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The Case of the Missing Contract, or Where Are Philo Vance, Sam Spade or Miss Marple When You Need Them?

July 25, 2006

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As magically as a resolution to authorize a new retainer agreement with former village attorney Marianne Stecich appeared on the board meeting agenda on Friday, July 21, 2006—it just as magically and mysteriously disappeared from the agenda without being read aloud to residents at the meeting by Village Manager Herbek on Monday evening, July 24, 2006.

Was this disappearance sleight of hand? An optical illusion worthy of Lance Burton or David Copperfield in Las Vegas? How come the resolution vanished? If it not magic, then what caused it to vanish so suddenly and mysteriously?

Was the resolution simply a formalized way for the village to pay Ms. Stecich for services rendered in connection with the recent brief she submitted to State Supreme Court Judge Francis Nicholai—€”after her official departure?

Why would Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt propose such a resolution on the very same night that new village attorney James Staudt was introduced and appeared on the dais for the first time (see: “Croton Board Selects New Attorney to Replace Marianne Stecich”)?

Why does Croton need another special counsel for matters related to 1A Croton Point Avenue when special counsel Michael Gerrard shares that responsibility with the village attorney?

And finally, why does Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt think it in the best interests of the village to spend $225.00 per hour for an attorney who opted not to renew her contract with the village and resigned (see: “Croton Village Attorney Marianne Stecich Makes it Official and Resigns as Counsel”)?

We know that it’s considered bad form to ask a magician to reveal how a feat of magic was performed. Nevertheless, Crotonblog is again compelled to ask the mayor, “What’s up, Doc?”

On July 26, 2006 10:04 AM, weewill said:

An important resolution authorizing the emergency purchase of a police boat was passed by a unanimous vote at this same meeting. It’s was gratifying to see the board united and standing together in their commitment to keep our shores free from vandalism, loud and offensive music, unruly groups, illegal fires and otherwise rampant disregard for our treasured rivers. And special thanks to our Police Department for taking on this additional responsibility.

Trustee Kane is to be particularly commended for initiating this focus on what has become a growing problem. Hopefully his forward-thinking formation of a Croton River Compact Committee, comprised of representatives from Croton, Ossining, New Castle and the Town of Cortlandt, will make great strides in alleviating this growing concern.

And as an aside, it was particularly rewarding to watch Trustee Brennan see the light and vote in favor of this emergency purchase. We readily recall his fierce opposition and severe criticism of the former board for emergency authorization to pay for work done on the digester at the former sewer plant site. It’s encouraging to hope that Trustee Brennan does indeed believe in emergency authorization when the need presents itself.

Georgianna Grant



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