|April 30, 2000
Administration Maintains Secrecy
by Stewart Lilker
The secretive ways of the Glacken
administration continue unabated. As usual, contrary to the lawfully
passed resolutions of the Board of Trustees, Mayor Glacken refuses to
release the board agendas by the close of business on the Friday preceding
the Monday night board meetings. Glacken, backed by his brother in law,
Village Attorney Harrison "Joe" Edwards, has ignored this
requirement since he took office over three years ago. This past Friday,
April 28th, proved no different, with the Mayorís secretary announcing
that agenda would not be ready until Monday, possibly by 12 oíclock.
Not coincidentally, Mayor Glacken has
refused to release the Village Board minutes since March 13, 2000. He has
kept his organization night appointments a secret, refusing to release the
list, which would be attached the to minutes of April 6th. Village Clerk,
Anna Knoeller, has repeatedly announced that she sees that the minutes are
sent to the Freeport library as soon as they are approved. Despite her
proclamations, she has not done so since March. Both of Glackenís
brother in laws, Village Attorney Edwards and chief of staff Ray Straub,
have looked the other way as the residents have purposefully been kept in
the dark by the Mayor and the Village Clerk.
Hires $88,000 Consultant After Everybody Goes Home
by Stewart Lilker
Tonight, the Mayor and the board breezed
through the evening's agenda in thirty minutes. The trustees, as is usual
in the Glacken administration, had no comments or questions.
During the public participation portion of
the meeting, Louise Simpson reminded Mayor Glacken of the time that Mayor
Storm had an open door policy on Fridays and that anyone could come in and
speak with her. Ms. Simpson asked Mayor Glacken if he would consider
having a similar policy and if he wouldn't, he should consider it. Ms.
Simpson, referring to residents who had inquired of her regarding the
mayor's policy, said, "I'll tell them you are thinking about
Glacken laughed, telling Simpson that he
has a lot of appointments during the week. He explained, "Rather than
set aside one full day, we try to accommodate people with respect to the
hours they can meet." FNYN has spoken to many people who have tried
to make appointments with the Mayor and have been ignored. A tenant of the
housing authority said, "If Glacken doesn't like you, he just ignores
Vincent Greco of Bedel Street, asked the
Mayor to see to it that power plant number two was shut down until some
pollution controls were installed. Mr. Greco said, "There are no
emission controls installed on this plant." Mr. Greco claimed that
the DEC stated in a letter that re-timing of the engine in the power
plant, which was done, will increase the emissions. Mr. Greco said that
thirty years ago we didnít know about carcinogens and now we do,
imploring the Mayor to do something. FNYN has learned that most of the
pollution from power plant number two is blown into Merrick.
FNYN asked the mayor if he planned to do
anything about the acoustics in the main conference room in Village hall.
The Mayor said he is considering hanging draperies in the niches. FNYN
volunteered to give the Mayor a tape recording of the next meeting, made
in the back of the room, to demonstrate that from that location, most of
the Mayorís and everybody else's words are incomprehensible.
FNYN asked the Mayor who makes the complaints about the defective
sidewalks. Glacken said, "Anyone can turn in a notice of defective sidewalk.
Itís up to the superintendent of public works to have an investigation
conducted." FNYN asked if there is a record of who notifies the
village of the unsafe sidewalk conditions. The Mayor said that a record is
kept. Village clerk, Anna Knoeller, said she has the names, but they are
FNYN asked Glacken if a Village employee,
in the course of his work, turns in a notice of an unsafe sidewalk,
"Does the public have a right to know the name of that employee, or
can the Village keep it a secret?" Knoeller said she had the names in
her files. Glacken said they donít have to release the names of those
employees advising the village of the unsafe sidewalks. Glacken stated,
"We donít release anybodyís name."
FNYN asked Glacken, "What is the
basis of your withholding an employee's name who advises the village of an
unsafe sidewalk condition." Glacken answered saying, "I answered
the question." When it was pointed out to him that the deputy village
attorney, Howard Colton, might shed some light on the issue of the secret
names, Glacken ignored Coltonís presence, reiterating his position that
when a village employee, in the course of his duty, makes a complaint
against a resident, the village has a right, even though the employee is
known to the village, to keep that personís name a secret.
Glacken refused to comment about the
police contract negotiations, falsely claiming that the law doesnít
allow him to say anything. FNYN finally did get Glacken to say that he
thought an agreement would be reached soon.
At the conclusion of the public comment
portion of the meeting at 8:23 p.m., the board adjourned into executive
session for three personnel matters and five real estate matters. One hour
later the board reconvened into what Glacken calls the "second
session." It has been at these "second sessions," out of
the public eye and after the public has gone home, that the Republican
Glacken administration has done the business they want to keep from public
Without any discussion, the board
established the position of clerk, grade eight, in the electric
department. The Mayor then proposed a motion to enter into a consulting
agreement with a group, whose name he intentionally appeared to mumble.
