May 15, 2010, Yonkers, NY — Background: An advisory came from Dwanita Crosby, one of Chuck's staff members, merely relaying caller information to the rest of the council – something that the City Council President’s Office is often asked to do when constituents ask them to pass along their message to the rest of the City Council. It in no way included anyone's opinion as to any budget cuts or remedies. Yonkers City Council Minority Leader John Murtagh’s response to the relay of telephone messages was a rude and obnoxious retort to a staff member, with copies to the entire city council. [See below] So, I respond in kind.
I am extremely disheartened and sickened to say that I have just learned that you made statements at today's mayoral meeting with union representatives, referencing the fact that you sit with council members who suggest the elimination of the Veterans Service Agency from Yonkers budgetary funding. How dare you perpetuate the dissemination of false information initially originated by the mayor's office – totally distorting comments I made during the April 15th budget presentation, which were taken out of context? I have tried for the better part of the month to right things with the veterans, at my own expense. What you have done is unconscionable.
Know this Mr. Murtagh. I am not as nice as Chuck Lesnick and I do not suffer fools or hypocrites and phonies very easily. Although I may have had issues with Chuck in the past, I have never known him to be a mean-spirited individual. I cannot say the same for you. Serving on the city council with hypocrites such as you has eroded much of the more genteel qualities I might have had, I am afraid. I have been approached, of late, by several individuals who have heard that I may not seek re-election. If I do decide not to run again for public office, it will be because of colleagues such as you. Henceforth, I will meet any and all of your snide remarks on the council floor accordingly.
I am proud to say that there have only been about three committee meetings I have missed these past two and a half years – regardless of whether I was a member of the committee. I wanted to learn all I could about every issue, which might possibly come before me for a vote. I do my homework to the best of my ability. During the past two budget voting periods, I have seen you either entirely miss departmental budget hearings, arrive late, wander around the council chambers or, even worse, leave unannounced mid-meeting like one of the Von Trapp family members at the end of their last concert before escaping over the Alps. It actually became a running joke among the rest of the city council as to how soon you would make your getaway during those crucial meetings.
I've also seen you arrive at those crucial departmental budget meetings you did attend, armed with nothing more than a package of Twizzlers, never even asking a question. But, I am sure your blackberry typing speed has increased tremendously these past two years. Yet, when I missed this year’s TAXPAYER FUNDED pilgrimage to Albany – due to a weeklong illness, your snide comments concerning my absence were reiterated to me. This incident today, however, is the last straw.
How convenient that you have been reanimated in preparation for a run for mayor, even starting a Facebook page seeking taxpayer input as to how Yonkers can solve the budget crisis. By any chance, did any of your feedback include questioning as to why John Murtagh blindly voted for almost every tax increase suggested by the mayor? But, I am delighted to see that you are now piggy-backing on all of the questions I have asked during this year’s budget process – taking advantage of my hours-long research of departmental backup documentation. I don’t mind your tailgating on my dime if it benefits the taxpayer. At least it’s a departure from your constant giggling and insider joking across the council floor during the conduct of city council business. Do you forget you are televised in the council chambers, Mr. Murtagh?
For the past two years, I have also seen you arrive at various community meetings, only to leave as soon as your name is announced. I do think you set a record at this past Wednesday's HRCA meeting, however. You are surely fleet of foot.
The 2010-2011 City Council Rules, Section 3.7 state that “No member shall be absent from the meeting, before adjournment, without leave from the Chair, for longer than five (5) minutes. How laughable and hypocritical, respectively, that you should be the only council member, during my tenure in office, to have been guilty of this activity, and that you were the one to introduce this rule change.
I think Mr. Murtagh, if and when I ever seek a how-to primer on pandering, I will take a lesson from your playbook.
—– Original Message —–
From: john murtagh
To: John M Murtagh
Cc: chuck lesnick ; Pat McDow ; Wilson Terrero ; joan gronowski ; Dennis Shepherd ; John Larkin
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2010 4:56 PM
Subject: RE: FYI-List of Phone Calls-Supporting Pre-K
In a school system with 25,000 students (families) this list is not exactly a ringing endorsement for Pre-K is it?…and I say that as a supporter of Pre-K. More importnatly, you really don't need to remind us that Pre-K needs support, none of us want to eliminate it if we don't have to. Unfortunately, the city is broke and we have yet to hear a single idea out of your office on how to fix things. Pandering isn't governing!
LAW OFFICE OF JOHN M. MURTAGH
Editors Note: Councilmember Gronowski asked her email be posted as her timely response to Mr. Murtagh's distortions of her previous comments which were made during a televised meeting with the mayor and union heads on Friday, May 14, 2010 with members of the press in attendance without her ability to respond because she was not in attendance at that impromptu meeting.
Joan Gronowski is the Yonkers City Councilwoman representing the 3rd District.