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Former City Manager Files Notice of Claim Against Rye

Former Rye City Manager O. Paul Shew, who was given the boot back in March, has thrown the book at Rye City. Shew has filed a notice of claim against the City of Rye demanding additional compensation including "Nine (9) months full salary, benefits from March 17, 2009 minus all sums received in said period; all unused vacation, sick and personal time minus any amount paid."

Read Shew's Notice of Claim against Rye City.

What do you think about this claim? Leave a comment below.


  1. Well I guess the rumor is true.

    Heads-up fellow taxpayers – the mismanagement of our municipal affairs is starting to pile in – in the form of lawsuits.

    There’s the one from the contractors above, there’s the one from The Schubert’s last week and now curiously there is one from O. Paul Shew – you remember him right? He was the City Manager the Mayor told us all we were so lucky to have working for us all the way thru the night the council voted to fire him this spring. They paid him a boatload.

    I hope for one that while Mr. Shew is on the outs with our ‘Gang of Steve’ that somehow we can get him to testify without fear of recrimination in a public forum about what actually happened in multiple matters during his employment here.

    “Counselor” Kevin Plunkett’s hand crafted “Cone of Silence” that immediately descended on the swift departed Mr. Shew reminds me somewhat of the Nixon Pardon – supposedly good for the country (City) but ultimately corrosive to all associated with it.

  2. Perhaps if Otis and the Rye City Council had done a real investigation into the Schubert matters, as per the City of Rye Charter, and Shew was found to be at fault, Shew could have been dismissed for cause and therefore would not have a claim.

    Perhaps if Otis and the Rye City Council had taken action against Shew with regard to the many disturbing allegations contained in the Rye PBA’s April 2008 Votes of No Confidence in Shew and Connors, Shew could have been dismissed for cause and therefore not have a claim.

    Why didn’t Otis and the Rye City Council want to do a proper investigation complete with subpoenas and sworn testimony?

    Why didn’t Otis and the Rye City Council conduct the Disciplinary Hearing against Shew? Instead they allowed Shew to submit and re-submit his retirement papers three different times.

    I am of the opinion that Otis and the Rye City Council possibly refused to conduct a proper investigation and a disciplinary on Shew in order to conceal their own possible culpability as well as to protect their own personal and political agendas.

    In the Matter of the Claim of

    To: City Clerk
    Of The City of Rye
    PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the undersigned claimant hereby makes claim and demand against the City of Rye, New York as follows:
    1. The name and post-office address of each claimant and claimant’s attorney is:
    Claimant: O. PaulShew, 24 Wappanocca Avenue, Rye, New York 10580
    Claimant’s Attorney: Robert David ~oodstein, Law Offices of Robert David Goodstein, Esq. 56 Harrison Street, Suite 401, New Rochelle, New York 10801
    2. The nature of the claim:
    Breach of employment contract between O. Paul Shew and the City of Rye based on a failure to pay severance, total unused vacation time, sick time and personal time; Breach of the Rye City Charter Section C8-4 for failure to pay salary for a full 3 (three) months after the adoption of a preliminary resolution terminating his employment; constructive discharge.
    3. The time when, the place where and the manner in which the claim arose:
    Claimant was hired as City Manager of the City of Rye pursuant to an employment contract dated August 25, 2003. City Council of Rye adopted a preliminary resolution on March 17, 2009
    removing claimant from his position as City Manager of Rye and terminated his employment. Pursuant to the Rye City Charter his salary must be paid for a full 3 (three) months after adoption
    of the resolution. Pursuant to the employment contract claimant, if terminated, is entitled to 6 (six) months severance, all unused vacation, sick leave and personal leave.
    4. The items of damage or injuries claimed are (include dollar amounts)
    Nine (9) months full salary, benefits from March 17, 2009 minus all sums received in said period; all unused vacation, sick and personal time .minus any amount paid.
    KENNETH NEWMAN Notary Public, State of New York NO.01NE5070934 Qualified in Queens C~ty .
    Commission Expires Jan. 6, ~

  3. Health- and building-code violations on Hen Island reported two years ago … The gallimaufry of missteps and tug-of-war that has been the Schubert case for three years and counting … The big issue is not that wheels have finally been set in motion to address these problems, the point is that the mayor and the city council (for the most part) still refuse to admit they should have investigated these problems thoroughly in the first place. We have a problem. When pressed recently by outraged Rye residents as to why both matters weren’t acted upon sooner, Mayor Otis said, “we were misinformed.” One council member laid blame at the feet of former city manager Paul Shew. Mr. Shew’s share of opprobrium is well earned, but he didn’t act alone: no city manager does. And Mayor Otis also opined with respect to the Schubert case, that an investigation, at the time, might have incurred an expense that could have jeopardized the city’s AAA bond rating! So — bond rating first, problem solving — optional. Got it. We have a problem. It’s time for every voter in Rye to realize that the childish expedient of taking the easier, less costly route in the short term will usually be more troublesome and expensive in the long run. And it has. Remember that this November. Meanwhile, Rye residents are still waiting for the council and mayor to admit that there are problems with their philosophy of governing. As one frustrated attendee at the April 15 meeting remarked to Mayor Otis, “I’m appalled by the lack of answers.” We have a problem.

