Sheriff Mike Schiff Sends A Crowd Of Kids Off To Sheriff's Institute 2009 Summer Camp

Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff sent a bus-load of children to Sheriff's Institute Summer Camp on July 19th. Several residents of the Village of Monticello were included. Participants are pictured in t-shirts showing support for the Sheriff's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program offered by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department in local schools.

Departing children with Sheriff Mike Schiff

Photos by Village Trustee Carmen Rue

Resolution of the Board of Trustees Appointing Raymond Nargizian Village Manager


agenda wav Audio of this Resolution and Discussion

New State Law Aims To Streamline Local Government And Reduce Property Taxes

I received the following press release from the Governor's office recently and am posting it here for the information of the public. I would like to see the Village of Monticello and Town of Thompson find more ways than we presently have in place to consolidate and 'streamline local government', reducing the burden on taxpayers.

June 25, 2009


ThunderBASH! - Town Of Thompson Celebrates Sullivan County's 200th Birthday

The Town of Thompson, Capelli Enterprises, Inc.; and Thunder 102 Radio provided a country western concert, playing to an estimated 1,000 people in the grandstands of the Mighty M Racino (aka Monticello Racetrack) for Sullivan County's bicentennial bash.

The musical event featured country-western musical line-up including Iron Cowboy, Somerville Brothers, and Cowboy Crush.

Thompson Council Member Monique Diaz-Corley; Deputy Supervisor Bill Rieber; County Legislator Ron Hiatt; Thompson Supervisor Anthony Cellini; Legislative Aide Alexis Aggleton; Council Members Peter Briggs and Sharon Jankiewicz, receive certificate of recognition for Thompsons's role as the first chartered town in Sullivan County, which received its own charter 200 years ago this year.

Prevention And Containment Of Influenza Virus Among Local Individuals And Families

Frequent handwashing, using hand sanitizers, covering your cough or sneeze can help you from getting or spreading the flu. Sick people should stay home.

See a doctor for flu symptoms including fever, muscle aches, and nausea.

Sullivan County Leglisature Seeks Seneca Casino

MONTICELLO - The Sullivan County Legislature today approved an agreement with the Seneca Nation of Indians, a federally recognized sovereign Indian Nation, the Seneca Catskills Gaming Corporation, a wholly-owned corporate entity of the Nation, and Sullivan County to develop a Class III Gaming casino on 63 acres of land at exit 107 off of Route 17 (Interstate 86) in the Town of Thompson.

Sullivan County's Annual Litterpluck Scheduled For This Saturday, April 25th

MONTICELLO – Sullivan County’s Annual Litterpluck Day takes place this Saturday, April 25. All school and community groups, as well as private citizens, are urged to participate.

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.

Hard Lessons Learned - Hear The Tape Yourself - Extending The Hand Of Partnership To All

Congratulations to attorney Danielle Jose for successfully arguing a case on behalf of the Village of Monticello. The Village had to pay Ms. Jose almost $7,000 in legal fees after she left office to continue defending this suit. Unfortunately for the taxpayers, the present salaried Village Attorney couldn't fit into his schedule to handle the case himself. Ms. Jose did so admirably both while and after she was Village Attorney.

The Appellate Division of NYS Supreme Court issued a decision this week affirming a January 2008 judgment by Judge Robert Sackett of Monticello. Appeals courts usually render very narrow decisions focusing on particular points of fact or law, and this case was no different.

The higher court's decision stated simply:

"Supreme Court did not abuse its discretion in denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration, which it correctly treated as a motion to renew. Petitioner failed to show a reasonable justification for failing to raise the additional facts while the proceeding was pending." [Full Text]

Appeals courts allow lower courts a certain breadth of judicial discretion. Unless an appellant can show that judicial discretion was abused or an error occurred, appeals are usually unsuccessful.

The fact that the appellate judges ruled that Judge Sackett did not exceed his discretion in denying the plaintiff's "motion for reconsideration" by treating it as a "motion to renew" says nothing about the actual merits of either the plaintiffs' or the Village's position with respect to a certain rooming house on North Street.

