May Village Board Meeting

Thursday, May 09, 2013

May Village Board Meeting

...or, how I was schooled by Deputy Mayor Hank Tucker in front of a good-sized number of attendees at this evening's monthly Westhampton Beach Board Meeting.

It was awful! Since I was the one who rose to the lectern and posed the questions, I was obliged to stand and listen to him, and his two cohorts, Patricia DiBenedetto and Junior Palmer, explain their version of what they've been doing in service to the taxpayers over the past 11 months.

(I think it was a new record for anyone standing at the front of the room without graphical aids on an easel board.)

His secret this time? He was actually prepared for the questions.

And it's not that anyone could've tipped him off... I didn't even know what I was going to ask until I heard how the Budget Transfer items and the final "Financial Review" (audit report) from Satty, Levine & Ciacco was addressed during the regular meeting.

But those questions had to be asked, and after a brief period of his customary "hummana hummana" vamping, Tucker was off to the races and could not be headed.

Did he answer the questions?

Sorta... what he did was respond in the way that he wanted to get the "hooray for us! boo to the mayor!" information into the public record.

It was an uncommonly masterful political performance, and anytime he started to falter, the two other members of "us" chimed in and gave him breathing room and time to collect himself.

And by the time he was finished, Hank Tucker was hoarse and croaking like Jimmy Stewart at the end of his one-man filibuster in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

He was also considerably softened up when former Deputy Mayor Vic Levy finally had a chance to follow me, and, try as he did, Tucker didn't do so well with those questions. He did his best, but Levy wouldn't let him off the hook because when it comes to municipal finances, Vic knows his stuff better than Hank knows cheesecake.

For the full flavor of this evening's meeting and more specific information, a viewing of the video when it is posted to the Village's Website.

What information was gleaned from the front of the room was:

  • The dollar amount of the long-delayed budget transfers, having now been accomplished, is exactly the same amount as would have been transfered by the original resolution last August.
  • Mr. Tucker let slip that the entire issue was set in motion by a private E-mail from former Village Clerk Kathleen McGinnis tipping him to what she viewed as budgetary "discrepencies."

And, yes, you can file that under the heading of... thank you, Charles Dudley Warner... "Politics makes strange bedfellows."

(Though that was less about politics than an angry mother hen looking to dirty up the Mayor who didn't protect her son's job.)

In other "schooling" matters, Building Administrator Paul Houlihan had to take part-time Remsenburg resident Angelo de la Fuente to the woodshed over the thorny subject of "pre-existing, non-conforming useage."

Señor de la Fuente had risen less on behalf of Shock's Elyse Richman and her ice cream cone sign, and more in an attempt to dirty up former Trustee (and current candidate to return to the Board) Toni-Jo Birk for her family's Bike 'n' Kite seasonal display on Potunk Lane.

It was explained to him, quite good-naturedly by Mr. Houli­han, that the protected display of items sold at that premises was quite different than the unpermitted giant sign device attached to the side of Ms. Richman's other business.

It was clear to all the differences... but that doesn't mean that Señor de la Fuente won't continue trying to make political capital out of the non-issue.

More on this meeting later... it was a meaty one on many levels.


1. Kathy McGinnis said...


On June 11, 2012, I sent an E-mail to Mayor Teller, Deputy Mayor Toni Jo Birk, Trustee Hank Tucker, Trustee Pat DiBenedetto and Trustee Sue Farrell, informing the entire board that all the full time employees were overpaid in the 2011/12 fiscal year. I also cautioned them that the employees were most likely being overpaid in the 2012/13 fiscal year that just commenced on June 1st, if the computation of the bi-weekly salaries was not corrected. Only Trustee Tucker and Trustee DiBenedetto responded to my E-mail and investigated whether the salaries were computed correctly!

FYI, this was reported in The Southampton Press in January 2013. I gave a copy of the E-mail to the Editor. In the E-mail, I explained that the employee bi-weekly payroll spreadsheets were prepared by me in February 2011 when I was training my successor. I calculated the bi-weekly salaries by dividing the annual salary by 26.2. I was contact by an employee who was told that he was paid in full as of 5/24/12 even though there were 4 more days in the fiscal year. I knew that the computation was changed and as such, the employees would be overpaid.

Kathleen McGinnis, former Clerk/Treasur{sic}

Thank you so much for your service to the Village of Westhampton Beach during you tenure... and now beyond.

I would be more impressed with your disclosure were it a fuller one which included details of the identical problems which occurred on your watch, #1, and, #2, were you more forthcoming about the real reason for your present involvement.

But then that would necessitate revelations of just who among the Village staff was getting a the largest pay raise, wouldn't it?

2. Old Timer said...

Where is the "more?"

Patience, Grasshopper... I beg your indulgence.

3. EastEnd68 said...

More? Waiting in Florida.More? Waiting in Florida.

At least it's warm and there's plenty of fishing and tennis and imbibition to be done.

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