In 2013, we had more than 50 applicants for the position of Village Manager. This year, after an advertisement ran in the same publications, the Board of Trustees was only told about the existence of a grand total of three applicants.
Jenkins privately interviewed one at the Goshen law office of Michael Sussman. Sussman is one of Jenkins' criminal defense attorneys. Why Sussman was involved in brokering Village Manager interviews remains unclear. His connection to the criminal charge of Obstructing Governmental Administration on which Jenkins has already been convicted, and other unrelated criminal charges still pending against Jenkins, is well known.
The board was not given an opportunity to interview the applicant seen at Sussman's office, though this gentleman was was interviewed a year ago and at that time and was seriously considered by the full board. This time around, Jenkins misled the man into believing that he now wanted to hire him, even though a year ago he bitterly opposed him. However, this was a lie. Jenkins had no intention of hiring this man, or even of allowing the board to interview him, but then publicly accused "the Monticello United team" of not wanting him.
Of course, the public already knows Jenkins is a liar. I certainly do.
One other man was scheduled by Jenkins to meet with the board at Village Hall on March 12th, but at that point Jenkins and Rochelle Massey clearly had someone else in mind whom they had already interviewed alone without the rest of the board being notified. The first applicant we interviewed on the 12th, whom I did not know previously, wrote me a letter immediately afterward expressing anger at Jenkins for wasting his time with what was obviously a sham interview.
The Board of Trustees did not approve the content of the newspaper ad this time around. That ad specified that applications be sent directly to the Mayor. We only got three applications this year, but 50 last year?
This hiring process stinks of corruption.
Jenkins and Massey are desperate to hold onto control of the public's finances and the flow of information at Village Hall. They have spent many thousands of dollars on private attorneys to pay their own criminal defense bills. Many thousands of taxpayer dollars are missing and can not be accounted for, according to the NYS Comptroller's Office.
Jenkins wants a man who will follow his orders. He obviously believes Thompson is such a man.
When I suggested to Mr. Thompson that if he honestly wanted to "work with" the Board of Trustees at whose pleasure the law says he would serve if were hired, he should wait until after this Tuesday's election. His response, "I already have a majority," proved he views himself as only working for Jenkins.
Something is truly wrong in Monticello government. If voters care, the way to show it, and to TAKE BACK YOUR VILLAGE, is to vote this Tuesday, March 18, 2014, Noon to 9:00 PM, for Doug Solomon and Jill Weyer.
March 18th Election (Noon - 9 PM) Allows Monticello Voters to Choose Two Trustees, Village Justice, AND... Selection Process of Our Next Village Manager
Those who have been spreading rumors pretending to know who the next Board of Trustees might choose as a Village Manager (or even assuming who will win Tuesdays election) were sent a strong rebuke by a couple of board members purporting to join Jenkins in appointing a Rockland County resident to the the post, part-time, at a salary of $78,000.00. It was a message; but of little legal consequence.
The truth is, we will not know until more events unfold, commencing with the election scheduled to be held this Tuesday, March 19th, from Noon to 9:00 PM. If you live in Monticello, you have a voice not only in who will serve on the Board of Trustees, give a vote of confidence to our distinguished Village Justice Josephine Finn, but also who will select Monticello's next Village Manager.
Gordon Jenkins, convicted last month in the Town of Liberty of a crime constituting a violation his oath of office [PRECEDENT], wants the one-time mayor of Spring Valley to take his place. Jenkins is currently defending against a removal petition filed with the Appellate Division. He has committed many wrongs in his capacities of mayor and acting manager, and has much that he wants to keep hidden.
Jenkins also has a short memory. Four short years ago, in one of his lawsuits against the Village that he lost, the NYS Supreme Court issued a Decision and Order on the precise question of residency of Monticello's Village Manager. We have been down this road already and the matter of local residency is settled law, decided in Court. (See Local Law No. 2 of 2010.]
In addition to ruling on other relevant points of law, the Hon. Vincent Sackett ruled that under State and Local Laws, which are still in effect, our Village Manager must be a local resident. How many Judges does it take to persuade Gordon Jenkins that he is not the controlling power of all matters governing the Village of Monticello? There are higher laws than his imperial wishes, or even than votes of the Board of Trustees itself, that we are sworn to uphold.
Jenkins is afraid of a shadows and rumors. He told reporters that his reason for rushing to appoint this part-time Manager, violating our Local Law requiring residency in Sullivan County, was that he was terrified the new Board of Trustees might hire someone he does not like. The truth is that several credible local people have been considered by various board members and candidates. It is impossible to say which one would be chosen until after the results of Tuesday's critical election.
