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Home Government O. Paul, Will Shew Be Sack'ed? Councilman Calls for Investigation by Independent...

O. Paul, Will Shew Be Sack’ed? Councilman Calls for Investigation by Independent Counsel

Rye City Councilman Joe Sack has told MyRye.com he plans to formally request the Rye city council retain an independent counsel to "investigate the facts" and further look into the Shew / Schubert affair when the council meets for a special meeting this Wednesday, February 18th at 8pm.

Some are charging Rye City Manager O.Paul Shew may have ignored wetland code, proper procedure and warnings from city employees concerning a wetland water course and pond on the property of Forest Avenue resident Bob Schubert (see Mistakes Regarding Schubert Property "Swept Under The Carpet" According to Former Rye City Naturalist).

Late Friday around 5:30pm, in the wake of new revelations from the former city naturalist, the City noticed a special meeting "to discuss personnel matters and attorney-client matters" in Executive Session.

Councilman Sack told MyRye.com he felt "any discussion of facts should be made in public" – in the open meeting and not in executive session – and that it would then be appropriate for council to go into executive session regarding the personnel ramifications of such facts. Sack will ask his colleagues on council to vote to retain an independent counsel. Sack said "(I am) not pre-judging anything."

If the city council special meeting is planned for executive session only, these meetings are held in the Mayor's conference room and not in city council chambers, where Rye TV can broadcast such meetings. Unless the city modifies its notice and schedules Rye TV to broadcast any open portion of the meeting, there will be no transparency into the meeting content for Rye residents. We all know what happened last time.


  1. lets hope they don’t assign plunket as the special counsel! we all know where his allegiance stands! while they are at it why not look into the asbestos coverup at the police station. Funny the cops said there was asbetos, shew said there wasn’t yet guys in tyvex suits, air masks and a special decon tent showed up to do the work? was that swept under the rug too?

  2. With all due respect to Councilman Sack, I sent him and the entire Rye City Council a request for an investigation at 11:20 this morning. I asked that the investigation be done as per the Rye City Charter. This allows the Rye City Council to subpoena witnesses, information and to compel Rye employees to testify under oath.

    Hiring an “independent” Counsel is just another way to sweep this under the rug. The City Council and the “Independent” investigator will not divulge any facts citing Attorney Client privilege and we will never know the details.

    Any possible crimes, misfeasance, malfeasance or other misconduct committed by Shew or others would be cloaked in secrecy under the Attorney Client privilege.

    The Rye City Council should hold open hearings into this matter and subpoena all relevant documents and subpoena Mr. Shew and others to testify under oath.

    This mornings letter to the Rye City Council:

    February 14, 2009

    Dear Rye City Council:

    I was appalled to read all of the news reports the past week
    concerning City Manager Shew’s actions, inactions and alleged
    misconduct involving Mr. Schubert, Mr. Schuberts mental health and
    the events surrounding Mr. Schubert’s neighbor installing a drywell.

    As a Rye resident and taxpayer I am writing to formally request that
    the Rye City Council do an investigation into this matter. As you
    know, the City of Rye Charter empowers you conduct an investigation
    and to issue subpoenas. The circumstances surrounding this case, begs
    for a Rye City Council investigation.

    Here is the section of the City of Rye Charter pertaining to your
    authority to conduct this investigation:

    C6-3. Investigations.

    The Council may make investigations into the affairs of the city and the conduct of any board, commission, department, office or agency thereof and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence.

    Any person who fails or refuses to obey a lawful order issued in the exercise of these powers by the Council shall be guilty of an offense
    punishable by a fine of not more than $100, or by imprisonment for not more than
    30 days, or both, and such offense shall constitute sufficient cause for suspension without pay for a period not exceeding two months or removal from
    office or employment.

    In order to do a proper investigation, the Rye City Council has to immediately cease and desist any and all contact concerning this issue with any City of Rye employee or agent of the City of Rye who
    they have knowledge was involved in these circumstances, suspect they may have been involved or have reason to believe they may have been involved. Any contact or the sharing of information with these individuals will taint the investigation and may impede or obstruct
    any potential criminal investigation into these circumstances.

    Thank you.

    Timothy Chittenden

  3. At least Mr. Chittenden has finally dropped his mask and has made a public comment under his real name.

    Always remember Tim that the truth shall set you free

  4. Dear Concilman Sack,
    I 3rd the motion for open hearings. Especially in light of all the facts that Mr.Chittenden has taken his personal time to unvail on the Att.Plunkett situation. To the comment made about Mr.Chittenden “finally dropping his mask & and has made a public comment under his real name”-[I don’t see your name under your comment] It is my opinion that Mr.Chittenden has gone way above the call of duty for all of us & has dropped his mask on several occassions on many subjects & should be highly commended for his efforts. Unlike most of the people who make public comments on blogs of all sorts he has no problem revailing himself when necessary. I believe when someone has something to say-“NO MATTER THEIR POSITION” they should be proud enough to stand behind it; INCLUDING CITY COUNCIL-PAID & NON-PAID MEMBERS!

