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Friday, May 20, 2011

Brian Kimbiz, it's time to resign

The poll we have running here at the Gadfly is currently 18-0 in favor of Brian Kimbiz resigning is seat on the village board.  Kimbiz is now on vacation, a situation I find unacceptable.  Kimbiz already as the third-worst attendance in the last decade (as compiled by Brittany Turner), and I can't imagine his taking off to find himself is going to make him a more effective trustee.  His belief that simply not taking money and staying in touch via email is insulting to village residents, as well as completely unrealistic.

Not surprisingly, there is no policy or law which requires trustees to show up, much less gives anybody the power to kick them out of office.  To his credit, Mr. Kimbiz would be within his rights to continue to collect his salary.

It's time to quit, Mr. Kimbiz.  We have had three trustees who barely show up for a long time now, and we can't afford to have one who isn't around at all.  It takes trustees to run a village, and you're not here to vote, which is the only thing that you're actually paid to do.  Vote on things, after studying and debating them.  If you can't vote, you need to go.

Mind you, if Kimbiz leaves, there's going to be yet another special election for a single trustee seat's unexpired term of one year, and that will cost money.  I certainly hope that the attendance policy which the new board passes will include a clause that would shift that cost onto the exiting trustee except in rare circumstances.  Patrick O'Donnell and Robert Feldman also left their seats early, and should have paid for the election to find their replacements.  Mr. O'Donnell made a business decision, and Mr. Feldman (so I'm told) resigned because he couldn't handle working with his opponent in the mayoral race of 2003, Jason West.

New Paltz residents should not have to put up with absentee trusteeism; nor should we have to pay for special elections when our trustees leave to make more money, do good deeds elsewhere, or just as a form of temper tantrum.

Mr. Kimbiz, it's time to man up and resign.  We'll send you a bill for the special election in a few months.
Disclosure:  I contacted Mr. Kimbiz via Facebook around the last village elections, asking him to comment on a rumor that he was planning on resigning.  He did not directly respond, but he did remove me from his friends. 
Update:  Mr. Kimbiz has advised me that the defriending took place "well before" my inquiry. 

45 comments:

Brittany Turner said...

Feldman never resigned. He just stopped coming, same as Brian. It's really terrible that we have had FOUR trustees in the last administration who refused to show up. It's even worse that nobody ever did anything about it, and perhaps most unfortunate, that two of them actually tried to run for reelection and people actually VOTED for these no-shows. Given the reluctance to do anything about this problem, and the willingness of voters to embrace these frauds with open arms, it's no surprise that Brian hasn't second guessed his antics.

While the Village Board can't pass a policy mandating attendance or consequences for no-shows as it pertains to elected officials, there are at least three existing legal avenues available, and of course the power of voters. I'm exploring these options as we speak.

Terence said...

Thank you for correcting me on that point, Brittany - I was not following the goings-on and don't have a personal recollection.

Brittany Turner said...

Actually, I should clarify - are you referring to Feldman circa 2003? If so, you're absolutely correct. This last time around, though, Feldman was pissed about shady Dungan/Gallucci/Osborn dealings, and just stopped showing up (mostly; he was around twice in 2011). Sorry if that caused any confusion. :)

Terence said...

I was referring to '03, but I was ignorant of his second abdication. Thanks for opening my eyes.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be responsible to step down. There is nothing wrong with doing what he is doing if he steps down.

Brittany Turner said...

Did Mr. Kimbiz inform you of anything else, and if so, how? I sent an email to his VoNP address as instructed on the VoNP website earlier today, but haven't heard back yet. Since he's supposedly doing both jobs while he's in NV, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a response...

Martin McPhillips said...

If I were advising Kimbiz, in that great new ecumenical spirit of the new New Paltz, I would suggest that he agree to resign if the board agrees to replace him with the next top vote getter for trustee in the late election.

That presents a small dilemma, because there were two next top vote getters. David Ruger finished third in the race for the two four-year seats. And Shari Osborne finished second for the one two-year seat. Osborn did get more votes than Ruger but the vote for the four-year seats was spread out over several candidates, whereas for the two-year seat it was just Osborn and Stewart Glenn.

That Kimbiz has two years left in his term might argue for Osborn because she sought a two-year term. But that's not necessarily important.

