Wanted: Candidates for the Board of Education Open 2 Seats!

Special to WPCNR: White Plains residents interested in running for positions on the Board of Education next May, can pick up Information Packets at Education House this week explaining the procedures to get on the ballot. Each potential candidate has to have petitions in by May 1. The election is Tuesday, May 21, 2002.
According to an official news release from Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board of Education, the Annual White Plains Board of Eduction Budget Vote and Election of Board Members will take place on Tuesday, May 21. This is a date one week later than listed on the 2001-2002 school calendar.

Petitions for candidates require 100 signatures of 100 qualified voters in order for candidates to appear on the ballot. If you are a resident of White Plains for at least one year, and a United States Citizen you are eligible to run.

Registration for new residents eligible to vote: April 27

If you have moved to White Plains recently, and are eligble to vote and not registered with the Westchester County Board of Elections, you may register on Saturday, April 27, 12 noon to 5 PM at Mamaroneck Avenue School, Nosband Avenue. If you’ve moved within the city, you may also change your address at that time.

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In-Person Little League Registration a Hit! Next Saturday Last Day to Register.

They lined up as early as 8:15 AM Saturday morning and kept streaming into the Ridgeway School Cafeteria all Saturday morning and afternoon. White Plains parents from all walks of life and many players new to the league for the first time signed up for the 2002 Little League Season in the first in-person registration Day in WPLL history. There is only ONE more day to register, and that is next Saturday, January 19 at Ridgeway School from 9 AM to 3 PM.
Over 600 boys and girls were signed up by their parents in Saturday’s first Registration Day, an average of 100 an hour, and parents interviewed by this reporter said they were pleased with the organization of the process and the ability to get key player questions answered from league volunteers conducting the Registration process.

The steady pace of the sign-ups was gratifying, as the league did know what to expect. The first day signups Saturday put the league a month ahead of last year’s sign-up pace.

Rich Massaroni, League President Congratulates Volunteers

In a statement to WPLL volunteers, Massaroni expessed optimism about the first day sign-ups,

“The in-person registration this past Saturday was an overwhelming success. We had approximately 640 players register of which approximately 125 were new players to WPLL. This is approximately 56% of the overall total registered last year. That’s an excellent turnout for the first day of registration.”

Massaroni praised League Secretary, Billy Wooters for computer coordinating and devising the registration plan: “With the exception of 2 or 3 parents who complained, the feedback we received indicated that WPLL was well organized and the registration itself was very easy and painless. What amazed me is that we had 20-30 people lined up at 8:30 – 8:45 AM ready to register. That’s pretty awesome.”

Massaroni writes that the key to the first-day success of registration was the pre-filled-out forms ready and waiting for parents by name when they arrived:

“Special thanks to Billy Wooters who coordinated this entire effort. By having the “pre-printed” registration forms for the people when they walked in, made it very easy for them (less than 5-10 minutes) to register their children. The flow of people working their way through the registration process worked quite well. I would also like to thank everyone who volunteered their time on this effort, both prior to coordinating, as well as being there on registration day to assist,” Massaroni wrote.

Registration continues for only one more day, this coming Saturday

Parents whose children had played previously were able to acquire pre-filled registrations, correct any information that had changed, and be out in 15 to 20 minutes. Parents signing up new players were able to get policy and age questions answered authoritatively, by the 15 Little League officials conducting the big sign-up.

Parents received free Little League magnets, policy papers, and information on how to keep up with the league on the White Plains Little League website, myteam.com.

The big sign-up continues Saturday, 9 AM to 3 PM at Ridgeway School Cafeteria

Registration for the 2002 Little League Season continue for a second day, and one day only,. beginning next Saturday morning at Ridgeway School Cafeteria at 9 AM to 3 PM.

The cost for the season to White Plains boys and girls 5 to 15 is $65, $150, for a family of 3 players.

Parents and guardians not signing their children up next Saturday, run the risk of their children not being able to play Little League this year.

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Bill Colavito, High School Principal Interviewed on White Plains Week

Alex Philippidis of Westchester County Business Journal, James Benerofe of SuburbanStreet.com, and yours truly, The White Plains CitizeNetReporter interview the retiring Principal of White Plains High School Monday evening at 7 PM on Public Access Channel 71.
William Colavito, who ran schools in New York City for 28 years before taking over the Principal position of WPHS 6 years ago, talks about the present atmosphere at the high school, comments on the effects state tests are having on our students, and delivers his candid commentary on what kind of principal WPHS should be looking for to replace him.

Colavito comments on the biggest problems facing adolescents today in the White Plains schools.

The program was taped last Friday and will air twice this week on Cable Access 71, 7 PM on Monday, and 7:30 PM on Friday.

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J.A.M.S. BIG BANDS COMING TO ARTS COUNCIL JAN 26

Special to WPCNR:January 26th is going to start “big” and will close even “bigger.”From 6:00 PM on to about 10:00 PM, Journey Arts Music Society (J.A.M.S.) will present two bands that are certain to scintillate your musical senses, at the Westchester Arts Council on Mamaroneck Avenue.

The Westchester County Youth Jazz Combo, comprised of
seven emerging performers between the ages of fourteen
to fifteen will recreate the passion and zeal we so
appreciate in young performers. Their repertoire will
scan a diverse musical arena ranging from jazz to Big
Band, blues to Dixieland.

The Westchester County Youth Jazz Combo is an offshoot
of the Big Band to which they are part. They formed
only a few months ago under Music Director, Scott
Castle and Ensemble Coordinator, Joseph Jacoby.

Tenor saxophonists Brian Sheridan and Robert Jacoby,
accompany Skyler Roswell on Trombone, Eric Sherman on
Trumpet, Paulo Farqui on Bass, Sam Sherman on Drums
and Keji Ishiguri on Piano/Keyboard.

Too talented to stay at home to the delight of their parents and
relatives, these young men and one woman demand to be
heard by a wider audience. And so they shall. Thanks
Moms and Dads!

