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Sue Serino, the sweetheart of The Hudson Valley News is the topic of this blog, which focuses the platform that she ran on and her voting record as Councilwoman for Ward 2 on the Town Board.

I decided to write this blog because of the exposure that Mr. Langan has given Ms. Serino in playing the ‘victim role’ over the past 18 months on the Town Board and was wondering if her ‘sweetheart’ status was justified.

I do want to remind the readers that not too long ago, Ms. Serino ran for office along with the current Town Board members and campaigned based upon the following issues which was included in their campaign literature:

*Repealing the Wetland Law which was viewed as having excessive restrictions and regulation

*Developments to increase the commercial tax base and reduce residential property taxes.

*Support first responders and the need to improve their working conditions.

Those that drove north on Route 9 may remember the following sign which was on display across from the drive-in that was reminiscent of the harmony between the candidates. During the campaign, the candidates went door to door to the residents to talk about the above listed issues. Ironically, both Mr. Martino and Ms. Serino spent a great deal of time together walking throughout the community in the months preceding election in their run for office. Given the reports in the HV News about this strife between the Town Board members, what happened?

1) It began January 25, 2010 in a Town Board meeting that voted on repealing and amending the Wetlands Law in which Ms. Serino voted Nay 4-1 per the following link:

http://www.hydeparkny.us/agendas/townboard/m100125.pdf

How ironic that on the Hyde Park Republican website on the following link, the Republican Party represented by then candidate Tom Martino spoke out against the law in August 2009:

http://www.hydeparkrepublicans.com/inthenews/08-30-2009%20-%20Critics%20call%20wetlands%20law%20a%20lawsuit%20magnet.PDF

http://www.hydeparkrepublicans.com/inthenews/08-17-2009%20-%20Plan%20to%20protect%20wetlands%20presses%20on%20in%20Hyde%20Park.PDF

http://www.hydeparkrepublicans.com/inthenews/08-20-2009%20-%20Wetlands%20protection%20near%20approval.PDF

In a Poughkeepsie Journal article dated January 28, 2010 reporting on the repeal, Ms. Serino states she voted against the repeal based upon the numerous concerns she received from town residents. There are several questions that need to be asked:

a) Were these concerns voiced when she went door to door preceding the election? And if she changed her stance on the repeal of the law at this time then why did she continue to campaign for its repeal?

b) She stated in a June 2, 2010 edition of the HV News that she did indeed campaign on its (the law) repeal because of its restrictions but was concerned about the economic costs if a future town board reinstates it. Again, why would she continue to campaign for its repeal if she a) wasn’t fully knowledgeable of the cost and future repercussions and b) knew she wouldn’t vote for its repeal.

c) If the Hyde Park GOP supported the repeal based upon the information on its website, then Ms. Serino was essentially disagreeing with the stance that her party held and a basis of her campaign platform.

This is an example of a person who may not have concrete principles and strong convictions and is swayed based upon which way the wind blows. We all know several wishy-washy people in our lives, whether it be in personal or professional relationships who say one thing and then do another. Should we play russian roulette with a person in an elected position that has the authority to create and pass laws?

2) I found this rather interesting. On February 22, 2010, Sue Serino was the only Town Board member that voted in favor of appointing James Langan to the Hyde Park Advisory Committee per the following link:
http://www.hydeparkny.us/agendas/townboard/m100222.pdf

Why would she be so interested in appointing a newspaper editor in a PAPER THAT SHE HAS ADVERTISED IN as an advisory member?  Also noted is that the previous acting police chief, Don Goddard also advertised his antique business in Mr. Langan’s paper as well.

3) On April 19, 2010, Ms. Serino voted in objection to appointing a second deputy town clerk at the salary of $27, 150.88 for the following reason:

Councilwoman Serino agreed that although necessary, she recommended
that a part time Deputy be hired for 34 hours a week and be paid no benefits, hoping to save the Town money.

