Political Party Boss Calls Press Conference Trying To Muscle His Way Back Into Monticello Village Hall, Fails To Recognize His Unauthorized Spending Without Board Approval

Monticello's temporary Village Manager Raymond Nargizian was let go at a recent "emergency" board meeting. Although he still claims not to know what the "emergency", the truth is the meeting was called to vote on the legally necessary transfer of $89,000.00 from revenue accounts to clean up the toxic debris pile on Pleasant Street, which was scheduled to begin the next morning morning. Without that vote, the clean-up could not have proceeded. As a result of this board action, at 8:30 AM the next morning, clean-up began.

The fact that this necessary transfer did not occur at the prior regular meeting demonstrates Mr. Nargizian's loose and disorganized way of doing business. A professional would have made sure this critical detail was taken care of without requiring "emergency" board action.

At a duly convened meeting of the Board of Trustees (which this meeting was), any lawful business may conducted.

Trustee Larissa Bennett, who directed the Clerk to convene the meeting in the first place, made a motion to relieve Mr. Nargizian of his duties, in order to free up the position for a candidate to be selected from the roughly two dozen applications we have received. I agreed and seconded her motion, and it was carried by a vote of 3 to 2. Trustee Doug Solomon, who knew about the meeting, called me the night before to discuss it. He did not request that it be rescheduled to accommodate his work schedule. He said he would be absent and to proceed without him.

Village Attorney Michael Davidoff was present. He did not attempt to interfere with the measure.

After the fact, Trustee Solomon posted comments on Facebook claiming that Mr. Nargizian was removed from Village Hall by the police - a claim which was absolutely untrue. Where did he get this false idea; from Mr. Nargizian? In reality, the brief meeting was conducted in a dignified manner and Mr. Nargizian was thanked for his service. In light of his press conference of today, seeking to drum up support from his power base (mostly from outside of Monticello), I am absolutely convinced I voted in the best interest of the taxpayers and voters of the Village of Monticello. I can no longer hold back details behind the decision.

Looking back, I am forced to admit that accepting Mr. Nargizian's offer to fill in temporarily for nothing was a mistake. I am not afraid to admit I was taken in, along with the other three Trustees.

It is important to note, over recent weeks I have had more than one conversation with each of my fellow Trustees. Each of them - Trustee Solomon and Trustee Weyer included - privately voiced concerns about Mr. Nargizian's job performance. Trustee Bennett's initiative was truly not a surprise to anyone on the board. To assert otherwise, quite plainly, would be a lie.

This morning (August 16th) I received a message from multimedia journalist Eva McKend of YNN television informing me that the fired Manager had called a press-conference, not in Monticello, but at his home.

Ray Nargian, who doubles as the Town of Thompson Republican Committee Chairman and has long had his eye on the County chairmanship, is trying to rally his troops and bully his way back into the seat of power at Village Hall, where he can continue passing out jobs and favors to his friends in exchange for campaign contributions.

In response, I prepared the following statement for the press's request for my reaction to Mr. Nargizian's claim that no one on the past eight years aside from the two "Monticello United" trustees who were recently elected have been competent. Though racist on its face, on further thought, this brash poorly thought-out claim would seem to be a personal attack on each and every person who has served on the Board of Trustees, including the former Mayor and all past Trustees, over the last eight years.

Mr. Nargizian's personal attack on nearly every elected official who has held office in the Village of Monticello, with only two exceptions, demonstrates arrogance and confirms that the board made the correct decision to fire him. Previously, my intent was to hold back. However, in response to Mr. Nargizian's attack, I offer the following public statement.

I had not seen his attack letter when I prepared the following list of just a few of his major unauthorized expenditures:

Statement in Response to Ray Nargizian's attack on Elected Officials

When the board voted to thank Ray Nargizian for his service and send him on his way, it was not my intent to unpack the details of why in public. However, since he has called a TV press conference and is apparently trying to orchestrate public protests hoping to put him back in Village Hall, I am forced explain some of the reasons, as I see them, why we had to do as we did, in the best interests of Monticello taxpayers.

