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Mam'k Village Election Results Are In

A swearing-in ceremony for three new trustees on the Village of Mamaroneck board was postponed until certified election results are available.

Update: 12/6 - 

Final results from the Westchester County BOE for the VOM

Village Justice:

Daniel J. Gallagher – 3,957

Jennifer Bienstock Cohen – 2,684

 

Village Trustee:

Andre B. Hallstrom – 3,348

Ilissa Miller – 3,574

Leon A Potok – 3,411

Dennis Cucinella – 3,016

George J. Belsito – 2,950

Michael J. Sudano – 3,199

 

Update: 12/5 - 4:20 p.m.

Election results for the VOM may be available as early as tonight, said Doug Colety, the GOP commissioner for the Westchester County BOE and Republican Party Chairman.

"We are focusing on the VOM now right now and fast-tracking it," he said.

Although the BOE website shows that all 15 districts have reported their results, Colety said that those only reflect the machine counts and not absentee ballots.

The delay in obtaining final certification for election results may have been due to the effects from Hurricane Sandy.

"Governor Cuomo ordered us to take ballots from every county due to Sandy," he said.

Update: 12/5 - The email below was sent from VOM Attorney Charles Goldberger to VOM Trustee John Hofstetter today at 1:29 p.m. 

Rich and I spent a considerable amount of time on Monday trying to get the Westchester County Board of Elections to issue a letter certifying the recent election results in the Village.  They refused to do so because of uncounted absentee and/or affidavit ballots, notwithstanding the fact that there are not enough of those ballots to alter the results that have been already been announced.  
 
In view of the position taken by the Board of Elections and their refusal to certify the results, it was my opinion that we could not have the new Trustees sign their oath of office.  It was also my opinion that it would be foolish to have them take part in the ceremonial activities at the Board meeting before they were officially certified.  Therefore the organizational meeting was put over for one week.  I believe all parties were notified as soon as we learned that the Board of Elections would not be able to certify the results by the end of business on Monday.  Since the new Trustees are not sworn in, the current Trustees, yourself, Sid and Tony remain as Trustees with full power to act in their capacity.  To my knowledge nobody suggested that the existing Trustees had any "limited powers".
 
The issue with respect to Judge Gallagher was quite different. Local justices are specifically prohibited from serving after their term of office has expired.  Hence, Judge Gallagher could not serve as Village Justice after Monday night.  In fact he had a busy court calendar scheduled for Tuesday.  He communicated with me and we worked out a legal and satisfactory arrangement whereby the Mayor appointed him on an interim basis for a period of three weeks or less if the results were certified.  This procedure is specifically authorized by New York State Village Law Section 3-312 subdivision 3, which states "vacancies in offices caused other than by expiration of the terms thereof shall be filled by the Mayor .  .  .".  I determined that the failure of the Westchester County Board of Elections to certify the Mayor in the Village Justice contest created a vacancy caused by "other than by expiration of the terms .  .  .".  I so advised the Mayor and he made the emergency interim appointment.  Had this not been done Monday night, Judge Gallagher would have either had to cancel court on Tuesday or act in what could have been considered an illegal capacity as Village Justice.

I hope this will satisfactorily answer your questions.
 
Very truly yours,
 
Charles Goldberger

An organizational meeting scheduled for tonight in the Village of Mamaroneck (VOM) in which members of the newly elected board of trustees were to be sworn into office, has been postponed, according to an notice sent out this afternoon.

Although the Board of Election (BOE) website shows that 100 percent of the 15 district's results were reported, results have not yet been certified.  Unofficial results from the BOE indicate that Andre Bermudez Hallstrom (D), Ilissa Miller (D) and Leon Potok (D) have garnered enough votes to win the three trustee seats on the VOM board.

"There's not a doubt in my mind that any number will change," said VOM Mayor Norm Rosenblum, who said the BOE predicits that certified results should be available by Friday. 

The organizational meeting has been rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 10 at 7:15 in the VOM Courtroom.

It is unknown what caused the delay in producing certified results.  A call to BOE officials had not been returned by press time.

Editor's Note: Final results were certified by the BOE on Dec. 6.  The headline and article have been updated to reflect this information.