2, that’s right — 2 bands for the price of 1!

The “big” sound of the Westchester County Youth Jazz Combo is followed to the stage by JUMP-START Big Band. They were created because of the belief that that there is an appreciative audience out there that yearns for the great songs of the big bands that rocked the dance halls in the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s.

With this desire and determination, the Jump-Start Big Band formed less than three years ago, but the dream started with four sax players more than four years ago.

They diligently practiced in a hot, top floor music room at the home of one of the musicians. Sound familiar? As the big band resurgence took hold, more talented musicians came out of the proverbial woodwork to create the big sounding group that delights audiences today.

They now rehearse in a large, modern auditorium. On January 26th, they will perform at the new home of the Westchester Arts Council located at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, in White Plains, NY.

Turn back the hands of time for just one night!

A big band is only as good as its charts and musicians. The JUMP-START Big Band charts are the original versions of the greats of the era: Harry James’ SLEEPY LAGOON, Artie Shaw’s BEGIN THE BEGUINE, Glen Miller’s IN THE MOOD and hundreds MORE!! The
Jump-Start BIG BAND musicians have played on Broadway, in Las Vegas, on Channel 13 and cable television, at Carnegie Hall, and at nightclubs around the country.

The JUMP-START Big Band has top-notch musicians, the best charts, and a great love and respect for the music of the big band era. Join the fun. Dance the night away to the accompaniment of the JUMP-START Big Band.

To delight your other senses, Greyston Bakery cakes will be served with coffee, tea, bottled water and soda. Free coffee refills encouraged.
Journey Arts Music Society (J.A.M.S.), founded by Donovan Guy, is located at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 707, in White Plains, NY, 10601. For more information, please contact (914) 671-2985 or e-mail
Journey Arts Music Society . Ticket prices are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

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Wanted: Charismatic Academic Magician Who Cares-Parents on Superintendent Search

Dr. John Whritner and Dr. Deborah Raizes met with 20 persons Thursday evening at White Plains High School to receive community input on the strengths of the school district, issues facing the school community, and the skills they would like to see in a new Superintendent of Schools. Another Forum gets under way Friday morning at 10 AM at Education House.
Thursday evening was the first of four public forums in which the two consultants from Hazard Young Attia hope to create a profile of the kind of superintendent of schools White Plains needs, based on residents’ input.

Good “hunting” time. District turmoil no problem.

Whritner explained under questioning from the audience that the search was beginning at what he described as the prime “hunting” season for superintendents looking to leave.

He advised the gathering the current estrangement between the Board of Education and the community over the Saul Yanofsky dismissal would not be a problem. He said superintendents looking to leave are most likely having problems with their own Board of Education. “They understand Board dynamics,” he said.

Whritner is a tall rangy confidence-inspiring gentlemen, who, with his partner, Deborah Raizes, a dynamo of a search consultant who has placed 30 superintendents in just 4 years with Hazard, Young Attia, conducted an orderly give-and-take that drew out the residents to share their fears, concerns and wishes for a new “super” superintendent.

The Search Is On.

Whritner said an advertisement had already been placed in Education Week, and that candidates would be contacted discreetly through the Hazard Young Attia “search network.”

The text of the advertisement just out in Education Week and on the Education Week job availabilities website reads,

Superintendent, White Plains, NY

SUPERINTENDENT

White Plains Public Schools

White Plains, NY

Located in Westchester County, the White Plains Public Schools have a long history of impressive accomplishments. The diverse student body of 6,700 is served by a Pre-K program, five elementary schools, a middle school with two campuses and one high school. The District has a large industrial and commercial base. The parents and community members insist on high academic achievement for all students.

Screening begins early March.
Hazard, Young, Attea & Assoc., Ltd.
1151 Waukegan Road • Glenview, IL 60025
Tel: 847-724-8465 • Fax: 847-724-8467
hyasupersearches.com
An Equal Opportunity Employer

District may have to go to $200,000 Salary Level

Dr. Whritner said that the district was highly desirable and indicated that the tri-state area considers $200,000 a year as the new standard for attracting topflight candidates for a prime position. He feels this will be a factor in attracting candidates, considering the demand for experienced superintendents of schools.

Hazard, Young Advises Review of Candidates be Private Up to Time the Finalist is Selected.

One parent asked if a handful of finalists could be presented to a committee of citizens under a guarantee of confidentiality. Whritner said it has been his experience confidentiality is hard to maintain.

He and Dr. Raizes said actual candidates most likely would not be introduced to the community until the Board of Education had reached a tentative agreement with a finalist agreed in principle to take the position. At that time he or she would be introduced, Whritner suggested.

This discreet search policy is the recommendation of HYA, and not that of the White Plains Board of Education. It is Hazard Young’s advice to conduct the search with as much privacy as possible to appeal to the most desirable candidates.

Whritner told WPCNR, “Though the Board wanted to be as open as possible, it is our advice to handle it this way (discreetly).”

Standard practice in the business.

Dr. Raizes said that the private search is more than ever the practice these days, due to the shortage of qualified superintendents and principals. She said that damage is done in a candidate’s current district when superintendents are discovered searching for a position while they still have their present placement.

Raizes recalled a search where one of the finalists was made public, and she said he did not get the job: “It has taken him a year and a half to rebuild his relationship with his district,” she said.

Whritner assured WPCNR that the White Plains Board of Education would not sign a contract without introducing the finalist to the community.

Residents expressed very little references to Dr. Saul Yanofsky, the Superintendent of Schools who has just five months and three weeks to go on his contract.

Concerns voiced by parents centered equally on three areas:

1.)The need for the new superintendent who can “sell” the district to both upscale universities, real estate students and young residents to rebuild the reputation of the White Plains schools.


Several parents said the district had been damaged by negative publicity generated by Westchester Magazine and the messy Yanofsky dismissal. Two worried that trends in college admissions did not favor White Plains, and spoke of the perceived “flight” from the district by parents with elementary children.

