Saturday, January 05, 2008

REQUESTING TOWN ATTY TO ISSUE FORMAL OPINION RE: library bds decision to cut cybermobile and sunday library hours

Dear Tim: Last month the non elected Greenburgh Library Board ignored the clear mandate of the elected Town Board that the Greenburgh public library provide cybermobile and Sunday library services to Greenburgh residents. The opinions cited by the Library Trustees don't make practicable sense. The elected Town Board should have some discretion as to how taxpayer dollars are spent by the library. Some of the members of the Town Board, including me, feel that the Library can make other cuts and still maintain the cybermobile and Sunday hours. I have suggested, for example, that purchases and spending be deferred until after the new library opens and that salaries of all library employees stay within the cost of living increases that other town employees are receiving.
I am requesting that on or before Wednesday's Town Board meeting you release (to the public & Town Board) an opinion listing both the applicable NYS laws and the NYS court decisions interpreting those laws. Does the Town Board have the legal power to direct the Greenburgh Library to spend a designated allocation only on the cybermobile/Sunday hours? Can we tell the library that if they do not use the funds for these purposes that the funds will not be released to the Library for other purposes? Can there be conditional appropriations (the library gets the funds but conditions are attached to the funds)?
Can the Town Board amend any local laws to give us additional oversight of the library budget?
If the Library Board wants to be independent of the town government they should create an independent special library district, which is authorized by NY State law. The Library Board of Trustees members would be elected and their budget would be submitted to the people for a vote each year. If the Library Board wants to stay a part of the town government - the elected members of the Town Board should have a say as to how taxpayer dollars are being spent.
I am sending a copy of this e mail to the Town Board, Library Board chair and vice chair and the Westchester Library System. They are invited to submit legal opinions to the Town Board as well.


Anonymous said...

expand the library bd.

Anonymous said...

expand the library bd

Anonymous said...

The way that Greenburgh government chooses to be organized does allow the library board to disregard "the clear mandate of the elected Town Board." Perhaps rather than a separate district, the library needs to be just another municipal services department.

I still don't know if the library board's decision was beneficial or not since usage stats haven't been published. Perhaps there is low demand for Sunday hours and for bookmobile services, and the library board has made wise decisions that benefits us all. None of us know, though, until specific usage stats are released.

Anonymous said...

Hell once again hath no fury like Feiner scorned.

If Feiner were truly interested in the law governing what a town board may do under New York's Education Law when it comes to fuding the town's library budget, he would seek an opinion not from Tim Lewis, the town attorney, but from the state comptroller.

Lewis is seeking reappointment from the Town Board this Wednesday for another two-year term. Lewis would be "toast" if he were to render an opinion that stands in the way of Feiner's latest crusade against the town's library and its independent library board.

Greenburgh's library was created by act of the state legislature in 1960 because the town board, which was dominated by the villages, refused to create one unless the villages were exempted by state law from having to pay for it.

The state agreed to authorize the establishment of such a library to be paid for only by taxpayers in the town's unincorporated areas, as the village-dominated Town Board had asked, provided that the library would be governed in all other respects by the state's Education Law.

The purpose of the state's Education Law is to keep town politics out of education.

Greenburgh collects the taxes for the schools districts within its borders, but the town board is forbidden by the Education Law from deciding how school district money should be spent. Therefore, it would be illegal for the town board to decide, for example, to withhold Greenburgh Central's tax money unless it agreed to fund the fitness center at Woodlands High School because that's a matter committed by the state's Education Law to the discretion of the "independent" board of education.

Feiner may argue that that's different because Greenburgh Central's board of education is "elected" by the people of that school district, while the members of the town's "independent" library board are not "elected" -- they are appointed by the town board.

That however is a distinction without a difference. The only reason Greenburgh's library board is not "elected" is that instead of creating a library "district" which would have allowed library board members to be elected, the Town Board in 1960 asked the state legislature to create a special law for Greenburgh establishing the town's library without having to create such a district.

But in so doing the state legislature never gave Greenburgh a license to subvert the state's Education Law by authorizing its town board to get into the education business by telling the library how it much spend its money.

To the contrary, except for making the people in unincorporated Greenburgh pay for it, the library was in all other respects to be governed by the state Education Law.

ed krauss said...

To 11:47 AM, 1/6/08:

Thank you for your histrical prospective of how and why this Library Board is different than all others in NYS.

However Willie Shakespeare's quote, in my opinion befits the actions of our libarary board more than it does Paul.

"Heaven wought no havoc than a Library Board scorned."

What they did was callous, pure and simple. What Town Board- yes The Town Board did, was an attempt to reduce a horrendous tax increase.

