BY MICHAEL RICONDA
Spring Valley – The most recent termination by Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme has provoked more debate on the mayor’s actions since taking over as head of the village government only two months ago.
The vote to appoint Spring Valley attorney Judeline Zamar Rouzard as the new deputy village attorney of Spring Valley on Tuesday night was met with skepticism by board members who questioned why Delhomme’s sudden termination of former Deputy Village Attorney William Gerard on Thursday was necessary.
That same skepticism served as a block to the appointment. Village Trustee Emilia White argued both the firing and the new selection were sudden and required more consideration. Hence, White called for the motion to be tabled while an RFP was filed.
“This lawyer is gone and I don’t know why,” White said. “I am not voting blindfolded.”
White was joined in her recommendation by Trustee Vilair Fonvil, a rival of Delhomme who recommended Gerard to his post.
In response, Delhomme argued the new appointment was sound and that Rouzard had been interviewed, cross-referenced and selected from a field of candidates with the aid of Village Attorney Jerrold Miles.
Though Delhomme attempted to push the matter through, Trustee Anthony Leon was more open to the request. Leon said the selection was sound, but he was willing to table the motion for further consideration by White and Fonvil. Delhomme eventually agreed.
“[White and Fonvil] are good people and they mean well for the village,” Leon said.
Delhomme has been in hot water with his Village Board and the larger Spring Valley community for such firings in the past. After acting alone to terminate an assistant village fire inspector, he was forced to reappoint the employee when the CSEA suggested the move violated labor law.
Still, the Deputy Village Attorney tabling was one of several contentious moments at the meeting. At another point, Delhomme received jeers from residents for saying he never told Spring Valley’s Department of Public Works to stop plowing during last week’s snow storm.
This statement contradicts claims by the DPW that they mayor had instructed them to stop working for three hours during the storm and the mayor’s own statements arguing the workers needed a break. According to Fonvil, White had called him regarding the inactive plows and he in turn asked the police chief to order the plows back to work.
“The mayor did order them to stop working at 2:30,” Fonvil said. “Every time he breaks something, I have to fix it.”
At another point, White and Fonvil was reluctant to approve abstracts which included an invoice for a Ford Explorer used by Delhomme. Fonvil voted “no” on the resolution, while White voted for them as long as the invoice was removed.
Even a decision by White to abstain from voting for the appointment of a political ally was met with a shocking response from Delhomme, who questioned why she did not want to reciprocate for Olriche Simelus’ help winning an election by voting for his appointment as a seasonal grounds worker.
“He helped you,” Delhomme said. “Why don’t you help him?”