Her statement of 'hoping to save money' and interest is in contradiction to her vote (or lack thereof) at the Budget vote and her opposition to perform an audit for the 2009 Fiscal Year Budget in another Town Board vote.

http://www.hydeparkny.us/agendas/townboard/m100419.pdf

4) On April 21, 2010, Ms. Serino voted against amending the 2010 budget to fund the Second Deputy Town Clerk’s position which would create no further additional cost to the Town.

5) On May 10, 2010, Sue Serino voted against the tobacco free zones in town parks as she stated in a May 29, 2010 Poughkeepsie Journal article that it was an example of the government infringing upon person rights. This statements is in contradiction to her objection to repealing the Wetland Laws which she campaigned to repeal because of its restrictions, then later voting in opposition to repeal. She is in favor of keeping a law that is said to infringe on property rights, but won't ban smoking in town parks because of violating individual rights.

6) Sue Serino was absent on the May 24, 2010 vote which included voting to appoint a full-time police officer.

7) She was also absent on May 26, 2010.

8) On June 4, 2010, Sue Serino voted against Proposal of Local Law D for the following reasons:

Councilwoman Serino presented questions regarding authority and responsibility of the Town Board under the proposed local law. She stated that she does not feel that she will have ample time to be properly trained and attend the additional meetings required by this proposed local law.

If Ms. Serino is unable to fulfill her duties as a councilwoman, then there should be a question as to why she should continue to represent her Ward. If an employee of an organization told their employer 'I can’t attend meetings and don’t have the time to fulfill the duties of the position,' would they still have a job?

9) On June 16, 2010, Ms. Serino voted against abolishing the Bookkeeper position and appointing a Comptroller calling the Town Board ‘gutless wonders.’ Well the decision of Ms. Lown’s lawsuit against the town was later dismissed and the countless errors of Ms. Lown’s inept bookkeeping is currently under an extensive audit.

Councilwoman Serino questioned why this resolution was being
presented while the Bookkeeper was on vacation tending to her ill father.

Supervisor Martino stated that this resolution was a business decision
being presented to correct improper controls over the Towns’ finances.

Councilman Taylor agreed that a first class sized town should have a
comptroller to protect the town from another $750,000.00 error. He
stated that this is a business decision and not a personal one.



10) On June 28, 2010 Ms. Serino voted against appointing an interim comptroller for the following reasons:

Councilwoman Serino challenged the legality of the Special meeting that was held on 6/16/10, stating that she was not given proper written notice. Therefore, she stated that any business conducted at that meeting is invalid.

Attorney to the Town James Horan stated that during the recess he had researched other cases where oral notice, rather than written notice was given of a meeting. Based on that research, stating former cases, with all members of the Board being notified, present and voting, their actions were proper and were not invalidated. Councilwoman Serino stated that Robert Freeman, Association of Towns, told her that the meeting had to be in writing and that would make the meeting illegal. Councilman Taylor stated that the entire Board was present during that meeting and voted.

Councilwoman Serino stated that she had not been informed and had no idea there was a meeting on 6/16/10.

*Note Ms. Serino WAS in attendance at the June 16, 2010 meeting.

11) On October 27, 2010,  Ms. Serino voted against restoring the Town Clerk’s salary which was decreased by the previous town board under speculation that it was political strife against Ms. McGrogan as her political affiliation is Republican.

12) On November 8, 2010, Ms Serino abstained from contracting out to an independent auditing firm to review the town’s finances for the Fiscal Year End 2009.  Why would she abstain from a vote that will review possible errors made, which include a $750,000 error made by the Bookkeeper if she was concerned about the town’s finances as she has previously stated?

13) Ms. Serino was ABSENT on November 17, 2010 which voted on the budget taking place on November 19, 2010 AND ABSENT on the budget vote on November 19, 2010.  For a councilwoman who stated she was so concerned about the budget, why was she missing from THE MOST IMPORTANT VOTE OF THE YEAR WITHOUT EXPLANATION?????

