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Sunday, September 25, 2022
Home Government Agenda for Rye City Council Meeting Tonight (Thursday)

Agenda for Rye City Council Meeting Tonight (Thursday)

No time to break this one down…

Here is the agenda.

POWER to the people!


    I for one feel very lucky to live in Rye and see the countless acts of civic compassion around me as we fix the raw hand we’ve been dealt. It makes me proud to be in and of Rye and doubly determined to pursue the restoration of a city hall that is instinctively transparent and honest.

    This morning a copy of an email to the Rye City Council from a resident landed in my (currently working) digital inbox. It begins as follows –

    “As I sat in attendance at last night’s meeting all I could think about is how we SHOULD all be helping each other. There was lots of frustration in the room, all deserving and Con Ed deserves much blame.

    It does become extremely discouraging, disheartening, depressing, and EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING when you have to go to such extremes to get information you are entitled to and the individuals who hold the answers REFUSE to release it!!!

    I am very curious as to how some of you feel when the shoe is on the other foot??? How does it feel to now be on the receiving end of this despicable treatment?? Maybe now as we move forward, when you are asked for information you can be more forthcoming and honest.”

    Rarely have I seen a more potent fundamental question for another day – a day when all here again have reliable electric and gasoline supplies and life as we know it returns.

    Until then I pray certain accomodationists on the council bench search their conscious’s this weekend for guidance on how they want their own personal legacies to be written in post-Sandy Rye. And I feel it would not be something remotely akin to this below. Say safe.



    Budgets are future financial and operational plans and are factually based on actual prior measured period historical results for all significant and/or discrete financial reporting categories. Curious stories are floating around town about this city budget season – which would be no surprise to me given the issues hanging above the current administration. One microcosm example reached me in an emailed query this morning to the acting city comptroller Joe Fazzino – I thought readers here might benefit by considering it.

    “Hi Joe.

    I had a question about the 2013 proposed budget with regard to outside legal fees. The 2013 proposed budget says the amount is equal to the 2012 budget. The 2012 budget says an amount equal to the 2011 budget. The 2011 budget says equal to the 2010 budget. The 2010 budget makes no reference to an amount for outside legal fees.

    Can you tell me what the actual amount budgeted for 2013 is?

    Wilson gets a flat $100,000 a year with no benefits. No other employees are assigned to the Law Department. Can you tell me why there is $275,000 budgeted for the law department?

    Thank you.”

  3. Right AC – I do see Page 3-21 – but it only partially answers not mine but the writers’ questions.

    Please don’t forget that just this year alone, outside lawyers engaged by the city got paid serious bucks to –
    (1) advise a so called “Ethics Committee” how to try and absolve Mr. French, Mr. Pickup, Ms. Wilson and other senior city employees from conflicting representations of fact told by multiple parties on recorded city videos about Mr. French’s illegal rental property at 13 Richard Place and his decade of double dipping on a STAR tax exemption on same and that the tally amounts for these “extreme makeover activities” are so far undisclosed and –
    (2) advise on how to extract Mr. Pickup from his “The meeting was not recorded” untrue public statement about the Fire Department Workshop which was subsequently uncovered to be untrue by a city employee whistleblower who the city council had once personally admired but then quickly voted to crush into dust with over $22,000 of taxpayer monies and –
    (3) forward a $30,000 retainer just last month to a high powered white collar DEFENSE firm in NYC when The Rye Golf Club manager haplessly turned over formerly secret public records on the club’s “no-bid contract” contractor which showed some amazing raises, tips and overtime patterns but which Mr. Pickup had said had been thoroughly vetted by city attorneys only to have same attorneys disclaim any such vetting and approving thereof. The public jury is decidedly out on who this high powered firm thinks their real client is here and what their real objective is – to wit, to yet again cover the backsides of elected and paid Rye City malefactors who withhold public information contrary to law to protect local patronage kings and influence peddlers OR the now pretty irate Rye City taxpayers who actually paid for this retainer and must assume the liability for any future billings for work product they are so far restricted from questioning or even seeing. For all we know, that $30K is already spent and another $30K is already headed to the city accounts payable inbox (just like in item 2 above when the initial $15K approved retainer sprung up uncontrolled to over $22K at final billing).

