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MyRye.com Off This Week, Back on September 8th

Enjoy the week. MyRye.com is taking the last week of summer off. See you on Tuesday, September 8th.

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48 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Jay & Family – Enjoy!

    MyRye is a terrific addition to our local media outlets and we who have been here the longest and care deeply about our city and our future appreciate all of your efforts to bring municipal transparency and a forum for alternate voices to us all.

    And now a municipal mismanagement “note of the day.”

    It’s becoming pretty clear by a tabulation of very hard fought “FOILED” public financial information that the current Otis Administration at City Hall has been directing huge amounts of our tax dollars over MANY YEARS to Kevin Plunkett and other outside law firms for SUBJECTIVELY DETERMINED LITIGATION.

    These amounts are unbelievably high and I believe would – if they had been redirected to serving our City infrastructure – pay for much of a new Blind Brook sluice gate or a new Central Avenue Bridge or even a Bird Homestead.

    We wouldn’t need to apply hat in hand for multiple grants of money redirected from other New York State taxpayers – or Federal taxpayers – for most of or sometimes all of these essential local projects – we have (or had) enough financial capability locally to finance them ourselves.

    And here’s just one example – the city apparently has spent close to ONE MILLION DOLLARS of taxpayer monies to bring litigation against lifelong resident and Rye Police Department member Tim Chittenden – who had the audacity to be injured in the line of duty and be critical of the Otis Administration’s management of the department (along with 80% of his fellow PBA Members). Maybe if there had been a Chief of Police like they had when I was growing up here then this matter would never have been turned into a lawsuit – but that’s just water over the sluice gate as they say.

    So here’s ONE MILLION DOLLARS for ONE LITIGATION MATTER and the meter on it is still running.

    How much more litigation are we engaged in? The answer is lots – and the bills paid and the bills to come are huge and growing.

    Have a great vacation Sears Family – and don’t forget the sunscreen!

  2. Ted C:

    The bulk of that money went towards a lawsuit against me. Falk and Connors said Falk would not be able to testify at the hearing if I used the Attorney I hired to defend me against the frivolous, bogus and retaliatory charges that Falk brought against me.

    As it turns out Falk actually told the court that he had previously consulted my Attorney on how to fire me.

    So even though Falk had sought advice on how to fire me prior to actually filing the bogus charges against me, Connors and the City of Rye went ahead and spent $1,000,000+ for Falk to sue me and on other legal action associated with the bogus charges.

    The best part is now Falk’s and the City of Rye’s Attorney are saying that Falk isn’t even going to testify.

    Why have Connors and the City of Rye spent over $1,000,000 so Falk could testify if he isn’t going to testify?

    Did someone lie to the court?

  3. Tim,

    This appears to be a grotesque legal vendetta – a personal vendetta – against you and the rank and file you represent.

    Never has a “vote of no confidence” resulted in such a shockingly lopsided outcome. And never in any Rye City administration has such a huge amount of public funds been used for things like this.

    Historically, I believe Mayor Grainger spent heavily and wisely and literally saved the City of Rye from a Robert Moses flawed dream us being no more than a utilitarian bridge landing site. But on a percentage of municipal revenue basis, compared to the Otis Administration, our City Savior was more like a frugal legal fee cheapskate. But then again he wasn’t a micromanager with political agendas other than his taxpayers – just watch his new interview on 10580.com and you’ll see that side of him come thru clearly.

    So Tim I for one am very sorry you’ve had to endure this prolonged, personal, taxpayer financed attack. And I for one am very very tired of financing it.

  4. Ted C:

    It’s funny that you mention a Vote of No Confidence.

    My problems with Falk started in November 1993 when I was elected as the Rye PBA President. I would serve as President for 14 years.

    Shortly after getting elected, but not yet sworn in, Falk and then Commissioner Schembri came to me and offered me a bribe. If I could get a Vote of Confidence for Schembri they would promote me to Sergeant.

    Schembri had received a unanimous Vote of NO Confidence earlier that year from the members of the Rye PBA. Schembri and Falk wanted to show then City Manager Culross that it was not the PBA who had a problem, but rather the PBA President at that time.

    At my first meeting as PBA President in January 1994, I notified the membership that Falk and Schembri had offered me a bribe if I got Schembri the Vote of Confidence he desperately needed to keep his job.

    That night we gave Schembri another unanimous Vote of NO Confidence.

    I reported Schembri and Falk’s bribe attempt to Culross. Schembri was allowed to resign and went on to the NYC Corrections. Falk somehow was allowed to stay and was never charged criminally or with department charges for his bribery attempt.

