Monticello's Council-Manager Government

by THOMAS S. BELMONT
Monticello's first Village Manager

What it is. How it works.

The author of this introduction, Thomas S. Belmont, was Monticello's first Village Manager. He included this, and the accompanying organizational chart, in his first annual report to the Village Board to make clear the legislative intent of the framer's of Monticello's "council-manager" form of government, and explain how the Manager is intended to function subordinate to the Board of Trustees. The above, including the diagram, is excerpted from the first "Annual Report of the Manager" of the Village of Monticello, dated December 1955. The following introductory paragraph appeared at the outset: "Since this is the first annual report of the Village Manager, it is perhaps fitting that a brief explanation of the mechanics of the Council-Manager form of government, as well as some of the thinking behind it, be included as an introduction. The term "Council" means Board of Trustees as it exists in Monticello. A few of the positions (such as Village Assessor) in the above chart have since been abolished. However, the general principles underlying the original legislative intent of our present form of government is well explained in the text and diagram. DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT (51MB Acrobat file)

"Briefly, the main features of Council-Manager government are: a small council elected at large on a non-partisan ballot determines all municipal policies which are not set forth in a charter itself, adopts ordinances, votes appropriations and is required to appoint a chief executive officer called a Village Manager. The council is the governing body of the Village and the Village Manager is its agent in carrying out the policy which it determines. It is definitely understood that the Council deals with administration only in a formal manner through the Village Manager, and that administrative functions are at no time delegated to committees or individual members of the Council.


Monticello Must Step Up Recycling Measures Now

EarthThe day after Earth Day, it became my pleasure to join a small band of other local environmentalists on a field trip to learn about recycling programs in nearby Rockland County's Materials Recovery Facility and Greenway Environmental's Compost Facility at Vassar College. Fellow travelers were Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau, Sullivan County Treasurer Ira Cohen, Sullivan County Commissioner of Finance Joshua Potosek, retired Monticello High School biology teacher Jim Weinstein, Special Protection of the Environment for the County of Sullivan (SPECS) co-director Janet Newburgh and Ron Weather, and Monticello Village Trustee Carmen Rue. Thanks to Janet Newburgh for organizing the expedition.

I know other members of the Monticello Village Board of Trustees share my concern on this issue, so we need to act as one.

On The Importance Of Public Trust And The Consequences Of Losing It

Public comment by Tom Rue on April 21, 2008 to the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees:

It's been said the Village must move on. Agreed.

New Board Same As The Old?

The following editorial ran in today's Sullivan County Democrat:

Why Monticello Should Allow Equal Opportunity In All Village Hiring And Awarding Of Public Jobs

"Equal Employment Opportunity" means that all personnel activities assure equal access in all phases of the employment process, for all public jobs. This involves the right of any person to apply and be evaluated for employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Among some specific suggestions regarding an anti-nepotism policy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission points out that "Title VII may be violated if the employer's work force consists primarily of one race or ethnic group and the employer hires only friends and relatives of employees" (EEOC Informal Discussion Letter, 12/23/2004.)

Why The Monticello Village Board Should Adopt A Policy Allowing More Public Comment

A village that supports the idea of "open government" welcomes input from local people. Its elected officials know they do not have all the answers. We don't know everything. We need to hear different ideas and various points of view.

Honest board members have nothing to fear by allowing some extra minutes out of each meeting to be sure everyone who took the time out of their busy day to come and sit through a Village Board meeting goes away feeling that they were listened to by their elected representatives.

Proposed Resolutions on Equal Opportunity in Employment and Public Comment

The Village of Monticello
Trustee Carmen Rue

MEMORANDUM

DATE: April 13, 2008
FROM: Carmen Rue, Village Trustee
TO: Edith Schop, Clerk
RE: Equal Employment Opportunity and Allowance of Public Comment

Please include my motions for the following proposed resolutions on the agenda of the next Board of Trustees meeting.

ITEM, First:

Why Not A Latino Village Chaplain?

Each year, it is traditional for the Village Manager in Monticello to name a few local ministers or rabbis as unpaid "Village Chaplains". These clergy are available to assist or advocate for the various communities of faith in Monticello, for example by providing spiritual counseling to inmates.

Hispanics in Monticello deserve to be acknowledged by the appointment of a Village Chaplain who speaks their language.

Corruption As Usual In Monticello

Statement by Village Trustee Carmen Rue
Village Board Reorganizational Meeting - April 7, 2008

I read the following statement prior to the Board's vote on whether to hire John Barbarite as Village Manager:

This is a hard vote for me.

I like John. I have known him many years. I have campaigned for him every time he has run for political office.

But this position should not be political.

Some want to rush into hiring without advertising, interviewing, defining a job description, saying what we require and what we will not tolerate in a Manager – not to mention salary, vacation, sick leave, vacation, benefits, or anything else.

I say give Equal Opportunity consideration to all applicants, not just this one man.

Hiring a hand-picked man, handing him this important job on a silver plate, is bad policy.

It is wrong.

It smells too much like political corruption.

The Board’s choice of a Manager is a serious thing that needs to be carefully discussed in public, not in closed meetings held in diners, or the smoke-filled back room of some store.

I talk to people around this Village every day, and I don’t think they like it.

If we vote to hire this man tonight, it will be a political pay-off. I don’t agree with that.

I always believed this was everything that John Barbarite was against!

I do not like the way John has pressured this Board (including trying to pressure myself) for this job, like it is his right to be the Manager – without any discussion by the Board.

Selecting a Village Manager is a Board decision, not a Mayor’s appointment.

No one is ever entitled to be Village Manager because of political favors or support.

If we hire anyone that way, we are selling out. And I am not ready to do that.

If you do, shame on you; and I am sure history will prove me right.

John Barbarite can apply, just like anyone, but he is not entitled to special preference because of favors or political support he has given.

Please join with me and vote to select our next Village Manager using the right process.


Text of Public Comment offered by Thomas Rue on April 8, 2008.

On The Selection Process For Monticello's Next Village Manager

Tom Rue, Monticello taxpayer, offered the following remarks during the Public Comment period at the April 7, 2008 meeting of the Monticello Village Board of Trustees:

John is a good man. I have no beef with him. Nor do I have one with anyone here.

Gordon, you’ve been public for some time about the fact you hope to see John become Manager. It became an assumption.

As time has passed, however, it’s become clear to me that a coronation is not yet in order.

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