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Letter: City Should Replace ‘Holdovers’

At a recent Glen Cove City Council meeting, discussion once again turned to the mayor and council’s refusal to replace board and agency members whose service has exceeded the city’s 2-term limit. I contend, and submit to your readers, that replacing these “holdovers” from a pool of other qualified residents would not only serve the spirit and letter of our city charter, but  also be more representative, putting our city in the hands of even more people with a stake in its future. Perhaps even more importantly, it would instill greater faith in the work of these bodies by eliminating any possibility that these holdovers could be influenced in their decisions by the mayor and council. Permit me to demonstrate.

The city charter provides that no one shall serve more than two consecutive terms on a board or agency. While members of the Planning Board are appointed to three year terms, however, three of its seven members have now served well in excess of six years. Its chairman, for example, has been on the board for about 18 years.

According to our city attorney, under New York State law, these holdovers continue to serve unless and until they are replaced by the mayor and council. They no longer enjoy the security and protection of a certain term, therefore, but are subject to replacement whenever the mayor and council choose, and, might, thus, face removal if they fail to act in a way that is favored by the administration.

Your readers are reminded that the Planning Board is responsible for the review and approval of plans for most, if not all, proposed developments within the city. It is also no secret that some of these developers, their parent, subsidiary, and related companies, and their principals and family members, have donated thousands of dollars to the election and re-election efforts of the mayor and city council members.

One would think that, rather than risk criticism for this untenable situation, the mayor and council would simply appoint others to the Planning Board, as contemplated by the charter. The more and longer that they refuse to do so, the more people will wonder and ask “why?’

Paul L. Meli – Chairman, Glen Cove Republican Committee