Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Spain's Comprehensive Arrogance
In case you couldn't make last nights meeting of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, and only two members of the public did, you have to hear for yourself how Committee Chairman and Town Board member Al Spain embarrassed himself, his committee and the town itself by arrogantly refusing to allow any public comment as he gaveled through the 4 minute meeting he hurriedly called after learning he and his committee had utterly failed to comply with the Open Meetings Law and S 272a of the Town Law which governs Comprehensive Plan Committees.
Mr. Spain wanted no comments despite his own opening comments at his very first committee meeting on March 18th, 2008 in which his minutes state "Chairman Spain suggested that the meetings be limited to 2 hours and that public comments be at the end of the meeting and limited to 5 minutes."
Listen as he finally holds a meeting with a quorum present and finally has someone taking minutes after at least 16 meetings without competent minutes which recorded quorums and motions of a legally constituted public body. The meeting was called because he had been embarrassed at the town board meeting when his failure was exposed by CB Smith who displayed the so called minutes of his committee meetings. Some were no more than attendance sheets and others, rambling sentences. We'll post them in future issues for you to see because Mr. Spain does not want them posted on the town's web site so you won't know for whom he altered the delivered Comprehensive Plan of 2006 and why? His "minutes" sure don't give us a clue.
Beginning at 2:58 (2 minutes, 58 seconds), Spain tries to close the meeting with a motion to adjourn. However, CB Smith asks for an opportunity to comment only to find Spain ignore the request. Repeatedly a request to speak is made and ignored and then you'll hear Smith ask to give the Committee a letter to which Spain yells, "Keep it!", Keep it Charlie!" Better yet, you hear this towering statesman say "Nobody cares what you have to say". You can here the entire 4 minute meeting on our Pipeline public radio channel by clicking below.
Well, it sure says a lot for Al Spain's maturity and conduct as a public official. It also says a lot about all the members of the committee including Legislative candidate Leon Fiacco who sat there and let it happen, saying nothing. That took guts Leon, you'll make a great public official... someday.
The real sad part is that Comprehensive Plan Committees are by law supposed to encourage public comment and input in order to arrive at a community development plan which has broad public support. Yet here was Al Spain, refusing to obey his own rules for comment and telling the public to "Keep it! and "Nobody cares what you have to say."
As Spain rushes his fatally flawed plan to the Town Board for a vote, we have to wonder how Mark Evers is going to react. He voted down the first draft for reasons never accurately explained, but he never claimed the plan was legally flawed as this one clearly is. And frankly there is no one more responsible for the Committee's failure to comply with S272a and the Open Meetings Law than Al Spain, the Committee Chairman who zings Evers at every opportune moment. Well, Mr. Spain, you handed Mr. Evers a political nuke of the highest potency. Let's see if he fires it at you and whether you tell him to shut up and the next Board Meeting.
A final note, we don't like to get personal in this publication and this will be no exception. But Al Spain's dad was a model of civil and gentlemanly conduct as a town board member and county legislator. We have to wonder what he would have thought had he been in that room to see his son's behavior and hear his arrogant words.
Posted by The North Greenbush Pipeline at 6:00 AM