The Village Board of Trustees met on July 8, 2009 at 7pm for their annual Reorganization Meeting.
The meeting began with the swearing in of Trustees Pompan and Hansen followed by the swearing in of Mayor Stebbins.
On behalf of the Village, Mayor Stebbins presented former Trustee Tinka Shaw with a commemorative bowl honoring her years of service as a Trustee. Although she was not present, the Mayor thanked Tinka for her enthusiasm, noting in particular her work with the Water Department and the Environmental Committee and commented that she will be missed on the Board.
The list of appointments for the coming year was then briefly discussed. Mayor Stebbins proposed voting on the list as a whole, however, Trustee Hansen inquired as to whether or not they could vote on each position individually. Mayor Stebbins responded that he did not feel this was necessary. Trustee Hansen commented that he had a couple of concerns with the list and requested permission to raise them.
First, he expressed concern with the proposed appointment of John Ledwith to the position of Property Assessor, commenting that while John does a good job in this position he feels the Village should defer to the Town for property assessments. Not only would this be a cost savings for the Village, residents would no longer need to grieve their assessments to two boards. Trustee Hansen pointed out that having a Village Assessor has no effect on the amount of money residents pay in taxes. He suggested that the Board hold off on this particular appointment. Secondly, Trustee Hansen objected to the re-appointment for both Peter Regna and Sam Bornstein to the Planning Board, stating that while these gentlemen may be fine choices for the Board, he feels that the Term Limits law should apply to them and therefore would like to abstain from voting on those particular appointments.
The Mayor responded that while it would be a cost savings to the Village if the position of Property Assessor were to be eliminated, he feels that John knows the properties in the Park better than the Town Assessor and he is not willing to relinquish control of the assessments to the Town. With regard to the issue of Term Limits, the Mayor stated that the law applies prospectively and while this may not have been the intent of its legislators at the time it was adopted, it is the way the law was written and must be applied.
Trustee Worthy commented that in her view there is no better person to assess property values in the Village than John Ledwith. She is not in favor of eliminating the position.
Trustee Pompan inquired as to whether or not there is a process in place for reviewing candidates for the various Village Boards and/or for removing Board members if necessary. He commented that while he is sure that Jacqueline Green is qualified to join the Board of Architectural Review, he knows nothing about her qualifications.
Mayor Stebbins responded that following his announcement regarding the open position on the BAR at last month’s meeting, the only candidate to come forward was Jacqueline Green. Ordinarily when candidates present themselves for a Village Board, that Board interviews them and then makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding appointments.
With regard to removing board members once they have been appointed, Village Attorney Rick Golden stated that they can be removed only for cause and that a Public Hearing is required.
The Board then voted in favor of approving the list of appointments, with Trustee Hansen abstaining.
There was a brief discussion with regard to the possibility of starting the monthly meetings at 7pm rather than 7:30, however, the Board decided against this change.
Following this, the remaining items on the Reorganization Agenda were unanimously approved by the Board.