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Home Government City Council Calls Special Meeting to Discuss City Manager

City Council Calls Special Meeting to Discuss City Manager

There are not many details available, but the Rye City Council issued a notice this afternoon calling for a special meeting of the council tomorrow night, Tuesday, March 17th at 7:30pm in the council room of City Hall.

The one item listed on the agenda is: "Consideration of a possible resolution pursuant to Article 8, Section C8-4 of the City Charter entitled Removal regarding the City Manager." No further information was available.

Article 8, Section C8-4 of the Rye City Charter states:

"§ C8-4. Removal.
The Council may remove the City Manager at any time as provided in this section. At least thirty (30) days before such removal shall become effective, the Council shall by a vote of at least four (4) members of the Council adopt a preliminary resolution stating the reasons for his removal and may suspend the Manager from duty for a period not to exceed forty-five (45) days. The Manager may reply in writing and may request a public hearing, which shall be held not earlier than twenty (20) days nor later than thirty (30) days after the filing of such request. After such public hearing, if one be requested, and after full consideration, the Council may, by a vote of at least four (4) members thereof, adopt a final resolution of removal. The Manager shall continue to receive his salary for at least three (3) months after the adoption of the preliminary resolution, except that where the removal is for misconduct, his salary need not be paid during suspension and the payment of his salary may terminate at any time after the adoption of the preliminary resolution."

Thoughts anyone?


  1. It’s about time someone on the Rye City Council stepped up and did the right thing to get rid of this guy. Otis wouldn’t do it. I wonder why??????

    Going forward Rye needs to hire someone who has integrity, credibility, competence, no bias, excellent management skills, does not need a $150,000 a year assistant and doesn’t need another former City Manager to do his work at $800 a day.

    As City Manager and as an $800 a day “Advisor”, Culross has brought us the likes of Schembri, Pease, Verille, Connors, Novak and Shew. It’s time to find a new consultant as well.

    Otis cannot be allowed to negotiate with the new City Manager. The ridiculous, no expiration date, never before seen, perks laden contract that Otis gave to Shew, will go down in history as the worst example of patronage and ripping off the taxpayers Rye has ever seen.

    It has yet to be seen whether or not Shew will fight his apparent impending termination. If he does, we might see some people in Rye Government start to sweat. If Shew asks for a public hearing and calls witnesses under oath, we might have to get the District Attorneys office to monitor the proceedings.

  2. This post above by “Brownie” kinda says it all.

    Additionally maybe now would be a good time to relieve ourselves of our “esteemed” city corporate council. I think we can do much, much better there – simultaneously saving the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in forgone litigation misadventures.

    November seems so far away.

  3. A further thought –

    So I see that Nita Lowey was in Mamaroneck yesterday for the much delayed flood cash media show.

    I wonder if she and Andy Spano had time to privately counsel their former protégé Steve Otis on his atrocious management in Rye concerning Bob Schubert, Hen Island and other belly flops?

    Remember it was Nita Lowey’s office calling on behalf of Bob Schubert that got the Shew directed psycho dogs unleashed on Schubert that day.

    My bet is she finds a way to apologize for her office’s involvement in this dreadful episode because she was likely innocent and, unlike others here, she has refined, legitimate political skills….

  4. Looks like the mob wants blood. Has anyone stopped to ask if it’s even possible to get someone who has integrity, credibility, competence, no bias and excellent management skills at the current salary? Why not ask for someone with 40 years experience and a PhD from an Ivy League school while we’re at it?
    You get what you pay for. It’s always easy to whine about how bad things are. Working to make them better is a lot more difficult, and qualified people are hard to find. And who in their right minds would want to come to work in Rye, where every decision is questioned endlessly by anonymous bloggers and a man dressed as a giant turd?
    Before demanding that Shew leave, why don’t you propose the next steps to replace him?

  5. Scooter,

    I believe the reverse is true here – we can’t afford to maintain a culture of municipal malfeasance for forms sake. I for one would like to see Scott Pickup get a chance to show us what he can do without interference. I know many fellow writers will disagree strongly with this sentiment but so be it.

    On any board of directors you must insist on a change in line management when trust is lost. And when the chairman (re Mayor) clings to prior flawed decisions the board has a similar duty. Bernie Ebbers at WorldCom handpicked his board yet even they couldn’t withstand reality in the end.

    Do you truly believe that the general public in the City of Rye has faith in this administration as it is currently constituted?

  6. TedC –
    Just exactly who is saying trust is lost? It’s a gang of 1/10th of 1% of the population who claim to speak for the masses.
    What I find most disconcerting about this move to throw Shew out is that the mob of roughly 15 people wants to rush to judgment. They claim it’s democracy in action, but silence on the part of the other 14,985 residents does not equal acquiesence. And it’s more of a lynch mob than a democratic appeal. Nonetheless, Shew has already been tried and found guilty in their court of public opinion based on a single letter from a former employee, possibly a disgruntled one.