So, Kimbiz could agree to resign if the board appoints either Ruger or Osborn, each having finished next in their respective trustee races.

This reassures Kimbiz that his resignation is not simply the occasion for West to nominate his next available ally. And what better way to avoid that sort of thing than to respect the very recent will of the voters and take one of the runners-up.

If Kimbiz doesn't care one way or the other, then my suggestion is moot. If he likes this approach but there's no enthusiasm for the new ecumenism of the new New Paltz, then he should probably just turn the volume up on his iPod and return to the board when he's done and show some contrition for his absence by taking on some extra chores at that time.

He will have offered to resign on principle in exchange for a principle that someone who made the effort to run in the election and finished with the next most votes replace him. Ruger and Osborn share that qualification.

Terence said...

Mr. Kimbiz responded to me via Facebook, and it appears he was unable to read the links in this post so it may have been on a phone. I invited him to provide me with comments to post here.

Martin McPhillips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@Martin, your cynicism is astounding. The new "ecumenical spirit", really?!? And "He will have offered to resign on principle", really"?!? No questions about what "priniciple" led him to ignore his duties for these four months, no questions about his lack of dedication to the job he's taken on?
Sorry man, but it sounds like you have an axe to grind here.

bd said...

The real crime in this whole Kimbiz fiasco is that the twerp was elected in the 1st place.

Wholly unqualified & "out of it" most of the time, too, it is a disgrace along the lines of Osborn & Dungan's tenure, just shorter.

What is wrong with the Village voters ?? Oooops, never mind,, i can see what's wrong with the Village voters every time the Village Board is on tv or in the press.
Out of touch with the REAL world & living in a P.C. Never-Never land.

Sad,,, dangerous too, but mostly SAD, especially in light of past Village Boards where actuall progressive Village work was accomplished.
Almost makes me miss Zeisel & Ruelke,, ALMOST !

bd

Martin McPhillips said...

@ anonymous: I probably wasn't being clear enough. Kimbiz apparently does not have to resign, meaning there's nothing (so far) in the village code or state law that requires him to do so. He could resign "on principle," meaning that he resigns because he would be away from his duties for a few months. But in exchange for that he could get the village board to agree to replace him with one of the next runners-up (Ruger or Osborn) from the recent election.

That would obviate the possible political outcome from Kimbiz's resignation, where West appoints an ideological ally that gives him a 3 to 2 majority on the board.

Again, my view is that *if* Kimbiz wants to resign, then it is a prudent move to replace him with either Ruger or Osborn (the runners up in the four- and two- year trustee seat races, respectively).

If Kimbiz resigning means that West would appoint one of his own ideological allies, then I would prefer that Kimbiz keep his job and make some amends for his absence when he returns.

kt tobin said...

Yes, Terence, besides correcting you on the unfriending timeline, what else did our wayward trustee have to say in his Facebook message?

Robin said...

Ugh. If it's a choice between and absent Kimbiz and a present Ruger, I'll take the Kimbiz, thanks.

Terence said...

One could definitely argue that villagers deserve who we elect, bd, especially when so few of us bothered to vote that year at all. I don't think anyone was expecting Mr. Kimbiz to apply for a position that would take him away from here, though . . . I think he's just given the village a mushroom stamp.

Martin McPhillips said...

Heh. Had to look that one up at the urban dictionary. What a revolting concept to introduce into a discussion.

As I recall, there were a lot of people who were very relieved when Kimbiz won that election. Damn near providential in the relief it brought to the board. I was impressed by Kimbiz's tenacity: Thrown off the ballot, he waged a write-in campaign; losing on the first count of ballots, he asked for a recount and won. And the losers have been complaining ever since.

It's unfortunate that the village finds itself in such a dilemma, and then Kimbiz takes off for three months, which threatens to make it worse.

It could turn out that by the time he returns he'll be welcomed with open arms as both sides of the board table try to kiss his butt to get him on their side. Could be damn near providential, redux.

Terence said...

Not a pretty visual, but the more I think on it the more I am annoyed by the hubris of pursuing this opportunity. Did he not know it was a four-year job?

My preference, Martin, is that Brian Kimbiz be greeted by a new law requiring trustees to show up for meetings, and himself out of a job. He won't grow up if nobody makes him do it.

