Sunday, July 31, 2011

Consolidation or Smart Practices – How Simple Was This?

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office of Denver, Colorado, recently announced its plan to implement a new design for its patrol cars today. The graphics will remain the same as what’s been used in the past. The traditional black and white paint scheme will be replaced with a solid black color, according to their news release. The one-color design is part of a cost-saving measure to avoid the pricey paint jobs and touch-ups previously used. In the past, when the Sheriff's office bought a new black car, a portion would be painted white, costing the department about $1,200 per car. An average of 10 to 12 cars are purchased each year. By leaving the cars black, the department could save $128,000 during the next four years. The solid-color cars will also be worth more at resale. Existing cars will not be re-painted. The rhetorical question with the known answer is, ‘how simple was this?’ More importantly, why hasn’t someone thought about this before now?

In Greenburgh, our color scheme favors orange. Perhaps it’s a stock color, perhaps not. Once you slap the Town logo sticker onto the door of a garbage or highway truck, what’s the difference what the color is? Our guess would be only the paint shops care. The Greenburgh police department cars follow a lettering (really stickers) scheme that avoids the costly repaint issue. This may have been an idea implemented by our former police chief or not, but it does save money. A number of years ago the federal government had a program that required a specific paint job if a community purchased their police cars through a federal pricing program. Its pricing was so good that many community police departments participated. Soon, all police cars began to look the same from community to community. While it may have been a great program to participate in from the cost perspective, our federal taxes were now being used for police cars. From the community’s point of view, it’s a homerun. How simple was this?

Our supervisor initiated a study of fire department consolidation for the three fire districts in Greenburgh. They are the Fairview, Hartsdale and Greenville fire departments. Without getting into the specifics of whether or not this will save the Greenburgh taxpayers money, the study monies came from the government. It’s alleged that Supervisor Feiner lied on the application to get monies for this study. While we wouldn’t put it past him, the experts in the field of fire, safety, and others were purposely (?) left off the committee to study this. The foregone conclusion that Supervisor Feiner mandated to his committee chairman, Alan Hochberg, to render was delivered as planned, stating exactly what Feiner wanted: we should consolidate the three departments. Let’s assume Feiner didn’t lie on the application. Let’s also assume that Feiner didn’t mandate a foregone conclusion. Could savings be had with the three departments collaborating together? Yes! How can ABG be so certain? The three departments already collaborate as much as possible with expenditures and save money now! How simple was this?

Is there room for more savings throughout the Town without lying for funds to the federal government to find out? We’re sure of it. We can consolidate the two recreation departments with duplicate commissioners, budgets, personnel and expenses. While ABG certainly doesn’t wish to see anyone lose the jobs, we must be pragmatic and look at everything. If the results indicate there are people in positions that can be eliminated, we should see if they can be moved within the Towns infrastructure and kept employed. If they cannot provide a functional service elsewhere, they should be eliminated as a last resort. The commissioners are another animal entirely. There are other examples we could illuminate upon but would accomplish little. Paul Feiner can actually save money for taxpayers, consolidate from within, and streamline our government. But we know he won’t. He only pontificates about issues he has no jurisdiction over, involvement in, or responsibility for. He could do something, and yet speaks to other’s issues. Start with addressing Greenburgh’s real issues. How simple was this?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

As Might Be Seen on ‘Feiner TV’

In the never ending campaign mode of Paul Feiner, he posted a commentary on his blog by someone other than himself. He's known for that. 

His latest post, again by someone else, is the discussion about the September 11, 2001 Memorial Wall on Central Avenue's previously named Webb Field, now called Richard Presser Park. While most people we spoke with about the memorial disagree with the location, design and disconnect of the memorial, it's there.

ArtsWestchester CEO Janet Langsam wrote a commentary about the refurbishing of the wall memorial on The Paul’s blog. An excerpt that ABG would like to highlight is, “...1711 is the number of tiles salvaged, repaired, cleaned and reassembled tile by tile by Sarah Bracey White and 41 volunteers who spent hundreds of hours at the task so that the mural can be reinstalled and rededicated on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Herself, White has spent 105 hours... Being generous, that's about three weeks worth of work.

First, ABG is offended because Langsam, like so many others, calls the events of 9-11 a tragedy. It was a cowardly attack to blatantly murder civilians! While we do not accept an attack on our military as acceptable, we acknowledge it's the business they're in and they know the risks. Too many in the entertainment community, under the guise of “artist” condone what happened with their erudite use of language as witnessed here by Langsam.

