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.


Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe that it is legal, especially since Satten's husband has been acting as a go- between for some of the propertiy owners that Struzzieri has bought up on lower Partition.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with anonymous. And further, as Lord Acton once said, "power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. This is scary business...