He claimed to be working “for free”, but in reality nothing comes for free, especially when it comes to political deals and payoffs. For example…

  1. He signed a $35,000 contract renewal with Paychex, without board approval. A majority of board members believe this service limits accountability and our control over time sheets.
  2. He spent $1,800 for a CPA to investigate the time and attendance of the code enforcement officer without board approval. This investigation yielded nothing that I know of, in part due to poor management oversight of the Paychex system.
  3. He hired a second code enforcement officer for $47,000 per year with nothing in the budget for that salary, without board approval. (Snowden was already being paid $47,000 per year. The second item was not, and is not, budgeted.)
  4. He hired a deputy manager for $55,000 per year with nothing budgeted for a deputy manager.
  5. He brought in the former Treasurer as a consultant, without board approval, for $5,000 to help him understand the budget; knowing that we are already paying $55,000 for a Treasurer that he refused to talk to. Eventually, the consultant walked away, saying she did not feel anyone was listening to her and stating that the current Treasurer knows what she is doing.
  6. He fired a secretary who was working for $10 per hour, four hours a day, and picked a replacement to do his typing at $20 per hour, two hours a day, without board approval.
  7. He fired or laid off two employees – that I know of, without board approval. One is pulling in $1,800 a month from the Village’s general fund. The other is collecting $1,600 a month from the Village's general fund. This is because the Village self-insures for unemployment compensation.

    At first I went along with hiring him temporarily because it seemed better than the bad situation we had, and maybe for a while it was for a little while. The original agreement was he would be there two months, but he managed to manipulate his way into holding onto power and recently said he planned on staying until December (without board approval). It eventually became clear that he was more interested in running our Village, and running the board, as a political party boss, throwing his weight around; handing out payoffs and favors to Republican friends, than he was (or is) in accepting direction from his elected governing body at whose “pleasure” the Village Manager serves.

    It's ironic how he targets me in his press release (a blatant attempt to create a wedge between members of the Board of Trustees, which is typical of his manipulative self-serving style), accusing me of "micro-management". This might seem like a joke if the truth didn't make the statement so pathetic. Mr. Nargizian called me nearly every day for most of the time he occupied Village Hall recently, asking for documents, records, and ideas. I never turned him away or avoided his calls. Ray Nargizian sought this position out not because he was an experienced professional looking to earn a living, but because he is a political operative who thrives on power and control, and the Manager's office allowed him to reward his friends and freeze out his enemies.

    If we need a Village Manager, what we need is one who accepts direction from the Board of Trustees, who knows what he or she is doing, and who gives equal respect to each of the elected members of his governing board. Trustees who are not politically indebted to and controlled by Ray Nargizian know this.

Nearly every day Mr. Nargizian called my home asking for copies of various Village documents and records. I gave him everything he ever asked for, and made every effort to provide the best advice I could to keep him on the right track. Now he criticizes me, but fails to note his own incompetence.

Mr. Nargizian was paid $72,000 per year during his past years of service as Village Manager, eventually walking off the job with no notice. Recently, he claims to have worked "for free".

In reality, as Mr. Nargizian's performance illustrates, little in life is truly free.

The bottom line is this: I once again call on the Board of Trustees of the Village of Monticello to act in unity, not based on politics or pay-backs. All five members of the board are obligated to do our best work together in the best interest of the Village. The time has come for us to put our heads together and select the best qualified professional to manage the Village.

We must stop wasting time on political attacks like Nargizian's, conduct business in a professional, dignified and efficient manner, and move forward!


Full text of my Statement in Response to Ray Nargizian's attack on Elected Officials 8/16/2014


Full text of press conference statement by Ray Nargizian 8/16/2014

Full audio recording of Emergency Meeting of Trustees 8/12/2014


Letter of Scott Collins, Acting State Director of Rural Development for the USDA, 8/14/2014, stating:
"We are pleased to announce that a loan of $7,984,000 and a grant of $11,947,000 was approved by Rural Development to renovate the Village Wastewater Treatment Plant."