Second, is that Sarah Bracey White herself spent 105 hours working on the memorials tiles. She is finally doing something for the salary the Town pays her! If you're not familiar with her, it's no surprise. Hers is a position The Paul decided to create and staff for $60k-plus to hang artwork in the Town Hall with little price stickers affixed to them. While she may do this in several buildings, this isn't the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and doesn't warrant a special employee. It is a position The Paul never should have created and staffed because it's not needed. As such, our only conclusion is it's a political pay-back or pay-off. She does little else while collecting this salary.

At the end, The Paul finally says “...Some folks say that you have to know where you came from to know who you are. Sarah Bracey White came from the segregated South where Jim Crow laws ruled the lives of her community...” “...And now, there is a mural that tells the story of what Sarah Bracey White means to Greenburgh and to the arts.” What?! What in the world does this have to do with the September 11th Memorial and who cares where Ms. White came from? Our society has evolved, and many people not of color also fought for civil rights alongside those of color back in the day. By making this a racial issue by The Paul, he denigrates anything being done to honor those Americans of all colors, and religions, who were murdered in 2001. And how does this memorial tell the story of what Ms. White means to Greenburgh and to the arts? What it tells us is Paul Feiner has overstayed his welcome and it's time for him to go!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Safety: Look Away If They're Illegal

Paul Feiner has decided with his warped progressive vision that the Town should look the other way when it comes to illegal aliens. So, for all of you in neighborhoods with multiple families living in single family homes, should you simply shrug your shoulders and say, "Oh well, it's what The Paul wants," and ignore it? Not at all! There are numerous avenues and tell-tale signs that can be utilized to ferret them out and have the Town stop this. What The Paul chooses to ignore is really a very dangerous safety issue.

The easiest way to find this illegal activity is to ask any person in their neighborhood to point out where it is happening. They all know. Another way is to look for some tell-tale signs: no screen door (we don't know why), cable TV splitters on the outside of the house, multiple antennas and/or satellite dishes, the ever popular overcrowding of cars on the property, changing vehicles at that property, out of state license plates, above normal amounts of garbage during each garbage/recycle/trash pick-up days, increased utilities usage (specifically water). Finally, you can simply sit there and watch how many people enter and leave at any given time.

By the way, the Town of Greenburgh employees have been ordered not to report any of these violations. This is remarkable. They are on the front lines so to speak and can offer a wealth of daily information without any real effort. ABG spoke with several police officers, unofficially polling them to see what consistency, if any, there might be toward their reporting any kind of violation they may encounter during the response to a call. We specifically asked if they were called to a house for a domestic issue, and during the course of that call saw any of the following: illegal aliens, illegal apartments, subdivided rooms, multiple rooms with more than two mattresses in a room, mail to different last names at the same address, numerous cars with out of state plates; what would they do? They all said there is nothing they can do. They all said their orders were to not report anything else they saw and to only address the issue they were called there for.

One officer recounted a domestic disturbance call between a homeowner and one of his tenants. This was the second time this officer had been there for the same players and the same reason. He chased the perpetrator into the basement apartment and momentarily got disoriented. He commented to me that a) it was an illegal apartment and b) what if there was smoke and fire fighters went in there - they could die. It's okay though because The Paul condones it. It has to stop!

Government's most basic role is to protect it's people. Everything after that is subject to interpretation. Protecting your responders safety is vital. Keeping our residents safe is paramount. When you have overcrowded homes and there's an emergency, police and firefighters respond, arrive and do a “size-up” before they enter. If a single family home has an illegal amount of people and in particular, rooms they don't anticipate, it could prove deadly.

What can we do? We can go after these people by enforcing safety with fire codes, building codes and various regulations the Town Boards has enacted over the years. We can talk about it or we can do something. It long past time to do something. Contact the building department and let them know what you know. The Paul isn’t concerned with the first responders or even our residents safety, only the violators. He isn't concerned with the safety of Greenburgh. This is unacceptable. It time for The Paul to go!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Game Changer or Dumb & Dumber

We recently received the County Legislator's self promotional campaign piece which finds the legislators calling for stricter childcare regulations due to the tragic death of 5-month old Monica Yunga while in unregulated childcare in Ossining. First, it’s a tragedy that should never have happened and we are by no means ignoring the gravity of this fact. Second, why didn’t the legislators already have a law or at least a policy in place about this? Third, if there are people providing childcare, especially unlicensed childcare, it can go under the radar for years as long as there are no problems. Fourth, is this part of the underground economy? And, should we as a society be providing funds for childcare for other peoples children? ABG doesn't believe so but there may be reasons to provide this temporary aid.

