Village Manager Seeks To Curtail Right Of Village Trustees To Information Or Entry To Village Hall

STATEMENT BY MONTICELLO VILLAGE TRUSTEE CARMEN RUE

Never in Monticello's 200-year history have members of the municipality's legislative body been so restricted or had their powers curtailed as Village Manager John Barbarite seeks to do with this measure. Singling particular Trustees for exclusion from Village Hall, or requiring that Trustees only obtain information about Village expenditures and projects through him is immoral, unethical, and unlawful.

Any member the Board of Trustees who votes in favor of this resolution should hang their head in shame.

Under Monticello's form of government, there are five members of the Board of Trustees, each with one equal vote and none (including the Mayor) having a power of veto. The principle of equality is being trampled. The fact that such a proposal is even being made stinks of corruption.

Banning selected members of our elected legislative body from entering the Village Hall or from gathering information necessary to the performance of our duties as elected officials changes Monticello's form of government by unlawfully curtailing the power of some Trustees in relation to others, by simple resolution -- no referendum, not even a local law.

Village Trustees have an obligation and a fiduciary duty to oversee the affairs of the Village. Does John Barbarite have something to hide? What is he afraid might come out?

If a Village Manager were corrupt, and information could only be filtered through that Village Manager, the fox would be in charge of the hen house.

The proposal is designed to be divisive. More division on the Village Board, concealing information to which elected Trustees are entitled to review, benefits no one but corrupt employees.

We have a moral, ethical, and legal duty to monitor the flow of bills, payments, complaints of discriminatory conduct or any other wrongdoing by the Villllage Manager or other employees.

If the Village Manager or others feel a need to hide their conduct from the oversight of elected Trustees, they should find work elsewhere. Self-employment might be a option for such people, but they are not made of the right stuff to be entrusted with public funds. This is precisely why we have a Board of Trustees.


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New York State Village Law

§ 4-412 The board of trustees.
1. General powers of the board of trustees. a. In addition to any other powers conferred upon villages, the board of trustees of a village shall have management of village property and finances, may take all measures and do all acts, by local law, not inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution, and not inconsistent with a general law except as authorized by the municipal home rule law, which shall be deemed expedient or desirable for the good government of the village, its management and business, the protection of its property, the safety, health, comfort, and general welfare of its inhabitants, the protection of their property, the preservation of peace and good order, the suppression of vice, the benefit of trade, and the preservation and protection of public works.