Monday, February 8, 2016

An Experiment With Your Money

ABG was recently contacted by another concerned citizen through another blog to bemoan the actions taken by their previous Village leaders. Their blog site, EveryThingCroton, has posted about the Feiner-like shenanigans with the Sustainable Westchester organization in their community. Apparently, we are not the only lucky ones. But things changed for them when a new administration was elected, replacing the old guard. We’ve posted links (below) to two of their posted stories that seem eerily familiar. Initially, our first concern was that Mr Feiner and his Board were enrolling all Greenburgh residents into this program - whether they wanted to or not. Secondarily, there were no guarantee of savings, only guesstimates for savings (if any), and too many unanswered questions before undertaking this experiment.

EveryThingCroton has raised many of the same questions, issues and ethics of how Sustainable Westchester’s Board of Directors are operating. Croton’s new administration seems to have similar concerns.

ABG has raised the issue of Sustainable Westchester’s Board members being Town and Village leaders throughout Westchester County. The unanswered question for ABG staffers is when and if Mr Feiner and his Town Board will become ordained by Sustainable Westchester and join the ranks of the paid non-producers? ABG also wonders how and why these other government leaders have been allowed to sit on a Board of Directors that their respective communities are actively doing business with? Or, maybe doing business for? Regardless, something downwind doesn’t smell like flowers.

The list accessible on the website for Sustainable Westchester shows the following Board members. We’ve highlighted in bold the community servants that we take issue with being Board members as their communities are utilizing Sustainable Westchester’s energy experiment. It seems very much like a conflict of interest.

We also have provided common-knowledge information about the others below (when we could find it). As always, you should come to your own conclusions.

- Noam Bramson (Mayor, New Rochelle)
- Chris Burdick (Supervisor, Bedford)

- Joe Carvin (President, One World United & Virtuous): a hedge fund lawyer, was the former Rye Town Supervisor who recently ran against Kristin Gillibrand for her Senate seat and lost.

- Dan Chorost (Environmental Attorney): He is a law partner who regularly litigates complex Superfund matters. Dan blocked construction of a natural gas pipeline through critical environmental areas of Westchester County on behalf of Cortlandt. ABG wonders if he does this to foster more returns for Sustainable Westchester?

- Sara Goddard (Founder, Rye Sustainability Committee): She authored the report on sustainability for Rye.

- Mike Gordon (CEO, Joule Assets): He is responsible for conceptualizing and developing products and services for Joule Assets. He specializes in serving end users in deregulated wholesale electricity markets.

- Peter McCartt (Media and Marketing, Business Development): Peter sits on the environmental committee for the Town of Eastchester.

- Herb Oringel: Is the Treasurer and one of the founders of the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium as well as Sustainable Westchester.

- Camilo Patrignani is the CEO of Greenwood Energy. Greenwood is in the U.S. and seven countries in Latin America. They are part of the privately owned international Libra Group which controls over 30 subsidiaries operating across six continents. Libra has substantial renewable energy interests as a prime operator in Europe. Greenwood has a strategic relationship with EuroEnergy which undertook the Libra Group’s first solar investment in 2005 through the acquisition of a local developer. Other Libra subsidiaries are involved in shipping, aviation, hospitality and real estate as well as a range of diversified investments.
- Tom Roach (Mayor, White Plains)

Laura Rossi: is the Executive Director of the Westchester Community Foundation. Prior to her career in philanthropy she practiced law in New York City and Westchester, and worked for local and statewide nonprofits on behalf of women’s rights and farmworker rights.

- Nancy Seligson (Supervisor, Town of Mamaroneck)

- Mike Spano (Mayor, Yonkers)

Another article, linked below to the EveryThingCroton site, was subsequently posted as this article was being written. It is from the Croton Mayor detailing some reasons as to why they voted against Sustainable Westchester for their Croton community. Read about it here:

While there is rarely any resistance to cavalierly going against a proposal with any scrutiny, if any, the Greenburgh Town Board usually seems to find themselves on the wrong end of many decisions as the abjectly follow Mr Feiner’s mandates. We believe this to be the case with Sustainable Westchester, especially, now that fuel and energy costs have plummeted for whatever the reason. It should be incumbent upon this administration to not jump into every suggestion put before them. Obviously, leaders from communities such as Croton are capable of doing their due diligence and making good decisions for their taxpayers!

Isn’t this the kind of politics most people complain about in disgust and why politicians are thought of so poorly? Of course it is. People are fed up with government and politicians being on the inside track and claiming this is just business as usual. It’s also very possible that while no one is technically breaking any laws, the appearance of impropriety is enough to question their motives. 

We seek to have these handsomely funded businesses with well-paid employees not be given an easy pass simply because they have the not-for-profit moniker. Many not-for-profits do legitimate and worthwhile work. This not-for-profit, during this upcoming three-year experiment, promises to become a for-profit business when this experiment concludes – on your dime! ABG is pretty sure this was never the intent for not-for-profit businesses. However, having lawyers and politicians working the system to their advantage until they can “prove out” their business model is just wrong! It must end. Croton is seemingly on the right path. Some day Greenburgh may follow. Only then will we get A Better Greenburgh.

No comments:

Post a Comment