Monday, October 15, 2007

WEEK OF OCTOBER 15 GREENBURGH DEMOCRACY..PLEASE POST YOUR COMMENTS

Please post your comments about Greenburgh issues.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Elmsford and Northern Unincorporated Greenburgh are highlighted in the NYT interactive graphic associated with the article "Study Finds Disparities in Mortgages by Race."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/15/nyregion/15subprime.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2007/10/12/nyregion/20071012_SUBPRIME_GRAPHIC.html#

Anonymous said...

Paul,

You are putting on far too many blog topics. You should just stick to three or four per week. Many of the topics that you are posting can be discussed within the Week In Democracy blog.

Anonymous said...

I just read thet Greenburgh, NY is in the Top 100 places to live in America. I can believe it. They tout the education of its residents and salary per capita.

Anonymous said...

Where did you read that?

big tax increase coming said...

rumor has it that unincorporated greenburgh is facing a 20-25% tax increase.

some solutions - stop funding silly projects like art in desanti plaza

look for ways to increase revenues like adding to the bottom line of facilites like veteran park (which runs at a $250,000 deficit) by allowing additional residents access to the park

take an inventory of all parks and see if any can be sold or leased

lets hope mike kolesar is successful in highlighting additional ways to cut expenses and increase revenues.

either way, its not going to be pretty because feiner and the town board raided the fund balance over the last two budget cycles.

Anonymous said...

I recall Feiner's comments at a Town Bd meeting last year objecting to the fund balance cuts.

Anonymous said...

Release Date: December 11, 2006


Town Council adds third new police officer to 2007 budget



GREENBURGH, N.Y.– The Greenburgh Town Council is pleased to announce the addition of a third new police officer to the 2007 preliminary budget. The Town Council was able to add the officer to the preliminary budget without any change in the tax rate or without any additional allocation from the fund balance due to other adjustments that have been made to the budget.


HOW CAN THE TOWN COUNCIL ADD STAFF TO THE BUDGET WITHOUT TAX HIKES? SHEEHAN, BASS, BARNES, JUETTNER deceived the public.

Anonymous said...

WATCH THE DECEMBER 19TH, 2006 MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD. hear sheehan on fund balance -here sheehan defend the cuts in fund balance.

Anonymous said...

Feiner voted for the third police officer. He also voted for the additional cut in the fund balance. At some point, Feiner has to take responsibility for what he himself has done. He can't blame the town council for what he himself supported.

Anonymous said...

Feiner as well as the Town Council are responsible for voting for no tax hikes for the last two years when every other town and village were raising taxes because they faced reality. Maybe if the Town Council hadn't been so hostile to Feiner they could have cooperated and been more forthcoming about the financial problems facing Greenburgh like all other towns.

But Feiner has one thing going for him. He ceertainly did urge the Town Council not to bite in so voraciously into the fund balance. The record is clear on that. So Feiner is less guilty.

Finally everybody should stop the finger pointing and think how the town deals with the future. The financial problems are built in and not likely to be a one-year phenomenon. Feiner and the Toan Council will need expert advice as to how to deal with these problems. They should not be the stuff of more political shenanigans.

feiner responsible for fiscal mess said...

Feiner is not "less guilty" for taking such a big bite out of the fund balance. For those who've just started paying attention, Feiner has been taking huge bites out of the fund balance every year since 2000 in order to come up with a tax rate in the A and B budgets that he thought would be politically acceptable.

This wasn't a problem for him as long as the town continued to collect more in taxes each year than it spent. But keeping up this feel-good charade was not without cost.

Under Feiner, the town's infrastructure has not been maintained. There has been no real fiscal planning for the future.

The lack of fiscal management is most evident in the B budget. Feiner's approach in the past has always been to make cuts on an ad hoc basis wherever he thinks the fewest number of people are likely to object. Cutting the library has always been a favorite of his because he doesn't think the library has enough supporters to punish him at election time. The town's recreational facilities have been allowed to deteriorate because that's another area where he doesn't think cutting their budgets will get too many people upset.

Sanitation and public works have traditionally gotten short shrift too, but there's a greater chance people will object when garbage and leaf pickup services decline, as they have in recent years.

Cutting police is hard to do too for the same reasons.

On the other hand, Feiner won't dare touch sacred cows like the Theodore Young Community Center, where the town spends millions of dollars every year, and will almost certainly spend even more next year.

Anonymous said...

Feiner is as much, or almost as much, to blame as the Town Council, which not only voted with him, but pushed for even larger cuts into the fund balance.

But if there is one thing you can't blame him for is the library mess. Libraries are sacred, and you don't dare argue about it. There was no need for a glamorous new library, and I wish Feiner had fought harder against it, but political realities being what they are, he didn't. The old library was fine, and I never had trouble finding parking. Now we will have a Taj Mahal which doesn't add much (certainly not in this on-line research age) but adds an enormous expense each year for the next couple of decades.