Martin McPhillips said...

You can't violate a regulation that doesn't exist at the time of your action. Such a law wouldn't apply to Kimbiz for this absence, only for future absences.

Given that he has left for a while, if he doesn't resign, that's life in the big city.

You mention that he was elected to a four-year term. Well, given that the village board meets pretty much year-round, that does tend to limit the options for board members who might want to get out of town for some purpose. What's a trustee's salary? $8,000? That's quite a capture. No serious blocks of time at your disposal for four years, all for a nominal salary. At 10X that salary teachers get app. three months every summer, plus those luscious benefits and guaranteed lifetime employment.

It might be a good idea for the board of trustees to take summers off and add a few meetings into the rest of their schedule, so that members can do things.

What is everyone going to say when Jason West is "surprised" that he's being urged to seek the Green Party nomination for president next year and has to leave for extended periods to chase that dream?

Terence said...

If the village board passed a law today saying that trustees not showing up for a month or so, Kimbiz would be beholden to that law despite his inability to vote for it.

And if Jason West does as you predict, Martin, I will be more than happy to join with you in condemnation, because being derelict in one's duty is morally wrong, even if it's legal. That's where I stand with Kimbiz, and I don't see why any other village official shouldn't be held to a similar standard.

Martin McPhillips said...

It doesn't have to do with whether Kimbiz votes for the law or not. It has to do with laws not applying retroactively. Kimbiz has formally notified the board of his intentions, how long he will be gone, and his reason for taking leave. I suppose the board could try to pass a law that applies retroactively to that, and violate a fundamental principle of American law. I would be curious as to whether Steward Glenn would put his reputation on the line for a trivial snit like that.

Perhaps Kimbiz, by his absence, will reveal how many fascist hearts beat on that board, willing to violate a principle to get at an individual.

As for West, how could anyone stand in the way of the call of (his) destiny? I would advise him not to waste any time and get started as soon as possible. He needs to get going to mine the unmined votes in the Green goldmine. Hurry! I say.

Terence said...

If the board passed a law requiring some level of attendance (such as don't miss three meetings in a row) on June 1, and Kimbiz didn't show up, how would that be retroactive? His "formal notice" is of no consequence, since there's no law requiring it. I'm not saying punish him for being AWOL right now; I'm saying start the clock ticking and then see if he values the village he swore to represent or some other dream. I think he doesn't give a crap about the village, and it shows.

Martin McPhillips said...

Since he has given formal notice that he will be absent, a law passed that attempts to apply to the specific conditions of his absence is a retroactive law meant to punish him (by taking away his seat). Those conditions did not apply when he stated his intentions and his reasons and left with the expectation that he would return and resume his duties. If the board wants to try to say that it doesn't recognize his notice (it's right there on the village website), then it's acting on a false pretense.

I'm not saying that the board cannot try to get away with it. Sure they can. But violating fundamental principles of law is more corrupt than everyday corruption, because it corrupts the law itself.

Terence said...

Passing a law requiring people to do their jobs shouldn't be necessary, but we've got three sitting board members who prove otherwise. I'm all about arguing both sides of an issue, Martin, but I'm getting the impression that you actually revel in the village board's dysfunction, and want to perpetuate it ad nauseum.

Brittany Turner said...

I'll reiterate that the VB can't pass an attendance law for elected officials - it violates the desires of the voters and the integrity of elections.

However, there are at least three legal mechanisms in place to address this problem and, yes, by my reading, what Brian is doing is absolutely illegal.

Martin McPhillips said...

First, I don't accept the popular premise that the still current village board is dysfunctional. They managed to hold things together pretty well even through Dungan's absence, and despite the constant attacks on them by that rotten newspaper et al., they managed the village well enough. I paid less attention than I have in the past, but I paid enough attention to see that they met the issues and got the work done.

Now, if Kimbiz wants to resign, that's his call. I suggested that if he does that he should make sure that one of the runners-up in the election (Ruger or Osborn) is appointed to his seat.

Politically speaking, I think that the incoming board is a bad mix of nutty ambition and naivete, and that's being kind about it. I don't want to see them *select* a kindred spirit to replace Kimbiz, when there are fresh election results that show the next choices that voters made.

