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Home Government Candidate French Calls for Litigation and Case Management

Candidate French Calls for Litigation and Case Management

Hours before tonight's (Monday, 10/19) Osborn debate, Rye mayoral candidate Doug French is calling for a litigation and case management committee to oversee the city's legal department. City legal work is overseen by Corporation Counsel Kevin Plunkett.

We hear French is going to try and turn up the heat after a fairly mild exchange at the League of Women Voter's debate last week.

Here is the preemptive strike (AKA news release) issued by French:

FRENCH CALLS FOR RYE CITY TO ESTABLISH A LITIGATION AND CASE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 19, 2009

RYE, NY- Rye City Mayoral Candidate, Doug French (R-C) who is running on a platform to bring new leadership and fiscal management back to Rye is calling on the City to establish a Litigation and Case Management Committee to oversee the rising burden of litigation facing Rye.

“Our legal department is the only core function in our government that does not have management or committee oversight.  Given the dramatic rise in disputes the City is engaged in to include project home run, the dredging case, the Schubert case, the Shew case, and the ongoing 12-year Osborn Home litigation to name a few – I think we need to ensure there is oversight in these cases and that there is transparency in the process.  I recommend we put together a committee of attorneys – similar to our finance committee – to review the legal process and expense,” French said.

“This is about responsible governance and we can no longer afford to rely on the old way of doing things.  The City’s legal bills have double over the last six years and the rapid increase in cases demands a new approach,” French continued.

Doug French, 46, is a Global Vice President at Thomson Reuters Corporation, a world-wide leader in news and business information. He is a Rye community leader with 22 years of public service and a long list of accomplishments serving Rye.

He is running for the office of Rye City Mayor in the upcoming November election on 11/3 along with Suzanna Keith, Peter Jovanovich and Richard Filippi for City Council on the Change for Rye ticket.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Be careful Mr. French – your foot is close to the high voltage Plunkett-Pataki-Patronage rail that feeds Mr. Otis’s personal ambitions in Albany at Rye taxpayers’ expense.

  2. Ted C,
    You are right on target. Voices on the streets whisper Mr. Plunkett was brought to Rye by Steve Otis as another political favor concocted in Albany as he worked for Senator Suzie Oppenhimer. Mayor Otis was promised access to then Governor George Pataki by Kevin Plunkett. Plunkett’s brother Bill was Pataki’s law partner in the New York, White Plains, and Peekskill law firm of Plunkett & Jaffe. Bill Plunkett also went to Albany after the election and sat at the right hand of the Governor. Many of the local Towns, Villages and Cities followed suit in hopes of also getting a voice in the Governor’s office. Until they realized the legal fees inflicted on their communities far outweighed the political connection value. They have all since booted the Park Avenue priced counselor that creates more litigation then he avoids to the curb. Why are we in Rye the last holdout? Google Plunkett and Pataki you can follow the ball for yourself. Thank you, Mr. French for setting the alarm clock for Rye.

  3. Why do you think the Village of Mamaroneck, the Village of Dobbs Ferry and the Village of Irvington all got rid of Plunkett?

    It seems very obvious to me that Otis’s appointment of Plunkett, and the awarding of $100,000’s of thousands in legal fees by Me Me to Plunket, are either political payback or for Me Me to seek out political favor with our money.

    I love soon to be Mayor French’s idea. There is absolutely no accountability or transparency now from Me Me.

  4. Mimi,
    Look at this one, where Otis and Plunkett spend another $3500.00 in taxpayer funds and get busted trying to cover their ass’s with the Schubert high-drologist. And there is our boy “I will swear Otis is always right” George Pratt on the side line trying to run interference for Otis. Even when he gets caught in a lie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-dF7HOFspA&feature=response_watch

    Jack A. (Mr. Floatie’s ass-istant)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUDT-VsHDN4&NR=1

  5. I submitted a FOIL request last week to the City of Rye to determine how much the City of Rye taxpayers have paid into the NYS Retirement System on Plunkett’s behalf.

