A series of community members spoke at Tuesday’s town board meeting and asked Clarkstown officials to explain the purpose of an early August so-called “secret meeting” that involved government leaders and members of several political parties. Town Supervisor Alex Gromack and other town board members made statements regarding an August 9th “Rockland County Times” article that depicted the meeting as involving numerous government officials, town employees and political leaders affiliated with the local Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.
Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack described the gathering as a strategy meeting that is an acceptable practice of political party members across the state and county.
“They’re absolutely legal and proper,” he said.
Residents asked a series of questions directed at specific town board members based on the article’s content. Ralph Sabatini of New City asked Councilmember Stephanie Hausner if she had been told by Conservative Party Leader Ed Lettre to recruit new members for his party. She said she had not been asked to that do and refuted other claims made and described the article as “sensational”.
“I think it’s interesting there seems to be a lot of conspiracy theory going on,” Hausner said.
New City resident Joe Ciardullo asked town board members to explain the secret meeting or resign. They defended their right to meet.
Councilmember Shirley Lasker said Lettre told her and others he had things he wanted to discuss with them.
“I myself was physically not at the meeting,” she said. “I listened in by phone for awhile. There was nothing illegal about the meeting.”
Amy Durbin asked Town Clerk Justin Sweet if his purpose for attending the meeting was to record the minutes. Guy Gervasi wanted to know why registered Republicans and Democrats would go to a meeting supposedly called to help the Conservative Party leader hold on to that position. He also asked if their purpose for going to the meeting was to keep receiving the Conservative Party endorsement.
None of the officials responded with a specific reason for attending the meeting.