An examination of the past three or so library budgets reveals a total absence of managerial oversight, care about spending our dollars, exrtaordinary raises relative to raises given to other Greenburgh employees, asking for funding for books, cd's etc, when they know- or should know- the best opening date for the new library would be in October AND yes AND, unincorporated tax payers are facing a 19+% property tax increase. With authority comes responsibility, something those people don't seem to understand, We are a community and we have to pull together or drown in taxes.

Your eloquent recital of the Education Laws of NYS omitted one cogent point: Central 7's education budget is VOTED on by the residents of that school district, and f they don't like what they see, they voted down.

The Library Board doesn't have to face such scrutiny, they simply put numbers- realistic or otherwise- down on a piece of paper, hand it to the Town Board-who, by law, can't change line items, and passes the budget as presented...until now. I know the Library, like motherhood and the American flag, is sacrosanct, and a negative vote is politally deadly and/or incorrect. So, for years the budet was passed without a hiccup.

Their budget, this time was stuffed with unnecessary fat, and so, it was trimmed.The only revenge in this "movie" is the act of revenge by the members of the Board, and it was unconscionably targete against our seniors, people who can't drive or don't own a car and school kids.

I have, for well over a decade blamedPaul for his transgessions, B.S. and managerially-challenged personna. This has zip to do with Paul and the members of the Town Board who passed a budget with a reduction of funds for the Library.

If the Library wants to take politics out of the pocketbook, they can opt fo a Library District where "everyman" will have the fnal say on their budget.

In the meantime,they should restore the cybermobile and the Sunday hours and prove they are responsible.

Anonymous said...

The law, as interpreted by the library board, makes the Town Board hostage. Move forward to 2009 budget process. The Town Super and Board review the budget submissions by the Library Board. They decide to cut some significant salary increases and perks. The Library Board gets angry. They restore the cuts but decide to eliminate the children's reading room instead. What can the Town Board do? Moms and kids will object. If the Board does not back down kids programs, the chidren's librarian will be cut. The law is bad news for the taxpayers. The Library Board will always find a popular program to cut.

Anonymous said...

"What they did was callous, pure and simple."

Whatever emotional feelings there are, the library board is legally authorized by state law to do as it sees fit.

It amazes me, though, that this structure from 1960 has not been subject to revision over the past 48 years.

Actually, it amazes me even more that the overall unincorporated municipal structure designed hundreds of years ago for rural areas has been allowed to continue.

Damn the library board said...

Anonymous at 11:27 sounds like Bernstein, not only because of his pontifical know-it-all writing style, but because he has revised history and the law, as is his habit. Also his blame Feiner-for-everything approach.

The library board has lots of power, but not because of the 1960 law, but because of the state education law.

It is time for the residents to stand up and show the library board that they don't accept their arrogance and vindictiveness.

Anonymous at 4:23 has it right. If the Supervsor and the Town Board doesn't stand up to the library board on this one, they can expect the kind of retribution that 4:23 predicts every time the library board doesn't get what it wants.

This is no time to blame the Supervisor. He has done plenty of things wrong, but on this one he is right. Diana Juettner, the liaison to the library, should be hounded. Her response to this act by the library board was to cave in and suggest that the Town Board give the library more money. In short, cave in to the terrorist, and then don't be surprised if there is more. Luckily the Supervisor said no to Diana.

Anonymous said...

If the Town Board doesn't like the way the library board that the town board appoints makes its decisions, then the Town Board can pick different people to be on the library board when their library board appointees' terms are up.

In the meantime, the town board must respect the state's Education Law and let the town board's lawfully appointed appointees spend the money they are given with what they determine, in their judgment -- not the judgment of the town board -- to be in the best interests of all residents of unincorporated Greenburgh who use library services, which is, after all, what they are required under the state's Education Law to do.

The fact that some members of the community don't like the decision that the library board has made when it comes to their allocation of limited taxpayer resources is no reason to start politicizing their decision-making, which is what Feiner, Krauss and others are trying to do.

Library boards in New York are required to do what they think is best to promote the widest use of library resources in their respective communities. Generally speaking, to carry out their mission, library boards are generally in the business in authorizing the spending of money to buy books.

They also have to pay for a library staff to keep track of those materials. And to do that they must keep track of what librarians get paid in Westchester County so that the staff they have will stick around.

Having a "cybermobile" is a good thing for a community to have because, in theory at least, it makes library resources available to that segment of the population that might not otherwise get to the library. For some, it's a luxury to have because they don't have to bother getting in the car and driving. For others, it may be a necessity because they won't otherwise be able to get to the library.