The brochure states the legislature’s last two “reports” (pat on their backs) are how they passed a term limits law limiting the legislators to six two-year terms and the county executive position to three four-year terms; and have a new program to develop a watershed-based storm water management plan to address flooding. These would both be funny if they weren’t so pathetic! With the exception of about three legislators, all the incumbents will not have this new law apply to them as they have been there on average for 12 years or more already and would normally retire there if allowed or simply die of old age. Ultimately, it was a political pandering move that will leave the positions and themselves unchanged.

The flood issue arises each time the water levels do the same. And during each newscast on any channel, some dumb reporter in boots is standing in water in the flooded area. Dumb is being kind. Are these attention-starved reporters not aware of what happens when a downed electrical wire comes into contact with water? Apparently, the answer is no. In the end, nothing will be done about flooding in Westchester beyond superficial pontificating of the need for a new program or study. In fact, Greenburgh’s supervisor, Paul Feiner never even applied for available flood monies for any Greenburgh community except Hartsdale. He's been talking about “doing something” about flooding during entire tenure in office. But the residents of Greenburgh will reelect him once more. Again, dumb and dumber.

There’s also a mention of a new citizens committee to evaluate if county government can be made more efficient and tax-payer friendly, and to scrutinize spending, it’s form and structure. Let us save them some time. It can certainly be made to be efficient, but not as a patronage mill as it has been for the last twenty or thirty years. The tax-payer friendly idea is laughable. If someone keeps hitting you and stops, should that be misconstrued as friendship? If we must continue to pay county taxes, it’ll never be friendly.

Finally, it’s form and structure must be addressed throughout, not in bits and pieces as County Executive Astorino tried to do last year with a couple of departments. Just saying they should be merged doesn’t mean it should. In the end, real changes need to have real thought, comprehensive information on which to base a decision and people willing to implement it, even if it’s possible they risk losing their position. Then we can have a game-changer. Until then, the politicos will keep juggling more balls in the air never delivering real solutions or making tough decisions.

Greenburgh 2011 - We Need Options

One concern for ABG is the fact that Doug Colety has repeatedly said that the Westchester Republican party will not participate with Greenburgh candidates because they are outnumbered 3 to 1 by Democrats. It might well explain why they put a RINO in the chairmanship position for the Greenburgh Republicans. At ABG, we’re less concerned with party partisanship than the candidate who does the right thing - democrat or republican.

This year, the Republicans left the sitting Democrat for the 8th District, first termer Alfreda Williams, unchallenged. We believe this to be a mistake not only in any community, but specifically Greenburgh. The problem for Greenburgh is that while we don’t know her and assume she is a nice person, she was voted out of office at the behest of Paul Feiner. More significant is that she brings nothing to the political table but another Democratic vote for more of the same accompanied by some vague incoherent ramblings to any issue.

Adding to the Republican challenges that fester within the Town of Greenburgh, is the party system that that’s abandoned them. Republican Thomas Bock ran against now County Legislator Alfreda Williams two years ago and lost to her. Bock, a systems administrator and life-long volunteer emergency responder, had tangible ideas and plans for the district. The most notable was his Housing Affordability Plan for home ownership by DSS recipients who actually pay rent under Section 8. His plan offered a hand up, not a hand out. It was an impressive and radical plan; but probably rocked the boat too much for those in office, comfortable that their laisse-faire positions on housing went unchallenged, fostering hyperbole over action. Williams has continued to offer nothing.

The following election found Bock running for NYS Assembly against Thomas Abinanti, a 20-year County Legislator, and lost, garnering about 12k votes to Abinantis 17k. Abinanti, claimed after all those years as a legislator that there was more to be done for Westchester and that was why he was running. After twenty years as a County Legislator, what could be left to do? His first piece of legislation offered would increase Westchester’s taxes via an unfunded mandate. Again, Greenburgh loses.