    Fast forward to today. $1,000,000 later and Culross is somehow still allowing Falk and Connors to continue with this ridiculous prosecution (persecution).

    I think I know why Falk’s Attorney is saying he isn’t going to testify. How about you?

    Let me know if you want to hear about the rape and sexual abuse allegations that were made against former Rye Police Department Lieutenant John McCarthy. Culross was here for that too.

    Any guesses why the Rye Police Department doesn’t have an intern program any more?

    The entire Rye Police Department is aware of these allegation of misconduct as well as other allegations. You can only imagine how damaging it is to morale that the person who represented them for 14 years and reported the allegations of misconduct, has found himself at the other end of retaliatory, bogus and frivolous charges.

    On top of this Otis and Culross want to reward Connors with another waiver.

  5. Tim,
    AND ON TOP OF ALL THAT THERE ARE STILL RESIDENTS WILLING TO VOTE HIM INTO OFFICE AS MAYOR EVERY FOUR YEARS????????????????????????
    DOES HE PAY PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR HIM OR ARE THEY JUST THAT BLIND???

  6. In the middle of budget season, and during a crippling recession, Otis goes out and hires a new City Comptroller.

    She is now forced to learn Rye’s finances during this economic downturn when many questions about Rye’s budget are up in the air. I guess Culross and Otis figure they can bully their new pet project into whatever they want in or out of the next budget.

    We had an Acting Comptroller, Joe Fazzino, who was doing a fine job and who knew Rye’s finances in and out. In fact, he had the same job title as the new Comptroller had at her previous job in the Town of North Hempstead.

    So why didn’t Rye appoint Mr. Fazzino?

    Why did Otis have to hire Genito and give him $30,000 to bring in another outsider? In fact, why did Otis even hire Genito in the first place?

    Otis has created instability in our Government and should be voted out of office for the turmoil he has caused.

    We all know the history behind the hires made by Otis and Culross.

    Novak.

    Shew.

    Plunkett.

    Connors.

    http://wcbstv.com/topstories/david.wasserman.north.2.375000.html

  7. Tim,

    That’s a pretty stupid thing they did offering you some kind of bribe. Reading a guy wrong is something overconfident, overreachers do frequently – especially where there are patronage dollars floating around and the impression of “in group” being bullet proof because of their political connections.

    I’d like to know from your perspective what happened to the Chief of Police position. We always had a Chief of Police here when I was growing up. I thought he or she was an “up from the ranks” type of promotion so the local knowledge was not dissipated and every starting officer could aspire to a full range of promotion. For us regular citizens who know little of police department management (but who may have a wide range of other management experience) I’d like your take on why Rye changed its approach here and what that’s meant to the normal aspirations of anyone on the force to get promoted all the way up

  8. Ted,
    I’m sure Timmy has a more definitive answer to this than the avg. Rye citizen. Being an avg. citizen w/little or no Police Background the one word that comes to mind is “INCENTIVE”?

  9. Ted C:

    As witnessed first hand all the Police Department management experience or education means nothing. In my opinion, one look at the way the Rye P.D. operates and anyone can easily see that. Except for Otis it seems.

    Anyway, I thought I would share another real story of the Rye P.D. with you before commenting on the Police Chief vs. Police Commissioner.

    Rye was being plagued by some very dangerous burglars. One Rye woman was severely beaten when she found a female burglar in her house.

    As it turns out I arrested this female burglar along with her male accomplice a week or so later.

    She made a sexual abuse allegation against Verille. Instead of investigating Verille, then Police Commissioner Pease turns around and says the complaint was made against me. I believe this was done in either as retaliation or to intimidate me by putting me on par with Pease’s good friend Lt. McCarthy, who had a rape allegation and an sexual abuse allegation made against him.

    In any event, the only contact I had with the female burglar was putting handcuffs on her in broad daylight and taking these violent felons off the street. Whatever Verille may or may have not or done is still up in the air because he was never investigated for the complaint made against him, I was.

    I wish this wasn’t true but it is. Verille is now amazingly in charge of investigations at the Rye PD. Otis, knowing full well of the allegation made against Verille, even made Verille interim Commissioner for a year after Pease left and before Connors was dropped onto Rye.

  10. Tim,
    I seems to me that you can draw the same conclusions with my problems on Hen Island. I realize they don’t compare to the immediate life threaten experiences of police work but the same parallels of a cover-up exist in Rye with health, building and pollution issues on Hen Island. It appears to me that Otis, due to his day job in Albany is able to hush up plenty on a city, county and also a state level. I wonder if Suzi Oppenheimer knows what is going on. Why do you think a State Senator would want to be associated with someone like that?

    Ray Tartaglione

  11. Tim,

    That’s pretty ugly stuff – the criminal element you have to deal with coupled with office backstabbing makes for a truly toxic mixture. I think most readers understand what its like to be in an organization where the bosses are overly self interested and protective of their perks of power to the determent of mission. But in your “business” – people can and do get hurt, even maybe killed.

    Having a city administration vested in making examples out of those who call them on their mismanagement is unfortunately where I think our fine little city has fallen to. And they’ve wasted a huge amount of taxpayer funds pursuing these kinds of ideological vendettas – so much so that they’ve made us poor to the point of going hat in hand for redistributed monies to pay for essential capital improvements to protect our local neighborhoods. And then of course those kinds of funds take forever to get. So they tell us we must be patient – and that not to worry, they’re soo well connected where it counts.

    What a shabby, tired racket.

    Meanwhile it could rain heavily again any day now. Any day.

  12. A Police Chief would not force the members of the Rye Police Department to work in a mold infested building.

    Connors did. Despite repeated warnings from the Rye PBA of a very serious health problem, it wasn’t until a member of the Rye PBA fell seriously ill that the Rye PBA was forced to pay for an expert to come in. Then and only then did Connors fix this serious health problem.

    A Police Chief would not force the members of the Rye Police Department to work in a building with a very serious asbestos problem.

    Connors did. Despite repeated warnings from the Rye PBA to Connors that a very serious health issue existed concerning asbestos, Connors ignored the warnings. It wasn’t until the Rye PBA brought a sample of the asbestos to a lab confirming that asbestos existed and the NYS Department of Labor issued two citations to Connors that this dangerous health condition was finally addressed.

    A Police Chief would not expose the members of the Rye Police Department to injury by not allowing the carrying of Tasers.

    Connors did and then lied about allowing the deployment at a Labor/Management meeting.

    A Police Chief comes up through the ranks of the Rye Police Department. The Chief would have to have been a Police Officer, Sergeant and Lieutenant prior to becoming Chief. A Police Chief Would have knowledge of Rye, know the members of the community, know the business owners and know how Rye operates.

    Connors was dropped into Rye from NYPD. He knew no one and does not frequent Purchase Street. This was no more glaring than when Connors started a policy in which Rye minors were detained and brought into Police HQ. It wasn’t until the Rye PBA stood up to Connors on behalf of their members and Rye’s minors did this policy cease. Connors was, is and always will be clueless to Rye’s real issues.

    A Police Chief would not be beholden to politicians.

    Not only is Connors beholden to politicians, every two years he gets a 211 waiver allowing him to collect his full NYPD pension while still collecting his full Rye salary. Clearly Connors is only beholden to whoever gives him that waiver. Currently it is Otis and Culross.

    Connors apparent order of priorities:

    1. Get Waiver

    2. Double check to see if he got Waiver.

    3. Do anything Rye City Council tells him to do.

    4. Coverup all misconduct committed by members of his administration.

    5. Call Vince Toomey.

    6. Triple check that he got Waiver.

    7. Call Julia Novak and Opie Shew to see how they are doing and to thank them again for all those previous Waivers.

    8. Double check with Otis and City Council that he did everything they wanted.

    9. Make sure Rye is being protected properly.

    10. Ensure the safety, health and well being of members of the Rye Police Department.

    A Police Chief could not get a waiver because he or she have always been in Rye and are not transients like Connors, Shew, Pickup and Plunkett are.

    I hope this clears up some of the differences between a Police Chief and a Police Commissioner.

  13. Also, a Police Chief would not force the members of the Rye Police Department to work with an unsafe and inoperable Holding Cell, blocked and unsafe Jail Cells and having to use a very dangerous and unsafe handrail to detain numerous prisoners at the same time.

    Connors did. Connors ignored numerous warnings from the Rye PBA and allowed these dangerous conditions to continue. It wasn’t until the Rye PBA reported these dangerous conditions to the NYS Correction Commission, and they issued a report affirming the dangerous conditions and ordering the immediate corrections, that Connors addressed these dangerous conditions.

  14. Police Chief,

    That’s just disgusting! What kind of community have we become under the mismanagement of these elected officials? First they spend us poor on superfluous subjectively determined litigation. Then they aggressively alienate the rank and file of our police department. I hear the firefighters are also unhappy with their treatment. Then they pass the hat for redistributed monies from elsewhere to cover our local infrastructure projects. Then they make excuses when the monies take too long to come.

