The intrigue continued unabated at the Yonkers Charter Revision Commission. Yonkers Mayor Phil amicone’s proposed changes to the Charter Revision Commission (CRC) was the focus of the “meeting" of August 2, 2010. There was no legal notice in any of the officially authorized notice outlets used by the City of Yonkers in disseminating such information. Neither was notice posted on the City of Yonkers website. In fact, upon this reporter’s arrival to the 2nd Floor Offices of Mayor Amicone, sometime between 4:15 pm and 4:30 pm., my presence was questioned by a staff member who was unaware of the “planned” Charter Revision Commission meeting. In fact, she only attended her office to maintain watch over me. Eventually, my presence was validated by those in the know. Martin Ball Sr., of the of CRC Board of Directors was first to arrive. Then Secretary Jean Broderick made her entrance. She was followed by fellow Board member Joseph Tinelli, and Jack de Angeli, Esq., First Deputy Corporation Counsel. Vice Chairman Robert Gottschall arrived 5 minutes prior to Chairman Julius Walls. The secretary watching me departed the scene when John Fleming entered the 2nd Floor premises.
The meeting opened at about 6:05 pm before a quorum of 5 board members out of a total of 9 present. Chairman Walls was exuberant in demeanor. He immediately focused the gathered board of directors and First Deputy Corporation Counse to engage in discussing Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone’s proposal regarding succession to the Office of Mayor of the City of Yonkers by causes such a illness, death, abdication, or any other forfeiture of the responsibilities of office. Mayor Amicone conceptualized his “exit strategy" upon believing he could or would challenge Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins for her office. Despite receding from his initial political thought, the issue of succession has been maintained by Mayor’s Amicone’s desire and the follow up by the CRC. Mr Walls noted that at previous “meetings", some noticed officially, while others were not officially noticed, the discourse postulated among the board members gravitated toward being desirous of the Yonkers Deputy Mayor to be the most prudent officer to succeed the mayor. The Yonkers Deputy Mayor is an appointed position designated by the mayor, with no oversight by any other body, including that of the Yonkers City Council. The rationale to have the Yonkers Deputy Mayor to accede to the seat of Mayor of Yonkers upon its vacancy other than on the predisposed second Tuesday in November over the next year is because it was agreed the Yonkers Deputy Mayor is most familiar with the day to day issues and concerns that are demanded of an executive officer.
A proposal put forward by Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick did not persuade the CRC board of directors sufficiently to accept Mr Lesnick’s argument that the City Council President is best positioned to accede to the vacant office, despite Mr Lesnick delineating a pattern of examples and concepts having been adopted among other municipalities throughout the state. A cautionary note became evident when it was noted that previous Yonkers' mayors designated more than one person as “deputy mayor”. To differentiate between “deputy mayor” positions, it was pertinent to designate one individual as “the” first deputy mayor, should more than one deputy mayor be ever designated. History buffs may remember the days under former Mayor John Spencer when Phil Amicone was “Deputy Mayor”, and that concurrently at that time, so was Jay Hashmall a “Deputy Mayor”. The most contentious concern after a vacancy is determined was whether an election be called within 90 days from the notice of the vacancy or whether an election could be held at the next November Election Day. Mr Walls was quick to point out the expense of an election within 90 days of the declared vacancy. That money issue did not gain traction; it was quickly dismissed as extraneous to the concerns of the people. Mr Walls suggested most vociferously that waiting for the next November Election Day would not matter to the public. Vice Chairman Robert Gottschall was in agreement. Jean Broderick was more comfortable in completing the question of accession to office within 90 days of a vacancy. She garnered the support and like argument from Mssrs. Tinelli and Ball, Sr.
The meeting was closed after determining that an election would take place for succession to the Office of the Mayor of Yonkers within 90 days of notice being made of the vacancy of that same office, and that only one “deputy mayor" would be designated as “the" deputy mayor qualified to accede to such an office should it ever become vacant. The August 2, 2010 meeting, despite being NOT noticed officially or in any other manner, once it convened, seemed to follow standard protocol. Despite the exemplary effort and work distilled by the conduct by those in attendance, their work was for naught, including the subsequent call for a Public Hearing given notice on the City of Yonkers website calendar posted today, Wednesday, August 3, 2010.
The succession of illegal conduct, that is the unofficial notice to these so-called meetings, makes each proposal discussed moot. Most of the meetings have not been codified by meetings conducted as valid by notice being publicly noted. The conduct of the Charter Revision Commission Board of Directors is a travesty to their good intentions but contrary to the responsibilities that define their conduct under the tenets of the CRC statement, its board of directors, its legal counsel, and the directives it purports to be legally founded, by the actions they claim are valid, yet fall short of being carried out.
City Hall is sure to spin the conduct of the CRC board as worthy of study, but it is as fraudulently promoted as those who believe or portend to have acted within the parameters and mission set before them by the mission statement of the CRC.. Has anyone seen a sheriff in Yonkers lately? Ever? Who is she or he? Are they in Yonkers? Are they on vacation? Must every misconduct and legal concern in Yonkers find remedy in a legal forum? Today is August 3, 2010. That should be enough time for City Hall, the CRC, Yonkers Corporation Counsel, and the individual CRC Board of Directors to ascertain whether they have the paper trail to prove their “public” conduct, or whether it is prudent for them to individually and collectively seek legal counsel that can distance their fraud, knowingly or not.