Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EDGEMONT BURGLARY SUSPECT IN JAIL...INTERIOR OF LIBRARY YOU TUBE TOUR POSTED...

Police Chief John Kapica met with the Greenburgh Town Board during our work session on Tuesday afternoon and reported that a suspect in the Edgemont burglaries has been in jail for about 2 months. There has been no burglaries since his arrest. The suspect had some ties to the Edgemont community. The police chiefs comments are streamed on the internet: www.greenburghny.com (look under archives: July 29th work session).
The library construction is nearing completion. The library is scheduled to be completed in October, 2008. The library will be open before the end of the year. Andy Laub, a student intern, took some video of the interior of the construction of the new library. If you're curious how the inside of the building looks - take a YOU TUBE tour. Visit www.youtube.com and search for greenburghny. The video's of the library interior were posted on July 29th.
PAUL FEINER

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

"There has been no burglaries ..."
Why can my fourth grader write proper English better than the CEO of a major municipality?

Anonymous said...

Driving up Central Ave from Yonkers a few minutes ago, Yonkers city workers are busy cleaning the concrete medians, as they seem to do every week or two. The neglect by Greenburgh to do the same is sharply noticeable. Though there's no Welcome to Greenburgh sign, the accumulated growth and filth makes it clear that you've crossed into Greenbrugh. What easier task could there be for Greenburgh workers than to clean up the Central Ave medians every couple of weeks?

Anonymous said...

Call Regula you would think that he would listen once in a while to the residents but we have to remember as far as he is concerned we do not count.
He's been colecting a paycheck too long.
Retire Al give someone else a chance to make a good score in this town as you did.

hal samis said...

Congratulations to the Greenburgh Police. Now Edgemonter's have only to worry about what the ECC is up to.

But there's another side to the Police Department.

See how they operate in peacetime.
There's a lot of things that happen behind the scenes--and with no Town Board meetings; there's no public comment. Thanks to Mr. Feiner who provides this alternative, albeit limited.

The following is an email just sent to Town Attorney Tim Lewis replying to his email and my copies to a laundry list of Town officials.

"For the edification of those not aware of events, the Parks Department refused to grant me admittance to a meeting being held yesterday evening on the premises of the Town's multipurpose center, a facility under the administration of Gerald Byrne, Parks Commissioner. The Greenburgh Library currently maintains their executive offices in a trailer alongside of the building and meetings of the Library's Board of Trustees (open to the public) are also held in the mutlipurpose center. When I arrived, announced in advance, the Assistant Library Director Marilyn Greiner, summoned the Police and four units of the Police arrived over a 15 minute period of time. They all happened to "be in the area". Nothing was said to me by the Police who were polite; nevertheless the Police were called and presumably were taken away from whatever other mission responsibilites they would be normally undertaking. No resident likes to be the object of an armed police investigation and even if they did not confront me their presence in numbers is indeed intimidating.


Dear Mr. Lewis:
As I discussed with your voicemail, I am not upset over your or Paul's actions made under the duress of an already in progress Town Board meeting/work session. However, one might question whether your reversal of opinion made during "Executive Session" is really what is a proper topic for Executive Session is another matter.

However, Mr. Fried's interpretation (wh ich you have forwarded) of the matter is entirely off point in that it is a lot of words regarding open meetings law for non public entities and what constitutes a "public body". This was not at the time an issue of the rights of private corporations in conducting their business. What was the issue, then and now, is whether private entities have rights to limit attendance to members only when they conduct their business on public property. This would not be the first time I have criticized the office of Town Attorney for ruling on matters at hand prepped with research that addresses other issues not on the table. Certainly, the Foundation has the right to hold private meetings in private facilities. It is when they choose to conduct business and use public resources for this business that their restrictive policies become questionable. Furthermore, since this Corporation neither pays rent for this space nor pays taxes to the Town, their right to bar the public which does pay taxes to support the facility in question becames an even thornier question. And since, the Town has to maintain the entire facility, paying for lighting, air conditioning, maintenance of bathrooms, and would not have a justifiable need to be open other than to allow this meeting to occur, and with the presence of a Parks Department employee at the front desk to close the facility is an additional expense and otherwise unneeded expense were the facility to be clo sed earlier in the evening. Should this employee be given overtime or comp time for this effort will be another avenue of choice. There is/was no other use of the building (library annex being closed, no other meetings scheduled, the public lounge area with television being locked) and hence justification for the building to be open other than to service the needs of this private corporation is an unwarranted burden upon taxpayers.

As for the contention that the Foundation is not a "public body", my immediate reaction from skimming the written material is to disagree. The Foundation serves no other purpose than to solicit donations for the Greenburgh Public Library, an operating unit of the Town of Greenburgh. Lacking the correct words at hand to describe the Foundation's realtionship with the Library and therefore with the Town, what comes to mind is "the poisoned fruit of the poisoned vine" and were the Library (a wholly public entity) not to exist there would be no Foundation (unless operating in violation its charter and tax exempt status). If no vine, no fruit. Futhermore there are many points of interface between the Library and the Foundation including shared membership (including officers) with current Library staffing, shared membership with members of the Library Board of Trustees and, in filings with the Internal Revenue Service, the Foundation lists its office address as that of the Greenburgh Town Hall. There are other points of similarity which I am h olding back for future rounds of rebuttal.

Thus, and obviously this is after the fact of the transgression, that, in fact and deed, the Foundation is really a "public body" but that does not really matter in the context when confronted that they are holding their meetings and maintaining their records on public property. Unless specifically protected by rental covenants (approved by the Town Board) what they park on Town property as files, what business they conduct on Town property and what meetings they hold on Town property -- these exercises of their freedom of choice on how they conduct their business -- has a consequence for what exemptions they can subsequently claim as being entitled to under open meeting laws.

That Mr. Byrne as gatekeeper of the multipurpose center has shown his desire to protect this group from intrusions from the public is also questionable. His "ruling" before consultation with Mr. Fried has all the earmarks of a conspiracy among Town employees to prevent the secret workings of what he and Mr. Fried represent as an unaffiliated and private entity from becoming public. That information regarding the Greenburgh Library expansion project might be gleaned from allowing that the public to be in attendance; that such information which may contribute to the public's further understanding of the project; that this is such an abhorrent thought to the Parks Commissioner that he would immediately choose to comply with the concerns of the Librar y personnel which likely first brought this matter to his attention -- all of these means justifying the end seem to be in contravention to the inherent rights of the public, taxpayers for the most part those whose taxes provide the funding to operate the Parks Department.

The matter, as you can imagine, does not stop here.




-----Original Message-----
From: Timothy Lewis
To: halmarc
Cc: Paul Feiner
Sent: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 10:21 am
Subject: FW: Open Meetings Law


Hal: I sincerely want to apologize for last night’s misunderstanding with respect to the Library Foundation meeting. Because I was attending the Town Board work session, I was unaware that the below Opinion had been forwarded to Gerry Byrne by David Fried regarding your attendance at the Foundation meeting. Although I have your office telephone number, I assumed that you were in transit and did not have your cell phone number and was unable to alert you to the changed circumstances.


Tim

From: David Fried
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 4:22 PM
To: Gerard J. Byrne
Cc: Timothy Lewis
Subject: Open Meetings Law

Gerry, please see the opinion of Bob Freeman. At a later date we can discuss whether the Parks and Recreation Board is a public body that would require its meetings to be open. With respect to this Friends of the Library (as opposed to the Library Board) I do not think it would be a public body.



STATE OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
COMMITTEE ON OPEN GOVERNMENT

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

41 State Street, Albany, New York 12231
(518) 474-2518
Fax (518) 474-1927
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/coog/coogwww.html



OML-AO-4232
July 27, 2006
E-MAIL
TO:
FROM: Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director
The staff of the Committee on Open20Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the facts presented in your correspondence.
Dear
As you know, I have received your letter in which you questioned the status of the Horseheads Traffic Commission under the Open Meetings Law.
In this regard, the Open Meetings Law is applicable to public bodies, and §102(2) defines the phrase "public body" to mean:
"...any entity for which a quorum is required in order to conduct public business and which consists of two or more members, performing a governmental function for the state or for an agency or department thereof, or for a public corporation as defined in section sixty-six of the general construction law, or committee or subcommittee or other similar body of such public body."
Based on the foregoing, a public body is, in my view, an entity required to conduct public business by means of a quorum that performs a governmental function and carries out its duties collectively, as a body. In order to constitute a meeting subject to the Open Meetings Law, a majority of the total membership of a public body, a quorum, must be present for the purpose of conducting public business.
I note that several judicial decisions indicate generally that advisory bodies, other than those consisting of members of a governing body, that have no power to take final action fall outside the scope of the Open Meetings Law. As stated in those decisions: "it has long been held that the mere giving of advice, even about governmental matters is not itself a governmental function" [Goodson-Todman Enterprises, Ltd. v. Town Board of Milan, 542 NYS 2d 373, 374, 151 AD 2d 642 (1989); Poughkeepsie Newspaper v. Mayor's Intergovernmental Task Force, 145 AD 2d 65, 67 (1989); see also New York Public Interest Research Group v. Governor's Advisory Commission, 507 NYS 2d 798, aff'd with no opinion, 135 AD 2d 1149, motion for leave to appeal denied, 71 NY 2d 964 (1988)]. In one of the decisions, Poughkeepsie Newspaper, supra, a task force was designated by then Mayor Koch consisting of representatives of New York City agencies, as well as federal and state agencies and the Westchester County Executive, to review plans and make recommendations concerning the City's long range water supply needs. The Court specified that the Mayor was "free to accept or reject the recommendations" of the Task Force and that "[i]t is clear that the Task Force, which was created by invitation rather than by statute or executive order, has no power, on its own, to implement any of its recommendations" (id., 67). Referring to the other cases cited above, the Court found that "[t]he unifying principle running through these decisions is that groups or entities that do not, in fact, exercise the power of the sovereign are not performing a governmental function, hence they are not 'public bod[ies] subject to the Open Meetings Law..."(id.).

On the other hand, if an entity consisting of two or members that functions as a body has the authority to take action, i.e., through the power to allocate public monies or make determinations, the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has held that the entity would constitute a public body subject to the Open Meetings Law. In a case dealing with a student government body at a public educational institution ("the Association, Inc."), the Court provided guidance concerning the application of the Open Meetings Law, stating that:
"In determining whether an entity is a public body, various criteria and benchmarks are material. They include the authority under which the entity was created, the power distribution or sharing model under which it exists, the nature of its role, the power it possesses and under which it purports to act, and a realistic appraisal of its functional relationship to affected parties and constituencies.
"This Court has noted that the powers and functions of an entity should be derived from State law in order to be deemed a public body for Open Meetings Law purposes (see, Matter of American Socy. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v Board of Trustees of State Univ. of N.Y., 79 NY2d 927, 929). In the instant case, the parties do not dispute that CUNY derives its powers from State law and it surely is essentially a public body subject to the Open Meetings Law for almost any imaginable purpose. The Association, Inc. contends, on the other hand, that is a separate, distinc t, subsidiary entity, and does not perform any governmental function that would render it also a public body.
"It may be that an entity exercising only an advisory function would not qualify as a public body within the purview of the Open Meetings Law...More pertinently here, however, a formally chartered entity with officially delegated duties and organizational attributes of a substantive nature, as this Association, Inc. enjoys, should be deemed a public body that is performing a governmental function (compare, Matter of Syracuse United Neighbors v. City of Syracuse, 80 AD2d 984, 985, appeal dismissed 55 NY2d 995). It is invested with decision-making authority to implement its own initiatives and, as a practical matter, operates under protocols and practices where its recommendations and actions are executed unilaterally and finally, or receive merely perfunctory review or approval...This Association, Inc. possessed and exercised real and effective decision-making power. CUNY, through its by-laws, delegated to the Association, Inc. its statutory power to administer student activity fees (see, Education Law §6206[7][a]). The Association, Inc. holds the purse strings and the responsibility of supervising and reviewing the student activity fee budget. (CUNY By-Laws §16.5[a]). CUNY’s by-laws also provide that the Association, Inc. ‘shall disapprove any allocation or expenditure it finds does not so conform, or is inappropriate, improper, or inequitable,’ thus reposing in the Association, Inc. a final decision-making auth ority... [Smith v. CUNY, 92 NY2d 707; 713-714 (1999)].
It has also been advised that an advisory body that performs a necessary step in the process of decision making constitutes a public body subject to the Open Meetings Law. For example, the entities created by the regulations promulgated by the Commissioner of Education, §100.11, "shared decision making" committees, may not have the authority to take final and binding action; nevertheless, before a board of education may take action, it must first seek the views of a shared decision making committee in some circumstances.
In sum, if the Commission has the authority to make decisions, to take final and binding action, or if, by law, it performs a necessary step in the decision making process, I believe that it constitutes a "public body" required to comply with the Open Meetings Law.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
RJF:tt

cc: Board of Trustees"

Samis was illegally barred said...

Once again, it seems the town of greenburgh is on the wrong side of the law.

One interesting fact is that extensive info about the greenburgh library foundation is found on the greenburgh public library's website.

Among the other facts requiring the finding that the greenburgh library foundation is most likely subject to the open meetings law are the following:

1. Considerable crossover between governmental and nongovernmental activities, especially where both are carried on by the same person or persons.