LifeLongResident December 04, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Hi Stefani, I am even more confused. Nobody seems to know what is going on. I think the person who said the attorney should be asked is onto something. I agree that this is an important question, you never know what is going to happen. I just went through the worst month of my life with Sandy, I think the board had a emergency meeting then and took some actions. What if this drags on and we have a giant snow storm and nobody knows who is in charge?
SRT December 04, 2012 at 08:01 PM
The other question comes up is that, when and who appointed judge gallagher to his interim term? Did the trustees meet to do that? I didn't see any notice of a meeting and I don't know if they can legally do that without meeting. Somebody needs to get a handle on this.
Stefani Kim December 04, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Hi All, I believe the village attorney was consulted with regard to the statement Mayor Rosenblum made. Since this is a special circumstance (i.e. certified election results not available in a timely fashion), I'm unsure if the normal laws apply for when new trustees take office. The Board of Elections has not responded to my requests for comment. I will look into this further and let you know what I discover. Best, Stefani
MARY December 04, 2012 at 11:57 PM
SRT (aka Treeman) expresses his two cents. Remember he was the one that went to the BOT meetings for 10 years to complain about the flooding on Pine Street. When the board took action this past year to fix the problem and that they did, he went to court and is suing the Village that he owns Pine Street. Now the village has to use tax payers money to defend this most bizarre behavior by Stuart. Look at the video from the BOT meetings and listen to him and the Doc say "No tax payers money to fix Pine Street. So I can only say his comments here are pure speculation and not the true facts!!!
SRT December 05, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Hi Mary, How are you? thanks for your comment. Doc and I only asked that the Village follow the law regarding Pine St.. Here, again, I have simply raised questions about what the law is, and there appears to be some confusion. Aren't you concerned about who is in charge of the Village and whether the Village is acting legally? The words Stefani attributes to the Mayor don't make sense when you read the law and understand elective politics, he may be right but I don't think so. Stefani says that she THINKS the Mayor talked to the Village attorney before making his statements. I have my doubts. Charlie Goldberger is a smart, experienced attorney, I doubt he would say that "Gallagher has been appointed an interim judge". Our judges are ELECTED not APPOINTED. While the Mayor might like to be able to appoint judges, the LAW says differently. You have lived in the Village a long time, you surely remember how costly it has been for taxpayers when our officials don't follow the law, day school case, day laborer case, MBYC, the cost are in the millions. Why can't we just follow the law? Unfortunately, I think the past three years of the Village acting cavalierly regarding the law are coming home to roost. Here is another tragic tale that has resulted in the Village being sued. Read this and tell me your heart doesn't go out to these young parents. http://yonkerstribune.typepad.com/files/witt-complaint-final-12.3.12-_final_.pdf
Norman Rosenblum December 05, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Mary & SRT ... No need to guess..... The following is from a communication I sent to Judge Dan Gallagher... Judge Gallagher, In order that the Mamaroneck Village Court may proceed with regular business while the Village of Mamaroneck awaits the official results of the November 6, 2012 elections from the Westchester County Board of Elections, based on New York State Village Law, as Mayor, I hereby appoint you as an interim Justice for a period of three (3) weeks, or such lesser time that the November 6, 2012 election results are certified. Mayor Norman S. Rosenblum
Stefani Kim December 05, 2012 at 01:52 AM
SRT, The Larchmont Patch covered the case you reference earlier this year: http://larchmont.patch.com/articles/mamaroneck-family-still-displaced-by-irene-seeks-variance-from-village http://larchmont.patch.com/articles/more-potential-hurdles-for-displaced-mamaroneck-family
SRT December 05, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Norm, I just read through 4-400 of NY State Village law that outlines the duties and powers of the Mayor and I don't see the section that authorizes the Mayor to appoint interim Judges. Please let me know what section you are basing this on. Thanks
Allison December 05, 2012 at 01:20 PM
The post above on communication to Judge Gallagher by Mayor Rosenblum concerns me. Last time I checked the Justice position is one that is an ELECTED official and not an appointed official. When the position of judge is an elected official, how is it that a mayor can solely appoint an interim Justice? Where is this in law or even special circumstance that allows for such an action to occur? Also The question about the trustees above by LifeLongResident still has not been answered- Who's in charge now? Is it possible to nail down the answers to these questions Stefani?
LifeLongResident December 05, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Hi Allison, Except for a couple of years after college I have always lived in the Village and I am beginning to wonder what has become of the town I grew up in and love. I just read that lawsuit above, those poor people, how does this happen to people who tried to be good citizens and do the right thing at every turn. I t says that this happened to them because they were new to the village and didn't have connections. If this is true it makes me both sad and furious This village has been good to me, it should be good to everyone who lives here not just those like me who have been here all their lives. This thing about the election is just dumb. It is astounding that nobody seems to know what is going on. It gives me little confidence that we are in good hands and I like the Mayor.
Stefani Kim December 05, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Hi Allison, I'm looking into it. I'll post an update once I receive an answer. Best, Stefani
Stefani Kim December 05, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Hi All, Please see the following response from VOM Attorney Charles Goldberger posted above as an update to the article.
MARY December 05, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Stuart and Allison, I can guess that answered your question!!!!!! LOL But then again, I can only expect a response from both of you, being you know more then the V/M attorney LOL
Chief Siwanoy December 05, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Is it too much to ask that the Village of Mamaroneck obtain -and the Patch publish- a written explanation from the Board of Elections as to why it is unable to count the votes in a Village election in time to certify the results before the expiration of the terms of office of current office holders? The apparent incompetence and irresponsibility, bordering on arrogance, of the Board of Elections is breathtaking. What is going on here? Where's the outrage people?
