Opinion

In response to Mayor Donno's letter in the Feb. 5 edition of this paper, Mayor Donno chose personal attacks rather than to openly and honestly address the issues.

With regard to the selection of the new law firm, Mayor Donno's close friendship with the senior partner at Farrell Fritz was documented in a Letter to the Editor of this paper on April 2, 2004 (http://www.antonnews.com/manhassetpress/2004/04/02/opinion/).

Mayor Donno chose not to disclose this friendship to the board of trustees when they voted on the matter of changing law firms. The trustees voted two for and two against. Rather than be honest, and remove herself from the matter because of a conflict of interest, she cast the deciding vote to use the services of her friend's firm. This resulted in a drastic jump in legal expenses from $63,516 to $217,835. Mayor Donno admits that these matters have been around for a number of years, but these and other matters did not grossly impact our legal fees in those years under Mayor O'Malley. I question Mayor Donno's ethics and honesty in this matter, and wonder if her management of these fees was clouded by her friendship with the firm and contributions to her campaign.

In a case recently settled against a resident in this village, Mayor Donno received a $500 campaign donation from the opposing council. I have to ask if Mayor Donno disclosed this donation to the trustees when they were asked to agree on a settlement offer. I have to wonder why Mayor Donno accepted this contribution and even risked the question of improper ethics or poor judgment.

Was Mayor Donno honest with the residents of the village when she hastily called a meeting of the board of trustees on August 27, 2007, to quickly pass a $500,000 bond, a meeting held in secret with no actual notification of this meeting to the residents? Two trustees acted responsibly and abstained from voting in this forum. In two years this mayor has been in office she had three secret trustee meetings.

In the next few weeks Mayor Donno will endorse one of her campaign contributors for the position of trustee. This will be yet another example of Donno's "Pay to Play" attitude as mayor.

A little over two years ago there was a meeting at a fellow resident's home. A number of attendees felt that the village needed a change. We decided to listen to two potential candidates and jointly back one for mayor and the other for trustee. We heard the opinions and discussed issues with both Barbara Donno and Sal Miglio. The group decided to back Ms. Donno for mayor and Mr. Miglio for trustee.

We thought Ms. Donno had the village's interest at heart and that she could be trusted at her word. We were wrong. I worked hard to help her get elected. I was wrong. It was a mistake that I regret to this day. Mayor Donno proved to be bent on self-promotion with her own political and financial agenda. Many of her statements in that meeting, and subsequent mailings, have shown to be false statements and hollow promises. Last year two incumbent trustees retired from the board. Was it because they no longer wanted to dedicate their time to improving the quality of life in the village or because they wanted no part of Mayor Donno's administration?

Mayor Donno asked what I would do differently. I would:

Improve the quality of our roads and infrastructure. This has been a disaster for the past two years. You can tell when you cross the border into Plandome Manor by the potholes, the poor signage, the worn lane markings, and the general lack of maintenance. Over two years ago a study was done to 'quiet traffic' on North Plandome Road. The study documented 34 major accidents over a 36-month period. This included head-on collisions, cars running off the road, and other mishaps. To date, Mayor Donno has blocked any improvements. In general, we need to leverage state grants and 'CHIPs' funds to help finance work on our infrastructure. Little has been done in this regard. We need to work with other neighboring villages to share the cost of repair of jointly owned roads. This has been totally ignored.

Make the code enforcement function accountable to the trustees, not to the mayor. This position is being used to attack residents that are on the wrong side of the mayor, and ignore the mayor's friends.

Engage a competent law firm that will not bankrupt the village nor be able to get away with extravagant charges because of side relationships with the mayor.

Scrutinize every expense. With today's economic conditions, we can't afford a village government with little accountability on spending.

Communicate more openly and often with the residents of the village. Right now the mayor's yearly message is more marketing than reality. The residents deserve to hear the truth, not the mayor's self promotion.

Move the village office back to the village. It is ridiculous that it is three villages away, and that we can have village employees who never step foot in the village.

Look into every possible way to improve services for the village while reducing costs. Favored relationships with friends of elected officials are unethical and have no place in our village government.

We need to improve the results of this village government, while at the same time reducing cost. The residents of Plandome Manor deserve better than they have been getting for the past two years.

Mayor Donno has repeatedly demonstrated that she is interested in promoting her personal ambitions and those of her friends rather than work towards the best interests of the residents of Plandome Manor. Residents need to question the verity of her statements.

Richard Rupp

Resident of Plandome Manor


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