Bowman and Fadde object; call for Molloy to be interim
By Michael Turton
At the Oct. 27 meeting of the Cold Spring Village Board, Mayor Dave Merandy appointed former Trustee Matt Francisco as chair of the Planning Board. The move came after Donald MacDonald submitted his resignation.
The appointment was challenged by Trustee Michael Bowman, who put forward a motion, seconded by Trustee Cathryn Fadde, to appoint former Planning Board Chair Barney Molloy as interim chair, leaving the final selection to the members of the Planning Board. Merandy said that he had consulted with Village Attorney John Furst, who confirmed the mayor has the authority to make the appointment.
“This should not be political,” Bowman said in a testy exchange with Merandy, who responded, “It isn’t.” Bowman replied, “Yes, it is.”
Merandy handily defeated Molloy in the mayoral election on March 18. “Barney is a casualty of politics,” Bowman said. “You removed him [as chair of the Planning Board]. This is not in the best interests of the village at all.”
The mayor defended his decision, citing Francisco’s experience on the Village Board and his career in the construction industry. “He is totally aware of the [planning],” he said. “I don’t see anyone more capable.”
Merandy questioned the propriety of Fadde voting on a motion to appoint Molloy, with whom she is in a relationship. Bowman’s motion to appoint Molloy was defeated 3-2. Merandy’s motion to appoint Francisco, which seemed unnecessary since legal counsel had confirmed the mayor’s ability to simply make the appointment, passed by a 3-1 margin. Bowman abstained while Fadde voted against appointing Francisco.
Bowman and Fadde defeated MacDonald and Francisco, then a trustee, in a hard-fought board election in March 2014.
In his resignation letter, MacDonald wrote, “the demands of my business have increased to the point I no longer have the time to chair [the] Planning Board or to be a participating member.” MacDonald’s architectural firm is based in Cold Spring.
Prescription drug drop box
The search for a location for a secure drop box for outdated prescriptions remains elusive. Gina Van Nosdall and David Cross, members of the Philipstown Communities that Care Coalition, asked the trustees to approve housing the box at the Cold Spring Police Department, which is located on the second floor of Village Hall. The proposal was to make the box available once a month on Saturday mornings, when it would be monitored by a police officer as required by law.
Merandy and Trustees Marie Early and Fran Murphy spoke against the location, citing the long, sub-code stairway to the second floor, which they said would be unsafe, especially for senior citizens. The lack of Main Street parking on weekends also was a concern.
Van Nosdall said she would explore placing the box at the American Legion Hall on Cedar Street or the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department substation on Main Street in Nelsonville while using a Cold Spring officer at either location.
In other business …
- Trustees approved River Architects’ request for placement of materials along Haldane Street during construction of a house on High Street. The approval is conditional upon a review by the fire department.
- Seventh-grade students at Haldane are gearing up to paint a mural next spring depicting Main Street inside the pedestrian tunnel under the Metro-North tracks.
- SP Landscaping of Cold Spring has been awarded the contract to pave the municipal parking lot on Fair Street. The project should be completed before snowfall.
- Trustees agreed in principle to update the Village Code, setting time limits and fines for snow removal on village sidewalks. The current code is vague, stating only that sidewalks must be cleared within a “reasonable” period after a storm.
- The board approved criteria proposed by the Tree Advisory Board for assessing the possible removal or major pruning of village-owned trees. Some 500 trees are located on village property.
- The leaky bell tower which has caused water damage to the interior of the Village Hall will be repaired at a cost of $4,500.
- The Village of Cold Spring and the Cold Spring Police Benevolent Association have reached an out-of-court settlement with a former Cold Spring officer, Anthony Pupczyk, who was arrested in October 2013 and charged with felony criminal mischief in the third degree after he was accused of damaging a fellow officer’s vehicle. The amount was not disclosed. The board at its Jan. 13 meeting went into executive session to “discuss the employment history of a particular employee, personnel and litigation matter,” then returned to approve a “Separation and Release Agreement” with Pupczyk and accept his resignation.