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