2. In Buffalo News v. Buffalo Enterprise Development Corporation [84 NY 2d 488 (1994)], the Court of Appeals found again that a not-for-profit corporation, based on its relationship to an agency, was itself an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Law. The decision indicates that:

"The BEDC principally pegs its argument for nondisclosure on the feature that an entity qualifies as an 'agency' only if there is substantial governmental control over its daily operations (see, e.g., Irwin Mem. Blood Bank of San Francisco Med. Socy. v American Natl. Red Cross, 640 F2d 1051; Rocap v Indiek, 519 F2d 174). The Buffalo News counters by arguing that the City of Buffalo is 'inextricably involved in the core planning and execution of the agency's [BEDC] program'; thus, the BEDC is a 'governmental entity' performing a governmental function for the City of Buffalo, within the statutory definition.

"The BEDC's purpose is undeniably governmental. It was created exclusively by and for the City of Buffalo...In sum, the constricted construction urged by appellant BEDC would contradict the expansive public policy dictates underpinning FOIL. Thus, we reject appellant's arguments," (id., 492-493).

3. Perhaps most analogous to the situation with Mr. Samis is a decision in which it was held that a community college foundation associated with a CUNY institution was subject to the Freedom of Information Law, despite its status as a not-for-profit corporation. In so holding, it was stated that:

"At issue is whether the Kingsborough Community College Foundation, Inc (hereinafter 'Foundation') comes within the definition of an 'agency' as defined in Public Officers Law §86(3) and whether the Foundation's fund collection and expenditure records are 'records' within the meaning and contemplation of Public Officers Law §86(4).

"The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that was formed to 'promote interest in and support of the college in the local community and among students, faculty and alumni of the college.'

4. It is also probably likely that the library board of trustees authorized the formation of the foundation. This, as the Court of Appeals noted in the Foundation case:

amply demonstrates that the Foundation is providing services that are exclusively in the college's interest and essentially in the name of the College. Indeed, the Foundation would not exist but for its relationship with the College" (Eisenberg v. Goldstein, Supreme Court, Kings County, February 26, 1988).

As in the case of the foundation in Eisenberg, that entity, and, in this instance, the Foundation, would not exist but for their relationships with CUNY.

Moreover, given the fact that the Foundation is performing a governmental function for the state or for an agency or department thereof, or for a public corporation as defined in section sixty-six of the general construction law, as well as the nexus with the Greenburgh Public Library, it more than likely conducts public business and performs a governmental function for a governmental entity.

Under these circumstances, it carries out a governmental function and is probably subject to the open meetings law.

Shame on the Greenburgh Library Foundation who uses the town's facilties without charge for barring a citizen of the town. Its doubly shameful for a library foundation to have engaged in such a secretive and heavy handed manner.

hal samis said...

Given that anonymous has not responded in typical fashion by attacking the messenger, could it be possible that anonymous is in jail? Is "the suspect had some ties to Edgemont" the tipoff?

foundation of shame said...

until the town board fully investigates the barring of samis from a meeting on public property by an organization that uses the town's website, such organization should be banned from both the website and all public property and rent should be charged for their use of public facilities.

this appears outrageous.

to think - american men and women and dying in Iraq and elsewhere to advance democracy while here in greenburgh the open meetings laws - a cornerstone of modern democratic government - are trashed.

Anonymous said...

This library fiasco is really something to digest.
Why was Samis barred from the meeting?
Why were the police called?
Were they wearing special riot gear waiting for Samis to attack?
Why so many answered the call removing them from their regular sector.?
What does this foundation have to hide together with the library board.
Something smells here and it should be investigated not by our board but the State comptrollers and Attorney generals office.
With this library fiasco Greenburgh has reached the pits as far as honesty and open government goes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hal.

It seems that the Library Board is intent on reliving 1968. What are your thoughts on Marilyn Greiner playing the role of Mayor Dailey. Luckily for you, the Greenburgh Police did not behave like Dailey's thugs however, if Francis Sheehan takes over Greenburgh, you might have faced a quite different reception.

Anonymous said...

How much money did the library board hide from the public?
How much has the foundation given to the library that we the
residents have no knowledge?
Why are they using public facilities and not allow a resident to attend?
If I were there to see the goings on would I have been turned away by Jerry Byrne also.
Did the police seek mutual aid from the surrounding police departments?
Why is it that this town board cannot see further than their noses as to how much thievery is going on?
If there is something going on we should be told since the library board is crying that they need more and more money to have the library opened on time.
Does on time mean 2009 or 2010?

Anonymous said...

Edgemont residents take heed: the last time Feiner announced the arrest of an Edgemont burglar (the one who used the black limo), the number of break-ins accelerated.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the incarcerated could clean the streets and medians and clogged sewer grates.

we need an investigation said...

paul - please call an open meeting to discuss what happened to mr samis.

perhaps its time for some heads to roll and some rent to be paid.

this is a new low in greenburgh.

so much for 80th best - this looks and smells terrible.

you are the only elected official who has not been fooled by the library trustees and their ilk.

scary thought said...

sheehan as supervisor? perish the thought.

hal samis said...

What you see here from David Fried is just the tip of the iceberg.  He and the Town Attorney, Tim Lewis are in business, not as though they work for the residents, but instead for the pleasure of the Town Board and these two perform like trained seals, supplying opinions that conform to their idea of what they think their masters want to hear.  Mr. Fried and I have tangled before, notably over his "fears" that the masters he drools over would punish him were he, as Attorney to the Ethics Board, add a legal opinion that would antagonize any member of the Town Board who could be the subject of a complaint that the Ethics Board might get around to reviewing sometime in the next forty years.  Mr. Fried, a lawyer, feels concerned were he to give his opinion and thus the Ethics Board has until recently been lacking Counsel on any complaints due to a lack of funding.  This has been solved recently by a resident volunteering to serve as Counsel.  It should be noted that due to the very tough Ethics Laws that Mr. Sheehan congratulated himself on writing, all the Ethics Board, with or without outside Counsel can do, is merely recommend a slap on the wrist and even this to be determined ultimately by vote of the Town Board.  Thus we have Mr. Fried, fearing for his job, afraid to advise the Ethics Board when his "bosses" are the subject of a complaint while we have a mere Town employee in the Parks department on the Ethics Board who harbors no such fears.  It is all a big joke that Sheehan played on the Town so that the then Town Council could "appear" to be taking a harsh look at the "appearance of impropriety".  At the time, it was aimed at Feiner's campaign contributions but the Ethics Board hastily and correctly ruled that such events occurred before the tough, new ethics laws that rule them out.  So tough, that the Ethics laws decided to allow campaign contributions from local UNIONS to candidates because, after all, Unions have no business before the Town.  For those who are itching to write that Samis is now attacking Unions, let me remind everyone else that the Town Board regularly negotiates contracts for its union employees, clerks, police, library, etc. and the Town Board saves money doing this because they don't hire an outside expert on labor negotiations, they do it themselves -- which might just red flag the reason this loophole exists in the Ethics laws.  When I initiated in March, through a then available shortcut (Feiner), a complaint against the Town's Commissioner of Planning, Tom Madden; Mr. Sheehan, head of the Comprehensive Plan Committee; and the heads of the Town's Planning (Fran McLaughlin, her husband Jack is on the Ethics Board) and Zoning Boards (Steve Belasco); discussions on this have been waylaid while they discuss the acceptability of handling the complaint because it was brought to them by Feiner on behalf of me, a mere resident.  Why didn't I do it directly?  Because for a citizen (again residents mean very little to any of our leaders) to initiate a complaint they must submit two copies of a sworn, verified (notarized) complaint (read the intimidating language regarding the penalties for perjury), and bring it or send it by certified mail (requiring a trip to the post office) to the Town Clerk.  If you work, it is difficult to comply with this or costly and, intellectually intimidating when knowing that at the same time, if, say, Gil Kaminer, an employee at the time (or any other Town employee or even those working in Town Hall and convenient to the Town Clerk's office) of the birth of the tough Ethics Laws wanted to inititiate a complaint, all he would have to do is write an unverified memo or email. What's good for the goose is good for only the goose. Furthermore, the Ethics Board is still undermanned as a year after appointment Ken Bunting, an attorney who told the Town Board at his interview that he didn't have the time to attend meetings, was appointed by a then Town Board which cared only about filling up the vacant chairs.  Mr. Bunting has attended two meetings in over a year and the big question still looms, has he or has he not resigned.  So my complaint is still on the Ethics Board Agenda for discussion, first up whether they can accept an unverified citizen's complaint.  What is the complaint about?  The Comprehensive Plan Committee solicited and accepted a contribution from parties with matters before the Town.  The form of the contribution was free refreshments for those attending the neighborhood meetings of the Comprehensive Plan outreach stageshow.  Providing the refreshments were the BMW dealership on Tarrytown Road which is constructing an addition next door (approvals, C of O, etc.) the Lexus dealership which it is rumored wants to expand and the East Irvington Civic Association (Danny Gold's group) which carries a big stick regarding the proposed new Shoprite anchored project on their doorstep and still harbors an unsatiable need for the Town to continue buying more parkland in the nabe.  Ok, they overlooked the potential conflict or appearance of impropriety so what's the big deal?  Because they overlooked it again, even AFTER I brought it to their attention and BMW which provided the refreshments at the Hartsdale meet again provided the refreshments for the Edgemont meet -- after the parties to the complaint were fully aware. And I have an email from Madden acknowledging that the refreshments were provided by the aforementioned and all of targets of my "attack" were present at these meetings and partook of the refreshments. In a reprise of "Casablanca", "I am shocked to find that there is gambling going on at Ric's." 'Captain, here are your winnings'. But the Ethics Board is still poring over whether the complaint can be considered because it didn't come to them in their proscribed manner.   The Ethics code says that gifts for the good of the Town are ok, but who makes this determination of what is good for the Town? Other gifts follow an existing process.  It would seem reasonable that the Town Board would vote on accepting these gifts in the same manner that it votes to accept any other gift or donation to the Town.  They're caught dead in the water on the violation, the problem is that the Ethics Board will sit on it for one reason or another until the proverbial "end of time".  And, let me add with the above as the bridge, Mr. Sheehan, head of the Comprehensive Plan committee, would introduce the Plan and the consultants to the neighborhood at each meeting.  He would say that the reason a Comprehensive Plan is needed is that it is required by law and he would cite such a passage.  What he would not do is read the law which in order of appearance says first that a comprehensive plan, while desirable, is NOT required by law and afterward is the Sheehan cited section which says: that if you HAVE a Comprehensive Plan, this what the law requires.  Quite a difference.  Those who are following the new Sheehan in office are considering asking the State Comptroller to revoke their election day ballots for Sheehan on the grounds that he is not the same Sheehan that they elected or under State bait and switch laws. And, if you need further proof, think of Sheehan's Folly which is the ramp costing $175,000 that Francis said was an ADA requirement when it was not.  Sound familiar, seem like a pattern?  Does last week's vote to permit $400,000 to be added to the library constuction budget because, per Sheehan, the Town had no choice since the grants couldn't be used to reduce the bonding.  Well that wasn't true either if you believe the well-respected independent Town Bond Counsel whose opinion it is that of course the grants can reduce the bonding. This was ignored by the Town Board. $400,000 less in bonding however, would save taxpayers money and thus reduce the tax increases in coming years.I've posted in detail this costly joke on the "Kathwood" blog topic.Really it's going to be a better Greenburgh now that I've learned to cut and paste.  This allows me to bring to readers the emails I regularly send to the Town Board.  The emails which they just as regularly ignore.  What's different?  Now readers know what is really going on.  Consider it my contribution to open government for a government that refuses to hold a regular Town Board meeting over the summer months so that it can avoid the rigors of public comment.  Instead, they have discovered the joys of Special Town Board meetings held during the day when few residents can attend and no residents can comment.

Finally, if readers want to participate as do-it-yourselfers, here's an opportunity. The tough new Ethics laws changed to old ones to permit Steve Bass to hold his appointed job at the County and to remain on the Town Board of Greenburgh. This was done by sustituting the word "elective office" which allowed Mr. Bass to continue.

Now what follows is not my original thought but that of another Greenburgh resident who so far has not chosen to act on it. I have added the background and if this resident decides to pursue it herself, I shall acknowledge her powers of observation. But, since she has so far not proceeded, I am bringing it to anyone who wants to get involved.

Under the tough, new Ethics Code, no one can hold two elective offices. Whom would that apply to?
Let's go through the alphabet starting with A, B --- stop!
Judith Beville, Town Clerk, an elective position and Valhalla School Board, an elective position.
No hurry, ready-set-go to the Town Clerk's office with your verified complaint.

What do I think the outcome will be if you do? Probably the same as how the Town Board handles the discovery that the Town Assessor is holding down a similar position in not-so-nearby Haverstraw.

Maybe the Public will get an answer to both matters at the same time. Or not.

stop the sheehanigans said...

thanks hal for exposing the gamut of sheehanigans.

what is in the best interest of the town? getting mr sheehan off the town board.

2009 cannot come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

So why can't Samis swear under oath that his allegations before the Ethics Board are true and correct to the best of his knowledge, information and belief? Because he knows his allegations aren't true? Even if that were the case, does he really think the Town of Greenburgh would ever prosecute him for perjury? And even if it did, does he really think the town's crack legal team of Fried and Lewis would prevail? Hmm, if Samis can't comply with the simplest of rules, like swearing that his allegations are true, it may well be that it's because he knows his allegations are pure BS, designed for no purpose other than to give Samis even more attention which he doesn't deserve.

Anonymous said...

If Samis was wrong he would be the first to apologize but he's right on the money.
Again this guy does his homework not like many others who claim that they know what is going on but they do not know their rear from their elbow.
These people that held a meeting on town property must have something big to hide.
Did you ever stop to think that our tax money is involved with what this library board does.
Many of you are not thinking straight as is our town board.
Let's see if Samis's questions are answered and then we can judge who is right or who is wrong.
My money is on Samis telling the truth all the way since he has not hidden anything that he has unearthed from the public.
By the police being called in on this meeting just tells us one thing these people are hidding something from the public or that something was wrong with what they had done.
In plain english things do not add up for the police to ban a resident from attending a meeting that is opened to the entire town but Samis.
What were they afraid of?

hal samis said...