Thanks To Acting Manager Raymond Nargian For Temporary Service, By 3-To-2 Vote, Creating Vacancy For A Professional Village Manager

The Village of Monticello is moving forward. We have roughly two dozen highly qualified applicants vying for the position of professional Village Manager. Some live locally, others do not. Many have Masters degrees or other professional administrative experience in government.

I want to thank Ray Nargizian for holding the seat temporarily while the Board of Trustees gathered applications. At the time he took the position, it was said to be for a period of two months. He has served with no salary for five months. Now that we are preparing to select a Manager, it is in our interest to allow the chosen applicant start with a fresh slate, owing no political favors.

We also owe a "thank you" to those in Village Hall who placed our financials in sufficient order for us to be selected for sizable Federal grants and low-interest loans to renovate our sewer infrastructure which was not possible due to the previous condition of the Village's books and records.

I do what I believe to be in the best interests of my constituents in the Village of Monticello. I owe favors to no one, other than the voters who elected me. My top priority is the financial condition of the Village, ensuring that sound hiring practices and all State and local laws are followed.

My hope is that the Board of Trustees will move quickly, in a united manner, to permanently fill the position with the most qualified applicant. The important thing, however, is that we keep moving, without looking back at the politics of the past.



Full audio recording of meeting of August 12, 2014

Monticello Board of Trustees Partners With Boys & Girls Clubs for Youth Activities

The Board of Trustees of the Village of Monticello is pleased to offer an opportunity to youth of our Village to take part in safe and fun recreational and enrichment programs organized and conducted by Boys and Girls Clubs.

Alexis Eggleton made a presentation to the board on July 22nd, after which the resolution linked below was approved by a vote of 4 to 1. Activities to begin in September will be announced shortly.

Village Budget Review, Fiscal Year 2014-2015, by the NYS Comptroller's Office, With Full Budget Available for Public Download

The Office of the NYS Comptroller recently completed a follow-up site visit to Village Hall for the purpose of reviewing the Village's budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Linked here is their Report of Examination of which summarizes the findings and recommendations. The auditors came in response to my request on 12/12/2012 for a full review of Monticello's books and records. This visit for the budget review was a follow-up to the audit conducted last year.

From: LGSA-Audits @ osc.state.ny.us
Date: Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 3:45 PM
Subject: Village of Monticello - Budget Review
To: crue @ villageofmonticello.com

Dear Ms. Rue,

Enclosed is a Report of Examination for the Village of Monticello prepared
by the Office of the State Comptroller. A copy of the report has also been
mailed to the person responsible for filing such report and making it
available for public inspection.

The examination was made, and report prepared, in accordance with Article
5, Section 1 of the State Constitution, and the authority granted to the
State Comptroller by Article 3 of the General Municipal Law (GML).

A written corrective action plan (CAP) that addresses the findings and
recommendations in this report should be prepared and filed within 90 days,
pursuant to Section 35 of the General Municipal Law.

I trust that this report will be helpful to you. If you require assistance,
or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Binghamton
Regional Office.

Very truly yours,
Gabriel F. Deyo
Deputy Comptroller
Division of Local Government
and School Accountability

Enclosure

On 6/24/2014, the Board of Trustees adopted a final "bare bones" budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015, within the 2% cap, levy of 2.8%.

Audit Report for Fiscal Year 2013, Village of Monticello by Cooper Arias LLP

The following audit report for Fiscal Year 2013 was delivered to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Monticello in April 2014:

Spring Clean-Up, Saturday, May 18th to Saturday, May 25th


*** One load at maximum of 350 lbs. of non-recyclable materials per family ***
All materials exceeding 350 lbs. will be charged the standard rate of $90.00 per ton.