Several residents supported this view, while two longtime residents of the city pointed out that the same fears of “flight” were being expressed “40 years ago” when their children were going to school in the district.

2.) The need for the superintendent to be a strong academic. One person said they wanted a person with the experience of both teaching and supervising in elementary, middle and high school environments. Another suggested the ability to introduce innovative programs to strengthen the elementary schools more that was strongly endorsed. Another parent urged changing elementary schools so all offered the same programs.

3.) The need for the superintendent to care about parents and children in the district and be able to inspire and motivate supervisors and teachers.

Strengths of the district were touted as strong parent involvement, music and the arts program, dedicated teachers.

Looking to Interview about 15 candidates

Raizes told WPCNR that she expected to be interviewing approximately 10 to 15 candidates, depending on HY & A network contacts and responses from the national advertising which started this week in “Education Week.”

She expected to conduct two hour interviews with each, and Whritner said from these six they hoped to present six finalists to the Board in March. This would be narrowed to finalists by April, Whritner said, with a hire decision slated for early May before Board of Education elections. There are no candidates as of today,Whritner said, and no applications from present employees of the School District.

Second Forum Takes Place at Ed House this morning at 10 AM

Dr. Whritner and Dr. Raizes will conduct another listening and learning forum this morning at Education House at 10 AM at 5 Homeside Lane.

The third forum will be Sunday at 12:30 at St. Bernards Church, Chapel Hall, and the final opportunity to tell the two consultants your take on the issues will be Wednesday at 7 PM at Bethel Baptist Church, North Street and Bryant Avenue.

Community leaders and officers of city groups will have an opportunity to give their opinions at 2 PM Wednesday at Education House.

Profile to be Presented January 29 at Education House

Whritner advised that the final profile based on the information they receive by mail and in-person at the forums will be presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday evening, January 29 at Education House at 8 PM.

Crowd of 20 Dissappoints attendees One parent said they were upset that only twenty persons had shown up for the evening meeting when over 100 persons had turned out for the December board of Education meeting to protest.

Dr. Whritner said that attendance of around 20 was “normal” for these kind of meetings in his experience.

The meeting was calm. No rancor was demonstrated by any speakers in sharp contrast to meetings in November and December when over 100 persons showed up at each alternately haranguing and criticizing the school board over the Yanofsky departure.

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Short Council Passes Taxi Increases, BID Assessment, Sloan, Bar Part

The “short” Common Council met Wednesday at 8 AM to hold a second vote on the ordinances they heard Wednesday evening, passing them all, including a taxi increase, and a new ceiling on the BID Assessment (hiking the BID budget to $500,000).

The 10-month controversy over adding a patio bar at the back of the Thirsty Turtle and Kelly’s Pub establishments, broke down just when the Council thought they were about to approve the patio permit.
As detailed in WPCNR Tuesday, the Common Council reconvened to hear and pass the ordinances they heard for the first time Monday evening. William King, Benjamin Boykin, Rita Malmud and Tom Roach were on hand with Mayor Delfino promptly at 8 AM to do a few minutes business so they thought.

They passed the ordinances, including a taxi cab fare increase.

Pending official notice from Taxi Commission Director, Daniel Hickey (the same Daniel Hickey who is Acting Commissioner of Public Safety), WPCNR reports that the increase and changes in fares agreed to by the Council at last month’s work session were:

1.A $1.00 surcharge for exclusive use of a cab.

2. A 50-cent surcharge on dispatched calls. (Where cabbie is dispatched to one point to go to another point in the city.)

3. He is shrinking Zone 3 so that it stops at Maple Avenue, rather than Bryant Avenue as it does now.

Zone 4 would be extended North to Maple Avenue and Bloomingdale Road to the new supermarket (Stop N Shop). This Hickey feels will provide cabbies with more revenue on trips out to The Westchester and Westchester Avenue. This, Hickey says, is to counter cabbie complaints that trips to Zone 4 take longer because of the heavier traffic in the Central Business District (Zone 3).

4. Flat fees would be increased 50 cents a trip in Zones 2,3, and 4. (From the Trans Center to Bryant Avenue, which comprise 50% of all cab calls.)

5. Flat fees would be raised 25 cents a trip in Zones 1,5,6, and 7. (Zone 1 is the North Broadway Woodcrest Heights area; Zone 5, South of Ridgeway to Sammis Lane; Zone 7, South of Sammis Lane.)

6. He is calling for a $10 Safety Inspection Fee twice a year. (Currently there is no fee.) Police inspect the cabs in June and December.

There is no word yet from the Taxi Commissioner on when the fare increase would take effect, though February 1st would be a likely date.

The council also agreed to raise the White Plains Downtown Business Improvement District assessment allowance (the BID budget) to rise to $500,000, though on an “as-needed” basis.

Tri-Kelly/Thristy Turtle and Sloan-Bar owner negotiations over parking and patio bar break down.

The council was also prepared to grant the Thirsty Turtle and its sister establishment on East Post Road a terrace bar for 52 more patrons. However, the council encountered a breakdown in negotiations at the last moment. Tri-Kelly’s Pub/Thirsty Turtle, and
Stephen Sloan, the owner of the Sloan-Bar Building across the street, could not come to agreement on Sloan-Bar parking lot usage by the patrons of the two bars, over the question of liability.

In thirty minutes of trading charges, it became apparent to the Council that the two parties were very apart. The council, after executive session with their corporation Counsel, Edward Dunphy, decided they could not vote the approval of the Turtle patio bar until the two parties settled their differences.

The Council tabled the issue until the work session of January 24. We learned the ability to establish a patio bar would go with the property in perpetuity.

Steve Sloan said he could not agree to any use of his parking lot unless Mike Kelly, the owner of TriKelly’s and the Thirsty Turtle agreed to insuring Mr. Sloan against any liability for incidents occuring on the Sloan Bar parking lot. Kelly’s is negotiating to use the Sloan Bar lot for its patrons, who have allegedly been using the lot illegally, leaving assorted bottles and trash.