The people of Greenburgh are being crippled by a select minority of people who vote and those who control the vote. You see, many of the electorate never come out and vote - for anything. Sure, they may scream at the News 12 anchor or at their radio, but that’s as far as their outrage and indignation goes. They continue to reelect Paul Feiner to the office of supervisor and then complain he is continually raising their taxes by double-digit amounts. Do something about it! We hear that Bock had expressed interest in running against him but withdrew because the Republican Party refused to get signatures for him as payback for going against Astorino’s budget and consolidation plans. We hope this isn’t this case but would not be surprised to find Republican chairman Douglas Colety to be vindictive this way.

The people vote. The people get what they deserve. We've grown up hearing this year after year at every election. They voted for higher taxes in Greenburgh and they got it. They voted for more impervious space, and they got it. They voted for more development and they’re getting it. It’s time for Greenburgh to shake itself out of it’s doldrums, find some good candidates and take back what is theirs - before it’s too late!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Paul Feiner: Three Card Monty – The Deception Continues - Part 2

A Super Stop & Shop will be constructed and open in what will be known as Premier Plaza, on Rt 119, an obvious “nod” to the old Premier Theatre location. It will include 33,600 square feet of other commercial and retail space. Robert F. Weinberg, president of Robert Martin Company, said he hopes the Stop & Shop will open by the end of the year. “The location will be especially convenient for east Tarrytown and west Elmsford residents,” he said. ABG wants to know how this will help the Greenburgh residents near Manhattan Avenue that need a supermarket but have nothing? The center will sit near hotels, offices, and homes and is “the beginning of a new era of thinking” about mixing property uses, Weinberg said. “It's starting to recognize that you can put several uses together, and you can reduce traffic,” he said. “You have to think about how can we improve our way of life without using more energy.” While the super supermarket will seemingly not be near that many residents, there's a reason he said this. The use of buzzwords, such as consolidation, less energy, mixed usage, reduce traffic, new era of thinking, will always bode well in quotes. A “New Era in Thinking”. Isn’t that how Westchester's nuclear program began?

The town originally approved site plans in 1983 for two office buildings, but granted a special permit for retail use in 2009. A future second phase of the project includes plans for 7,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 48,000 square feet of office space and 174 parking spaces, according to town documents.

In the 2009 election Thomas Bock ran against Alfreda Williams for the County Legislative seat vacated by Richard Brodsky. During that campaign, Bock, stated he was looking to preserve neighborhoods and limit the amount of impervious space throughout the Town, as well as keeping residents informed about development plans around them. After a back-room deal between then County Legislator Lois Bronz, Paul Feiner and Westhab was brokered to purchase the former King’s Inn hotel, with plans moving at unprecedented speeds to build a six-story apartment building in Fulton Park without neighborhood input. When their neighborhood association discovered this, they met with Feiner and his Board, who claimed this wasn't a “done-deal” and Westhab may have to find another location! According to several members of the neighborhood association, Feiner had promised to turn the homeless facility it into a senior citizen living facility if and when the homeless population were gone. Characteristically, Feiner reneged.

During his campaign, Bock also brought up a plan originally proposed by the County and supported by Supervisor Feiner and his Board to build just over 1,000 units of residential apartment buildings (12) in the unincorporated section of Greenburgh along Rt 119 from the Marriot Hotel all the way to Rt 9 in Tarrytown, utilizing these unused parking spaces in corporate building parking lots. This would require numerous zoning changes, which Supervisor Feiner has repeatedly proven he has no qualms doing for the right price. How would they pull this off, and for what price? The proposal mandates changing the current zoning laws for required parking spaces of the existing buildings along the entire Rt 119 corridor to require fewer spaces for each building. The Stop and Shop payoff, apparently brokered by the law firm DelBello, Donnellan, Weingarten, Wise & Wiederkehr, LLP, was to build an limited sidewalk near the Halston House apartments between Benedict Avenue and Rt 119. The value in 2009 was about $238,000. While Bock lost the election, his opponent and now County Legislator Williams, still appears to have no knowledge of this plan. ABG's original post about this was on Monday, December 14, 2009, entitled “Sucking the Life Out of Route 119”.

To be clear, the Marriott hotel will lose parking spaces that they had to pay to develop, pave, stripe, plow, maintain, etc., to conform to code to get approval to build the hotel back in the 1980’s. Now, because Feiner wants to change the makeup of Rt 119 (and Central Avenue), as well as help a developer (read: good friend), he, goaded by Town Planning Commissioner Thomas Madden (job security) and the Robert Martin Corporation, have agreed to proceed. So, we wonder if any palms are getting greased?

