Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fire Consolidation: Up To His Old Games

Today is the Fire District elections for the three paid fire departments in Greenburgh. In the last Fire district elections, Mr Feiner successfully utilized Milt Hoffman, who has since passed away, and his support group in an attempt to “take over” the fire districts. The ultimate goal by Mr Feiner is to control not only the decision making process, but their budgets. Not content to bastardize only the Town’s finances, he seeks to wield total control over all of the Town’s municipal services. But there are problems with Mr Feiner’s takeover bid.

First, is that the voters are smarter than that, although not many come out to vote in fire district elections, they were quickly brought up to speed by this and other site’s voluminous information as to how they operate and requirements thereof. Additionally, local visits by the Fairview Fire and Hartsdale Fire Departments’ Chiefs to neighborhood meetings quickly dispelled falsehoods created by Mr Feiner, parroted by Mr Hoffman and crew and informed the public as to what the “real deal” was regarding their budgets and expenditures.

Second, state law will not allow Mr Feiner to simply take over. In order for a fire district to disband an existing Fire Board of Commissioners in NY State, for whatever reason, they are required to have referendum requesting the change. At that point, 10% of the voters would need to approve it. That number goes up if the change is voted through and then the community decides to “undo” that change. Regardless, it’s the Board that must initiate the vote to go to referendum. Since the existing Board will not do what he wants, he will begin the process slowly and when there is a majority of his people sitting in Board positions, he’ll have them vote in favor for a consolidation referendum. He’s in no rush as long as it will happen. Don’t believe us? Look at all the other Boards in Town where he has appointed the members and the decisions they make, usually in his favor.

Third, Mr Feiner will have no issue coercing his State representative friends to change the law to accommodate his desires. As witnessed with the Finneran law change to assist his friends from GameOn 365, he had our State Assembly and Senate representatives change the Finneran Law to allow sports bubbles throughout the Town. He used a potential offer from the Sportime organization as the low hanging fruit to prove this was not for GameOn 365. He insisted Sportime would renovate the basketball and tennis courts at Veteran Park if they could erect sports bubbles over the tennis courts and then manage the courts for a fee throughout the year. They objected after he saddled the deal with more than they could afford. It was all a scam and never intended to happen. Deal dead, he was able to push for the 8-story GameOn 365 bubble on Dobbs Ferry Road. But the residents resisted his strong-arm tactics, insisting the property be used for what it was zoned, residential housing.

Since these options were quickly dispelled by many who read the story beyond the headlines, Mr Feiner was forced to drop back, regroup and try to change from within. In the last election, he participated in robocalls to fire district constituents asking them to vote for certain candidates, who unknowingly to most, were “his” chosen people. One such election that was successful in the Fairview Fire District was with Claire Pizzuti, a member of the Fairview Fire Monitors, the group run by Mr Hoffman. Whether or not Mr Feiner continues this path simply means those of us trying to keep politics out of firefighting will also continue to be diligent in making sure the facts are distributed and understood by the public.

It’s alleged that Mr. Feiner may have one of his supporters also running as a write-in candidate in Greenville. As mentioned earlier, these elections typically have low voter turnout. It sets the stage for a write-in candidate to possibly win the election out of the blue. In Hartsdale, we understand that Mr. Feiner is backing attorney Guy Novo, challenging incumbent Anthony Frasca. Residents have said they’ve been receiving robo calls from Mr. Feiner endorsing Mr Novo again in this election cycle. Mr Feiners up to his old games again. While still pushing for consolidation in Fairview and Hartsdale, he does not live in any of the three fire districts. If you listen to the rumor-mill, he either lives in Scarsdale or Hastings. Regardless, we think the public will see through the charade. And, that’s what will make for A Better Greenburgh.

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