Councilman Murtagh’s Letter to Mayor Amicone Regarding Mayor’s Call for Inspector General to Resign

eHezi Archives 31 Comments

Murtagh_John August 31, 2009 

Honorable Philip A. Amicone
City Hall
Yonkers, NY  10701 

Dear Mr. Mayor: 

            I am in receipt of a copy of Inspector General Philip Zisman’s letter to you dated August 31, 2009. 

            I am writing to convey to you my very deep concern with your attempt to force Inspector General Zisman from office and the jeopardy in which your action places critical, ongoing investigations.  

            Many of us currently in public office in Yonkers, you included, have labored hard in recent years to change the image of this City, its government and its politics. Unfortunately, attempting to fire the City’s only independent watchdog in the middle of ongoing investigations of, among other things, spending at the Board of Education and the developer’s compliance with negotiated benefits at the controversial Ridge Hill project, only serves to set back efforts to improve trust in government. 

            As you know, the Inspector General, unique among City officials, takes direction from both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Indeed, the Inspector General is presently conducting at least two significant investigations which were initiated by the City Council not the Executive. 

            As you also know, the Inspector General’s term expired several months ago and Mr. Zisman has been serving in an “acting” position since that time. While I personally have supported and will continue to support Mr. Zisman in the performance of his job, it is beyond comprehension that nearly a year has passed since his term officially expired, you have never publicly articulated any grounds for not reappointing him to the position and, yet, have not offered any alternative candidate for the position.  

            Leaving the Inspector General and his office in such limbo for months on end was bad enough. Now you have sent a message to any individual or government entity which is currently under investigation that time is on their side, that the Inspector General is not supported by the Administration and that they need only dig in their heels until Mr. Zisman is gone. 

            For example, you are certainly aware of ongoing efforts by the Board of Education to deny the Inspector General’s right to audit the books of the Board, an audit I might add, made all the more relevant by recent press reports of the salaries, overtime and other expenses at the Board. At a time when the City Council was, unanimously, prepared to go to court, if necessary, in support of the Inspector General, your office was completely silent. Now, the Board of Education no doubt understands fully that it need only wait out the Inspector General until he is gone. Frankly, the taxpayers whose money is at stake deserve better. 

      I urge you to immediately and publicly state your support for the right of the Office of the Inspector General to audit all City funds, including the nearly half billion dollars spent each year by our Board of Education 

      I also urge you, in the interests of good, open and transparent government, to reconsider your position and state publicly that Inspector General Zisman will, at least, remain in office to complete the important investigations currently ongoing and, finally, I urge you to reconsider your desire to replace Inspector General Zisman, an individual who has served this City well for over a decade and, in my opinion, deserves immediate reappointment to his office. 

                                          Very truly yours, 

                                          John M. Murtagh 

cc: City Council Members   
eHeziCouncilman Murtagh’s Letter to Mayor Amicone Regarding Mayor’s Call for Inspector General to Resign

Comments 31

  1. Parking Authority: NASCAR’s son works there. Wife and sister at BOE and all 3 son’s have worked at City Hall but now only one works at the Parking. Govt. paychecks at its best!

  2. what are you talking about, “arrogant city council”. They have no power, for the most part. They only get one candidate to vote upon when the mayor submits names for vetting. Mayor may have received 10 resumes from qualified individuals, but the mayor will only give them one name – the political hack du jour. Don’t talk about city council arrogance when you don’t even know what you’re talking about.

  3. Murtagh’s way off base on this one. It is the Mayor’s right to not reappoint the IG and select a qualified nominee, which the City Council must consider. The City Council can not refuse to confirm withour cause. If Murtagh were the Mayor he would be up in arms if the City Council attempted to take his power under the City Charter away from him. Now Murtagh is pandering, just like Lesnick. I’ve never seen a more disgunctional and arrogant City Council. Do your jobs!

  4. Does it Matter? We know the Mayor is doing only for friends and family rather than the city so who cares at this point?
    All we need is for Zissman to continue his investigation and now dig his heels in further!!! Its not going to be hard to find anything. Blame-icone has done nothing but Lie, steal and cheat his entire term…
    Go Get em’ Zis!

  5. The Mayor is looking to hide the people he hid in BOE… He could not put anymore bodies at City Hall or the Parking Authority so now he is giving away jobs at the BOE. He knows it is another bomb waiting and wants to stall it from going off or hire someone else who will not dig that deep. He is a poor sole of a man! Just give up Phil. Your a lame duck. Take your shots like a man and own up to your mistakes. How do you sleep at night???

  6. Maybe legal eagle, but the council can and should reject all of his “appointees” until he gets some sense knocked into him. The Mayor again just looks foolish, not much different from a normal day. He looks filled with retribution, retaliation and actually just like his mentor.
    Amicone looses again.

  7. Dear John,
    There’s a little problem, it’s called the City Charter. The Mayor appoints and the City Council can reject the candidate. In fact, they can reject every candidate but the Mayor is the only person who can appoint.
    So like Zisman or not, pending investigations or not, Zisman is toast — and has been since his contract ended last year.
    So … act like a Councilmember and do whatever Councilmembers are to do, not send letters to the Yonkers Tribune — you should do your talking on the Council floor and Council committee meetings.

  8. It doesn’t matter who the new guy is…..
    The Mayor has emasculated the office. Murtaugh is 100% correct.
    The supt of Schools has ignored the IG subpeona. that’s not ignoring Phil Zisman. That’s ignoring the office of the IG. And the Mayor has been totally silent…therefore in support of the Superintendant.
    You can have that.
    By the way, it may be malfeasance on his part as the Chief Executive of the City. If he chooses not to act in his Executive capacity, he probably is in violation of his oath of office.

  9. The mayor is so transparent in his motivation here that it is laughable — sure, kick out the one guy attempting to bring credibility and honesty to local government and replace him with another crony. The taxpayers and voters of Yonkers will not stand by and let this happen idly.

  10. …this was heard after Mayor Blame-icone read Mr. Murtagh’s letter in his office:
    …”dead silence, crickets crickets crickets, dead silence, ruffle of Amicone’s beard, crickets…”
    He is not only making these decisions in city hall but doing it to anyone who he feels threatened by in this city!

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