The ploy was hatched by Executive Assistant to Mayor Phil Amicone (pictured right) at the City of Yonkers John Fleming and Director of Communications David Simpson. They were fully aware that the disparate unions were long pimped out to vote according to directives set by the Spencer/Amicone Administrations but have over the years recoiled from abiding by Mayor Amicone’s bidding. Lame duck Mayor Phil Amicone may have forgotten serving Yonkers Mayor John Spencer as his deputy almost four terms ago. In those bygone days, it was this writer that spoke to the definition of responsibility to which each presided. John Spencer was master on the political front and Phil Amicone, as Deputy Mayor of Yonkers, presided over the day to day running of governance. When Deputy Mayor Amicone ran for Mayor of Yonkers seven years ago, he wrapped himself about my distillation of his role, using it as his initial campaign marketing effort. It placed him in the lead. He would go on to win election to the office of mayor. He was thought to be a kinder, gentler version of John Spencer. He proved to be arrogant, dismissive, inept, callous, and vengeful. Rather than move the economic development effort envisioned by Spencer, present Mayor Amicone atrophied during his first two years in office, not realizing he was indeed the Mayor of Yonkers. Consistent verbal flogging by this writer, among an ever growing cacophany of influential people in Yonkers beseeching him to snap out of his malaise and melancholy, Phil Amicone awoke to the fact that he was Mayor of the City of Hills. He could not stomach the reality, but he attempted to “wing it.” Rather than a graceful emergence as a benevolent leader, he came out of his stasis state transformed into a vindicative ugly character suffered by friends and foes alike.
He has been ill at ease in his own skin ever since.. He blamed others for every failure he initiated. He believed Yonkersites would accept his finger pointing antics, derisive attacks, back room deals with friends and family, give-away deals to developers (also friends and family members), and even exceed mayoral parameters to trash the U.S. Constitution regarding Freedom of the Press, as well as denying Yonkersites timely public notice of meetings pertinent to their knowing. It’s Mayor Amicone’s way or the highway.
Demonize the unions is his latest ploy. Mayor Amicone won’t tell Yonkersites that it was he who formulated the contracts by which to entice the various unions to do the bidding of the Spencer / Amicone Administration. Mayor Amicone won’t remind Yonkersites that in a strong mayor form of government he controls and directs the Yonkers Police Department (YPD) through his appointed Commissioner Edmund Hartnett to meter out overtime. By denying those who stand to gain greater return in their last year from overtime pay that would increase their respective payment rather than to dispense it to those who would gain only overtime pay without it being counted to their pension, Mayor Amicone says one thing while doing the other. Mayor Amicone is familiar with every loophole he incorporated and designed into the contracts he demanded the union membership sign. The same is true with his conduct toward the Yonkers Federation of Teachers (YFT), the Yonkers Fire Department (YFD), and the DPW Teamsters.
Since Mayor Amicone refuses to reign in alleged abuses in the system he created, he has used the allegedly unsuspecting Inspector General Dan Schorr to focus on alleged abuse by the YFD.. YFD Commissioner Anthony Pagano has been Spencer and Amicone’s boy for ages. Dismiss Pagano from his position if he dcannot comply with reducing the overtime (OT) gap. Same for Hartnett. John Liszewski has been spending taxpayer funds like a drunken sailor at the behest of Mayor Amicone as well.. Fire him if he does not comply with the mayor’s directive. The talk is just talk. The excess is in OT but it is also within City Hall’s conduct, staff, and lack of consolidation.
Better yet, Mayor Amicone should fire his staff who are predominately involved in electioneering efforts as per his directives, and his alone. Ably joined by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Amicone continues to lend his “staff” to the delusional aspiration of Rob Astorino’s hope to climb the political ladder to be the next New York State Governor. You can’t make this stuff up folks. Mr astorino has yet to prove he is ready for prime time; he has not earned any street credentials fot the talk because he has yet to take the walk..
