BREAKING NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Lends His Political Support to Transforming the Yonkers Board of Education into a Department of the City of Yonkers By HEZI ARIS

Hezi Aris Education 13 Comments

Silver_SheldonSpano_Mike-headshotYONKERS, NY — March 20, 2014 — Yonkers Tribune has learned that New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has endorsed Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s request of him to permit the transformation of the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE) into a Department of the City of Yonkers (CoY). The clout the NYS Assembly Speaker has lent to Mayor Spano’s interest in making the YBoE a Department of CoY consolidates the YBoE and Yonkers City Hall into one entity promoted toward that end to save money, bringing about greater transparency of the money allocated, and a humongous bastion for future patronage, and control of the most important aspect of the soon to be former YBoE, that is, the beginning of resurrecting a school buildings infrastructure, best known as the Public Private Partnership for Education (P3forE), that two years ago was valued at $2.7 billion. By such standards, the 2014 figure should likely hover closer to $5 billion.

Despite all that was at stake, and despite that no vision for fiscal restraint and scrutiny is mentioned, no legal mechanisms have been formalized.

The silence among students, parents, teachers, politicians, among other stakeholders have been mum. The lack of discussion is tantamount to submitting the deal is correct for CoY. The Yonkers Tribune will not hold its breath for fiscal solvency to take place. We advised last week that the deal would go through. It will be announced within hours despite the protestations of the Albany Delegation.

The losers are NYS Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, NYS Senator George Latimer, NYS Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, and NYS Assemblymember Shelley Mayer. The Yonkers City Council Democratic Caucus, especially the Democratic Minority Leader Michael Sabatino whose intent to speak to the issue at news Tuesdays’s, March 26, 2014th Yonkers City Council is too little, too late. When the dust settles, Yonkersites will also realize they have been hoodwinked again.

The winners are Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, former NYS Senator and lobbyist Nick Spano, NYS Assemblyspeaker Sheldon Silver, and the P3forE concept moving forward. The Republican Majority Caucus of the Yonkers City Council may think themselves winners, but they will soon learn it is only the Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin who will earn a share of the wealth.

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Hezi ArisBREAKING NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Lends His Political Support to Transforming the Yonkers Board of Education into a Department of the City of Yonkers By HEZI ARIS

Comments 13

  1. One termer

    Editor’s Note: This is an article penned by Phil Reisman of The Journal News in the Sunday, March 23, 2014 edition as follows:

    Who said all political roads in Westchester eventually lead to Yonkers? Maybe I said it.

    But here is an addendum: All roads in Yonkers lead to Nick Spano, the jovial, back-slapping lobbyist and former Republican state senator who is the older brother of the mayor, Mike Spano.

    Last summer Nick was released from federal prison after serving 10 months for income tax fraud — and ever since he’s been working hard to resurrect his business, Empire Strategic Planning, a lobbying concern with many clients in Yonkers.

    Anonymous grumblers love to say that Nick is really running the city. That may be an exaggeration, but questions about the extent of his involvement in day to day decision making are always out there. For when it comes to Yonkers, it’s all in the family for Nick.

    Things big and small don’t just happen by accident in Yonkers. The city works on connections, relationships, the granting of favors and the dispensing of jobs — many of which go to members of the vast Spano family and their cronies.

    Putting together a comprehensive Spano flow chart would be a daunting task.

    It would obviously include City Clerk Vincent Spano, Nick and Mike’s kid brother, who last week married Jaime McGill, the executive director of the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency. McGill was given the $85,000-a-year job after serving in 2013 as the campaign manager for City Council President Liam McLaughlin.

    Then there’s Kelly Olson Chiarella, the sister of Yonkers PBA president Keith Olson. In January, Chiarella was named assistant to the mayor, constituent services, for the Office of the Aging. The $90,000 job amounted to a promotion and a boost in pay for Chiarella who worked for Gail Burns, the former head of the Westchester Conservative Party and a longtime aide to Nick.

    Chiarella’s promotion followed the city’s contract negotiations with the police, which resulted in a 23.5 percent pay raise spread over 10 years retroactive to 2009. Was this merely a coincidence?

    Back to Gail Burns for a second. After she was ousted from her party chairmanship in a 2011 coup, the Westchester County Board of Legislators under then-chairman Ken Jenkins gave her a three-month job of dubious importance for $15,000. In January of this year, the Spano machine made Jenkins president of the IDA, a part-time gig that pays $60,000 in addition to his other part-time job as a $49,200-a-year Yonkers legislator.