    In my memory we were all proud of the Rye PD and felt their interests aligned with our own as a community. I can remember by name certain Rye officers who served as role models for me and whose words and deeds have never left me. This is a truly shocking and disturbing state of affairs.

  15. It’s a shame that Connors refuses to hire any Rye residents, when you have plenty looking to become police officers in the town where they grew up. Otis is a fraud! Why do we need a field that will cost millions to build plus the $30k a year lease? People will still vote for him which is amazing and as long as he is Mayor connors will be here.
    As for other city positions it seems Rye won’t hire any local residents.

  16. Tim, I appreciate that you have more knowledge than most re: RPD. But to be fair, I’m sure there are some positives to having a PC as opposed to a Chief. I’m not saying in Rye….more generically. Can you share some with us?

  17. This is a sample of what Novak advertised she was looking for in a Police Commissioner during a 2000 search:

    The new Commissioner is expected to balance the labor-management climate returning both parties to their traditional roles and responsibilities.

    Traditional roles? NYS Labor law puts the union and management on equal footing. Apparently, Novak, Shew, Otis, Connors, Toomey and Plunkett have a different view than NYS Law.

    The new Police Commissioner, with the full support of the City Council and City Manager, will be in the forefront of leading a change in the department to solve internal issues while reconnecting it to its core constituents by addressing long-standing management practices and employee attitudes within the department.

    Adjusting employee attitudes???? This is the very core of the many labor/management problems.

    The members of the department that were causing the problems have never been “adjusted”. The only ones that were “adjusted” were involved with protecting and preserving employees rights.

    This is what happens when you get a transient City Manager hiring a transient Police Commissioner with a deaf, dumb and blind Mayor allowing it to occur.

    Connors, Otis, Plunkett and Culross all need to be bent over (adjusted) and kicked to the curb.

  18. [Posted by Ted C: In my memory we were all proud of the Rye PD and felt their interests aligned with our own as a community. I can remember by name certain Rye officers who served as role models for me and whose words and deeds have never left me. This is a truly shocking and disturbing state of affairs.]

    Ted, are you no longer proud of the RPD?

    Tell us current RPD officers that you consider role models.

  19. Average Citizen,

    I am not proud of an 80% disapproval rating of this RPD political appointee mis-management team. Are you proud of it? Are you prepared to call the vote a sham?

    This rating says to me that we – as a city – are unaligned with the rank and file who protect and serve here. This is neither a realistic or sustainable status. If you want a naming contest I’ll leave the rank and file out of it and point to the Mayor and his Commissioner as the prime sources of this status. Why should we accept this status?

  20. If you really want to know the difference between a Police Chief and a Commissioner just come on down to Midland Ave. tomorrow for the first day of school. I can personally guarantee you will witness the difference as you will see Nannies,Parents,Commercial Vehicles, TEACHERS, speeding thru the 20MPH School Zone while talking and texting on their techno gadgets!!

    And you can be sure that there will be no Police Presence COURTESY of Commissioner Connors and of Lt.Falk!!!

  21. Jimmy,

    You are so right about the continual nonsense on Midland Avenue.

    BTW did you notice that “Average Citizen” replied to none of my questions although I responded to his?

    My guess is that this particular “Average Citizen” is in actuality anyone but average. In fact, I’m coming to believe our own “Average Citizen” is actually a current Rye City elected official. Why you ask? Because this same “Average Citizen” was the screen name for a curious dawn patrol – first responder on The Journal News Lohud blog the very morning when the $5M Schubert vs. Rye City lawsuit got front paged countywide in early August. That’s an un-average coincidence I’d say.

    “Average Citizen’s” line of argument that particular morning on LoHud was straight from the detailed party line that certain sitting city council members have been evolving to shield themselves from the publically called for third party investigation of the Shew/Schubert debacle and its related novella – “The Case of the Missing Wetland Permit.”

  22. If your wondering why there are no cops around tomorrow morning between 7:50 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. it is because there are no cops on the road during this time.

    That’s right NO COPS!!! This occurs every day. So not only is there no police presence or enforcement during this time frame, God forbid someone falls ill during this time frame they could die.

    How is this possible in Rye where $6,000,000 is spent on the Rye Police Department yearly?

    The answer is simple. Connors is incompetent and unable to lead the men and women of the Rye Police Department. Connors does not care about the safety and well being of the residents and the members of the Rye Police Department.

    This was made very clear last year with the overwhelming Vote of No Confidence Connors received from the rank and file.

    By the way generally there are no cops on the road from 3:50 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. and from 11:50 p.m. and 12:10 a.m. If your going to have a heart attack, get hit by a car or suffer any other serious illness or injury PLEASE do not do it during these times. You may DIE if you do.

  23. Ted, sorry for not answering your question directly. I thought I was clarifying why it origninally when I responded to Jim’s post. I’ll answer it again — I wasn’t sure if the RPD had your support or not. You cleared it up with your response. I’m not insinuating that you didn’t support them, I just wasn’t clear from your original post.

    Yes I do follow a lot of the topics on Lohud.com. No I am not Avg Citizen on there. I am not an elected official either. Seriously, I feel I am just an average Rye resident, hence the nickname.

  24. Jim, do you honestly believe that the difference between a Commisioner and a police chief is what you claim? Using your logic, no matter who replaces Conners won’t address your issue either. You have an issue with Conners, not wheter Rye has a commisioner or a police chief.

  25. Avg. Citizen,
    Yes, we “all” have a problem with Connors as a Commissioner. He obviously has not earned the respect of the men & women of the RPD or the citizens of Rye and for good reason. It definitely would not matter if he was Chief or Commissioner, he is not capable of either. If Otis & the City manager kept the RPD in Chief status we would never of had Connors or the position of a Commissioner. The Chief would have come up thru the ranks of the RPD which Connors has and never will be a member of! And I have to disagree with you- a Chief in the RPD would ABSOLUTELY make a world of difference!!

  26. I agree with Mr. Amico as far as a Police Chief making a world of difference. There wouldn’t be a transient like Connors in charge of the Rye PD.

    As far as Falk making Chief that would never happen. There is no Rye PD Chief’s office at the Rye Town Park.

  27. Tim:

    Please explain to this board why the following is true (feel free to explain tours & the PBA contract):

    “By the way generally there are no cops on the road from 3:50 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. and from 11:50 p.m. and 12:10 a.m. If your going to have a heart attack, get hit by a car or suffer any other serious illness or injury PLEASE do not do it during these times. You may DIE if you do. ”

  28. Avg.Citizen,
    Where did you ever get the notion Falk would be suitable as a Chief when he can’t even get it right as a Lt.?
    BTW-How in the world did Falk get to Lt.? Shocking with his behavior he made it past Patrolman!

  29. Dear Mr. Amico:

    If Falk was willing to bribe the PBA President with a promotion to save Schembri’s job, who knows what Falk may have done to get his own promotion.

    Falk didn’t even graduate from High School.

    There must have been a real good reason former City Manager Novak wanted to flog Falk on the Village Green.

  30. Jim:

    I’m just pointing out that having a chief won’t necessarily solve your problems. Who do you think will appoint the chief? A chief is an appointed position; there is not a civil service test. So after Otis wins (yes — I know that will break your heart), even if Rye goes to a chief-led force, Otis (and I’m assuming the council) will appoint the chief. And, as Tim has stated here numerous times, you will have a leader of the RPD beholden to the mayor.

    There really are no easy answers.

    P.S. Before you skewer me for the “Otis Wins!” comment, I am not suggesting that I support him (or don’t support him), it’s just that I think he will win. My $.02

  31. Average Citizen:

    I heard that Falk did not graduate from High School. Did he get a GED? I guess you could ask him that question. Next time your in Rye Town Park just look for the guy in the grey unmarked police car with the binoculars.

  32. Average Citizen,

    Your assumption that “Otis Wins” is I believe problematic. The more FOILED data that gets extracted from Rye City Hall the more the picture of what some politely call this administration’s “micromanagement” becomes clear. I’ve gone on the record of doing FOIL’s myself and had what appeared to be outright lies handed to me (although Mr. Shew publicly disputed that at the time). Overall, our hard earned tax money gets spent like tap water by this crew and they continuously act as though they can “fix” specific laws to suit their own ends. I’ll copy here a short early comment I made about Tim’s PBA situation on this very string –

    “Having a city administration vested in making examples out of those who call them on their mismanagement is unfortunately where I think our fine little city has fallen to. And they’ve wasted a huge amount of taxpayer funds pursuing these kinds of ideological vendettas – so much so that they’ve made us poor to the point of going hat in hand for redistributed monies to pay for essential capital improvements to protect our local neighborhoods. And then of course those kinds of funds take forever to get. So they tell us we must be patient – and that not to worry, they’re soo well connected where it counts. What a shabby, tired racket. Meanwhile it could rain heavily again any day now. Any day.”

    Average Citizen, what make you think this type of “experience” ticket beats a “change” ticket when so many taxpayers are afraid they may not be able to afford to live here any more?