Borelli's Brawls

Is Councilman Borelli a Championship Fighter or a Bar Room Brawler?

In the Town of Clarkstown’s  with the Police Benevolent Association, Councilman Borelli, emulating Sonny Liston, dropped to the floor with the rest of the Town Board after the first punch was thrown. The result of that ‘championship fight’ is that the Town of Clarkstown will now spend several millions of dollars in additional costs and future pension expenditures for

Seeking to erase this ignominious defeat and having sparred recently with Highway Superintendent Ballard over Ballard's desire to hire a part-time , Councilman Borelli has apparently decided that his next fight will be a bar room brawl with Councilwoman Lasker over her $10,000 stipend to act as Deputy Supervisor.  In the Journal News of July 16, 2012 under the headline ‘Clarkstown board member questions deputy supervisor's stipend’ we read:

A Town Board member is pushing to revoke the customary stipend paid to the deputy supervisor, citing the need to cut costs in this time of frugality. Councilman Frank Borelli raised the issue at a recent meeting when he said Councilwoman Shirley Lasker should not receive an additional $10,710 for being the deputy supervisor. Lasker, like all other council members, receives $41,820 for being on the Town Board. Borelli said the deputy supervisor position had no active responsibilities. Practically speaking, he said, there was no difference between the deputy and other Town Board members because it was rare for the deputy supervisor to be called to fill in for the supervisor. “We are trying to save dollars,” said Borelli. “It’s a 25 percent bump in your salary. We get these aren’t big numbers, but they add up.”

While all of this may be true Borelli doesn’t seem to aspire to Everett Dirksen alleged aphorism: “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money” by going after all of the loose change lying around Town Hall.  For example, why does he stop with Councilwoman Lasker when he could push for all deputy salaries to be eliminated including the Deputy Comptroller who gets approximately $10,000 over and above an approximately $95,000 salary?   He could also look at Clerk of the Works, Ed Lettre, who gets additional compensation simply for chairing the Town Architecture & Landscape Board. But then Ed Lettre could withhold the Conservative Party’s endorsement over any council member who might step out of line.  

According to the Journal News, Lasker pushed back against the notion that she had little extra responsibilities saying:

“I have to be available (around-the-clock). I’m the longest-serving member of the Town Board and the only only one who doesn’t have a full-time job. My full-time job is being a Town Board member and deputy supervisor. It’s a big responsibility.”

Supervisor Gromack supports Councilwoman Lasker’s claims that she has “a big responsibility” by offering that she fills in for him when he is not available and did so at a recent State hearing on the Tappan Zee Bridge. How many times Lasker has filled in for him was not enumerated, but if it was ten times over the past year then that is a very large expenditure of taxpayers money at $1,000 per 'fill'.

Further, one might ask who was filling in for Supervisor Gromack when he took vacation last year?  According to the Clarkstown Taxpayers it was not Councilwoman Lasker as she was on vacation at the same time.  Hopefully, this seeming void in Supervisory coverage when both the Supervisor and Deputy Supervisor are absent does not give rise in the Town Board’s thinking to the need for a 'deputy Deputy Supervisor’ position.

Borelli seems set at the forthcoming July 24, Town Board meeting to take another 'Sonny Liston' dive since Supervisor Gromack, with Board members Hausner and Hoehmann, have cited 'precedence' as a reason for supporting the stipend.  This appeal to 'precedence' seems to cover a myriad of very bad fiscal behaviors. 'Precedence' is a disease, rapidly becoming epidemic, against which the public needs to be inoculated. 

For example, in the other recent championship fight over police salaries held in the Town of Orangetown, the ‘precedent’ set by Clarkstown to approve its own ‘throwing in of the towel’ to the PBA demands was used by the as the excuse for it to do likewise.

"Arbitration is not a fair fight," Orangetown Councilman Diviny said. "It is fighting with one hand behind your back. A lot of people say we should fight the PBA and unions and go to arbitration. It's not so easy when Clarkstown is giving two and a half percent raises (per year for 2013 - 2017). We are trying to get the best deal. We could go to arbitration and do better, but based on the decisions I have read and what other towns have, it's not a fair fight."

The Clarkstown Taxpayers has pushed for elimination of these 'deputy' compensation packages for at least two years. But they are a small side issue to the bigger battles that should be fought over out-of-control union costs and spiraling pension obligations. Taxes are about to go up in Clarkstown and the County government will be blamed but however you wish to look at it, none of our representatives in local government are taking on those who have the brawn and the big fists.

“We’ll see where people stand”, Borelli says about the forthcoming July 24 Town Board meeting, “I’m not sure I’ll get a second.”  

Councilman Borelli could have guessed before he started this spat that he wouldn’t get a second to his proposed motion.  Who in this pub brawl would want to act as a ‘second’ in his corner either?  Personally, I prefer my pugilists to fight with big boys under the big lights and in championship fights where the really big money is up for grabs. 

In this minor pub brawl there will always be a couple of 'heavies' who will come to the aid of the damsel in distress while the Police Benevolent Association smiles approvingly from the bar.  