Let’s start by examining the Marriott Hotel property for this proposal. They now maintain the Marriott doesn’t need about a third of their parking spaces. The Town will “allow” Robert Martin to “acquire” the property to build two twelve-story apartment buildings on that space. Whether  Robert Martin sells the properties or manages them, they'll make big money either way. To ensures this happens as flawlessly as possible, the Town Board will make themselves the lead agency to fast-track all permits and requests, and change the zoning for the amount of parking spaces necessary for their newly designated ‘multi-use’ property. Residents of the apartment buildings will go to work in the morning, freeing up these proposed cross-utilized parking spaces for Marriott customers. But doesn’t a hotel have the same type of activity of an apartment building, people are up and out in the morning and return at night? For the most part, yes. So, let’s go next door to 660/670 Tarryown Rd (Rt 119). This is a regular office building. After the apartment building next to them empties out and its residents go to their jobs, vacating their parking space, employees of the office building would come to work utilizing the just-vacated parking spaces. It might work. But what if the apartment building has total occupancy and the office building is completely rented out? Where will people park? When do you plow? What if you car pool or take the bus? If you live in a real neighborhood and not an office park, you can drive to nearby streets to find a parking space. And what of families with several cars, motorcycles, boat trailers, etc.? This plan doesn't allow for that. Too bad.

And what of the Town's antiquated infrastructure? The water runoff and flooding throughout the Town has been caused by exactly this same kind of over-development we’re about to experience here. The 9A corridor is evident of this every time it rains a bit more heavily than normal. They will pave what little open space is left, leaving little room at all for absorption. They will install large new piping that narrows down and joins into existing antiquated Town and Village storm and sewer piping, feeding more water into the Saw Mill River, ultimately causing more flooding when we have any significant rains.

Fortunately, the increased traffic on the Rt 119 corridor will never be an issue. Why not? Because every traffic study they will provide will be worded/crafted to say the area roads can handle the estimated increase in traffic due to the six lanes in front of the project. What happens when those same spacious lanes are reduced to two lanes at Tarrytown's Rt 9 or Elmsford’s Village Square? We all know the real answer, but its how the report will read. Or, it will say the area’s already congested roadways will continue to receive an F rating. This should not be confused with school grading but does have the same unintended connotation. They will offer to build a sidewalk near the property for walking, but as everyone knows, Rt 119 is not a walking paradise. Even with sidewalks, there is no way you’ll see much walking done by those who need to go grocery shopping. This is being done strictly to promote the future apartment buildings, the additional bus route via the Tappan Zee project and a major development of what's left of the undeveloped portion of the unincorporated portion of the Town of Greenburgh by The Paul. And don't forget about the 400+ condominiums being added to Avalon Green off of Taxter Road. Or the 400+ condominiums being built at Eastview (the old Union Carbide).

The lists of issues continue unanswered with air quality, added noise, deliveries day and night, job creation, tax revenues (and certiorari adjustments), more retail space, more impervious space, lesser quality of life, not enough parking, etc. This is just the beginning - don't be fooled. They will say, as mentioned by Robert Martin's Robert Weinberg, that this will reduce traffic and travel because people living there will have access to food and whatever limited retail stores may occupy the retail space. The bus schedule will need to be stepped up, which is another part of the warped vision. The buses will be traveling every five minutes on an elevated roadway alongside of Rt 119. It will also require the removal of numerous homes and businesses through the use of imminent domain. So we're going to destroy existing homes to build new homes. It’s counter-intuitive! No wonder The Paul is for this. Greenburgh needs real leadership, management skills and a Board with integrity, not more of what we already have. It's time for Paul Feiner to go!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paul Feiner: Three Card Monty – The Deception Continues - Part 1

Pathmark on Central Avenue, and A&P in the Crossroads Shopping Center on Rt 119, both owned by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, closed amidst a hullabaloo from our Town Supervisor and Councilwoman Sonya Brown. The other Board members were ordered by The Paul to make themselves scarce, and they did. He and his Board’s actions and inactions contributed to the two stores demise.

