McGiff Goes Out Swinging

McGiff calls for Pontieri, Devlin and Krieger to recuse themselves from voting on any future Tritec matters due to campaign contributions.

Outgoing trustee Stephen McGiff took one last shot at Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri before leaving his position at Monday’s Patchogue Village Board of Trustees meeting.

The board meeting marked the end of McGiff’s eight-year tenure after in the much-contested Patchogue Village last week on the Residents First party.

McGiff called his time on the Village board a journey, and described his leaving as God’s way of telling him to spend more time with his family.

“It was eight years - it was a privilege and an honor to serve my home town,” McGiff told Patch Tuesday afternoon. “Eight years is a long time and I'm looking at this as an opportunity and I'm excited about devoting that time that I spent to the village with my family and my law firm.”

But before officially leaving office he motioned that Mayor Paul Pontieri, Dep. Mayor Jack Kreiger and trustee Lori Devlin not have votes in matters relating to the because of campaign donations they as the Patchogue 2012 party received from the company. Tom Ferb, who also ran with Pontieri, will be taking McGiff’s seat in April.

“Village code section 40 precludes a trustee voting on an application - anyone who contributed a material gift or money in the previous 24 months,” McGiff said. “Our rational was that Tritec gave their campaign at least $3,000 cash in addition to probably over $2,000 in advertising in the .”

The motion was seconded by trustee Gerard Crean, but the voting on the motion went 2-2 with Krieger and trustee Joseph Keyes voting against and one abstention, defeating the motion. After discussion with village attorney Brian Egan, the board discussed looking to the Town of Brookhaven’s ethics board but the motion to do that was also defeated with insufficient votes.

Pontieri told Patch Tuesday afternoon that Tritec’s campaign contributions to Patchogue 2012 were $3,000, and that a section of the Ethics code says that an allowable campaign contribution to a candidate should not exceed $1,000.

However, Pontieri also added that the $3,000 is actually labeled as being split among all four of the candidates on his party, which would bring it to $750 each.

“In ours it’s very clear 25 percent all the way down,” Pontieri said.

Egan told Patch Wednesday that as the documents indeed split the contribution underneath the legal limit for each of the candidates, that it will not need to be deferred to Brookhaven’s ethics board.

Michael Sorrentino contributed to this story.

Update March 29, 10:21 a.m.: Patch erroneously reported that the board decided to refer the matter to the Brookhaven Town Board of Ethics. Village Attorney Brian Egan clarified to Patch Thursday morning that the motion to do that was defeated in the meeting due to insufficient votes. The article has been updated to reflect this.

