This blog has become a two-headed monster. One head consists of regular installments of news and occasionally ane remarks about GreeneLand matters. The other consists of comments ‘attached’ to installments. The latter have grown immensely. In volume of verbiage they dwarf the actual blogs. Most of them are not responses to the subject matter of the respective blogs. Most of them deal more or less directly with a single topic: the Catskill fire company. Most of them come from dissident firefighters or ex-firefighters. Most of these voice animosity toward the department’s (and the Village’s) current leaders and toward (it amounts to the same thing) alumni of the erstwhile Hose 1 company. Most of their messages are bitter, repetitive, abusive, smug, casually defamatory, and anonymous.
An occasional, almost incidental, target of these bloggers has been the president of Catskill Village’s board of trustees (who also bears the title of Mayor), Vincent Seeley. Attacks on Mr Seeley intensified recently, after he attended a meeting of the fire company, and made an appeal for compromise, for civility, for dreamy stuff like that. He decided to respond to the accusations and insinuations by way of a comment of his own, signed. When he voiced that intention, he prompted the directorate of Seeing Greene to start implementing a contemplated policy, namely, posting Guest Blogs. We are open to submissions and suggestions for other Guest Blogs, e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Vincent Seeley
As a public official, I expect to catch a lot of flak. But some things that have been spewed out on this blog site, among other places, call for a response from me. Here goes.
“Forced Father.” I would appreciate that you would keep family out of this but I will answer your question. I have a sixteen year old daughter that my Wife of 5 years and I have custody of and her Mom lives in Florida. I fought the "system" and won. It was a long tough battle and I used the Internet as a tool and was successful. So I do understand your use of this Blog, I just do NOT do it anonymously as most entries in here are. I do not know where the misinformation in that post came from. Do me a favor, please feel free to bash the hell out of me but leave my family life at home.
My “Site.” "Dont forget to visit Vinnys site Villageofcatskill.blogspot.blog."
I do not have a site. You are just going to have to believe me on this one.
Secrecy. “VINCE SEELEY IS A PART OF THE PROBLEM. HE IS ARROGANT AND WANTS TO HIDE HIS ACTIONS IN SECRECY!!!!!” “… Seeley treats being on the board of trustees like being on the board of a private company. He doesn't think the public has a right to know what he is doing as a village trustee and he doesn't believe that the public has a right to know what the village board is doing or what decisions they are making. Doesn't he realize that we have open meeting laws because the public has the right to know.”
As a Village representative, I try to present a professional image at all times. I have worked very hard in my life to get the things I have. I am sure nothing was handed to you either. OK, I'll confess to the arrogant part, but what actions am I hiding in secrecy? Oh yeah, my wife has called me a few choice words recently, I’ll share if you want.
The past 20 weeks of Board meetings have been essentially standing room only and have gone over two hours. I make it a point to ask the public to step forward and address the board. What else can I do? Do we discuss topics during the week and before the meeting? Of course. The Village is a 5 million dollar business, do you expect for it to be run one night every two weeks? I frequently seek input from the public, including from the author of the question.
Bloggery. "Vince Seeley wants to shut this blog down because he doesn't want people to know what is going on."
Not true. I did say that I would talk with Dick in getting the this back on its original mission and balancing negative and POSITIVE. I do think the anonymous entries are out of control and provide little overall value. Sometimes, when too many reckless words are delivered, credibility gets questioned. Everyone loses.
“Alcohol at the Firehouse” The Bar is shut down while we investigate and determine a final outcome. Do I feel that there should be beer allowed in the social room? Yes. Do I feel that there needs to be changes made in policy to protect Firefighters and the Village? Yes. Will I treat grown men as children? NO.
Double Standard/Hypocrisy. In GreeneLand, “if you have money or you hold office, you don’t have to live by the same rules or laws that the commoners do.” For instance, Seeley instituted a cleanup program, in which police required people to remove unregistered vehicles from their property, “despite the fact that [he] had numerous unregistered vehicles”—a dump truck, a car, a motorcycle—“on his property.”
My 18 acre parcel is currently under development. Is there construction equipment on my property? Yes there is. I continue to work with property owners who have "works in progress" like me. The motorcycle mentioned is in the garage and that concerns me because besides being an anonymous blogger, you are also a trespasser. The contents of the garage are only visible if you are on my property. Besides all of this, let us not forget that I have property in both the Village and Town. The end result of the construction will be more than 5 high end homes on the Village tax roll. Thanks for appreciating that.
Ditto. “Or that he had numerous condemmed buildings on his property which the fire department burned down for him a few years ago.”
I did have unsightly buildings, and did burn them under fire department supervision--as anybody is entitled to do, and ought to do. It happened before I was a public official. I also donated money for the fire company's time and effort.
Ditto. “Or that he still has a building that is as bad if not worse than the building that was torn down on the corner of West Main and Bridge Street.”
The West Main/West Bridge building posed a danger to passersby. We went through elaborate legal proceedings before arriving, reluctantly, at the point where we had to tear it down. The structure on my property is sound, and again, can only be seen while trespassing.
Ditto. Moreover, Mr Seeley “didn’t…have to file work permits and appear in front of the planning board like the commoners when he had some 1800’ of a water line run into his property.” There’s a mystery about the authorization (if any) of this connection and/or of use of Water Department equipment to trench and install this water line. This was “misuse of taxpayer equipment.” And “Was the Police Sgt who helped install this water line the same one who served some 30 or more violations of unregistered vehicles causing owners to get rid of their property.” "How else would the tax payers on Landon Ave know that they too can simply borrow Village of Catskill machinery to install a water line on Landon Ave, just like the service folks on Edge mere Road was provided. Has the Edgemere road residents been charged or was this a Village of Catskill freebie?"
Ah yes, the infamous water line. The residents on Edgemere road were not charged EXCEPT for one, ME. Every last inch of this line was paid for by my wife and I at the tune of over $50,000. I have receipts for everything and would love to share. All permits were filed so feel free to contact Village Hall.
So what if a friend of mine helped install a water line off duty and made the Village a better place to live while on duty? I thought people would be happy that we built a $300,000 home in the Village of Catskill and added it to the tax rolls. This would be an issue if I got on the board and pushed through a free new water line or a road. Not the case.
I am not sure what Landon Avenue has to do with anything. The folks on Landon Avenue have an inadequate water supply; we are fixing that. I had several PUBLIC informational meetings which were all well attended. No back door.
"DOWN WITH SEELEY." Does this come with a picket sign? I am not sure but I am assuming that this is negative. I guess that I have really succeeded in screwing up my part time job when I get chanted "down with seeley". Contrary to"anonymous'" beliefs, I very strongly believe in open Government; as a matter of fact, I may have been the only person in many years to talk openly about the deficits in the Village budget and, with the Boards help and support, acted on and fixed the deficits. I have even contributed to this blog, through Dick, on occasion. So, get down with Seeley.
And Finally. Although I am not happy about the recent blog entries, I do prefer you attack me instead of others not in public office. I realize that my response will undoubtedly gain more attention and earn me more thrashing. At the endof the day we should take pride in that the Village of Catskill is makingtremendous progress despite the dismal outlook provided by some of you. The Board of Trustees works very hard to make our community better. Jim Chewens is one of the hardest working men I know and he continues to be a valuable asset to our Village. Too often, the negative is clouding the positive and the great work that is being done is not recognized. Lastly, I commend the Fire Fighters who have stayed on and never wavered from the simple truth that fire fighting and saving lives is your main mission. Keep up the great work and thank you for your time.