So charge Feiner with being political, but he wasn't being political in his questioning of the need for a new library. That boondoggle and cost has to be blamed on the Town Council, which wouldn't argue with a self-interested Library Board, and on a gullible public.

hal samis said...

Dear 11:43,

Do I read you correctly?

Given the need to reduce expenditures to reduce taxes...

Feiner will cut or reduce spending in those Departments where the Public will have the least objections and,

that the Town Council will allow this by providing the required number of enabling votes and,

the budget that is actually voted upon is the budget that the Town Council has submitted after making changes in the Supervisor's budget and,

this adds up to something wrong on the part of Feiner.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Samis who pointed out that the sum total of changes made by the town council to last year's budget amount to $70,000 out of a total expenditure of $70 million?

Wasn't it Samis who pointed out that the town council's "oversight" for this reason was so trivial it didn't amount to a hill of beans?

Isn't it time the rest of us start pointing out what a BS artist Samis is, and will continue to be?

Samis right again said...

The gullible include the fools who allowed Diana the quiet Juettner (village resident) to be the town board liasion to the town library. This would mean everyone in unincorporated greenburgh. Juettner wont pay one dime for our taj mahal. Samis was right on this one.

Anonymous said...

As everyone must know by now, Juettner is the town board liaison to the library because she is the only town board member serving who is also a professional educator, which is a pretty damn good qualification for someone overseeing a library -- unless of course, you believe that when it comes to libraries, cost comes way before education.

Those who think cost comes first would generally favor not having libraries at all. These are usually the same people who, with no children in schools, believe they should be exempt from paying school taxes or who (like Samis) exempt themselves from paying property taxes directly altogether by renting an apartment rather than owning a house or condo.

These are also the same miserly people who could care less how run down and obsolete Greenburgh's built-on-the-cheap in 1968 library had become because,in their view, if unincorporated area residents really want a state-of-the-art library to use, they should go to White Plains, Scarsdale or Yonkers, and use theirs.

Juettner, to her credit, stopped Feiner from selling the old town hall to Sunrise, which was then the client of his largest contributor (Weingarten). The deal was to be a sweetheart deal at a substantially below market price. It was such a sweetheart deal that residents filed FOIL after FOIL to see the appraisal the town had received for the property, but Feiner would never allow it to be released.

And what did Juettner get in return for her actions? She got the support of Timmy Weinberg who, like Juettner thought this was the right thing to do, and Feiner announced that he was summarily dropping the two of them from his "team."

Quiet Juettner fought back and was the top votegetter in the Dem primary two years ago.

It's a shame that good government advocates like Juettner still get trashed by Feiner and his ill-informed supporters.

Juettner's doubtful merit said...

This is the same Diana the Quiet who voted to appeal the Taxter Ridge decision that said a park open to all residents had to be paid by all taxpayers? This hurt unincorporated Greenburgh. And all Juettner has done in her 16 or so years is stop the sale to Sunrise? Big deal. She was a rubber stamp for Feiner's gimmicks for at least a decade including the foolish purchase of Taxter Ridge itself. She is also the town board liasion to Greenburgh parks and rec (another sinkhole) - what qualifies her for that?

juettner stands for good government said...

If memory serves, Juettner was the most outspoken advocate on the town board for a mediated solution to the budget disputes between the village and unincorporated area residents. So, even though she voted for that Taxter appeal -- wasn't Kolesar and Rosenberg's "village officials committee" threatening to sue the town if they didn't appeal -- she also thought that a mediated solution is better than a costly, divisive and protracted court battle.

Juettner stands for good government and common sense.

hal samis said...

Welcome back Bob aka 1:37,

My point then re 2007 and today re 2008 is still valid. The vaunted changes that the Town Council made WERE insignificant.
Nevertheless, if the two opposing sides, Feiner and the Town Council, couldn't find any excess or error, then why is the result only Feiner's fault?

Anonymous said...

Your memory doesn't serve.

The Village Officials Committee didn't threaten to sue if the town didn't appeal the Taxter Ridge case. They pressed the appeal because they hadn't been in the case to begin with and wanted a chance to present the Finneran Law as they saw it, not as Bernstein saw it. And the Town Council, being afraid that of that village residents would finally wake up, decided to do the appeal.

The mediation was an expensive farce. Juettner proposed it to placate Bernstein, in order to try to find a way to put a large amount of the park and recreation costs to the villages. The villages wanted other expenses to be discussed as well. And when the mediator agreed that other issues were also on the table, Bernstein walked out and the mediation (which wasn't really a mediation) was over.

Juettner knew from the beginning that it wouldn't work, but she was trying to please the people who she thought would reelect her. It won't happen.