Richard Kemp April 03, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I agree it's time to give it serious thought. Here's one even better Long Island to become the 51'st State!! Allready discussed in detail by the Suffolk County Treasurer His name escapes me at the moment but he had looked into the many advantages to it this was several years ago publicly broadcast on channel 20 !!!!!!!!!!!!
Patchogue Snoop July 16, 2012 at 03:08 PM
What about all the free meals and tickets Gas Can Pontieri took from Tritec?
Joseph Adriano July 16, 2012 at 03:16 PM
The mayor is not still taking gas...is he? What about the credit card? He eats out a lot still with those developers but I'm not sure which is worse him charging up a storm on the taxpayer dime or allowing the developers to foot the bill for him which is against village code. What ever happened to that committee he wanted to start to review his ethics? Empty campaign rhetoric I suppose.
John Bogack July 16, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Joe, you are keeping me pretty busy today. The Mayor is not taking gas from any village gas pump. I believe he has also given up his credit card. If the Tritec executives are taking him out to dinner that could be happening. Whether that is an ethics violation is something that you or someone else who was interested would have to take up with the village ethics board. We are all waiting for the Comptrollers audit of the village to be completed and published to get an idea if any of those practices you refer to (i.e. gas pump usage)were violative of any laws. That report as per the Mayor at the last Board meeting is still some time off in the future and how fast it gets out to the public is in the hands of the Comptroller as per the Mayor. The state of the village ethics board is something you or any person so interested could ask the Mayor about directly by going to a meeting of the Board of Trustees and getting up and speaking to the Mayor face to face during the pubic portion of those meetings. You should ask him yourself.
Joseph Adriano July 16, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Sorry John but I work nights and most weekends sorry to bombard you. I can't go to night meetings but let me know if they are ever in the day. I meant some new committee the mayor said he was forming to review his behavior with the gas and credit cards. It never happened as far as I know. The old ethics committee is a joke as everyone says. The comptroller's office has to do with review of financial transactions not ethics violations. Village code says you can't take anything more than $25 from a developer. I think limo rides and trips and dinners cost a lot more than $25 don't you? Why would you need a comptroller's opinion on that?
John Bogack July 16, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Joe didn't mean to push but I like to remind people we still have something of a direct democracy in the village. Residents can still get up and ask questions and get answers but yes they do have to be on a schedule to do so. You are right about the issue of eating out. It would not be an issue covered by the Comptroller's report but I believe the issue of pumping gas from a village pump is an issue that the report should pay some attention to and there are related issues to that question too that the Comptroller's office is thought to be looking at. But until that report does come out we are all only guessing. I think that report will be helpful for a lot of people it is does address those issues. Let's hope so.
Joseph Adriano July 17, 2012 at 01:46 PM
John, one thing I will be looking for when the audit comes out is how much is missing in sewer hook up fees and from which businesses. We know about Lombardis but I'm betting dollars to donuts there is more missing. The state should audit the Village sewer annually to make sure the Mayor can't pull these shenanigans with his buddies the restaurant owners and the developers. This is even more important than pilfering gas or abusing credit cards in my opinion.
Richard Kemp July 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM
The N.Y. State Audit should prove interesting if tax payer money is used to finance dinners for anyone ,that has not been approved . I do remember that an audit some years ago did criticize former Village treasurer or financial official Jerry Noticito for having some type of dinners with the fire dept.That apparently were not included in the documments presented to be audited
Joseph Adriano July 20, 2012 at 05:33 PM
If the Mayor's meals were financed mostly by Tritec and others, the Audit probably won't cover that. Same if he took limos and Caribbean trips. That is an ethical issue. Whatever happened to that so called Policy Committee the Mayor talked about? The question is did the board have proper oversight of Village funds? Or was the Mayor making unilateral financial decisions and transactions without the Board? I'd also like to know about Capital Projects. Were they all properly bid out? We they within budget? Are proper controls in place to prevent stealing? These are the things that the Village's performance will be measured on for sure.
Richard Kemp July 21, 2012 at 01:31 AM
John and others: Sure you can go to these Trustee meetings and residents might be permitted to ask questions but don't be surprised to get an answer like "We will look into that" or "I'll take that under advisement" or "Why don't you arrange a meeting" these are some typical answers provided to questions just to blow you off and there is NEVER ANY FOLLOW UP AT ALL in other words it is a waste of my time.and you talk of a democracy in Patchogue Village...........