SRT December 05, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Hi Chief, I do think that might be a lot to ask of the BOE! A past trustee told me that routinely the BOE would not have certifications done before the Organizational meeting but the Clerk-Treasurer would send a letter to the BOE saying that the Organizational meeting was coming up and we needed certification and the BOE would reply to the Village stating what the election results were and the meeting would move forward on that basis. If that is the case one has to ask why this year was different from all other years. Here is the section of the law that the attorney is referring to, 3-312 sub 3. 3. Vacancies in offices caused other than by expiration of the terms thereof shall be filled by the mayor, except the office of mayor which shall be filled by the board of trustees, to the extent and for the periods of time set forth herein: a. In appointive offices for the balance of unexpired terms continued below
SRT December 05, 2012 at 10:17 PM
b. In elective offices as follows: (1) If such vacancy occurs at least seventy-five days prior to the third Tuesday of the month preceding the end of the current official year, for the balance of such year. (2) If such vacancy occurs less than seventy-five days prior to the third Tuesday of the month preceding the end of the current official year, for the balance of the year and, if the term of office does not expire at the end of such year, by further appointment to the end of the next official year. Two questions occur to me, A. this WAS a vacancy created by the expiration of a term. B If this can be deemed a vacancy created by something other than the "expiration of the term" the law seems to provide that any appointment is to the end of this year, so there is no need for Judge Gallagher to come to the Organizational Meeting until 2013, he is the Judge until then. Seems like the 3 week thing was just made up. Have at it Mary!
Tom Murphy December 05, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I agree with the Chief on the BOE issue. The 2 Commissioners are the Chairs of the Democratic and the Republican parties in Westchester County. They are both more concerned with their own partisan interests then with running an efficent Board of Elections. In short they are party hacks installed in these position to subsidize their hackery. The Republican Chair actually owns a political consulting and mailing business that is used by most Republican county candidates. No conflict of interest there eh? The Chief is right, where is the outrage?? If we can't protect and ensure the integrity of our elections and the competency of those who manage it, all faith in the system breaks down. I have pointed this out on more then one occassion to the League of Women Voters but I have gotten no response. What is their function if not to help tip the scales toward fairness for the voters? I hate to qoute a manical, bloodthirsty dictator but Stalin said, "It doesn't matter who votes, it matters who counts the votes." Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
kathleen December 05, 2012 at 10:45 PM
why haven't the absentee ballots been counted?
SRT December 05, 2012 at 11:31 PM
"In short they are party hacks installed in these position to subsidize their hackery."
T Hall December 06, 2012 at 03:14 AM
hackery from the bakery
Allison December 06, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Good to see some clarification on this topic, thanks. Chief and Tom are right- where is the outrage people?
SRT December 06, 2012 at 02:48 PM
ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING REDUX http://www.facebook.com/mamaroneckdems Election results have been certified by the Westchester County Board of Elections, and the swearing-in of Judge Gallagher and the Democratic Trustees has been rescheduled. So without further ado ... We are pleased to invite you to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the Village of Mamaroneck Elected Trustees Andres Bermudez Hallstrom Ilissa Miller Leon Potok and Judge Dan Gallagher Monday, December 10, 2012 7:15 PM Village of Mamaroneck Courtroom 169 Mt. Pleasant Avenue A wine and cheese reception will follow the regularly scheduled meeting.
Alfred Kelly December 06, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Tell me that our Mayor didn't spell check his first comment. I am quoting verbatim from his post. "This effects all municipalites in the Westchester Cunty..." Really?
Stefani Kim December 06, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Hi all, The final results of the VOM election have been certified by the BOE. I have updated the article with the final numbers. Best, Stefani
Stefani Kim December 10, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Hi SRT, I'm not sure where you obtained your information, but I was told by the Doug Colety, the GOP commissioner for the Westchester County BOE and Republican Party Chairman, that the results were certified. I also received an email from his office (see above) with the reported results. Best, Stefani
SRT December 10, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Hi Stefani, I just found out from the Board of Elections that they have NOT certified the election results for the Village. I am not sure where you heard that they have, but this is why we should all live by Reagan's maxim "Trust but verify.", especially journalists.
SRT December 10, 2012 at 11:56 PM
, Hi Stefani My info is from the BOE. I don't see the email with the results above that you reference. Is that the one from Goldberger? I believe that normally certification is done by letter, not email.. If there is a certification maybe you can get a copy and put it up.
Stefani Kim December 11, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Yes, but who specifically gave you that information? I received the numbers in an email directly from the commissioner's office.
SRT December 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Stefani, The numbers are the numbers, they are not a certification. As a journalist, I would guess that if you ask the BOE or the Village for a copy of the certification they will produce it if they have it. That would be a good thing for the Patch to do, the BOE could not produce one for me.
SRT December 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM
While there may be confusion about the official validation of the election results the three new trustees last night left no doubt about who the new majority on the Board is. It was refreshing to see a majority act as a majority and stand up to the Mayor's bullying behavior. The the Mayor quickly got the message that despite his hectoring the majority's will would not be denied. Kudos to Illissa, Andres and Leon for standing up and sticking to their principles in the face of the Mayor's unfair attacks on them. Clearly the tactics that the Mayor used to divide the past board will not work on these three. This can only serve Village residents well.

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