To 8:23 Anonymous says,

You don't read carefully. My so-called "allegations" are not bull and are not up for debate. The Ethics Board has a copy of the FOILED email response from the Commissioner of Planning which acknowledges that the refreshments for the named events were provided by BMW, Lexus and the East Irvington Civic Association. No one disputes this and thus there is no need to swear to this. And, all I can swear to is that I received an email from the Commissioner of Planning, an email the Ethics Board already has.

The Chairman of the Ethics Board attended the meeting held in Edgemont and helped himself to these refreshments. There is no additional purpose served by me swearing that the refreshments were actually provided.

The only part of the chain that I cannot establish since I can't force testimony and after swear to what they stated (closing in on heresay) is of the named parties, who did the actual solicitation. However all of those named are members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, the Comprehensive Plan Committee sponsored the meetings and all were aware that the violation should have stopped after it was noted by me following the third meeting; the violation should not have been repeated two weeks later at the fourth meeting. By the fifth meeting, it had been stopped. However, as elsewhere in law, ignorance is not a defense and when you consider that the majority of the fuss over contributions centers on those of real estate developers who have or had projects before the Town, the named gifters are entities all of whom have "business" or economic or life style interests in the actions and decisions made by the Town, Planning and Zoning Boards. The heads and members of these bodies should certainly be aware of the implications of soliciting and accepting gifts from "at risk" gifters. Furthermore, most of them take oaths upon acceptance of these positions.

So, where the buck stops, I don't really care. Let the Ethics Board select the fall guy or gal.

But for this claim there is little that I can swear to, while in the first place, while, in the second place, everything I know is also known to the Ethics Board firsthand.

The Ethics Laws are a written document, part of the Town Code.
I do not have to swear that it exists to establish this. I have referenced the appropriate sections that define "solicitation" and "acceptance of gifts" and "town employee", "elected official", "agency member" etc.

The point I am making is that the Ethics Laws are written so as to discourage citizens to come forward, not only in expending time and out-of-pocket dollars, but also the intended intimidation factor. No similar requirements exist for any other would-be "whistle-blower", only for the class of citizens.

But beyond this, imagine if a policeman witnessed, say a burglar, in the act of committing a crime. Would you have him ignore this until he received a verified, written complaint sent by certified mail? Too silly?
What if a member of the Ethics Board witnessed a Department Head, just for argument sake, say the Town Assessor, accepting a wad of cash from a property owner. Would it be necessary for them to wait for a citizen's complaint? All I have done is remind the Ethics Board of what they know or would have to go through some nimble footwork to avoid knowing.

The Town Board, the Ethics Board and the interested parties are not denying the facts -- which you would prefer to call bullshit or allegations -- while I am playing my "hand" this way because I want to see if the Ethics Board is going to ignore the transgression they know to exist (they can vote and disagree with my interpretation, that is their right) but they are aware of the issue and could have more easily initiated the complaint on their own.

I've been turning over my cards one at a time on purpose to see if Greenburgh residents are going to be protected by enforcement of these "tough" ethics laws despite a mere citizen choosing not follow their cumbersome process.

I am not "alleging" x did y to z.
Everyone knows the facts.
I just want to see if the Ethics Board really means business.

And, what I decided to do was have the Town Supervisor, submit my claim as my "agent" or on my behalf. Certainly the head of the Town, himself, would want to see the Ethics Laws rigorously enforced while knowing that the Town Supervisor, or ANY Town employee, are not obligated to follow the same standards or procedures as are expected of the public.

Thanks for another opportunity to mop the floor with "anonymous said". This may sound cocky but you are never going to succeed in "gotcha" online.
I may not be the best speaker in public but I am a damn good writer and researcher.

But if you only want to deny my comments on the basis that they are not sworn and notarized, don't you think that the Town would benefit if Francis Sheehan were to be asked the same. Apparently his oath of office means nothing so let's have him swear to:

The bus ramp is an ADA requirement

The Town cannot use grants to reduce bonding

The Comprehensive Plan is required by law

Under the Ethics laws, the Town Clerk can hold two simultaneous elective offices

I believe Greenburgh would be a better place to live, maybe even move up to #50, were the members of the Town Board forced to individually swear to their contested statements.

But that's really not what anoymous wants, is it?

Anonymous said...

Why does Samis think he's so special that he should be exempted from the rules that apply to all members of the public?
If the rules that everyone including Feiner agreed to require that Samis swear that the information in his complaint is true to the best of his knowledge, information and belief, there is no reason in the world why he should be excused from doing that. If the information is as obvious as he says it is, it would take a few minutes to do, and there's plenty of notaries at town hall who could notarize his signature and probably wouldn't even charge him the quarter.

And why Samis does think it's okay for him to attend a meeting of the Library Foundation which, last time I checked is a private 501(c)(3) organization and is not subject to the state's Open Meetings Laws. Just because the Foundation happens to meet on municipal property doesn't mean it has to open its meetings to the public - that's not in the law. And what purpose would Samis have in showing up there anyway? The Foundation knows he's not giving any money to the library; the Foundation also knows he is not raising any money for the library. If anything, he's looking to undermine the Foundation's efforts to raise money, but it doesn't matter what his purpose is, unless invited, he doesn't belong there, and his insisting that he has a right to be there is just another one of his sadly misguided attention grabbing ploys.

hal samis said...

Same old send out false information in the hope that at least one sucker will bite.

I believe the comments made on this blog yesterday at 2:17 support my claim that the Library Foundation, non-profit, 501c3, is not exempt from open meeting laws and that it is in fact a public body. The Foundation has no other purpose than to enable the Library, it files with Town Hall as its office and doesn't meet all the tests of exemption that would allow to escape open meeting laws as a private corporation. That it is conducting its business in a public facility is only the icing on the cake.
And that Dave Fried doesn't know this (let's take pity on him and just say that he thinks all corporations are alike) is another example of bad advice from the Town's Legal Department. Sorry to those other lawyers who labor there and get caught in the web cast by Tim Lewis and David Fried.

The purpose of me showing up is not to give them money but I think that those who give them money are not required to attend their meetings. My purpose is to gather information about the Library project from all sources. But, I do have my cancelled check for $150made out to the Foundation. Let's see yours.

Clearly you have a thing about airing information in public. Getting access to information is what protects, not harms Greenburgh residents. Without information, people would believe Sheehan is telling the truth.

My point, again, about the Ethics Board "rules" is that they have created the rules for citizen complaints so erect roadblocks and discourage citizens from bringing complaints to their attention. The Ethics Board is really an offshoot of the Town Board and since the object of complaints, whether verified or not, are most likely to be members of the Town Board. Hence by making the public jump through hoops that Town employees or Agency members do not, the Ethics Board has chosen to create two classes of complainants -- one they trust and one they don't adn you can guess which class they don't trust.

Aside from the awareness that there can not be anything I am lying about in my complaint, there remains an ageless concept called protest. I'm a product of the
60's and when we saw injustice and inequity, we protested. This is what I am doing today by rejecting the self-serving PROCEDURAL rules of the Ethics Board. I want them to change their rules so that what works for one class works for the other or eliminate entirely the requirements. Here on this blog idiots routinely write stupid comments under the identity of anonymous. I use my own name. But now we see anonymous annoyed that I refuse to follow rules which take giving your name attached to a complaint many steps higher. Tell me a notary which will accept anonymous on a verified complaint. Such contradictions between what is de rigeur for anonymous bloggers and what happens when even using your own name is not ample. I don't have the time now to continue this further, but perhaps readers can think of instances where organizations seek to encourage the exchange of information, or whistle blowing, perhaps you have heard or read the message "please report suspicious parcels to...". If they handled that Ethics Board style, it would read: "to report a suspicious parcel, please bring or send by certified mail, two notarized/verified copies of your information..."

But then, the Ethics Board doesn't really want to handle complaints; they're in the business of building a system of roadblocks as well as maintaining their existing checks and balances.

Finally, to be fair, I don't know yet whether the Ethics Board has rejected by complaint, either due to their own knowledge of events, due to the acceptance of delivery through the Supervisor or their ability to take it in on its own merits. They just haven't decided one way or another in five months.
Clearly what anonymous seeks is for them to deny the complaint because it doesn't comply with their rules for acceoting complaints.

That hope would seem to limit the universe of aggravated anonymous to parties fearing the outcome of the "improperly tendered" complaint. In often applied terms, if you want to get to the bottom of things, follow the money trail. Who would benefit most if this complaint were not taken in for review? One name that comes to mind is some guy named...Francis Sheehan. Anyone know who he is?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is anonymous after all?

foundation falls flat said...

samis doesnt need to provide any reason to be present at a meeting held on public property for purposes of aiding a public institution (the public library) by an organization that exists solely because of the public library, that uses the town's website, that uses town facilities as its mailing address and without charge, and that was most likely created at the behest of the public library.

the foundation has to provide a reason why samis is not allowed to attend. mere 501(c)(3) status will not suffice.

i suggest anonymous read the case law on the subject.

the real issue is what is the foundation seeking to hide? or are they must trying to muzzle samis?

Anonymous said...

There is no case law that gives Samis the right to crash Libary Foundation meetings. Foundation members are not appointed by the Town Board. They are not conducting official town business. The fact that they meet on town property is irrelevant and Samis knows it, but for purposes of his protest, which is, after all, what his rant is all about, he could care less.
Feiner knows this all too well. When he appoints his own "advisory" committee, it can meet at town hall til the cows come home, but its meetings will never be open to the public, unless the committee decides to open them. And their documents aren't subject to FOIL either. But once the town board appoints an advisory committee, it becomes an "official" committee and its meetings must always be open, regardless where they meet.
The Ethics Board, the Town Board and the Libary Board are all public bodies and Samis can attend their meetings all the time, and often does.
As for Samis's refusal to swear that the allegations in his ethics complaint are true, here too he's just protesting in an effort to get attention.
The reason that citizen complaints must be sworn to is too discourage frivolous complaints that are asserted for personal, petty and often political purposes, like Samis', and not for any real desire to get an ethics ruling. After all, if Samis were so concerned about BMW's danish, he'd have sworn out the complaint the moment he saw the glaze grace the refreshment table, and would have gotten a ruling months ago. But that's not what Samis cares about. Samis is what Samis cares about.
The reason town officials and town employees don't need to swear to the truth of any allegations they might make in an ethics complaint is that the Ethics Board's primary purpose is to serve them with prompt advice on what is and what is not ethical so that they can carry out their duties without being under a cloud.
It's too bad Samis can't play by the rules. Every now and then he might have something constructive to contribute.

Anonymous said...

Seems odd that the library foundation wouldn't just let him in, though Anon 340's statements are fully accurate.

Jacqui Bishop said...

The Library Foundation is a group of volunteers trying to do something positive for Greenburgh citizens.

The Foundation Board decision to bar Hal Samis from the meetings is a direct result of years of his repeated attempts to obstruct and confound good works and intentions.

Having worked to furnish Greenburgh with an adequate library since moving to Greenburgh in 2001, I continue to hold the vision for what a first-class library can do for this town. Despite all the obstructions, neglect, and poor judgment on the part of this administration, whose proper job it is to provide such a facility, I continue to hope that the beauty of the building, the faithfulness of the staff despite horrific conditions, and the support of the citizens will restore Greenburgh Library's stellar position as the best service library in the County.

Were Hal Samis to demonstrate true good will and bend his considerable talents to positive ends, I would imagine boards would compete to include him. Certainly his efforts at disruption and promotion of the negative stand as proof of his genius. What might his life be like if turned to creative rather than destructive ends? What might ours be like?

Until I see a substantive change in his strategies, responsible stewardship of my own energies will continue to involve keeping Hal and other obstructionists from wasting my time in red herrings and fruitless argument.

what is foundation afraid of? said...

a mere group of volunteers?
hah - the foundation is largely made up of library personnel and their extensive use of town resources defeats their alleged right to bar mr samis.

btw - all of his critics overlooked the fact that samis has actually contributed money to the foundation that now seeks to bar him. ms bishop should spend more time reading mr samis' posts and get her facts straight. she might also fact the fact that the new library is a white elephant in the making in this digital age.

again - what is the foundation hiding?

as for the new library - architecturally its hideous.

imagine if samis was the town board liaison to the library and not silent diana juettner (anyone remember her?)

now that sounds nice - the library board having to answer to samis!

thats almost as good as triple package of klondike bars.

regarding ms bishop said...

face the fact that is.

hal samis said...

Excuse me, but did I just read that now anonymous is taking the tack that if Feiner does it, it must be right and transportable to other situations.

What is being discussed is the status of the Library Foundation, not the straw man arguments that lawyers create to justify their position. So what the Town Board does, what Feiner does -- all of this has no bearing upon what the Library Foundation is which is no more than a front for the Greenburgh Library. Its entire existence is only to raise money for the Library and to be better positioned to do this, it files papers to maintain 501c3 status which gives it the fund raising advantage of offering tax deductions which the Library itself cannot currently provide.

In addition to conducting its business on town property, the Library, the Library Board of Trustees and the Library Foundation share interlocking memberships, officers and services of library staff -- although not necessarily the same person in the equivalent titled position.

