The Yonkers Exchange Club Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — November 27, 2019 — The Exchange Club of Yonkers has been around for many years and its Board members have done so many things for the City of Yonkers in so many ways. The Exchange Club honors those who have demonstrated leadership, accountability, vision, and selfless acts on behalf of others who live and work in Yonkers. It is solely planned and coordinated by those hard working Exchange Club Board members who do not need to be nor ever asked to be mentioned.
Thursday evening, on November 21st, the Exchange Club held their annual award dinner to honor three high ranking Yonkers Police Department officials. For the sake of this telling, Yonkersites and union members must all be informed as to why Yonkers is seemingly stuck in a time warp more indicative of its youth than the civility and maturity expected of their present age. How else can it be explained that a large number of people exhibit behavior that is reflective of their immature high school days. The days we most assuredly all remember … when mothers made cheese sandwiches for lunch, picked up the dirty laundry, and ignored the arrogance and rudeness of our youth. Facts the Yonkers Tribune recognizes our readers want, nay, need to know.
The venue was the Old Stone Mill. At around 7pm, the Exchange Club, with New York State Assemblyman Nader Sayegh emceeing, honored its selected and well deserved honorees who, without question are men of the year as well. Those honored were, recently retired Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner, Yonkers Police Captain Andrew McLaughlin of the 2nd Precinct, and Yonkers Police Captain Bryant Pappas of the Yonkers Police Communication Division.
These men, all special, honor their “Blue” uniforms by their respect of self, respect of their peers, and respect of the community at large. It was validated and evidenced by the standing room only crowd which included members from the Westchester District Attorney’s Office, State Senator Shelley Mayer, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano who each stopped by to present proclamations of achievements to each respective honoree.
Attendees came from near and far to hear from the true Yonkers Police professionals being honored. We thought it most appropriate to give a shout out to all those who deliberately chose to inappropriately boycott being in the presence of such honorable men.
Initially, the scuttlebutt was that the Spano’s pick to succeed Police Commissioner Charles Gardner, the recently installed John Mueller and his BFF Yonkers Police Benevolent Association President Det. Keith Olson were making their Christmas list of those who were contemplating attending the celebratory event honoring the achievements of the men in “Blue”. Those uninitiated to the debauched nether lands, may find it incongruous to believe that the Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants Association (CLSA) members and the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association (PBA) members succumbed to the fear of retribution and likely intimidation and harassment by Spano gatekeepers Keith Olson, and his bought and paid for “head” cop John Mueller.
The Yonkers Tribune has also learned that current CLSA President Det. Sgt. Michael Koch, who was handed his position without being challenged, bought a table. Alas, not one union official bothered to show up for those being honored. The internecine battleground within the Yonkers Police Department is undermining those exacting the pain and those suffering from it.
Interestingly enough, CLSA Vice President Ralph Carroza, number two on the Captains’ list, chose not to attend. Det. Lt. Carroza was first hand-picked by Mayor Mike Spano and assigned to the Internal Affairs Division as well as to that of CLSA Vice President to keep his finger on the pulse.
If that were not enough, the Spano’s designated another loyalist, Det. Sgt. Charlie Walker, the Yonkers Guardians President, assigned to make sure the union only focuses superficially on its initial directive, that is, to insure that Black Yonkers Police Officers are treated fairly and respectfully within the department. It is a union selective upon whose behalf they choose to protect. They have a list of those they support and those they treat “unfairly”. It has become known as a “union” “silenced” by its own definition of what they contemplate will sit well by the Spano Administration. In so doing, they serve some of the members of their choosing, and disregard others. A travesty of its initial mission statement as to this day, not all Black Yonkers Police Officers have been treated fairly or respectfully. Some have been maligned by the very union that is supposed to protect Black men and women who wear “Blue”.
The Yonkers Guardians seem self-serving; sitting on the sidelines when one or more of their members, regardless of their race or ethnicity are victims of harassment. Perhaps they must be reminded that all Yonkers Police Officers must be treated fairly, unadulterated by their bias or the directive to which they unquestioningly submit. After all, are they all not Yonkers Police Officers deserving to be treated fairly and respectfully?
Besides the fact that these Spano loyalists are clearly conflicted, if these police personnel were concerned that attending the honorarium and recognition of Police Commissioner Charles Gardner, it has become blatantly evident that a red flag has been figuratively hoisted to reveal that under the aegis of Mayor Mike Spano and his merry band of brothers-in-charge, that a crisis has been fomenting by their directive and under their watch.