The bottom line is that Juettner has been too cute about things and she hurt Greenburgh.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be more than enough blame to go around - wasn't the final vote on adopting the budget unanimous?
Here's the problem: politicians will give us whatever we want; leaders have the courage to do what is right.
Greenburgh has a surfeit of politicians and a shortage of leaders.

hal samis said...

Dear Bob again at 2:06,

A heart surgeon performs an operation on a patient. Why should he care; it isn't his life at stake. Therefore he has no vested interest.

In a like vein, am I the only Greenburgh resident who rents?

But trying to prop up an idiot, Juettner, just because you need here to be your last chip to play at the political poker table isn't even beneath you. You already have told a select group that you have no confidence in her. I guess what you think privately and what you say in public are destined to deviate. By the way, did you give Juettner a ride home from the meeting in Harrison?

Juettner, a professional educator?
You know that you are putting gift wrap and taping bows on a dead horse when you try to fool readers into believing that she holds a full-time teaching position at a well regarded bastion of higher learning.

If no one saw the appraisal, how do you know the deal to Sunrise was a sweetheart deal? What it may have been was a deal to sell to a use that would be compatible with the Library, unobjectionable to the abutting residential neighborhood, a use that would not bring much traffic to the site and a use of the property that would not yield another car dealership just because they were able to bid higher. All of these arguments pale because it never got to the sale stage and the waiting in the wings controversy over whether the Town was bound or not bound to accept any highest offer whatever the use.

But Juettner stopping the sale? That is BS squared. Hers was the official elected voice that spoke from the sanctuary of the dais ONLY when it was safe to dip her toe in the frothy water. AFTER the battle had been fought by others. What you overlook, because you are too busy still seeking ways to attack Feiner, is that Juettner, Library liaison, sat by silently while the Library Trustees signed off on the need for the Town Hall plottage; thus establishing that the parcel was "surplus". Me (a mere renter) and a few other citizens protested loudly that the Library should hold revoke their permission until they were certain of their own plan and needs. Still Juettner was silent. After several meetings we were able to convince the Library Board to reverse its stance and say they needed the land -- this "acknowledgement" even though their Architect said they didn't need the parcel, the architect stating that there was room enough for 160 Library parking spaces without it while still Juettner remained silent. Then, only after residents were screaming at both Feiner and the Library Board President Jacobs did Juettner wake up and steal the thunder of something that had already been accomplished by others.

As for Timmy Weinberg (your new ally?), she happens to be the neighbor of Library President Howard Jacobs and her concerns regarding the health of the Library stem from this relationship. Oddly enough, Ms. Weinberg, has wangled herself a fundraising position with the Greenburgh Library Foundation (supposedly a non-profit independent of Jacobs' influence) in which she gets 5% of the funding she raises; that would be the funding that is necessary to finish the job that there is no longer money left in the Referendum budget to do.

Juettner gets trashed solely because she has earned it. And whether she gets any votes in two years remains to be seen. She certainly won't be getting any votes from the Villages next time around.

And for those residents of unicorporated who favored the Library expansion, they might want to consider that the year lost to various relocation plans which went astray...this was due to Juettner who as both a member of the Town Board and aware of the problems in using the old town hall (reasons in part why the Town secured the current location -- asbestos, no elevator, non ADA compliant bathrooms, faulty HVAC, etc) and as its liaison to the Library, Juettner never opened her mouth to register why the old town hall would not be suitable as a library relocation destination. A conclusion that was reached six months later than intended and due solely to Juettner's silence or, educator, that she poses as, inability to convey this information to those involved.

So who is "uninformed": those who live in rented apartments and don't pay taxes or those who post anonymously and pay taxes?

Anonymous said...

Mediation is a way to resolve litigation disputes. However, mediation works only when the parties to the litigation truly want to resolve their differences.

The village reps were not parties to the Bernstein litigation, but the town thought they should participate in the mediation. By showing up, Bernstein evidently went along with that.

The mediation failed because (1) the village reps did not consider the parks and rec litigation that Bernstein brought to be a proper subject for mediation -- they were happy to talk about anything but that -- and (2) Bernstein took the position that if no one from the villages or the town wanted to discuss resolving the parks and rec litigation, there was nothing to mediate.

No one "walked out" of any mediation session. The mediation ended when the mediator concluded, after talking with all the parties, that there was no point in talking further.

If the villages did not want the legal dispute between Bernstein and the town to be the subject of mediation, and the town was not prepared to mediate without the villages' agreement to mediate that dispute, both of which turned out to be true, then the mediation was truly a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

Poster 4:04, seeminbgly the third Bob posting of the day (or merely Bob inspired) tells the mediation story as he would like it to be portrayed. His portrayal is like the picture of Dorian Grey. Enough has come out for us to know(a) that the villages were prepared to discuss the parks issue as part of a larger discussion of all expense issues and (b)Bernstein wouldn't discuss anything other than parks and recreation and walked out when the mediator agreed with the villages on what the discussion should be.