Richard Kemp July 21, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Joseph It has been said to me that projects expected to cost over $5G are to be put out for Public Bid,but at 380 Bay Ave, or the money pit the bidder who did get the contract for Doors and Windows also was handed a seperate check for the painting of brand new wood doors of $6G and change. The Architect specified new wood doors that were not even prime coated at the factory,so the painting project had to be done immediately to prevent weather from damaging the doors there also was some minor trim pieces to be painted As far as financial decisions it has been claimed by both S.Mcgiff and Gerry Crean that a $150G loan was made to the Art space project on Terry St.with out board approval
John Bogack July 21, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Democracy is hard work and does require a sense of hope. And there are no guarantees of anything. But it is the only system that we have and better than all the others.
Joseph Adriano July 23, 2012 at 06:34 PM
With all due respect John, why the generic platitude about democracy? I'm not sure what the purpose of your response is in the context of this discussion. Can you be more specific?
John Bogack July 23, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Joe that platitue you paid no respect to is a paraphasing of Winston Churchill's views on democracy. I understand that you work and can not be at tonight's trustees meeting but if you could you should be there as every other person who cares about issues regarding the village. Democracy is hard work because you have to go meetings to advocate. You do have to listen to any number of true explanations and maybe some stalling answers too. Not a perfect world. That said advocacy in a democratic society requires consistent follow up, and patience. It's work. It's not always rewarding but when it is things get done. Reality not a platitude.
Joseph Adriano July 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM
No disrespect to Mr. Churchill or yourself John. But Mr. Kemp was raising some very specific concerns and your answer to him was very generic and seemed even dismissive. I don't know if Mr. Kemp gets to meetings or not but he seems to know a lot. I think we should be able to count on our elected officials to represent our interests, follow Village and State laws, and make good on their campaign promises without watchdogs like yourself. But since it is not a "perfect world" thank God we have a few watchdogs like you to watch and advocate for those of us who cannot be at these meetings.
John Bogack July 23, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Joe no disrespect intended to anyone including Mr. Kemp who does get to go to trustee meetings alot. In one of my earlier posts I responded to an earlier comment from him challenging my belief in democracy. I sensed a defeatist attitude and there is so much apathy these days and lack of confidence in our elected officials that I just did not want to let that go by without a response. In Mr. Kemp's case the record is that he has called the Mayor a dictator time and time again. That may be what he truly feels and others may too. But in the real world would it be so surprising then that some of the issues he may be advocating for however otherwise worthy might not get the support they deserve? It happens and that's a consequence. I support the Mayor when he should be supported and ask for changes when I do not. But it would never cross my mind to insult him and then expect him to support something I wanted later on. At public meetings, or here on the Patch agreement is not always guranteed. But if we agree to disagree without demonizing the other person, well then I think we may actually get at least some of the solutions we all want because at least we are all still talking respectfully to one another. I did gloss over that before because I am not one to hurt anyone's feelings including yours or Mr. Kemps's. But you asked for somethng more specific and this time it seemed right to provide it.
Joseph Adriano July 23, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Understood John. I've heard the Mayor called a dictator, a crook and much worse. He does seem to think he is above reproach at times. Personally I don't like him or his style of governing (telling people what they want to hear and keeping everything quiet so no one know what is happening until it is too late) but we are stuck with him. He needs to grow a thicker skin and represent all his constituents....those that like him and those that don't. Look at the insults hurled at Obama every day. I should hope that he's still representing his dissenters. And God knows there are many. Thanks again for helping to advocate for residents on the many issues that we have here in Patchogue John.
Richard Kemp July 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM
John Your comments have now taken a personal attack against myself. I think it might be a good time for you and all your buddies to get out the dictionary and look up the words APATHY because you are way off scale.(1) lack of emotion- Do I have reasons to feel bad regarding the Village Board of Trustees and Clerk Seal and Attorney Eagan-excluding Mcgiff and Crean Never in my lifetime do I remember any sitting official to be accused of the things that so far remain unanswered.Never in my lifetime do I remember any Mayor taking out a full Page Statement in August of 2011 defending themselves.(2) Lack of Interest,listless condition,unconconcern, indifference are you serious??????????? the difference between you and I is I have expressed a great deal of concern regarding Village Matters particularly issues with noise permits,issues with the lack of the proper addressing of FOIL matters and related Appeals -No follow up by Attorney Eagan-no answer to date. This issue I raised at the Annual Budget Meeting and was turned down. LACK OF CONFIDENCE yes you are right about that every day that PATCHOGUE VILLAGE studies regarding parking meters is LOST REVENUE. which could and should be applied against our spiralling TAX BILL. And yes I have been involved with Patchogue Village Government since the days of Whitey. So that takes in the Keegan ,Ihne,and Pontieri Administrations. Just for your info I have resided in the same house my entire lifetime in Patchogue Village.
