April Village Board Meeting

Thursday, April 04, 2013

April Village Board Meeting

Updated 04/05/2013 – 03:57 pm

It was probably the most contentious monthly Village Board meeting in Westhampton Beach since the infamous illegal resolutions session of March 2010, and at the end of it, the voting bloc run by ex-Trustee Joan Levan... Hank Tucker, Patricia DiBenedetto and Junior Palmer... may or may not have passed a walk-on resolution appointing former Village Clerk Kathleen McGinnis to a newly created $60/hour position similar to that of a Village Administrator.

That resolution, carried on by Deputy Mayor Tucker, was one I never saw coming, and based on the outburts of out­rage from former Deputy Mayor Toni-Jo Birk and a number of Village staff, neither did anyone else.

What the surprise move establishes, more than anything else, is that Mrs. Levan is, from behind the scenes, running Village Government more fully than anyone since Hermon "old Herm" Bishop1 from the '30s through the '50s.

Make no mistake, the appointment of Mrs. McGinnis, a very angry woman since a family member's Village I.T. position was eliminated in 2011, is the work of Mrs. Levan. The two women, adversaries while at Village Hall, have been thick2 for the past year under the proverbial concept that the enemy of my enemy is my ally.

Both see their common enemy... Mrs. McGinnis more than Mrs. Levan... as Mayor Conrad Teller, and once again Village Government is approaching a level of dysfunction not seen since the troika terms of Levan, Tucker and Jim Kametler.

What actually occurred in that vote this evening remains to be clarified, but current (lame duck) Village Clerk Rebecca Molinaro probably can't wait to put the Shinnecock Canal between her and Westhampton Beach when she takes her new position as East Hampton Village Administrator in May.

April Village Board meetings are traditionally about the un­veiling of the annual budget, but even that got lost in the contentiousness, and a fuller discussion was tabled until the monthly Work Session on April 17th.

Hopefully, Deputy Mayor Tucker will be better prepared for that session... he was so focused on his walk-on resolution this evening, he could contribute nothing to­ward moving forward with the business of the Village...

(Sorry, Hank... babbling doesn't count.)

...and little was actually accomplished as the appointments of seasonal personnel for police, traffic control, DPW, beach and marina purposes were also held over.

Notes
  1. Grandfather of former Village Attorney, Hermon "Bo" Bishop.
  2. In an E-mail message, Mrs. McGinnis disputes this characterization.

Comments

1. John Roland said...

Man oh Man. And I thought it couldn't get any worse!

What remains incomprehensible to me is that so few others seem to care.
Dean

2. Michael Jacobs said...

...and we need someone in the position "similar to a Village Administrator" why...???

Not afraid to ask the toughies, eh? The answer is that we don't, #1, and, #2, Tucker wants someone in there who'll answer to him rather than the elected Mayor.
Dean

3. EastEnd68 said...

$60/hour sounds a little high.

In fairness, it's commensurate with her level of experience.

That said, is this a necessary expenditure for the Village, #1, and, #2, can the Village afford it? The first will be discussed shortly, and the second? Some quick math reveals that @$60/hour, with the normal municipal week being 30 hours and the year being 50 weeks, that's an additional $90,000 Hank Tucker tried to sneak onto the agenda, all the while talking about "the need for greater transparency."

The way he tried to do it... watch the video when it comes on-line and you'll see he was reluctant to even show the Mayor the resolution he was trying to walk on... was not only completely opaque, but a clear violation of the Open Meetings Law: his two cohorts were already on board with the action! How? When and where did they meet to discuss this?
– Dean

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