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Home Government Fore!; Honey Pot; Smooch: Items on the Rye City Council Agenda for...

Fore!; Honey Pot; Smooch: Items on the Rye City Council Agenda for October 10, 2012

Heather     Pattersoncityhall

(PICTURE: Rye City Hall by local artist Heather Patterson)

The city council's agenda for its meeting on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 is out.

There will be a meeting of the City Council of the City of
Rye on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at 8:00pm in the Council Room of
City Hall. The Council will convene at 7:30pm and it is expected they will adjourn into Executive Session to discuss Rye Golf Club and Boat Basin personnel issues.

Office Hours of the Mayor by appointment by emailing dfrench@ryeny.gov.

Meetings are also aired on Cablevision Channel 75 and Verizon Channel 39. We'll also see you on the Internet (live and archive).

Let's check the batting order and highlights from the 16 agenda items.

  • (Fore!) Doug's Details. Update on outstanding union contracts; Rye Golf Club Update; Legal Update
  • 2013 Honey Pot. Summary of the 2013 Budget Process and Consideration of setting the 2013 Budget Workshop schedule.
  • Oh, Crap. Update on the Kirby Lane South Sanitary Sewer Special Assessment District project including final steps and close-out process.
  • That's Rough…Consideration of request to remove a handicapped parking designation on Orchard Avenue.
  • Throw the Bumbs Out. Discussion of the dissolution of defunct City of Rye Boards and Committees.
  • Open Mic. A Crowd Favorite. Residents may be heard on matters for Council consideration that do not appear on the agenda.
  • Smooch! Consideration of a request by the Rye Merchants Association to close a portion of Purchase Street on Sunday, November 25, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the Mistletoe Magic

The next regular meeting of the City Council will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm.


    That Rye is a city manager form of government we’ve been well aware of for, well, decades. What’s regrettably lesser known is that the power and thus the credibility dynamic in Rye shifted substantially the day after Frank Culross retired. Mr. Culross, for those of you unaware of him, was in charge in Rye for decades and ran the city like only a thrifty Scotsman could.

    Mr. Culross made legendary short work of special interest seekers who sought to circumvent or bend the city code – be they a wealthy second term city councilmember, a newly arrived lower income apartment renter – or a Mayor. Everyone took for granted that things in the city were on the up and up because the culture of city hall was one of efficiency, thrift and openness. Mr. Culross handled the rare exceptions to these practices behind doors that were closed for the shortest possible time. And when the doors reopened, disagreements were on their way to resolution and no one but the insufferable felt disobliged.

    Few among the long time residents here suspected that this one unassuming businesslike man was a keystone to the city manager government structure. So while municipal management headhunters delivered a crop of replacement candidates as Mr. Culross’s days till retirement grew short, the council at the time exercised their best efforts at selecting a proper Culross substitute. Mr. Culross then departed with appropriate accolades – and then – slowly and almost undetectably – the culture of Rye City Hall began to change.

    At first the revolving doors of the successive hired and fired (“stepped down”) city managers were blamed on culture clashes and with “bad fit” types of justifications. More recently things have taken a darker turn. No one in Rye believes Mr. O. Paul Shew failed to communicate effectively. Those who continue to put forth such a fable should be ashamed. And no one (except the willingly blind or financially suborned) can now attest that Mr. Shew’s protégé, Mr. Pickup, has operated city hall in an efficient, thrifty or open way. Quite the opposite I’d say and the evidence our good government working group has brought forth to date speaks for itself. And more chapters are on the way.

    The fault (and there is much blame to be spread) as always concentrates at the top of the enterprise. Here a handful of elected officials have allowed themselves to be willingly managed, once again, into a corner. The reasons for this are explained and documented in great detail at http://www.lausdeo10580.com but suffice to say that the core of it is a voting bloc of council members who have unwisely backed a weak, compromised individual whose personal relationships with a favor granting, code breaking top staff administrative duo is not only improper under the city charter but unethical. This kind of thing always blows up into a crisis because those who serve such a flawed king do so only to quietly serve themselves.

    When the doors at the Mayor’s conference room close this Saturday morning at 9AM Frank Culross will not be in there. Instead the community will have to trust that some in the room come to their senses and reject the soapy self serving wink and a nod excuses for very bad behavior they’ve actually come to look forward to. We’ll see. And we’ll get our first indication that this is being taken seriously if all of the council’s usual service provider self-enrichers are swapped out for newer, tougher, disinterested helpers.

    To change things, begin by changing things. Yogi Berra might or might not have said that but I’m sure the sentiment would not be lost on Mr. Culross.


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