Saturday, January 02, 2010


------After a 26-day interval, Seeing Greene returns for a sixth year. Items have accumulated. HE STAYS. County Treasurer Willis Vermilyea changed his mind about retiring on December 30th, a year prior to the end of his current elective term. His change was ascribed by Greenville Press chief Linda Fenoff 12/24/09), to a determination to thwart a legal action that “his political foes said does not exist.” Mr Vermilyea distributed a statement contending that GreeneLand’s “Democratic leadership” was plotting to ask Governor Paterson--un-elected, New York City-rooted, Democratic—“to appoint my replacement.” (Their imputed nominee: Amy Scuteri, who ran for County Treasurer against Mr Vermilyea back in 2004.

Feeding his suspicions of such a scheme were requests made by local Democratic leaders for a copy of Mr Vermilyea’s letter of resignation. (As it happened, he had not written one). Fortifying his suspicions too was a history of criticism aimed at Mr Vermilyea by Tom Poelker, chairman of the county Democratic Party.

Filling the vacancy by gubernatorial appointment would be illegal, Mr Vermilyea maintained, but even so it could be politically subversive. The law pertaining to GreeneLand places authority to pick an interim Treasurer in the hands of the county’s legislators. But if the governor were to act pre-emptively, before the legislators could do so, the issue would be subject to prolonged litigation; and until a judge resolved the matter, the governor’s appointee might be occupying the office.

Mr Poelker characterized Mr Vermilyea’s scenario as “a lot of speculation, and rather entertaining.”

--------Sean Frey, leader of the minority Democrats in the county legislature, expressed surprise at the alleged speculations and gratification that Mr Vermilyea, with his rich experience, would be completing his term after all.

SHE LEFT. Although Mr Vermilyea changed his mind about leaving office, his long-time deputy did not change her mind. Madelyn Brandow did retire from the Civil Service post on December 30th.

HE CAME. A new Deputy Treasurer is already in place. He is Randall Griffin, who is best known locally as a Catskill Central School District trustee and, since last spring, president of the board.. Mr Griffin also holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in accountancy-related disciplines and spent 28 years in financial management posts in State government.

HOT STUFF. Catskill’s school district is being sued by a Palenville mother who seeks compensation for damages allegedly suffered by her son when, in the elementary school cafeteria, he was injured by “overheated and excessively hot oatmeal.” According to the complaint filed in State Supreme Court back in March of 2008, plaintiff Barbara Green’s son Jacob suffered “serious and permanent injuries, including burns to the skin,” in consequence of “negligently and improperly prepared” cereal that was served by a District employee. What is more, Ms Green alleges, the “defective condition of the dangerous conditions” [sic] had “illustrated” themselves on occasions prior to Jacob’s experience. Ms Green, represented by attorney Alfred B. Manetti of Kingston, seeks compensation for her loss of “comfort, support and companionship” as well as for Jacob’s injuries. A conference between plaintiff, defendant, and Acting Supreme Court Judge George Pulver Jr., was scheduled for today (1/6/10).

HOT TIP. If you are fond of excellent literature for children, hasten to your book store or library and get a copy of The Phantom Toll Booth (1961), by Norton Juster (illustrated by Jules Feiffer). It’s a wonderful fantasy (Azad the Unabridged, king of Digitopolis, meets The Mathemagician, king of Digitopolis) and there’s a special GreeneLand reason to read it now: a musical version will be performed later this year, in Cairo, by a cast that will be selected soon. You may know a kid who would thrive as Officer Shrift (taller sitting down than standing up), The Whether Man, the Duke of Definition, the Minister of Meaning, the Earl of Essence, the Threadbare Excuse. . . . Auditions for the Dragonfly Performing Arts show in Cairo will be held on January 24th. Inquiries: (518) 731-3340.

HOT DEAL. On December 22, a top Bank of Greene County officer—Michelle Plummer, whose abbreviated titles are SVP, COO and CFO--sold 1080 shares of stock in the parent company at $14.59 per unit and bought 5000 shares for $3.94 per unit. She was selling on the open market while exercising purchase options that had been granted by the governing board from as far back as March 2001.

TUT TUT. Catskill’s school board members passed on November 18 a resolution saying

“the District owns 1,105 library/textbooks which are no longer useful or necessary for school district purposes and is of no value to the School District….”

WHISPER. Also noteworthy on the schools front is the rumor that a GreeneLand school board will soon lose, to resignation, a recently elected member.

DOWNFALL. The west (creekside) wall of what is left of the historic brick structure on Water Street in Catskill that in times past housed an iron foundry, an engineering headquarters and a second-hand book store owned by Frank McDonald. The restoration project mounted early in 2009 by purchaser Mike Ferro has turned out to be fraught with problems.

“THE LEAK STOPS HERE” says Dr Richard M. Wood, urogynecologist.

No comments: