Handling of Town Hall mold all wrong
After reading the article, “Big stink on Town Board over mold cleanup contract” and the letter from the Riverhead Republican Committee’s chairwoman, Nancy Reyer, I felt compelled to write.
It does not take a rocket scientist to know that after the flooding that occurred in Riverhead Town in March, causing massive damage to town facilities and approximately 2/3 of the town, that mold would potentially appear. For the supervisor to wait six weeks from the storm and then declare an “emergency” on town facilities and authorize a contract without going through the required bid process is poor judgement and poor management. Preparation should have been done immediately, maybe even while water cleanup was being completed by town employees, to ensure that mold would not occur. It also doesn’t pass the smell test to authorize the contract to a staff member’s relative without disclosing the information to the entire Town Board. In politics, perception is everything and ethics is a must.
I agree with Mr. Walter that an individual or company should not be penalized because they are related to a town employee. But I don’t agree that contracts should be awarded when that information is not disclosed; it gives the impression of impropriety. Disclosure forms are part of every bid process and as a past deputy town attorney, Mr. Walter knows that. He would have immediately known of the family connections between the cleaning company’s owner and his secretary, whose husband is a Zoning Board of Appeals member.
I applaud Town Board members Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen for abstaining from a vote on a contract they felt may have had serious flaws. Questions need to be asked and answered with respect when addressed by any Town Board member, whether he or she is the supervisor or a councilperson. Making threats of someone only makes me think that something more is being covered up other than mold. Do we really have a “mold-gate” problem?
As a past Town Board member and elected supervisor, I have firsthand knowledge of emergency situations and the procedures that should be followed when addressing them. In many cases, it’s not what the facts are, but how the facts are perceived.
As a Republican in Riverhead, I am also concerned that Ms. Reyer would publicly state in your paper that she “apologizes” for her “junior council members” for making this a political issue. It would seem Ms. Reyer believes the members of the Town Board should all vote along with the wishes of her and the supervisor. When questions are not answered to the satisfaction of any board member, they have a right to abstain from a vote and demand flaws be corrected. The Town Board represents all residents. So I ask Ms. Reyer, “Who is making this political?” As for Ms. Giglio and Mr. Gabrielsen being junior council members, I would only suggest that someone from the Republican Party apologize for the actions of our freshman party leader.
The Town Board has a tremendous responsibility that has been entrusted to them by Riverhead residents. They must move forward and conduct themselves with integrity and respect for the office each holds, and for each other. The people of Riverhead deserve and demand nothing less.
former Riverhead supervisor and councilman
Supe isn’t in office to help pals
As vice chairman of the Riverhead Democratic Committee, and a former supervisor of Riverhead Town, I know the supervisor’s job is not an easy one. However, no one is above the law, not even the supervisor.
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter’s attempt to work things out for his political supporters at Great Rock Golf Course (see campaign contributions to Friends of Sean Walter) violates the law. Contract zoning, even for an alleged public purpose, is not legal. Re-zoning, which violates the Master Plan, is also illegal.
And the supervisor should know that.
The supervisor’s attempt to help his political supporters also violates common sense. Why bother with Master Plan zoning at all if you then violate it to prop up failing businesses? What can we expect next as our home values decline, a 7-Eleven on every residential corner owned by the supervisor’s campaign supporters?
It sure does smell in Town Hall
Last week’s front-page article, “Big stink on Town Board over mold cleanup contract,” was aptly headlined. Supervisor Sean Walter’s giving a no-bid contract to a relative of his campaign treasurer and his “threatening one of his board members politically if she didn’t go along,” certainly does “stink”.
What stinks more is Mr. Walter’s expecting us to believe he didn’t know about the connection, even though his campaign treasurer works in his office.
What stinks most is Riverhead Republican Chairwoman Nancy Reyer’s announcement that she is “proud of the supervisor” and “apologizing” for “my junior council members” who tried to block the supervisor’s improper action.
Let’s start our own car show protest
Regarding the end of Wading River Cruise Night, the public should protest by not shopping at the King Kullen shopping center on Thursday nights. Property owner Charles Serota states his tenants were complaining that too many parking spots were being taken up. Judging by your coverage, the owner of Ace Hardware isn’t to blame, so who are the tenants complaining? King Kullen has too many empty spots on a regular basis. The gym has lots of healthy people and for those in need of exercise, parking far away has always been encouraged, even by Weight Watchers. Mr. Serota, you should allow this harmless gathering of car enthusiasts; you’re being childish. It’s not a bunch of kids causing problems or intimidating patrons. The Cruise Night belongs in Wading River, not the Riverhead waterfront. Western Riverhead residents need something on this side of town.