There are two arguments, one that it is really a public body subject to open meeting laws. This is addressed above and by an attorney under a separate posting. The other argument is as I described, icing on the cake. That is that this alter ego of the Library is conducting its business on town property and that taken in tandem with the first argument, the town should not be providing staff with the sole function to keep out the public. If these employees are "not on the clock" then they have no rights to enforce any policies and if they are "on the clock" then it is questionable why the Town would be paying staff for the purpose of keeping the public at bay. In any case if Samis knows that it is irrelevant, let's ask Samis not take the posting of anonymous.

Samis, is the fact that the meeting was held on town property irrelevant?

Answering for Samis is Samis.
It is extremely relevant. Don't take the word of someone who seeks to create an atmosphere of agreement when none exists. Go to the source. Instruct your browser only to accept what Samis thinks from Samis.

The same is equally true when anonymous authors write "Feiner knows this only too well". Feiner may know it, he may know it too well, he may not know it at all. The person who knows best what Feiner knows is Feiner.

Reading further we now learn that the Ethics Board's primary purpose is to advise the Town Board and not to recommend any sanction, albeit one that has to be approved by the Town Board. Even getting past the view of the flies conquering the flypaper, now we are asked to believe that these Sheehan descibed "toughest Ethics laws in the County" turn out to be just advice. Please, sell your malarky to the lowest iq.

One has to read carefully on the assumption that others write just as purposefully as I do. Thus when anonymous at 3:40 writes that "there is no case law that gives Samis the right to crash Library Foundation meetings" even I would agree. Run your own lexus nexus search and look for case law giving Samis... What this dances around admitting is that there IS case law that would give residents the right to attend the meeting. What the daft, scratch that, deft author has disguised is that Samis is not mentioned in case law and rights to crash meetings are not mentioned either, perhaps because if Samis were to attend the Foundation meeting, he would not be crashing the meeting but exercising his legal right. The kind of sentence structure used by colleges who don't acknowledge student suicides, as soon as the student is about to pull the trigger or jump, they are no longer considered students.

"(Foundation members) are not conducting official Town business..." Partially correct, they are conducting Library business which in turn is unincorporated Greenburgh business.

Ok. I've got a train to catch. But let me log off leaving this thought behind for the jackals.
A corked bottle washes up on the beach. Anonymous uncorks it and a genie emerges thanking anonymous for releasing him. He says that, out of gratitude, anonymous can have three wishes. Anonymous answers, why do you want to grant me three wishes, you must be offering these wishes for your own agenda; and first you've got to swear that you're offering three wishes, and then who said you could get out of the bottle in the first place, this being a private beach and, finally, because you weren't appointed by the Town Board you can't leave because the open bottle laws don't apply. Screw you and I'm calling the Police.

Anonymous said...

Just because Samis says he has a legal right to attend a meeting of the Library Foundation doesn't mean that he does. By his own admission, he'd have to get over a lot of hurdles for that to be the case. But it's clear he doesn't care. He's just out to promote himself.
Jacquie Bishop is a volunteer. Neither she nor the other foundation members have been appointed by the Town Board and that's the key distinction here. Like it or not, their business is not official business. Ms. Bishop therefore had very right to exclude Samis because he's not a member of the Foundation. And common sense suggests that she did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

"Were Hal Samis to demonstrate true good will and bend his considerable talents to positive ends, I would imagine boards would compete to include him."

This is a valid point. He's so bright and he truly does care, but he's such a grouchy old man that it's difficult to appreciate the times when his intentions are good. Over the years, we've unfortunately learned to just turn him off.

hal samis said...

I'm sorry and I admit (yes I admit) that I'm writing this portion of the posting without reading what I've written before.  Perhaps the anonymous author at 6:43 will save me this time and direct me the proof of his statement: "that by his own admission he'd have to get over a lot of hurdles for that (have a legal right to attend the Foundation meeting) to be the case".I don't recall any such statement.To the contrary, I have been steadfast in stating that I have every right to attend.
Of course perhaps I am rating my opposition too highly, assuming they have a brain larger than a pea. Please don't come back and cite my comment "I agree, there is no case law that says Samis has the right to crash..." You dolt! What I was pointing out that there is no existing case law that includes those words my name and the right to crash. Did you expect that such exists? And it was not me being cute but the anonymous clientless attorney who is playing the trick on readers like yourself. He said there is no case law fully knowing that nothing exists that says "Samis has the right to crash" just there is no case law that says Samis doesn't have the right to crash...There is no case law about anything that mentions the name Samis and that is the trick that is being played -- get it yet? If I said there is no winning lottery ticket with Samis' name on it, does that mean that there is no winning lottery ticket?

What is interesting with all the legal talent glued to the blog, that no one can counter the case law arguments in my favor but instead choose to attack me, my motivation and everything under the sun rather than provide proof of their claims.Even the writer from Elba at 3:40 Greenburgh local time never gets around like the anonymous others to establish a case.  All they do is say that I don't have the right to attend but fail to provide support for their claims. Not unlike Sheehan saying "you can't use state money to offset a bond.."
Just because he says this does not make it true.
And of course, as we know now, it was a lie.

7:45 tries to appear on the same side but wants to stab me in the back because whatever good I do, I am a grouchy old man (and I thought 63 was the new 43).  And so busy is heshe in turning me off that they betray they are obviously feeding on my every word.

Jacqui Bishop and I have been quarelling on and off for years.  She truly believes in libraries but fails to understand the incongruities of the Greenburgh Library, it's failings and the incompetence of the existing Board to Trustees in running it. And Jacqui also fails to distinguish that the word volunteer and the word professional need not the same.  She must be the last library supporter standing that still believes that the project is on budget and not behind schedule.There is no way I can win an argument with a blind monkey but I suggest that her description "the beauty of the building" best describes her "my country right or wrong" mentality, much, much better than any damage I can inflict.  Just a few items of rebuttal: 1) I laud her decision to use her name and 2) the one Foundation Meeting I attended (at the High View School, public property, same argument) I was not allowed to speak.  I would imagine that had I been allowed to attend the meeting at the multi-purpose center, this rule would not have been relaxed.  Thus, whatever my feelings about the Library, whatever my predispositions toward the project, they would have for all intents and purposes been my private ones since I would not be allowed to speak.  Allowing me to attend should not be reason for them to alter their Agenda or not to speak honestly -- unless there is something to hide.  So Jacqui, your argument falls flat that my presence would confound the Foundation members 3) many participants in a conflict find it an advantage to embrace the enemy for then they know that what doesn't kill them makes them stronger. Your problem on the other hand is that you have met the enemy and it is you. 4) thanks for the 15 second analysis; but what if I were right and you were wrong. So far have I stumbled in my library watch? Keep up your cheerleading for the team in last place; they're generally the ones that need the support. 5) apparently if I only used my considerable resources to agree with you, then I would doing the right thing.

6:43 adds support for Jacqui and creates an entire fiction based on the premise that the "key" distinction for what they no doubt intended to label legally "public body" is appointment by the Town Board. Let's discard the clutter in distinguishing between volunteer and compensated because if Mike Sigal serves on the Ethics Board and is a volunteer and James Robinson serves on the Ethics Board and is a paid town employee, what is the Ethics Board? Ok?

Now returning to the matter of being appointed by the Town Board as "key" which I interpret the intention to be the one crucial element to distinguish; the key unlocking the confusion as it were.
Since I dispute the premise, I respond by disagreeing that this belongs in the column headed by key and differ further by saying that it is being labeled "key" because that is the only point they have. Since the Foundation are not appointed, what is being posted is really the tail wagging the dog because the writer is not considering all the other keys on the keyring solely because they won't support the writer's opinion or lack of knowledge.

The "key" argument is what is called a fallacy in logic. If it is all you've got to defend with and there is nothing elese, then it is the key to your winning strategy. However desperate you are to win and get the ring to Mount Doom, it has no special powers or appeal in this dispute. In fact, appointed members as the only measure is entirely a fiction you create to fool yourself and others. The real test for whether the Foundation exists as a public body has been written above and with it the case law to support it. Sorry to Lord it over you.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Notwithstanding your not being allowed to talk at the earlier Foundation meeting, everyone who reads this blog and newspapers and listens to Town meetings knows your beliefs regarding the libary. I dont know the Foundation board, but there is a distinct possibility that no one is afraid of you, they are just tired of you monopolizing meeting after meeting. You have made your points. The library is almost complete.

hal samis said...

I have not asked to speak at the Library Foundation meeting.
I have no interest in persuading them and they can't be persuaded anyway.

However I do want to hear what they are saying because I don't make up or invent things about the Library project -- I report what I learn.

Unlike anonymous posters who write anything because they can't definitively be connected to their gibberish, what I write is based on hard work and an expenditure of time.

So if the door closes in my face, I assume that it is not because they don't have enough seats or because I am going to monopolize their meeting; it is because they want to keep the facts from coming out.

Everyone already knows everything.
However excluded from the everyone are the members of the Library Board of Trustees who still won't acknowledge that the project is over budget -- even the extra $400,000 budget -- and they still won't acknowledge it is behind schedule.

If they don't know, then you can imagine my curiosity about what the Library Foundation knows.

If someone connected to the project would just announce the truth publicly, and that includes Al Regula, the Town Board, the Construction Manager -- anyone in an official capacity and charged with knowing -- that might alter the landscape considerably more than the ski jump building profile.

And your choice of words "my beliefs" clearly shows that you don't know yet either. So my work is not yet finished.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that will result from this drama is that the library foundation will meet in members' private homes from now on.

hal samis said...

So?

At least it will reduce police overhead.

how much? said...

how much money has the library foundation raised?

from what ive heard its a pittance -

Anonymous said...

When did the foundation become a secret association???
If meetings are held behind closed door we know dam well that something is being held back from the public .
Now by holding meetings at someones home show us that they too are phonies like the library board.
WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF.
One of the persons who has been on target as far as the library fiasco, has been Samis .Does keeping him away from meetings help the rotten situation No it only makes things worse and above all very suspicious.

hal samis said...

The idea of stayvacation appears to be catching on. For those vactioning in Greenburgh, perhaps this is an opportunity to see how the various Town departments pull together to deal with inquisitive residents.

My reply to Chief Kapica's late night email (which follows below)

Go to bed!
But in the morning reflect over whether "to take part in the meeting" means to participate or to audit the meeting. The Library Board of Trustees meets monthly at the multipurpose center and Library Director Contrata and Assistant Library Director Greiner and Trustees Chair Howard Jacobs observe my conduct at their meeting. What would be their basis for such concern that I would be disruptive solely because the label of the meeting had been changed? You have left word with the Trustees that they should call the Police if members of the public became disruptive and I believe that in the last year you have not received any such call from them.
So what makes Tuesday so different?

One thing is that I sent an email to Ms Contrata last week after the Thursday Trustees meeting. Ms Contrata was the cut-out for Trustees Jacobs and Wolfert to introduce the vote for an illegal transfer of Library funds from their operating budget to the capital budget of the Library construction project. My angry email regarding this vote was the result of the Library claiming to be unable to operate the cybermobile with their operating fund balance. Yet they found more than twice was is required to continue the service in the remaining five months of the year. As there are two naive newer members of the Trustees on hand to vote the funds transfer, it passed. My email promised Ms Contrata that if she ever did something so unethical again, I would work full-time to see that she was fired. This probably made Ms. Contrata unhappy to the extent that she positioned herself and Greiner, not inside the meeting room of the Foundtion, but at the building entrance to guard against my late arrival. How long the two of them intended to remain at the front desk instead of attending the meeting would be a guess but as I have state below, they were still there at 6:20. I would put forth the proposition that they entertained thoughts of payback.

Executive Session is a word of art and clearly does not depict a regularly scheduled monthy meeting. What the Foundation argues about their status is that their meeting is not subject to open meeting law -- a point of contention.
Be advised that I arrived at the meeting following telephone contact to the Town Supervisor and the Town Attorney advising me that I had a right to attend. Why should I trust the words of the Library Director Contrata and the Assistant Library Director Greiner which conflicted with what I heard. I went to the meeting room to hear the words direct from the horse's mouth, Judy Criss? She stated that Tim Lewis had called to revoke his earlier permission and that he was unable to reach me while I was in transit. My request to make my claim before the Foundation was not enough by itself to provoke a call for Police assistance.

Furthermore the meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:00. Due to my train/commuter bus connection (5:31 from NY met by bus at Hartsdale 6:05), I arrived at Olympic Lane (witnesses) around 6:15, 5 minutes to walk to the building where I was confronted by Library Director Contrata and Ms. Greiner and by the time I left the Foundation's inner sanctum to use the phone at the front desk (to confirm her information with Tim Lewis) the police had already been called and the first unit arrived as I hung up the phone. The call had been made even before a complaint and cry for help had been made by the Foundation. The schedule is close to consistent with what you have reported. However, there is one other detail.

The commuter bus to Ardsley travels along Ridge Road to turn at Heatherdell. As the bus on that day neared the Heatherdell turn I noted a police unit at that point traveling north on Ridge Road. As I take this route at the same time to attend Library Board of Trustees meetings at the multipurpose center and the monthly meeting of Greenburgh Democrats in Ardsley, I have never before seen a police unit at that hour. My suspicious nature is such that I believe that the Police were at the multipurpose center in anticipation of my arrival at 6:00 and that when I failed to appear at that time, they left after waiting 15 minutes. Thus when I did arrive and the call was made by Marilyn Greiner, they responded in force as though an invasion had been launched.

Now go ahead and tell me I am being overly paranoid. But I would suggest that you first interview the person who made the call: Marilyn Greiner and her boss, Genie Contrata. Soon before she suffers further memory loss.

The email to Contrata is being sent under separate cover.


-----Original Message-----
From: John A. Kapica
Sent: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 10:11 pm
Subject: Your request


Hal: My Special Investigations officer searched for the call you inquired about today but was unable to locate it. Our Dispatch Record indicates the call was received at 1823 hrs. Further investigation revealed that the call had been received on an untaped line at the desk. Although the sergeant who received the call was off today we contacted him at home and he advised us that he received a call from a member of the library board, whose name he did not recall, stating that a town resident continued to insist that he be allowed to take part in the meeting after he was told the meeting was an executive session and he was not allowed to do so. The person went on to say that the individual was asked to leave but had not done so. The sergeant then dispatched the call himself and advised the Communications Center to enter the call in the dispatch system. He went on to say that the person told him they had contacted someone at the Police Department earlier in the day about the meeting who advised them to call the desk if a problem arose. This was probably the Patrol Captain, however, he took Thursday and Friday off and we were unable to reach him to confirm this. I will do so on Monday and advise you of my findings. In regard to your question about the number of vehicles that responded, since we ride in one-person units, it is routine to dispatch two units to an incident of this nature, which was the situation here. In this case, the Patrol Supervisor, a lieutenant, also elected to respond to the call. Supervisors are required to respond to as many calls for service as practical to observe how the officers under their command handle the matter. This provides part of the basis upon which employee evaluations are prepared. The voice tapes of the radio transmissions indicate that a fourth unit se lf-dispatched, meaning he was not told to go but advised communications that he would be responding. This unit should have been called off by a supervisor hearing this but it obviously was not. The first arriving units did in fact advise that no further units were required but this did not stop the fourth car. This will be discussed with both supervisors who were on duty that evening. I will contact you on Monday when I have more information. John


Ok bloggers, ready, aim attack Samis

town on its rear end said...

could it be the police have so little to do that they now self dispatch themselves?

this whole episode is starting to look very bad visavis both the police, the library foundation, the town attorney and gerry byrne who runs the multipurpose center.

so is the magazine ready to retract its 80th best ranking?

ps - notice the common theme - library and parks screw up - diana juettner territory.....

luckily she is burned toast.

Anonymous said...

Is it not odd that the message was not taped. Even worse no one remembered the persons name that made the call.
How convienent.
What if a incident did take place pray tell what would the police dept. have to back this call up.
You know there is something wrong with this picture.
Did the rec.commissioner make this call and it is being covered up.
Four patrol cars answer the call one would think that it was a major crime.
Has the foundation ever heard of free speech.
Are all the monies received by the foundation used properly or is someone helping themselves.
By them trying to cover up what they are doing only proves one thing that is very fishey.

Anonymous said...

Judging from the tenor and tone of Samis's e-mail to Chief Kapica, it's pretty clear that Samis had nothing to contribute to the library foundation meeting and was looking to disrupt it. The library foundation folks are just trying to figure out how to raise money for the library and Samis is trying to discredit that effort. There's no secret there. Samis's tactics are also no secret. Samis has been trying for years to get the police to throw him out of a town meeting because he thinks that he'll get more public attention that way. It's a dare on his part. It's part of his 60's protest shtick. If he's ignored, he gets more outrageous, and if he's still ignored, he gets even more outrageous, hurling insults, props, and verbal assaults from the floor. Just try to throw me out, he always seems to be saying.
I dare you. The library foundation volunteers did the right thing. They knew Samis was threatening to disrupt their meeting. They sought legal advice and got it. At some point, common sense and civility must prevail. It's time for Samis to take one of his celebrated "respites" from town affairs and join Feiner's friends the Garfunkels and go bother White Plains once again.

why are they so afraid? said...

2:39 is giving us his "law and order" shtick. what is with these types that usually think government is all wrong except when it comes to the police.

anon at 1:58 has it right. this whole episode looks and smells very fishy.

the allegation that samis was going to be disruptive is as valid as the claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in pre-invasion iraq.

the town board should schedule a meeting to find out what happened here. perhaps it would be a good idea to do it at the meeting on open government.

again - what is the foundation afraid of?

hal samis said...

2:39 is amazing. I've heard of optical character recognition (OCR) but nothing about software that can read and translate the words into tenor and tone. This must be one of those pink sheet companies that soar and crash when the underwriter's support wanes.
What was that stock symbol again, was it ANON?

But perhaps those without an ax to grind can tell me what I wrote, even the tenor and tone, the missing words, the emphasis, whatever...that tells this fool that (I) "had nothing to contribute to to the Library Foundation meeting and was looking to disrupt it."

I may have earlier written that I wanted to listen and learn and even used the word "audit" the meeting. Audit means to attend a course not for credit. Sorry if using an unfamiliar word scared you. There's toilet paper on sale at the A&P this week.

My friends often say that my posts are too long. I counter by quoting the Sy Syms' marketing line: an educated customer is our best customer.

Apparently those who write as anonymous think they I haven't written enough because they feel the need to put words in my mouth (post) that I haven't said (written).

Don't you get tired of being put down for the same offense. Can't we quarrel about something I've actually said or done?

Anonymous said...

Samis needs to have his "tenor and tone" spelled out for him?
Oh please. He starts out by calling the town's librarian a "cutout" for certain library trustees to introduce an "illegal transfer" of library funds. He then admits writing her an "angry e-mail." He calls two newer library trustees who presumably didn't agree with him "naive." He then threatens the librarian that "if she ever did something so unethical like this again, he could work full time to see that she was fired."
These words, from Samis's own post, are clearly the ravings of a very angry and unstable man. It is understandable that Library Foundation members would fear that Samis was hellbent on disrupting their meeting. He needs to get a grip. He is not a well at all.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst your bubble. Samis is well and stable.
He only wants what is right for the taxpayers.
You should thank him for his straight fowardness.
He's is not a coward to speak his mind. You don't like it well that's tough.

Anonymous said...

Well, Kapica was quoted twice in today's Scarsdale Inquiror. One, in an article about teenage parties, saying that the proposed Coounty law doesnt go far enough. Two, in the Edgemont police blotter section, saying if there are cutbacks to his budget there will be less patrol.

We need a supervisor who will make certain any cuts make sense. And there are room for cuts. Instead of patrols, which the residents want, how about cuts in the Greenburgh Alchohol Task force,, which also helps the villages.

Anonymous said...

Samis has obsessive library disorder. He cares only about the libary. Not the bloated police and TDYCC budgets, which are much larger.

Anonymous said...

Was it not Samis that brought to light the excessive overtime in thr police department.
Before you make your crazy comments get your facts straight.
Go back to a few town meetings and you will see who questioned the chief on the overtime and the response was given by Kolesar.
So Samis wins again.

Anonymous said...

Poor guy how many parts of the budget do you want him to handle.
If the town had listened to Samis we would not be having this large tax hike and more to come in the following years.
As far as the center I am quite sure that Samis had something to question if he thought the budget was inflated above and beyond.
But then again we all know that the town board does what they want and the hell with the messenger and the public..

Anonymous said...

So they mentioned the OT once or twice. Big deal. Nothing like the way Sammis goes after the library.

hal samis said...

Dear 2:39/4:03,
aka tenor and tone

Again, you can't read.

What I wrote in the Kapica email intro was observations of persons and events at the meeting of the Trustees of the Greenburgh Library.

What you wrote was "the tenor and tone of Samis' email to Chief Kapica it's perfectly clear that Samis has nothing to contribute to the Library Foundation".

Now, whereas I maintain that they are really the same public body, you and your ilk make a point that they are not.

Well, FYI, the Trustees' meeting allows public comment at the beginning of the meeting and I don't speak after that. In fact, at the Trustees meeting that is noted in the email to Kapica, I didn't even speak at the beginning.
I came to listen.

Just as I did at the Foundation meeting -- knowing that if admitted the Foundation doesn't even allow public comment at the beginning of their meeting.

And I guess that the perceptive members of the Library Foundation gazing into their crystal ball would know "that I was hellbent on disrupting their meeting" because they read this blog and my posting even before their meeting occurred and my posting the day after. Such foresight would have been better applied to fundraising and maybe they would have raised some meaningful bucks.

So when are you going to get some facts before you post? This blog is running out of room to store you and your fallen comrades who haven't yet scored a point.

Why don't you just go back to playing Grand Theft Auto.

For residents determined to defend the Library at all cost, regardless of how stupid they come off in writing, how come they still haven't learned to read?

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Many arent defending the library at all costs, but rather accept that is a fait accompli.

hal samis said...

To 8:14,

Fait accompli isn't quite the status but, for certain, the fat lady hasn't been heard by those that control the project, spend your tax dollars and act blase (another derivative) about it.

Your french idiom is interesting.
In english, there is a similar sounding word and that is fate. This project was fated to end this way because what, all ignored from the beginning, was that the combination of a Trustee Board (i.e. Howard Jacobs, Susan Wolfert, Estelle Palevsky) with no construction experience; a Town project manager, Al Regula, with disasterous construction experience and assigned to a project maybe 3-4 times or more larger than his earlier failed assignments -- while running the garbage pick-ups, leaf collection and road repairs; a Town Council (Francis Sheehan, Diana Juettner, Steve Bass, Eddie Mae Barnes) at war with the Town Supervisor, Paul Feiner, and none of them capable or inclined to oversee and protect the taxpayer's interests and their subsequent refusal to hire an independent owner's rep because Feiner favored it: things did not have to follow such a script because it was pre-ordained. A status report from Al Regula was always 'the project is on budget and on schedule'. Well, that might be accurate if the public, you the taxpayers who are footing the bill, understood that there were no systems in place to judge, no internal controls, and no basis for Regula to report this good news.

It was all taken on good faith.
Fait, fate, faith, choose the word you like and this fall, when the 2009 tax increase is announced and is again near 20%, you can choose again from fait, fate and faith.

Has anyone heard a public acknowledgement from any Town official, from any member of the Library Board of Trustees, from any member of the Library Foundation, from Jacqui Bishop, from the Library management, read it in The Journal News or The Scarsdale Inquirer, saw it on Channel 12..
that the project is "over budget"?

Has anyone pointed out that the project is delayed even though the Town Board approves costly change orders which cite "due to delays"?

And of course, if you don't know that you're over budget, you don't know how much either?

It can't last much longer since the latest pronouncement is that the construction work is now supposed to end in October, sometime, and the building is now supposed to open around Thanksgiving, sometime.

We'll see.

And we'll also need to see if everything works as it should.

However, this is the most important time because this is when all the dances and frantic spin control emerges. When the Library Trustees and the Library Foundation clash.

November 2004 was when the project budget was issued. This, $19,867,000 project, how it gets rounded down to $19.8 vs $19.9 is a minor puzzle, but for all their self-importance and secrecy, who would like to guess how much money for the Library the Foundation has actually raised in just about four years?

I don't know, I wasn't allowed to attend the meeting. I have heard mentioned around $175,000 but there are around 20 names attached to the Library Foundation, all feverishly safeguarding their privacy other than when they want to add the Foundation to their resumes. If that number is correct, that's under $9000 per person allowed to attend and be seated. No wonder they don't want to let the public in.

Online, residents can only find the Foundation's filed 2006 tax return. The Library which hosts the Foundation on their website (website supported by your tax dollars) doesn't have copies of the Foundation's tax returns even though the Library is the listed business office of the Foundation.
Was there a 2007 return filed, are they on extension, what's the story? Maybe that's one of the things they discuss at their secret meetings. Is this important? Yes. Does the required and timely filing of tax returns affect their 501c3 status?
Yes. Does maintaining this status affect their ability to assure contributors that they will receive tax benefits in return? Yes. Would this affect their fund-raising abilities? Assuredly if they are bothering to warn contributors if there is a problem.
Maybe after all these months, the Foundation should provide the public with some kind of "progress report".
(this is where anonymous rushes to say Samis is now attacking the Foundation, all volunteers, and I have no reason other than to promote Samis, to do so. Then I reply and say, all I want is information etc.)

Does this convince anyone in the land of anonymous that there is method behind the madness and that trying to find out information first hand is not the terrible thing that it's made out to be.
(this is where anonymous will use the line and write -- it's how you go about it).

Anyway, as the Library Director was quoted, "You don't have to have everything the first day".
I do expect that the unused cybermobile will be parked there the first day as it no longer need take up space at Town Hall. Parked outside because the budget no longer had any money to protect it from the elements.

Anonymous said...

Samis, no one is fooled by you. If you cared about Greenburgh, you would be looking at police and TDYCC budgets and putting pressure on them. All you focus is on teh library. Why? Becuae the supervisor was against it.

hal samis said...

Hey anonymous how about this challenge? Next year, the Library construction will be over and afterward I'll have free time.

I'm willing to follow the direction from an online poll of bloggers on which Town Departments should be examined.

Bloggers can pick which department Samis should give the "treatment". The "contest" is limited to DPW, the Community Center, the Police Department, Parks Department, Assessor's Office. Maybe in coming years I'll add Planning and Zoning but there's too much town code to master quickly. And I'd rather go there when the Comprehensive Plan is up for Public review.

But here's the catch. At least 30 bloggers must participate in the poll; there must be a minimum of 8 persons voting for the winning department; bloggers must use their own name, not anonymous and they must have a listed phone to confirm that they have voted. No opinions needed, no nasty comments about the departments needed; just the name of the department.
Simple enough?

Contest ends August 22 and, if necessary voting should follow this topic to the archived section should "Edgemont Burglary" fall off the front page before.

One vote per resident.
Winners will be notified online.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

Most people who dont toe Feiner's line you are hesitant to put their name up here. Dont want his vicious abuse.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know why Kapica is threatening to cut patrols and not the boat, the car seat program, etc. We need a supervisor who will monitor expenses.

hal samis said...

11:05,

All "most people" have to do is indicate their interest in learning more about a particular
town department.