Past Experience Haunts Sloan

Sloan told WPCNR he had lost $65,000 in legal fees a number of years ago when after buying a marina, he was sued as the result of a boat accident that took place under previous ownership. To defend himself he had to pay the legal fees during the course of that suit involving the other company.

Sloan said he was very concerned about the possibility of bar patron incidents happening in his parking lot, involving him in liability, and until Kelly agreed to cover him for any liability by putting him on Kelly’s policy, the agreement was off.

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Common Council Portfolio of Opening Night


WPCNR’s presents our exclusive portfolio of Opening Night Photo Highlights of the first Council meeting of the year held Monday evening, featuring the swearing-in of newly elected city officers.


MAYOR DELFINO TAKE REINS FOR SECOND TERM:
The Mayor is shown sharing a light moment with retired New York State Supreme Court Judge Samuel Fredman.
Judge Fredman administered the oath of office to the Mayor Monday evening.
The Mayor has served the city as Mayor, of course, County Legislator and Common Councilman.PHOTO BY WPCNR.




RITA MALMUD SWORN IN FOR FOURTH TERM ON COMMON COUNCIL:
Judge Joanne Friia of the White Plains City Court does the honors.
Ms. Malmud recites her oath of office.
Ms. Malmud was warmly embraced by Mayor Delfino
in display of bipartisan spirit after she was sworn in.PHOTO BY WPCNR.




NEW CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT:
Benjamin Boykin, in his third year on the Common Council is sworn in as President of the council.
Judge Samuel Fredman presides.
Mr. Boykin in an ebulliant speech, said he was honored and proud
and touted affordable housing as one of his goals as Council President.PHOTO BY WPCNR.




THE NEW GUARD TAKES OFFICE: Tom Roach, freshman Councilperson, is sworn in by Judge Friia.
His wife Beth, and 2-1/2 yearold son, Henry, observe the proud moment to the right of Mr. Roach.PHOTO BY WPCNR.




TWO CITY LEGENDS:
Mayor Delfino swears in Susan Habel as new Commissioner of Planning Monday.
She received a stunning round of applause.
Jim Benerofe, long time City Hall reporter, said he had never seen one like it.
Benerofe should know, he’s covered three decades of Common Council appointments.PHOTO BY WPCNR.




A RADIANT SUSAN HABEL
basks in applause after her swearing in.
She is shown enjoying her triumphant moment assuming the helm of the Planning Department.
She has served for sixteen years.
Members of the Planning Department have told WPCNR they are solidly behind Ms. Habel.
Announcement of a Deputy Commissioner of Planning by the city, will be made shortly, according to the new Commissioner.PHOTO BY WPCNR.




THE EMPTY CHAIR WAITS BETWEEN ROBERT GREER AND WILLIAM KING
for either Glen Hockley or Larry Delgado at Monday evening’s Council meeting.
The silent chair gives testimony to the historic night of the debut of the 6-person council of 2002.
Mr. Hockley and Mr. Delgado both attended in the gallery.
Neither commented, as they awaited a decision in the Appellate Court in Brooklyn.
Mr. Hockley’s appeal of the continued election is still being deliberated as of Thursday morning.PHOTO BY WPCNR.

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First Night: Oath for Champs, a New Face and Respected New Planning Commissioner

On opening night of the first Common Council meeting of the new year, Mayor Joseph Delfino took the oath of office for his second term as Mayor, Rita Malmud for her fourth term as councilperson and Tom Roach to his first. Benjamin Boykin was elected Common Council President, and the people’s choice, Susan Habel, a 16-year dedicated and indefatigable city servant, was sworn in by Mayor Delfino as new Commissioner of Planning.

Mayor Delfino presented his State of the City Message touting the need for more White Plains affordable housing, fund-raising for the City center Community Theater, and settlement of the New York Presbyterian Hospital matter once and for all.

Retired Supreme Court Judge Samuel Fredman administered the Oath of Office to Mayor Delfino beginning his second term as Mayor of the City of White Plains, after serving White Plains as Common Councilman and County Legislator.

State of the City Says City Has New Priorities

Mayor Delfino, in his “State of the City Address,” offered great credit to the Common Council for the present state of the city: “Four years ago, all of us here on the Council knew that we had a tremendous challenge ahead of us to solve the many problems that faced White Plains. Reversing the decline of our downtown, filling the hole in the ground and building a supermarket. Revitalizing our recreation and parks system, enhancing programs for youth and seniors, and protecting our open space…I am very proud of the giant leaps of progress that we have made as a result of a community and its government working in unity to accomplish great things.”

Calls for Unity Ahead.

The Mayor continued the challenge: “when we unite and rally behind a common cause, we get things done. When we put aside partisan politics and do what is best for our community, great things happen. When we look at each other as colleagues and not as competitors, we foster an environment of progress and positive change…if we continue to stand united, we will continue to break new ground and flourish as a city.”

Oversight of New Downtown Projects

The Mayor said “oversight of this unprecedented ($600 million) construction book will occupy a great deal of time and energy on the part of our city government and while each of us have new ideas and initiatives that we would like to see implemented in the future, it is important that we not lose focus on those projects that will continue to need our attention until they are completed.”

Downtown Facelift to be Continued.

The Mayor keynoted initial priorities of his new administration. He said the city would be moving ahead with Phase 2 of the downtown streetscape improvement, and focus on rebuilding the fountain park at Main and Mamaroneck with funding from Westchester County.

Will Begin Raising Funds for Community Theater

He said he would begin seeking funding necessary to build the interior of the Community Theater within the Cappelli City Center, and indicated its use would be made available to the city’s “many talented residents.” Louis Cappelli, developer of the City Center is constructing a $5 million shell for the theater, with the city charged with the cost of constructing the interior furnishings of the theater. Details of the completion of the project have not been articulated by the administration. Previously a figure of $5 million was estimated to be the amount of funding needed to complete the theater.