    Despite the FOIL Law and the NYS Committee on Open Government detailing that the records should be provided within 5 business days, the City of Rye has chosen to disregard this standard.

    The only exception to the 5 day rule is if the records are not readily retrievable. Certainly taxpayer money paid into a retirement system for an employee would be readily retrievable unless the City of Rye has a very serious records management problem.

    I have already received records for money paid into the NYS Retirement System by the Village of Irvington on Plunkett’s behalf. The Rye FOIL was submitted on the same day.

    Does Rye have something to hide?

    Dear Mr. Chittenden –

    On behalf of all Records Access Officers of the City of Rye, this will acknowledge receipt of your FOIL request received on October 20, 2009. A response to your request will be made within 20 days, either granting or denying your request in whole or in part, in accordance with the law.

    Jean Gribbins

  6. Tim, it looks like you are mistaken re: the FOIL law.
    The agency must acknowledge your request within five days, not supply the information. They also must give you an approximate date when the request will be granted or denied. Looks like that is what Ms. Gribbins did.

    “Within five business days this agency will respond to your request for records with a written acknowledgement of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when such request will be granted or denied.”

  7. I don’t believe Plunkett is collecting a pension anywhere in New York State yet but you never know. I didn’t see Shew’s name on the list either.

    Did you see this one:

    MC CARTHY, JOHN MLast employerCITY OF RYE
    Annual Benefit41,984Rank of Annual Benefit in Lower Hudson Valley (if there)3,515
    Rank of Annual Benefit in state28,965
    Percentile rank of Annual Benefit in state89
    System/Tier2/2 (System 2 = police, fire)
    Retirement date2/28/2001Years of employment credited21
    Date of membership in retirement system12/3/1979Final Average Salary used to calculate benefit94,505

    Editor’s Note

  8. Average Citizen:

    This is 2009 and even the NYS Legislature saw fit to bring the letter and spirit of the FOIL Law into the 21st Century.

    Unfortunately, Otis and the City of Rye still hang their hats on antiquated, unresponsive and out of touch FOIL procedures. Otis says he is transparent and open yet he spends more time figuring out how not to provide records rather than providing them.

    How much has Otis paid Plunkett the last 5 years to figure out how not to provide records in response to FOIL requests when providing the records would not have been a violation of FOIL?

    From the New York State Committee on OPEN Government:

    The amendments clearly are intended to prohibit agencies from unnecessarily delaying disclosure.
    They are not intended to permit agencies to wait until the fifth business day following the receipt of a request and then twenty additional business days to determine rights of access, unless it is reasonable to do so based upon “the circumstances of the request.” From my perspective, every law must be implemented in a manner that gives reasonable effect to its intent, and I point out that in its statement of legislative intent, §84 of the Freedom of Information Law states that “it is incumbent upon the state and its localities to extend public accountability wherever and whenever feasible.” Therefore, when records are clearly available to the public under the Freedom of Information Law, or if they are readily retrievable, there may be no basis for a delay in disclosure

  9. Average Citizen:

    Although I seriously doubt that you don’t know who John McCarthy is, I will still give you a brief biography of McCarthy.

    John McCarthy was a Lieutenant at the Rye Police Department.

    About ten years ago serious criminal allegations came to light against McCarthy.

    One allegation involved the alleged rape of a Rye Police Department intern who I believe was still in High School or recently graduated.

    Another allegation was made that McCarthy allegedly sexual abused a female bar patron.

    In addition, allegations were made that then Police Commissioner Pease and then City Manager Francis Culross knew of these allegations and not only covered them up, but promoted McCarthy.

    Despite the allegations, Pease refused to take any action against McCarthy. McCarthy was still allowed to work amongst other members of the department with these allegations hanging over his head.

    Eventually, then Distric Attorney Jeanine Pirro had to call then City Manager Francis Culross at his home to have Pease order McCarthy not report to work until further notice.

    Not to worry. Pease, Culross and Mayor Otis invented a new “Administrative Leave” policy allowing McCarthy to collect full pay while not coming to work.

    Anyone else and they would have been suspended.

    The Rye Police Department did eventually conduct an internal investigation. From what I was told McCarthy was never questioned about the allegations which was in direct conflict with normal Police policy and procedure, especially since a Rye Police Department intern was one of the alleged victims.

    Under the rules and regulations McCarthy would have been forced to submit to questioning. If he refused to respond to questioning or lied during questioning, he would have faced dismissal.

    This vital investigative tool was apparently intentionally disregarded to protect McCarthy. This same investigative tool had been used on other members of the Rye Police Department by McCarthy himself for petty and frivolous investigations.

    I was told the chief investigator recommended to Pease that McCarthy be arrested.

    Pease disregarded this recommendation.

    Perhaps you can confirm this information with former and now current City Manager Francis Culross or with the Mayor at that time, Steve Otis or with “Judge” Jeanine.

    Good luck.

  10. Tim, I truly am not familiar with John. Not only am I new to Rye (withing the past five years), but I really don’t get very involved in a lot of the local stuff. Believe it or not, I get a lot of info right here — from myrye.com.

    This is perhaps one of the reasons I have been “accused” of being a Hen Island resident, a member of the City Council or an occasional idiot. [Only one of the above is true!]

    I enjoy reading the posts, and as you may have seen, offfering an opposing view (I enjoy playing Devil’s Advocate). Since a lot of the posts here are (and I’ll be kind in my assessment) not very supportive of the current administration, when I do post a thought, a lot of times people take it for supporting the current admin. Usually I am only trying to point out another view. See my next post!

  11. Tim, you posted the following: “From what I was told McCarthy was never questioned about the allegations which was in direct conflict with normal Police policy and procedure, especially since a Rye Police Department intern was one of the alleged victims.

    Under the rules and regulations McCarthy would have been forced to submit to questioning. If he refused to respond to questioning or lied during questioning, he would have faced dismissal.”

    Isn’t it true that if he were questioned, that it would have hindered any possible criminal investigation? As you know, he has the right under the 5th Amendment not to make a statement. But as this only applies in criminal prosecutions, it would not prevent his dismissal from the RPD if he refused to answer. However, anything he said to RPD could not be used against him in a criminal proceeding, so LE agencies often do not pursue internal charges until criminal charges are settled/abandoned.

    Agreed?

  12. We do need honesty in our discourses.
    Diogenes will assign a shinning lantern to honest among us and linus a flush to others. Done objectively I assure you.

  13. Avg.Citizen,
    Check you out with all the Police knowledge. Where were you a cop?

    As a pain in the *** teenager I have had my share of dealings with McCarthy, now I know why he was always so nice to me.

    I remember his story all to well and he most certainly didn’t get everything he deserved.

    Seems not much has changed since then when one of our own crosses the line.

    Oh where, oh where, will this ever end?

    Doug,
    Love the idea but don’t hold your breath. We already have an abundance of committees that accomplish very little.
    Could you imagine Mayor Otis putting this committee together?

    It would be like nailing himself into his own coffin!

    I heard that there was a RPD officer doing Radar today @ 1pm on BPR across from the RHS wall.

    Could this be part of the new Enforcement Committee initatives?

  14. This story was in the NY Post today. Plunkett apparently worked in Rye, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and mamaroneck all at the same time.

    Rye has refused to provide details as to whether or not Plunkett is an employee of the City of Rye while also having a retainer agreement with the City of Rye and if this is legal and ethical.

