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Inquiries about hiring of attorney for tax certs


Dear Editor:

In an article appearing in the February 15, 2012 issue of 'Our Town' entitled 'Clarkstown Town Board Overview' a person identified as 'Nimick' asked a question concerning the hiring of the firm of Joseph Savino to handle tax certiorari matters for the Town.

Nimick said that nowhere in the Board's Minutes could he find any reference to a) discussion about the appointment, b) development of parameters for interviews of the firms, or c) the authorization of the Town Attorney to research law firms.  Nimick asked if Savino had been hired. 

Neither Mr. Gromack nor Ms Mele gave an answer that responded to Nimick's question. Mr Gromack simply restated that the estimated savings to the Town would be $75,000 per year while Town Attorney, Mele, said that Savino was 'properly vetted'.

In an Opinion piece in Patch I asked several similar questions:


1) Why is the Town outsourcing work and Clarkstown's tax dollars to an individual who, according to his voter registration file, does not claim residence in Clarkstown or even in Rockland County?

2) What criteria were used to reject law firms and choose Savino's firm?

3) Was a bidding process used? How many Rockland County law firms were invited to bid?  

One Board Member, Stephanie Hausner, has specifically stated that "there are more qualified firms in the County that have more experience handling tax certiorari .... that is primarily what we were looking to hire a firm to do."  She also said: "there are individuals more qualified (than Savino) .. they may not come with baggage".  


Further, in an article appearing on the front page of the Journal News entitled 'Municipal Cases New For Clarkstown’s Tax Attorney', Town Attorney Mele said about the hiring of Savino: “If it is criticized, so be it”.  She "wasn't worried" he had no experience in representing Towns in tax certiorari cases and “she is not concerned about criticism the Town has hired a person with political clout”.

Simply stated the Town Attorney admits that Savino has 'no experience' but has 'political clout' and a Board Member says that there is 'baggage' associated with this appointment and that there are more qualified individuals who reside in our own neighborhood. 

The citizens of Clarkstown, and particularly Mr. Nimick who obviously took the time to personally appear before the Town Board, deserve to be given an answer by those who serve this community. It is the citizens who will be paying Mr Savino through their tax dollars.  This concern about the Town's action regarding the appointment of Savino has arisen because it is thought to be something that is wrong and to date a satisfactory case has not been made to the public for his employment. 

We deserve a response worthy of the employment of Ms. Mele as a Town Attorney and Mr. Gromack as the Town Supervisor to the questions that have been raised. If there is nothing to hide about this appointment then the Town should come forward with the parameters for hiring Mr Savino as requested by Mr. Nimick.  Ms Mele should explain why she is not concerned that Savino has no experience, and Ms Hausner should explain who are the individuals she is aware of that are 'more qualified' and also explain what she meant by the use of the word 'baggage' concerning Mr Savino's appointment. 

Michael N. Hull
Bardonia, NY 10954 

Watchdog February 22, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Jay Savino was Chief of Staff to former State Senator Guy Velella who was convicted of bribery and conspiracy and served a year in prison. Jay Savino shared an office with Anthony Mangone, convicted of bribery and conspiracy and faces 45 years in prison. Jay Savino was subpoenaed in that case. Jay Savino lives around the block from Alex Gromack.
George C February 22, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Is Jay Savino the guy that I saw just purchased Tax Certiorari for dummies?
Watchdog February 22, 2012 at 03:13 PM
http://risingtimes.wordpress.com/ Mangano is still singing.
Brenda M February 22, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Is the Town of Clarkstown corrupt or just inept?
The Terminator February 22, 2012 at 06:58 PM
This is exactly like Katz on the school board hiring his friend and client Kevin Doherty for $40k last year...there were no other attorneys even considered and all reference to the deal was hidden from public view. So yes, Brenda, I think this nonsense is commonplace in Clarkstown.
Watchdog February 22, 2012 at 07:13 PM
A lot of both.
Watchdog February 22, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Does Doherty have the same "Baggage"? I doubt it.
Maureen February 22, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Brenda: Look at this and then you tell me if it is inept or corrupt http://www.preserveramapo.org/Community%20View/feiner_politics_in_rockland.htm http://www.rocklandcountytimes.com/?p=889 http://nyaltnews.com/2011/12/rockland-independence-party-chair-pleads-guilty-to-perjury-and-fraud/ http://www.rocklandcountytimes.com/index.php?p=261 http://www.rocklandcountytimes.com/index.php?p=270
Watchdog February 22, 2012 at 10:15 PM
One of the reasons this corruption is permitted to continue is that Patch readers, who are a microcosm of voters commented 80 times as to "Who has the best pizza in Nanuet" and 5 times on this piece as well as 3 times in yesterday's blogs onRockland County by Jack Moolick (Nanuet Patch) )and Legislator Ed Day (NewCity Patch) People seem to be more concerned with Pizza than crooked politics.
Maureen February 22, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Watchdog .... Good point about Patch readers and pizza.. This struck me also as I scanned the other articles this morning! In Clarkstown it's pizza before politics.  But that is the history of mankind! There is the silence of the lambs and the lambs are then led to the slaughter.   In Clarkstown's case slaughter involves taxation at a level that places this very average County into the top ten taxed counties in the United States.   The other slaughter is not the one that this pizza person (Anthony Bazzo) prattles on about http://nanuet.patch.com/blog_posts/there-is-no-free-lunch He seems to think that his employees are eating a free lunch while those eating the free lunch at his expense are the ones holding down patronage jobs in Clarkstown. So let's do this Bazzo bozo a favor and list for him those who are presently eating the pizza at his expense.  I will kick it off by starting here: http://www.preserveramapo.org/Community%20View/feiner_politics_in_rockland.htm noticing that in 2007 Ed Lettre earned $138,136 and now earns $169,000.    Thats a 22% increase in 5 years.  What party is he the Chair of and what party's candidate does he support? Who's up next?   Or have all of you gone out to your local pizza place?
Brenda M February 23, 2012 at 01:20 AM
In addition to identifying the people living at our expense in patronage positions could someone also identify people that we might support who have the integrity to oppose this practice and who themselves might not fall into this web of corruption?
Michael N. Hull February 23, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Do you have other figures? What is the source?
Watchdog February 23, 2012 at 02:32 AM
MrHull this is for 2009, I believe the CLARKSTOWN TAXPAYERS SITE Has more current info. https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7797588/ClarkstownPayrollSummarybyYear.xlsx In 2009 Lettre earned $151,600
Watchdog February 23, 2012 at 02:35 AM
The only one I know who is not corrupted, as no family members in politics is Ed Day. See Nanuet Patch blog by Jack Moolick a few days ago for more info.
Watchdog February 23, 2012 at 02:40 AM
http://nanuet.patch.com/blog_posts/rockland-county-faces-a-real-crisis Brenda, here is the Blog. Mr Days blg also makes interesting reading
Michael N. Hull February 23, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Of those presently in office I would nominate Ed Day - Republican (County) Stephanie Hausner - Democrat (Clarkstown) Cris Carey - Republican (County) Andy Stewart - Democrat (Orangetown) David Carlucci - Democrat (State) There are others presently not serving in public office. 


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