I chose this format because it would be my name on the line to follow up on my commitment to readers. There have been many posts that falsely say that I won't look at certain areas because that would upset Feiner.
I don't care whether or not he's upset. Nor do I want to choose Department A and then get criticized for not choosing Department B. Since this criticism always comes from people who write as anonymous, I can't think of any other way to insure that the deck is not stacked unfairly or that I am not criticized for exercising free will on how I choose to spend my free time.

Bottom line: either put up or shut up. If you want me to scrutinize a department I want it clear that I have yielded to the "public weal". It is amazing to me that bloggers continue to state that they fear personal retaliation by Feiner if they were to post with their name. On the other hand, isn't it easy to retaliate or attack Feiner as anonymous when you use this explanation that you are afraid to use your own name. I believe that is what is called a self-serving doctrine. And, by being anonymous, you don't have to be troubled by the truth.

hal samis said...

To 5:53 8/02,

Actually I was saving this but depaired of The Scarsdale Inquirer doing a follow-up. Better late than never put consider it my throwing you a bone to gnaw on at the Park.

Sent to Chief Kapica and Town Board this afternoon.



"Last year The Scarsdale Inquirer wrote (with photo) a promotional piece on the Department's recent acquisition of a Segway vehicle. Segway is the two-wheeled motorized vehicle upon which an officer rides upright to observe and pursue perps or to nip concerns in the bud. In the article it was noted that by standing erect, the officer would have a height advantage and be able to see over the heads of pedestrians sharing the sidewalk or vehicles on the road. At the time, the article detailed how useful it would be in the crimestopper's arsenal of equipment to prevent and deal with crime. Although I had my doubts but was willing to give it a chance, I find that it has vanished, to the best of my knowledge, from the streets only to reappear recently by photo placing it at the Greenburgh Day festival. Hopefully it used more than once a year.

I had hoped that Ms. Murray would do an update on its use or whether it has been, as is my suspicion, mothballed. As I do not get around all of Greenburgh 24/7, would you please give me its weekly schedule so that I or my fellow residents, those who pay taxes, can observe it in action?"

Anonymous said...

I am more curious about why we need a boat. But I guess subsidies of village costs dont bother you.

Anonymous said...

Just as some people always blame Feiner anonymously and won't give their names because they say that Feiner will punich them, there are some people also anonumous who manage to invent an attack on the villages no matter what the problem is.

It is a chicken way to argue. Either state facts (and state them truthfully) or else shut up. We don't need people who make trouble anonymously just because they can't think of anything smarter to do.

Anonymous said...

FACT: The Greenburgh Police Dept has a boat and officers to go with it.

FACT: Unincorporated Greenburgh has no access to the Hudson, nor any river which the boat is used on.

FACT: Several villages do have access to the Hudson.

Please let me know which fact is not true.

Anonymous said...

I dont think the boat is patrolled with greenburgh officers, just dobbs ferry ones. I also think the boat was free and not bought , a lot of things come as grants.

Anonymous said...

Is there somewhere in Dobbs ferry or Irvington that I as a resident of the unincorporated area can go crabbing.
Waiting for an answer.

hal samis said...

5:40, you should be ashamed of your ignorance and your limited understanding of military defense.

If the enemy, hearing about our fabulous new library but unable to get library cards to it because their own municipality is not located contiguous, decides to invade unincorporated Greenburgh, their plan to get control of the Library calls for a two pronged attack (outlined in recently liberated copies of the Rockland County edition of The Journal News); the shared element of both is to arrive by water, establish a beachhead and then move eastward to the Library.

One of the first strategic objectives would be to take Taxter Ridge Park as a staging area from which to mount the primary thrust which is an infantry push along Tarrytown Road eastward to the Library. However, due to the peculiarities of the access routes to (for detailed explanation, see the book to the musical, Brigadoon) Taxter Ridge, it could be a fierce battle thanks to the expected resistance of a local partisan group, the East Irvington Civic Association. However, intelligence gathered by military attache to the Library, Al Regula, under secret orders from the Library Board of Trustees black ops finance committee, has revealed that this is really a diversion so that the movements of a smaller expeditionary force will be masked.

That mission, which could be scrubbed by command approved change orders just before the plan takes effect, calls for lightly armed forces (disguised in captured uniforms of the Ardsley fire brigade) to take the longer secondary but less defended route to arrive at the Library from the southeast. Enemy maps obtained by FOIL request clearly show the route as it snakes north avoiding the multipurpose center where a detachment of civilian volunteer militia, the Library Foundation, is camped out joined by General Kapica's crack corps of rolling cavalry. The enemy will rendez-vous at the Town pool using their fireman's uniforms to get past the secured checkpoint (if the yet unknown invasion date is a hot summer weekend, they have been instructed to bypass the pool so as to avoid a civilian confrontation) and to march north along the Sprain Parkway where the enemy only has to get past ancitipated light resistance from litigation at Fortress Bible and then, once past, it is a clear shot along the intermodal pedestrian facility on Knollwood Road right up to the Library entrance.

However, these plans are all predicated on gaining a toehold in Greenburgh secured by invasion from the sea. Especially since uncertain traffic and road conditions on the Tappan Zee bride make that an undependable route.

Thus, stop complaining, citizens of unincorporated Greenburgh. If you want to protect your assets and 80th place ranking, the new Library being the jewel in the crown, it is necessary to be prepared for attack coming from all fronts. Clearly the back-up of traffic leading to Ridge Hill will present a man-made protective barrier from invasion from the South. From the east, a similar situation exists with the traffic along Ardsley Road and the traffic and the crossing hump on East Hartsdale Avenue make invasion from this direction also unlikely. This leaves Greenburgh vulnerable from White Plains and northern points but existing civil defense plans to flood Route 9 and the Bronx River Parkway are in place and it is thought that between State Police garrisons to the North and ongoing blasting along 287, that this will act as a sufficient deterrent.

Thus, the only trouble spot is the Greenburgh shoreline and it is for this reason that unincorporated should be happy to support not only a police boat but also, if Kapica can have his way, a floating hospital ship should the hospital in Dobbs Ferry again be threatened with closing and the Lanza Foundation is unwilling to fund it.

Perhaps with the completion of the Comprehensive Plan of 2010, and the final decision on the last Bernstein appeals in 2023, the enmity between the surviving Town of Fairview and the Villages of Hartsleymont, Hasty Ferry, and Irvingtarryford will be settled and they can all work together peacefully to fund Eddie Mae Morgan/MSG Missle Launch base located adjacent to its sister facility, the Kapica School for the Study of Advanced Overtime.

Still waiting for blogger contest entries.

good work samis said...

hal - your attempt to infiltrate the library foundation at the multipurpose center resulted in the ardsley militia calling off its invasion of veteran park that night due to the heavy presence of greenburgh police (who were called - tape of call missing - to stop you from attending a meeting on public property by a group that only exists to promote a public institution).


if you are able find out when and where any such future foundation meetings are held, please let us know so we can plan accordingly.

one trusts in a samis administration, greenburgh's vulnerable border with ardsley will be better protected by something other than the fear of lyme disease.

good work samis. we will be watching your moves so we have reliable information where the the kapica troops will be.

Anonymous said...

I too will join forces with you to get to the bottom of the library fiasco.
It will cost us more money in taxes for a few years to come.
How much money was received by someone not mentioning names to turn the other way.
He has a great track record in this town ask some of the employees.
Why would anyone work for mega years when he could be enjoying what he has already gotten.
I guess he hasn't made a very good score yet.

Anonymous said...

If Samis were indeed disruptive at the Foundation meeting, by ll means, throw him out. I find the pre-emptive silencing of Samis by the Library Foundation, however, disturbing and fascistic. What are hiding? Is this a Centcom strategy session? If the Library wants to build trust, this is not the means to do it. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the White Plains Library very much and don't miss the Greenburgh library at all.

foundation apology needed said...

amen. the library foundation should apologize to mr samis and the entire greenburgh community.

Anonymous said...

The way Samis was treated not only by the foundation members but also by the police department was uncalled for.
Samis has been up front with the town board concerning the library.
It's kinda odd that this board has not followed his advice from the beginning when he asked the first question concerning the PLANS ,
The construction came afterward and then the money that was allocated via a referendum.
He was right on all counts.
Let's see what happens in the coming years when our budget will be just as high if not higher than this last one. because of the town boards stupidity.
If they only checked Samis's concerns they would have seen that there was something that was not kosher.
BUT the board is always right and of course Samis is always wrong.
This goes back to the meeting at Dromore Rd. where the supervisor and Samis were not told of a private meeting.
Why is it that some members on the board are afraid of Samis.
Could it be that he is more knowledgeable about construction,
grants,bond issues,financial matters, and above all an honest open government.
Why does he have to do all the investigative work for the board to show them that they are not running a good ship.
We are sinking slowly and there is no one to throw us a life perserver.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

You forgot several parts of the Greenburgh defense plan.

Kapica will send out the Segway equipped forces. They will proceed carefully down pothole ridden streets, camoflouged by the overgrown weeds by the side of the street.

The Village forces (those who do not have their own library and are joining in the attact) will be distracted by the Segway group who are going full force in the street, as there are no sidewalks. The Village forces are gaining strength as the library-less group has persuaded the pool-less villages, in that if they can sustain their attack and obtain the use of the library, the pool is next.

Kapica will call up the Citizen Guard, with their motorized transport vehicles from the TDYCC (oh and very clever oh you poster, making it seem as if all buses were paid for and relating to one small program), and they will support the Segway brigade.

Paul “Charmberlain” Feiner is begging all sides, just appease the Villages with limited use of the pool and the library and they will settle for that.

hal samis said...

So it is Monday night and I am still waiting...

My apologies to those who have read the bulk of this post but it is my experience that few on the blog take the trouble to scroll up for what was earlier posted or pasted.

The following is my latest missive to the Chief of Police.

"Part deux
As your last communication re this matter indicated getting back to me today when you had more information,
I wonder if the issues I raised to you in my reply are the reason for your not doing so or whether you are genuinely having trouble getting the answers from your people or from the Library personnel I have identified.

You must admit that your response to me following your initial willingness to supply me with a CD of the call so that I could judge the caller's "oral intonation" was the high point of your reply while everything subsequent to that email supports the premise that this reply was overly ambitious in light of the Police Department's inability to even have a written record of the call or who made the call. I sympathize with your embarrassment but by now the redness must have left your face. Nevertheless, is this the system, desk officers leave duty without properly logging in calls? You have to track them down at home? Given that four units were dispatched to the multipurpose center for this major incident without records, it doesn't seem like there was a lot going on in the remainder of Greenburgh borders, so in light of your hubris regarding the complaint vanishing from sight, sound and memory, I remain somewhat dubious and daunted to think that your vaunted communications systems are proving to be another waste of tax dollars.

Finally as you wrote that "Supervisors are required to respond to as many calls as practical to observe how the officers under their command handle the matter..." would seem to be the Greenburgh Police equivalent of "your call may be monitored for training purposes". However, it would seem more effective if the Supervisor arrived there during the incident instead of having all parties waiting around for his arrival ten minutes after the third unit arrived. I hope that "handle the matter" has a higher purpose than taking attendance and that, again, if a verbal report taken at the scene afterward is all that this implies, this could be accomplished by phone or radio and without the wear and tear on a police vehicle (capital budget replaces vehicles on mileage achievement) and the gas used to get this vehicle there. This is not to criticize the Supervisor who was by all measures competent, cordial and courteous to the extent of driving me home. But all of us, myself and the three earlier units, were stuck there awaiting his arrival at the scene of the "crime".

The total effect of this Police Department intervention was to waste a lot of tax dollars, personnel and equipment and to remove their "presence" from areas that should be the destination of their normal patrol. I think the Police Department needs to have a serious talk with the Library (they being town) employees involved that caused this waste of resources. Perhaps they should have to perform unpaid community service attending storytime and reading, say three hours worth, of "the boy/girl who cried Wolf". Certainly, I hope not to find out later that anyone involved with this incident was paid overtime for their participation.



-----Original Message-----
From: halmarc@aol.com
To: jkapica@greenburghny.com
Cc: pfeiner@greenburghny.com
Sent: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 11:17 pm
Subject: Re: Your request


Go to bed!
But in the morning reflect over whether "to take part in the meeting" means to participate or to audit the meeting. The Library Board of Trustees meets monthly at the multipurpose center and Library Director Contrata and Assistant Library Director Greiner and Trustees Chair Howard Jacobs observe my conduct at their meeting. What would be their basis for such concern that I would be disruptive solely because the label of the meeting had been changed? You have left word with the Trustees that they should call the Police if members of the public became disruptive and I believe that in the last year you have not received any such call from them.
So what makes Tuesday so different?

One thing is that I sent an email to Ms Contrata last week after the Thursday Trustees meeting. Ms Contrata was the cut-out for Trustees Jacobs and Wolfert to introduce the vote for an illegal transfer of Library funds from their operating budget to the capital budget of the Library construction project. My angry email regarding this vote was the result of the Library claiming to be unable to operate the cybermobile with their operating fund balance. Yet they found more than twice was is required to continue the service in the remaining five months of the year. As there are two naive newer members of the Trustees on hand to vote the funds transfer, it passed. My email, copying Greiner, promised Ms Contrata that if she ever did something so unethical again, I would work full-time to see that she was fired. This probably made Ms. Contrata unhappy to the extent that she positioned herself and Greiner, not inside the meeting room of the Foundtion, but at the building entrance to guard against my late arrival. How long the two of them intended to remain at the front desk instead of attending the meeting would be a guess but as I have state below, they were still there at 6:20. I would put forth the proposition that they entertained thoughts of payback.