The library board, however, is charged with the responsibility in New York of making these decisions -- and if the politicians don't like it, they can ask the state legislature to change the law in Greenburgh to create a library district. Of course, the politicians had better make a good argument that creating yet another layer of government -- in this case a library district -- is going to yield savings in dollars. Because it may not.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed. The library board has the legal right to decide how to spend the money they get, even if they spend it differently than they said they would spend it.

But that doesn't mean that the public has to like it. It doesn't mean that the public can't call a spade a spade, which is to say that the library board is punishing the Town Bpoard for not giving the library whetever the library board asked for.

There is a difference between what the library board has the legal power to do and what the library board should do in the discharge of its responsibilities. In short, they have the legal power to screw older people by taking away the cybermobile, but it is not what they should do in their discharge of their responsibilities.

There is a vacancy on the library board. I hope that the Town Board doesn't put a yes-man or yes-woman on the library board. Let's start making the library board responsive and responsible.

Going back to the 11:27 poster, who indeed seems to be Bernstein, I remember that a few weeks ago this guy wrote blaming the 1960 law on racism of the villages, which is untrue, and now he says that the villages dominated the Town Board, which was no more true then than it is now. This guy markets hatred every time he writes.

ed krauss said...

5:37 PM

I can't remember when or if, Krauss and Feiner were mentioned in the same sentence. Nevertheless, the only time I mentioned politicizing in my posting was when I said the only way to keep politics out of the library was by having a library district.

Your referring to the NYS law and the authority given to the library board, ad nauseum, would have been less tedious if you made that point once, and said somethings that were more germane.

If you were less opinionated and more conversant with the subject matter, you would quickly realize it's not the politcians who are clammering the loudest, if at all, save Feiner, IT'S THE PUBLIC!

You also use the word "think" as in "what they (the library board/ library stAFF) "THINK" is in the best interest of the community.

My position, not unlike others who are commenting, is that they DON'T THINK...except with the possible exception of their salaries.

When running a business and sales and profits are down, very few, if any, bonuses are given out and raises, if given out, are moderate. No employer is going to go into hock "to make his employees "happy," especially when they were compensated generously for a protracted period of time.

For your information, the current setup is rife with politicizing. Board members are selcted on the basis of, for example, being the neighbor of the head of the Board. Interviews are given BEFORE an opening is posted.Knowledge of any part of the subject matter is NOT part of the selecton process. And I don't mean board members should be ex-librarians, library degreed, or professional book critics. But one-ME- would think a group of board members vested with the responsibility of spending $4,000,000 should have a clue. They should also be conversant with numbers and be able to ask why someones salary rises by .07%-.15% in one calander year.

I,for one am tired of people spending our hard earned tax dollars without any substantive reason.

Zero based budgeting should be put into place. Last years budget should not be the base on which this year's budget is the starting point.

Budgets should start at zero, and build from there with an explanation of why line "A" warrants that kind of funding.

The reverse of that is most likely what is used. Last year the line item was X%, inflation is Y%, cost of living is Z% and so on.

I go back to my constant karping: WE NEED A FULL-TIME CFO/FINANCIAL EXPERT to put us on a solid financial footing.

Finally, I can't speak for Feiner eventhough he has not appeaed to try politicizing the library, but I can speak for myself. I did not nor do I want to politicize the library. They screwed up, and because of your too often quoted NYS law, they are the only ones to remedy this gutless move.

I hope we can agree on that. If not....

hal samis said...

What's wrong with getting even Tim Lewis's opinion? And while that is in play, there's nothing to stop the Library Board from getting anyone else's opinion. We have Sponge Bob's right here on this blog.

But, truthfully, regardless whose opinion floats the Town Board's or the Library Board's boat -- the opinion of who decides how to spend the Library 2008 allocation need not be one followed from law -- although I would welcome any legal remedy to take the Library Board out behind the woodshed.

What SHOULD have happened is that the Library Board COULD have funded the cybermobile and Sunday hours; they just chose not to do it, presumably because they felt they had the law on their side.

What they did do was to find a way to exact the greatest punishment on the Public, their Patrons and those that voted to support the Library in the Referendum. In effect, what the arrogant Library Board said to unincorporated was, F--k you!

Very simply, if the Library Board chose to spend the SAME amount on books, dvds and cds that it did in 2007 thereby saving $165,000 ADDITIONAL in 2008 and eliminated the $75,000 contingency fund (up from 2007's unspent $52,000 contingency fund, then both the cybermobile and Sunday hours would still be in place. That I could find other items that should be reduced is unnecessary, these two alone will do it.
One might even argue that having the contingency fund is meant for just such a problem.

