Fired Village Manager Misuses And Misinterprets Village Code To Attack Minority-Owned Business

A basic principle of American government is that everyone deserves equal protection under the law, including in the Village of Monticello.

Among the criticisms of the former Village administration was that the now-fired Manager targeted ethnic minorities for selective enforcement of trumped up (phony or exaggerated) Village Code violations.

The disgruntled former manager is now peddling a flier in which he falsely claims, "[Carmen] Rue has little concern for zoning. She has operated a Nail Salon in her home for years. This home occupation is in the category of barbershop/beauty parlor classification which is prohibited by zoning" [sic].

John Barbarite just doesn’t get it. He was fired as Village Manager largely because his actions were often misguided and misinformed. Still he misuses the Village Code for to fulfill his own narrow selfish interests and to curry political favor.

According to the sworn testimony of a career Building Inspector for the Sullivan County Department of Family Services, Barbarite blames the decline of his own residential neighborhood on the influx of "Spicks" (click for digital audio recording of the sworn deposition).

As a native of Peru (and U.S. citizen) who speaks with a Spanish accent, should it surprise anyone that Barbarite singles me out obsessively for repeated hateful attacks and ridicule? He is a sad and pathetic figure.

It is true that I am licensed by the State of New York as a Nail Specialist. I am proud to say that I have worked hard all my life. This fact apparently means nothing to Barbarite. He has published nearly a dozen newsletters over recent weeks, all obsessively attacking me as the only Latina member of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees.

As to Barbarite's misguided claim in his newsletter dated March 28th that my small private manicure business "is in the category of a barbershop/beauty parlor", it is clear he has not done his homework.

Before I started working out of my home as a manicurist nine years ago, I asked Village Hall what was required. The Office of the Village Attorney addressed a legal opinion to the Mayor about my request to operate a nail salon as a "home occupation" as described in the Village Code.

The Attorney cited Section 280-5: "Home occupations shall not be construed to include such uses as the following: clinic or hospital, barbershop or beauty parlor, real estate office, restaurant, animal hospital or dog kennel."

However, the opinion went on, with specific reference to my proposed business activity:

"Beauty parlor" is not defined by Village Code, and technically a nail salon is not a beauty parlor, even though nail services are customarily provided in a beauty parlor. In this instance, where the only services that will be provided are manicures, pedicures and related services, it is my opinion that these services are not specifically excluded by statute and are therefore acceptable as a home occupation. Therefore, no permit or variance is required under Village Code for this home occupation.

The above was not written by my lawyer, but by the Office of the Village Attorney of the Village of Monticello. Relying on this advice, I opened a business in my home which I continue to operate. Why has Barbarite never complained about my business before? He has certainly known about it for years. His latest attack on me is just another example of his arbitrary and capricious misuse of the Village Code to suit his purposes.

In the same document, I was granted permission to hang a sign that is "two feet in area and materials and equipment", stating that such signage would not be subject to the permission of the Design Review Board. I have not yet chosen to hang such a sign, though I may do so someday.

To me, this attitude illustrates the very type of problem behavior which led the board to fire Barbarite first as Deputy Village Manager and later as Village Manager. He does not do research before leveling false allegations of Village Code violations. He pretends to be an expert and uses his supposed expertise to go after those he doesn't like, often in a confrontational, caustic, and self-righteous manner.

Even in cases where he may have been correct on the law, Barbarite's litigious and nasty style got him (and the Village) into trouble more than once during the months he was Village Manager and Deputy Village Manager, costing many thousands of tax dollars in unnecessary legal fees. He still hasn't learned.

Fortunately for the taxpayers, Barbarite no longer holds power. He has been reduced to peddling false and misleading political hate literature, taking his unsigned fliers house-to-house like so much litter delivered by an unemployed former mailman.

We are still paying for his past mistakes.

If Barbarite comes to your house to do a so-called inspection, even if he is escorted by an official of the Village, do not let him in. He has no authority to inspect buildings on behalf of the Village of Monticello. If he enters your property unlawfully, including for the purpose of depositing unwanted papers or other trash, call the police at once.

Meanwhile, all five members of the Board of Trustees must work together to encourage more new businesses to locate in Monticello, and to be friendly to homeowners and businesses already are here.

I am committed to reaching out to all members of the board and all segments of the community for the good of Monticello. This vision and purpose should be a top priority in the Board of Trustees' selection of our next Village Manager. Bigots need not apply.