  5. Three cheers and more to the people who’ve come out to support Mr. Schubert’s right to be heard and have his grievances dealt with fairly, legally and – with expedience!

    I’m embarrassed that I had not kept up with this over all the years it has dragged on, but when my husband read the latest headlines about a psychiatrist being called in by The City of Rye to evaluate Mr. Schubert’s mental health, I couldn’t believe it and decided to read more.

    I am very sad to see how terribly Mr. Schubert has to be treated over the course of time. My personal regret is not speaking up years ago when I first witnessed how condescendingly Mr. Schubert was treated during a City Council Meeting. Everyone who comes before any city government body or employee deserves to be treated with respect and fairness.

    Thank you Mr. Chttenden for explaining the legalities involved with the issue of a “special counsel” and more.

    I can’t help but wonder if this has not, in part, been an issue of “ageism” and that if Mr. Schubert had been a 45 year old, rather than a man in his 80s that he might have been treated differently.

  6. My Family like many in Rye has been here for Generations.I have always been proud when asked; where are you from to answer with-“Rye,N.Y.” I’m not sure I can answer that same question anymore with my head held as high as in the past. Starting w/the top this Council & some of its extended parties has slowly destroyed what Rye has always stood for.Since the fatal accident on Midland Ave of my 10 year old boy I have repeatedly been in contact w/City Council,RPD,TASC,trying to make Midland Ave.safer for everyone. I have not been before them relentlessly as Mr.Shubert has,I do most of my talking through emails.None the Less,I have been relentless w/a different approach.
    I have been lied to,ignored, disrespected,slapped in the face[not physically],etc.etc.etc. It doesn’t matter what age you are[I’m 46],they are selective w/who & what matters they choose to treat w/proper respect.SO-Wylie Walden-you have your answer.In my opinion they don’t give a hoot about your age,sex, their residents,our children, our seniors,etc.etc.”THEY JUST DON’T CARE”

  7. Unbelievable. I was away on vacation and I miss all of the fireworks. After spending a good part of the weekend catching up on this issue, I have a few comments.

    The arrogance of Shew is incredible. What in God’s name was he thinking? Sending the men in the white suits for a “mental evaluation” was mean spirited harassment. And, because of his position, reflects horribly on the city.

    When the naturalist informed Shew that the project should have been permitted, the issue should have been scrutinized and the problem corrected immediately.

    It is obvious that Shew holds the bulk of the responsibility here and will pay the price for it. What we don’t know is whether or not he shared this information with Otis and the City Council.

    Also, it will be interesting to see how the city handles cleaning this mess up and putting things right.

  8. What do you think has been going on in all those secret Executive Sessions that the Rye City Council has been having the last two years with Shew and Plunkett in attendance?????

    The Rye City Council illegally veils their secret meetings under the guise of Attorney/Client privilege. This is not allowed under the Open Meetings Law, yet before virtually every Rye City Council meeting, they meet for Attorney/Client matters.

    Does Otis the Rye City Council have an Attorney present at their secret meetings to protect Shew and themselves from having to reveal what really happens in these secret meetings? If they do then this sounds to me like premeditation to coverup acts of misconduct and other improper acts.

    The Rye City Council is not only skirting and mocking the Open Meetings Law, they are shirking their responsibilities and accountability to the residents of Rye.

  9. FIRST UP –

    “13 RICHARD PLACE.” For those who haven’t yet viewed it, it’s an excellent new release by local independent documentary filmmaker Leon Sculti. Over 400 views so far.

    YouTube tracking statistics show the largest numbers of viewers are arriving from – MyRye.com.


    NEXT UP –

    Let’s recall how honest men from opposite sides of the political spectrum react to any hint of serious public wrongdoing:

    Feb 4, 2009 – Councilman Sack told MyRye.com he felt “any discussion of facts should be made in public” – in the open meeting and not in executive session – and that it would then be appropriate for council to go into executive session regarding the personnel ramifications of such facts.” Sack will ask his colleagues on council to vote to retain an independent counsel. Sack said “(I am) not pre-judging anything.”

    March 13, 2009 – “Meanwhile, John Carey who at the last Council meeting offered to help the City with an independent investigation of the matter, has written a four-page memorandum to the Council which concludes “that the City will not get to the bottom of this matter without further analysis of sections of the City Code, as well as factual investigation including of allegations in the memo of the former City Naturalist dated February 19, 2009.””

    NEXT UP –
    A question. What common links exist between these two situations? We’ll start to peel that onion in the New Year.

    A New Christmas Poem arrived via email yesterday. I got one. In case you didn’t get one, here it is – text below or a web link to see it in color! And also see if in the web version you can spot the hyperlink in the text!

    Merry Christmas! – http://bit.ly/rVKalh

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