written opinion" to the Town Comptroller, an "opinion that is thought out." The written opinion that followed was neither carefully worded nor thought out. It required a series of follow-up emails from the Supervisor labeled "clarification." They too were neither carefully worded nor thought out because they had conflicting directives, resulting in the Town Comptroller and the Town Attorney seeking further clarification. In the most recent email, the Supervisor still wasn't certain of the amount to be shifted.

It is time for Supervisor Feiner, as Chief Financial Officer, to put this highly unusual accounting procedure to an end by ensuring a full accounting for the $1,448,349.11 that is in a bank account but is not part of any fund balance total, and by adding that amount to the General (A) Fund budget total, consistent with the NYS Comptroller's Report of Examination 2006M-156. Such a clear directive, if given, would allow our Town Comptroller to properly close the books and disclose all money in the town's bank accounts.

Francis Sheehan, Councilman
Town of Greenburgh