    Because a handful of people are looking to get their pound of flesh, the council now is meeting to discuss the issue, possibly even move to replace him.
    I hope, for the sake of Rye, that the council makes the correct decision to wait and hear all the evidence, and then give the benefit of the doubt to Mr. Shew as to his intentions. We should follow the rule of law, not the rule of the mob. The rule of law dictates that the council consider all the evidence, not simply listen to a few angry residents or the press. The rule of law also affords Mr. Shew some legal rights, and an early and pre-mature dismissal of him will allow him to bring about a lawsuit against the city for wrongful termination. At his pay grade, he can afford a very good lawyer, and the damages could be considerable.

    Replacing the city manager will not an easy process. Now that a pattern in Rye has been established of short tenors for city manager, we won’t attract strong clientele.

    I suspect that Joe Sack is pushing for Shew to be fired. If so, he’s revealed himself to be the weakest link on the council. As one of only two lawyers in that group, he should know better than anyone of the importance of establishing facts and not giving in to a court of public opinion. Shame on him for pandering to the mob. His comment about digging a ditch to help Bob find his water may have been great theater, but he’s disgraced himself and his profession – he knows better than anyone that he would have no legal right to trespass on Gates’s property.
    If this band of whining clowns who dress up as donkeys and turds wants change, they should practice democracy by running for city council rather than forming this lynch mob.
    Lastly, getting rid of the existing city attorney will do nothing to reduce the lawsuits brought forth by a former disgruntled attorney who’s on full time disability and brings forth a large number of nuisance lawsuits (greater than 50!) to try to wrestle some greenmail out of the city. The city will still need to answer his bogus claims, and the city will still need to pay the new city attorney to do so – only the new city attorney will have to re-learn all that Plunkett already knows, so our legal charges will increase even more.

  7. Dear Scooter:

    I guess former Supreme Court Judge and longtime City of Rye Mayor John Carey, who is calling for an investigation, is a part of the mob too.

    It appears to me that Otis and Plunkett have already undermined and obstructed any possible investigation. Why would they do this?

  8. Brownie –

    Nice try, trying to hide the mob behind a distinguished man who is admired for his wisdom and judgment.

    Judge Carey is calling for an investigation. The mob is calling for Shew’s head. Do you see the difference?

    If you think Mayor Carey agrees that Shew should be fired without due process, simply ask him. I have no doubt that his answer will be that Shew is presumed to be innocent until facts have proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.

  9. Scooter,

    The phrase used by The Rye Record in its front page article about this matter was “council rebuked.” The Journal News has used stronger stuff.

    Did you see the Mayor’s face when Judge Carey read him the pertinent passages of Chapter 195 – Wetlands and Watercourses? If you’re an impartial citizen manager you certainly don’t look like that when an honorable man reads you the law.

    Do you really believe that this matter is a tempest in a 1/10th of 1% squeaky wheel teapot?

  10. Scooter:

    Otis gave Shew a contract that has no expiration date. Why? There are no employee evaluations done on Shew. Why? There are no employee calendars kept for Shew. Why?

    Now that the time has come to perhaps look into Shew, there is no paperwork for Shew’s performance and attendance and he has what in essence is a lifetime contract. How convenient. Unfortunately, Otis has left the Rye taxpayers holding the bag again just like he did when Novak sold the house that Otis gave her with taxpayer money and she got to keep about $300,000 in profits from the sale.

    According to Shew’s contract there does not have to be a reason for the Rye City Council to fire Shew. He get’s his 6 months severance pay and he is out the door. Unless of course Otis gave Shew a contract that is in direct conflict with the City of Rye Charter. If that’s the case, void Shew’s contract and tell him to hit the road.

    Shews contract has the following clauses related to his service and termination:

    WHEREAS, The parties acknowledge that Employee is a member of the International City/County Management Association (lCMA) and that Employee is subject to the lCMA Code of Ethics;

    ICMA Code of Ethics:

    ICMA members adhere to the principles of the ICMA Code of Ethics, developed in 1924, as a condition of membership and agree to submit to a peer-to-peer review of their conduct under established enforcement procedures. ICMA’s Code of Ethics, most recently amended by the membership in 1998 to reflect changes in the profession, includes Guidelines to assist members in applying the principles outlined in the Code. The Guidelines were adopted by the ICMA Executive Board in 1972 and most recently revised in July 2004. Individuals seeking advice on ethics issues or enforcement are encouraged to contact Martha Perego, ICMA’s director of ethics at 202/962-3668 or email mperego@icma.org.

    For a version of the Code with guidelines, click here, or visit the Ethics Advice section.

    The mission of ICMA is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional local government management worldwide. To further this mission, certain principles, as enforced by the Rules of Procedure, shall govern the conduct of every member of ICMA, who shall:

    Tenet 1
    Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

    Tenet 2
    Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant

    Tenet 3
    Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public.

