Refuses to change start time or venue for Butterfield meeting

By Kevin E. Foley

Cold Spring Mayor Ralph Falloon’s request to have an upcoming meeting with county legislators start later and held in a larger public space than Village Hall, so more local citizens could attend, was refused by the chairman of the Putnam County Legislature’s Physical Services Committee, Carl Albano.

Mayor Ralph Falloon File photo
Mayor Ralph Falloon
File photo

In a letter to Albano dated Sept. 10, Falloon wrote: “As there is significant community interest in the Butterfield project, we anticipate a large turnout and respectfully request consideration of an alternate venue. Space at Village Hall is limited to 43 people. We are willing to assist in locating a larger space and have determined availability at Haldane Central School. Further, the board requests consideration of starting this meeting at 7:30 p.m. which is customary for our Village Boards and allows commuters an opportunity to attend the meeting.”

Albano’s reply dated Sept. 12, states flatly: “I have received your correspondence dated Sept. 10, 2014. Please be advised at this time I have made the decision to hold the September 23 meeting at 6 p.m. at the Cold Spring Village Hall.”

Albano did offer a direct reason why he refused to comply with this simple request by the elected mayor to have the meeting 90 minutes later and in a larger nearby space. Later in his letter he refers to communication between the county legislature and village officials as “the focal point of this meeting,” suggesting it was unnecessary to accommodate a larger public presence although he acknowledged the meeting should be open to the public.

Albano’s letter references an earlier Aug. 20 legislative meeting when the subject of Butterfield and the location of county services in the proposed project were discussed. But his reference to only village officials misses the fact that it was Philipstown Town Board Member Dave Merandy who urged greater communication. Merandy was joined at that meeting by fellow Board Member Nancy Montgomery in pressing the point that the issue of county services and the impact of the Butterfield project on services require a broader dialogue with the Putnam Legislature. The pair was joined by Village Trustee Stephanie Hawkins, the sole trustee to attend the county meeting.

Hawkins in an email to Albano reminded him that the town officials expected to be part of the discussion and she also asked the chairman to at least reconsider the venue. “To deny people the ability to attend this meeting because the room is too small would be unfortunate and unnecessary given the larger venues available that evening,” she wrote.

Sam Oliverio, a county legislator from Putnam Valley and a candidate for county executive, has advised his colleague Albano to reconsider. “I really believe that the Legislature will be opening themselves up to a tsunami of push-back if we do not have this meeting in a larger venue with a later start time.” Oliverio said he had already received multiple calls from constituents over the issue.

In earlier correspondence on setting up the meeting Albano credited committee member Barbara Scuccimarra, Philipstown’s county legislator, with raising the issue about services and Butterfield as well as facilitating the upcoming meeting. However he did not include Scuccimarra as agreeing with the decision to refuse Falloon’s (and others’) request. As of this writing Scuccimarra’s exact position on the issue is not known.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Foley is the former managing editor of The Current and a partner in foleymyers communications in Northampton, Massachusetts.

11 replies on “County Legislator Rebuffs Falloon Request”

  1. Shocking, shocking, Albano refuses later time and larger venue for convenience of the public. The autocratic Albano has always found public involvement and comment an inconvenience that he has had to tolerate. Just doing the work of his handlers – Odell and Walker. Odell/Walker have a disdain for the foundations of democracy and view their power of the pen in Obamaesque terms – sign and then explain, if you a compelled to do so.

  2. Dear, dear, dear! How could Ralph make such an unreasonable request of a legislator to ask him to travel slightly over 20 miles from his home into the terra incognita of wild western Putnam? And to ask him to arrive a bit later so he could not only be heard by untamed seniors (genus: geriaticus selvaticus) but also by nomadic wandering workers known as commuterii metronorthii cum taxpayerii? A scary prospect to be sure requiring no doubt combat pay or the equivalent.

  3. Sadly, I am never shocked by any behavior exhibited by a member of the Putnam Legislature, no matter how offensive or revolting it may be. Their arrogance and disdain for the lowly taxpayers is palpable to anyone who has attended one of their own meetings in Carmel, or who has read some of the various comments that have been quoted in the media.

    What I do find remarkable however, is that the voters of Putnam Valley and Philipstown keep re-electing the same offenders, year after year. Despite the abuse that our District has suffered at the hands of the County, the lack of funding for infrastructure repairs, the refusal to provide services, etc. Ms. Scuccimarra seems to think the biggest problem we face is the use of plastic cutlery and styrofoam cups. She, like her colleagues, has immunity from the consequences of her actions or inaction. In government you can be sure there is no reward for success nor penalty for failure, a motto which should be engraved on the cornerstone of the County office building.

  4. How absolutely rude! Barbara Scuccimarra should insist that this meeting be at a normal time, in a place where people can hear the proceedings, get a seat, and have easy access for all instead of navigating the steep stairs!

  5. Please stand up for us Ms. Scuccimara. Do not take a back seat to these bullies. We need your help and support, and we need it now.

  6. I hope no one commenting here is surprised by Albano’s or the county legislature’s disdain for the citizens of Philipstown and Putnam Valley. Where the hell is Oliverio? Does he not even expect to carry his own district (P.V.) or neighboring Philipstown? That just ensures Odell’s reign of b.s. and lies will continue for another term.

    Well, at least there is one more voice calling for secession. But, it looks as though our neighbors don’t really give a damn.

    1. Hi Anthony — I have stood fast and hard against this ridiculous scheduling of the 9/23 meeting. I have emailed the Village, Town Board and our Legislature pushing for the 7:30 p.m. start at Haldane. I was the first Legislator to ask for the requested venue that Mayor Falloon requested (Haldane at 7:30 p.m.). I am there, Anthony, working hard to ensure that the nonsense of the current administration does not go on. And no, I am not ceding a single town to my opponent.

  7. The Physical Services meeting last night (Tues., Sept. 16), chaired by Carl Albano and supported by Legislator Scuccimarra, saw a half-hour exchange and pleading by Legislator Oliverio for a change in time to accommodate the public and then heard Scuccimarra reply that they had had 15 such meetings and know what the public wants. You have to hear the audio to believe what went on last night. Finally Albano relented and agreed to the later hour.

  8. The people of Scotland are voting today whether or not to become independent of the United Kingdom. We in Philipstown could follow their example and become our own county. We have already-defined borders on all four sides of the township: Dutchess County to the north, Westchester County to the south, the Hudson River to the west and the county line to the east.

    I can already hear the nay-sayers, but I would ask every reader of this post to consider these facts:

    1. The county government provides us little if anything. We have a Sheriff’s substation in Nelsonville, but nothing else. No attempt is made even to send county rep’s over on a once- or twice-a-week basis.

    2. Our sales tax revenues go to Carmel where, like the Roach Motel, they go in but they don’t come out.

    3. County officials appear here for events only and rarely if ever are county events scheduled to take place on this side of the county. Legislator Albano’s attitude is not unusual. It’s just a little more out there.

    Seriously, we should begin to examine what it would take for Philipstown to become Philips County. Perhaps then the distant county government would begin to accept that we, too, are residents of the county.

  9. Scottish citizens voted No to disunity, correctly assessing that they had more to lose practically than to gain symbolically.

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