The evening started peaceably enough. It was only as a shadow of her former contentious self that the long-unseen email newsletter maven and former anti-Elliott administration activist Maria Cudequest (search) made a detailed presentation Monday night at the June 19, 2006, board of trustees meeting. The first of a CCC1 gang of four, she appeared at the podium during what is labeled “Citizen Participation” (see: video of entire meeting). At a heated executive session prior to the meeting and out of the view of the public, the board, in consensus and on the advice of counsel, decided to pursue two tracks in trying to find a solution to the 8-year-old Metro Enviro conflict, an ongoing hassle Mayor Schmidt characterized as “perplexing.”
The first of the two tracks involves filing a petition with the Surface Transportation Board in Washington, the successor to the Interstate Commerce Commission, urging them to rule that Buffalo Southern Operating Railroad, which is pursuing a loophole that would grant it exemption from local and county laws. is illegally operating in Croton. The second track gives Village Manager Rick Herbek authority to invite Regus Industries CEO Andreas Gruson to meet with the Board of Trustees and Village Counsel for what is described as a “listening session,” although it was unclear who would do the talking and who would do the listening.
Weighing in first with her reaction was Maria Cudequest with a fistful of federal indictments and clippings about a group of individuals in the waste management industry to issue dire warnings about what is to come.
She was followed by Robert Wintermeier (search), who—despite being discouraged by the mayor because it is no longer an option for the village—insisted on delivering a lengthy monologue about the Village’s purpose in pursuing eminent domain.
Next, Richard Pellicci (see also: “I’m the Paranoid One in the Bunch…”), in a fit of rage—for the fourth time at a Village Board meeting—singled out Crotonblog and vehemently insisted that the camera operator turn the camera away from him. He then shouted at the three Democratic trustees and demanded answers to his questions, attacked and threatened Trustee Leo Wiegman with veiled but unspecified consequences for “smirking” at him before finally apologizing to spectators for his indecorous rant.
Bringing up the rear and reiterating her party’s longstanding “we don’t negotiate with anyone” stance was Croton Republican Vice Chairwomen and author* Susan Konig, a self-described “family person” who knows a lot of people. Despite the decision arrived at by consensus, she urged the board to follow her party’s and Mayor Dr. Schmidt’s stonewalling policies.
At last night’s meeting, Mr. Pellicci made much of his “contributions” to beautifying Croton “crawling aound on my hands and knees” making plantings (see: “Croton Residents Form Group to Decorate Outdoors”). Crotonblog would remind Mr. Pellicci that, as Christ said, “The good deed done in public is its own reward.”
The John Barrymore Award for the evening’s overly dramatic, attention-getting, scenery-chewing performance must be given to Mr. Pellicci. The inevitable questions this incident raises are: Can Mr. Pellicci top this performance at the next Village Board meeting? Will he drop his trousers to make a point? And what does Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt intend to do about such irrational outbursts—besides sitting impassively through them as he has done without reminding Mr. Pellicci that he is out of order or having him ejected?
Crotonblog would remind the Mayor that Village Board meetings no longer take place within the confines of the Municipal Building. The world is watching now, Mr. Mayor, including persons who may be contemplating buying a house in Croton and who might be dissuaded by what they see going on in Croton on the Internet.
Richard Pellicci: “Richard Pellicci, 65 Radnor. Sorry, I wasn’t going to speak tonight, that’s why I look like this. Mayor Schmidt, could you repeat what you said? I’m not clear what you said in the beginning. Can you repeat it? Please?”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Sure. There are basically two tracks that the village will be pursuing. Track one is to file a complaint with the STB. Ah, and our complaint will be that BSOR is an illegal operation at this time, alright, and seek to have that ah, their ability to operate there you know, stopped or to continue with the STB to see where we can get with that. And that by a vote of 3-2, um, the board basically authorized Mr. Herbek and Mr. Gerrard to ah, have a listening session with Andreas Gruson, the ah, Regus Industry, he’s the CEO of Regus Industries. Ah, um, to talk to them and see ah, what they have on the table. Ah, they are not authorized at this time to enter into any um, agreement. They are authorized to listen to what they have to offer.”
Richard Pellicci: “What could they possibly offer us?
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “That is what we will find out.”
Richard Pellicci: “And I suppose, you know, I’m surprised that the vote is Gallelli, Kane and Wiegman that authorized that. Correct? Would one of you like to answer me please?
Trustee Leo Wiegman: “I think that I would like to tell the mayor that, I think that if there was a vote taken, I didn’t cast a ballot. There was no vote taken.”
Trustee Ann Gallelli: “There was no vote taken.”
Trustee Charlie Kane: “There was no vote.”
Trustee Leo Wiegman: “I don’t know why you sat there was.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “It was indicated by a consensus that that’s what we were doing. So.”
Richard Pellicci: “Oh, so there was no vote taken so it’s not going to happen then.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “No, it’s happening.”
Trustee Ann Gallelli: “There was a consensus.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “It’s a consensus to move forward on those two tracks.”
Richard Pellicci: “What, what. You know, I am so, you know eight years of my life. I’m, it’s been the last two weekends I’m crawling around my hand and knees in this village weeding plots around this place to make it presentable and you three are going to welcome garbage back in. I know you are. Why don’t you just tell the public, fess up to— Get, get, get that camera off of me. I do not want to be on that idiotic blog. Put it on them. I’m serious. Answer me! What is going on? Ms. Gallelli please answer me!
Trustee Ann Gallelli: “This is an opportunity for citizens to talk to the board and we are listening. I have nothing further to say. The mayor stated exactly what happened—excepts there was no formal vote.”
Richard Pellicci: “Well, well Rick. What are you going to talk to them about?”
Village Manager Rick Herbek: “Ah, as the mayor indicated—it’s a listening session and—“
Richard Pellicci: “Why would anyone listen to them? Listen to them about what? That they want to bring garbage into Croton?
Trustee Thomas Brennan: “Rich, there was a consensus. A 3-2 consensus that—“
Richard Pellicci: “Well and I that a wonder who the 3-2 was. Why don’t you just say who it was? ”
Trustee Thomas Brennan: “There was a 3-2 consensus that Regus—“
Richard Pellicci: “Do you find it funny Leo?”
Trustee Thomas Brennan: “—that Andreas Gruson would be welcomed in to talk with Mr. Gerrard and Rick and there was a consensus by the majority of the board that listening to their options could be viable moving forward. I didn’t happen to agree with it—“
Richard Pellicci: “Moving backwards.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “It, its what the consensus of the board is at this time and that’s—“
Richard Pellicci: “Isn’t that just peachy. You find it funny Leo, don’t you? Whay are you always laughing?”
Trustee Leo Wiegman: “I’m listening Richard.”
Richard Pellicci: “You know, if, if you know we’ve been fighting this for eight years and if you think that we’re going away, you are oh so wrong. I am telling you. Because it, its just not gonna happen. I am telling you its just not gonna happen in this village again. You may have the vote, but if I have to go walking around this village and knock on every door again and get signatures again—its gonna happen. Leo. I’m telling you. You smirk one more time. I’m serious. Stop with the smirking.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Okay.”
Richard Pellicci: “I’m sorry. My temper just got the best of me tonight.”
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “I, I, I would hope that we could all keep calm—“
Richard Pellicci: “It’s very difficult. Eight years [crosstalk]—“
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “—and I know the frustration with all of this but ah, ah we need to maintain some degree of calm.”
* Text corrected here