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Robert Zahm
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Hey, Jay, which Brian's are leaving the area?
Toggle Commented Apr 8, 2013 on NJ Education Brian Drain by Rye at
Good to see additional ideas being generated for improving Rye City's governance. Re the RGC recommendations: #3 - Why new elections? Is there an issue w/ the current membership of the RGC Commission? Pursuing this point would seem to say that the Commission hasn't been doing its job. Given the lack of authority / control it has now, that would seem to be more a problem of the Council than the Commission. #2 – Giving the RGC Commission authority over the Club Manager’s hiring and firing aligns the Commission’s authority with the expectations of the Club’s membership and many others in the community. However, is this reform consistent with the State’s Civil Service employment laws? Can the City delegate such authority to the Commission? And by doing so, does it mean that the City Manager has no say in the running of the RGC? If so, this change fundamentally restructures the City’s form of government as the Council will be moving power to itself (effectively) away from the City Manager. Additionally, wouldn’t a similar reform be good for Rye Rec and the Boat Commission? Shouldn’t they also become self-sustaining operations? #4 and #1 both try to ensure that there are proper controls over spending by the RGC Manager. They are duplicative of each other. Asking the Commission members to signoff on every invoice would be as effective as the State law which asks School Boards to do the same. Such Boards / Commissions may be presented with the invoices – in as much detail as they want – but they don’t / won’t really dig into the details of each invoice. Would you look into why $9.95 was spent for delivery of overnight express envelope? It’s just not practical. Instead, a system of realistic management reporting with comparison against budget and prior year spending as well as drill-down to individual invoices plus some sort of benchmarking against costs for other similar facilities is needed. Such reporting would enable all to assess whether or not the club was being run efficiently. But this kind of reform takes an investment in the reporting itself.
Ted - Please stop speaking in code. "This afternoon we had a very disturbing signal." What are you on about?
Okay, will the folks who are stirring the pot about this week's City Council agenda kindly identify the specific item they believe is going to legislate away any investigations? The only thing even close to this is the proposal to ... "televise all public meetings of the City Council including regular meetings, special meetings, and workshops." If there's something really there, make it clear. Otherwise, please cease with the henny penny sky is falling stuff.
Toggle Commented Mar 18, 2013 on Sack: Dapolite, Truth and Justice at
@Average Citizen - I believe that the school schedules are staggered such that you'd need at any point in time 3 patrol cars in front of schools and that would be for the elementary schools. The HS/MS start before and end before the elementary schools.
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2013 on Rye Cops Protesting Saturday at
Jim - I feel sure that someone from the police force could answer the question.
Ray - my comment was in keeping with the back and forth that took place today on this site; e.g., shoes, etc. It was not meant to criticize your issue, but rather to criticize the useless attacks expressed on this site. You believe you have a valid issue and I support your right to point it out, make your case for change, etc. To date, you’ve had limited success with the approaches you’ve used – both the calm, reasoned comments at City Council meetings as well as your posts on myRye, Rye Patch, etc. Might I suggest a new approach is needed? Given that you’ve met with a similar level of responsiveness from multiple mayors, multiple city councils, and multiple city managers, a change would seem to be required.
So glad to see that 8 March 2013 was yet another day of highly productive, highly educational, civil interaction and social commentary.
@TedC - For exactly what are "we" waiting?
Toggle Commented Mar 6, 2013 on Sack: Dapolite, Truth and Justice at
TedC - Why would Scott Y need to spill any beans if he didn't break the law? Why would the City's insurance company pay any damages if there were no laws broken? Bob.
Anne - that's part of the interesting question. Who gets define what the services cost? If the number of hours are included in the invoice and the rate for each hour is included there AND the invoice is accepted by the City (via the Golf Club manager), then actual cost is what was billed. The difference between what was billed to the city and what the employees received is purely margin which is allowed to any business. We may not like the size of the margin, but is there a law against it? No, I think that if there's a legal issue it has to do with a conflict of interest on the part of the manager of the club (Scott Y) and/or the potential that some of the people charged to the RGC actually did not work the hours reflected. But this last part is terribly tough to prove. So, can someone (Matt F?) identify what laws were broken?
Ever the contrarian, I have a question - where in the RGC report does it state which law(s) was broken? I've read that rates were raised to accomodate an increasing margin on top of the unchanging wages paid to the staff. There was also some questions about "Lisa" and whether she actually did work for the RGC. But I didn't see anything that said that the billings were illegal. In fact, there's a paragraph that indicates validation was performed of the number of hours billed versus the number of hours paid (OT, I think) to individual staff.
I'm writing a longer piece, but the key comment I made at the Council meeting 27 Feb was the need to amend the City Charter so that each City Council person has the same authority as the Mayor to receive / obtain any documentation they request of the City. The power granted by the Charter to the Mayor reads as follows: G. He shall have the authority at all times to examine the books, papers and accounts of any board, commission, department, office or agency of the city; he may administer oaths to witnesses; and he may issue subpoenas to compel the appearance of witnesses and the production of books, papers and other evidence. This same authority must be granted to each City Council person individually. Of course, having the authority is not sufficient. It must be exercised; e.g., councilmen must exercise this right to gain a detailed understanding of how the City operates.