But let's face it, the Library Board doesn't want to help its Patrons; it just wants to make them suffer.

And the reason why the cybermobile and Sunday hours are needed? Because the same Library Board screwed up the Library construction relocatation and to offset their mistake, the expanded use of the cybermobile was promoted as the great equalizer. Except that now the Library Board wants to forgo even that obligation. And, Hartsdale residents, the train station book drop is going bye-bye too.

So as Berstein or his doppelganger writes at 11:27, it is a legal issue and HIS reading of the law says that the Library Board can do as it wants with "their" money (the money that used to be yours, mr. taxpyaer) and screw their customers.

But lacking humanity and preferring to hide amongst the pages of online law, the author wants to sell the idea that the Greenburgh Library is hence protected from political interference...a concept that would wrap itself easily around book-burning or having a statue of the Supervisor in the building lobby. What this dispute is really about is the sub rosa method by the Library Board to eliminate the only power that the Town government has over the Library -- control of the purse. What the Trustees are doing is engaging in politics -- 'if we don't get our way we're going to rally the public to get in your face'. Kicking the Town Board in the balls is exactly what the Library Trustees are doing. Which is confusing because Juettner, not having any balls, wants to give the Library more money -- of course she is not a resident of unincorporated so what does she care.

Furthermore, the Library Trustees didn't even have the guts to do it openly but instead "may" have done so (I prefer to think cover-up) at their monthly Trustees meeting on December 20 when they kept the issue off their Agenda, didn;t discuss it under new business, scheduled an Executive Session in between, announced that they had to end the meeting by 9:00 and later "claimed" that the matter was properly discussed and voted upon after the Executive Session concluded -- and the Public had left assuming the Executive Session was the last act.

So 11:27, thanks for your input but what about what the Library did, not whether they could. Lawyers like to go to Court, even the ones who say that trial is the last resort. The situation at hand is one of holding the Public as hostage and if that is the wisdom of the Library Board, then the Town clearly needs a new Library Board.
Certainly any wealthy family or local corporation or foundation that had intended to make a contribution to the new Library is warned not to do so. And, remember, you are being solicited to do so because the same Library Board screwed up the construction project and the money they seek, so far, is to replace the missing $1.3 million which was included in the original $19.8 million to buy furniture and technology.

Don't be fooled when they point out that X is done and Y will be ready next week. They have to have something to show for a year's work. What we do know is that the project is behind schedule, reduced in scope and amenities and finishings and still finds itself underfunded, despite an almost $4 million reserve built in to the project's intended cost.

But even that admission has yet to be made by the Library Trustees, smarting from the $200,000 removed from the budget REQUEST, leaving a 2008 expenses at $400,000 more than in similar year 2007. One might conclude that their power to spend their funding at will has cost them the money they had hoped to use for Referendum-mentioned purposes and thus they now have more wind to suck.

Finally, 11:47, as for your cavalier citing of Education law and then making your own conclusions, well you've tried that trick too many times. Education Law is a valid protection for Schools against the presumed conflicts between other governments and the School systems, or as you wrote "keep politics out of education". This thinking however has absolutely nothing to do with the 2008 Library Budget. What the Greenburgh Library wants to do with their dollars is not spend them on "education" but to buy more copies of trash bestsellers, action movies, rap cds and probably are 10 minutes away from purchasing video games. They want to do this using the money that is available to operate the cybermobile and be open, for any purposes, on Sunday.

And your calling appointed volunteers "a distinction without a difference" is just your opinion, not because it is bracketed by your discussion of State Education laws. School Boards are elected. If the State
Education laws were really intended to keep politics out of education, then they would not tolerate politicans appointing School Board members. There is no difference between having a School Board run by cutouts, appointed political hacks and having the local government (politicians) run the Schools. However there is a distinction with a difference when you allow people with no responsibility (financial or otherwise), without compensation (volunteers) and with unchecked freedom to spend over $3 million at will.

Residents might ask Mr. Bernstein if he had a problem with how the Valhalla School Board (elected officials) spent their Greenburgh derived money because, in the end, it is at best the same problem and at worst, a far greater one.

Hell hath no fury like a scorned anonymous blogger. However, those keeping score of such things, wonder if the vengeance barcode has already been scanned.

Anonymous said...

Why do Hal Samis and others bash Bob Bernstein for supposedly opining on this blog that it is illegal under New York's Education Law for Feiner to order the library trustees how to spend money allocated for the library?

As Samis well knows, Tim Lewis, the town attorney, already gave Feiner and the town council his legal opinion on the subject last week, and Bernstein had nothing to do with it.
Lewis's conclusion was that the matter was governed by the state's Education Law (specifically Section 259) and that under the law, "[i]n regard to matters that are properly the concern of library trustees, such as the operation and administration of the library, the town board has no power to prevent trustees from taking the steps they deemd proper in the performance of their duties."