Proposed Public Hearing Unlawfully Scheduled for April 3rd is Cancelled by Order of Supreme Court of New York State

From: Carmen Rue
To: Janine Gandy, Dennis Lynch, Alak Shah, Wade Beltramo
cc: Larissa Bennett, Gordon Jenkins, Jill Weyer, Doug Solomon, Stacey Walker
date: Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 11:58 PM
subject: RE: Agenda & minutes

Jannine Gandy, Clerk
The Village of Monticello

TAKE NOTICE that the public hearing that was unlawfully scheduled for the morning of April 3, 2014 at 9:00 AM regarding an illegal proposal to adopt a Local Law superseding NYS Village Law has been cancelled pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court of New York State a copy of which is attached herewith for convenient reference.

Sincerely,

Carmen Rue
Trustee

"Reorganizational Meeting" Placed On Hold, Thanks To Publicity and Legal Opinion From NYS Conference of Mayors

Due to advance publicity given to the failed scheme cooked up by the outgoing losers of the recent Village of Monticello election to steal the appointed positions that must be approved by the lawfully elected Board of Trustees, nearly all of the appointments that were on the unauthorized Agenda circulated recently by the Village Clerk Jannine Gandy were "placed on hold" [DOWNLOAD AUDIO].

Gandy falsely told the board that she had received advice from the NYS Conference of Mayors advising her that it was lawful to proceed with annual appointments which do not expire until April 7th. When I forwarded Gandy's e-mail to NYCOM, she received a phone call making it known that this was not what they told her, and that their advice was actually consistent with my statement. As a result, little of consequences occurred at the April Fool's Day meeting, and nothing or almost nothing that may have been done that night can not be undone by the incoming board.

At the start of the meeting, after voting "No" to adopt the agenda, I read the following statement and directed the Clerk to include it in the Minutes of the night's special meeting:

STATEMENT BY CARMEN RUE TO READ ON APRIL 1, 2014:

The Village Clerk circulated an Agenda for a Reorganizational Meeting to be held tonight. The reorganizational meeting of the Board of Trustees is when newly elected members are sworn into office and annual appointments are made by the Mayor or Manager, including any that are subject to approval of the Board of Trustees. When the unlawful nature of tonight's scheme was pointed out to her, the Clerk sent an e-mail admitting that, after she checked the law and with NYCOM, she discovered that I was correct – holding the reorganization meeting prior to the installation of the newly elected trustees was illegal.

But, instead of changing the nature of the meeting, she edited the Agenda to delete the word "Reorganizational" from the meeting's agenda, but did not change the purpose or intent of tonight's unlawful meeting. Not only that, NYCOM also explained to Jannine that the term of office for appointees currently in place do not expire until the 7th.

I hereby declare this meeting, and any of the actions which may be taken here tonight to be null and void, subject to approval of the duly elected Board of Trustees at the annual meeting to be held April 7, 2014. I advise anyone whose contracts or interests may be on tonight's agenda not to rely on these votes, and to take no action on these matters until they are considered at the annual meeting of Trustees on April 7, 2014, as any or all of the votes which may taken at tonight’s meeting are presented with fraudulent intent and may be null and void unless or until ratified by the elected board.

Carmen Rue
Village Trustee


The public is invited to attend the annual Reorganizational Meeting of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees on Monday, April 7, 2014, at 7:00 PM, on the second floor of 2 Pleasant Street, to witness the swearing-in of two newly elected Trustees Douglas Solomon and Jill Kenny Weyer, and Village Justice Josephine V. Finn.


Download April Fools Day regular meeting of the Board of Trustees

Jenkins, Massey, and Matthews Try Last-Minute "Reorganization" in Violation of New York State Law, Grasping to Preserve the Corrupt Status-Quo

Gordon Jenkins and outgoing members of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees have announced that they intend to hold an unlawful "reorganizational meeting" on Tuesday, April 1st.

In any municipality operating under the laws of New York State, the annual reorganizational meeting of a legislative body commences with the swearing-in of newly elected members. The losers of the recent election are again thumbing their noses at the voters of Monticello who sent a loud, clear mandate in a massive landslide, bringing an end to the corruption of the Jenkins administration.