    Connecting the political dots in Yonkers is a fun pastime. Somebody should turn it into a Milton Bradley board game — one that includes a get-out-of-jail card.

    Speaking of jail, two months after he was freed from federal bondage, Nick received judicial permission to socialize with Paul Adler, the former chairman of the Rockland Democratic Party. The two men worked together at a real estate company after Nick left the state Senate. That’s not all they had in common. In 2002, Adler pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion and served 17 months in prison.

    Since his release in 2004, Adler has done much to rehabilitate his public image. He has performed numerous acts of charity and became vice president of Rand Commercial Services, a large and distinguished real estate firm.

    Last year, Yonkers put the 87-year-old former city jail on the riverfront on the market for $2.5 million with the idea that it would be re-purposed for commercial use. The dilapidated building was sold for $1 million to Daniel Wolf, an art and photography dealer who enlisted his wife, the renowned artist and architect Maya Lin, to design the space.

    Rand Commercial Services brokered the sale, which was approved by the Yonkers City Council in December.

    Neither Nick nor Adler were directly involved in the property negotiations. They didn’t show up for the photo-ops when the deal was done. Call the whole thing a coincidence if you like — or not. Just remember where all the roads go in Yonkers.

    But the blogosphere has linked them in another important way. Both have reportedly emailed invitations to “friends” to next week’s election fundraiser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Tarrytown. Tickets to the event start at $1,000, but go as high as $25,000.

    This is rich sauce indeed for a man who was sipping prison gruel less than a year ago. It looked like Nick was on a road to perdition.

    Ah, but see what happened? Nick took a fork in the road, which led back to where the favors are doled out and the chits called in.

  2. david berkawitz

    Great now there will be a big friends and family member in every cla$$room.
    Didn’t he go to private school if any???

  3. no way

    its not happening, the governor knows this is just another spaNO plot,astorino will crucify him on this one. Teachers, parents,students ,speak up!!!

  4. Charles

    Spano and the Republican City Council are scum. You all better do more than complain here. You better start talking to your neighbors about this pretend democrat and make him a one term mayor. #MAYORSPANOSUCKS #YONKERSISCORRUPT #STAYOUTOFYONKERS

  5. Standing up for the children

    Hezi is wrong on this one. Silver has not capitulated nor would he against the wishes of Shelley Mayer and Gary Pretlow. The Council is wrong to have waited so long to have a public discussion on the topic but Hezi is wrong to opine that the fix is in before the debate has started. Parents need to come to the meeting on Tuesday night and show that they care before it is too late.

  6. honesty is dead

    Let’s face it fellow taxpayers, this administration is the foulest in living memory. Can you imagine the dirty dealing behind closed doors with Nick promising and taxpayers ultimately paying. This kind of deal doesn’t come cheap and the obvious avoidance of Yonkers stakeholders will only add to the ultimate price.
    Spanos, Win
    State legislative leadership Win
    Yonkers schoolchildren Lose
    taxpayers lose
    Yonkers teachers lose

    Where are you Feds???? Please come and save us from these dishonest Ba*tards

  7. wishful voter

    let me guess, board of Ed becomes dept. of the city and a Spano gets appointed superintendent?? At least we know it won’t be Vinny Spano, since his education ended in the 9th grade. and Mikey the babbling idiot didn’t quite finish his run at college. maybe they are going to take Jaimie McGill from her 100k a year job and move her to education dept.!! or possibly Denise Egiziago can handle that job while being chief of staff also, since the Mayor is hiring all girlfriends of the brothers in his family lets not forget to include all the nephews recently hired to the Housing authority!!! maybe they can run the new board of Ed?

    1. spanosareidiots

      Can someone explain to me why vinnys wife is making that kind of money? She’s an idiot. Liam fired her so vinnys hires her?

  8. Cuomo and Spano Declare WAR on YFT and NYSUT

    Cuomo and Spano are not making any friends in Yonkers. They have declared war on the YFT and CSEA unions as well as the elected Democratic officials in Yonkers. Talk about bitch slapping yonkers’s state delegation to Albany. Wow

  9. CUOMO

    Pierorazio went from being Supt of the Year to Scapegoat for Spano. NYS has wanted to break up the Bd of Ed for years. But, it’s like the Ukraine…at a weakened state thieves will attack. The CUOMO AGENDA for COY is alive and well! Many OUTSIDERS have been hired and Spano knows his political future is riding on his ALLEGIANCE to the puppet master. YFT and parents be wary! More lies and double talk to come…..

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