NEWS: The Record Gets It Right! - The Lights On Broadway Do Not Have To Go Dark
Shedding light on an under-reported story, a Record column today shows Village Manager John Barbarite told an untruth when, after two unanimous resolutions of the Board of Trustees approving the Broadway renovation project as submitted, he claimed to have spoken privately with all five Board members to get a green light to delete the decorative from Broadway's design.
Acting without authority, contrary to two unanimous votes by the Board of Trustees, in a June 16th letter to the NYS DOT Barbarite "swapped [the lights] in favor of bushes in the center median on Broadway," the Record says today.
By polling the Board to avoid public discussion, Barbarite admits a serious violation of the Open Meetings Law. "Barbarite claims he approached each village trustee for permission to delete the decorative lights from the project," writes the Record's Adam Bosch.
Bosch then enlightens readers:
But one trustee, Carmen Rue, says she was never asked, and another, Vic Marinello, said he told Barbarite he was against removing the lights. Both say the lights will go a long way toward improving Broadway's appearance and they're going to fight to have the lights restored.
During an interview last week, the DOT said the village did not have to choose between lights and shrubs. Monticello could have had both.
Battle over Broadway project, Catskill Confidential, The Times Herald-Record, 9/9/2008.
In the old days, when Barbarite used his home computer to anonymously publish the underground newsletter The People's Voice, such behavior by public officials brought his thundering condemnation. Now that he has grabbed power in the Village, Barbarite seems to care little for the principles of open and honest government he once trumpeted.
Honest taxpayers, myself included, have no respect for hypocricy.
It isn't necessary for us to vote yet again on the lights. We already voted to approve the final project (PIN 9013.26) twice -- once on January 28th (before I was on the Board), and once on May 23rd (after I took office). Both votes were unanimous, 5 to 0!
Barbarite fails to understand that under our laws we have a "Council-Manager form of government" here in Monticello -- meaning the Board of Trustees (the "Council") is the Manager's boss. If he will not follow orders, we can and should remove him.
DOT project engineer Charlie Walker tells me that to restore the cobra lights to the project, his office requires a letter signed by members Board of Trustees. He specifically told me he does not want another letter from Barbarite, which would only further confuse matters.