Anyway, the parks disputes will be resolved by the appeals court. Then we will know, and all the pontification on both sides will end.

hal samis said...

And why is anyone bringing up Juettner the dead duck in serious postings about Greenburgh? She's so "over" in 2009.

But if she represents the great stoneface that Buster Keaton pioneered, what can you say about Eddie Mae Barnes?

Bass had trouble reading the script written for him -- and paid the price.

But Barnes, was she even aware of a Library expansion or A and B budgets. She probably thought these differences could be solved if "everyone would just work together and be nice to each other".

Such positive thinking apparently appeals to Mike Sigal so he contributed $500 to her campaing.
Apparently ethics is not that far removed from peace, love and understanding.

And her voting record is second to none in how nice she can be voting in favor of Edgemont concerns.

Or another way, there have been none nicer to Edgemont than Eddie Mae.

Jump in the back seat, Eddie there's room for you and Diana. Now didn't we all have a swell trip to Harrison?

Anonymous said...

Wasnt Diana the silent J quoted in the Journal News as wanting to spend yet another $25,000 after the first round of mediation failed even though it was clear the mediation could never succeed?

You have to hand it to Juettner - she has fooled alot of people for a long time. But that time has come to an end.

question said...

Doesnt Barnes live in Edgemont?

here's how fixell saw it said...

Here's the mediation story as Tarrytown mayor Drew Fixell portrayed it in a November 4, 2006 letter to the editor of the Hudson Independent:

"The mediation, however, has stalled for a simple reason. The [village officials committee] proposed that the mediation address all the issues of the town expenses charged to the villages, which run into the millions of dollars even though many of the services are not furnished to the villages. However, representatives from the unincorporated area did not wish to discuss those expenses, and wanted only to discuss the costs for the town’s parks and recreation facilities which, by law, are required to be restricted to residents of the unincorporated area. At that point the mediator adjourned without setting another date, and Robert Bernstein announced to the press that mediation is a “waste of time.”"

Fixell was saying, on the one hand, that the legal issues being litigated cannot be the subject of mediation, but that all other taxation issues, which were not then the subject of any legal disputes between the parties, should instead be the subject of mediation.

The villages may beat Bernstein in court, in which case none of this will matter. But if the villages lose, and lose big, village taxpayers may wonder how it came to be that opportunities to mediate were squandered. They won't have to look very hard.

poor greenburgh said...

The earlier post about Greenburgh having a surfeit of politicians instead of leaders was correct.

samis smears are wrong said...

Someone should set Samis straight on the facts.

In March 2004, Feiner had asked the town board to approve a legally binding resolution giving him 60 days to negotiate the Sunrise agreement. Juettner and Barnes re-wrote the resolution so that the town would be free to continue to explore other options. Samis had nothing to do with any of this.

Had Juettner and Barnes not acted, the library board would have had to go along with only a modest renovation, something Samis wanted, and voters would never have been given a choice between that, and the $20 million expansion they eventually approved.

Samis might not like the choice the voters made -- he worked feverishly with Feiner to kill it -- but we generally respect the voters' choice in America (Gore v. Bush notwithstanding).

Samis is also way off base in criticizing Barnes for accepting money from Mike Sigal. There is nothing wrong with his doing that. The ethics code barred elected town officials from accepting money from "appointed" town officials, but said it was okay to accept money from "agency" members.

Mike Sigal is a member of the Board of Ethics, which makes him an "agency" member. He was made chair of that board not by the "town" -- but by the votes of his fellow ethics board members. He is therefore not an "appointed" town official and Samis's smears, like those of Garfunkel, are entirely off-base.

hal samis said...

Letter to Elba,

When setting the facts straight, you play the game of departing from the reality which exists.
First there was Samis and angry citizens. Then came Juettner. And where it is true that I had nothing to do with re-writing the Resolution such action I am not empowered to do because I do not sit on the dais, it is how you deal the cards that pretends that other pieces that make up the puzzle simply do not exist. I have written that Juettner came late to the dance and you do not deny that; you merely place your puzzle parts as though there were no other persons sitting around the board.

I repeat. Juettner acted only after others set the stage and she felt bound to act.

Mike Sigal IS an Agency member and the discussion of how he came to be chair is smokescreen having nothing to do with Eddie Mae Barnes, an ELECTED OFFICIAL, accepting a contribution from an Agency member. The "tough new Ethics laws that eliminated pay to play are not so tough so as to close the door on Ms. Barnes' accepting the contribution, the tough new laws SEEM to only haved stopped SOLICITING such a contribution. That Mr. Segal was APPONTED as a mere member to the Ethics Board by the Town Board (Ms. Barnes a member) and the subsequent contribution is proof enough that the door has not been closed on pay to play. That Mr. Sigal decided to make a contribution is his own faulty judgement and certainly creating an appearance of impropriety.

samis needs reading glasses said...

The Ethics Code says it's okay for elected town officials to accept campaign contributions from citizens like Mike Sigal who volunteer to serve on town board committees, like the Ethics Board.

What part of that provision of the Ethics Code does Samis not understand?

Is Samis that dense, or does he not want to accept the fact that his attacks on Eddie Mae Barnes were baseless and completely uncalled for?

Anonymous said...

5:49 is doing what he and his ilk always do. The use name-calling and insults instead of facts. The Ethics Law's definitions definitely include accepting funds from an agency member, not just soliciting money.

Sigal didn't violate the ethics law. Barnes did. And Sigal used very bad judgment and has raised questiins about his impartiality and fairness.

hal samis said...

Samis is at an age when he definitely needs reading glasses but not for anything posted on this blog or to read Town laws and resolutions.

And thus I wonder why Eddie Mae Barnes can vote for such hot pr items like the new Ethics laws, Bass can talk about ending pay to play and both can then violate these new laws.

Since Bass is out of the picture but Barnes is now fully awake, maybe her friends will give her a call and ask why she accepted a contribution from the Executive Director of the Parking District, especially since Ms. Barnes is the Town Board's liaison to them. The District is cited in the laws as an Agency, Ms. Barnes is an elected officer and the Parking District comes before the Town to appoint and re-appoint the District's Directors, approve their bonds and approve their parking fee requests. Surely the District would want to curry favor with the people that grant these requests. Is Ms. Barnes too ignorant to read the ethics laws that she voted for. If she didn't have time, then perhaps she could have abstained. And certainly, on all matters concerning the Parking District before the Town Board, she could recuse herself. But some people have the ability to walk, sit and even talk while they are still asleep. Welcome to the world of Eddie Mae Barnes.

samis' smears offend everyone said...

Samis and the 6:21 blogger are smearing town officials they don't like by conjuring up ethics laws that don't exist and insisting they've been violated.

The Town's Ethics Code is not hard hard to read. The relevant section is 570-4(A)(1(b). It says elected officials cannot "solicit or accept" any contributions from any "appointed officers." The term "appointed officer" is a defined term that refers to persons appointed to act on behalf of the town, like the building inspector or the planning commissioner. It specifically refers to anyone employed full time by the town in that or similar capacity.

That provision doesn't apply to Mike Sigal, a citizen who volunteers as chair of the Ethics Board because he wasn't "appointed" as chair by the town.

Samis and his partners in deceit say that doesn't matter because he was "appointed" by the town board to be a member of the Ethics Board.

Sorry, but the Ethics Code allows elected officials to "accept" contributions from citizens who are "appointed" to be members of town boards, like the ethics board. The only restriction is that they not be "solicited" for the contribution -- and nobody is accusing Barnes of "soliciting" Sigal for the money.

Samis carries on his deceit by accusing Barnes of wrongfully accepting $100 from the executive director of the parking district. Once again, there's no provision that bars this. The executive director of the parking district is not appointed to that post by the town board. She is appointed to that post by the members of the parking district board -- another group of ciizen volunteers.

But does Samis give a rat's ass about ruining reputations? Hardly. He, Garfunkel and Rosenberg were hell bent on sliming Ms. Barnes without regard to the facts or the law.

Their kind of reckless scorched-earth behavior, so obviously encouraged at the meeting by Feiner, should be condemned by supporters of good government everywhere. Hopefully, a copy of the town board tape of that meeting is being shown to civil liberties and good government groups statewide, with all the players identified so that anyone watching can see who in Greenburgh is promoting this animal-like behavior.

If it isn't being shown, it should be.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with cutting into the fund balance to keep taxes low. Sheehan/Bass/Barnes/Juettner messed up the town's finances by pushing for dramatic reductions two years in a row.IN 2005 Feiner pushsed for a 4% tax hike. The Town Council voted for a tax reduction. If the Council had supported modest tax hikes in 2005 and in 2006 the residents of unincorporated Greenburgh would have been spared a big tax hike in 2008.

hal samis said...

Dear Bob again at 7:49(before leaving for the Greenburgh Democratic Pary meeting),

From Town Code section 570 (the Ethics Laws). These laws in their entirety may be viewed or downloaded from the Town website.

570-3. Definitions.

"Agency Member -- A member of an agency."

"Agency -- The Antenna Review Board, Board of Assessment Review, Board of Ethics, East Hartsdale Avenue Contextual Review Committee, HARTSDALE PUBLIC PARKING DISTRICT, Historic and Landmarks Prervation Board, Greenburgh Housing Authority, LIBRARY BOARD, Planning Board, TOWN BOARD, and Zoning Board of Appeals and any other Town authority...that has decision making responsibilities."

