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Schmidt Stands Up Gruson Again

November 8, 2005


Option: Download and watch this video clip in Quicktime format (5.1mb).

At the regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting, held on November 7, 2005, Village Manager Richard Herbek, presented a letter from Regus Industries, LLC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Andreas Y. Gruson requesting a meeting with Mayor Dr. Greg Schmidt to discuss Northeast Interchange Railway, LLC.

During the "citizen participation" portion of the meeting, two Croton-on-Hudson residents, including former Trustee Georgianna Grant, asked the mayor about the board's intentions in meeting with Mr. Gruson. Schmidt, rebuffed the invitation, citing a "lack of consensus on the Board", a shift from a position he appeared to take at the last meeting where he said, "We are considering all of our options with that. We are working through advice of counsel to see what we need to do moving on that issue forward.”

Schmidt was also asked by Ms. Grant to read the complete letter during the meeting from Mr. Gruson, and declined. Though he suggested that she could get a copy from the Village Manager's office. Then, later in the meeting, offered the second speaker his own copy, while Treasurer Zambrano voluntarily got up to make photo copies for anyone else.

The following letter (download scanned original) from Andreas Y. Gruson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Regus Industries, was stamped "received" on October 24, 2005 by Village Clerk Peggy Kessler.

***

Regus Industries, LLC
2730 Transit Road
West Seneca, NY 14224
Phone: (716) 675-2700
Fax: (716) 675-3996

“Solid Waste Rail Transportation, Logistics & Disposal”

Re: Dialog Regarding Northeast Interchange Railway, LLC

Dear Mayor Schmidt:

We have made several attempts in the past several months through Village of Croton-on-Hudson (“Village”) attorney Michael Gerrard and Village Manager Richard Herbek to reach out to the Village to start a dialog regarding Northeast Interchange Railway, LLC’s (“NIR”) proposed operations at the rail property on Croton Point Avenue in the Village, and to address any concerns or issues. We are rebuffed each time and informed that the Village had no interest in meeting with us or having any dialog.

At the September Westchester County Solid Waste Commission (“Commission”) meeting, we (NIR and the Village) were strongly urged to sit down, have a dialog and work out a mutually beneficial situation. We once again reached out to the Village, this time by contacting Village attorney Marianne Stecich, who attended the Commission meeting on behalf of the Village. Ms. Stecich informed us that the Village continued to have no interest in meeting with us, or having any dialog whatsoever.

We are now aware of public accounts of citizens of the Village urging you and the Village Board to negotiate with us. We are still open to the prospect and welcome the opportunity to do so. Please feel free to contact me to schedule a meeting. I can be reached at (X14) X3X-3X4X, or on my cell phone (9X4) 5X5-X5X5.

Respectfully,

Andreas Y. Gruson
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Cc
Marianne Stecich
Bruce Berger

***

On November 8, 2005 6:54 PM, Gut-C said:

I’m new to the Village, new to watching the Board meetings and new to this blog - but it’s so transparent to me how scripted some of the speakers are at the podium. The Mayor and some trustees can’t even wait for the questions/comments to come out of the mouths of the speakers before they answer with their scripted responses! Can you say Armstrong Williams??!!

On November 8, 2005 10:21 AM, Pat Barua said:

I attended last night’s meeting and asked some questions about the Grusan letter. The mayor explained that he was hesitant to have it read aloud before the entire board had a chance to read it, as it had just been distributed to them, but then had it copied once the rest of the Board agreed and also agreed to have it posted on the Village’s website.

According to information provided by Village Attorney Stecich and the rest of the Board at last night’s meeting, Regus’ letter is somewhat misleading. One County Solid Waste Commissioner suggested that the Village and Regus sit down; the Commission’s Executive Director later told Ms. Stecich (our attorney) that this was not the Commission’s view but only the suggestion of one of its members. Further, contrary to the letter’s claim, the Village Board stated it was aware of only ONE request from ONE citizen that it attempt to settle with Regus.

It seems strange that a party that genuinely wants to compromise and negotiate would begin by writing a letter sure to tick off village officials. I can only conclude Regus is posturing for some other purpose, such as improving its litigation position. I can’t fault the Village for refusing to negotiate with Regus at this point (though I disagree with just about everything else the Republican Schmidt-Steinberg-Brennan team is doing on this and other fronts, and believe there are other steps that should be taken NOW to improve our own position that do not appear to be underway.)

The bottom line is that our local laws prohibit a waste transfer site anywhere in the village, and Regus is trying to use loopholes to try to accomplish something that would otherwise be illegal. All village board members have committed themselves to fighting that. I cannot imagine any Regus offer compelling enough to overcome the moral and practical rightness of the Village’s position, but if Regus has one, let them at least put it in writing and stop acting like we have to have a meeting before they can communicate whatever it is they have to say.



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