  4. They will be writing this about Rye pretty soon???

    Town So Small, But Lawyers’ Fees So Big

    Published: December 24, 2006
    Photo (Photo by Alan Zale for The New York Times)
    THE leaders of this village on Long Island Sound stick up for their town, but many residents have come to feel that they have been doing so a bit too zealously — and at needless taxpayers’ expense.
    Those residents are unhappy that Mamaroneck has found itself mired in lawsuits that have cost at least $3.2 million in five years for attorneys’ fees alone, an exceptional sum for a village of 19,000 people with a $26 million budget. According to records, it paid $374,258 this year and $290,506 last year to Joseph C. Messina, a lawyer in town who works part time for the Zoning Board of Appeals. That’s the kind of money that lawyers at white-shoe firms earn working full time. Mamaroneck paid $527,069 this year to Kevin J. Plunkett, its former part-time lawyer, and other lawyers at Thacher Proffitt & Wood in White Plains.
    Democrats made the village’s legal bills an issue in the November campaign. It is no wonder then that voters toppled the board’s 4-to-1 Republican majority and replaced it with a 3-to-2 Democratic majority. John M. Hofstetter, a Democratic trustee, recalled that as he and other candidates ”were walking around the community, people were raising the issue — the amount of money we were paying for these services is extraordinary.”
    ”Someone would have to work 50 hours full time on this particular case for every week of the year in order to earn the money that they earned,” he said of one case.
    He calculates that legal bills for the past year amount to more than $200 per household.
    Residents can understand defending lawsuits where crucial issues are at stake, but two costly cases seem imprudent to many.
    For five years, Westchester Day School, a 400-student, Orthodox Jewish school on 26 wooded acres, has wanted to erect a classroom building no more than three stories high. But some neighbors warned that the expanded enrollment would swamp traffic on the main two-lane road. Despite a report from the village’s own traffic experts that the impact would be minimal, the village zoning board, responding to those neighbors. refused a permit. The school sued. Before trial, it offered to shrink the proposed building and cap enrollment. The trustees and their lawyers stood firm, refusing to settle. After a federal judge ruled against them, the trustees appealed, and the legal bills continued to mount. Arguments were heard Dec. 1. If the village loses, it will be liable for the school’s legal fees.
    ”If I want to be stupid with my money, that’s my God-given right, but when you’re entrusted with the public purse, you have to be judicious,” said Thomas A. Murphy, a trustee who was the lone Democrat on the old board.
    Then there is the trustees’ effort to close a decades-old job bazaar near the train station where contractors hire day laborers. The trustees have accused the laborers of drinking and urinating in public near the station. Here’s betting, however, that some residents who would like to see the laborers moved have had grass cut or bathrooms tiled by those laborers, almost all of whom are Hispanic immigrants. The trustees apparently don’t want the laborers to be seen around the village.
    In her ruling Nov. 20, Judge Colleen McMahon of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York in White Plains found that there was no evidence of unruly behavior by the laborers, but she said the police and officials had violated the workers’ rights to equal protection in a manner that she said suggested racism. She described how the police had harassed laborers as they walked on village sidewalks, and how Hispanic men, including some who were not laborers, were ticketed for failing to strap on seat belts while beltless white men were shrugged off.
    The judge also admonished one former trustee for referring to the laborers as ”locusts” because some came from other towns.
    While many villages have a single lawyer, Mamaroneck has four, including one who just handles prosecutions in a village not known for high crime. Some residents, like John Romans, a lawyer himself, say they think the village would be better served with a single full-time lawyer.

    Mayor Phillip J. Trifiletti did not return calls. But Bill Paonessa, a county recreation supervisor and one of two Republicans on the village board — the other is the mayor — said that the trustees felt they had a good shot at winning both lawsuits, and that it was easy, ”with 20-20 hindsight,” to quibble. ”I feel we have gotten good service” from Mr. Plunkett and Mr. Messina, Mr. Paonessa said.
    Mr. Messina referred questions to Mr. Plunkett’s law firm, which continues to represent the village. Mr. Plunkett, who represents Dobbs Ferry and Irvington, said that his or Mr. Messina’s bills were not out of the ordinary — they both charge $205 an hour — and he said decisions on defending lawsuits were made by the trustees.
    ”We explore every option,” he said. ”The client makes the decision.”
    He may be right. The bulk of the fault may indeed lie with the trustees, who, while thinking they could defend ill-advised actions, forgot that a lawyer’s meter was running.

