In 2013 “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct” …. to Hell – Charles Dickens
The Rockland County Times reports that an honorable Democrat, Stony Point’s incumbent supervisor, Geoff Finn, has decided to call it quits after only two two-year terms in office, in spite of likely facing a free ride in November’s election due to his high popularity.
Finn told the Rockland County Times that after 10 years in government and four years as supervisor he’s “tired” and “beaten” and it’s time for him to focus on his family first.
“I’m doing this for myself, you can call it selfish if you want…I love my town” but he quipped, “sometimes 10 years in [politics] can make you sick.”
Finn would not single out any particular adversary or issue as sparking his decision to leave, but repeatedly implied he was frustrated by politics. “It’s not supposed to be about politics. A lot of people get into these positions and make it about politics,” he said.
In early 2013 several residents of Ckarkstown ask for an audit connected to Supervisor Gromack’s hiring of the since convicted felon, ex-Bronx GOP Chairman, Jay Savino, to do the Town’s tax cert work. Several citizens of Clarkstown were asking, on behalf of their fellow citizens, if the fix was in to hire the Bronx Republican at any price. Was the selection process rigged to justify his retention? Why was he hired behind closed doors and then fired behind closed doors after his arrest by the FBI?
The law firm (Feerick, Lynch, MacCartney) was assisting the group ‘Clarkstown Residents Opposing Patronage’ in questioning Supervisor Gromack in public meetings of the Town Board about Jay Savino’s hiring when we were informed that Supervisor Gromack had improperly called one of its clients and had stated that the “gloves were now coming off” against “those taxpayers”. This implied that a message was being sent to our law firm through the Town of Stony Point that it would suffer consequences for representing us since Supervisor Gromack accompanied his remarks to Supervisor Finn using the words “those taxpayers”.
This conduct by Supervisor Gromack in speaking to another client of our law firm in this manner about its representation of our group caused us to state in 2013 that Gromack had chosen a path, and exhibited behavior, that could not be tolerated from an elected official. We therefore called for Supervisor Gromack’s resignation since he had escalated a simple audit request by three citizens of the Town of Clarkstown’s hiring practices into what became a regrettable demonstration of political arm twisting of Supervisor Finn. We asked why Supervisor Gromack was so desperate to avoid questions about Savino by an independent and open investigation of the procedures being followed by the Town Attorney’s office that he employed a campaign of derogation against three citizens of Clarkstown and their law firm while using strong-arm tactics against a fellow Town Supervisor. Now we know it was because he had agreed to hire Savino as a political favor to the recently removed Chairman of the Republican Party, Vinnie Reda and the now incarcerated Frank Sparaco.
Gromack’s call to Finn was a Draconian measure cavalierly advanced but we now know that one Supervisor, Geoff Finn, had the courage to stand up for the principles of open and honest government. Gromack was later forced to address his call to Finn with a press release in which he stated: “I told him (Finn) that if Clarkstown was ‘forced to defend’ the work performed by its deputy town attorneys and the salaries paid to them, we would in turn be ‘required to compare’ their performance and salaries to their counterparts in the other Rockland County Towns”.
Supervisor Gromack could have saved Clarkstown the price of this call since an outside external auditing firm would have automatically looked at comparable Towns to see if the practices of Clarkstown were ‘normal and usual’ and that ‘best practices’ were being followed. That is a standard practice in private industry!
Councilwoman Hausner stated at the time: “Two years ago I was the sole ‘No’ vote on the hiring of the firm of Jay Savino. At the time I had concerns with the process, and the lack of Rockland firms considered …. Initially I had some concerns of his character …… Moving forward we need to firm up our RFP process …. I believe we need to have a more formalized process.”
This stated the case succinctly for an audit of the Town Attorney’s office. There were ‘concerns with the process’ – ‘concerns about Savino’s character’ and the Town needed to ‘firm up its Request for Proposal process’.
What has happened since? – Nothing – The Town still needs ‘to have a more formalized RFP process’ as investigations presently underway may shortly illustrate why.
Further, we found out in 2015 that Gromack stated the appointment of Mr. Savino was “advocated for” by the ex-Rockland County GOP Chairman, Vinnie Reda and his puppet, the ex-County Legislator Frank Sparaco. The Supervisor and the Town Attorney had thus misled if not downright lied to the citizens of Clarkstown who were questioning their actions two years before.
In Supervisor Gromack’s Press Release following his refusal to conduct an audit he referred to his action in calling a fellow Supervisor as a “courtesy call”. If that was the political definition in 2013 of a ‘courtesy call’ from the Town of Clarkstown’s Supervisor then one wonders how many ‘horses’ heads’ followed and how many other principled people have left office disgusted with Rockland County’s political Hell?