**NOTE THAT WITH THE INCLUSION OF THE TOWN BOARD THAT ELECTED OFFCIALS ARE INCLUDED, SALARIED EMPLOYEES ARE INCLUDED AND THOSE SERVING OR NOT SERVING AS VOLUNTEERS ARE INCLUDED. THE TEST SEEMS TO BE ONE OF DECISION MAKING CAPABILITY.

"Public Officer -- Both elected and appointed officers as herein defined, unless otherwise indicated."

**Steve Bass, Eddie Mae Barnes (elected by the Public), Stephanie Kavourias, Executive Director of the Parking District (elected by vote of the District Trustees or appointed by the Trustees as you will); Mike Sigal, appointed or elected by vote of the Town Board and as Chair, elected by the vote of the Ethics Board members. Howard Jacobs (contributor to Steve Bass, husband of Trustee Jacobs of the Parking District and President of the Library Board of Trustees, appointed by vote of the Town Board as a Trustee, elected as President by the votes of the Trustees.

"Appointed Officer -- Every appointed official of the Town as defined in the Town Law, the Suburban Town Law, the General Municipal Law, the Public Officers Law or any other law referring to officers acting on behalf of the Town or any agency thereof and shall also include those persons employed by the Town on a full-time basis as department heads or deputy department heads or whose job categories are classified as exempt for civil service classification peruposes."

"Elected Officer -- Every elected official of the Town as defined in the Town Law, the Suburban Town Law, the General Municipal Law, the Public officers Law or any other law referring to public officers acting on behalf of the Town."

570-4 Standards of Conduct

(A1b) "No elected officer BARNES, BASS shall directly or indirectly solicit or accept SOLICIT OR ACCEPT any gift or item of personal or real property or any contribution or donation from any appointed officer APPOINTED OFFICER or employee, and no elected officer shall, directly or indirectly, SOLICIT any gift or item of personal or real property or any contribution oR donation from agency members.

(2) "No public officer, employee or agency members shall, directly or indirectly, solicit, SOLICIT accept, ACCEPT receive any gift or item of personal or real property or any interest therein whether in the form of money, service, loan, travel, entertainment, hospitality, thing or promise, or in any other form, under circumstances in which it could be reasonably be inferred that the gift or item of personal or real property or interest therein was intended to influence her/him in the performance of her/his official duties, could reasonably be expected to influence her/him in the performance of her/his official duties; or was intended as a reward for any official action on her/his part.

These are the referenced and pertinent sections of the Town's Ethics laws. I have not researched the other citations, Suburban Town Law, General Municipal Law. Public Officers Law or "any other law..."

These are the questioned contributions:

Eddie Mae Barnes
$500 from Mike Sigal, chair of the Ethics Board
$100 from Stephanie Kavourias, Executive Director of the Hartsdale Parking District

Steve Bass
$100 from Howard Jacobs, President of the Board of Trustees of the Greenburgh Public Library and husband of Ruth Jacobs, Director of the Hartsdale Public Parking District.

These are some of the matters which the Town Board votes upon relative to the affected agencies.

Hartsdale Parking District: Town Board approves Parking Fees, Bonds issued by the District, appointment of the Directors of the District. Currently before the Town Board is a local law concerning winter parking regulations at meters operated by the Parking District and re-appointment of a District Board Member.

Public Library: Approval of the Library Operating Budget, appointment of members on the Board of Trustees, Approval of the site plan and environmental reviews for the Library expansion.
Currently before the Town Board is adoption of the Library's 2008 operating budget.

Ethics Board: Approval and funding of outside Counsel, appointment of Board members. Currently before the Town Board is a request to hire outside Counsel which has been put on hold.

I maintain that not only has the appearance of impropriety test been breeched but also that the Ethics Laws have been violated.
Furthermore I maintain that the Chair of the Ethics Board, Mike Sigal under no circumstances and in recognition of the potential for "misinterpretation" should never have made such a large contribution ($500).

Mr. Bernstein maintains that my allegations are evidence of "reckless scorched earth behavior", "ruining reputations", "sliming Ms Barnes", "conjuring up ethics laws", "carries on his deceit", "smearing town officials" and "partners in deceit".

He also imagines grounds to show the meeting tape to civil liberty and good government groups as though they either cared or would witness anything other than seeking the opportunity to associate his own suppositions with groups of higher moral fiber than his own.

In any case, all the relevant town law, the allegations and the players are posted above.

You be the judge of whether the laws have been broken or whether raising the issue is evidence of smearing etc.

I view it as typical Bernstein posturing, something which is not gaining much ground elsewhere on a more important stage, the Courts.