Lewis further stated that "consequently, the Town Board cannot direct the Library Board to operate the cybermobile or condition public library funding on the continued operatoin of the cybermobile."

So, with Lewis having already issued this formal written opinion earlier last week, why did Feiner issue a press release over the weekend requesting that the town attorney issue a formal opinion on the subject in time for this Wednesday's Town Board meeting?

Samis himself may know the answer. After Lewis issued that opinion, Feiner discussed what Lewis said with Samis, after which Samis then braqged to at least one of his friends that Tim Lewis was now "toast."

Under state law, the town attorney gets appointed by the town board for a two-year term when the new town board gets sworn in.

Lewis' re-appointment is not on the agenda for this Wednesday's town board meeting. Is his reappointment now subject to Lewis rendering a revised legal opinion, one more in tune with the views held by Feiner and Samis that the Town Board has every right to intervene in and overturn library board decisions, regardless of what the state's Education Law requires?

Lewis knows that heads are on the chopping block in Greenburgh. If you're a department head and Feiner doesn't think you're personally loyal to him, Morgan, Brown and Beville, you're outta here, no matter how good or bad a job you do.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:24's comments are very disturbing.

Feiner is demanding that the town attorney issue a "formal opinion" when Feiner's already got the "formal opinion" in his hands?
What's up with that? Sure hope someone in the media follows up on that.

And what this business about department heads being on the chopping block? So that's what must have been going on when Feiner announced that the first act of the newly sworn in town board would be to meet in secret to discuss "personnel issues."

We hear the first department head who was fired last week at that secret meeting had been doing a terrific job over the years for unincorporated area residents and had spent many nights and weekends away from his family working with town council members, appointed town officials and members of the community on a much-needed Comprehensive Plan.

His sin: while undoubtedly loyal to the town and residents of unincorporated Greenburgh, he was not perceived to be loyal enough personally to Feiner, Morgan, Brown and Beville who decided, behind closed doors, that competence be damned, he must be purged.

Feiner had done the same thing with former Town Attorney Susan Mancuso -- Tim Lewis's predecessor -- when Feiner decided that she was not sufficiently loyal to him personally.

Anonymous said...

"I go back to my constant karping: WE NEED A FULL-TIME CFO/FINANCIAL EXPERT to put us on a solid financial footing."

Absolutely. We also need a full-time CEO/management expert. It would be nice if Greenbrugh would organize itself as a normal municipality instead of holding on to the structure set up hundreds of years ago.

Anonymous said...

Who is 11:24 PM who seems to know everything and is busy defending Bernstein (himself)? How does he know that there is already an oppinion and that Samis said anything? Or is it all made up stuff, as we frequently get from Bernstein?

About Timn Lewis, I hope that 11:24is right when he says that Lewis is out. He is the worst town attorney we have had. We need a town attorney who will tell the town board the law even if it makes them unhappy, which Lewis has not done. Sheehan has found mistake after mistake and weaseling all the time by Lewis.

Anonymous said...

That 7:47 am post is so paranoid and schizophrenic that it could only have been written by Feiner himself.

Tim Lewis's legal opinion last week on the cybermobile is no secret. The mystery is why Feiner issued a press release over the weekend demanding that Lewis write an opinion, when such an opinion had already been written on town letterhead and circulated.

Feiner knows that to be the case which is why he cannot deny it. That being so, why didn't Feiner tell us that in the first place? Why is he playing so fast and loose with the truth?

The 7:47 am post then writes using Feiner's trademark hyperbole declaring Lewis to be the "worst town attorney the town has ever had." But rather than risk anyone attributing such a remark to Feiner himself, the 7:47 am poster says responsibility for pointing out what's wrong with Lewis rests with Francis Sheehan. So it's not Feiner saying Lewis is bad, oh no, it's really Sheehan.

Sorry Paul, you're not fooling anybody here.

Anonymous said...

Lewis is a good Lawyer.
Sheehan the dictator is the one that twists and turns everyone who has any authority in this towm.
If you say it's white he says it's black.
Lewis has been on top of everything happening in Greenburgh,it's not his fault that he too is overruled by the Sheehan clan.
Let's see what the new Board does since Sheehan and Juettner will not have the first and last words.
They have put us in the position that we are in now to constantly go against Feiner.
Yes it did work but at the same time they ruined the residents'pockets.
Lewis should and must stay.

Anonymous said...