  5. wowow… Ray pretty ironic that your sight is complaining about legal fees.. how many lawsuits have you lost where the only ones winning are the lawyers. Who is representing the Shuberts?? wowowow

  6. Maybe it is time for Rye to get rid of Plunkett.

    Dobbs Ferry Village E-Letter: August 7, 2009

    There was a Special meeting of the Dobbs Ferry Village Board on August 5, 2009.

    At the meeting, the Mayor and the Board accepted the resignation of long-time Attorney for
    the Village Kevin Plunkett. The Board of Trustees voted to hire Joseph Stargiotti as the new
    Attorney for the Village, effective August 31st. Mr. Stargiotti, who resides in Pleasantville, New
    York, has been the Corporation Counsel for the City of Peekskill since 2008, and before that
    served Peekskill as part time Assistant Corporation Counsel for many years and maintained a
    private law practice based in Pleasantville. He has had prior experience as Assistant Counsel to
    the Villages of Ardsley, Hastings-on-Hudson, Elmsford, and the City of New Rochelle. He
    previously worked at the firm of Ponzini, Spencer & Geis. The Board also voted to retain
    Nicholas Ward-Willis and the firm of Keane & Beane to represent the Village in the post-trial
    proceedings of the Village’s condemnation lawsuit for the property acquired to build the new
    Department of Public Works. The Board voted to retain Kristen Kelley Wilson to continue to
    provide legal advice to the Village in connection with the final phases of the review and adoption
    of the proposed new Zoning Code.

    Mr. Plunkett has been the Attorney for the Village for 20 years. We thank Kevin for his many
    years of legal representation and advice to the Mayors and Boards of the Village and his devoted
    service to the Village and the people of Dobbs Ferry. Kevin has graciously offered to aid Mr.
    Stargiotti as he transitions to the position of Attorney for the Village.

  7. At last the bowl is clean and Ray and his crap is flushed.

    only thing left is to rid us of Ray the “pest”.

    Flush not needed only Swat for the “pest”.

    Swat! swat! swat!

  8. Who will ever forget Scott Pickup riding to Opie Shew’s rescue with this post on MyRye back in February. Pickup was referring to Shew sending the Crisis Team to Mr. Schubert’s house.

    Dear Mr. Chittenden/AKA Wry Record:

    A compassionate act that was instituted in privacy and required permission from the referred party is not a criminal act.


    Posted by: Scott Pickup | February 23, 2009 at 04:16 PM

    Mr. Schubert never gave Shew permission to call the Crisis Team.

    Once Shew made the call and then the Crisis Team called Mr. Schubert, Mr. Schubert had already been violated and intimidated.

    Mr. Schubert possibly felt if Shew could do this, what else could Shew be capable of if he didn’t give permission.

    Shew’s intent for making the call to the Crisis Team and how it relates to what is now being reported as a coverup of the facts by Shew surrounding the very person he called the Crisis Team on, seems to me could very well be the subject of a criminal investigation.

    Posted by: The Wry Record | February 23, 2009 at 05:06 PM

    Perhaps Pickup will testify on Shew’s behalf in Shew’s lawsuit against the City of Rye.

  9. Last night Otis and Plunkett got slapped down when they tried to pass a new parking regulation which would have let the Rye P.D. tow any car after 48 hours.

    Kudos to the other members of the Rye City Council who recognized Otis and Plunkett’s attempt at retaliating against one person at the expense of all the residents.

    After being slapped down last night Otis and Plunkett tried to throw Police Commissioner Connors under the bus by saying it was he who wanted this new policy.

    It is well known that Connors is in way over his head and has done many stupid things during his tenure. Are we to believe that this proposal, supposedly made by Connors, made its way onto last night’s agenda without Culross, Plunkett and Otis approving it first?

    Whether you like Ray or not, I happen to like him, Otis and Plunkett were rightfully slapped down last night. They were willing to screw 15,000 Rye residents to retaliate against one person. Shame on them. It is time for Otis and Plunkett to go.

  10. It is time for Otis to get voted out of office. It is also time for Culross to make his 4th and final exit.

    The Shew hiring by Otis and Culross was a complete lack of judgement and an obvious patronage payback.

