January 16, 2018
Closed Executive Session
Personnel: Library, Senior Nutrition Services, Legal
1. Pending projects
During his opening report, Supervisor Gilbert explained that contrary to some talk around town, he has not stopped any proposed projects but rather is reviewing them. He did not specify any particular project.
When asked during Courtesy of the Floor about the status of the $120,000 contract for an architect to design the highway garage that was approved by the previous town board, the supervisor said that the contract was currently being reviewed.
Comptroller: Reappointed Patricia Caporale for a two year term
Tax Receiver: Reappointed Barbara Korsak for a two year term
Town Attorney: (See below under Resignations)
Confidential Assistant to the Supervisor: In a 3-2 vote, with Councilmen Diana ad Lachterman voting no, the board approved the appointment of Stewart Glass and increasing the position’s salary by $10,000 to $85,000, the salary that was initially shown in former Supervisor’s Grace October Tentative Budget but reduced when the board adopted the 2018 budget in December. Supervisor Gilbert explained that the funds for the increase would come from the his department’s medical benefits line as he would not be getting medical coverage from the town; in response to a question during Courtesy of the Floor, he added that he would not be taking the cash payment in lieu of benefits that he would be entitled to.
Mr. Lachterman said that the increased salary should be earned and suggested, as a compromise, that the $10,000 be either paid out over two years or split in half with the second half being granted after six months. Supervisor Grace and Councilman Roker defended Mr. Glass’s appointment and the salary, citing Mr. Glass’s qualifications as an attorney plus his 20 years having worked for the county,
Planning: Nancy Milanese
Highway: Paul Shields
Town Attorney: Michael McDermott as of February 5th. Later in the meeting, in an item not on the agenda, the board, in a 3-2 vote with Councilmen Diana and Lachterman voting no, approved the interim appointment of the Oxman Law Group to provide legal services at $$9,750/month, the monthly amount of Mr. McDermott’s $117,000/year salary.
In explaining the decision to hire the Oxman group on an interim basis, Supervisor Gilbert said that with Mr. McDermott leaving in February, there was not enough time to advertise an RFP and vet proposals, something the board intends to do. In the interim, he said he felt he needed to hire the services of a firm he was comfortable with.
Councilmen Lachterman and Diana took strong exception to the appointment, noting that Mr. Oxman has a conflict of interest because he has a lawsuit pending with the town over the previous board’s decision to appropriate $2,500 to defend former Supervisor Grace in an ethics issue. He added that Mr. Oxman’s handing off the lawsuit to another attorney who is the co chair of the Yorktown Democratic Party was a “shell game.” He also cited Mr. Oxman’s involvement in the recent election campaign and said that he would proceed accordingly, but did not elaborate on what steps he intended to take. Calling the board’s actions hypocritical, Mr. Lachterman also took exception to what he considered the last minute resolution, although Councilwoman Roker said that the board had been discussing replacing Mr. McDermott at earlier executive sessions. At one point in the discussion, Councilman Diana said the interim monthly payment would cost the town the equivalent of $195,000/year but he quickly acknowledged that his calculation was based on an inputting error.
5. Miscellaneous resolutions
Tax Certiorari Agreement: The board approved a settlement covering the years 2011 thru 2017 for 2000 Maple Hill Street. Over the seven years, the assessed value was reduced from $60,200 to $53,550, for a total reduction of $6,650 in assessed value. The amount of the refund due the town and Yorktown School District was not available.
YCCC rents: In two separate resolutions, the board waived the rental fee at the YCCC for AARP tax assistance services ($2,772) and the use of the gym for NorWest recreation services ($1,554).
Tuition reimbursement: The board approved a $2,311 reimbursement for Police Officer John E. Doherty.
Water Department: The board authorized an RFP to purchase a Fort F-550 truck
6. Courtesy of the Floor
(Note: The agenda only showed a Courtesy at the beginning of the meeting, but the supervisor allowed an impromptu second Courtesy at the end of the meeting, something two speakers requested during the first courtesy. The following comments combine both segments.)
Hyatt cemetery: (see Town Board, 10/10/2017 and 11/21/2017.) Edward Pell asked the board to proceed to pass a resolution accepting responsibility for maintaining the cemetery. He said that the work would be done at no cost to the town and that he would apply for grants as soon as the town took over the property. Mr. McDermott explained that the town cannot go on private property without violating the current owner’s due process rights, adding that Lester Rosenbaum, the attorney who was going to negotiate the transfer of the property, recently died. Supervisor Gilbert said that he would like to proceed with the takeover, but that it has to be done legally.
Use of consultant services: Jay Kopstein asked the board to hire consultants to review aspects development plans with the developer paying for the consultants.
TV Monitors: In response to questions about the two large monitors in the room, Town Clerk Quast explained that the 65” monitors cost $1,200 each, plus $100 each for a stand, and that the funds came from the special fund that is financed by Cablevision and FIOS and that money in the fund can only be used for the audio visual equipment. She said that once hooked up, the monitors would be able display maps and other documents being discussed at meetings, including maps that are displayed only on the board table, as well as presentations made at the podium with the use of a laptop computer.
YCCC use durng emergencies: In response to Mark Lieberman’s questions about the availability of emergency services when homeowners are without electricity and the temperature is very low, it was explained that the town opens the YCCC as an emergency shelter on an add needed basis, typically, if the emergency has lasted more than 48 hours. It was explained that the CERT team (Community Emergency Response Team) that staffs the center during those times was alerted to possibly be on call during the recent storm but that opening up the YCCC did not appear to be necessary. Councilwoman Roker noted, however, that as long as the YCCC building is open, residents can still shelter in the building as needed even if it has not been officially opened as an emergency shelter.
Courtesy of the Floor format. Susan Siegel, the person writing this summary, advised the supervisor to set some ground rules for Courtesy, including avoiding a back and forth dialogue between the speaker and board members.