The folowing letter was published in this week’s issue of The Gazette.
To the Editor,
My thanks to Trustee Andy Levitt for describing to us the “difficult” processes and “spirited” disagreements encountered by our mayor and trustees in arriving at their unanimous votes. Because without his explanation, we would never have known that they occurred.
Over the past several years, I have attended many board meetings and work sessions, and viewed many others on TV, but, somehow, I must have missed all of those meetings at which these “difficult” processes and “spirited” disagreements arose.
I did not observe any “spirited” disagreements during the meeting at which the board unanimously accepted the Gouveia property, when they all knew, or certainly should have known, that the economic analysis on which that acceptance was based was as contrived as Mayor Wiegman’s time records.
I must have missed the “spirited” disagreements that took place as the board unanimously passed bond resolutions that will increase Croton’s debt by over 30% in a single year, further enhancing our unenviable position as the first or second most indebted small village in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties. And I guess I must have been in the rest room when the “spirited” disagreements over the capital budget took place during the work session at which it was reviewed.
The “spirited” disagreements over Mayor Wiegman’s conduct, when it was revealed that he (and Trustee Gallelli) had secretly conspired with Barbara Sarbin of Something Good in the World to establish her school on the Gouveia property, and then lied about it to Mr. Levitt and the other trustees, seem to have slipped from my memory. It must be that, at my advanced age, remembering such things is getting increasingly difficult.
Similarly, I can’t recall the “spirited” disagreements over the mayor’s conduct when he forced the village to pay for his health insurance, based on the aforementioned fraudulent time records. Another senior moment?
Now I’m sure it was not Mr. Levitt’s intent to mislead the citizens of Croton regarding why almost everything passed by this board is done so unanimously and without public debate. So all of the “consensus-building” and other “difficult” processes, and the “spirited” disagreements he refers to must have taken place out of the public eye.
But wouldn’t that violate the state’s Public Meetings Law?
That couldn’t possibly be so, because Mr. Levitt and his fellow board members never tire of telling us how open and transparent they are. Thus, as with so many of the other contradictions between what this board says and what it does, I find myself confused once again.
But all is not lost. If you want to see real consensus building, view truly spirited discussions, and participate in the public airing of all of the processes leading to village board votes, unanimous or otherwise, all you need do is vote for Greg Schmidt, Bob Anderson, and Ken Walsh on November 3. You will never regret that decision.
Joel E. Gingold