New Proposals for City to be Scrutinized.

He promised to hold future developers to a high standard: “we need to ensure that every new project (brought to the city) fits in with our overall vision for the downtown.”

Invitation to affordable housing advocates

He invited developers for affordable housing: “I am also looking forward to seeing new projects that will address the need for more affordable housing,” pointing out that his administration approved 178 affordable housing units in the city.

Advocates No Splitting of Finest/Bravest

In the matter of the search for a new Commissioner of Public Safety, Mayor Delfino signaled he was not about to split the police and fire departments. He made it clear he felt police and fire services should not become a political issue.

He praised John Dolce, recently retired Public Safety Commissioner, for creating a department that was “a state model for crime prevention, thanks to John, and I firmly believe the department’s tradition of excellence will continue to insulate the department from politics. The business of keeping our streets safe and protecting the public welfare must remain a top priority for us and we must be mindful of the old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’”

Bouquets to the Citizens: A New Renaissance.

The Mayor continued his tradition of thanking the citizens for their confidence in him: “Having spent most of my life in White Plains, I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to serve this community and words cannot express how lucky I feel to be a part of an amazing period in our City’s history.”

At the close of his message to the city, the Mayor set the tone for the new Common Council,

“Having lived in White Plains for over six decades, I have seen many changes, good and bad. But never have I seen such an exciting time with a new renaissance just beyond the horizon. Progress is sprouting up all around us and the only thing that can stop us now is us. If we stick together and continue to build upon our successes, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. And so, with the wind at our back and with our hearts filled with love for this city, let us continue our journey.”

BENJAMIN BOYKIN ELECTED COMMON COUNCIL PRESIDENT:

In his third year as Common Councilman,, Benjamin Boykin, Jr. was nominated by Rita Malmud to the position of President of the Common Council. Mr. Boykin, after being sworn in, said he would be working very hard to address the need for more affordable housing units in the city.

Unprecedented round of applause for Coronation of Susan Habel

But, by far the most touching moment of the evening was the applause that solemnly and respectfully greeted Mayor Delfino’s announcement calling Susan Habel to be sworn in as the new Commissioner of Planning.

The applause had a cadence and appreciation to it that you just had to hear to understand the respect the tireless 16-year veteran of planning ascended to perhaps the most important position in the city next to the Mayor.

Jim Benerofe, editor of SuburbanStreet.com, an observer of White Plains Common Councils for the last 40 years, told WPCNR he has never seen an appointment generate this much enthusiasm on the part of the Common Council, “ You can tell the Council really respects her,” Benerofe told WPCNR Thursday afternoon.

Benerofe’s observation today, was reflected in the comments lavished on Ms. Habel by each member of the Common Council:

Benjamin Boykin said Habel has a great understanding of what is going on nationally and “is able to apply it to our city. We could not have a better person in this job.”

Rita Malmud recalled when she first knew the new commissioner when she was an advocate for affordable housing in the city, and said Habel was an expert in planning, who had an “encyclopedic knowledge and memory, who never forgets anything…and always gives a clear answer.”

Robert Greer praised Ms. Habel’s familiarity with the city codes: “Her knowledge of planning and zoning ordinances is prodigious. Sue is always there to lend a helping hand.” Greer said that Habel had one tremendous handicap in accepting her new position, and that was that previous new Planning Commissioners had Susan Habel as a Deputy Commissioner. “You (Habel) don’t have that,” and raised the issue that Habel would need “a very, very strong person in that position.”

WPCNR news has learned from Ms. Habel that she is close to appointing a Deputy Commissioner and that the candidate will be announced this week, pending protocols.

Councilman William King said he, too, “appreciates your knowledge of planning, and your promotion shows the value of promoting from within.”

Freshman Councilman Tom Roach thanked Ms. Habel for giving him a thorough briefing on certain matters before the evening council meeting, and said he was “struck by her true love for this city,” and that he was “pleased to be here when it happens (Ms. Habel’s ascendancy to Commissioner).”

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THEATRE UNLIMITED PRESENTS WINTER PERFORMANCES

Special to WPCNR from Michelle Schoenfeld:White Plains High School’s Theatre Unlimited will present three performances of Michael Frayn’s “Balmoral,” in the school’s new B-1 All Purpose Room, beginning January 18.
Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday, January 18th and 19th, at 7:30 P.M., and Sunday, January 20th, at 3 P.M.

The student director is Jillian Steinhauer, and the cast includes Andrea
Busch, Mara Gay, Rose Frumpkin, David Nightingale, Sam Kurnit, Hannah Chang, Mike Giardina and Peter Turo.

Kate Farren is faculty advisor to the group.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Gold
Pass holders are admitted free. Parking is in the area to the right of the driveway off North Street and the entrance to the B-1 Room is just across the driveway.

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The “Dunphy Doctrine”: Historic Brief Justifies No Holdover, No Temp

On January 3, the Common Council met to hear city Corporation Counsel Edward Dunphy’s legal advisory on the issues surrounding the Larry Delgado-Glen Hockley suspended election.
As of Wednesday morning, January 9, the Hockley appeal is still under scrutiny by the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Dunphy advised WPCNR Wednesday that he expects the court is writing a major ruling, since the case will affect future elections throughout the state.
After considering Mr. Dunphy’s advisory in Executive Session January 3, the prior legal precedents, the Common Council agreed not to appoint an interim councilperson. They also voted to waive client privilege and release Mr. Dunphy’s brief to the public.

For legal buffs, WPNCR herewith presents in its entirety, one of the historic documents of city legal history: the confidential brief that lead to the short council that met for the first time this week.

