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Home Government Ain’t No Sunshine. Guest Column by Ted Carroll

Ain’t No Sunshine. Guest Column by Ted Carroll

by Ted Carroll, Guest Columnist

Rye NY’s Joe Sack, Julie Killian, Kirstin Bucci & Terry McCartney are apparently ‘United’ in one thing, their collective support for increasing public record secrecy…

In 1970 Bill Withers was 31 and working at a Los Angeles factory making toilet seats for Boeing 747’s when he wrote and recorded his Grammy winning song of the above title. The song was released the following year. When it was quickly certified a gold seller, his record company presented him with a golden toilet.

In the media field, Sunshine Week was launched in March of 2005 by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). Sunshine Week is a non-partisan, non-profit initiative celebrated in mid-March each year to coincide with James Madison’s birthday on March 16. Sunshine Week, which was last week to be specific, is all about the public’s right to know what its government is doing and why.

Which brings us regrettably right back to our own City of Rye and its tightly suppressed, mockingly managed City Hall records capers – still unresolved and getting worse. I brought these matters up in January in my column “Sack’s Silly Season of Suppression.” But the problems just continue and multiply.

Consider:

Item 1. Despite good news that Rye’s insurance company will now be sending the city treasury a settlement check for $1.55M related to the city’s largest ever fraud, the actual “fraudsters” (save the single one residing in state prison) remain free and unnamed – quite possibly because they now personally hold high elected and appointed public positions and thus can do ‘favors’ for candidates in or running for office. We’ll all see if my instincts are confirmed here about these financial control circumventors and/or colluders when the city releases copies of the unredacted forensic reports issued by Breen & Associates. So far, these publically paid-for reports remain fully suppressed from the public.

Item 2. Hilary Clinton would be proud of Rye’s Republican Mayor Joe Sack. Mr. Sack, like Mrs. Clinton, now has what is euphemistically called “an email problem.” The problem is Mr. Sack is withholding his government business-related emails from legal freedom of information records requests. Given that Mr. Sack rents his Rye office space from a law firm that just achieved historic and valuable property rezoning permissions for a client from the Sack-led Rye City Council, there might possibly be something that residents less lucky with the city zoning appeals process might like to know about those official digital communications. So far, though, taxpayers here are outta luck.

Item 3. Every week, the city attorney provides residents a public update of current litigation matters which is posted in the Council Packet on the city website. For the most current example, click here. Residents who follow these things know this ‘Litigation Update’ suffers from multiple defects. Cases can entirely disappear with no explanation (Bassett v City of Rye), while others never appear at all (Jeanette v Verille) until outside press disclosures force the city’s hands. Such is apparently the case now yet again with the Rye Golf Club which is back in the extrajudicial news despite city hall’s best efforts.

In this unmentionable case, an official government regulatory agency has charged environmental violations against a senior city employee acting on the city’s behalf – and did so now almost three months ago while the public was being assured by elected officials that the employee “did everything right.”

Sunshine Week in Rye seems like a punch line to yet another Corridor of Corruption political joke. Yet this is the record of public secrecy accumulating under Rye Deputy Mayor Julie Killian who has just announced her bid to try and unseat New York State Senator George Latimer, a fellow Rye City resident.

Bill Withers went on to a long successful songwriting and performing career after getting his golden toilet for “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The song’s final stanza begins “Ain't no sunshine when she's gone / Only darkness every day…”. What golden object might Rye taxpayers award our secrecy sorcerers at city hall? I’ll leave that thought for yet another sunless day.

Ted Carroll is a lifelong Rye resident, a Certified Public Accountant, and a partner at Noson Lawen Partners, a media industry private equity firm.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Ted,
    Thank you for your report.
    Sack is a disgrace. He is the worst Mayor Rye has ever had. The fact that he ran for Mayor on a platform of transparency and open government and then shuts down public access to City of Rye records makes him a fool and unelectable in the future. Unfortunately for Sack the 3rd and 4th graders he held hostage at his last State of the City of Lie can’t vote.
    It seems to me that almost as soon as he became mayor, Sack began to illegally conceal almost every record asked for. I believe some of this concealing of public records may be criminal in nature.
    Besides illegally concealing his mayoral e-mails, Sack won’t even release the records of who submitted FOIL requests to the City of Rye and when the City of Rye responded to them. Is this because Sack doesn’t want the public to know what FOIL requests get responded to and which ones don’t?
    The big question here is what is Sack hiding and why is he hiding it? Have laws been broken and Sack doesn’t want the public to know? Is Sack enabling his landlord?

  2. NOVEMBER 2013:

    “The Rye Golf Club scandal focused my attention on our City’s government. I am eager for the opportunity to apply my professional financial background and experience to help Rye implement smart and necessary internal controls to PREVENT ABUSES like this from happening again. I am inspired by the prospect of working collaboratively with a team of talented and dedicated individuals – to create an atmosphere of cooperation and to address all the issues important to Rye and its residents.”

    •Former Wall Street Equity Research Analyst
    •Graduate of Bucknell University

    “I believe that we need to bring openness, TRANSPARENCY and common sense back to Rye’s government. Together with (my) team, I will bring INTEGRITY, leadership and consideration for all citizens to the City Council. I will work to put an end to the vitriol and personal animosity that currently exists so that we can return to a thoughtful and respectful approach to local government and get things done for the good of Rye.”

    •Former Major, United States Marine Corps
    •Graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and St. Thomas University School of Law

    “In light of the Rye Golf Club scandal, the Rye TV debacle and the Rye Police uniform bid controversy, among other issues, folks in Rye have lost faith and trust in the way that our government is run. (My team) and I will work together and with others to promote fundamental ideals, including OPENNESS,TRANSPARENCY, INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY to restore confidence in our City government and to get Rye back on track.”

    •Former securities regulator and criminal prosecutor
    •Graduate of Fordham Law School, Holy Cross College and Regis High School

    OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU:

    Integrity and Accountability – Openness and Transparency – Financial Oversight and Control – Communication and Cooperation – Common Sense and Good Judgment

  3. Sack, McCartney and Killian have all made a mockery of transparency and openness while abusing FOIL laws. They are all a disgraced.

    Killian has proven she has no integrity and to me comes across as some sort of April Fools joke who was appointed to the city council not elected.

    Killian running for higher office is a slap in the face to all who want integrity, openness and honest government in Rye.

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