Feiner and his ‘Stepford’ Board have continually raised taxes in Greenburgh to the point where even profitable businesses are regularly seeking relief through certiorari adjustments or they are agonizingly being forced to relocate. Attention business owners: Don't move. The Town is required by law to grant your adjustment because they haven’t performed the legally required tax revaluations (revals). You simply must apply for it and will receive it. Those who have applied and plan to apply will get the adjustment. Attention homeowners: you can get this also but The Paul knows you probably won’t bother. Attention homeowners again: Paul Feiner and his Board are screwing all of us! They must give the businesses that apply the adjustment, which means the homeowners, along with the businesses that don’t apply, must make up the financial difference! This increase burden to homeowners caused by the adjustments, double-digit tax increases yearly and the Town’s lack of accounting skills are contributing to our financial destruction.

At every Town Board meeting, there is roughly $100,000 in certiorari adjustments granted. On some nights it’s higher! So, with some simple math, using two meetings a month as the norm, the Town is giving away $200k/month x 12(mo) = $2.4 million dollars per year. It’s no wonder The Paul scrambles now to “shuck and jive” his way toward balancing the budget. It’s also why he just posted on his blog that he would PAY for the FREE outdoor concert series at Yellowstone Park from July 7 until August 11 with revenue from clothing bins installed throughout Greenburgh. So the concerts obviously are not free. These concerts were already scheduled to happen, which means there was money allocated to pay for them. The clothing bin reference is a hoax! His lies are more and more difficult to keep straight as his financial shell game is finally imploding.

H Mart, an Asian grocery store, will take over the former Pathmark site on North Central Avenue in Hartsdale. In an article in Thursday’s Journal News newsletter, “The H Mart supermarket in Hartsdale will be the first one in Westchester County,” said marketing manager Sam Kim. The Paul is also quoted, saying, "Any time a new supermarket comes in, there are price wars, and that's good for consumers,” said town Supervisor Paul Feiner. “I think it's positive that, in this bad economy, Greenburgh is still a place people want to do business. It will create a momentum.” This proves once again that The Paul only reads about retail and truly doesn’t understand it. He needs to know how to better spin this. Two stores closed and one opening in a different format is not equal to, and does not negate what the Town has lost, nor what it needs. As a point of interest, Trader Joe’s is a specialty store that neither carries the staples needed at everyday prices that the residents of Greenburgh can afford or might even want. Sure, splurging once in a while at Trader Joe’s is okay, but the Pathmark and A&P stores provided the regular products that everyone needs. Specialty stores don’t. 

The residents of Greenburgh need real management in the Town of Greenburgh. They need a Board that’s not afraid to stand up to the supervisor because he will fight their reelection. We need more resident participation and oversight; not just the small group of watchdogs that show up at every meeting and scrutinize the marginal and illegal doings of our Board. But before that can happen, we need to eat. And to do that we need supermarkets, big and small. Why hasn’t The Paul been trying to bring other supermarkets to the Town? Do they not want to pay (off) as much as other developers to deal with Greenburgh? With the clowns we have in office, we'll just never know. It's time for Paul Feiner to go!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Town Pales to Village Efforts

Touting their own horns, the Village of Elmsford, a long time model of efficiency, innovation and character, issued a press release that they were recently awarded second place by the New York State Conference of Mayors and the Empire State Report magazine for Public Management & Administration Category of the 24th Annual Local Government Achievement Award Program. The Conference of Mayors represents 590 cities and Villages in New York State, since 1910.

Five Villages within the Town of Greenburgh, comprise the Consortium of Villages. They are Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, and Irvington. They meet almost monthly and through their joint efforts have saved their respective villages money and improved services to their residents. They share services by sharing equipment, personnel,  and resources, eliminating the need of each village to have to spend money unnecessarily. This is the sterling example of how the consolidation idea should be implemented, used and fostered. They didn't call press conferences, do studies or pander pros and cons. They all got together, discussed what they might be able to do and just did it. The Town of Greenburgh has resisted this. Why?

The Consortium of Villages has repeatedly saved their residents money through combined bidding and purchasing. We recall Democratic County Legislator Alfreda Williams stating that if the Villages purchased police vehicles with the Town of Greenburgh, they might be able to get a better price through volume discounting. Huh? Police vehicles are purchased through state bid which precludes volume discounts. As the 13 year Greenburgh Town Clerk, she wasn't even aware of a consortium. Might this be why The Paul shunned her and brought in Judith Belville? No matter. She's moved up to the County level where The Paul wants to do away with County government. Wait a minute...