But like I say, blog readers can judge for themselves.

hal samis said...

So much to tell about the gunfight at the Democratic Corral tonight but so little time. Suffice it for now to say that there is no intention to get behind the Primary mandated slate.

Trickery, perfidy and marginalization were in full force and effect as Chair Suzanne Berger foisted Sam's Club prices on Partry unity and left early dangling a unity program undefined and undated. This was the last meeting before the general election.

Time permitting tomorrow I'll unleash my not so polite comments on why Ms. Berger should resign as Party Chair forthwith.

And Bobby B was there too to say that the Party should just support Democratic judges running for office. Why should Feiner and team need Party support and Edgemont doesn't like them anyway and still the Primary winners should nevertheless learn to love Edgemont.

Winter is coming and still he intends to resume the expedition to Moscow...What did Randy Newman say about short people?

Anonymous said...

Hold your horses for a minute - the recitation of Drew Fixell's recollections is very interesting.
He protrays Bernsteins as being invited to a meeting (the mediation) to discuss something (the Parks and Recreation budget issue) and then refusing to act as Town negotiator on other issues the Villages want to discuss.
How upset would some of you have been if Bob had gone ahead and negotiated the whole Village/ Unincorporated revenue/expense issue without a clear directive from the Town authorizing him to act on its behalf? Does the phrase "double standard" strike a familiar chord? In this case the Village representatives are damning Bernstein for refusing to exceed his mandate - and at Dromore Road many of the same folks are damning him because they think he did exceed his authority. At least try to be consistent in your application of the witch hunters' guide.

The facts said...

To 9:03, whoever you are.

The mediation (instigated by Juettner to enable the Town Board to avoid responsibility for decision) was set up to mediate the Taxter Ridge litigation. When the village mayors said that any mediation would have to include all issues the Town Council agreed.

The Town Council named as participants in the mediation Bernstein plus a group of five unincorporated area activists, plus Juettner and Sheehan.

As Mayor Fixell made clear, and as the record would show, the Town Board agreed that all issues were supposed to be on the table. But the unincorporated area contingent only wanted to discuss the parks issue. They weren't willing to discuss the other issues that Mayor Fixell noted. At that point the mediator threw up his hands and adjourned the proceedings. Bernstein promptly announced to the press that he "hadn't received any offers" and that the mediation was a waste of time and was over.

No one should have been surprised. The mediation was always a Bernstein tactic to try to change the Finneran law without the courts getting in on it. To him, mediation means giving him what he wants. Juettner was willing, but the mayors were not.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan wants to waste our money on another $400,000 study. He also wants the town to hire lawyers who represented terrorists. He makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan has reached a point of no return.
It looks like he has to do everything in his power to spend money before he gives up his seat.
Does he not understand that people have just enough money to survive in todays world.
Where does he come up with all these ideas.

hal samis said...

The Bob Bernstein Revue
it being a mystery in three acts.

Act One: Curtain rises, lone blogger reads aloud.

Today's Scarsdale Inquirer lead story by Heather Murray written in anticipation of the Dromore/ZBA decision is interesting even if you don't care about the Zoning issues.

What caught my eye (and you know I have an eye out for such details) is the following which confirmed my independently arrived at conclusions. Just listen.

"Although the ZBA closed the public hearing on the case at its Sept. 20 meeting, ECC president Bernstein sent a letter to the ZBA asking for the hearing to be reopened. This was followed by a letter of support from Frank Kaiman of the Edgemont Association, the civic association in which the property is located. Kaiman had earlier raised a concern about Dromore Road at the September ECC meeting, because he felt the Edgemont Association should have been apprised of the meetings Bernstein and then-president NcNally had with the Troys and town council members.

Bernstein disagreed, saying he felt meetings between developers and community leaders should be encouraged, but that developers would be discouraged from attending such meetings if discussions became public knowledge before common ground was reached."

Memo to Frank: Butt out. Just like there are real Democrats and not so real Democrats, there are also real community leaders and not so real community leaders. Like they said on the Street, when Bob Bernstein talks, no one else can.

So according to the Bible from Bob, not even the concerned head of the affected civic association has a right to attend these meetings, only Bob and his faithful sidekick, Michelle McNally. Because when matters of substance are discussed, why invite the little people (margarine) when you can have the real thing, battling Bob (butter).
Not to mention the assistance from that fearless duo, Eddie Mae Barnes and Diane Juettner.

Act Two:
A velvet curtain is stretched across a closed green door painted to look like money. A tall, dashing, well built and well-dressed man-of-the world is addressing a dais on stage left.

But what's this I hear now about common ground? Were there negotiations underway? It wasn't just to "meet" the developer, see what kind of couch he has in his reception area, chew the fat, make fun of the Town Supervisor? There really were discussions that could lead to "common ground"?

