Minutes – July 15, 2017




23 Locust Point Road Shelter Island, New York
July 15, 2017
8:53 a.m.








(The meeting was called to order at 8:53 a.m.)

MAYOR RESSLER: It’s nine o’clock so let’s call the meeting to order. I have a request from the stenographer. Whoever is speaking today, because she doesn’t know who you are, state your name and spell it.

TRUSTEE MORGAN: I gave her the spellings.

MAYOR RESSLER: After the last election we were left with the loss of the mayor, the loss of the village clerk and the loss of the bookkeeper. We realized that we needed to do something to keep the village operating because, believe me, in these last two weeks you can see it doesn’t operate itself. There’s constant phone calls every day, lots of things going on, lots of things that need to be done.
So the outgoing set of trustees entered into discussions with the incoming set of trustees to see what was the best way to proceed. Lots of scenarios were discussed and put forward and the best one that was put forward was electing somebody who had been — or appointing somebody who had been serving a long time as a trustee, who knows it inside out, to do it. And that person was John Colby. He was always the favorite of everybody who discussed it. He was always my favorite. It was always my view that I didn’t want to do it and I wouldn’t do it if John wouldn’t do it.
We then had a lot of discussions, intensive discussions, for a week and as it turned out there was too many hiccups along the way. There was opposition from some people who now maybe have re-thought that opposition and there was some conditions attached and people have re-thought those conditions. So anyway, but at that time ,John said that no, he would not do it. So that was why I was kind of picked to do it because nobody else will. And it was a very good thing that we did have two people doing it. Things for the past week have been like trying to get an old airplane to fly with just chewing gum and bailing wire. But we made a lot of progress and we came up with a list of appointments. We worked diligently on the list and came up with a lot of new people to serve on committees and that was a very good thing. But as I’ve said, we have reached the point where things have stabilized, we reached the point where some of the opposition we heard before has faded away and some of the conditions that were attached have been dropped and we now are in a position where the person we want to be mayor all along could be mayor. Therefore, as of now, I am resigning from being in the interim mayor position for two weeks and that’s it. So I am resigning as mayor.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: I need to read a motion. Motion to appoint John Colby as the mayor of Dering Harbor for the term ending July 2018.

TRUSTEE MORGAN: I second the motion.

MR. PROKOP: All in favor of the motion?



MR. PROKOP: Oppose the motion?

(No Response)

There were three ayes?

TRUSTEE MORGAN: Yes, three ayes.

MR. PROKOP: Then the motion passes. So I think the thing to do is swear you in as mayor.
I, John T. Colby, Junior

TRUSTEE COLBY: I, John T. Colby, Junior

MR. PROKOP: do solemnly swear

TRUSTEE COLBY: do solemnly swear

MR. PROKOP: –that I will uphold the constitution of the United States -­

TRUSTEE COLBY: –that I will uphold the constitution of the United States –

­MR. PROKOP: –the constitution of the State of New York –

­TRUSTEE COLBY: –the constitution of the State of New York -­

MR. PROKOP: –and to perform my duties as mayor

TRUSTEE COLBY: –and to perform my duties as mayor

MR. PROKOP: of the Village of Dering Harbor

TRUSTEE COLBY: –of the Village of Dering Harbor

MR. PROKOP: to the best of my ability.

TRUSTEE COLBY: to the best of my ability.

MR. PROKOP: Do you want to sign the ledger?

TRUSTEE COLBY: Yeah, maybe we should do that.


(At this time the ledger book was signed and notarized.)

MAYOR COLBY: We’ll just wait for Joe to get back to start. I know that not too many people remember the Pledge of Allegiance or Star Spangled Banner, our kids certainly don’t, so right now we’re going to stand up, face the flag and do the Pledge of Allegiance and start the meeting.

(At this time the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all in attendance.)

MAYOR COLBY: Thank you all. We’re going to start with the minutes of last meeting. Everyone’s got a packet in front of them. I’ve got some packets for the audience, if you like, in front of us. It’s going to be a predated agenda today but we’ll do the business of the village.  Has everyone had a chance to review the minutes of last meeting?



MAYOR COLBY: Motion to approve the minutes?




MAYOR COLBY: All in favor?



MAYOR COLBY: The bills for the current period are included in here. You can see there’s a summary of the — it’s a report called AP Aging Summary and it’s followed by a list of current invoices and these are ready to be paid upon approval of the trustees. Most of them are operating amounts. In the future, I think it would be great if one of the trustees would actually report this on a regular basis so at least one of us are familiar with all the expenses and can talk about it to the group.
Does anybody have any questions about that?

