July Village Board Meeting

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

July Village Board Meeting

Updated 07/07/2010 – 08:32 am

Or, the annual organizational meeting, held the first Monday of Westhampton Beach's fiscal year... or Tuesday, if Monday is a national holiday. (Which it was.)

Following the oaths of office administered to the victors in June's election, the Village actually was able to get on with the business of the Village instead of furthering anyone's personal agenda.

In quick order, the Board accepted the resig­nation of Chairman Victor Levy from the Zoning Board of Appeals... he'd been named to that position in April following the resignation of Christopher Bean... appointed senior ZBA member Gerald Piering Chairman, and named Joe Musnicki to fill out the Board.

When it came to the Planning Board, we learned that the leopard's spots are not so easily changed.

Former Planning Board Chairman Levy was first appointed back to the Planning Board and then named to succeed outgoing1 Chairman Ralph Neubauer... who had himself succeeded Levy three years ago when Trustees Joan Levan, Hank Tucker and Jim "whatever happen to" Kametler decided that Mr. Levy should be pun­ished for his support of a candidate2 who had challenged Joan and Hank.

The vote was carried 3-to-2 with Mrs. Levan and Mr. Tucker opposed3.

Elsie Collins was appointed to the Architectural Review Board to succeed Dee Perfido whose term had expired.

Then came a series of resolutions... 12 in all... dealing with the long-obstructed police dis­ciplinary charges stemming from the Suffolk Country Police Internal Affairs investigation of last year.

All were passed 3-to-2 over dissenting votes by Trustees Levan and Tucker, and at the end, Officers "A" and "B" were suspended without pay preparatory to disciplinary hearings.

Police matters were not completed, however, as Sergeant/Executive Officer Trevor Gonce was restored to the Lieutenant's rank which had been taken from him almost three years ago as part of the Village Board's hostile actions against Chief Raymond Dean.

This also was carried 3-to-2, Mrs. Levan and Mr. Tucker opposed.

And to leave no doubt as to who was again running the Police Department, an add-on resolution, fittingly4 read by Deputy Mayor Toni-Jo Birk and passed 3-to-2 with Mrs. Levan and Mr. Tucker opposed, discontinued the rank'n'file-favored 10-hour duty schedules instituted in May 2007.

After several miscellaneous bits of Village busi­ness had been attended to, two members of the Planning Board, individually expressed their displeasure that Ralph Neubauer had been sacked.

Member Pat Dibenedetto, with much less than her usual self-assurance, addressed largely irrelevant questions about the move to Mrs. Levan and Mr. Tucker, the latter of whom mumbled something about how he thought the Planning Board "was working smoothly."

(Pssst!, Hank, you busted valise, the Planning Board had been working just as smoothly and considerably more ethically three years ago when you and your cohorts replaced Vic Levy as part of a political vendetta!)

Member Pam Sheiffer made a brief statement which included the phrase...

"The effectiveness of the Planning Board is no longer."

...which raises the question of how would she know, having missed one third of the meetings since she had been appointed.

The evening ended on a high note when former Village Attorney5 Hermon Bishop spontaneous­ly took to the podium to deliver a brief and enthusiastic message of support for Mr. Levy's return to the Planning Board.

Mr. Bishop's extempore words were met with great acclaim by the many in attendance, as Mrs. Levan and Mr. Tucker sat with lowered heads and glum visages until Mayor Teller closed the meeting.

And in another part of the audience, PBA President Jeff Speer also sat with lowered head with the realization that his union's "juice" on the Village Board had just evaporated.

  1. When it became apparent that his back-channel lobbying effort was falling on deaf ears, Naubauer rushed to tender his letter of resignation, received in the Village Office on Friday, July 2nd.
  2. Me!
  3. There was a lot of that this evening.
  4. It should be recalled that it was Mrs. Birk's initiative, citing dubious "Shift Work Studies," that led to those 10-hour tours of duty.
  5. Also former ZBA Chairman and one-time Village Trustee, as well as newly appointed Special Prosecutor.


1. Surf's Up! said...

It was a beautiul evening!

2. Barbara Ramsay said...

Working on the Planning Board with Vic was a joy! Everything was ALWAYS above board. Glad to see you're back where you belong, Vic!

"Above board!" What a concept... let's see how well the two ladies who stood and were counted (not a "bad" thing, just misguided in this instance) at the meeting, handle full transparency.

3. Jeanne Speir said...

I got there late from work, but I got there!

The enthusiastic applause from the audience at the end of public business said it all.

For the moment, sanity has returned to our Village Hall.

Voters can expect a smoothly operating organization, sans power trips, for the near future.

The take-home lesson for me is to pay attention to what is going on in our tiny government. We almost had a bloody coup!

Yes, dear.

4. Seeker said...

Almost all in the audience seemed "satisfied and tickled," too!

5. Frank Wheeler said...

OK, we get it -- you don't like Ralph (and Jim Kametler). But they're history, so move along.

Let's play ball for a moment: pitcher loads the bases and the manager decides to remove him and bring in a relief pitcher.

The original pitcher may be in the clubhouse taking a shower, but the runners he put on base are still his responsibility even if the relief pitcher allows them to score.

Vic Levy was likely the Mayor's best choice to straighten out the problems with which his predecessor left the Village, but the legacy of the Neubauer years is far from finalized.
– Dean

6. Seeker said...

One question - did anyone else notice the interaction between Joan and Dick Haefeli last night? He actually smiled - something I've NEVER seen him do. Creeped me out.

Now, now... and I have seen counseler Haefeli smile, many times over the decades!

7. Tugboat Bertha said...

You tell it like it is, Speir. You don't play favorites. You give everybody a fair shake. If the same names keep coming up in the blogs it's because they are up to something. And don't they hate it when you expose them! Great job. Kudos, and all that jazz.

Thank you... I think.

8. Scarlett said...

Joan HAS to make nice with Dick at this point... Hank's all the way at the other end of the dais, and it's chilly to her left.

I enjoyed her attempt at claiming (through Dick Haefeli) that the Mayor hadn't voted "yes" on all of the resolutions.

One thing you gotta admire about Toni-Jo and Leola "Sue," they aren't bashful and can be easily heard... and understood.

After Tucker read the first resolution last evening, both his voice and his concentration left him. The Mayor's voice faded in and out like a statis Doppler effect.

But one of her friends should discreetly tell Mrs. Levan that she's a little long of tooth to play the coquette. You are but one of a number who've commented on that disturbing display. (I've observed her do that before.)
– Dean

9. First Hampton said...

Sanity Returns ............ Huge Sigh of Relief.

And oh yes, Joan who???

10. Jeanne Speir said...

I noticed that "touching" interaction between Levan and the Village Attorney as well. Did Bo Bishop ever get any of that?

Nothing to see here... let's move along.

11. Jeanne Speir said...

Now, about that fuzzy math Library....

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