City Council Scuffles Towards November

And then there was one. At around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, long past a start delayed due to executive session and a recess to hold a closed door real estate discussion, there was a single resident spectator remaining at the City Council Meeting as it meandered to a close.

city council
Published February 14, 2013 11:06 PM
5 min read

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city councilAnd then there was one. At around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, long past a start delayed due to executive session and a recess to hold a closed door real estate discussion, there was a single resident spectator remaining at the City Council Meeting as it meandered to a close.

 

By Tom McDermott

 

city council

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then there was one. At around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, long past a start delayed due to executive session and a recess to hold a closed door real estate discussion, there was a single resident spectator remaining at the City Council Meeting as it meandered to a close.

 

Hats off to you, Henry King.

 

For those who weren’t there or riveted to RyeTV at home, the meeting began with, as you might expect, agenda items 1 and 2, a Pledge of Allegiance and roll call. Then, it jumped to number 6, a presentation by Ken Jackson, the Resident Engineer on the Central Avenue Bridge project, and the meeting proceeded to bump its way around, with Item #13, resident comment, popping up like a bunny from the hat here and there along the way. Except that there was no magician around to control the show.

 

Let’s make that two hats off to you, Mr. King.

 

Mr. Jackson’s commentary on his hard-to-see slide show was informative, but before we get to that, let’s get to Mr. Leon Sculti.

 

Residents may agree or disagree with Mr. Sculti’s opinions or actions surrounding the ongoing Rye Golf Club fiasco, but it’s clear that he knows how to use a podium to his advantage. He knows how to prepare and deliver a speech in a forthright and somewhat credible way. Listeners may not have grasped his every word, but, by the end of the night, they didn’t forget the confident manner in which he spoke.

 

So, what did he say?  

 

He thanked several people who had come to his defense at the last Council meeting, where his actions were severely criticized in a now (and maybe forever) infamous speech by Councilman Richard Filippi. Then, he accused (without foundation as it turns out) Mayor Doug French of orchestrating the speech, and former Councilwoman Suzanna Keith of promoting it from her new home in Texas.

 

Mr. Sculti characterized Filippi’s speech as having “included many fallacies about yours truly and Andrew Dapolite.” He continued, saying Filippi had “equated civilians who come to this podium with cancer and those who came to power in Nazi Germany.” Sculti also mentioned the rapid rise of the Change For Rye team on the Council, led by Mayor French, then noted that, “Every one of the four original Change For Rye seats is up for election this fall. ” Near the end of the five-minute speech, Mr. Sculti said the Council had “hoarded and devalued the currency of our democracy: information, transparency, and trust.”

 

Mr. Sculti was preceeded at the podium by another resident, Richard Slack. After stating that he “had no axe to grind with the Council,” some of whom he considered friends, he proceeded to scold the Council for its handling of the Dapolite matter. He called for a “fair and truly independent review of allegations that City employees may have lied to the Council and doctored a tape. “The City Council has buried the issue,” he said, then finished by way of a prediction, “My guess is that the public will not forget this issue come election…”

 

According to the Central Avenue Bridge’s Resident Engineer, Mr. Jackson, the project will have three main parts and last from March until August 18, the contracted finish date. Mr. Ken McComb, who resides in a Central Avenue house closest to the bridge, had several pointed questions and reasonable suggestions for Mr. Jackson, City Engineer Ryan Coyne, and Con Ed.

 

Con Ed or its sub contractors have been showing up with little or no notice to shut down Mr. McComb’s power. He said he would like more notice, especially since his business servers are affected. Mr. McComb wondered where the project workers would park. He suggested that safety was an issue, especially for children walking by from schools and Rye Nature Center. He wanted to know the work hours (7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., weekdays and some Saturday work).

 

Mr. Jackson said he would be on site and promised that all of these concerns would be attended to going forward. All seemed to agree that the biggest question mark would be Con Ed and its subs, an ongoing problem for the city in general. Information about the project will be posted on the City website.

 

There were disagreements among Council members on several other items.

 

Keeping The Peace on School Guard Issue

 

Councilmembers Killian and Sack questioned why the city was moving to add three seasonal “peace officers” or crossing guards near schools, when their contacts at the Board of Education seemed to want more enhanced security. Killian said that she had had discussions with Dr. Alvarez and Board Chair Laura Slack about that. Mr. Sack said he’d spoken to top people as well. Scott Pickup countered that he had in fact spoken to Dr. Alvarez on Monday. Apparently, a lot more work is required before an April meeting with the Board of Education.

 

FOIL-ED Again

 

On the Freedom of Information Law or FOIL issues, Mr. Sack took exception to Corporation Counsel Kristin Wilson’s acting on occasion as both the FOIL request advisor and the appellate officer. Mr. Sack wanted to return to the “old days” when the Council had performed the appellate role. Councilman Jovanovich pointedly disagreed, citing his failed attempt to get documents related to 1037 Boston Post Road during the era referred to by Sack.

 

Legal Tender

 

The Council also decided to put off payment to the law firm handling the Rye Golf Club investigation until later in this month, when January’s balance of $77,000 can be combined in one payment with an estimated final bill of $25,000 for anticipated February work. The draft of a new financial disclosure or conflict of interest form needed more work and simplification, and, finally, the Council discussed indemnification of legal fees for city employees required to become involved in the RGC investigation without any firm conclusion.

 

It may be February and Valentine’s Day, but this particular Council meeting had the distinct air of November about it. As for love? Not so much.

 

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