The Board of Trustees met on Monday, October 26th for its regularly scheduled meeting.
Alison (Doran) Varley was appointed as the Associate Village Justice replacing Elizabeth Niemi, who, after years of honorable service, resigned her Village position to take a bigger opportunity at her full time job. Ms. Varley has served the Village as the chairperson of the Zoning Board of Appeals; in that capacity she has cultivated a reputation of being trustworthy and honorable. Those traits, along with her professional experience and a degree in law, will serve her and the Village well as our Associate Village Justice. Recognizing the Village’s difficult financial situation, Mrs. Varley agreed to accept a 10% reduction from the position’s $12,000 annual salary, with no health benefits. Though I am disappointed in the two Trustees who brought great embarrassment upon themselves for providing a baseless dissent in front of the nominee’s children, I am pleased a majority of the Board supported my appointment of a qualified and dedicated individual.
Tracey Cullen was appointed Chairperson of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Ms. Cullen has most recently served the Village as member of the Planning Board; prior to the planning board, Ms. Cullen was an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Additionally, Ms. Cullen is a member of the Downtown Revitalization Committee where she has been instrumental in developing the Request for Qualifications for a Master Builder. In addition to holding both a law degree and an MBA, Ms. Cullen has first-hand experience with the Zoning process as her family’s home was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, thus bringing not only professional understanding but compassion to residents appearing before the Board.
After passing an extensive civil service test, Village employee Robert Brooks was promoted to Auditor Trainee at an annual salary of $38,317.50. Robert works on the 2nd floor of Village Hall and is responsible for receiving and processing Village Taxes as well as examining accounting records to ensure the validity and legality of transactions. This position is under the jurisdiction of the Suffolk County Civil Service and required Mr. Brooks to take both a written and verbal exam; upon serving one year as Auditor Trainee, Mr. Brooks’ title will change to Auditor.
Following the sad and untimely death of her predecessor, Shannon Kokoneshi was appointed as the Provisional Senior Justice Court Clerk at an annual salary of $50,700. Ms. Kokoneshi has served in the Court for many years and the Board is confident in her abilities. Also under the rules and regulations of Suffolk County Civil Service, Shannon is required to take and pass the Senior Justice Court Clerk test before her appointment to the position is permanent.
Six applications for renewal of automotive licenses were presented before the Board: Five Star Security Collision Center, Long Island Auto Recovery, P.C. Auto, A Team Auto and Collision Inc., Richmond Auto Body, and Amityville Firestone. All six licenses were approved with a 5-0 vote.
There were three new applications for automotive licenses: JLRLI, NYS Discount Auto, and Next level Auto Body II. All three licenses were granted. NYS Discount Auto was subject of discussion and the Board of Trustees memorialized eight specific stipulations regarding the business’ continued license in the Village.
Miscellaneous licenses included one application for a new Landscaper License which was tabled due to questions regarding the applicant’s driver’s license; JJ’s Tavern request to renew a license for coin operated amusement device for three devices (a pool table, juke box and video game) was granted.
A request from the Village Attorney to pay Lamb & Barnosky (the Village’s labor counsel) was passed by a 4-1 vote; Lamb & Barnosky represents the Villages in labor issues such as contract negotiations. Additional requisitions from the Fire Department and the Department of Public Works were passed (these include payments for hose and appliance testing, repairs on a fire engine truck, payment for Zoning Board of Appeals signs, and payment for new tires for a dump truck). In addition, the Fire Department’s request to hire two new per diem paramedics was approved 5-0.
A request from the Downtown Revitalization Committee for the Village to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a Downtown Revitalization Plan was presented to the Board; the Mayor explained that the RFQ will help plan what the Village looks like in 5 – 10 years. It is important to note that the suggestions and plans born from this RFQ process are non-binding; it is a way for the Village to get guidance and formulate a cohesive plan.
The Village Clerk/Treasurer presented a request to retain the services of Nelson & Pope for the continuation of Historical Lighting along Merrick Road. The historical lighting project began on Merrick Road in 2008 with the vision that it would continue east to the Village line past Stop & Shop. To date, lighting is installed from County Line Road east to Richmond Avenue; this new section of lighting will encompass the north and south sides of the street from Richmond Avenue to Bennett Place. The project and engineering fees will be paid via a downtown revitalization grant and multi-modal money (note: no cost to the Village tax payer!) In order to facilitate the project moving forward, the Board voted to create a requirements contract, allowing the Village to continue the lighting without going to bid for each project section.
Three resolutions were presented to and passed by the Board:
- A resolution for the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System which establishes the days per month those Village employees that do not participate in a time keeping system (i.e. elected officials) was passed with a 4-1 vote. The Board voted to increase the time required to count as a full work day for pension credit, from 6 hours to 7.5 hours. The resolution can be viewed by clicking here.(https://amityville.com/download/Clerk/15-09-28-01(b)RecordOfWorkActivity.pdf)
- A resolution regarding disciplinary charges against a Department of Public Works employee was passed by a 5-0 vote. This resolution is part of the due-process regarding the employee’s termination; there was a vast history of issues surrounding this particular employee. Charges were served, a report was filed, and a hearing officer was appointed. The employee had opportunity to appear and present his defense.
- Resolution 15-10-26-02 involved the Board of Trustees formally disassociating itself fully with comments made to Newsday by Trustee Siry regarding Officer Onderdonk even after the entire Board was specifically guided that the Joint Statement, approved by the legal counsel and agreed to by all parties, was to be the only public comment made regarding the matter. That statement is as follows: “Disciplinary charges were preferred against Police Officer Eric Onderdonk with regard to, among other things, his having performed services for the Amityville Fire Department while at the same time being on duty as a Village polÃce officer, and submitting for and receiving Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) credits related to those services. While Officer Onderdonk believed at the time that these were acceptable practices, and while the Village acknowledges that there were no formal Village policies about this issue in effect during the time frame covered by the disciplinary charges, Officer Onderdonk has been advised, and no longer contests, that New York State law prohibits the conduct that led to the filing of the disciplinary charges against him. The Village, which asserts that it inherited this situation from the prior Administration, and Police Officer Onderdonk, have entered into an agreement resolving their differences and putting the matter behind them.”
Finally, the Board considered proposed local law #7 of year 2015; a local law to amend Chapter 183 of the Code of the Village of Amityville-Zoning, by amending §183-26C and §183-43C to authorize the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a special exception permitting the renewal of owner-occupied and non-owner occupied two-family dwellings, in instances where the Zoning Board of Appeals granted two-family use by Special Exception for the subject parcel prior to March 3, 2010, provided that there has been no change of ownership. While the original public hearing was held on September 28th, the Board of Trustees did not vote due to questions regarding ramification for the special exception continuing should the home owner pass away. The Village Attorney distributed a memo to the Board of Trustees and Zoning Board of Appeals as to their sympathy and sense of the law, and it was concluded that the death of owner would cause the special exception to expire. The Board voted to pass the law 5 to 0.
If you’ve made it this far, congrats! Full minutes of the meeting will be available on the Village’s website, Amityville.com, once they are approved by the Board of Trustees. The next Board of Trustees meeting is Monday, November 9th at 7:30pm at Village Hall. We hope to see you there.