Wasteful and wheel-spinning lawsuits like this one are less likely to occur when code enforcement is fairly and uniformly managed.

Monticello's former village manager is a case in point. John Barbarite was fired by the Board of Trustees because of disrespectful and discriminatory language and behavior toward residents and property owners of the Village of Monticello. Barbarite himself has been the central figure of too many lawsuits against the Village of Monticello, though his name did not appear in this case. Barbarite has lost most if not all of the lawsuits he has filed against the Village of Monticello.

He is still the target of multiple Federal civil rights suits stemming from his behavior as Village Manager. Yet a few still blindly defend him.

Linked below is an audio recording of a sworn deposition taken under oath during an official investigation of Barbarite's short conduct in office. This document, in audio and written form, is a public record.

Among other statements, Barbarite referred to his neighbors on Cottage Street as "Spicks" and commented that he hoped someone would die in a fire to teach building owners to better secure vacant buildings, according to the testimony of Vincent Meyer, Building Inspector for the Sullivan County Department of Family Services, given under oath and under penalty of perjury.

Full audio recording of SWORN TESTIMONY OF SULLIVAN COUNTY DSS BUILDING INSPECTOR VINCENT MEYER IN REGARD TO JOHN BARBARITE, January 2, 2008, in which Barbarite is quoted as referring to his neighbors as "Spicks" and stating that he hopes someone dies in a fire to teach building owners to secure their premises.

Mr. Meyer is an honest, hard-working man. Unlike polygraph results, which are notoriously unreliable, his sworn testimony is credible and admissible in court. I have not spoken with him since the early 1990s when my husband and I chaperoned several "Independent Living Jamboree" youth events with him, held by Sullivan DSS at Frost Valley YMCA Camp.

But hearing Mr. Meyer, in his own voice, relate his experiences with Barbarite led me to believe Mr. Meyer. Subsequent experiences I have had with Barbarite, as the sole Latina on the Board of Trustees, have sadly removed any remaining doubt.

Searching For A Professional Manager

It is well known that the Board of Trustees is seeking a professional Village Manager. Manager Zachary Kelson has performed a valuable public service by filling in briefly at the board's request in order to prevent threatened reprisals and malfeasance in office. My respect for Mr. Kelson has been increased ten-fold by the patience and leadership he has shown amid unfair abuse heaped upon him during his short tenure.

It is also well known that the former Village Manager has lately demonstrated his complete lack of professionalism by going door-to-door with amateur newsletters produced on his home computer aimed at obsessively attacking not just me personally over and over as the only Hispanic member of the board, but also his former employer, the Village of Monticello. I can live with the attacks on me, considering the source. This man's intolerance, hatred, and ignorance are transparent and pathological. His obsession with me is scary.

Even as he demonstrates his pathology, I respect his First Amendment rights and trust the intelligence of Monticello's 7,000+ residents to see and fairly judge what's going on, including those who choose not to attend out-of-control Village Board meetings, preferring to e-mail me, call me on the phone, or talk to me in stores, in the post office, and other public places. I am truly grateful for all these kind words and I genuinely feel supported.

Barbarite's ongoing vicious public insults to individual dedicated career Village employees and private citizens are reckless and inexcusable. He has absolutely proved the wisdom of the Board of Trustees in voting to fire him not once, but twice.

We all make mistakes, including me! What's important is our willingness to learn from and not repeat them.

The entire Village of Monticello Board of Trustees must begin to work together in the best interest of our community. I have repeatedly extended my hand of partnership to all and will continue to do so. Trustees Schoonmaker and Marinello have done likewise, and I am sure they will also press forward toward better times and better conditions in Monticello.

The long local nightmare of the Barbarite era is over. He is out of power and has been reduced to pumping out silly and inaccurate newsletters, passing them out house-to-house like so much litter delivered by an unemployed former mailman.

It is time for the Village to move on.

