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Pride and Prejudice in Clarkstown
Posted February 7th, 2013

BY MARIA MIRAKAJ BROWNSELL
After starting off on a happy note with an awards ceremony, this week’s Clarkstown Board meeting ended off with many sour-faced residents getting under the skin of Supervisor Gromack and the board.

The 2012 Clarkstown Pride Awards were given out at the board meeting on February 5. The awards are given in several different categories where businesses make their property beautiful to reflect the town of Clarkstown. The committee members include Councilman George Hoehmann, Town Board Liaison Scott Milich, Chairman David Kaminski, Irene Ryan, Donald Ritch, and Shirley Washington.

The winners were: Majestic Lawn Care and Landscape Adopt-a-Spot, Congers for Community Project; Safe Harbour Group, Ltd., New City for Professional Office; Jimmy’s on Main, Nanuet for  Food/Hospitality; Rockland Jewish Community Campus, West Nyack for Non-Profit; Kohl Industrial Park, Congers, for Industrial; Red Hill Nursery, New City for Small Business; Grand Prize Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, Nanuet for Shopping Center/Retail; John Mini Distinctive Landscapes, Congers for Service Business; Dorie McMaster for Civic Pride.

After the special presentation, there was a public hearing about the adoption of an updated town official map. “This is a culmination of two years of effort to bring the paper map digital,” explained Town Attorney Amy Mele. With the new digital map residents will be able to click on different parts and see the resolutions that were dedicated, see mapping, zoning and more. The Clarkstown Planning board recommended the adoption of the digital maps.

Steven Levine of Congers questioned which map will be the official one, the digital or the paper copy and how often would it be updated. Mele said that the digital and paper copies will always be the same and that they would be updated a few times a year as necessary.

Gerry O’Rourke of Congers and Frank Grandel both asked about a resolution pertaining to personnel changes in the police force. The addition of many temporary officers was questioned as well as the resignation/retirement of Officer William Sherwood was questioned due to rumors about overtime abuse.

“In mid November of last year there was an overtime discrepancy. We did an overtime review and immediately started an investigation. There was overtime put down that was worked. The officer maintains he was innocent and that it was a mistake. The office had an unblemished record until this point. I think the integrity of the police department is still intake. We are going to audit all our own overtime and I am confident this will be an isolated incident,” said Police Chief Sullivan.

As far as the hiring of the temporary officers, Sullivan explained that many officers are retiring and that since the police academy is only offered once a year, they need to make prior arrangements. There is a budgeted number of 163 officers for the town and they always stay below that, said Supervisor Gromack.

During the public comments after all the resolutions were adopted, Tom Nimick questioned Gromack about the salaries of different workers for the town, including some directors, and attorneys. He ran out of time before he could finish asking his questions and when another resident offered to give his speaking time to Nimick, Gromack objected. Gromack refused to answer any questions and told Nimick to put all the questions in writing so he can research the answers.

Another resident complained about pool rates for his family while, another listed all his complaints and objections to the way the time is run. He complained that Clarkstown is one of the costliest towns to live in in the nation. Gromack refused to respond to him saying that his questions are not factual and just plain wrong.

Frank Grandel asked about the salaries of the police saying they are “exorbitant” and out of control, including their benefits and perks. Gromack responded that they’ve gone over this many times and that they negotiated the police contracts in a fair and professional way. He said it is wrong to start a statement with how great the police force is and then knock them the rest of the time.