Astorino just hired Republican operative Phil Gilles for a six figure salary after it was Gilles who concocted the most recent Westchester County Budget. In other words, Astorino spends $100,000 plus taxpayer funds to hire a ”no show,” “friend and family” member while claiming to cut the budget elsewhere. The budgetary cutback is indicative of maintaining jobs by the mantra of who you know rather than what you know. Astorino and Amicone are two peas in a pod. They both extoll governance for patronage sake over the interests of the public good. So let me get this straight, what is it they get politically? It seems they make a good case for how to take and take and take? Juxtaposed to their respective and collective conduct is the Governor of New Jersey who is doing right for the New Jersey taxpayer.
Will Mayor Amicone dismantle the Yonkers fleet of cars? Will he fire no show operatives from his staff? Will he demand those on staff who drive while intoxicated pay their cost of damage they caused by the accident(s) they initiated or will he permit this conduct to continue for years on end, never taking anyone’s driving license for their repeat offenses.
Will he rescind the special Yonkers Parking Authority deals that permit some restaurants to earn over $7,000 per month when the YPA needs those funds to stave off bankruptcy? How does Mayor Amicone rationalize his $800,000 blunder over the Lockwood Avenue parking lot.
Will Mayor Amicone ever consolidate services? He speaks about it, but does not move toward that end..
Will Mayor Amicone own up to the fact that former Yonkers Board of Education President Bernadette Dunne, a personal friend of the mayor’s and appointed by him to her position for three consecutive terms, sat upon every meeting in which the YFT Pension Funds were allocated? Did Mrs Dunne discover any wrong-doing for which she did not give the public a heads up? Did she share any findings of wrong doing with Mayor Amicone? With Mrs Dunne scrutinizing the conduct of the YFT Pension Funds, when did things go awry? Was it in 2010? Was it sooner than that? That is, when Mrs Dunne was the President of the YBoE?
Mayor Amicone did not grant Mrs Dunne another term. Mayor Amicone had to have known Yonkersites would figure out his game plan, especially if it was given notice by media.. Further, the YFT is correct, the Pension Fund is separate from the Yonkers BoE coffer. The City acts as a conduit to disburse the allocation of funds to the YBoE. Upon receipt of those funds, the YBoE delivers about $4 million plus of the allotment of funds to the Pension Fund, a separate entity to which Mrs Dunne was privy at every meeting. If there was something untoward to those transactions, Mrs Dunne was aware of it and would have logically told Mayor Amicone, her friend and boss. Why is the Mayor beside himself smarting with incredulity? He has offered no basis for prying open the Pension Funds?
If Mr Schorr has legal “cause” to pry the books open, he should refer the issue to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore who does have purview over any alleged inappropriate action . Instead, Mr Schorr makes a scene to which he has explained no basis for his probe other than to conduct a fact finding exploratory to which he has shown credible cause. Even so, the YFT is ready to accept a judges’ ruling should Mr Schorr continue to pursue the the YFT Pension Fund Mr Schorr is being led about the political landscape by mayor Amicone by the imaginary ring in Mr Schorr’s nose, exposing Mr Schorr to be a tool and a fool in Mayor Amicone’s ploy.
By demonizing the unions, Mayor Amicone believes he will diminish the political clout of the various unions making it easier for Mayor Amicone to push his appointment of Bill Regan to Mayor of Yonkers without having to contend with the clout they have earned over the many years of involvement in the political landscape.
Enabling Mayor Amicone his strategy coming to effect is Chuck Lesnick who will become the spoiler when he challenges Mike Spano for Democrat Primary endorsement. It’s kill the Spanos season again. It is also kill Yonkers Republican City Committee Chairman John Jacono so that Jim Castro-Blanco may accede to that position to help Yonkers City Council Minority Leader John Murtagh in his intended run for Mayor of Yonkers under the Republican banner.
The shenanigans continue to the detriment of the public good. As long as the “friends and family” network can commandeer more
wealth and largesse at Yonkersites’ expense, it seems Yonkers politicos can rest their head on their Eider down pillows and Egyptian cotton sateen sheets to fall into a sound sleep.
As long as the unions stay mum, and in the past they have, Mayor Amicone’s ploy will succeed.