Why should Tim LEwis go.
The ones to really go are Sheehan and JUettner.
They are the ones that have been running the show right along.
they made sure that no one on the dias including the town attorney can defend what suggestion were made by the supervisor.
This will be a new ball game with three new people representing the residents.
Let's see how things turn out the next time arround.
So far Lewis has done a good job and I'm quite sure if he thinks differently it is up to him to leave.
His input in what the Library does or does not do will not change the way the library personnel thinks.
In the past years no one stood up to them and they spent,spent and spent some more.
Well now the party is over we cannot give into their spending ways anymore.
If it continues we will have the state investigate their goings on.
I must say the State comptrollers office is being kept very busy with the problems throughout Westchester County.
One or two more included on their list won't hurt.
We should have the State comptroller's office check out the school systems here in Greenburgh.It seems the monies per student to attend school is twice the amount of sending a child to a private school. How come.

John Doe said...

I am the person who wrote at 7:47 A.M. and I am not Paul Feiner (so there, you dopey anonymouse 10:14). I am not schizophrenic, and I am not a hater like you are.

I don't know about any opinion. The law is what it is. In this case it seems to be obvious.

As far as Sheehan is concerned, I have heard him criticize Tim Lewis many times, and with good reason. I never heard Feiner criticize Tim Lewis. So 10:14 is showing his hatred when he says that Feiner is using Sheehan as a cover.

Anonymous said...

Stelatto was a Sheehan rat who did a lousy job. The same guy who threw and hit an attorney with papers. The same sneak who gives documents to Preiser, O'Shea and lil bob and meets secretly with sir francis AND was afraid to make a decision on anything.

So francis and others have now set their sites on Lewis. Didn't Lewis tell francis that Dom the sewer guy was right but NOOOOOOOOO francis was right. How much will that cost us.


hal samis said...

To 11:24 (the Bernstein Doppelganger),

As I have writ, the legal side of the Library/State Education laws is not my prmary concern. The issue for me has always been one of whether the Library Board has a "moral" responsibility to maintain the cybermobile and Sunday hours through the Library's relocation period. The Library Trustees screwed up the relocation during the construction and when accepting the space constraints of the limited Town Hall space, they did so white-washing the reduction in service by saying that the expanded use of the cybermobile would ease some of the pain.

Then they sent a request for their 2008 budget for a true number north of $4 million even though the Library was able to operate the cybermobile throughout 2007 with a far smaller budget ($3.0 million). How much more for 2008? I stopped adding at $3.8 million being hard to be definitive because they left out many line items including the salaries for the Director, the Assistant Director and their tech person -- as well as the 800 and 900 number line items. So, shocked as the Trustees feigned, the Supervisor reduced that request to $3,640,000 and ultimately the Town Board reduced that number by another $200,000. Understand that until the Town Board approves the budget, whatever ANY Department seeks is merely a REQUEST, not what the supplicants incorrectly identify as "their budget".

However at the moment in the time chronology when the Tentative Budget (the Supervisor's Budget before the $200,000 was removed) was released, did the Library Trustees ever indicate that at that figure ($3,640,000) -- they could not provide cybermobile service or Sunday hours? My point is that I feel that the Library Trustees could easily make up the $200,000 difference by taking from other budget lines but the Trustees do not want to. Of course it would be easy enough to conclude that they are eliminating these amenities because they want to bring public pressure against the Town Board -- in the hope that they will crumble and restore the $200,000.

Or, there could be a more diabolical plot. The cybermobile is a troubled vehicle, subject to much coddling and maintenance due to its demands on an idling generator to supply electricity.
The out-of-service log of the cybermobile is a telling story with almost a month of downtime every year. And remember, it doesn't travel very far from home base. With this in mind, it is quite possible that the Library Trustees have decided to remove an embarrassment from service under the guise of having less operating revenue. Screw those that depended on it, screw those that assumed it would continue its schedule until the Library reopened.

As for the blogger who says "Samis well knows" and suggests that I and the Supervisor are connected at the hip, please convey that to Mr. Feiner so that we can share his salary.

As for my comments on Mr. Lewis' abilities as Town Attorney, they go way back to 2005 (maybe even before) and have to do with his rendered opinions on issues including the Library as well as how Town Board meetings and Public Hearings are conducted. In fact there are few Department heads who are deserving of their titles. Unfortunately it is not yet Mr. Lewis' head which is heading for the chopping block in the near future.

And while I'm on the subject of lawyers, my comments on the posting at 11:27 yesterday were merely pointing out that many of the conclusions and representations made were not ones which necessarily follow from the State Education laws but were opinions of the author, disguised as such, by slipping them in among a general discussion of the State laws. Something that Sponge Bob has done before.

