YONKERS, NY – The Yonkers City Council’s scrutiny of various department commissioners were thrown into almost immediate disarray at the May 10, 2011 meeting of the Yonkers City Council as they continued their due diligence in scrutinizing Mayor Amicone’s FY 2010-2011 Budget Proposal when Yonkers City Councilwoman Joan Gronowski made inquiry of Finance Commissioner Carl Maniscalco. He asserted a particular employee was paid by a federally funded grant. Within a minute’s time, Mr Maniscalco retorted that he in fact made a mistake and the employee’s salary was not paid by a grant but was instead derived from an escrow account. Mr Maniscalco would not define or describe the escrow account, how much money was in that escrow account, or the purpose for which that account was founded. Mr Maniscalco has yet to learn to mumble sweet nothings like his double-dipping predecessor James LaPerche. Mr Maniscalco has yet to learn how to obfuscate without guilt. Perhaps he will soon learn to take more than one for the Gipper to satisfy Mayor Amicone’s directive.
The City of Yonkers Office of Economic Development Commissioner Lou Kurven that same day advised the Yonkers City Council his office has consolidated previously independent, though ancillary operations under the aegis of the Office of Economic Development. The purpose , as Commissioner Kurven described it, was undertaken as an overhead savings restructuring. Inquiry of him revealed that the restructuring concept, as valid as it may be in formulating a workable hierarchy and protocol does not in fact comply with the Yonkers City Charter that specifies a delineated accounting of each department so that each department may have its budget scrutinized by the Yonkers City Council. The procedure and methodology delineated in the Yonkers City Charter is specific so as to permit scrutiny of the various departments abd thereby lead to approving or disapproving Mayor Amicone’s Proposed FY2010-2011 Budget.
It was also learned that fiscal projections designated in Mayor Amicone’s FY2010-2011 Proposed Budget were not all deduced from revenue streams already in place. Despite some revenue streams not yet generating any money, the administration has chosen to designate revenue of as much as $1.5 million in unproven revenue streams.
Laughable and certainly worse was the learning that Mayor Amicone’s FY2010-2011 Proposed Budget has been given the Yonkers City Council for approval or disapproval devoid of missing, updated information afforded Mayor Amicone’s Administration but not afforded the Yonkers City Council. Mr Kurven admitted to this circumstance to financial auditor Nick DeSantis, who advised that the material must be updated before they may be voted upon by the Yonkers City Council.
It was today learned that the $10 million promised to the City of Yonkers, over which The Ridge Hill Task Force was afforded oversight, cannot or has yet to determine if the $10 million has either been received, has not been received, and if received, whether it must be returned to Forest City Ratner in July if certain requisites are not met. This is the alleged money to which former Yonkers City Council Majority Leader Sandy Annabi is alleged to have accepted the funds to benefit the City of Yonkers for her assign her approval of the project she had previously disapproved. The Federal indictment against has two years hence yet to be proven.
Responses by various department heads to questioning by Yonkers City Councilmember inquiries were met with responses such as, “I don’t know!; I will get an answer!; and I will get that information.” What did not happen was a councilmember suggesting a 5 or 10 minute recess be taken so that any and all respective commissioners or their staff run across the hall or downstairs to retrieve the information lacking and to which the commissioners were asked to speak.
Mr DeSantis advised the $2.5 million potential obligation regarding the Station Plaza default, without it being told to the Yonkers City Council may expose the City of Yonkers to financial burden. Mr Kurven denied that this situation was likely.
Yonkers City Councilman and Education Chair Wilson Terrero (District 2) spoke to Mayor Amicone’s YouTube message in which he proposed a $20 million bonding stopgap measure to assuage what Mr Pierorazio advises is a $42 million deficit funding picture that the Yonkers Public School district faces. Mr Pierorazio noted that the $22 million shortage, presuming the $20 million bonding approval is gained, would come from the union membership. Mr Pierorazio agrees that the game plan is to negotiate givebacks by the union membership. Mr. Pierorazio did not point out that Mayor Amicone has not invited the unions toward reaching an amenable conclusion. That may be because Mayor Amicone has burdened Mr Pierorazio to conclude all negotiations with the various union membership.