I guess we're making progress. Once upon a time there weren't even any meetings. Then there were no meetings but the Troy attorney and the Town Supervisor weren't allowed to attend these meetings that didn't happen. Then we moved up to there were meetings but no one attended. Now we have meetings that some people attended but they were harder to get into than Studio 54 in its heyday; only a very select and limited guest list made it past the velvet rope. So, who guarded the door to see who was on the list and backing up a bit, who approved the list? Well I haven't been there myself but I suspect that the Troy offices don't comfortably seat 10-15 people so I can understand that they felt it would in poor taste to invite Feiner and not have a seat on hand for him and I can understand that they thought that Mark Weingarten would probably rather get in a round of golf on Saturday so they didn't invite him either. And with all the concerns about security, it was probably thought best to leave one member of the Town Council outside the door at all times to fend off gate crashers. But who decided that Frank Kaiman shouldn't go but that Bernstein and McNally could because they were more representative of the concerns of the Edgemont Association than its own leadership. Maybe the Developer hadn't met Mr. Kaiman and he is shy around unfamiliar faces. It could be anything but I'm thinking that Bernstein knew that only Bernstein could save the day and that Mighty Moouse could take the day off.

You see Bob understands Developers and that not only do they get "discouraged" from going to meetings at their own office but also that they "fear public knowledge before common ground was reached".

That just goes to show that Bob has been reading "The Art of the Deal" but has the great Donald read the Book of Bob? It doesn't take long; it's really very short. There's the dedication: "I dedicate this book to myself" and page one which says "Nothing shall happen unless I am there to make it happen."

Curtain closes and former bright light begins to fade.

Act Three
Beyond the green door where in the distance the audience sees a short, balding, fat man dressed in a raincoat. This new character is named anonymous. He is speaking softly to a mirror.

Hey wait a minute "Mr. Samis must be lying" Samis. Didn't you tell us that Bob wasn't representing the Town? Didn't you tell us that Bob wasn't representing the ECC? Didn't you tell us that Bob wasn't representing the Nature Center? So Mr. Smartypants, why was Bob there and not Frank?

Why it's very clear not just to me but also the walrus and TwiddleDee. How Twiddledum can you be? They're all saying that Bob was trying to buy the property for himself and didn't want anyone around to witness how the deal would be put together. That Michelle can be bought off by getting a floor in The Bernstein Building to use as the Edgemont Village Hall and no one else will be the wiser; when the deal closes; it will be too late. But just in case anyone catches on, like "shrewd can't put one over on me" Diana Juettner or "I wasn't born yesterday" Eddie Mae Barnes, we'll make it look like it is really going to be conveyed to the Town. But, remember, no one, not even the Town is to know anything or the deal is off. They can say what they want but who are they going to believe, I am the great, invincible Bob. But what went wrong, it was a great deal for both of us, why couldn't I get Troy to believe in me, I am the all powerful, all knowing Wizard of Bob. And I'm telling you now that I'm not going; that I'm the greatest star and that you're gonna hear from me. Lights Fade FAST!
Final Curtain

Thank you Hal Samis said...

It is hard to keep lying when everybody knows the truth. If Bernstein were not so full of himself, even he, the all-knowing Bob, would know that.

But now we have it, because Bernstein had to explain to the Scarsdale Inquirer why he was at the secret meetings with Troy and Frank Kaiman was not. And there is of course no credible explanation for Bernstein, short of an admission that this was a secret meeting, intended to squeeze Troy so that Bernstein can command the property, with the active help of Bass and Sheehan and the passive, but very real help, of Barnes and Juettner.

I can't wait for the depositions.

The town will now incur more large Bernstein-inspired legal fees. How much patience will the other areas of unincorporated Greenburgh have before tarring and feathering Bernstein. He should be declared a disaster area.

Thank you Hal Samis. Thanks also to Heather Murray, the first real reporter that the Inquirer has had.

Anonymous said...

I would like to nominate Hal Samis for the Pulitzer Prize ... bravo, Hal. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

For those of us who don't / can't get the Scarsdale Inquirer, can someone post the abovementioned story for all of us to read?

Anonymous said...

CAN YOU GUYS PLEASE FIX THE SCHOOL DISTRICT !!!! WHAT A MESS !!!

central 7 question said...

question - what percentage of residents with children in the central seven school district send their kids to private school?

Anonymous said...

In regards to GC7, you must do away with certain people on the school board. They are the ones killing this school district.
Change starts from the top down.

Anonymous said...

The Town is legally separate from the School District - and has no power over its members. (As a matter of fact, School Board members are STATE officials and technically outrank the TOWN Supervisor.)
To report misfeasance of elected School Board members, contact NY State Education Commission James Mills - he is our only hope.

Anonymous said...

Start with Terry Williams...he should be the first to go!