Executive Session is a word of art and clearly does not depict a regularly scheduled monthy meeting. What the Foundation argues about their status is that their meeting is not subject to open meeting law -- a point of contention.
Be advised that I arrived at the meeting following telephone contact to the Town Supervisor and the Town Attorney advising me that I had a right to attend. Why should I trust the words of the Library Director Contrata and the Assistant Library Director Greiner which conflicted with what I heard. I went to the meeting room to hear the words direct from the horse's mouth, Judy Criss? She stated that Tim Lewis had called to revoke his earlier permission and that he was unable to reach me while I was in transit. My request to make my claim before the Foundation was not enough by itself to provoke a call for Police assistance.

Furthermore the meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:00. Due to my train/commuter bus connection (5:31 from NY met by bus at Hartsdale 6:05), I arrived at Olympic Lane (witnesses) around 6:15, 5 minutes to walk to the building where I was confronted by Library Director Contrata and Ms. Greiner and by the time I left the Foundation's inner sanctum to use the phone at the front desk (to confirm her information with Tim Lewis) the police had already been called and the first unit arrived as I hung up the phone. The call had been made even before a complaint and cry for help had been made by the Foundation. The schedule is close to consistent with what you have reported. However, there is one other detail.

The commuter bus to Ardsley travels along Ridge Road to turn at Heatherdell. As the bus on that day neared the Heatherdell turn I noted a police unit at that point traveling north on Ridge Road. As I take this route at the same time to attend Library Board of Trustees meetings at the multipurpose center and the monthly meeting of Greenburgh Democrats in Ardsley, I have never before seen a police unit at that hour. My suspicious nature is such that I believe that the Police were at the multipurpose center in anticipation of my arrival at 6:00 and that when I failed to appear at that time, they left after waiting 15 minutes. Thus when I did arrive and the call was made by Marilyn Greiner, they responded in force as though an invasion had been launched.

Now go ahead and tell me I am being overly paranoid. But I would suggest that you first interview the person who made the call: Marilyn Greiner and her boss, Genie Contrata. Soon before she suffers further memory loss.

The email to Contrata is being sent under separate cover.


-----Original Message-----
From: John A. Kapica
To: halmarc@aol.com
Sent: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 10:11 pm
Subject: Your request


Hal: My Special Investigations officer searched for the call you inquired about today but was unable to locate it. Our Dispatch Record indicates the call was received at 1823 hrs. Further investigation revealed that the call had been received on an untaped line at the desk. Although the sergeant who received the call was off today we contacted him at home and he advised us that he received a call from a member of the library board, whose name he did not recall, stating that a town resident continued to insist that he be allowed to take part in the meeting after he was told the meeting was an executive session and he was not allowed to do so. The person went on to say that the individual was asked to leave but had not done so. The sergeant then dispatched the call himself and advised the Communications Center to enter the call in the dispatch system. He went on to say that the person told him they had contacted someone at the Police Department earlier in the day about the meeting who advised them to call the desk if a problem arose. This was probably the Patrol Captain, however, he took Thursday and Friday off and we were unable to reach him to confirm this. I will do so on Monday and advise you of my findings. In regard to your question about the number of vehicles that responded, since we ride in one-person units, it is routine to dispatch two units to an incident of this nature, which was the situation here. In this case, the Patrol Supervisor, a lieutenant, also elected to respond to the call. Supervisors are required to respond to as many calls for service as practical to observe how the officers under their command handle the matter. This provides part of the basis upon which employee evaluations are prepared. The voice tapes of the radio transmissions indicate that a fourth unit se lf-dispatched, meaning he was not told to go but advised communications that he would be responding. This unit should have been called off by a supervisor hearing this but it obviously was not. The first arriving units did in fact advise that no further units were required but this did not stop the fourth car. This will be discussed with both supervisors who were on duty that evening. I will contact you on Monday when I have more information. John

Anonymous said...

Hal,

The GPD shows up with multiples units at a drop of a hat. They want the OT. It has nothing to do with you.

hal samis said...

I love this cut and paste function.  Otherwise, who would believe this?  Dare I remind readers that the Town Board serves as The Police Commissioner and Kevin Morgan is the Town Board liaison to the Police Department.Now you know why it can and does happen here.The Chief's reply to my earlier query and my reply to him is on top.  Scroll down and read his first."Dear Chief,Please don't try to make me responsible for your day.  As I only filed a FOIL request which, presumably is handled by the Police Department in the same five day period as the rest of the Town departments, those handled through the Town Clerk's office, you should not have volunteered a reply for today, especially if "Mondays are usually busy".Perhaps you should not have written while the five business days are still not exhausted and whereas I am certainly understanding of your busy schedule, I resent the implication that I am "hounding" you when I am only responding to a deadline of your own making.Likewise, please don't try to explain away the presence of four units as only 2+1+1 because how they got to be there, while maybe unusual in itself, was still an unnecessary expense for taxpayers.As for your comments regarding my ride home and your mention "were you (I) not informed ahead of time that this meeting would be an executive session", both parts are not unrelated and both are immaterial.  First of all as indicated in my comments to you, I was informed  by the Town Supervisor and the Town Attorney that I could attend this meeting and the subsequent reversal of this permission was not one of my making or ability to act upon as I was enroute without any knowledge of such a change in opinion.  Second, lacking an Agenda for this meeting, how could anyone determine that the entire meeting was "Executive Session" at least how the term is normally used to define what is covered under such privilege.  If you mean to say that the meeting was not open to the public; that the Foundation is not a "public body"; that is an interpretation not yet established beyond a reasonable doubt.  If you mean to say that a portion of the meeting is held as Executive Session, then under Robert's (not Freeman) Rules of Order, an announced meeting must first open as a meeting and then adjourn to Executive Session.However, again, I suspect you mean to say that none of the meeting was open to the public, irregardless of what was on the Agenda.  In any case, as a result of my being told by Town officials that the meeting was open, I arrived and as a consequence it would not be unreasonable for the Police to rescue a stranded citizen who washed ashore believing his right to attend was vouchsafed by responsible Town officials.  Thus it would be a poorly contrived proposition to again try to put me behind the steering wheel and argue that my arrival at an open town building (with multipurposes) was an invitation for the Police to end up with four units attending the party.So, I again remind you, marching to the tune that an earlier in the day call by a still unknown party  was able to book the Police Department for a later appearance and that such bookings are handled by the Police Concierge manning the Reservations Desk which, in turn, doesn't know who the caller is.  Good to know that if you call ahead, the Police will dispatch units solely on the basis that a resident appears in a Town building.  Apparently, complaints need no justification if you book early enough in advance.And, somewhere in this little intrigue the thought lingers that shouldn't the Police be maintaining some system of written records just in case matters go to Court?  Frankly, I'm a little concerned that you describe a system of oral history which is accessed only when the Police Officer is on the clock and Senior Management has free time to hear his story.  Lacking records such as a logbook, which I assume would be written and left in an accessible location in the Police Station, one would keep their fingers crossed that the mystery Officers don't have a vacation in the very near future and thus are unavailable.  As it is, questions regarding what happened before the Foundation meeting of Tuesday evening last week, are first going to be asked a week later and the enlightening answers depend on the memory of the Officer "probably the Patrol Captain" who took the call.  Chief, you must be aware that this does not play well before an attentive public.  You are well advised not to answer until you have done your homework.  And, with all those promotions the public must sit through at Town Board meetings, is there no one but yourself who can get to the bottom of this complex "mystery" other than the Chief of Police?Because it is really difficult to think the Department is well run when you write back tonight (adding the Town Attorney to your list) that "the desk sergeant indicated that someone from the library contacted the department earlier in the day" and that you don't seem to know who made the second call to the "private" line that evening.  I'm sure my comments will piss you off but maybe this is really some byzantine scheme to get the Town Board to give your department a bigger budget next year.Or a trial run by terrorists seeking to have the Police deploy their manpower in the opposite direction of their attack.

  -----Original Message-----From: John Kapica To: halmarc@aol.comCc: Timothy Lewis; howjac@optonline.netSent: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 9:59 pmSubject: RE: Your requestHal:  First of all, as I previously advised you, two units were dispatched to the Multi-Purpose Building, not four.  This was properly recorded.  A third self-dispatched and although this might be appropriate in some instances, it was not in this case and he should have been called off by a supervisor.  His supervisor was spoken to about this.  As I previously stated, the supervisor may respond to and is encouraged to respond to any calls he/she wishes to and while we strive for the ideal, i.e., the police always get to the scene within 30 seconds and apprehend the bad guy, this doesn't happen in the real world, at least not very often.  It also cost taxpayer dollars to transport you home but I did not notice that you objected to that.  This also begs the question, Were you not informed ahead of time that this meeting would be an executive session?  If you were and went anyway, it could be argued that you were responsible for the waste of taxpayer dollars.  What I told you in my previous email was that the desk sergeant indicated that someone from the Library contacted the department earlier in the day and was advised to telephone the desk directly if there was a problem.  I went on to say that I believed the person contacted was probably the Patrol Captain but I could not speak with him until Monday as he took Thursday and Friday off.  Obviously, I did not have the opportunity to speak with him today otherwise I would have contacted you.  Mondays are normally busy and today I had an unexpected visit by two individuals from the state who wished to inspect the building, which kept me busy for most of the afternoon.  Although I have a particularly busy schedule tomorrow, hopefully I will have the opportunity to speak with Captain Bryan and he will be able to shed some light on who from the Library ca lled the Police Department.  Until I have that information or I have exhausted all investigative avenues to discovering who the perpetrator was, I will not be responding to further emails from you on this topic as that would truly be a waste of taxpayer dollars."

Anonymous said...

And when you are done with the library investigation, Captain Queeg, can you find out where the extra strawberries went???

Happy with Samis said...

There is a group of schmucks who deal with every item of truth that doesn't fit their party line with insults. The 8:01 blogger is a perfect example.

Most of us are glad that Samis is bent on revealing the ignorance and incompetence that pervades our government. Thanks to him, and his refusal to let things slide, there will be greater oversight in the future. Maybe we will even get some standards of competence where there are none now. Hence 8:01's stupid crack about Captain Queeg and the strawberries. He is one of the few who still refuses to acknowledge that the library renovation, however well-intentioned, has been a disaster, and we will be getting, in Ed Krauss' immortal words, a 19 inch analog TV even though we are paying for a 50 inch flat screen plasma TV.

If the Town Board acted like a government instead of a perpetual reelection operation we wouldn't need Samis. And I imagine that if the Town Board were smart enough to listen to Samis and make corrections, Samis would become more of a background person. But given the Town Board's "see no evil, hear no evil, speak lots of evil" approach, I say thank God for Samis.

word to obama said...

samis for vice president!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would have happened if you replace "Hal Samis" with "Cora Carey" and replay the events of 7/29 over again?

Regardless, I am speechless. The behavior of this towns officials is deplorable.

hal samis said...

Apparently as far as the Chief of Police wants to take it. Most of you who have bothered to read all of the correspondence recognize that there are "two mints in one":
the issue of what is the Library Foundation and what are their secrets AND how the Police Department is run, with or without systems.

Perhaps the following will add some more enlightenment regarding the second matter.

My last email to the Chief; and his and my comments before. Readers know that email chains start from the bottom and read up.
Unfortunately this blogsite consolidates and violates intended paragraphs with a mind of its own.




"Since you won't respond, you won't respond.
However we both recognize that this allows you to avoid my criticism that your Department lacks systems to track complaints, from their call-in to final disposition. Or, if such systems exist, your Officers are not working with them. Otherwise, you would have the answers in minutes, not days.


-----Original Message-----
From: John A. Kapica
To: halmarc@aol.com
Sent: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 2:44 pm
Subject: RE: Your request


You will need to ask the Library Director who she speaks for. You are correct as to the time frame of my being with the town attorney. While at a Town Board Work Session, I received a telephone call on my Nextel from the Patrol Supervisor wanting to confirm that the meeting was indeed a closed session. Tim had just left the session to answer your call and since I knew nothing at all about this meeting, I walked out to speak with him about this at which time he told me he was on the phone with you and that you agreed to leave. There was no type of alert status and this department responds to ALL calls for service. As I already advised you, it is SOP to dispatch two units. This is the last response I will make on this subject.


From: halmarc@aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 2:29 PM
To: John A. Kapica
Cc: Town Board; Timothy Lewis; howjac@optonline.net
Subject: Re: Your request


A few points to make, if only to brighten your day.
Although I don't expect the Police to make the distinction, does the Library Director speak for the Library Foundation -- in which case this would be a further indication that the Foundation is a "public body" and depending upon the same support system that nurtures the Library and the Library Board of Trustees -- and thus subject to the same open meeting laws as the Library or the Trustees.

However I want to clarify your comment that you were with Town Attorney when he told me (that the Town Board ) had decided the meeting was a closed meeting. This conversation only occurred after I had left the doorway to the Library Foundation meeting and was the call I made from the multipurpose center desk on the way out of the building. "(Your) actions based on that overheard conversation with Tim Lewis was irrelevant since the units had already been dispatched only 8 minutes after I had arrived at the entrance of the building and that early on (and later) not resulting in provocative behavior. Certainly the Foundation does not control the hallways and entrance area of the Town's multipurpose center and my engagement of the Foundation's President lasted at best two minutes including her comments.

The question you seem to be avoiding is whether there were grounds to dispatch units to the building even after the Department was on some type of "alert" status. Perhaps, with this advance knowledge, the Desk Officer might have asked the caller (Ms. Greiner) to put me on the phone rather than initiate a costly process of overkill.

