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Letter: City Boards

Over the last several weeks, fliers and statements are being issued by the mayor’s political opposition. Their positions are made at meetings, in mailings they send to each residents, and the fliers they distribute at the local supermarkets. In many of their publications, they are complaining about the amount of time many of the volunteers have served on the City of Glen Cove’s not-for-profit boards. A specific complaint is that many of the members of the GC Industrial Development Agency and the GC Planning Board have been serving our community for many years. It has been professed on the handbills that there is an absolute term-limit that any one person may be allowed to volunteer on a committee.

I believe that all of the volunteers who have dedicated their free time and energy should be viewed as an asset. These men and women use their experience and perspective in an honest effort to serve our city. Yes, some members have been board members for many years. Yet, these experienced board members bring perspective and knowledge to the tasks for which they volunteer. No one has accused any board member of any inappropriate action. Instead, the complaint is on an alleged technical reading of the city charter. I have to note, they do not seem to have any issue with those longterm members of the GC Beautification Commission, the Morgan Park Summer Music Series Committee, or any other of the many City of Glen Cove volunteer boards.

The question that we should ask is not about the merits of the argument about the longevity of any volunteer on a city board. We should ask “What is the motivation behind these political handouts?” I am perturbed that under the guise of this mock issue, our hardworking Mayor’s political adversaries seem intent on replacing every volunteer on the city boards. These boards are currently staffed with non-partisan citizens. Who are the Mayor’s opponents considering replacing these board members with? Are they from a list of fund-raisers and donors?

At a Glen Cove City Council meeting, Mayor Ralph Suozzi was asked about the length of term of one of the IDA members who is running for City Council. The Mayor made clear his policy of not having political people on the Industrial Development Agency and on the Planning Board. I had a conversation with Martin Carmody, Mayor Suozzi’s new city council running mate. Carmody told me he will not be continuing his membership on the IDA next year. Because whether he wins or loses his bid for office, Carmody agreed with the mayor that the men and women who serve the City of Glen Cove on public boards should not have a political agenda - be it real or simply perceived. Government works best when people feel they may contribute to the process without being hindered by the view of any political party.

The most troubling part to me is the mayor’s opposition is not even hiding their hand. They openly tell everyone that they will be replacing all the long experienced board members with their own people. This is not a way to offer to run a city! Long service brings perspective. Public benefit agencies need to be apolitical. It seems to me that those who have thanklessly worked unpaid hours for the City of Glen Cove on city committees should not be a political football for politics as usual.

Lisa Dennis