Whereas Mr Martino missed two meetings in September and was called out by the HV News speculating where he was, why was not Ms. Serino’s absence questioned by Mr. Langan?

14) On November 29, 2010, Ms. Serino voted against contracting a payroll firm to process paychecks which she states would cost the town more in revenue (this is coming from a board member that MISSED the budget vote)

Prior to the Roll call vote being taken, Councilwoman Serino questioned
the pricing of ADP and the necessity of their service. She stated that she
does not agree with the spending of additional money.
Supervisor Martino stated that the Senior Account Clerk position would
not be funded in 2011, saving the town approximately $60,000.00. He
stated that the administrative offices are in need of assistance with the
loss of this position and it would be of benefit to the town to rely on the
assistance of payroll service. He also pointed out that ADP will also
accept responsibility for any errors that could occur, thus protecting the
town.

15) Ms. Serino was absent from the December 17, 2010 meeting and vote.

2011 Record  

16) Ms. Serino abstained from voting at the January 1, 2011 meeting in appointing planning board members.

17) Ms. Serino abstained from voting on hiring a part-time clerk on January 24, 2011 which was needed to perform catch up work in the administrative office.

18) Ms. Serino voted against hiring a new Full-time Comptroller on February 14, 2011 because while she interviewed the candidate it was not for the Comptroller position but for Receiver of Taxes.
  • If she did in fact interview the candidate, after review of her qualifications, she should have enough information to make a determination if the candidate was indeed qualified for the position.
19) On March 14, 2011 Ms. Serino abstained from voting on Local Law A, Forest Management because she stated she did not receive the red line version of the law until that evening.

*Local Law A was proposed on the February 14, 2011 meeting and the March 14, 2011 agenda indicated it would be addressed. Why didn’t Ms. Serino follow up with the agenda information?

20) Ms. Serino was absent at the April 11, 2011 meeting which voted on the land use for the St. Andrews Zoning District, which also includes the Hyatt Hotel District and commercial zoning in that area.

21) On June 13, 2011 Ms. Serino voted against amending the contract with the auditing firm as follows:

Supervisor Martino stated that the town was currently undergoing an audit of
the year 2009. He stated that the auditors have found that ending balances do
not agree with the beginning balances of the next year and that certain bank
reconciliations within the system had not been done for 11 years. These are the
reasons that requested reports are not available at this time. Auditors are
trying to complete the records. 2007 audit issues that had not been addressed
in the past, but are now being addressed.
Councilwoman Serino asked when the audit would be done. Although she
supports Chief Broe she wants the audit completed before he receives a salary
increase.

This contradicts the claims that the Supervisor isn’t being forthright by Ms. Rohr and several others.

Aileen Rohr, 53 Fuller Lane, asked if because the Town was having an audit,
that meant that you could not do a year end financial statement.
Attorney to the Town James Horan stated that the 2009 balance between the
bank account and the computer does not match and that errors made in 2006
regarding the landfill, have not yet been explained. They are trying to reconcile
these issues.

22) On June 13, 2011 Ms. Serino also voted against changing the police chief from part-time to full-time. The key point is that the previous provisional chief was full-time so why would there be an issue with appointing Chief Broe to full-time?

Councilwoman Serino asked when the audit would be done. Although she
supports Chief Broe she wants the audit completed before he receives a salary
increase.

Councilman Taylor again stated that the funds for the Police Chief salary
increase would be coming from monies that are already appropriated in the
budget. He feels that we need a full time Police Chief.

23) On June 24, 2011, Ms. Serino abstained from voting on the collective agreement with with the Local CSEA based upon the following:

Before the vote was taken, Councilwoman Serino questioned Article 4 of the
Agreement and asked if there was money in the budget to cover this.
Councilman Taylor stated that this changed the number of years for
longevity from 15 to 7 and that no one was personally affected in this
urrent contract year.

