Constituents Press Clarkstown Officials on ‘Secret Meeting’ (VIDEO)

Clarkstown official described it as strategy session


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. 

Watchdog August 23, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Considering the rejection of the petition of thousands of Clarkstown taxpayers,for a referendum on Term Limits, the cross endorsements of political parties,the political appointments of all the Deputy Town Attorneys, Jay Savino and now Frankie Sparaco, it does appear to me that these meetings and appointments are designed by the party bosses to collusively retain political power and limit the real choices for voters. And sadly, it seems to be working and will result in the long term destruction of our Town for our children. By then all these politicians will be in Florida spending their generous pensions. Our real estate taxes will continue to rise and when the $15,000,00 slush fund obtained by selling off our income producing asset, the Transfer Station, runs out taxes will skyrocket, borrowings will increase with an inevitable bond downgrade and if contacted these same politicians will say. "what we did was perfectly legal, done all the time" and they would be right. I truly fear for the seniors on fixed income and the kids of these seniors who built this Town. We are headed downhill and these secret meetings are a good reason why.
Joe Ciardullo August 23, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Supervisor Gromack should plead the 5th. He stated that this was a strategy meeting. What strategy? How to cheat the voters? Why would a democrats meet with conservative and independence leaders? Discuss what strategy? Maybe he was trying to get them to endorse President Obama for re-election.
Mike Hirsch August 23, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Remember during last year's election campaign when Alex was defending his position against giving voters the right to vote on a term limit referendum? He said that politics is a noble profession and that if professional politicians wanted to continue their good and noble work on behalf of their constituents, they should be allowed to do so. So now are we to understand that disenfranchising voters by the political party bosses to limit their choices is noble? The noble men who founded our great experiment in democracy over 200 years ago would be turning over in their graves. Send us an email Watchdog. You should join our group. www.clarkstowntaxpayers.com
Watchdog August 23, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Strategy was to prevent any new candidates to challange THEIR Preordained candidates. But as he and Shirley say " it's all legal". Sure it is Alex and Shirley. Legal but lousy for taxpayers.
Joe Ciardullo August 24, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I am the first person who will stand up for anyone's first amendment rights. But my issues is that when you have a meeting where 3 of 4 town board members are present, the town supervisor, the town attorney, the town clerk, the head of the conservattive party, and town employee, representatives from the Republican and Independence present, this was to discuss "strategy" as Supervisor Gromack stated. What Strategy? How you all can stay in power by playing the voters for fools. This is back room dealings at it's finest. This was not a social meeting. In my opinion it was an official meeting of the town board as almost all were present. Is it any wonder why TAXES are SO HIGH in Rockalnd. It's because all of the players wear different uniform, yet play for the same team, against the taxpayers. Just look at the latest move, where we are now paying $75,000 to Frank Sparaco, who called the job a political appointment, for a part time job. It's time more people stand up and say no to these games.


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