John Bogack July 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Mr. Kemp I think you need to go back and look at my comments. There are no personal attacks made against you in any of them. If you think there were please know that none were intended and I am sorry you feel that way. What I have done is try to hold you to some accountability just like you try to do. Just like I too have to respect as a standard for my comments and actions. Just like everyone actually. It is my feeling however that if you are going to attack some one in public office, your right to do so of course, the result could be negative. It's just the way it is in terms of human relations. Blaming others like me if that happens is just denial on your part.
Richard Kemp July 28, 2012 at 07:17 PM
John There is just no dealing with a person like you.You are a man of many words. But take forever and a day to get to the point. You support our Mayor and think that everything is rosy in Patchogue.You and Mrs.Miller have asked (in essence) to have something done regarding the noise levels lowered from the bars located near your homes,I too have complained regarding the noise comming from the bhb which is closer to my home. Trustee Ferb states that buisness owners are very co-operative with him with a few phone calls but there should be no reason for any phone calls. You ,Mrs. Miller and I have all complained,all to no avail. Attorney Eagan states that He drafted the noise law after investigating what laws exist in other towns and villages that obviously are not similar.
John Bogack July 28, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Richard I have to disagree once again with your view of things although on sound issues I believe we share the same concerns for effective enforcement. A few months ago I am proud to say a few riverfront residents including myself appealed to the Board for more effective enforcement of the existing noise codes. It was our own experiences that clubs were playing loudly and sometimes over the curfew hours. Over several months now clubs seem to have lowered decibel levels and gone off on schedule. Trustee Ferb has in fact reported a sharp drop off in calls to Code for these reasons. That does not mean that there has been perfect compliance. There are still incidents where residents are calling Code but what has been happening is that shortly before Code arrives the music stops, either loud music or off curfew amplified music. In those instances no tickets are issued but the end result is the same: the violation has stopped. I fully agree with you in one respect: our code has been drafted based on comparisons to Long Beach, Freeport and other localities that are not exactly similar to Patchogue Village with an end result that the village of Patchogue has one of the highest permitted decebil levels allowed and permits amplified music for long periods of time too. On weekends amplified music, with breaks, can occur for up to eight hour periods of time. It's a lot to impose on nearby residential areas like your home and mine. There has been progress, more is needed.
Richard Kemp July 29, 2012 at 02:10 PM
John: The issues that exist with amplified music are: 1.Decibel level of 70 is too high 2.Via your last message things get quiet mighty fast when the code people are on their way with meter in hand.What does this suggest to you???? Could the buisnesses creating the noise be tipped off???? I wonder how many tickets have been issued?? (Is that info under FOIL ???? If it is good luck trying to get it.) 3.Now that you mention enforcement the real issue is to get the decibel level lowered and this will only occur after a law is passed. I just hate it to go to these Trustee meetings when 3 people complain of an ongoing problem and everyone on the village board just does nothing.... 4. Just for your info this amplified music on main st.started when the bhb was first opened and the Mayor then was S.Keegan to help kick start a new buisness I had felt that after a year or two it would stop but now amplified music in Patchogue is almost rampant and endorsed by our Mayor and board of Trustees and what other board is involved. There is no more peaceful enjoyment of one's residential property. Just remember that you support our mayor and even you are unsuccessful in your efforts with this growing problem. I know of people that live in nice areas such as Yaphank or Wading River who just love to come to Patchogue for a few hours and then go back to their quiet peaceful homes ,when asked "How would you like to listen to this from April till November"
John Bogack July 29, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Richard on excess amplified outdoor music we share common ground. However I do not agree with you that the Board is willing to do nothing or that some progress has not been made. That said more needs to be done: for example lowering the decibel levels yes absolutely. But a problem long in the making does not get solved in a few months. In the meantime residents are reporting clubs are shutting off when they are supposed to. Residents are reporting their sense that noise has been lowered but that does not mean it is not loud, just legal under the code. Village officials are reporting a drop of noise complaint calls. This is evidence of change for the good. But people have to remain vigilant and persistant in seeking to quiet their neighborhoods to at least the legal limits for sound. The season is not over yet. For the record there is at the moment only one ticket of record. In early June the Off Key Tikki bar was cited for playing music on a Sunday in violation of the curfew limit. The matter has been adjourned twice now at the request of the Tikki bar lawyer. The next court date for that alleged violation is mid August. This is in my opinion two adjourments too many: justice has to be faster. Reaching judgements about violations late in the season, or even after the summer season has ended undermines protections the village law purports to give residents. This is no doubt going to be another area of needed reform in the months to come.
