Patronage: Alive and Well in Clarkstown

Clarkstown Taxpayers note numerous political party leaders employed by town

To the editor:

In our attack on patronage in Clarkstown, Mr. Joseph Savino seems to think that the Clarkstown Taxpayers have orchestrated a politically motivated attack on him.  The only political motivation that the Clarkstown Taxpayers have is to rid our Town Board of the entrenched politicians (think Term Limits) that continue to hand out patronage jobs.  Savino’s appointment by Supervisor Gromack is just the most recent example of a patronage appointment by the Clarkstown Town Board. 

Savino, who just happens to be the head of the Bronx Republican Party, was hired to handle the town’s tax cert cases.  However, according to Savino, he has never represented a municipality in a tax cert case; and then when the Palisades Mall challenged its assessment, Gromack chooses another law firm to handle this case.  Such is the confidence that Gromack places in the ability of Savino, his most recent patronage appointment. 

The Clarkstown Taxpayers are not accusing Mr. Savino of any wrong doings, but rather are asking the Town Board why they were willing to hire a law firm from outside of Rockland with no tax cert experience that had a past association with politicians of dubious backgrounds.

While Savino is the most recent patronage appointment, the history of patronage in Clarkstown is legendary.  Isn’t it odd that Marsha Coopersmith, who headed the local Independence Party and gave the party’s endorsement come election time to the incumbents, had a high paying job in Clarkstown until she lost the Independence Party, then she was let go.  Isn’t it also odd that Ed Lettre, co-chair of the local Conservative Party, has a high paying job in Clarkstown and Mary Loeffler, the other co-chair of the Conservative Party, also had a high paying job in Clarkstown. 

Both of these Clarkstown employees always gave their party’s endorsement come election time to the incumbents.  Finally, is it a coincidence that the recently hired Deputy Town Attorney is the son of Harriet Cornell, the head of the Rockland County legislature.

Clarkstown is a great town, but it could be greater if employees and contractors were truly hired for WHAT they know rather than WHO they know.

Guy Gervasi
Clarkstown Taxpayers

Michael N. Hull July 03, 2012 at 09:46 PM
 Mr. Savino says that he is the object of a politically motivated attack.   He is mistaken in the belief that anyone would stoop to flatter him in such a way.   Savino's appointment by Supervisor Gromack is just the most recent egregious example of how low the Town appears prepared to go with the process by which it makes appointments.  The Town's process is the sole issue.   Savino calls statements concerning the public record of his associations "salacious and almost libelous" as if questions to publicly elected officials by the citizenry of the Town of  Clarkstown on the process by which they vetted the Head of the Bronx Republican Party to perform the Town's tax cert work is any of his business.    The Clarkstown Taxpayers are demanding answers as to how the Town Board evaluated his firm over other firms and was willing to hire his firm with no tax cert experience and in the face of one Councilperson's opposition who said that he has "baggage".    If Mr. Savino wishes to inject himself into questions to our Town Board concerning its processes of governance then let him take up his cries of "salacious and almost libelous" with Councilwoman Hausner, the Board member who voted against his appointment stating on the record that he has "baggage".    What that "baggage" might be is yet to be explained.  Councilwoman Hausner is free to enlighten us. 
Guy Gervasi July 04, 2012 at 12:41 PM
To Clarkstown Life: Isn't is great to comment WITHOUT giving your name. It seems you have something to hide or you are one of the people that benefit from patronage. My guess is the only people who could possibly condone patronage is someone in the political arena, who already benefits from patronage and doesn't want it to go way. I can assure you that ALL the citizens of Clarkstown, except the politicians of Clarkstown, want Patronage to stop. Guy Gervasi
this may not apply as per the patronage,but just read yesterday that the law firm was awarded 600,000 to represent clarkstown school district that equates to ready? on a 40 hour week assuming any one was actually working non-stop 300 per hour!!!!!!!so this safest towns school district needs legal representation in that magnatude???????I dont remember the name of the firm...was it Duey Screwum & Howe???or anothjer firm??talk about unlimitless spending..its beyond..but the visual of a lawyer hunched down over a desk 40 hours a week..can we have an accounting of that?
Carrie brentwood July 04, 2012 at 08:46 PM
What about David M. Wagner, Esq ? He was deputy town attorney...out of no where his daughter, Amy Mele, becomes town attorney.....his son ,Brian, gets a job as building inspector and son, Christopher, works for highway dept ? What is wrong with this picture ?
jrod July 05, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Does everybody realize that the patronage starts at the top?? This is the same thing that's been happening in our COUNTY government for years....and everyone knows it. Calling Vanderhoef's office? Are you kidding me? Take a look at the patronage jobs in his budget...we all pay for that. Nothing will ever change until people show up at meetings - and confront it head on. There is never accountability in the towns or the county for anything. People are losing their jobs because of it. It's not just about Clarkstown. You should all be concerned about what happens in your entire COUNTY...because it starts at the top. You could also call the Attorney General's office - Public Integrity Division. They have an office in Westchester that investigates ethical behavior of governmental bodies. People should be screamin. Nobody ever does.


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