WPCNR publishes “The Dunphy Doctrine” with permission of the City of White Plains Law Department:
To the Honorable Mayor and Members of the Common Council of The City of White Plains

Dear Mayor and Council Members:

INTRODUCTION

The questions that presently confronts the City, whether a vacancy in the elective office of councilman has been created by a failure to elect and whether an incumbent councilperson can be a holdover, is a thorny issue and not capable of easy resolution. However, the path to the answer, although meandering at times and dotted with rough spots, is not without guideposts. Guidance is provided through decisional authorities. Meanwhile on the other side, statutory authorities provide little comfort and assistance.

Although this is the first instance in which the City of White Plains is asked to tackle this precise issue, the underlying dilemma is not of recent origin. As a matter of fact, the Town of Cherry Valley was faced with a similar problem approximately one hundred and sixty-five years ago. People ex rel Platner v. Jones, 17 Wend. 81 (1837). By no means did that one matter signal the end, or provide the answer to, every possible permutation. As we can readily observe from the City’s own experience, the question remains noteworthy and celebrated despite the passage of more than a century and a half.

A. Underlying Facts: 2001 Election Six Candidates Vie For Three Seats Elected At Large

Election year 2001 dawned in the City of White Plains as many before had. A general election was scheduled, the position of Mayor was being contested and the electorate was being asked to select three to the position of City Council out of a field of six candidates. However, as events would unfold, the election for councilman in the end was anything but routine and two and one half months after the November election, the outcome for one of the three open council positions remains unresolved.

This uncertainty finds its genesis from a voting machine in Election District 18 that jammed on election day. The machine malfunctioned after recording 39 votes for incumbent Councilman Larry Delgado. The record also demonstrates that Council candidates Michael Amodio and Robert Tuck, who were also running with Republican Party designation received in excess of 122 votes in Election District 18. As a result of this alleged defect in the subject voting machine, legal proceedings were commenced. Two council candidates, incumbent Rita Malmud and candidate Thomas Roach received the highest and second highest votes in the citywide election and were certified by the County Board of Elections as winning seats on the Common Council. Candidate Glen Hockley received the third highest vote tally and ostensibly defeated Councilman Delgado by 47 votes.

In the proceedings commenced in Supreme Court, Westchester County, the hearing judge determined that a continued election should be conducted in the City of White Plains, limited to those voters in Election District 18 who participated in the election process on November 6, 2001. Subsequent to that initial determination, on December 14, 2001, the Appellate Division, Second Department, ordered that pending the hearing and determination of the appeal from the order of Supreme Court, Westchester Count, the continued election is stayed, the Board of Elections is stayed from certifying the results of the election as it relates to Larry Delgado and Glen Hockley, and those candidates “are stayed from taking any steps towards the filing of an oath of office”. N.Y. L. J., December 31, 2001, p.21, col. 6.

B. Statutory Provisions:

White Plains City Charter

As we are certainly aware, on January 1, 1916, the laws incorporating the City of White Plains became effective. (See Chapter 356, Laws of New York, 1915). In this statutory framework, Section 14 thereof dealt with the question of vacancy in elective and appointed office. There, as is pertinent to this discussion, it was provided that:

“Except as otherwise provided in this act, if a vacancy shall occur in any elective office of the City otherwise than by expiration of term, the common council shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy for the balance of the unexpired term… A person appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of councilman shall be a qualified resident of the same ward unless councilman are elected at large.”

Forty-five years after the City was incorporated, the Charter provision concerning vacancies was modified. In 1960 the changes included the elimination of the second sentence quoted above dealing with a ward system election and modifications to the first sentence of that particular Section. The changed first sentence read as follows:

“Except as otherwise provided in this act, if a vacancy shall occur in any elective office of the City otherwise than by expiration of term, the common council shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy until the commencement of the political year next succeeding the first annual election after the happening of the vacancy.”

Now, forty-five years after that initial change, the section dealing with a vacancy in an elective office remains unchanged.

However, one pertinent portion of the City’s charter dealing with a vacancy in an elective office that has remained static since incorporation eight-four years ago, is that particular clause which provides “if a vacancy shall occur in any elective office of the City otherwise than by expiration of term…” Now it must be determined how the vacancy was created and whether Section 14 of the Charter or any other provision is operative.

In the instant circumstances, and after a careful review of all of the underlying facts, there can only be one possible conclusion – the vacancy was not created by a means other than expiration of term. The vacancies were created by the expiration of the terms of the three incumbent councilmen. Indeed, the second portion of Section 14 of the City’s Charter giving the Common Council the ability to appoint, does not become operative. In the absence of the condition precedent being activated, the ability to appoint cannot be invoked.

Although this question is now being addressed for the first time in the City, this issue arose in Mazzotti v. Swezey, 199 Misc. 987 (Supreme Court – Suffolk County, 1951),appeal dismissed, 278 App. Div. 959 (2nd Dept. 1951).

In that matter, the Village of Patchogue was confronted with the question whether a vacancy was created in the elective office of trustee. There, the election was at large and the voters had to select three trustees from a field of six. Since the Mazzotti v. Swezey matter was concerned with election matters in a village and not a city, it could be argued that there is no similarity and the cited case is of no value. However, any argument of that nature is quickly put to rest when the Village Law is compared to the City’s Charter. Stated simply, the language in both is strikingly similar and of no significant difference. The Village Law in dealing with a vacancy in an elective office required that “vacancies occurring otherwise than by expiration of term in a village office shall be filled by the board of trustees…” Reviewing that provision, the court determined that the vacancies were created by expiration of terms of office and for no other reason.

Therefore, it cannot be seriously argued that the portion of the City’s Charter dealing with vacancies arises to the forefront. The vacancies, as has been demonstrated, arose by expiration of the terms of the incumbents. Since the triggering event was the end of elected terms, the ability of the council to appoint does not materialize.

C.Statutory Provisions: State Statute Public Officers Law

Fundamentally, there are two provisions in the Public Officers Law that could have possible implications concerning a vacancy and holding over. However, after close analytical scrutiny, it is my considered opinion that neither is controlling.

