The Eternal Struggle : A Community's Quest For Liberty, Public Safety, And Professional Municipal Governance

The Board of Trustees is working together to choose a professional Manager to serve as chief executive officer of the municipality. We have had some good applicants and I am hopeful that the management of the Village will improve soon.

Two important public hearings are scheduled to be held on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 6:00 PM, at Village Hall, 2 Pleasant Street, Monticello, New York.

1.) The first will be to consider repealing certain provisions of Village Code Section 45-9 entitled "Acting Village Manager".

We are concerned about a change that was made to our local law a few years back which REQUIRES that whenever the position of Manager is vacant, the Mayor AUTOMATICALLY takes over until the board selects a replacement. I believe this provision is unlawful and should be changed. In the interim, between one Manager and the appointment of the next, the Board of Trustees needs to ensure continuity and stability. If, in the opinion of the Board of Trustees, the Mayor is not the best person to fill in, the board (both now and future boards) must have the ability to choose the best person to fill in until a permanent replacement is chosen.

2.) The second matter is to consider amending certain provisions of Village Code Section 181-3 entitled "Regulations for Use of the Village of Monticello Neighborhood Facility Building (NFB)".

We are concerned that the Mayor, in his capacity as Acting Manager, has acted arbitrarily and in a personally discriminatory manner to control the use of the Stroebele Community Center, which is a municipal asset that must be made available to residents of Monticello on a fair and even basis.

Changes to the above linked local law will be discussed and, hopefully, implemented to both make the facility as available to the general public as its builders intended and protect the Village of Monticello from civil and financial liability.

A NOTE OF APPRECIATION

I want to take just a moment to thank our Chief of Police, Rob Mir, for his outstanding job as head of our fine officers. I am opposed to playing games with law enforcement professionals, causing them to fear for their jobs, for the advancement of a political ego, as we have unfortunately seen occur recently. I regret that mixed messages are being given to the public about the performance of Chief Mir, who in all honesty has done an excellent job.

Our police chief was appointed by a unanimous vote of the Mayor and all four Trustees. He has proven himself worthy, in every way, of that public trust. He has responded thoroughly to requests that have been made of him by the Mayor and Trustees, including sharing of non-confidential information, increasing patrols on Broadway, and cutting police overtime hours. Accomplishing both of the latter two tasks at the same time might seem to some like a tall order to some, but it has not been too much for Chief Mir.

Any honest, unbiased observer must acknowledge that Chief Mir has brought his 20 years of experience in the Village of Liberty to do an outstanding job for the residents of Monticello. Elected officials and the public are indebted to this man for being the public servant that he is, as well as to all the officers and employees of the Village of Monticello Police Department who tirelessly toil at his side.

The most likely suspects who might wish to besmirch his record or character would be convicted criminals and unprincipled attorneys and other surrogates acting on their behalf, who public officers are sworn to expose and hold accountable, applying equal justice to all under the law. In my opinion, criminals deserve to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, protecting our community of those who would harm our citizenry and honest government.

In the same vein, I strongly oppose unreasonable restrictions on the overtime hours that dedicated employees of the Department of Public Works are allowed to put in, at the cost of public safety. I have received many complaints this winter, confirmed by my own observations, about inadequate plowing and salting of roads, as a result of the Acting Village Manager's personal agenda and wish to control and divert public funds to pay high-priced out-of-county lawyers.

I as aware as anyone can possibly be that the struggle for good and honest government never ends, and can sometimes feel discouraging. However, I ask the good people of Monticello to attend the two public hearings mentioned above, and make their voices heard.

Thomas Jefferson, for whose residence our village is named, is credited with the comment, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."