However, I do wish to correct the image that "Samis bragged to one of his friends". Were I to say that I am taller than Sponge Bob, that might be an example of bragging. Were I to say that Tim Lewis is toast, that would not be an example. It is a shame that the Bernstein doppelganger has such a poor vocabulary when ascribing statements made through third parties. Perhaps the Courts would call this heresay. Even more odd is that this mutual friend might even recall certain comments made by Sponge Bob with reference to Town Attorney Lewis. Comments which health laws would restrict their use in places where food prep, including toasting, are underway. However, Mr. Lewis' record as Town Attorney speaks for itself and not only Mr. Bernstein but also Mr. Sheehan, Mr. Feiner, and various residents can attest that this record is not one without serious mistakes and lack of comprehension.

In conclusion, I would like to remind all that termination of cybermobile service may be due to a number of events -- however the one that has absolutley no relevance is the $200,000 reduction in the Library's revenue from the Town.

State Education laws, notwithstanding, the Library Trustees have a "contract" with unincorporated residents and they are failing to live up to their part of the bargain. It is as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Sheehan gave Stellato orders to change the zoning map on Dromore Rd.without have it before the whole town board for a vote.
This is the great Sheehan that has ruined Greenburgh residents with the huge tax hike. He ruled the whole board except the supervisor and they indeed gave each and every resident the business.
Because of his hatred of the supervisor we in turn will be burdened with huge tax hike for the next few years.
If anyone should be out of a job it should be JUettner and Sheehan.

Anonymous said...

Some time ago someone wrote on the blog that there was someone that was feeding certain people all the goings on at town hall.
These speakers always came prepared to voice their opinions about what ever the supervisor would propose.
Now we find out who the informer was and still is.
If this is so he Stellato must go.
Sheehan has a lot of people doing his dirty work.

Anonymous said...

It appears king francis is loosing his spies. Their seems to be a only few left. Maybe after this he will play nice and work for the good of the town. CHANGE IS GOOD AND HEALTHY unfortunately for the the nasty few the election went the way the town needed not theirs. Get rid of the library next. Where is Samis when you need him.

Anonymous said...

Feiner fired Mark Stellato last week giving him four weeks notice. His firing followed the secret town board meeting that Feiner announced for January 2 to discuss "personnel." Stellato was fired not because he did a bad job -- he gave up nights and weekends with his family over the past two years to work on the town's soon to be moribund comprehensive plan.

He was fired because he was deemed not sufficiently loyal personally to Feiner, Morgan, Brown and Beville. Feiner wants to go in a different, more "pro-developer" direction. He wants developers to pay the town a premium so that their projects can be fast-tracked by the town's zoning and planning boards -- regardless of their merits. Some might call that bribery. In Greenburgh, it's Feiner's latest idea for revenue enhancement.

To be sure, Feiner will replace Stellato with someone he considers more "pro-developer." Someone who will do what the lawyer representing the largest developers in Greenburgh tell him to do. And make no mistake, that lawyer once again calling the shots in Greenburgh is also Feiner's biggest fundraiser. What a surprise.

Anonymous said...

Not only did he report the goings on to civic leaders,he also did something that will cost tax payers a lot of money thanks to Sheehan.He changed the zoning map on Dromore Rd. without the consent of the WHOLE town board.
By the way he had more to do with developers than the supervisor just check that out.
The councils wrong doings for the past 2 years is finally catching up to the taxpayers.
THis you cannot blame on the supervisor.The intent of the council was to get Feiner voted out and Sheehan would be our supervisor the next election.
Well it didn't happen so now the
S--T is hitting the fan.
I have never seen more disfunctional liars than the present council.It's great to see new members but I do think they have a tough job ahead of them to try to get things right and above all get the residents trust.
We elected them and at that time put our trust in them let's see if we were right..

Anonymous said...

And what about what Fortress Bible will cost? After Feiner solicited a truck?

Even the US Attorneys office is supporting Fortress in the suit against the Town.

THE TRUTH said...


Anonymous said...

"the truth"'s fractured grammar makes me think he should have spent more time visiting the cybermobile and reading books.

ed krauss said...

11:56 AM has committed CAPITAL OFFENSES with his blog posting. However if he wants to come to town board meetings-annonymously of course- more power to him. As to his running for office while running annonymously, if he wins the swearing in ceremony will most likely be conducted by THE SHADOW.

I guess in order to keep his identidy a secret, he'll run the town via e-mail, and his checks will be made out to: TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.

If, like his predecessor, he'll put $5,000 aside, for achieving goals, he sounds slick enough to recoup the whole $5,000 by setting his primary, and only, goal-TO KEEP HIS IDENTIDY HIDDEN.