Section 30 of the Public Officers Law is entitled “Creation of Vacancies”. This particular section enumerates eight instances in which a vacancy is created. Interestingly, this particular statue does not detail that a vacancy in office is created by a failure to elect. As a matter of fact, it has been specifically determined that this section does not apply in such a situation and thus, no vacancy is created by operation of law. People ex rel Stalter v. Lynch, 219 App. Div. 1 (2nd Dept. 1926), affirmed 245 N.Y. 534 (1927).

The more troublesome section of the Public Officers Law is Section 5 which, as its title indicates, is limited to holding over after expiration of term.

In relevant part, this statute provides:

“Every officer except a judicial officer, a notary public, a commissioner of deeds and an officer whose term is fixed by the constitution, having duly entered on the duties of his office, shall unless the office shall terminate or be abolished, hold over and continue to discharge the duties of this office after the expiration of the term for which he shall have been chosen, until his successor shall be chosen and qualified; but after the expiration of such term, the office shall be deemed vacant for the purpose of choosing his successor.”

At first blush, this particular statute would appear to be controlling in the present instance. However, this patina fades after a searching analysis and it can only be concluded that there cannot be a holdover.

D. No Holdover Permissible Where The Vacancy Is Not Capable Of Being Identified With A
Particular Incumbent

As previously mentioned, People ex rel Platner v. Jones (supra) was an early decision which grappled with the issue of holding over.

In that matter, the then office of constable was an elected office in the town of Cherry Valley. The term of office was for one year and the question arose whether a certain constable was a holdover after an election in which the voters were to elect more than one candidate to several open positions. The hearing court determined that in an instance of that nature, where the vacancy in office could not be identified with an individual, there was no holdover. The language of the court is instructive and remains as accurate today as on the date of its writing. There, Judge Bronson wrote:

“Where there are several town officers of the same kind as constables, assessors, commissioners of highways, &c., if the electors at their annual meeting choose one or more officers of the particular class, although less than the whole number authorized by law, all the incumbents of the office for the previous year are superseded. If all are not superseded, none of them are; for it is impossible to say whose place in particular the person newly elected is to take. The consequence may be, that when the number of officers, as in this case, is limited to three, there may in fact be five persons exercising the office at the same time.

It is said that both Sterns and Butler as well as the defendant may have been constables in 1835, and then if Sterns and Butler only were chosen in 1836, it may be true, as the plea alleges, that no one was chosen in the defendant’s place. This argument supposes that Sterns was elected in his own place and Butler in his; and thus the defendant’s place was left untouched. But I think neither of them was chosen in his own place, or the place of any other person in particular, but, was simply chosen to the office. Except in the case of justices of the peace, the electors can only choose an individual to a designated office; they have no legal means of deciding whose place he shall take.”

This court clearly recognized the quagmire in such a situation where there are multiple expirations of terms in a municipal office, is there a vacancy or vacancies created and which, if any, of the incumbents is entitled to holdover in office. It was concluded that where the particular vacancy is not identifiable, there cannot be a holdover.

The identical result was likewise reached in Pansmith v. Williams, 201 Misc. 759 (Supreme Court – Nassau County, 1951).

In the annual election in the Village of Island Park two trustees received an equal amount of votes. This tie created a vacancy for one office of trustee and based on this, the mayor appointed an incumbent as a holdover. In reviewing these facts, Special Term rejected the notion that Section 5 of the Public Officers Law was controlling. In reaching this conclusion, Judge Houley wrote that “It is well settled that in the case of an office, such as trustee, in which the terms of two incumbents expire at the same time, that no one is in a position to determine which one of the trustees is entitled to holdover”.

Once again the court determined that where the vacancy was incapable of determination, there cannot be a holdover.

The 1951 village election in the Long Island community of Patchogue proved to be an interesting annual contest and provides guidance for us.

The configuration of the village government was similar to that of The City of White Plains with a mayor and a six member board of trustees. In this particular election, the terms of three trustees were expiring and there were six candidates on the ballot to fill the office of the three trustees. Incumbent Trustee Briscoe was re-elected with the highest number of votes. Candidate Payne received the second largest vote total and candidate Mazzotti received the third largest total. Incumbent Trustees Mason and Mapes were defeated, with the latter receiving the fourth largest vote total.

Prior to the expiration of the terms of office of the incumbent trustees, Village Trustee Mason, who had not been elected, resigned. It was also argued under Village Law that since candidate Mazzotti did not own real property in the village, he was not eligible to hold office. Needless to say, litigation was commenced.

In the initial round of legal maneuvers, and as is pertinent to the facts and circumstances now before the City, Special Term concluded that the trustees could not declare incumbent Mapes, the candidate with the fourth highest vote tally as trustee, because of the disqualification of Mazzotti. The hearing court rejected outright the argument that the holdover provision of Section 5 of the Public Officers Law was applicable. In making this determination, the court found that:

“Such may have been the case if there was only one vacancy filled at the March 20, 1951 election. However, there were three incumbents whose terms expired, and there were six candidates contesting for the three offices to be filled. It cannot be said that Mapes was the incumbent of the office for which petitioner Mazzotti received the majority vote. There being three vacancies, the court cannot determine who the incumbent is.” Mazzotti v. Swezey, supra”.

However, although the above quoted holding is a correct statement, the court neglected to consider one factor – the resignation of one of the incumbent trustees. When that factor is placed in the ingredients, the result changes, as recognized by the Appellate Division in a companion proceeding. Mapes v. Swezey, 199 Misc. 997 (Supreme Court – Nassau County, 1951); reversed, 279 App. Div. 660 (2nd Dept. 1951).

