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Sunday, February 1, 2009

NPT drags Mullergate into the light of day

I've been so preoccupied by trying to give myself a heart attack these past few days that I haven't had a chance to comment on recent developments (pun intentional) in the Mullergate affair.

In one of the many New Paltz Times articles which are never made available online, Erin Quinn dug deeply into the question of what happened to Peter Muller's Town Planning Board membership.  She calls Deputy Supervisor Jane Ann Williams on the carpet for first confirming in writing that he wasn't reappointed, and then backpedaling when Rachel Lagodka asked about it at the joint Town/Village meeting.  Williams' position in writing was that "there is a question as to whether or not" Muller filed his training hours.  Toni Hokanson echoed her passively-voiced language.

Here's an idea:  if you want Peter on the board, reappoint him.  If you think the man, who spent much of last year recovering from hip replacement, didn't file the little document indicating his training, give him a call.  Fill out the damned form yourself and drive it to his house for his signature.

Claims that nobody knew why Peter's name came off the town website shouldn't be mystifying.  Paul Brown sent Peter a letter telling him he hadn't been reappointed, and then likely directed the Planning Board secretary to remove his name.  Paul Brown is amazingly efficient and organized.  If he wrote a letter to Peter, he removed the name.  And if Paul Brown removed Peter Muller's name, it was because he wasn't reappointed - Mr. Brown's shortcomings do not include inattention to detail.

There was an attempt to publicly reappoint him that was thwarted by a parliamentary move.  Jeff Logan got his first taste of how government really works when he seconded Kitty Brown's motion but couldn't vote on it because the rest of the board wanted to skulk into executive session to lick their wounds.

The Town Board can appoint whomever they please to the Planning Board, within some limits.  Yes, I would prefer Peter to some other person, but my problem here is with the back room politics.  Have an open vote, and be ready to justify your actions.  This is a democracy, and the people that you represent have the right to know what you're doing and why.  The very fact that investigative reporting caused Peter's documented removal from the Board and the web site to mysteriously undo itself is evidence of politicians that don't believe in open government.  

Three out of five failed this test in honesty and forthrightness.  There have been so many midterm appointments (a technique used to allow the preferred candidate run as an incumbent) these past few years that I can't remember whose terms are up this year, but can we get some ethical people on the board to replace them, please?  

3 comments:

kt said...

the three town seats up this nov include: Kitty Brown and Jeff Logan (trustees), and Toni Hokanson (supervisor)

the two village seats up this may include: Michael Zierler and Pete Healey(trustees)

Anonymous said...

I'm a relentless editor. I have to say it.

"politicians that don't believe in open government" ... so maybe they're not fully human at times, but shouldn't that be politicians WHO don't believe in open government?

your pal,
teri

Terence said...

Toni Hokanson recently remarked on Facebook that she was "listing to Jazz." I commented, "Are you listing to the left or to the right?"

As a guerrilla editor, I had better be able to take it as good as I give it!