    So – again – a 2013 law department budget of $275K with $100K already going to Ms. Wilson – and all the 2012 money actually spent in just the 3 items above just to cover up malfeasance of one form or another by a group that ran on the election slogan of “Putting Rye’s Interests First” – it’s not without irony. Again, I didn’t write that question to Mr. Fazzino – but it looks to me like what Page 3-21 leaves out on purpose is way more than enough to raise a question or two about the level of the 2013 estimated budget because – obviously – in this administration – crime pays.

  4. While you folks argue over the nickels and dimes in our non-sustainable budget ( hint : its the money that is going out door to cover the lavish pension and benefits of our irreplaceable town workers bankrupting us , not the other silliness ) , have a look what hundreds of school superintendents across NY state are saying they see coming .

    41% of NY State school superintendents expect their local town governments to be insolvent in 4yrs or less .


  5. @Divman – how much of that report did you read? While a tax cap without mandate relief is a formula for disaster, this survey looks a little flawed and potentially irrelevant to our fair community.

    First, it’s assembled by the Superintendents. Think that they have ANY interest in showing a positive outlook?
    Second, less than a 3rd of districts responded and it’s not at all clear if Rye, Rye Brook, etc. are included.
    Third, questions seem to point to the desired outcome; e.g.,
    Financial conditions: choose from –
    Poor/Very Poor; Worse than 1 year ago; Reserves less than adequate; Concerned about reliance on reserves (77%) in the most positive category for Lower Hudson valley.

  6. OK Zahm , i’ll bite .

    Why would NY school Superintendents go out of their way to lie and represent finances in their towns to be worse than reality ? Go ahead , tell us . Rye Superintendents obviously believe otherwise as they never have been shy about trying to extract more out of taxpayers than economic conditions would suggest was prudent .

    City of Rye has a top bond rating which for you non-finance types implies we’re in great shape financially . Yet when you look at mindblowing property taxes in Rye/Westchester County and fact its not nearly enough to cover our bloated budgets that we resort to bonds to fix our roads , its pretty obvious why school supers in most other cities with even worse financial conditions than Rye see high probability of insolvency .

    Issuing bonds to repair roads is the most criminally insane idea i have seen yet in Rye . We bury our kids with more debt to fix ourt roads today . How will our kids pay off our debts AND come up with money to do all the capex in the future when it needs to be done again ?

    Its like everything else in government finance in USA today . Think nothing about the future and our kids and run up the credit cards for some other sucker to pay later . Obamanomics at the local level .

    As to your third point ? What has happened to AAA rated Rye ‘reserves’ ? all gone …. same with the school to get their repair/expansion bond vote passed .

    Only a fool would argue that school superintendents have an agenda to make the finances of NY cities worse than they are .

    Oh , and by the way ? Look whats out today on tax revenues at the state level . Despite Cuomo’s absurd tax hike on the evil rich he rammed through , tax revenues are doing what ? MISSING


    So we have Rye issuing long term debt to pave streets because there is nothing left after our sacred cow unionized town employees get their annual huge increase to their bloated pensions and benefits and you want to suggest a poll of NY superintendents was somehow designed to make it look worse than it is ?

    No wonder we’re going bust

  7. @Divman – Superintendents are bound to say things look bad as that paves the way for increasing taxes. While I don’t believe they’re lying, I do believe that they’re arguing from a particular set of assumptions that are unrealistic about the schools. I don’t believe the study was talking about towns, cities, etc.