Ray, While I disagree with some of your tactics, as near as I can tell, you have consistently posted under either your real name or the donkey name. I have zero issue with raising historical material that is relevant to on-going issues in Rye. I do have an issue when such material is spread around simply to titillate or embarrass – those directly involved or innocent bystanders. The likelihood of someone spewing about past legal issues, etc., being brought up purely to entertain, embarrass or abuse – and this is not just about the Jovanovich stuff – increases when cowards choose to do so under “funny” names as opposed to their real names. We want our children to grow up to be self-respecting, respectful members of our community. Think about the image many on this blog are setting out for our children with their attempts to brow beat, bully, embarrass, etc. Would those who do that write in the same way if their children, spouses, parents, etc., could see such comments tied directly back to them? Some, probably, but we’ll always have the sick among us. There are, no doubt, cases where confidentiality is required to protect someone who is attempting to disclose illegal actions. But I have yet to see anything on this blog disclosed by a fake ID that was really secret. You make your disclosures under your own name. Leon does the same. Jim does the same. Ted does the same. But spurious comments from the peanut-gallery types serve only to excite and amuse themselves. They really don’t help Rye – our community and neighbors – to better understand the problems and options available to us when facing them. So, rather than continue to criticize spineless cowards who hide behind their oh-so-funny fake names, I’d rather complement you, Jim, Ted, Matt, Charmian, Leon, and the others who have the courage to speak truth in public. Bob.
Gee BZM, that sure takes a lot of guts and adds a huge amount of value to what is - sometimes - a useful dialog on this blog. Too bad you're both too cowardly and too lazy to try to make real points under your real name.
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2013 on Jackie O. Style at American Yacht Club at
And this is relevant to the fund raiser at AYC how?
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2013 on Jackie O. Style at American Yacht Club at
@ the latest mask wearer (JH) - your comments would have some relevance if a.) they were made under your real name; b.) there was a valid link between personal dirt that has been dug up to smear someone and the ability to serve as a trustee. But you really only care about spreading dirt. Glad to hear that you live in a glass house.
The petition is an interesting idea, but of the first 100 or so "signers" 50 were from outside NY state. Of the remaining 50, 10 were from outside the county. So, the petition's race to 600+ signers would not seem to be representative of Westchester County tax payers and residents.
CuriousTom and the rest of you posting under assumed names are perfect examples of what I want my neighbors not to be. If you really cared about anyone involved, you'd be make comments using your real names that would actually elighten or improve the situation. Your snide, rude commentary has no relevance to the issues in Rye and reflects more poorly on yourselves than those directly involved. Get a life. Get involved, but do so constructively and openly.
It's a very interesting first pass budget proposal. Worth noting (digging into) are: > Exact sources of the $2.154million in cuts to Salaries & Benefits > Sources of the to-be-defined cuts of $110k > Necesssity for spending $1.1million on faciities in parallel to the planned expenditures on the HS lab center > Proposed use of $2.1million of reserves of which $1.4million is for operational costs. [unsustainable]. Not presented, but something that should be required by the Board and the public before voting on any proposed budget is a detailed update to spending, tax rate growth, and fund balance reserves as an extension to the material produced before the HS bond votes last year.
I thought some of them were retired?
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2013 on President's Day, Rye Version at
Well, it sure feels like more than 24 hours have passed since the blizzard ended. That means all sidewalks are supposed to be clear, right? If not, the property owner is to be ticketed, right? Well, what about property for which the City is responsible? The sidewalk from Purchase/Highland along Highland over the Brook hasn't been touched. Not a whit of snow removed as of this morning rush when many commuters have been walking in between cars on Highland to get to the station.
Toggle Commented Feb 11, 2013 on Snow Safety Tip at
Ted - I can think of two very good reasons that Rye Schools were open today. First, the roads and weather just didn't warrant closing. Second, any "snow" days will have to be made up by opening schools during spring break - that will be a waste of time as many, many kids will be away and the State Aid on offer is an incredibly minor part of the budget (under $16k/day).
Curious Tom - I am unable to find the $65/hour fee, just a total charge. I am also unable to find anywhere in the post where a review as opposed to a copy of the documents was requested. Great that you have inside information, but how about treating those of us outside your circle a little more politely? LausDeo - Thank you for providing all of the background to your FOIL request. It is much more informative than a purely inflammatory headline (or snarky comment). When I attempt to open the link included in your post , I am taken to a zip file, but can only find XML, no readable document. Can you help with this? Furthering your point about the law not permitting charges for redacting of documents, recovery of costs associated with FOILS was discussed in a city council meeting during budget season. To address the delays in responding to FOIL requests, I’d asked why the City couldn’t bring on an additional staff just to get the FOIL requests out of the way and recover the incremental cost through user fees. Someone at the dais made clear that that was not permitted by law so I’m a little surprised to see this come up now. Setting aside my technical issue, were you given an actual page count of documentation or just the $400 proposed charge? So, beyond your blog posts which I find useful, what are you doing to challenge the proposed fee? Is it time to seek redress in the courts? Or would that permit the City to further delay delivery of the requested documents by stating that they could take no action pending resolution of litigation?
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2013 on Freedom, Electronically at
TedC - Absolutely nothing wrong with the City charging for production of materials in response to a FOIL request. To understand if the charge being presented is appropriate, you'd need to know the number of pages being produced. I think the cap is 25cents/page. If "hundreds of dollars" means 300, this could be be 1200 pages -- or more if the rate is lower.
Toggle Commented Feb 1, 2013 on Freedom, Electronically at