Timeline accountability

To the Editor:

Last night I attended to Board of Trustees meeting, which discussion revolved around, primarily, of course, St Pauls. Without suggesting whether I favor one option over another, I observe that almost no discussion about St Pauls takes place without referencing that this has been a 30 year problem so taking a few extra months is “sensibly cautious”. The constant reference to the 30 years is completely irrelevant to addressing this on a forward-going basis.  If my doctor tells me that I have had problem for 30 years that is passingly noteworthy but does nothing to cure me. My interest is in addressing the problem, NOT dwelling, and in the case of St Pauls seeking refuge, in the fact that this cancer has hung over Garden City for so many years.

I encourage everyone to stop invoking the failure(s) of the past 30 years for framing this issue today and instead focus on determining course(s) of action to address the situation. Larry Marciano correctly asked “what tools do you need to get us to a timeline?” No one was able to provide a definitive answer. Instead, we got excuses and finger pointing. This would be unacceptable in every other conceivable scenario. Yes, the volunteers are volunteers. But they also have an obligation regarding what they agreed to undertake.

The committees were formed more than 10 months ago. Initially I participated on the Programs and Uses Committee; my first meeting was during Dec 2021. The other committees were formed at the same time. Here we are ten months down the road and what do we have to show for it ? Perhaps an example of why we have no tangible progress or information to digest is on view when we learn that of the three renovation cost RFP’s that were sent out, two of them were discounted because they went to firms that do not specialize in working on historical buildings. So now, however many months later, the Village has to send RPF’s out to several other firms.  With this keystone cops approach to St. Paul’s, it looks like the promised community vote will continue to be kicked down the road.

Further, we were, for the first time, informed that, in fact, the Village cannot hold a Village-wide ‘referendum’ because the BOT does not have the authority to cede its decision-making on this to the community. I looked this up when I got home and my shallow dive yielded that because NY is a non-referendum state, this statement by the Village attorney appears to be correct. This means that the most financially significant decision in Village history is in the hands of eight people and NOT to be determined by a Village-wide consensus. THAT is quite the revelation! If there is ever a community vote, will it be of substance or merely window-dressing without the teeth of self-determination? It is more than astounding that this element is only now being mentioned…

In business, academics, government, etc. nothing happens without a timeline – even when an initial timeline must be amended, at least there is the sense of an obligation to respond timely. Several people last night urged accountability regarding a deadline – I couldn’t agree more.

Jack Hartog


One response to “Timeline accountability”

  1. Donald MacLeod says:

    The 8 BOT members cannot be legally bound to follow a vote and referendum blindly. However, they each can say, “I, in my wisdom, will defer my judgement to the residents” and follow their vote. Are they legally bound, no. Are they morally bound, yes. Only a lawyer, particularly one that has failed our village so greatly in his past service in Garden City, not recognize that difference.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.