    Tenet 4
    Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all people.

    Tenet 5
    Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

    Tenet 6
    Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members.

    Tenet 7
    Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

    Tenet 8
    Make it a duty continually to improve the member’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

    Tenet 9
    Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

    Tenet 10
    Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.

    Tenet 11
    Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member’s decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.

    Tenet 12
    Seek no favor; believe that personal aggrandizement or profit secured by confidential information or by misuse of public time is dishonest.

    If that isn’t enough to fire him for cause there are also these clauses:

    Section 2: Term

    The term of this agreement shall commence on August 25, 2003.

    A. Employee agrees to remain in the exclusive employ of Employer, and neither to accept other employment nor to become employed by any other employer.

    B. Nothing in this agreement shall prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with the right of the Council to terminate the services of Employee at any time, subject only to the provisions set forth in Section 3, paragraphs A and B, of this agreement.

    C. Nothing in this agreement shall prevent, limit or otherwise interfere with the right of the Employee to resign at any time from his position with Employer, subject only to the provision set forth in Section 3, paragraph B of this agreement.

    Section 3: Termination and Severance Pay

    A. In the event Employee is terminated for any reason, other than conviction of a crime, Employer agrees to pay Employee six months compensation as severance pay. For the purposes of this section, compensation shall include amounts set forth in this agreement, or amendments thereto.

    B. In the event Employee voluntarily resigns his position with Employer during the period of his employment, then Employee shall give Employer three months notice in advance, unless the parties otherwise agree in writing.

    I know it must be hard for you being a party boss to watch Otis go down in flames, but he brought it upon himself. He surrounded himself with incompetents whose only apparent redeeming quality for Otis is they would do whatever he wanted. He then ignores and coversup their incompetence and rewards them with taxpayer money.

  11. Scooter:

    I would have thought you would know better than to post something that you know to be untrue and libelous on a blog.

    Perhaps the City of Rye will indemnify you if you can show you were working on behalf of Otis or Shew. If not, there’s always your assets, your house and your income to go after if libel is proven and damages are awarded.

    “In our every deliberation we must consider the impacts of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

    From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy.

  12. The states what one must or must not do

    Morality states what one ought to to do or not do.

    scooter follows the latter.

    I will join him in a beer before the required sip of hemlock

  13. Brownie – What libel are you referring to?

    And were you aware that the “Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy” didn’t work out so well for its members, who died out a few hundred years ago?

  14. Scooter,

    The meeting may have been called to move this whole Shubert case in a direction where Chantal may have to sign an affidavit. Don’t assume anything. I’m sure they’re getting legal advice on how to proceed. Chantal’s statement has many holes. I’m betting she’ll retract her statement soon.

  15. Scooter,

  16. LOL, Chantal’s going to retract her statement. Yeah, and Paul is going to come back as city manager and yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus.

  17. Shew was just the triggerman. Now you should get Gotti “Teflon Don” and Gravano “Sammy the Bull”. If the city council really wanted to get to the truth they would have had the independent investigation before they fired Shew unfortunately they still have faith in this mayor. The mayor just made Shew the sacrificial lamb in hopes that the people will be satisfied. He believes the citizens of Rye are fools. The only fool here is the mayor. I am sorry to say but this is like dealing with the mafia, disguised as city officials. I was happy to hear that Joe Sack had no part of this.

  18. BYOB –
    I have no clue as to what you mean by “Innocent to proven guilty”. Perhaps you’ve celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day a little too forcefully. If so, I suggest you lay off the sauce for a while – that stuff will kill you.
    If you meant “presumed innocent until proven guilty” it’s too bad that you don’t understand one of the principles of the Constitution when it comes to the rights of the individual. Under our laws, anyone accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Many people leave off the words “presumed to be” when discussing suspects, but those three words are critical to the whole concept of justice.
    Try to understand the logic here. Obviously, the individual is either innocent or guilty once the crime has occurred. The state cannot claim an individual is innocent or guilty until they have discovered the facts and heard arguments of the plaintiff/prosecutor and the defendant/accused. The state can, however, presume the accused to be either guilty or innocent. In order to protect the rights of the individual, the founding fathers set up the courts with the presumption of innocence. Once the accused is tried by a jury of his peers and found guilty or confesses to the crime, then – and only then – can the accused be found guilty by the state, and can a sentence be determined. The burden of proof rests on the prosecution.
    If a crowd of people decide that certain facts make a compelling argument on their own, no trial is needed and the crowd can move directly to sentencing, it’s essentially a lynch mob. The crowd may even take a vote to make it “democratic”, but that doesn’t make it right under the law.
    I hope you can understand this distinction. If you’re still unclear, I suggest you contact Judge Carey, who learned this simple concept about 50 years ago.
    Please, if you want to have a meaningful conversation, avoid discussing that which you do not understand, and learn how to properly use the “Shift” and “Cap Lock” keys.


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