    LI lawyer to repay $240G from improper pension
    AP
    Last Updated: 3:23 PM, November 5, 2009
    Posted: 2:55 PM, November 5, 2009
    PRINT EMAIL
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    A Long Island lawyer whose fat state retirement checks raised questions about public pension system abuses has agreed to give New York a $240,565 refund.
    Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that Lawrence Reich improperly got himself listed as a full-time employee at five different Long Island school districts. Cuomo says the lawyer was in private practice and only worked for the districts occasionally.
    Those job titles entitled him to a hefty pension.
    Reich’s retirement pay eventually drew the scrutiny of Newsday reporters.
    After the newspaper wrote about the issue, the state began cracking down.
    Cuomo’s office says it has recovered $2 million from 70 people who received improper pensions.
    Reich’s attorney, Peter Tomao, declined to comment.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/li_lawyer_to_repay_from_improper_nJ8AAFpkcuN6oNAJVI9v0I#ixzz0W1VbTA7i

  15. Here are the FOILed 2001-2008 Town, City and Other Summary Billing and Salary Totals indicated for Kevin Plunkett.

    3 jurisdictions indicate both a billing and salary relationship. All 3 were indicated to be simultaneously active in 2008.

    As far as Rye goes, Mr. Plunkett was reported to be on the city health plan and it was recently confirmed that a NYS pension for Mr. Plunkett for Rye was also being accrued.

    As far as I know, and I’m not a lawyer, this is all totally legal so no one should jump to any conclusions.

    Dobbs Ferry – billings $974,812, salary $122,500
    Eastchester – billings $363,772
    Irvington – billings $787,741, salary $63,125
    Lewisboro – billings $7100
    Mamaroneck – billings $2,115,699
    Mt Pleasant – billings $$676,501
    New Castle – billings $64,157
    Ossining Town – billings $75,615
    Ossining Village – billings $8,210
    Pelham Village – billings $88,082
    Rye City – billings $772,070, salary $407,708
    Tarrytown – billings $305,348
    Yorktown Schools – billings $326,983
    Rockland County – billings $624,303
    Airmont – billings $207,474
    Nassau County – billings $1,726,863

  16. Avg.Citizen,

    Maybe now you see the light? This info has been circulating in Rye for quite some time now!

    But no, POOR STEVE OTIS, he’s telling the truth, lets all blame the 4 Cohorts for spreading lies!!!

    Maybe now, The Fantastic Four can get a little respect!

    Let’s all hope after Jan.1st all the TRASH goes in the GARBAGE CAN for Pickup!

  17. Eat Floatie –

    If you really think that freedom of speech means that you have a right to spew forth venom anywhere and any time, then you don’t understand the concept of free speech. Should Jay decide to ban you from his website, it is not censorship on his part. Only the government has the power to censor. You still retain the freedom to create your own website and post your views as much as you wish. If you’re digitally challenged, you can walk around downtown Rye and hand out literature declaring that Doug French and his three victorious running mates are the four horseman of the apocalypse.
    Jay can’t stop you from speaking your mind, but he is under no obligation to provide you or anyone else with a platform for such stupidity. If he decides to be more selective in providing access to individuals, there’s no law that bans him from doing so. Censorship would be if the government ordered him to do so. Do you get this simple concept? He is not the government, nor is he an arm of the government. Proof of this is the fact that he allowed supporters from both campaigns to write guest columns supporting their candidates.
    I am not against hearing arguments from my opponents – in fact, I welcome the dialogue. It allows me to consider opposing views, change my own views as necessary to take into account points of view I may not have initially considered. The free and unfettered exchange of ideas ultimately results in a better-informed decision at the end of the day, and allows all sides to opine on issues that interest them.
    However, your attack and insults on individuals are not arguments, they’re simply hate-filled diatribes written by someone who obviously isn’t willing to divulge his identity. I will go way out on a limb here, and argue that no one willing to use their own name will defend your earlier comments – in fact, I think they’d agree with me that such commentary is uncalled for on a site intended to provide for community exchange.
    That’s why I’m asking Jay to take action. It would improve the site tremendously.

  18. Matt –
    Here. Here. Thank you for your to-the-point post.

    Anonymous posting has appropriate uses. Unfortunately, it has been abused here repeatedly and repeatedly by the same person or person(s).
    Bob.

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