Fractured grammar? Tut tut. e.e. cumings in reverse? Very original. The ability to speak, read or write English? He can get Geek flunkies to do that for him.

So, let's all get behind "What's His Name" from 11:56 AM

Like a woman in a peignoir is sexier than one completely naked, a candidate without a name is "sexier" than one with one.

hal samis said...

You were in advertising and should know better; while the use of peignoir dates you.

A naked woman is sexier. Of course, which woman needs to be taken into consideration.

And whether her hair color matches.

What you got should be what you see.

Anonymous said...

The two buildings the court and police station are fine for the moment.
We will have a white elephant on our hands if things go wrong with the library.
Ardsley is expanding their library so who need this building o 119.
First of all it's too big for library use will it be a day care center for children,will it be a center for free lunch for seniors.
Why was this expansion made at this time.
Schools have libraries,one can use any library in New york so why the expansion.
Looking at this elephant from 119 makes me realize that the library personel wanted a state of the art building not a facility that was needed to house books.
When the buildng was available across TZhis town hall the library didn't want to move there.
That building could have housed the library,police headquaters plus the court.
What happened to that idea.
Now each department wants new buildings.
Well I think the line is to the right and they could move up in maybe five years down the line.
There is no more money at their disposal.
About the bookmobile and Sundays let that rest a while to see how other things on the agenda work out.
We may be asking for trouble in looking too deep into this situation.Let's wait.

Anonymous said...

This may be a good vehicle for allowing residents to vent, but it is not always useful in getting out the truth. So let me, try and add some truthiness to the rants:

1. Elsewhere someone said that the town might charge the library for parking the cybermobile on town property (as a way of punishing the Library trustees). The cybermobile vehicle is owned by the town, so if one were to charge for parking it somewhere, I suppose the town should charge itself.

2. The cuts that the town Board made to the library constituted approximately 47% of all cuts that were made to all departments, and including the funds that the library had accumulated in a reserve fund from prior years that were removed by the Town and not made available to the library---the total cuts including sequestered funds---actually totaled some $700,000.

3. The time to have campaigned against a new library and for a new court or police station, was prior to the referendum to approve the bond issue for the new library. One must respect the voice of the people that was exercised at that time, or is it that we respect only the outcomes that we agree with.

Lastly, I have a couple of questions, I'd pose to Supervisor Feiner: When you asked department heads for their ideas for cutting costs and reducing their budgets, did you similarly ask the Library Trustees what costs they could trim? Did you ask about and did you understand the implications of the cuts you and the rest of the Town Board were going to impose on the Library before those cuts were imposed?

hal samis said...

Dear 12:27,

Re your #3

One could similarly argue that if people were respecting the will of the people as expressed by voting, then you and others would have little to question about the Town Supervisor.

Anonymous said...

One, as you have, could so argue. However, doing so would be silly and historically bizarre since in this country elections have never meant that the electorate must always agree with and support everything that individuals do once they are elected. On another level, the referendum was for a specific funding and s specific outcome that was inherent in the definition of the subject question of the referendum. Though I disagree with your analogy, I'll respect the attempt to persuade otherwise.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the Library Board respected the rererendum and managed their jobs so that the library were on time, and on budget, and they wouldn't be screwing the public the way they do.

the truth said...


Anonymous said...

hal and ed you must have no lives since your blogs are ten pages long.that truth gets my vote.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that both gentlemen have very good lives but your writing make me think that you have a miserable life looking out constantly from the inside and not knowing what is going on in your own town.
If you read their messages you will see that both of them are on top of all that is going on here in Greenburgh.
This is for my benefit and for your benefit.
They only tell the truth.
If you don't want to read their messages just scroll down and skip them.
We should have more interested parties here in Greenburgh who watch the residents backs and present all the problems up front.
Thanks Ed and Hal.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 5:02, for mentioning my name becuase good PR is when you get your name mentioned and don't have to pay for it.

I do have a life, thank you and hyperbolic comments like your "10 pages..." makes me think you're jealous of my ability to communicate in writing.

In all serousness, however, The Truth was only truthful when he showed himself to be an honest
dupe. The people of Greenburgh- of which you are one- deserve an honest shake for their tax dollar, and the Library Board, through their collective nievete' or incompetance have screwed this community by morgaging our children's future by their mishandling of the largest single capital expenditure in the history of this town. And that's only one of many transgressions they've committed in the name of THE LIBRARY.

So you vote for the TRUTH but please try to find out what the truth is, because try as you may you can't find out WHO the TRUTH is. Ed KraussEd