If the Board of Trustees decides Mr. Thompson should have the position, which will require him to move his residence to Sullivan County, I can work with him. However, the actions taken by Jenkins and his cronies on March 14th are a meaningless sham.
No resolution was presented to the board for consideration, and no actual contract was given to Trustees to discuss and vote on. Jenkins' lawyer was inexplicably absent, and the board as a whole had no legal counsel present. Although several local people expressed interest in the post, Jenkins did not allow the Board of Trustees to interview any candidate other than the one he wanted.
The fact that Mr. Thompson was willing to take part in such a charade does not speak well for his ethics. Repeatedly, both in private and in public, I urged him to wait until after the April First reorganization, to demonstrate a genuine willingness to respect and work with the governing board. His response? An arrogant, "I already have a majority." This does not suggest that he is willing to accept direction from, work with, or "serve at the pleasure of" the Board of Trustees. At this writing, Mr. Thompson does not have a valid contract, regardless what papers the mayor might manufacture after the fact fooling him into believing so.
Mr. Thompson's resume looks impressive, but due diligence requires that his past be examined and other candidates be considered. For example, why did Thompson fail badly in his last election bid in his home town of Spring Valley, garnering only 13.8% of his former constituents' votes? He comes across as a pleasant man, but the sneaky, dishonest, and apparently unlawful manner in which Jenkins and two of his cronies showed hubris by arrogantly attempting to shove this a failed mayor from another county down the throats of the people of Monticello was wrong.
The recent NYS Comptroller's audit proves that Jenkins has failed as acting Village Manager and can not be allowed to continue in that seat. The US Department of Agriculture, in a letter dated February 6, 2014, threatened to cancel a $6.7 million grant (a total package of $15 million when low-interest loans are included) for a much needed sewer project in Monticello if Jenkins is not replaced by a full-time, competent professional manager and other "staff changes" within 90 days of that date (i.e. May 6, 2014). Part-time appointment of Mr. Thompson, with no other changes in staff responsible for finances; supposedly to become full-time in August fails to meet these requirements and will result in a huge financial loss to the Village.
Who Jenkins' replacement should be is a decision to be made by the new Board of Trustees after they are elected by the people and the votes are counted. One thing that is sure, though, is that the Monticello United team had made no decisions, and to my knowledge there has been no apparent agreement at this point as to who should be the Village Manager, except that it should not be Gordon Jenkins.
I have held no meetings with any Trustee candidates to discuss who the next Manager should be. Plans or promises of that nature would be premature and disrespectful of the voters, regardless of the lies and rumors spread by Jenkins and political operatives. Trustee Candidates Doug Solomon and Jill Weyer each have their own minds and their own opinions, and they have not confided in me their preferences for a Manager appointment, nor should they. At the moment, they are not on the Board of Trustees, and I would not presume to expect them to make promises in advance of their election.
Jenkins' publicly announced desire to harm the Village of Monticello by trying to saddle taxpayers with a $156,000.00 obligation to Mr. Thompson if the future elected board is not pleased with his pal's performance is of no force or effect. No contract was shown or presented to the Board of Trustees for approval on the night Jenkins announced its passage, and even if it were Mr. Thompson is not eligible for the job because he does not live in the county. We have many local people who are qualified for this job and have expressed interest. There may also be other candidates willing to relocate here who are worth considering after a thorough search and application process.
According to the Monticello Village Code § 45-5:
Administrative and executive powers.
The administrative and executive powers of the Village, including the power of appointment of officers and employees, except the Village Clerk, Village Attorney and Village Treasurer, are vested in an official to be known as the 'Village Manager' who shall be appointed by the Board of Trustees and hold office during the pleasure of such Board; he shall receive compensation as shall be fixed by the Board of Trustee.
Mr. Thompson needs to prove himself in order to win "the pleasure of such board". If he does, starting by making himself eligible for appointment by complying with the law that he must live in Sullivan County in order to be hired, and the board legitimately votes to hire him, I would support him. However, if he is only there to cover for Jenkins and has as much contempt for Local and State law as he does, he would be well advised not to waste the gas driving up from Spring Valley for our next meeting.
Jenkins' attempt to coerce the future board into accepting his preferred pick is offensive and holds no water.
My only agenda is in serving all the residents of the Village of Monticello, not protecting the personal interests or ego of Gordon Jenkins.
The election of Douglas Solomon and Jill Weyer, as well as the re-election of Village Justice Josephine V. Finn, are vital to restoring the trust in our local government. This election is one of the most important in recent memory.