It is disconcerting for the Yonkers Tribune to contemplate by what means any police officer can survive, much less thrive, under the cloak of silence that permeates the Yonkers Police Department and the unions that permit this travesty to be sustained. The YT recognizes that this conduct was not initiated under this administration. The disappointment is that while the Spano Administration has not remedied the problems created before they took the helm, they have chosen to deleteriously further undermine the Yonkers Police Department’s chain of command where its very credibility has come into question by other law enforcement agencies, and other governments.
How does the community, served by the Yonkers Police Department, as well as Yonkers Police Officers, survive the toxic environment they are forced to inhabit and endure?
The Yonkers PBA also coughed up a table after being shamed into it by the Exchange Club Board members who donated two Police K-9 dogs to the department in the past.
Also insulting to these real professionals is that only one PBA Trustee decided to take his chances by attending the event so as to extend his appreciation toward others who wear “Blue”, as does he. Hopefully Keith Olson won’t start a false petition to remove him from an office that has been mismanaged and shadowed with some troubling allegations involving Olson and others.
Talk about mismanagement. … Can we talk? … Yonkers PBA President Det. Olson recently sold his members another ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ in another pathetic vote. He proposed raising the PBA members’ dues another hard-hitting $20 every two weeks per member to a total of $65 every two weeks, $130 every month, amounting to a yearly sum of $1,560. The PBA membership is comprised of approximately 480 Police Officers. 230 officers voted, “Yes”. 34 voted, “No”. Approximately 226 officers did not participate. In the 230-34 vote the members were duped again. More than half of the PBA members didn’t even bother to vote. There were reports that you had to sign your name and then check off a box designating either “Yes” or “No”. Can you guess the Political Action Committee (P.A.C.) to which they refer?
Yonkersites should know that it is the so-called Political Action Committee that coughs up $2,000 per month contractually to be paid so as to engage Nick Spano by the Yonkers PBA and $1,000 per month by the CLSA alone. No wonder the demand for the increase of dues by the PBA and CLSA membership. More about this issue in a future exposé.
At issue is that the ballot is not secret. A voter is required to write their name revealing how they voted. The antithesis of the “American” way. Perhaps before one can become a Yonkers PBA President one must pass a history lesson, and learn the concept of free of expression / speech.
Every person who is permitted to vote, should be logged by signing a book where all eligible members are listed. Every person that attends signs his/her name can vote one way or another or choose to cast the ballot as an abstention. In such a process every member can decide what is best in their judgment and not suffer any retribution since no one will be able to discern how anyone voted. That is the credible way to function. That IS the “American Way”.
The Yonkers Tribune has also heard that the Guinness drinking Spano cash cow told the membership that the PBA needed more cash for its Political Action Committee.
It may be prudent for Yonkers Police Officers to know that any Yonkers Police Benevolent Association member has the right to request a forensic audit through the Office of Westchester County District Attorney Anthony J. Scarpino, Jr. in writing. At present, not even one of the Yonkers PBA membership are privy to the amount of checks being written on behalf of the Yonkers PBA, to whom the checks are drawn, for what purpose, to whom, or even the names of the recipient political hacks.
Also missing in action were ALL the Yonkers City Council members. We presume they were too scared of losing the city cars, be pulled over, or their relatives would lose their city jobs. A shout out goes out to all those “do nothings” as well. It was just as well that they didn’t attend; the event was well planned with engaging and amazing speakers, excluding the short, babbling expression delivered by Mayor Mike Spano. On top of that, he was late attending the event.
There was only one Yonkers Police Chief that bothered to showed up to support his colleagues and to listen to the interesting and inspirational speeches defining and outlining the goals and accomplishments of some TRUE “Blue” police professionals.
In conclusion, we extend congratulations to all those police families and friends that attended, and the Yonkers Exchange Club. It is also evidently crystal clear that the morale and state of affairs of the Yonkers Police Department under Mike Spano, John Mueller and his drinking cash cow Keith Olson is self-serving a few members of the “family and friends” elite who have learned to undermine a once proud department that finds itself under assault from the inside.
For those who seek justice in the City of Yonkers under the Spano Administration it may be appropriate to reassess whether law enforcement under the “Yonkers Way” is appropriate for those who count themselves in the ranks of the YPD or if there are alternatives that permit professionalism to be rewarded with advancement rather than to be kept in check by a department that exacts revenge and can no longer think straight.
YPD requires leadership that is willing to infuse protocol, standards, legality, concern and respect of fellow officers and respect of community. YPD must learn to submit to the rule of law from top to bottom. Until and unless the ‘Yonkers Way” is expunged, Yonkers will fail to attract good people to live on the waterfront.