When Councilman Borelli decides to stand up in a real fight the taxpayers will be there to cheer him on. At the April 17, 2012 Town Board meeting, he noted that Clarkstown currently has $95 million worth of debt and said:

“We have to be very careful where were going with our debt. We’ve got to watch everything.”

While we can all agree on that, might we also agree that looking into this lady’s purse isn't going to get us very far.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Watchdog July 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Cops are costing taxpayers upwards of $200,000 a copy every year and with 81**permitted days off each year are " on the job" 179 days slamming to the floor the myth about being available 24 hours and not being at their kids baseball game. Their contract permits them to be off 184 days while working 179 for $200,000 and up. Do Gromack and Borelli realize that you have to to actually be physically " on the job " to "do the "job"? Are the cops that sickly thst they need 24 sick days....almost 5 weeks, a year. Are their relatives dying off at a such a pace that they need 8 bereavement days every year and who keeps track of how many times Aunt Tillie has bit the dust? Does anyone in real life know what other job gets 81 days off? While I do not agree with these phony Deputy Dog positions, Borelli is just an embarrassment choosing to fight in the playground instead of the ring, as Mr. Hull so eloquently points out. **  30 vacation* 24 sick 8 bereavement 12holidays 7 personal days *Some cops get 35 days vacation folks. That's SEVEN weeks, more than the GREEKS get.
amy durbin July 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM
And let us not forget that while Borelli voted no for the salary schedule -- he voted yes for the budget which includes the salary schedule. Penny wise and pound foolish comes to mind.
Rob July 18, 2012 at 03:36 AM
I really think it's time for our Top Guns in the Police Department to man up and volunteer to take a pay cut. This will certainly serve our community well. Don't be fooled. They all know they are overpaid and are laughing privately all the way to the bank. What is funny is that many of these guys retire somewhere else and their overpaid pensions won't be going into our local and state economy. I certainly don't blame anyone as an individual. After all, it's human nature. If someone was overpaying me, I certainly won't complain. However, it's the decision makers who are the white collar crooks.
amy durbin July 18, 2012 at 09:09 AM
Borelli is the liason for the Town Board and the Police Department -- maybe he will go there and save us some real money
Brenda M July 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Mr. Hull are you saying that Borelli should not go after these issues?  Personally I think that every cent we can save for the taxpayers should be pursued vigorously.  Borelli seems to be the only one who constantly raises questions about how our money is being spent.
Michael N. Hull July 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Brenda, I agree with everything you say.  I raised the same issue with the supervisor at a civic association meeting many months ago so Borelli and me are on the same page.  My concern is that people who are as smart and as intelligent as he is should go after the big ticket items.  I am not criticizing him as a person but I am criticizing his actions which I believe are not matching his obvious capabilities.   I would have loved him to have forced the PBA contract into a public discussion where I think the Town Board would have got a resounding 'no' to approving the contract that it has stuck us with for the next five years.  Stuff with Ballard and with Lasker looks bad in the public eye and disappoints those of us who expect a bigger vision from him. 
Clarkstown life July 18, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I can't wait until they build the gas station / convenient store on 304......it is going to be very successful and a Perfect location in Bardonia
INTHEKNOW July 18, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I don't think the town board would have gotten a resounding no to the police contract at all Mr. Hull... I think the town and pba came to a good compromise, and the town did the smart thing. Don't confuse your "Amen Chorus" of misfits as a representation of the townsfolk. How does an article about a deputy supervisor position turn into (another) attack on the police dept? Watchdog, you sure are a one trick pony.
INTHEKNOW July 18, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Hey Watchdog, Im new to town and wondering, How many days off do the cops get? Any idea where I can find out????
Watchdog July 18, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Taxayers were the ones being tricked. Now we will raise taxes but the blame will laid at the steps of the Vounty instead of the police where it really belongs.
Catherine Ricks Kant July 19, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Besides questioning additional stipends for town board members and employees, how about questioning the $41,000 (?) each town board member receives each year. What does that come down to per hour?
Guy Gervasi July 22, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I think that all this knocking of Councilman Borelli is wrongheaded. While I agree with several of the bloggers that maybe Borelli should have done more on the bigger issues, like the police contract, and maybe attacked these stipends early on, we must not forget that he is the ONLY Town Board members that has spoken out about our town's debt, pushed for the Clarkstown Taxpayers' Term Limit proposal, is now pushing for the garage consolidation and the elimination of these patronage stipends. From my oint of view, you might say that all our Town Board memers are not interested in the taxpayers of Clarkstown, but a tleast Councilman Borelli is the BEST of the WORST. Guy Gervasi President Clarkstown Taxpayers
Watchdog July 22, 2012 at 08:44 PM
What a sad commentary.
Chris October 12, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Forget a run for CE Mr. Borellli. The masses have spoken.
Joan K November 26, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Mr. Borelli told a senior citizen this past week that he is not a bully but she ia bully during a Town Hall meeting. I thought that was pretty harsh. Beyond that, I am surprised that the Town Supervisor didn't step in and try to smooth things over, instead he did nothing. Very sad.


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