Without approval of the Board of Trustees, Village Clerk Jannine Gandy released an unauthorized Agenda on March 28th, putting the cart before the horse, allowing votes and appointments which must be made by the new incoming Trustees to be made by the outgoing losers, and directing the unlawfully appointed "Village Manager" to sign documents and take official actions to benefit Jenkins and his losers, and authorizing contracts and apparently presenting falsified (forged) past resolutions which were never presented to the Board of Trustees for a vote, including a proposed illegal amendment of a law regarding the residence requirements for the Village Manager position for which no public hearing has been held, and which is over-ruled by NYS Village Law. This item does not appear on the "Preliminary" agenda, but is planned to be added at the last minute as an addendum.

The annual meeting can not take place until "the first Monday in the month following the date of the general village election" - in other words, since the election by the people of Monticello of Trustees Douglas Solomon and Jill Kenny Weyer and Hon. Josephine Finn as Village Justice on March 18th, April 7, 2014. (See final Election Results here.)

NYS Village Law § 3-302

Official year, terms of office, extension or reduction of terms, biennial elections.
1. An official year begins at noon on the first Monday in the month following the date of
the general village election
or the date such an election would have been held had elections
been held annually.
2. The term of office of each elective village officer shall commence at the start of the
official year following his election; the term of office of each officer appointed at the
annual meeting of the board of trustees shall commence at the start of the official year
in which he is appointed; and the term of office of each officer appointed at any other time
shall commence at the time of his appointment.


For the information of Jenkins who may have missed the news, the tally of the general election held March 18, 2014 was as follows:

  • Josephine V. Finn (elected Village Justice) - 756
  • Douglas Solomon (elected Village Trustee - 714
  • Jill Kenny Weyer (elected Village Trustee) - 690
  • Rochelle Massey - 226
  • Oswald Allan - 218

The unauthorized Agenda includes approval of a contract with one of the mayor's criminal lawyers, Feerick, Lynch, MacCartney LLC, who defended him and his girlfriend, Rochelle Massey, in their trademark infringement convictions.

In my opinion, in order for honest government to return to our Village, Lynch and his minions must go!

Other items on the "preliminary" April 1st unauthorized Agenda include re-appointment of Village Clerk Jannine Gandy, Treasurer Lilu Li through September 2014, as well as an unnamed Planning Board member by the mayor, (none of which can occur without approval of the duly elected Board of Trustees); a resolution setting the date, time, and place of future regular Village Board meetings; a resolution "authorizing the Village Manager to freeze all further appointments until a later date"; and, finally, "setting Special meeting date for Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 7:00pm for the swearing in of the newly elected officials".

This last item (#23) is a distorted re-write of an item that I submitted, in my capacity as an elected official, to the Village Clerk in an e-mail on March 26th for inclusion on this agenda. At that time, I ordered her to: "...place on the agenda of the April 1st meeting to send a press release that the Reorganizational Meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM."

This last-ditch grab at power by the corrupt outgoing trustees and the mayor cannot be allowed to stand.

At this writing, Jenkins is currently away at his second home in Gillsville Georgia, where he drove on March 26th in a vehicle loaded with boxes, but plans to return to Monticello by Tuesday. This is the same place he hid out last October during the demolition he contracted of the former Village court-house which still sits in an ugly asbestos-laced toxic waste pile on Pleasant Street awaiting final action by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Jenkins is also awaiting sentencing on the crime of Obstructing Governmental Administration (of which he was convicted by a jury), which all by itself itself constitutes a violation of his oath of office. When the full extent of what Jenkins and Massey are hiding is discovered, they will be held accountable.

Jenkins is demonstrating by his behavior his disdain for the voters of Monticello, and that he has no regard for the laws of the State of New York. He is attempting to prove that he has more power than the District Attorney of Sullivan County, the Supreme Court of New York State, and the Appellate Division of the Third Judicial District, where a petition under the NYS Public Officers Law for his removal from office as a result of his misconduct is currently pending.

I call on my constituents to watch for news about this latest attempted power grab. Come and raise your voice on April 1st, to show support for the newly elected board and demonstrate that the old corrupt ways of the past Jenkins administration are over.

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