Thursday, April 23, 2009

Village Law is Only a Guide - Explains Saugerties Mayor

On April 2 the Village of Saugerties Mayor notified four members (4) of the village's Historic Review Board that all 5 members [staggered 3 year terms] were being replaced and that a "clean sweep" was in order and that the mayor took this action because of [repeated] alleged grievances against the board members.

Three (3) members [David Minch (chair), Rosemarie Brackett and Smith were notified by mail of their dismissal during the week April 6. On Monday April 6, the regular Village Board meeting took place, with the agenda to name the replacements. During the public comment period several citizens, including David Minch spoke about their dismay over the mayor's unilateral and hasty decision. It was brought out that this action was taken immediately after a local developer stated that his project was on hold partly due to the resistance he was experiencing from some citizens.

The mayor was reminded that according to village law, he did not have the right to dismiss the members and that his actions violated the village law. "It's not unprecedented" the mayor contented and that he has replaced boards at least twice of the last 10 years in his "regime". During the April 6th meeting and subsequent meetings, Mayor Yerick defended his action citing his right to replace Historic Review Board members due to the fact that he had up to 20 grievances with the board members, though he refused to reveal the grievances. He explained that his decision culminated with the board's recent recommendation that Tom Struzzieri [local developer] had "stormed" into the mayor's office several times, cursing and complaining of the board's recommendations regarding several of his projects, including The Partition Street Project. The mayor continued to state that"Village Law is only as a guide" and that businesses [like Tom Struzzieri's] sometimes trumped those laws.

Numerous times over the past several weeks, mayor Yerick stated that when a developer who is bringing "many, many million dollars project" into the Village that "common sense" took precedence over laws.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Public Hearing and Village of Saugerties Board Meeting

Date: Mon, Apr 20, 2009
Contact: Mary Frank
Address: 43 Partition Street
Saugerties, NY 12477
Phone: 845-246-2321 x1
Fax: 845-246-0887
Please note that "--AT--" will need to be replace manually with the @ symbol. I do not want to let email phishbots to scrape email address.

Public Hearing: 6:45 p.m.
Saugerties Village Board Regular Meeting: 7:00 PM Village offices, 43 Partition Street

Notice is hereby given, that the Village of Saugerties Board of Trustees will hold two Public Hearings on Monday, April 20, 2008 beginning at 6:45 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 43 Partition Street.

The FIRST Public Hearing is to receive comment on improvements to its wastewater system for a NYS Office of Community Renewal Community Development Block Grant request to fund these improvements.

The SECOND Public Hearing will be held immediately following the first Public Hearing.
The purpose of the second Public Hearing is to receive comments on Local Law #1/2009.
This law deletes the Special Use in the R3 Zone which allows for 4 or more residential units.

Open attached PDF Minutes from March 16th Village Board Meeting which briefly describes the above Local Law #1/2009 and the purpose for public hearing.

All interested parties will be heard at both Public Hearings.
The regular Village Board meeting will immediately follow the Public Hearings.
Mary Frank, Village Clerk (246-2321 x1)

Friday, April 10, 2009

WAMC: Saugerties Convention Center: On or Off? (2009-04-10)

Listen to WAMC (Audio) interviews Saugerties Village Historical Board (dismissed) chair David Minch about Mayor Yerick's decision to replace all the Historic Review committee members last Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Let's just take this one off-line"

Last night Saugerties' Village Mayor Yerrick explained that "It's not unprecedented, I replaced the (entire) membership of committees twice in my regime". The retort came moments after the first of five public speakers inquired about his decision (last week) to replace all of the members of the Historic Review Board. In what the mayor explained was "putting fresh eyes on a committee that extended it's authority too many times over the past several years in my opinion". Penelope Milford, who lives on Valley Street in the south side of the Village asked the mayor, "Please tell us what exactly did the members do that constituted "extending their authority"?" After seemingly struggling with an answer, Yerrick revealed that it was due to a letter that the committee sent to the Village Planning Board which requested "remediation of the parking" situation at the proposed Partition Street Project. The letter explained that since The Partition Street Project was at the entrance of the village's Historic District there should be a reconfiguration of the parking lot/s in order not to present an adverse visual impact. In other words, the committee suggested redesigning the parking lot so as not to look like a Walmart's Super Center.

David Minch (replaced Historic Review Board chair) stood up to take his turn at the imaginary lectern to "share with Village trustees his willingness to step aside and facilitate the transition, though there are legal issues that need to considered". David continued to explain that the Village's own zoning laws dictate that member terms are three years and are staggered in order to provide a smooth and contiguous transition of duties to new members. However, since the mayor replaced all the board members (all at once) there would not be a quorum necessary to conduct business, including voting on the minutes of the last meeting. Mayor Yerrick repeatedly tried to end discussion by suggesting, "David, there are no problems that are insurmountable, let's just take this one (conversation) off-line and we'll come to some solution".

From Partition Street Project

David continued to explain that the board consulted with CLG (Certified Local Government) program which is provided by the New York Department of State regarding the remediation request letter and that it was within their authority as a Historic Review Committee. At one point the Mayor demanded to know, "what attorney gave you that advice? You should have consulted with the Village attorney". Laughs in the audience could be heard as it was explained that the CLG offers legal advice to historic review boards as part of the Village's membership.

Saugerties Village Trustee Suzanne LeBlanc asked the mayor what were the qualification requirements for new Historic Review Committee members. An architect, historian, and real estate professional was the answer. The new replacements that the Mayor appointed were Richard Frisbee (Chair), Don Hackett and Susannah Sattan. Several Village Trustees suggested postponing the vote for new committee members until the next Village Board Meeting, Monday April 20.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New York State Village Law

MSM Contract - Waste Removal

(11) Every officer, board or agency of a village shall let all
contracts for public work and all purchase contracts to the lowest
responsible bidder after advertisement for bids where so required by
section one hundred three of the general municipal law.

Opinion regarding Village Law

A mayor is one among five members of a village board of trustees, and although a mayor has certain powers and duties, in many instances he or she does not have the authority to act unilaterally. As stated in §4-412(2) of the Village Law, "A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business..." Section 41 of the General Construction Law entitled "Quorum and majority" has long provided that a public body, such as a village board of trustees, may do what it is empowered to do only by means of an affirmative vote of a majority of its total membership. Consistent with those statutes is §4-400 of the Village Law entitled "Mayor", which in subdivision (1) states that a mayor "may have a vote upon all matters and questions coming before the board and he shall vote in case of a tie, however on all matters and questions, he shall vote only in his capacity as mayor of the village and his vote shall be considered as one vote..."