To summarize, the reviewing court determined that candidate Mazzotti who came in third in the 1951 election, but did not own real property in the Village as required, was ineligible to hold office. The next matter to be resolved was whether Mapes, the incumbent with the fourth largest tally, was a holdover. The appellate division unanimously concluded that the incumbent was a holdover due to the vacancy created by Mazzotti’s disqualification and because “there being no other.” The last clause is particularly important and the incumbent could be a holdover because the vacancy was clearly identifiable. Recall that there were three incumbents who sought re-election – Briscoe, who was re-elected, Mason who resigned prior to the expiration of the term of office, Mapes who was defeated but declared a holdover. The other seat was filled by Payne, who received the second highest vote in that 1951 election.

This crazy quilt election in that Long Island village is instructive and illustrative on several fronts. Initially, where the vacancy in office cannot be identified with any particularity, there cannot be a holdover. In that 1951 election, as there was in the recent City election for Common Council, there were three positions to be filled from a field of six candidates. Conversely, the vacancy was ultimately capable of being identified because two vacancies were filled through the election process., leaving an identifiable vacancy created by a resignation, leaving Mapes the defeated incumbent as a holdover. Under those circumstances, the holdover provision in the Public Officers Law became operative and was invoked to maintain the continuity of government.

As we shall next see, Long Island has been fertile ground for election battles and particularly where there are six candidates for three positions to be elected at large. This time the contest occurred in the Town of Brookhaven and the year is 1964. Foley v. McNab, 42 Misc. 2d. 460 (Supreme Court – Suffolk County, 1964).

In this latest set of facts, the three incumbent councilmen whose terms were to expire on December 31st of that year all lost their bid for re-election. Incumbent John Foley received the fourth highest number of votes and his fellow incumbents were fifth and sixth in that election year. To complete the setting, two other facts are important to note.

First, candidate Francis Giaccone received the third highest number of votes in that election. He was ineligible for office because he was not a record owner of real property, as required by statute. Second, prior to expiration of their office, the two defeated incumbents resigned in an attempt to compel the conclusion that their colleague Mr. Foley, who received the fourth highest number of votes, was the only person available to fill the vacancy and should be a holdover.

Special Term reviewed all of these facts and determined that Public Officers Law Section 5 did not apply because the vacancy was unidentifiable. Moreover, the court rejected the legislative maneuver where the two defeated incumbents resigned in an attempt to force a contrived interpretation of the statutory holdover provision. In dealing with the resignations, the court reasoned that:

“However, there is no efficacy in the maneuver. It may appear reasonable that the vacant office should be continued to be filled by the highest vote getter of the defeated candidates, but there is no authority for the employment of the device used here or any other method of selection to determine who should fill the vacancy in a situation of this kind”.

Next, the hearing court dispatched with equal ease the argument that a vacancy existed and the incumbent should be a holdover. In this regard, Justice Munder wrote:

The purpose of Section 5, Public Officers Law is to insure a continuance of government where a vacancy occurs by expiration of term and there is a failure of election or appointment. It can be employed whenever the office vacated can be identified with a particular incumbent. In such a case the result would follow automatically. That would have been the situation if the Town of Brookhaven had established the ward system for the election of councilmen. Where, as here, the office vacated cannot be identified it cannot be said that any of three incumbents is entitled to hold over [citation omitted] nor can they choose among themselves or effect the same result by all but one resigning. Because they perform no duties independently of the town board (apart from delegated duties by direction of the board) and the town board can function with less than its full complement, there will be no interruption of government where only one councilmanic office is vacant.

To the same effect see, 1964 Opinions of the Attorney General at page 96 – involving interpretation of the holdover provision of the Public Officer Law concluding that Section 5 of the Public Officers Law is not operative where the vacancy cannot be identified with an incumbent.

E.Conclusion

The above recitation demonstrates clearly that this is not the first instance where municipal entities have been confronted with the issues created by abnormalities in the election and legislative processes. When is a vacancy created, is not a novel issue; nor is the invocation and interpretation of the controlling provision of the Public Officers Law, a question of recent vintage. Importantly, as you can see, the holdover provision is not nearly as clear cut as first envisioned. As we have seen, its operation is very fact specific and it can be concluded that where the vacancy is identifiable, an incumbent can holdover. But in the facts confronting the City of White Plains, the vacancy certainly is not identifiable. Consequently, there cannot be a holdover.

An attempt to argue that a vacancy is identifiable in White Plains because incumbent Rita Malmud was re-elected and candidate Thomas Roach was elected and both certified by the Board of Elections, can be made. Mathematically it could be seen that these two were successful, in that they have filled two of the three positions on the Common Council, therefore, the third position is open and identifiable.

This argument has surface appeal, but when that strata is pierced, that argument evaporates rapidly.

The vacancy is unidentifiable because two incumbents remain, Mrs. Oliva and Mr. Delgado. The fact that Mrs. Oliva did not seek re-election is not controlling. The controlling principle is that there is more than one incumbent and as a result, a vacancy is not capable of being identified and there cannot be a holdover. This result might have been different if one of the incumbents had resigned. This last consideration is not before us and is of no consequence.

Additionally, we must also recognize that the Appellate Division instructed that Messrs. Delgado and Hockley are presently barred from taking any steps towards the filing of an oath of office. This directive must be tempered by the realization that a holdover is not required to execute and file an oath of office. Vescio v. City Manager of Yonkers, 69 Misc. 2d 68 (Supreme Court – Westchester County, 1972), affirmed, 41 A. D. 2d 833 (2nd Dept. 1973).

As a final matter, a controlling consideration is what does the City do without its full complement of legislative officials? This answer was provided by the Foley court ( Foley v. McNab, supra) wherein Special Term noted that this fact was of little consequence because the government does not fail to function with less than seven members. The work will proceed with six, until a successor is chosen and there will be no interruption in government.

Corporation Counsel

Dated: January 2, 2002

The text was written by Edward Dunphy, City Corporation Counsel, and researched by Mr. Dunphy and the City of White Plains Law Department.

The original document marked “confidential” was presented January 3 to the Common Council, and lead them to the decision to continue with a 6-person council, instead of appointing a seventh temporary councilperson.

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