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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Home Government Speaking French: Mayor's Update: FD, Flood & TV

Speaking French: Mayor’s Update: FD, Flood & TV

Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Rye Fire Department Alignment
On one of my first days as Rye Mayor in 2010, I learned that the Rye Fire Department, made up of both volunteer firefighters and career personnel, each had separate organizations and reporting relationships. While that model served the City well for decades, it was imperative that the City seek alignment for the future with respect to fire department personnel. For the past year, the City Manager and I have met with key stakeholders including the Fire Chiefs, volunteers, career personnel and Board of Wardens with one fundamental question – do we have the right structure for the future of Rye? While not the most the most popular question to ask, we had the courage to forge ahead. The results speak for themselves. We are pleased to announce that after having worked with the Board of Wardens, it is proposed that both the volunteer and career Fire Department personnel will align under the auspices and in conjunction with the City Manager. This will require a City Charter change and we will have more public discussion in addition to the two workshops held already. This is an important change that will allow for better coordination in fire services. Further, with respect to the retirement of the fire inspector and its impact on the career personnel who currently report into the City Manager, the Council has asked the Manager to develop an interim transition plan for immediate implementation while the City explores an optimal structure for the long-term.

Flood Mitigation Sluice Gate Gets Final Approval
One phase of the City's flood mitigation plan got final approval last week as the Village of Rye Brook Board approved the Sluice Gate project at the Bowman Avenue spillway. In total, there are roughly 900 acre-feet of water that flow down from upstream during a major storm that need to be retained. The sluice gate will regulate the water flow to help mitigation efforts. Thanks to Rye Brook Mayor Joan Feinstein and her leadership and partnership with Rye, we have taken another important step in our flood mitigation efforts. The City can now go to bid the project out. Other phases of the City's flood mitigation plan include the expansion of the upper pond at Bowman Avenue, more detention at the Westchester County Airport, and additional water retention in the Anderson Hill Road area — all of which would collectively retain approximately half of what is projected to be needed.

Permanent Rye Flood Committee Established
At the January 11th meeting of the Council, a permanent Flood Committee was established to advise the Council and assist the City in the implementation of the City's flood mitigation plan, to educate residents on personal flood mitigation measures, to monitor land-use development upstream and surrounding areas and their impact on storm-water as well as to look at potential legislation and funding options. The Council will confirm appointments to the 7-member committee at the meeting of February 8th.

Council Strategic Workshop
The Council met in an unprecedented workshop last Saturday morning to review and discuss key priorities for the coming year. A few of the highlights included the need for a public safety bond that addresses critical needs of the City such as flood mitigation and crumbling streets and sidewalks. In addition, the council charged the City Manager to deliver an interim report on potential future changes in trash collection. And, the council has asked the Government Policy and Research Committee to look at the impact of a transfer tax on cash home sales similar to other City's and is an extension of the current mortgage tax currently applied by the City. There is more public discussion and dialogue to come in these areas and others ideas.

Rye Cable and Communications Committee
The City expanded this committee last year to include new media. Beyond overseeing the City's cable operation, the committee is looking at communication vehicles in social media to expand the information flow to how residents access information. Further the Council asked for the committee to make recommendations on establishing a Public Information Coordinator to assist on a volunteer basis in the creation and dissemination of information to the public on City issues.




  2. Some thoughts on the new city management scandal rolling out on the front page in of today’s newly released Rye Sound Shore Review –

    Bad people lead to bad results.

    No private sector employer would dispute this. What with competitors, market factors and increasingly overreaching government mandates, staying in business and taking care of your employees and yourself is a daily challenge. In the private sector you can’t play with repetitive instances of bald untruthful statements, deception and lies. You have to “change those people out” because you owe the rest of the organization a safe, decent, responsible and respectful working environment.

    As a Rye “lifer,” I and other similar lifers have seen city management come and go and come and go. And we’ve seen many Rye elected officials do the same – mostly go. We know the core asset we have here is the rank and file municipal employee base. And they are overwhelmingly decent dedicated people just trying not to make a misstep in what has for the past decade become a deepening political cesspool. And for what? A political spoils system writ small? To build the law practices of a few influence peddlers? To protect wrongdoing by the current “in” class and whitewash all sin’s no matter the cost in human misery and lives?

    It’s time for the City Manager, the Corporation Counsel and the Mayor to resign (or be terminated) and for Mr. Jovanovich to recuse himself from voting on all matters pertaining to this broadening scandal. I’ve let it be known publically and privately that lawbreaking has become commonplace in Rye government – yet Mr. Jovanovich ignores it. But you don’t have to believe just me – you can believe other involved reform movement “lifers” – and you can believe city outsiders who bring facts not patronage fictions. And you can believe a federal judge – addressing the recent professional tradecraft disclosure of our Jovanovich led “reappointment” – Corporation Council Wilson – and her bosses in a town just down the road – to wit:

    “The court found that the majority of town employees and consultants who testified at the trial had significant credibility issues; changing the testimony they gave at depositions or providing testimony that was untrue. Furthermore, the Town Board destroyed evidence and documents that were relevant to the trial and failed to produce evidence that did exist. The town was sanctioned $10,000 for their spoilation of evidence and failure to comply with discovery.”


    “the record is replete with evidence regarding defendants’ intentional destruction of evidence and disregard for discovery obligations.”


    Here the judge pretty much throws the book at the municipality, its elected officials and its lawyers – the crack municipal legal team of Kevin Plunkett, Kristen Wilson and Darius Chafizadeh – for their “service” to the Town of Greenburgh.

    Why would anyone in Rye expect anything other than bad results from these people?


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