At the village board meeting on January 29, 2008, current Village Treasurer Abraham Zambrano was named Interim Village Manager following the surprise resignation of longtime Village Manager Richard Herbek. Mr. Zambrano is expected to fill the posts of village treasurer and manager until March 28, 2008. What happens after that date has not been made clear, other than that after that date, Mr. Zambrano becomes Acting Village Manager. What is most peculiar is that no one is asking any questions about this peculiar and self-perpetuating line of succession. Or what happens next.
At the coming village board meeting on Tuesday evening, February 19, at 8:00 p.m., a resolution will be introduced retroactively raising the salary of Village Treasurer Abraham Zambrano by $35,000 from $125,318 to $160,318. This would put Mr. Zambrano’s salary for managing a tiny village very close to Andy Spano’s annual income of $160,760 for managing the entire county of Westchester—a difference of only $442, to be exact. According to our sources, the resolution was authored by Mr. Zambrano.
In short, for managing Croton with an annual budget of 14 million, Mr. Zambrano would be getting nearly as much as Andy Spano gets for managing Westchester County and its annual budget of $1.7 billion (actual amount: $1,702,848,487). Thus, although Westchester’s budget is 121 times the size of Croton’s, their salaries will be almost the same. Something’s very much out of whack here in Croton.
There are several aspects of this deal that are particularly odoriferous. First, Mr. Zambrano has never exhibited any masterly managerial qualities in his role as treasurer. In fact, it will be recalled, he has shown himself only to be little more than an unimaginative, plodding, green eyeshade bookkeeper who pleases the mayor by not making waves. We know him as the admitted author of the scheme that sent inflated phony water bills to village residents. Intended to scare them into installing remote water meters, his scam miscarried and made Croton the laughingstock of the nation. The Zambrano-generated imbroglio caused victimized residents to set up such a howl, it became a national scandal from coast to coast after the Associated Press picked up the story (from ABC 7online.com).
Now we are led to believe that Mr. Zambrano has so much managerial talent he can do two high-level jobs without breaking into a sweat. This is indeed curious since we were given to understand that Richard Herbek was a veritable workhorse who put in 16- to 18-hour days. One cannot be blamed for thinking that there cannot be much to Mr. Zambrano’s job as treasurer if he can now be both village treasurer and village manager without batting an eyelash.
Complicating the growing belief that something is rotten in Denmark other than overripe Havarti cheese is the fact that the village has created no search committee to find a candidate to fill Mr. Herbek’s shoes. Rumors are flying that hint of a palace coup of unbelievable Machiavellian craftiness—all hinging on the outcome of the upcoming election. Stay tuned.