    Shew’s suspension, firing, retiring with lots of taxpayer paid $$$$ perks given to him by Otis and Culross and then Shew suing us is beyond crazy. Otis and Culross should be ashamed of themselves and in hiding.

    I’m voting for Doug French, Andy Ball, Myles Lavelle and Suzanna Keith because I believe they offer us the best opportunity to bring stability to our government and to bring us open and transparent deliberations on all issues facing the taxpayers.

  11. Gee, thanks for telling us all for whom you intend to vote. But are you old enough to vote? Are you a dog who has learned how to type? Your statement means nothing without confirmation of who you really are.

    I personally intend to vote for Peter Jovanovich before anyone else as he’s the one person who comes across to me as having done the research on the issues. He understands where the money is (or was). He understands what is legally permitted. And he understands how to work constructively and collaboratively.

  12. Here’s a nice synopsis of a truly ugly day for our city in February from The Wry Record –

    “Mr. Schubert never gave Shew permission to call the Crisis Team. Once Shew made the call and then the Crisis Team called Mr. Schubert, Mr. Schubert had already been violated and intimidated.

    Mr. Schubert possibly felt if Shew could do this, what else could Shew be capable of if he didn’t give permission.
    Shew’s intent for making the call to the Crisis Team and how it relates to what is now being reported as a coverup of the facts by Shew surrounding the very person he called the Crisis Team on, seems to me could very well be the subject of a criminal investigation.”

    Now in a few days we get to make a polling booth judgment about those who assured us that Mr. Shew was a fabulous manager, that no “cover-up” was possible (Andy Ball mocked the questioners from the bench remember) and that we should all be quiet and thankful for their environmental law leadership in our city.

    And here now is a new short video on all this from Bob himself including a call to “Take Rye Back” –


  13. Yes, careful Robert, posting facts and truth is prohibited and could cause severe damage to the Otis ticket!
    It doesn’t help his campaign.

    Will somebody please flush that Linus character, he’s leaving a stain on MyToiletBowl.com!

    We wouldn’t want to upset Charmian and her retired NYC Officer husband, woops I mean Avg.Citizen.

  14. Here we go again.

    I watched last Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Bob Zahm brought to the City’s attention that the crosswalks on Old Post Road were in dire need of re-painting and it was creating a hazard for children to cross there. He apparently had made this complaint in the past as well.

    Culross sat there and said that he was told there was nothing that could be done.

    I seem to remember Shew saying that quite frequently. Now we have Shew’s $275,000 a year temporary replacement doing the same thing.

    Incredibly, the crosswalk was being re-painted this morning.

    So who told Culross nothing could be done? Plunkett? Otis? Pickup?

    Do you have to be a member of the Rye School Board for Otis and Culross to listen to your complaints and to act on them?

  15. WryRecord,
    So,that’s what I did wrong!

    I get it now, After my son was killed I was suppose to run for a seat on the BOE to get quicker results!

    Now 4 YEARS later & an ugly Yellow sign on my lawn Midland Ave. is FINALLY getting some attention!!!

    Do you remember how many times Otis said to me;
    “we are eager to work with you”

    That is what he switched to after saying;
    “there is nothing we could do”

    I have made several requests for changes for the Midland Ave. sector and I have definitely been taken down a different road than any other request by any other resident or BOE resident!

    I’m anxious to see all the FAVORITISM come to an END!!!

  16. Dear Jim:

    I may have to stand corrected on the City of Rye painting the crosswalks on Old Post Road. I went by a little while ago and yes, the crosswalk lines were painted, but they were painted black to match the pavement.

    The City of Rye in essence made the crosswalk disappear.

    I don’t know if this is a precursor to painting the crosswalk white so that drivers can actually see it is a crosswalk, but let’s hope so.

    If not maybe we can have Culross, Pickup, Connors, Otis and Plunkett or better yet their children to be the first ones to try out crossing there with no crosswalk visible.

  17. Well, hopefully the blacking-out of the cross walk markings (does nothing to change the fact that there’s still a cross walk there) over Playland Parkway Access have cleared up the thought that favoritism was a problem in Rye. We all get equal treatment – as it should be. The problem is that the City has taken a decision that actually makes our streets and sidewalks less safe under the mistaken assumption that the City’s (and County’s) liability will be reduced. Seems pretty short sighted to me.

  18. It is a shame that Culross and Otis did not listen to an elected Rye School member who is charged with our kid’s getting to school safely.

    I hope no ones kid gets killed or seriously injured because of these fools.

  19. Bob,

    Favoritism as in streets/neighborhoods, but since you mentioned it, I disagree that we are all treated equal unless you are referring to being disrespected, lied to and ignored.

    I am confident that this will all end January 1,2010!!!


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