I was watching the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees meeting on LMC-TV on Monday. December 14th. I was impressed with the professional and even-handed manner in which both Trustee Hofstetter and Trustee Ryan have expressed their opinions about the matter of the new Village Attorney. Specifically, I believe that Trustee Ryan has stuck to the facts and shown her intelligence in making her argument about the appointment of Christie Derrico. She has been clear and to the point, however, this discussion has caused me to think deeper on the subject and it has raised additional concerns in my mind.
It seems to me that the Village code is clear that the Village Attorney is to be an employee. Since Ms. Derrico is not an employee, and is just in the position part-time, is she fulfilling the Village law as it is written?
The law also states that “The Board of Trustees shall fix said Village Attorney’s salary and other terms and conditions of employment.” It is apparent from the discussion I witnessed at the December 14th meeting that the board has yet to fix her terms and conditions, which puts her legal employment in doubt. No one has been able to explain this in any public forum to date – certainly not one of the new trustees – there has been no expression of opinion from either Trustee Santoro or Trustee Ybarra at all.
How can the mayor explain taking an oath to uphold the Village law and have this episode be his first action in office?
Finally, what of the position the Village finds itself in now? Can Ms. Derrico represent the Village under today’s code? If not, then who is protecting the Village’s interests today?We won’t have a public hearing until January 11th, 2010. What happens between now and then?
I think the board’s majority owes the Village an explanation of the thought process behind this decision – and not one in Executive Session. After all, we were promised transparent government from this new mayor.
Former Trustee Nick Allison