Conflict of Interest, Patronage, Felix Festa Middle School Pool,
A Budget, No Answers… No Responses…
To: Editor Rockland Voice
From: Julie Globus
The Silence is Deafening Does corruption need to be grand in scope to draw the ire of those of us willing to pay attention and do something about it?
Last week I learned that the Clarkstown Central School District Board of Education, specifically the Facilities Use Committee, is going to examine the facilities to determine the Fair Market Value of each facility including the pool. You, Dear Reader can imagine that I was not shocked to find out that Trustee Carlucci, whose Condors Swim Club has the most to lose by any change in rates, sits on that committee, along with Dr. Chris Serra who has the most to lose if he fights against the current. If Trustee Carlucci’s interests were not conflicted before, this revelation certainly cannot be ignored. Town officials have been blasted for patronage, conflict of interest and fraudulent practices. Trustee Carlucci gets the honor of sitting on a committee, a benefit which will likely protect his interests. Have I got your attention yet? Is corruption on the School Board Level Any Different Than on the City Government Level?
It Should Come as No Surprise That There Has Been Radio Silence on the Part of the CCSD Board of Education and its Attorney.
Repeated emails and articles regarding the patronage, conflict of interest, closing of a school demanded by gross financial mismanagement, significant financial losses serving to benefit Trustee Carlucci have all gone ignored. Emails related to Policy changes which alter the status of the Condors in writing have gone unanswered. Were my inquiries of the BOE to be misguided and were my statements to be patently false, one would think I would have heard something already.
The Silence of the Board of Education and the District’s Attorney, Warren Berbit, Speaks Volumes.
Anyone with knowledge enough to shake the trees until the fruit falls remains silent, presumably for fear of retaliation. Consider Dr. Chris Serra, who has the unenviable task of analyzing Fair Market Value rates as a member of the Facilities Use Committee. Dr. Serra possesses a voice which could be louder than bombs, and a wealth of knowledge which could light a fuse. Despite legal protocols, Dr. Serra runs the risk of retaliation were he to finally strike a match, as seen in 2012 when he questioned Trustee Carlucci’s monopoly on the pool. Almost immediately complaints against him were levied by the Condors’ figurehead, J.P. Carlucci. Consider Trustee Chris Conti, the only Trustee on the Board of Education with the constitutional fortitude to speak out against the situation in Congers. He was almost immediately and spitefully condemned for a single act of ill-conceived mailing of a CCSD email to his personal email account. While I do not condone his actions, the response belied consistency. In 2012 Trustee Carlucci allowed the Condors’ coaches full and complete access to his personal email accounts allegedly containing thousands of CCSD emails. Despite a lawsuit involving those emails, and the involvement of CCSD attorney Warren Berbit which undoubtedly cost the district thousands, there was not a peep from the BOE punitively sanctioning Trustee Carlucci for even having those emails on his Robert Alan Agency and Condors Swim Club accessible computer system in the first place. To add insult to injury, Trustee Carlucci was recently the most scathing in his criticism of Trustee Conti.
The silence is deafening because words of truth by our CCSD district members with the strength of character to utter them are subjected to public pasquinade or vindictively condemned for so doing.
How does City level grossly politically corrupt behavior differ from that of Trustee members of a Board of Education? There can be no other conclusion than that the other Trustees have either silently complied or actively colluded by continuing to allow pool rates to be artificially deflated. They have either silently complied or actively colluded by permitting the Condors Swim Club to monopolize the pool, despite evidence that they don’t meet the policy requirements for preferred pool use and the grossly inadequate rates charged. The other Trustees have either silently complied or actively endorsed Trustee Carlucci by hiring coaches for the CCSD Swim Teams who are also Condors’ coaches, year after year, while either ignoring the application of, or damning those more qualified for that position at Trustee Carlucci’s behest. The other Trustees have either actively endorsed or silently supported the yearly financial losses incurred by the FFMS pool which would save the district tens of thousands but cost one of their own a portion of that instead.
Finally, and to spit in the faces of each and every Clarkstown taxpaying resident, the CCSD BOE appointed Trustee Carlucci to the Facilities Committee which is responsible for decididng the rates of all facilities, most notably the pool.
It is this last point that I find perhaps the most outrageous, a virtual f..u… to every single taxpaying resident of the District of Clarkstown.
How can it be that I and others have been questioning the fair market value rates of the pool and yet, it is Trustee Robert A. Carlucci who sits on the Facilities Use Committee, which determines those rates? How is it that he could have been appointed to that committee in 2014, on or around the same time as his conflict of interest on sitting on the Board of Education was raised, yet again? Can any “rates evaluation” really yield a credible result when Trustee Carlucci’s presence on that committee so clearly compromises those results? Is this not yet another example of political patronage? Is this not yet another example enabling Trustee Carlucci to further his own personal interests to the detriment of the entire CCSD community? And yet it is couched in “he will not vote on any actions related to the pool.” Would the SEC or FINRA accept this response in the hedge fund business?
Even if Trustee Carlucci were a Pillar of Integrity, His Interests Would Still be Conflicted.
Were Trustee Carlucci to have a modicum of appropriate decorum when it comes to the taxpayers of CCSD and even a negligible level of integrity, he would be the perfect person to determine the Fair Market Value Rates for use of the pool. Yet, he would still be deemed in conflict. In the SEC/FINRA world, he would not pass the smell test. I can almost guarantee you, Dear Reader, that the rates are not going to change very much, if at all, and CCSD taxpayers will still suffer losses; but it will be couched in very cleverly crafted language insulting our intelligence. Alternatively, it will be couched in appeasing my demands that CCSD taxpayers be given greater use of the pool.
Were Trustee Carlucci to be sitting on the school board for the sake of anything but his own self-interest, he would suggest pool rental fees consistent with what the Condors pays for use at Mark Twain in Yonkers and/or at Westchester Community College (both public institutions). We know better than that, as time has proven. Were Trustee Carlucci to be sitting on the Board of Education with even the remotest concern for Clarkstown Taxpayers, the Condors and other clubs would pay meet fees consistent with the amount paid at Mark Twain or Lehman College (part of the CUNY system) to run a meet out of their pool?
We know better, Dear Reader. There will be little activity on this waterfront because those charged with making changes are far too self-interested to do so. Undoubtedly the reasons will be twisted and turned and crafted to appease those of us who fancy a vision clouded by roses and flowers.
Are we really fool enough to believe that the subsidy shelled out by the taxpayers of CCSD who support the losses to the pool are not in Trustee Carlucci’s own financial interest? That is for you to decide; and the board to further substantiate in its future decision-making. I have all of the answers I need; but dear reader rest assured, complacence or complicity are going to be the words of the day.
For now… Silence…