To Set the Record Straight
For those hardy souls who follow City Council happenings, it is hard not to see or read recent escalating accusatory language by Councilwoman Pam Tarlow. Given that her targets are broad, these unsubstantiated broadsides should not go unchecked. Her aim is political, something that shouldn’t be tolerated in City government. We submit herewith a sober and rational response.
In a “Reader’s Forum” in the January 15 issue of The Rye Record, Tarlow leveled several allegations at Mayor Cohn and his “allies”.
First, we were accused of doing shady things on-the-quiet. The false example stated was that we went outside the City Charter to hire our current Interim City Manager. Under Article 8 of the Charter, the Council shall: “appoint a City Manager for an indefinite term on the basis of his/her executive and administrative qualifications.” That’s the extent of the definition, and not only did the Council majority review and approve the qualifications of our candidate, but we received the City labor counsel’s approval of same. By the way, contrary to the article, other interviews were most certainly conducted.
Our Interim City Manager is a talented, hard-working, ethical, and highly experienced financial executive with decades of managerial and municipal finance experience. He has done an outstanding job of managing through COVID, reinstituting performance reviews (yes, previously no one was doing these), and preparing the City to embark on a $20+million capital improvement plan — these are but a few of many examples among other important initiatives.
Secondly, although alleged, the Interim City Manager does not have a “guaranteed” salary. He has a contract, yes, but the contract is not guaranteed, and if he is terminated standard City termination provisions apply.
Thirdly, an accusation was leveled, without evidence, of Mayor Cohn signing “the Manager’s name to agenda reports.” Such signings never happened. The mayor is as honest as they come, and the idea that he would forge anything is ludicrous. Besides, there is no such thing as an “agenda report”.
During our December 2, 2020 Council meeting, Tarlow expressed her desire to give the Interim City Manager a bonus for a job well done and expressed frustration at the lack of flexibility in our budget to do so. If her words and actions confound you, you are not alone.
In July of 2020, Tarlow hurled unfounded accusations at senior City staff regarding the disposition of an old, decrepit boat from the Boat Basin. It was astonishing that in a public meeting she accused staff members of fraud. Several Council members asked for evidence, but none was given at the time, nor was it ever produced. Subsequent review revealed that the “fraud” that was alleged did not exist and that a few edits of the Policies and Procedures at the Basin would ease future administrative concerns. How one goes from “fraud” to a few precautionary edits is simply unfathomable.
Last December, during a listening session of the Police Review Committee, Tarlow accused our police officers of being racist and stopping mainly people of color on Midland Avenue, a charge our Police Review Committee should and will investigate. While having served on the Council for 11 months at that point, Tarlow had never brought such concerns forward before, yet chose a public forum to level the accusations in inflammatory terms, again without proof.
In addition to Tarlow’s public statements, the Councilwoman engages in intimidation, threatening staff and colleagues by taking legal action.
Therefore, to set the record straight, making baseless, unfounded allegations, telling lies, and accusing people of criminal behavior are but a few instances of the unacceptable behavior that has usurped the current Council and City staff’s time and effort. What is Councilwoman Tarlow’s goal?
It appears to be a political ploy which is a needless distraction for the Council, staff, and citizens of Rye.
At the very least, City staff and the public are due sincere and immediate apologies.
- City Councilmembers Ben Stacks, Julie
Souza, Richard Mecca, Carolina Johnson