In Conclusion, there are several key points that need to be addressed:

1)  Ms. Serino has missed more meetings than any of the other Town Board Members combined.

2)   Ms. Serino has abstained and voted in opposition against proposals because either a) she wasn’t prepared on the items on the agenda and b) wasn’t sure of costs and had to ask questions to which she should already be knowlegdable of.

3)  Ms. Serino’s statement that she wasn’t able to attend required training as well as her missed meetings demonstrates that she is unable to fulfill her duties as councilwoman. Ms. Serino has stated in the HV News that she isn’t being e-mailed by the Supervisor and kept in the loop. However, has Ms. Serino e-mailed the Supervisor in her requests for information and if so, does she have records to support this? As a Board Member, it is also her responsibility to  ensure she executes her Oath of Office and take the initiative to make sure she has the information in order to be able to vote on resolutions rather than abstaining.

4)      Ms. Serino is currently running for County Legislature in her desire to bring a sewer district to Hyde Park. What Ms. Serino should be aware of is that the Sewer District is not a County Project, but a Town Project and where exactly is she going to appropriate the funds to ensure that a sewer district is implanted at $300 a foot? Given her voting record, Ms. Serino hasn't performed anything extraordinary as a Town Board Member to warrant her run for County Legislature. She has abstained from more votes and missed more meetings than any other Board member and has stated she does not have the time for additional training and has been ill-prepared for Board meetings. Based upong this record, would she even be able to fulfill her Oath of Office in the County Legislature?

5) Ms. Serino had filed suit against a young man who was responsible for sending out brochures which was critical of her performance and her friend and supporter, Mr. Langan also featured this and the Serinowatch.comwebsite in his paper. However, I must point out that this website and postcards are NO DIFFERENT than the articles in his paper and the ‘GUTLESS WONDER’ and like statements that Ms. Serino has made in regards to the Town Board. Mr. Langan and his famous Thug-O-Meter in his paper are quite similar.  Fortunately, for the young man representing himself Pro Se, the suit against him was dismissed per the below PDF file. This questions if Ms. Serino can handle criticism in her role as an elected official. She can certainly dish it out, but she apparently cannot take it without crying and having it be a cover story in the paper she advertises in. Ms. Serino should also be aware of the following suit which protects and individual's freedom of speech when making remarks against public officials :

In 1964, the United States Supreme Court heard the case of The New York Times v. Sullivan, and the law of defamation changed drastically. For the first time, the Supreme Court recognized that the First Amendment, which protects an individual's freedom of speech and expression, protects even speech and expression that is defamatory. In Sullivan, the plaintiff was a public official who sued The New York Times for libel after the newspaper published certain unfavorable allegations about him. The Supreme Court discussed the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states in part that "Congress shall pass no law abridging freedom of speech or of the press." The First Amendment exists, according to the Court, to help protect and foster the free flow and exchange of ideas, particularly on public or political issues.

I find it interesting that Ms. Serino is the focus of many articles of Mr. Langan's periodicle, which is a paper she advertises in. There is a clear bias and conflict of interest normally one pays to advertise and the owner receives money for the advertisement space. With the content of the articles, it appears that Ms. Serino has complained more times than the number of Town Board meetings that she has been in attendence at with the chief complaint that the other Board members are being mean to her. Is it acceptable and professional behavior for an elected official (and grown woman) to cry to their political benefactor similiar to a six year old?

6) Ms. Serino also stated in her nomination speech for Mr. Kakish as supervisor that the new supervisor should be nice and 'respectful'  (which is an admirable attribute, but Forest Gump was also nice and respectful) however, she doesn't practice what she preaches. Apparently Ms. Serino has quite the potty mouth according to the information that is in the letter that she made public through the HV News (in a very unprofessional action).  Why would you even release a letter of discipline unless you're attempting to play the victim part and obtain sympathy?
serino20vs20reed20decision.pdf
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letter.pdf
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