Since Mayor Jenkins Is Forcing The Issue Now, Seeking To Change Our Form Of Government Without A Public Vote, Here Is My Response...

The following letter, with attachments was addressed to four respected attorneys with vast experience practicing municipal law. I am making this letter public, while withholding their names for the moment, as a courtesy until each of them replies.

My plan, in response to the Mayor's attempt to grab power, is to take the lead (as outlined below) to ensure that his wish to become the permanent Chief Executive Officer of the Village is PUT IT UP FOR A REFERENDUM, through a similar process as by which the form of government was adopted in 1954.

If the Mayor and his cronies proceed with their plan to push this measure through without a referendum, I would view that as equivalent to spitting in the faces of the voters, and will begin immediately collecting signatures and campaigning for a vote on the the central question itself, which will also be a vote of confidence (or no confidence) in his inept administration as "Acting" manager.

Since the Mayor has publicly declared his opposition to the Manager form of government, I call on him to immediately surrender the salary he is taking for "Acting" in that capacity. If he declines, he will appear to be a greedy, self-serving hypocrite.


September 15, 2013

Gentlepeople:

As you may know, the present Mayor and his “special counsel” from Nyack recently expressed intent to ask the Village Board, the majority of which is controlled by the Mayor, to adopt a Local Law discontinuing the “Village Manager Plan”, as adopted by public referendum on March 16, 1954, placing lawful day-to-day Village management in the Mayor’s hands. I am writing to you, as local municipal attorneys with a history of service to our Village, as a concerned resident, taxpayer, and as an elected member of the Village of Monticello Board of Trustees, to respectfully request pro bono help in preparing a Petition requiring the board to place before the voters a referendum concerning the proposed abolition of the Manager form of government.

If such a step is taken, I believe that it should only be done with the explicit informed consent of the people, with knowledge, or a say, in who the Mayor would or should be upon disbanding the Manager form of government. My understanding is that Municipal Home Rule Law, Section 24K(2)(k) requires that a Local Law abolishing the office of Manager must be subject to a permissive referendum in order to take effect, if a Petition requiring such is filed with the Board within thirty (30) days; and that the Petition must contain 20% of the registered voters of the Village.

If three or four members of the Board of Trustees enact a Local Law, as the Mayor has expressed is his wish, appointing himself as Chief Executive Officer of the Village, thereby expanding the powers to which he was elected in 2008, I am willing to lead in the gathering of the necessary number of signatures of qualified voters requiring that a referendum be placed on the ballot at the next Village election, to allow voters their proper final say – in the same manner that our form of government was adopted by the people of Monticello in 1954. I know others will assist in gathering signatures.

My respectful position on the central question is that such a major change in our form of government should only be made “with the consent of the governed”, not thrust upon on them by the Mayor and a few of his supporters on the board.

I would appreciate your collective wisdom, and/or any of your individual help, in preparing a Petition in a form that will withstand any possible legal challenge, preventing an end-run around the voters in deciding this important question. If you would be willing to appear in public as my legal representative, including before the Board of Trustees or even possibly in Supreme Court in the event that the Petition is challenged, I would be most grateful. Or, if you prefer to offer advice behind the scenes to avoid public controversy, and still with the proper preparation of a petition and provide procedural advice leading up to the Village election in March, that would also be a great public service for which I would thank you.

Enclosed is a draft Petition which I have had prepared, on which your advice is requested (including any changes to conform with Election Law and any other requirements), and relevant legal opinions that I have obtained in the past.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Carmen Rue
Elected Village Trustee (2008-2016)


Attachments:


Related Links:

The following links reflect the evolution of my thoughts on whether Monticello should continue the Manager form of government, which has lately been influenced by the clear pattern of corruption that I have observed in the present administration: