Represents all residents

To the Editor:

I agree with the first line of Judy Courtney’s June 16, 2022 letter that “a Village Trustee’s role is interacting with residents – all residents”.  However, I take umbrage and offence to all in her letter that follows. Attendance at a POA is not a litmus test on what makes a good trustee. Nor is attendance at a POA meeting a criteria set forth in the NYS Village Law, which governs the conduct of the Village officials.

Why she felt the need to air her irritation in public, clearly reveals her true intent and limited view of the present day alternate methods that exist in communicating with residents. A lot has changed since I was a Trustee 20 years ago when attendance at a POA meeting, which was normally very well attended by 30-40 residents. That was then, this is now.

Today information is obtained in many different formats. Board meetings are on ZOOM. Each Trustee has an email address to communicate with residents. The BOT has conducted numerous MEET and GREETS to interface with residents. The Mayor has encouraged resident participation at Board Meetings and responses are given to resident questions. He established numerous committees, comprised of residents from the entire village. Their role is to gather resident input and utilize resident energies and expertise to address the issues that confront the village.

I am specifically offended by her contention that the Village has a separate and distinct class of “POA residents”. This statement is disingenuous in the extreme. Each  Trustee took an oath of office to represent to the best of their ability the entire Village. Her equating a Trustee not attending a POA meeting, in particular Deputy Mayor O’Brien and Trustee Marciano as a dereliction of responsibility is without merit. It is so clearly partisan that in response I question the sincerity of her letter – ‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much’

She must clearly acknowledge that her letter was a veiled attempt to promote her agenda. Neither the words nor intent of her letter had anything to do with recognizing the time, efforts, competence and dedication Deputy Mayor O’Brien and Trustee Marciano have brought to their position in making the Village a better place. I believe each should be commended and not subjected to petty unfounded criticism.

Bruce A. Torino, Esq.

23 responses to “Represents all residents”

  1. Wow, so Judy, a long time resident who has volunteered for years in our village, has shown her love for our village over and over again and a women has the nerve to voice her opinion publicly in the GC News. It is not enough to disagree with her but Trustee Torino has decided to go beyond that and to publicly attempt to demean her opinion to the entire community. Is this what our village has become? Trustee Torino, this needless letter is an embarrassment for you and the board of trustees. THIS is a new low. I guess all women should just stay in their place from now on according to you.

  2. Excellent letter, Trustee Torino.

  3. It is very disappointing that one of our village trustees would respond to the concerns of a resident in such a condescending manner. Ms. Courtney was expressing her disappointment that the two trustees from the Eastern section would not return attend meetings or contribute to a long standing newsletter. In addition, she noted that emails were being ignored. To call her concerns “petty” and questioning her “sincerity” is very insulting. His statement that “‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much’” is also concerning.

    While Mr. MacLeod respectfully disagrees with Ms. Courtney in today’s paper, he has rightly points out that Ms. Courtney has volunteered and contributed so much to the village. The tone and tenor of this letter is completely inappropriate and it warrants an apology from Trustee Torino.

    • Steve Ilardi says:

      Excellent comment, Mr. Catalano.

    • JC is not simply a resident. She is a longtime POA leader and was a candidate for office in opposition to Mr. Torino and other FABGC candidates this past election. The smelling salt and pearl-clutching here is a bit much. Let’s all consider, despite some good works here or there, are the POAs continuing to literally divide our community? Is that a good thing?

  4. In defense of Trustee Torino, not that he needs any, it is important to review Judy’s original letter. Besides unintentionally misstating some facts (“most Trustees simply wont work with POAs or THEIR RESIDENT MEMBERS”…….I believe Ms Courtney really means attend POA meetings and “report”), not once did Ms. Courtney acknowledge that FABGC members or the FABGC Trustees have contributed to the Village in any positive manner. Not once. Nothing. Nada.

    I believe it is not unreasonable for Trustee O’Brien, who she criticizes, or Trustee Torino, both who worked endlessly on the Mayor’s Fire Committee after a terrible tragedy to make our Village safer, to feel that a difference of opinion on how the Village should be run is being equated with a lack of genuine concern or effort on behalf of certain dues-paying residents.

    Speaking for myself, I personally don’t believe the Village should be delineated by sections any longer, esp when the POAs have not even bothered to re-district and the East POA, because of all the CAP BOT approved developement (Doubleday Apartments and now 555 Stewart Ave) is probably going to be 5 or 6 times the population of the Central POA. So much for the “equal representation” enshirined in our Constitution. In fact, I will go further, I think this focus on “sectionalism” is counterproductive, and creates a “by-stander effect”. The 555 Stewart Avenue disaster was not an Eastern POA issue, it was a Village issue. The Monster Poles should not have been an Estates issue, it should have been a Village issue. Instead, residents in other sections say “oh, that’s an Estates POA issue” without even realizing that the Estates POA was providing no support to those most affected by the Monster Poles. The potential introduction of apartment buildings on the Cathedral property is not a Central issue, it is a Village issue. Water is not a well by well issue, it is a Village issue. St. Paul’s is not a Central issue, it is a Village issue. Some of us, not the majority I’ll grant, just feel this emphasis on sectionalism keeps the Village from addressing big issues successfully. I don’t for the life of me understand why the POAs continue to divide the Village. The POAs have neither the manpower, expertise, or legal taxing power to address anything larger than a pothole.

    I for one, in light of Ms. Courtney’s letter, understand Trustee Torino’s slight tone of exasperation. I have no “concern” with his quote of Shakespeare.

    • I would again, like to emphasize how much I believe that Ms. Courtney’s volunteerism is an example to us all.

    • Outstanding post, Don. The emphasis on sections is a relic of the past and causes resentment as we see with the emphasis on traffic issues on the “numbered streets”.

      • That the POAs have anything to do with Traffic, a life and death function of the Village, requiring expertise and enormous data crunching capabilities, is ridiculous.

    • So let me get this straight, you defend Mr. Torino’s inappropriate letter by writing a broad brush attack on the POAs and the dedicated volunteers who commit their time to make our village work better? There are so many misleading statements in your short post.

      While the population of the village varies by section, you are absolutely wrong about “5 or 6 times” based on the analysis I have done. Your Village Governance Committee should have the real facts as you consider any changes to our governance structure.

      This argument against sectionalism is misplaced. The 8 trustees have always considered what was best for the entire village. In the case of the MTA matter, all of the supporting trustees of the MTA litigation were outside of the Estates section.

      The decision on 555 Stewart Ave was discussed for endless months if not years by the entire board, it was not considered just an Eastern issue – it was always a Garden City issue.

      Water is always a village-wide issue. You simply never attended board meetings prior to 2019 to know the real facts as to how the board addressed village issues.

      There are some issues that are sectional that the POAs have strived to bring those to the attention of the BOT so changes can be made for the better. That might have included the need for a stop sign and to highlight increases in speeding in the village. This advocacy is finally bearing fruit with the traffic studies that will cover the entire village. The POAs were never in charge of “traffic” as you falsely allege – that is role for the police and village administration.

      The POAs are not dividing the village – it is the opposite, we always seek to unite the village and are striving to eliminate divisive political campaigns (i.e., our new open primary process). As I said before, you should re-read Ms. Courtney’s letter – it’s about Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Marciano better engaging and communicating with the POAs.

  5. This is absolutely wrong to try and change the narrative of this letter. This letter was a pompous, obnoxious, belittling and sexist response to a women who has served more time volunteering in this village then 99% of the residents. There is absolutely no justification that any person, especially a trustee who supposedly represents her and all residents in the village, to respond to a letter where she voiced her opinion. If you do not see that then I suggest you take some HR classes about respect for women and treating them with the same respect that any man would receive. This is just disgraceful.

    • Agreed. 100%.

    • Ryan Torino says:

      “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle’s guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark.

      • Also from Wikepedia:

        “Later usage

        The line’s allusion to Gertrude’s (lack of) fidelity to her husband has become a cliché of sexually fickle womanhood and a shorthand expression conveying doubt in a person’s truthfulness, even when the subject is male. It is commonly used to imply that someone who denies something very strongly is hiding the truth; however, in the play, “protest” has the older meaning of “insist (that something is true), vow,” not “deny.” It is often shortened to “[X] protest[s] too much”, or misquoted with methinks at the beginning, as in “methinks the lady doth protest too much”.

        I seriously doubt Trustee Torino would have used this phase if the writer of the letter was male. While I do not think Trustee Torino intended in anyway to be “sexist” in his response to Ms. Courtney, the inclusion of this quote was inappropriate and unnecessary.

      • John Sullivan says:

        Somebody’s daddy needs a much thicker skin. Sexist at best.

  6. Doug Murphy says:

    Trustee Torino states in his letter “Each Trustee has an email address to communicate with residents.” Ms. Courtney wrote in her letter that Trustee O’Brien and Marciano “were contacted many, many times by the Editor of the newsletter, but they didn’t even have the courtesy of a reply to the emails. I myself wrote them both an email asking why they refused to write anything for the newsletter, but no reply, no explanation and no interest.”
    Not responding to emails is disrespectful, unprofessional and divisive. So please stop complaining about the POAs and clean up your own act!

  7. Am I the only person who finds it ironic that, aside from Ms. Ryan, every comment here (including the original letter and now my own comment) is from a man? Methinks the men doth protest too much.

  8. Me thinks that several of this responders attempting to justify this letter doth not think too much.

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