FNYN tried to ask a question about the
hiring of this consulting group. Glacken attempted to evade the question
by stating, "Itís a personnel matter. Itís a determination on a
FNYN, stated this was a public meeting and
asked, "Itís a consulting group, you said?" Glacken answered,
"Yes. Theyíre going to review the village's computer system. Weíre
hiring them as a consultant for a period of approximately one year at a
cost not to exceed eighty eight thousand dollars."
FNYN asked if it was a personal service
contract. Glacken answered, "It is a professional services
contract." FNYN asked if it was put out to bid. Glacken answered,
"It doesnít have to be." An unconfirmed village source said
that this eighty eight thousand dollar contract was a renewal and appeared
to be for the services of only one individual.
|April 10, 2000
Refuses To Return Surplus Fees To Homeowners
by Stewart Lilker
Monday night, the Village Board buzzed
through the evenings agenda in thirty minutes. As usual, all the votes
were unanimous and no Trustee had any comment or question. Teresa
Baldinucci of the Mayor's budget office spent ten minutes explaining to
Mayor Glacken some of the details of agenda item 7a, which requested a
resolution by the board transferring funds in the 1999-2000 budget to
various accounts. When your reporter asked how much was being transferred,
the Mayor and the rest of the board seemed to have no idea of the amount,
nor were they in possession of any documentation supporting the resolution
they were about to approve. The Mayor did explain that this was a
traditional end of the year transfer used to close out the prior years
budget. Glacken said he thought they were transferring money on about one
hundred and fifty lines and stated that he was not going to say what they
were, explaining that, "The amounts would be revealed in the annual
report, probably available at the end of the month."
Your reported asked the Mayor if he knew
the total amount of the transfers. He deferred to Ms. Baldinucci. She said
it was about two million dollars. Your reporter asked for the five largest
amounts. Glacken allowed Baldinucci to answer. She said the largest amount
was $411,583 for uncollected taxes transferred to judgments and claims.
Another amount was the transfer of $191,130 from the police retirement
account to hospital and health coverage. Baldinucci explained the transfer
of $169,000 from refuse collection fees to major medical.
The refuse collection referred is a non
tax-deductible user fee each homeowner must pay with his taxes. This money
is earmarked to the private village carter. Previously, Glacken stated
that even though this is a fee for service, the homeowners who are being
charged this fee cannot choose their own carter or alternative means to
dispose of their own garbage.
Your reporter asked the Board, "Does
this mean we collected too much for refuse disposal?" Glacken
responded, "No." Your reporter asked if the village would return
the over collected fees to homeowners who paid it. Glacken said they
could, but they wouldnít. After further questioning from FNYN the Mayor
finally said he would look into the issue of the over collection of refuse
fees in the future.
The Board adjourned into executive session
at 8:15 for three personnel matters and one real estate matter. At 11:24
p.m. the Board came out from the Mayorís office and reconvened the
meeting into open session, the Mayor yelling downstairs to someone, is it
open? Before anyone would have had a chance to make it back up stairs to
the conference room, Glacken moved the following resolution to,
"Enter into an agreement with Cash Point to allow electric customers
to pay electric bills at I think CVS, a check cashing place and a location
in Merrick." Without any prior pubic discussion and with no one
questioning the location of the check cashing place and the location in
Merrick, the Board with deputy mayor Frierson-Davis now present, passed
the resolution unanimously.
The Board reconvened back into executive
session and adjourned for the evening at 11:45.
|April 7, 2000
Refuses To Release Appointments
by Stewart Lilker
Yesterday, April 6th, the most secretive Mayor in Freeport's history
refused to release his organization night appointments to Ken Bagatelle,
the president of the Northwest Civic Association.
After Monday's April 3d ceremony, FNYN had
asked for a copy of the list of appointments the Mayor and the rest of his
inside staff were reading from. His PR person, Pat Murphy, told FNYN,
"We don't have a copy for you." When your reporter asked if she
had a copy for anyone else, Murphy said, "You heard what I said. We
don't have a copy for you. You can read it in the paper."
Interestingly, while the Leader's
reporter, Jim Golding, was absent from Monday's organizational Village
meeting, a partial list of Glacken's appointments did show up in the April
6th edition. The so called official village web site, run by the Mayor's
brother, fails to give any indication that the Mayor even made any
It appeared on Monday night that the Mayor
once again appointed his brother in law, the highest paid village attorney
in the land, Harrison Edwards, to another term of Village Attorney.
Interestingly, he was absent from the festivities and was not publicly
sworn in for the third year in a row. The Mayor appears also to have
appointed another brother in law, Ray Straub, as some kind of research
assistant to the trustees. Straub works as the Mayors chief of staff and
is director of personnel. The Mayor's official photographer, Pat Murphy
came unprepared to the meeting without a camera and was unable to take an
official photo of the Mayor's swearing in ceremony.
Late yesterday, acting under orders from
the Mayor, the Mayor's secretary, Julie O'Toole refused to release the
list of Village appointments to FNYN. She said she would ask the Mayor if
she could release the list. Your reporter left her his fax number. At 9:30
a.m. this morning, almost a week after the Mayor made his appointments,
Glacken, for some unexplained reason, still refuses to make the complete
list of his appointments available to FNYN or the residents of the