Then, I don't think that the new board will be dysfuntional because Kimbiz does not resign and is absent through the summer. His absence does not obviate a quorum at board meetings. The bit about him missing his liason assignments is not that significant, from my point of view. Nor will his absence disallow the "hit the ground running" ambitions of the new board.

I do think that the new board will soon enough have at least two members at each other's throat, and I think that the absence of Kimbiz will act as an accelerant on that. It would happen anyway, but perhaps a meeting or three later.

Finally, the idea that they would start off passing a retroactive law to punish Kimbiz is indicative of the mixture of nutty ambition and naivete that I noted earlier. They take themselves more seriously than the principles of law they are sworn to uphold.

Martin McPhillips said...

"Three legal mechanisms?" What are they?

Stephen Hillier said...

Ah, Martin, showing yourself to be the true reactionary you are. Any chance to knock teachers, even when it's completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand, huh?. First off, some teachers make $80K or more, but most don't. And are you seriously suggesting that the workload between a teacher and a village board member is equal? I've been to these meetings. There's not much in the way of brain power being expended. A four year commitment to a few meetings a month (which most can't manage to live up to) ain't quite the same as a lifetime career choice.

Anonymous said...

@Martin, that's for me to know, and you to find out. You can hit the books, or just sit tight for a few days... :)

(Britt - Blogspot again not recognizing my Google Log In)

Anonymous said...

You're bluffing.

Martin McP

Anonymous said...

@ Hillier: Is it "knocking" teachers now just to mention their compensation? Their luscious benefits? Their guaranteed lifetime employment? One would think that mentioning such things could only enhance their social prestige. No?

The average teacher salary in the New Paltz school district is about $74 thousand, so should I have said 9X? I'll make a note to do that next time.

I don't actually know what the market value of a village trustee is, but it is generally a position, I think, where one acts on a sense of stoical civic duty. My concern has been that the trustees get burned out by the various things they are expected to do, as well as by the meetings. I think it can be as involving a job as the individual allows it to become. But the board meetings should perhaps be basically suspended during the summer, with some meetings added the rest of the year if needed.

Martin McP (Blogger/Google accounts are not working today)

Anonymous said...

@Martin, betcha a dollar...

Britt

Anonymous said...

O.K.

McP

Anonymous said...

Terence,

If you switch your blogger settings so that comments show in a pop-up box, the blogger/google accounts will work.

Martin

Terence said...

Thanks, Martin - that fix should suffice for the moment.

Brittany Turner said...

@McP, if you watched tonight's VB meeting, you got to hear about all three. If you missed it, it'll be up on Barbie blog shortly... ante up! :)

Brittany Turner said...

Here ya go, McP. You might not like them, but contrary to the assertion of West and others, they DO exist. John Logan has also proposed an interesting option; the Village Board should just appoint someone to the seat, and wait for Brian to challenge them.

http://legislativebarbie.blogspot.com/2011/05/kimbizkazmin-update.html

Martin McPhillips said...

The proof is in the pudding. (Actually, it's the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but you get the point.)

Terence said...

So are you saying you do, or do not, owe Ms. Turner a dollar?

Martin McPhillips said...

I didn't qualify that the "three mechanisms" had to be on-point efficacious, which is where the pudding comes in, so I owe her a dollar. But I'm going to invest that dollar for her so that....

Brittany Turner said...

Awesome!!! Pete bet me a dollar that I'd never get my dollar, so now I'll have TWO dollars! Who needs a job when you're betting dollars on blogs?!

Terence said...

I'll bet you a dollar that Martin won't pay you a dollar once he discovers that Pete bet you a dollar that you wouldn't get his dollar, and you'll end up a day late and a dollar short.

Brittany Turner said...

@Terence, can I bet you a dollar that you're right?

Terence said...

Hedging our bets, are we?

I will accept your bet if you agree to provide a flow chart of these dollars so I can keep track.

Pete Healey said...

Oh, c'mon puddin', ante up. "on- point efficacious", what the hell does that even mean? Is that conservative-speak for "I don't like your politics so I'm not gonna ever admit when you might be right", and I'll kick and stomp my feet and withold my dollar until you give up and walk away?

Brittany Turner said...

Back to the spreadsheets I go...