    Locally, if you look at the Rye City schools, you’ll see over $15,000,000 in reserves. The school year just ended is the first in five or so when reserves didn’t actually increase and the actual decrease was small. So, while the Rye City schools have a clear forecast for when the reserves will run out, that’s unlikely in the next couple of years if prudent management continues.

    As to the City, I’d like to get inside the finances to understand the various fund balances and how much money really is in the City’s coffers. The passing of the bond –by the way, using a bond to pay for capital improvements is absolutely appropriate. I would prefer to pay for such things out of cash flow as an expense, but spreading the repayment pain over the life of the improvement is appropriate – should also help with the City’s cash flow particularly if, unnecessarily, the bonds are issued in January given that material expenses won’t start appearing until after contracts have been awarded.

  8. >

    Your statement is a perfect example of everything wrong with our society today . I notice you skip the part about us screwing our children with debt to repave streets since they will be the ones forced to pay our bills in the future and then figure out how they come up with even more to repave the worn out roads in the future .


    Issuing bonds to pave roads is no different than taking out a new loan on your house to pay for grocery bills . Completely unsustainable and immoral . I hope our children demand answers from their horrible parents and grandparents running up monster debt that will be left to them to pay for items that should have been paid out of operating budgets . Problem is all our spare cash for next year is going same place it went in 2011 . To meet state mandated pension / benefits for our sacred cow unionized employees . Thats why we raided the capex kitty last year leaving nothing for street / sidewalk maintenance and now we talk about taking out loans to pay for what must be paid from operating budget to be sustainable

    As for your continued swipe at NY school superintendents ? You must not have read what i posted . If these superintendents thought they could keep raising taxes to cover their needs , we wouldn’t see 41% claiming they see insolvency in 4yrs . The reason they see insolvency is simply looking out 4yrs with state mandated teacher retirement and pension benefits they can’t possibly keep covering each year with tax increases and realize its a fiscal disaster coming .

    Even people with 4th grade math levels can add it up and see overstretched NY state taxpayers can’t possibly cover it with more tax hikes

    “Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy, sympathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

    New video out of the Rye Golf Commission submitting to the demands of Rye City Manager Scott Pickup that he receive a “budget” for 2013 approved by them – even though they complain that they still cannot see the records from RM Staffing covering over $6,000,000 of prior period labor charges to the club since 2007 so that they can make informed budget judgments and estimates because – because – because Mr. Pickup – sitting at the head of their table and frequently smiling – has possession of these necessary RM records but refuses to provide them to the commission.

    See this amazing episode, and related commentary, on LausDeo10580 –


  10. Tedc:
    Actually, corporation counsel Kristen Wilson is in possession of all RM Staffing invoices from 2008 to 2012 as well… and in easily distributed electronic form to boot. Still, she has refused to release them to us even after we lawfully appealed our FOIL request–which Mr. Pickup has ignored for months.

    Below is an email from the Rye City Comptroller to LD10580 from just a few days ago acknowledging that he’s already given these invoices to Ms. Wilson.

    RGC has been billed over $6,000,000 by RM Staffing since 2007. If you apply the same rate of overtime evident in the 18 months of invoicing we do have (20%) that would equate to more than $1,200,000 in overtime alone paid by RGC members to RM Staffing in the last 5 yrs. In that same time period, RGC members have had their dues increased 22% and RGC has experienced a 15% reduction in membership.

    Mr. Pickup owns this multi-million dollar mess, and is doing his best to keep it under wraps, but he’s had plenty of help from Ms. Wilson–even though she drew the line at lying about vetting the relationship. Not to Mayor French, who knew about RM since June but did nothing, and the indifference of a majority of his fellow elected officials.

    Enjoy the rest of your T-giving weekend!

    From: LD10580
    Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:09 PM
    To: Fazzino, Joseph S.
    Subject: RE: Rye Golf Club Invoices

    Thank you Mr. Fazzino. How about the invoices for RM from 2008 thru 2010 and after June 15, 2012 to present as we discussed as well?


    Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:02 PM
    To: LD10580
    I have spoken to Ms. Wilson regarding these invoices. I told her that I believe we provided her with electronic copies of all invoices from 2008 on. She told me she will look into this.

    Thank You.

    Joseph S. Fazzino Jr.
    Acting City Comptroller
    City of Rye, Finance Department

  11. @Divman – Groceries are like electricity; paving roads is like putting a new roof on your house. You wouldn’t take out a home loan / mortgage to pay for groceries, but it would be within reason to do so for that new roof – just like it’s appropriate to go into debt for road paving. Guess since you didn’t see the absurdity of your comparison that I have to spell it out for you. Debt is appropriate for capital improvements which have a 20+ service. That’s why road paving, bridge building, new roofs, etc. are all appropriately paid for with bonds. I’d rather that they were paid for out of cash flow like operating expenses, but that’s no longer feasible in Rye.

    I guess you can’t see why school superintendents have a vested interest in making it seem like their finances are in such poor order.

    Now, if your point is that NY state spending is out of control, I’d agree with you, but I certainly wouldn’t do say based on a biased report from a special interest group that only benefits from increased spending – which is where I think you started this thread.

  12. Robert Zahm : Roads last how long ? We just told our kids they had to cover the cost in the future so we can have nice roads today . Once again , you fail to explain lucidly how your kids / grandkids cover our debt to pave roads today in the future when this debt matures as well as then come up with the money to pave them again down the road .

    Try it .

    We don’t want to pay for road maintenance today so we’re creating debt the next generation has to pay back only they too will have to repave the roads .

    Three times in a row you fail to explain how your kids /grandkids will do that as well as explain why its moral to stick them with your bills !

    I think i could walk it through with a bunch of 10th graders at the high school and they would all agree that parents sticking them with future debts to fund current consumption today is sinful and amoral .

    But thats the way it works in NY . Just create more debt for the future generations until inevitably , it turns into Greece and nobody will lend more . Its coming

  13. Divman – Roads last 20 years. We should pay for them over 20 years. That’s not pushing a burden on to our kids. It’s us paying for what we use and them paying for what they use. There is nothing for me to explain to my kids / grandkids (should I be lucky enough to have some at some point). It’s basic, standard accounting which you seem to want to use as a basis for saying that the falling sky will land on future generations. When it comes to road maintenance, your argument is just plain wrong.

    Where you should be making your argument is borrowing money to pay for operational expenses – like pension contributions which is what Rob Astorino has just proposed in his 2013 budget submission. Other places to find the same problem include the majority of the federal budget.

    Again, I would prefer to see us pay for all city expenditures without incurring debt. I’m conservative that way. But paying for roads, bridges, roofs, etc. with debt matches the re-payment to the beneficiaries of such expenditures.

  14. Bob:

    Our roads and the maintenance of our roads should be and have always been paid for out of operating funds or what is other wise known as OUR tax dollars.

    The problem this time around is French and Pickup fleeced $5,000,000 (some would say Illegally?) from Rye’s operating funds to pay for CVS without a bond referendum and without City Council authorization.

  15. >

    oh spare us your tired politics . We raided the capex fund last year to pay the pension / benefits for our sacred cow unionized town employees and no roadwork got done . We again paid huge pension/benefits to them (their fund) again this year causing a 3% tax hike and now there is nothing left over again to do roadwork and so we resort to issuing long term debt which WE will not pay back but the next generation will …..even as next generation has to deal with its own capex work in town .

    I cheer the coming bankruptcy of NY state and towns like Rye that engage in amoral bankrupting policies of running up even more long term debt to pay for work that is NOT LONG TERM INVESTMENTS . Building a school or a town hall or a park with debt is an investment in an asset that last for decades . Calling roadwork a ‘long term investment’ is simply liberal politics at its worst .

    Bring it on . I will be long gone from Rye and NY state ( hopefully ) when yours and French’s sort of ‘investments’ blows sky high


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