We invite the public to join in building a better and more positive place to live, work, and play.

Trustees Take Care Of Business In The Sunshine: The Public Is Always Invited To Attend

Trustees of the Village of Monticello are committed to following the letter and spirit of the Open Meetings Law. We respect advice from NYS Committee on Open Government.

Robert Freeman of that office recently wrote an opinion that our January 8th "workshop" meeting was lawfully held, despite the fact that votes are not usually not taken in work-sessions, as I myself pointed out to Village Attorney Jacob Billig during the work-session.

Freeman guessed (based on allegations in an inquiry obviously not written by Mayor Jenkins, but signed by him) that any votes supposedly taken at our work-session would "probably" be upheld in court.

Contrary to this, our own Village Attorney Jacob Billig telephoned all five board members immediately after the January 8th meeting to admit that he found out he had given us bad legal advice and he now believed any decisions we might have made that night were of no effect because the public was not notified that actions would be taken at the meeting. My phone call from Billig came at 10:00 PM that night.

Billig was very apologetic.

I understood from the start was that the work-session was to discuss what we want from our next Village Manager. That was what we told the public. Discussion should not have strayed from this, and we never announced that we planned to take any votes at the workshop.

Billig later advised the board again, in response to a question I asked during a public session in a regular meeting of the board, that because any actions that might have been taken at the work-session were not legally binding, it was not necessary to rescind any alleged votes.

Billig's bad advice caused much confusion and, until rectified, seemed to be leading up to a lawsuit.

Internal memos from the Mayor give the impression he is colluding with twice-fired former Manager John Barbarite to file an Article 78 petition against the Village based on Freeman’s advisory opinion.

Freeman's thoughts on the January 8th meeting were based on incomplete facts, but that is now moot. It would have been against the Village's interest to provide Barbarite with a phony issue to use in another of his infamous time-wasting lawsuits.

The majority of the Board of Trustees voted with me on March 7th to rescind and void a vote supposedly taken on January 8th, removing what seemed to be a cornerstone of Barbarite's planned suit. In my opinion, it was urgent that we take this action in a timely manner before Babarite made a bigger mess of it.

Barbarite has a long history of filing pro-se lawsuits (representing himself, without an attorney) against the Village of Monticello. Over the years he has sued our municipality multiple times. He has lost every single time, but his wasteful litigation costs the Village legal fees, energy, and aggravation.

We have more important issues facing Monticello than to pay serious attention to a man who numerous people have sworn, under oath, refers to minorities in insulting terms, using racial and ethnic slurs, and who brought more than one lawsuit upon the Village by allegedly abusing his power to discriminate against minorities.

In my opinion, Barbarite seems to find frivolous lawsuits a form of recreation or entertainment that feeds his fantastic ego.

Mayor Jenkins is unwise to accept advice from a disgruntled former employee who has recently threatened to sue the Village and/or various officials. Mayor Jenkins looks foolish when he tells a newspaper that a March 7th meeting which he himself called to order and chaired was a "secret meeting". The meeting was legally called and duly noticed. Mayor Jenkins seems to be begging Barbarite to please sue him and the Village, relying on the taxpayers to cover the costs.

The Board of Trustees was right to cancel its March 2nd meeting due to a snowstorm, as attorney Billig agreed in an e-mail he sent that day to the entire board at 1:24 PM. The County of Sullivan, Town of Thompson, and Village of Monticello offices all closed early that day due to hazardous road conditions which Billig agreed were “getting worse”.

The Board of Trustees also made the right decision to move important business originally planned for March 2nd to specially scheduled sessions held on the March 4th and 7th. Had we not done so, we would have missed important deadlines for Restore-NY grant proposals and Federal stimulus funds to pay for portions of the Broadway renovation project which Barbarite cut out from the plans without the Board of Trustees’ approval before being fired.

Due and timely notice is always given to the media and public for our meetings, whether regularly scheduled or otherwise. The public is always encouraged to attend, listen, and offer appropriate feedback.


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