Continued Conflict at BOT Meeting
By Kathy Savolt -
Typically, as Election Day approaches, the business of the Board of Trustees ramps down to avoid any controversy that might affect the outcome of the election. Not this year.
Barberio’s Comments Regarding the Town of Mamaroneck
Village Manager Jerry Barberio opened the October 23rd Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting with his usual report but this time he began by identifying all the “disturbing” things he believes the Town of Mamaroneck (the Town) has done to hurt Village residents. See HERE. This seemed particularly unusual since the Town and the Village have had a strong, positive working relationship since the formation of the Village. Sixty percent of the Village’s geographic area lies in the Town.
The timing of these remarks is questionable because both State and County officials have strongly indicated that the available flood mitigation grant funding will be prioritized to multi-municipal, watershed projects. (See HERE.) The Town is also in both the Sheldrake and Mamaroneck Rivers watersheds and is also critical to the Village when large storms are forecast since they release water from the Larchmont Reservoir before the storms to increase its holding capacity during the storms.
The Village of Mamaroneck amplified these remarks by releasing a press release which can be found HERE.
Watch the report HERE starting at 1:15.
UPDATE: The Town of Mamaroneck issued the following press release about the Waverly Avenue Bridge Work delay. Evidently there was no agreement between the Town and the Village. See HERE.
It should be noted that since the meeting, the Mamaroneck Observer has learned from multiple, credible sources, who wish to remain anonymous, that Barberio’s wife, a former Town employee, has recently filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against the Town. (Barberio had filed his own EEOC against former Trustee Dan Natchez that was apparently abandoned after Natchez lost his 2022 bid for re-election.)
Heated Moments at Public Hearing
During the public hearing for the proposed ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, resident Stuart Tiekert testified that he thought it a good idea, but that enforcement would not happen as the current law is not being enforced. Barberio refuted Tiekert’s statement by describing a “blitz” week in which 31 tickets were given – about of third of the annual total which he said averaged 100. Barberio then said the violators went to court where their fines were significantly reduced and opined that they were low enough that they would just be “the cost of doing business.”
Tiekert came back to the podium and said he has been following this issue for 10 years and he did not think the annual number was 100, or even 100 in ten years. Tiekert is well known for his requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIL). Tiekert stated, “it is stunning to me how Mr. Barberio dissembles to this Board and to the public.” At this point, Mayor Murphy loudly told Tiekert to stop and Barberio left the meeting and did not return. Murphy told Tiekert to “leave the podium” but Tiekert refused and referenced a previous, similar incident under a former Mayor which resulted in a lawsuit and monetary award to Tiekert.
As Tiekert returned to his seat, Trustee Young called Tiekert “a liar,” and said, “you’re lying,” and then called Tiekert “a jackass.” Murphy said, “he’s an unkind man.” See Video HERE.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the primary meaning of dissemble is “to hide under a false appearance.” Synonyms include fake, bluff, pretend, put on, sham, but not lie.
Young reached out to this reporter three days after the meeting to say that he made the remarks and to make sure I knew it wasn’t the Mayor. He said that after the Mayor made his unkind person remark, he amplified it. “I own up to it and apologized to the public for my loss of demeanor in what I consider to be a stressful and abusive time.” When asked if he apologized to Tiekert, he replied, “No, I don’t like him.”
The Mamaroneck Observer reached out to Tiekert, and received copies of the replies to his FOIL requests for leaf blower summons for the years 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022. The highest annual total appears to be 27. When I relayed this information to Young, he took several minutes while we discussed other matters off the record. He then said, “I have a quote for you: “Even if Jerry (Barberio) was wildly overstating the number of tickets, it may have been a mistake and not a lie.” Watch the exchange HERE starting at 1:42.
Audit of the Bills
When Trustee Nora Lucas once again pointed out that she believed, based on training provided by the NYS Comptroller’s Office, that the BOT was not following proper procedure when approving paying the bills, she voted no when the vote was taken. This led to an exchange during which the Mayor asked her why she voted no and led to him claim that she did not want to pay the Village’s bills and that “the rest of us will be adults.” Lucas insisted that she had a legitimate question and, as she has done at previous meetings, said she wanted to work with the Village Attorney to determine the correct procedure. Watch it HERE starting at around 2:12.