With seven communities purchasing as one, the Villages have been able to save about $500,000 in the last two years. This is no small accomplishment and is one of the obvious reasons this award should be recognized and celebrated. ABG congratulates the Village of Elmsford, their trustees and their employees for a job well-done! We also salute all the Villages for putting their residents first, their egos aside and doing what others only pontificate. Well done!

Response To Ethical Behavior

Previously, ABG reported the actions of former candidate and Greenburgh resident Nicholas DeCicco, posting an email he sent to us explaining the circumstances surrounding his involvement on the Greenburgh Zoning Board, the ethics complaint filed against him by Robert Bernstein, and how it related to him as a Republican candidate for Westchester County Legislator in the special election for the seat vacated by Thomas Abinanti. While we chose to no longer focus our attentions on Mr. DeCicco, ABG received a letter through an intermediary from a Ms. Ella Preiser of Greenburgh. We believe this warranted another look. In it, she counters comments that were both verbalized and written about her by Mr. DeCicco.

In the interest of fairness, we are posting her letter here, unedited with the exception of the removal her address:

“In his May 26 email, Nick states that "the situation did not warrant a formal ethics charge." I disagree. As one of those involved during the crafting of the Town's current Code of Ethics, I know that Section 7A was deemed necessary to prevent "even the appearance of impropriety." At that time, there were concerns that some individuals seeking political office might lack the common sense to avoid accepting contributions from consultants of applicants seeking approval from the Town.

Perhaps one of the strangest comments in Nick's May 26 email is the statement that Bob Bernstein should have given Nick a courtesy phone call to make him "aware that attending the reception was still potentially prohibited even if he was recused." Nick fails to explain how Bob should have known in advance that Nick was contemplating a fundraiser hosted by an applicant's consultant who was present with Nick at a ZBA meeting only days earlier. Nor does Nick explain why the co-host of the fundraiser, Mark Constantine, a member of the Board of Ethics, never informed him that accepting the fundraiser offer would be a violation of the Code, of Ethic-s.

As predicted, the Board of Ethics found Nick guilty of violating Section 7A. It is interesting to note that even today Nick does not acknowledge he violated the Code of Ethics. Instead he refers to the violation with such euphemistic terms as "one technicality" or "an honest harmless error" or;a small unintentional oversight." Nick claims that the Board of Ethics accepted his actions as an "honest oversight" when, in fact, Opinion 2011-5 made no such finding but merely noted: "Mr. DeCicco characterizes his actions as an "honest oversight"...." Nick does not explain why it took him more than I I weeks to decide to remediate his "oversight" by voluntarily returning funds to the fundraiser co-hosts, Chuck Pateman and Mark Constantine.

Interestingly, Nick does not inform the Edgemont community that although he pleaded "no contest" to the ethics complaint, he was upset that the Board of Ethics released its Opinion without hearing from him again. Following the release of Opinion 2011-5, Nick sent an angry email (May 20) to the Board stating it had improperly issued a finding that he violated Section 7A because he had not consented to such a finding. He stated he only consented to having the charges withdrawn or dismissed. He also wanted the findings to address his "good faith." Nick wants the Board of Ethics to rescind its ruling and further discuss the matter at its next meeting.

Should a person who violates a provision of the Code of Ethics have the right to delineate possible resolutions or dictate what should be included in the Board of Ethics findings? That appears to be what Nick is requesting. Would he also recommend that a person found guilty of robbing a bank or embezzlement who voluntarily returns the money dictate what the court should rule?

In my opinion, Nick is his own worst enemy. If he had bothered to read the Code of Ethics or use common sense, he would not be in this predicament. If once the complaint was filed, he had offered his mea culpa and asked for advice on how to re-mediate his "honest oversight" immediately, the issue would have been resolved weeks ago. Instead, Nick has spent more than eleven weeks proclaiming his innocence, honor and integrity while maliciously attacking Bob Bernstein. Fourteen weeks after the complaint was filed, Nick wants to control the agenda of the Board of Ethics and get his way regarding what the Board's findings state. And now, fifteen weeks later, Nick is still attacking Bob and has chosen to ignite the wrath of Ella Preiser. How foolish.

Ella Preiser

Ella Preiser re Nick DeCieco's Dishonesty - June 1, 2011 - Page 2”