Joseph Adriano July 30, 2012 at 03:26 PM
John is it your opinion that these riverfront businesses are treated by the village with an even hand? Or do you think that some of these businesses get treated preferentially depending on their relationship with the Mayor? I've heard that the worst offender of the noise on the river gets less tickets than the TIkki bar does and that the Mayor and the Tikki owner have no love lost between them. Do you think there is equal enforcement of the code on the riverfront? I don't. I think the Mayor's friends get away with certain things that others do not. I see it on the river and also with Lombardi's.
John Bogack July 30, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Those are tough questions Joe. I will answer as best as I can. First at the present time I understand only one ticket has been issued and that ticket went to the Off Key Tikki bar for allegedly violating the curfew on a Sunday night in early June. Other clubs certainly has been warned for either loudness or curfew violations. As a member of the Patchogue Riverfront Residents group we have been getting calls about Code arriving at the Oar house for example, just last night, for a decibel level complaint with the club shutting its music down just as Code arrives: result no ticket but no more noise either. These kinds of incidents have been happening only recently. Coincidence or something else I can't say. But it would be hard to say that the Off Key Tikki bar has been singled out when only one ticket has been issued all told. Does the Mayor and the owner not get along? Probably: there is a whole history of conflict I can't describe in a short comment. All I can say is the the Planning and Zoning Boards both rejected the site plan for the club, the owner sued the village in reaction. Suing the village does not tend to make a friend of the Mayor particularly when he is named in the suit. Does the village otherwise govern with an even hand.? Well we will certainly see when the Dublin Deck shows up soon at the Planning Board looking for expansion approvals. It has some of the same issues as the Off Key Tikki. I think the same rules should apply to them equally.
Joseph Adriano July 30, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Agreed John. I wonder how DD got their certificate of occupancy in the first place when they never had a site plan approval from the Planning Board. My buddy told me they showed up and didn't like the line of questioning and never showed up again. Then somehow they got a C of O without showing up again. I see selective enforcement up and down the riverfront. It will also be interesting to see what happens with the Fatfish height variance too. I would love to talk to that building inspector Mr. Sarich one day to find out where he gets his marching orders on the riverfront. Thanks John.
Richard Kemp July 31, 2012 at 10:35 AM
To all: Just noticed yesterday that the village has now got a horse trailer being used by the highway dept. The ever increasing arsenal of equiptment is amazing in these tough times. And our financial wizard states that all depts.are being accountable and are on watch.. . The Village also owns a pickup truck that has been fitted with a custom style back. In the trades we used to refer to this type of truck as a plumbers truck.I wonder what will be the next addition (At taxpayer expense of course) Just remember that each and every vehicle owned by the village used or not used will require license plates and possibly insurance coverage. A trailer is not required to have insurance coverage because that is automatically provided by the vehicle towing the trailer...............
Joseph Adriano July 31, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Richard, is this equipment new? If so did the Trustees approve it at a recent meeting? It would be interesting to learn who the Village is purchasing all these vehicles from and whether they are getting multiple quotes from multiple suppliers. Did they ever research leasing equipment instead of purchasing it? The VOP spends an awful lot of money on equipment. I read that the last garbage truck cost over $100 thousand dollars. Have they done true cost analyses on these purchases? Judging from the financial track record of the Village....probably not.
jimmy murphy August 01, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Maybe they need a trailer to lug around all the corrupt mayor’s horse s--- !
Richard Kemp August 04, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Joseph : This horse trailer appeared in like new condition to me. As for the 4 garbage trucks the village owns I was told by the Village Treasurer they are valued at around $150 G each truck. Interestingly enough at one trustees meeting when I got the stock answer of "Why don't you make an appointment tommorrow and we can discuss your issues" I tried the following day to make an appointment to discuss matters and the Mayor responded to me with"Why don't you take a ride with me I am going to Muttontown" I declined the ride ,but if anyone knows anything about Muttontown there is no parking on most of the streets and there are many Horse farms in Muttontown.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something