Nor do I see that you have explained away the process whereby the Desk Officer has completed paperwork to identify the nature of the complaint, who made the call to his direct line and other questions that should exist as a permanent record written at the time of the incident. Having to call your Officer at home or wait until they return to work cannot be a process which insures accuracy, especially the acquisition of such details coming six days after the event; this cannot be what you want the public to believe is how the Department operates.

Furthermore, in the absence of a Supervisor being at hand when questions are presumed asked by three, independent units, at the scene, it is hard to believe that none of them asked who called in the complaint (not the "request for information" earlier in the afternoon) and were unable to make this dsicovery a notation in whatever paperwork should be completed when units are summoned. I would particularly asssume what I hope are written records to include the names of all the parties involved in the incident so that, if future incidents of this nature occur, there will be a sustainable record to refer back to if any, or all of the parties, have a demonstrable pattern of abusing Police resources.

Surely between the Desk Officer, the arriving units and the Supervisor at the scene, there must exist a report which includes who "apprised" the Desk Officer of a "problem". If so, then a reading of your emails to me details a widespread and formidable tableau of unavailable information because the invovled Police Department employees no longer are on duty when reasonable questions about matters occuring during their shift arise. The Chief of Police should not have to call Officers at their home; the information should be obtainable in-house.

Does the Police Department log in calls which result in the dispatch of units;
Does the Police Department do this as these calls are received;
Does the Police Department maintain records from those Officers who are at the scene;
Does the Police Department do this as matter of routine?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", then your long-winded replies and explanations of getting the how, when and why to my requested questions -- could all have been answered by simply looking in an existing log. Instead, you regaled me with "x" went home. "y" was off for the weekend" and "z" you weren't sure of if he was the right person. Most of what you wrote was conversationally interesting and perhaps we'll both publish he said, she said books someday. But right now, most of what you wrote regarding the ineffective or non-existing SOP of your Department boils down to well staged instances of "blowing smoke".

Not how Officer Joe Friday would have handled it, "Just want the facts, m'am".
Instead, I, the Town Board and residents got the Officer Joe Bolton version.


-----Original Message-----
From: John A. Kapica
To: halmarc@aol.com
Cc: Town Board, Timothy Lewis howjac@optonline.net
Sent: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 1:10 pm
Subject: RE: Your request


Hal: I spoke with Captain Glenn Bryan, the Patrol Division commander who confirmed that he received a call from the Library Director on the day of the meeting who inquired what action she should take if someone insisted on entering a closed meeting involving the Library Foundation. This was not a complaint, just a request for information and there was no reason to document it. The Patrol Captain told her that he would apprise the Desk Officer of the situation and that she should call the desk directly if a problem arose, which she did. The status of the meeting is not for me or my officers to determine. I was with the Town Attorney when he was on the telephone with you advising that the meeting was a closed session. Our actions were based on that decision. If you have an issue with that, I suggest you take it up with Tim. Finally, this department attempts to respond to every request for information it receives in the most expeditious manner possible. The information we provide is not filtered, colored or otherwise modified to cast this agency, town government, any person, public or private entity in any more favorable light. It is what it is. You contacted me directly about this incident and I attempted to be as responsive as possible. Your criticism, however, is well taken and when dealing with requests from you in the future I will be certain not to respond, "until I have done my homework." The Police Department like every other public or private entity on the face of the earth is not perfect although we constantly strive to be better at what we do. Finally Hal, pleased don't be concerned about your comments "pissing" m e off. Actually, they are sometimes the highlight of my d ay and certainly will assure you of at least cursory mention should I ever consider penning my memoirs. John"

Anonymous said...

In order to put this Samis affair in perspective, why doesn't Samis reprint his "angry" e-mail to the library director, the one where he threatened to work full time getting her fired. Perhaps if the public saw just how threatening Samis was, we might better understand why some might reasonably fear the acts of an apparently unglued town resident.

free speech threatened? said...

Anon at 12:14 should get over to the library and read both the us and ny state constitutions - both guaranty free speech.

free speech is not always pretty but the alternative is worse.

samis is generally right when it comes to the library.

one cannot say the same about either the library foundation, tim lewis, or the police department with regard to the events of 7/29.

Thank Heaven for Samis said...

Mr. 12:14. Samis is not unglued. He is angry, and with much justification. From the beginning he has asked questions and made extremely well-researched points, and he has been treated as an invisible person by the Town Board, the Library Board, and now by the Library Foundation. Now if his comments and questions had been raised by the EEC, or (heaven help us) by someone from the Council of Greenburgh Civic Association -- and all those should have asked the questions that Samis asked -- then the Town Board and the Library Board would have jumped and answered.

Samis has done a great service to the town by exposing how shamefully the Town Board, the Library Board, and the rest of the town government has acted to cover up and protect the Library Board's incompetence -- an incompetence which is irreparable and for which we will pay forever. Even those who don't like Samis cannot answer his charges -- all they can do is call him names, as if that were a sufficient response.

Shame on you.

hal samis said...

No problem!

Here is what I sent the Library Director. Since I am not that skilled yet in cut and pasting I shall return to my sent box to retrieve the email sent July 24.


I suspected that because it would be unusual for your job description to start originating fund transfers. However, you agreed to be the messenger and that "story" got the votes from McCarthy and Thomas who would never know to think about the cybermobile. Furthermore, I don't believe that what is being attempted is legal or even permissable. You need to consider whom you are going to be working for going forward and not play the "just following orders" line. The lame duck Trustees are not going to be firing anyone ahead of the Library opening and your job assessment before the new Board (your new bosses) started last night. You also might consider that George will likely resign with the departures of Howard and Susan and Mindy is hardly ever there.


-----Original Message-----
From: Eugenie Contrata
To: hal samis
Sent: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 10:18 am
Subject: Re: Tonight's Trustee meeting


what makes you think this way my idea?


On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 10:45 PM, hal samis wrote:

I sent an email out that you and the Trustees are not copied on -- for good reason (although the comments about you are absent). Maybe in a day or two or through your usual channels you will access a copy.

Take this as a warning.

If you ever again try another stunt like tonight and attempt to move your operating budget to the construction budget so as to expand the buying power of the remaining construction funds, I shall work tirelessly to see that you are fired. If the expansion is in trouble; that is not your problem; let the Trustees continue the fine job they are doing of hanging themselves.

And I believe I can make good arguments before the new Trustees.

Your responsibilites rest with operating the best Library using the resources at your command. Such resources were accepted from the Town (the government and the taxpayer/patrons) in your 2008 funding. Planning the building and enabling the building is the realm of the Trustees.

The Library gets operating money for operating expenses. That you overestimate how you are going to spend them is not the crime; that you knew that you were building up a surplus is not a crime; but that you eliminated the cybermobile saying that the Library cannot afford it while you are fully aware that the money to do so exists: that is the crime.

This is not a victimless crime; taxpayers are being deprived of a popular service.

"Newly" discovered "excess" operating funds should immediately be used to restore cybermobile service and repair the broken promise of the Trustees to maintain it during the relocation.

And I particularly did not like your characterization of expenses which were part of the construction project as normal operating expenses because you cannot ,among other obvious red flags, justify two sets of utility bills, two phone systems, etc. The two newest serving Trustees may still be a page or two behind and useful as "seconds" but they will learn.

Hal

samis to the rescue said...

if the library director tried to move operating funds to the construction project, then maybe she should be fired.

thanks hal.

hal samis said...

Dear 12:14,

I'm sure that even though you call me "unglued", you are not so happy reading the results of your challenge.

Maybe there are even bloggers who would recommend that the Town Board "send a case of this same glue to all the other activists in Town".

You don't need any. You already come with a reputation of being stuck on yourself.

Here is the original post sent to the Town Board, the Town Comptroller and the Town Attorney.



I attended the Library Board of Trustees meeting tonight, as did liaison Diana Juettner, and I left there in an untypical controlled state of fury.

Just as I predicted, the Trustees are attempting to sneak money from their 2008 operating funds surplus (which has been quietly building toward $300,000 by year end) and move it to staunch the outflow of funds from their leaking Referendum construction budget. They are attempting to do this by issuing purchase orders directly from the Library for items such as book drop ducts, telephone systems, furniture, and the payment of onsite utility bills incurred during the construction period. These are all items intended for and included in the $19.9 million budget. However, their hope is that by paying for the items directly, they will "disappear" from the construction project, not be noticed, and in doing so make more funds available for other items related to the construction project. Thus what was the purchasing power of $19.9 can be expanded indefinitely if more of the items are purchased off the construction project books. Perhaps the Library operating budget should also be used to pay for the additional cost of asphalt.

Tonight's vote concerned an amount just under $120,000 which suggests that the Town Board granted the Library too much money for 2008 operating expenses. And there will be more "excess" funds being liberated through the remainder of the year, if allowed.

But there is more to this than just my usual complaint about mismanagement regarding the Library consturction project.

There is even more than my complaint that with all this going on, no one from the Town Board or the Library will yet own up to the fact that the project is grossly over budget and that the project is not on schedule but delayed. The Town Board votes to accept costly change orders because of delays and then denies that the project is delayed. What gives? But let's move on to what shall become and remain an ongoing nightmare to the Town and Library Boards unless they assent to the following condition which appears eventually below.
By all standards and sense of decency, the conditon is logical and reasonable.

The biggest and most irrefutable abuse of this funds shifting is one that produces an immediately felt hardship upon unincorporated residents, voters, taxpayers and Library patrons. Residents are already paying a 22% tax increase in 2008 which was in part caused by the $3,440,000 allocated to the Library as its operating budget. Concurrently, much was made of the legal cap on the construction budget and repeatedly it was stated that it could not be exceeded. Of course we know that this has already turned out to be false after the Town Board voted to allow the acceptance of some $400,000 in grants to be used to increase the construction budget rather than reduce the bonding. I have foiled and am awaiting written legal opinions with citations referencing the language of the grants to anything which says that these grants, Federal, State or otherwise cannot be used to reduce bonding. Just because any member of the Town Board says it it so is, unfortunately, not a guarantee of such statements being true.

But tonight's vote by the Trustees is the final straw. You will all remember that during the budget hearings, the Library Trustees (notably Susan Wolfert) said that due to their budget being cut that they could no longer provide cybermobile service and Sunday hours at the Town Hall. They didn't have enough money was their claim; a claim that I very much differed with and wrote many emails and letters pointing out that the Library could indeed afford to maintain this popular service. For example I pointed out that the Library said that it intended to spend $180,000 more on books and media for 2008 than was spent in 2007. This seemed ridiculous in light of the likelihood that the Library for at least 11 months of 2008 would be in the same location as it was in 2007 and that there would be no room to add these additional items to already overflowing bookshelves. Even if I accepted Howard Jacobs' statement that the cost of the cybermobile would be $157,000, this one area alone of increased spending could easily cover the cybermobile cost. Nevertheless, come January 1, 2008, cybermobile service ceased.

Now let me be generous; let's allow that the growing surplus in the 2008 operating numbers was a genuine surprise to the Library Board of Trustees and the Library Director. But once aware, as they were in May that this pool of money was available, what did they choose to do with it? Clearly, restoring cybermobile service was not an option. And that is the condition I seek and fully expect to see embraced by both the Town Board and the Library Board of Trustees. I insist that the cybermobile be returned to service using the surpluses that exist in the operating fund; not as the Trustees intend, which is to use them for off-balance sheet construction project spending.

The Library Board of Trustees submitted a budget last fall that showed cybermobile service as one of its objectives. The line items were there; line items which had no other application other than providing cybermobile service. If the Library did not have funds to operate the service, that would be one thing but obviously tonight they have demonstrated that such funds exist -- more than enough to continue the cybermobile through the end of the year. This period would mostly run concurrent with the new Library not being open and would restore the broken promise made to those residents voting in the referendum that the cybermobile would be used to compensate for sharply curtailed service while the Library was under construction.

If the objective reality and indecency of the Library's attitude and being caught in the web of their own making are not enough to restore cybermobile service immediately; then I implore the Town Board to restore the moral balance and make good on the broken promise of the Library Trustees. There is a simple way that the Town Board can do this without interfering with Library operations. The Town Board can amend the Town Budget by reducing its 2008 allocation to the Library by an amount, say $300,000. It can re-allocate this amount to another Department, say the Community Center, which will thereupon operate the cybermobile using these proceeds. Note: the Community Center already provides the driver for the cybermobile. If the Library refuses to lend materials to the cybermobile, the Community Center will use a portion of the $300,000 to build an inventory. And the Town Board will take note of such a lack of cooperation.

It is time to get tough with the existing Board of Trustees. Waiting until January 1, 2009 will not return cybermobile service to taxpayers who have already paid for it in their 2008 taxes but have not received the benefit. This may be harsh and arguable but it is the Library Trustees who are playing the game of "bait and switch". It is up to the Town Board to protect the rights of Library Patrons and taxpayers even if the Library no longer cares about these residents that foot the bills.

This matter needs to be acted upon immediately before the Library initiates purchase orders. Otherwise, the Town Board will have little leverage other than to reduce the Library's remaining operating budget.

Hal Samis

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the best evidence of just how unglued Samis has become over the library is his post at 3:08 where he says the anonymous person who first suggested he might be unglued must be some "activist" who has a reputation of being "stuck on yourself." Besides unglued, add paranoid.

hal samis said...

Dear Friend of Elmer (4:35),

Last time I looked the word was "activist" not antagonist.

There are activists I agree with and support, there are activists I disagree with and support and there are activists I disagree with and don't support.

However, in the category of antagonists, I make no such distinction but treat all consistently as "equal oppportunity offenders".

Anonymous said...

The headline here is supsect in jail. Did Greenburgh Police arrest him? If not who did? Where is he in jail?