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: John, I have a quick question.


TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: Joe, if we need an extra day or two to drill down some of these numbers, can we defer it till Monday, paying these bills or passing this resolution?

MR. PROKOP: You can approve the bills subject to audit or review. So you could approve before they’re actually made.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: Okay. I think we should do that.


MR. PROKOP: But then it would be held over to — let me answer this question. So what happens generally is there’s a form — what we can do -­ I’ll work with Connor or whoever. We could actually develop a form that you will sign with the bills attached. If you would like to do that, it’s often called an audit and then yon sign as we approve the bills. We could get to that level if yon would like. It would be no problem doing that, approving them, paying them subject to review and then you would review the bills and sign off on them.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: So in the next few days?


MAYOR COLBY: Right . .As long as everybody is in agreement. The detail — the accountant put this together in the last couple of days. They have — the accountant, our auditor has all the invoices. He has them. He’s in the process of scanning them and entering them into the QuickBooks.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: It shouldn’t take more than forty-eight hours.

MR. PROKOP: We need a motion to accept.

MAYOR COLBY: I need a motion to provisionally accept the bills as rendered pending audit and review.


MAYOR COLBY: I need a motion first and then a second.


TRUSTEE MORGAN: I’ll second.

MAYOR COLBY: All in favor?



MAYOR COLBY: Motion carries. We’ll do that. We made the payroll yesterday for Richie again, thanks to Phil at Marzano and Smith.
The next item in the list is something called the statement of values. I put that in the package. That’s from our brokerage company. Nick Salerno owns this brokerage company. I used to play golf with Nick at Nassau Country Club years ago. can’t believe he’s the village insurance broker. This is the list of the assets that the village has.
Again, we can provisionally review, approve this pending review. It’s a little detailed. In fact it’s very detailed, but it’s basically what we had last year in terms of measuring the value of the property the village has and that’s the coverage under our insurance policy. I believe we have to get this signed and returned to him fairly soon so we need to review it as quickly as we can.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: Is there a requirement for a bidding process for insurance for the village?

MR. PROKOP: It’s a — well, if it’s hired as a consultant, a professional consultant, then it’s not. If it’s a business relationship then we put it out not as a bid, but as a request for proposals. That’s what it would be called.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: So I take it this is the company we have used in the past?

MAYOR COLBY: This is the company we used in the past, yes.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: So this is something else I think we should just hold off on.

MAYOR COLBY: Well, we need to cover the so we can’t wait too long. If we want to find somebody else, we -­ expire?

TRUSTEE MORGAN: When does our policy

MAYOR COLBY: You know, I don’t know by looking at this. It says new period from June 30, 2017, so there’s probably a grace period of thirty days through July would be my guess just by looking at it. It doesn’t say it doesn’t give a drop date. It just says that it needs to be signed and returned.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: Let’s provisionally approve it within twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

MAYOR COLBY: I’ll second.

MR. PROKOP: He’s not the insurance company. He’s like an advisor.


MR. PROKOP: with regard to your insurance.


TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: The insurance carrier is American Alternative Insurance Corp.

MAYOR COLBY: May I have a motion to accept this provisionally, until further review, forty-eight hours?

TRUSTEE KELSEY: A motion to accept this provisionally until further review within forty-eight hours, I so move.



MAYOR COLBY: All in favor?


MAYOR COLBY: Okay. Motion carries. Thank you.
Next item, we are going to skip the organizational resolutions for now, we are going to postpone that till next meeting. I’ll move on to the village operations during the past couple of weeks. We managed to get the checks –the tax deposits made. We set up the relationship with the bank. I was able to sign the payroll checks yesterday and those were the only three disbursements we made in the last two weeks. The deposits are made, the auditor is taking over, at least temporarily, the bookkeeping function. And we can talk about that too. There’s a letter of engagement that I provided you guys to review with Phil’s group, just providing bookkeeping services only. It’s a thousand dollars a month and it’s on a monthly basis and we can terminate whenever we want.
Basically what we’re doing is taking the mail from the post office, putting it into a package and sending it to Phil in Melville. His guys process the invoices, present them to a schedule of proposed disbursements pending our approval. He’ll also deposit the checks that we send him and he’s maintaining the QuickBooks ledger system which he audits anyway but, again, he can separate the audit
function from the bookkeeping function. The letter of engagement clearly specifies the difference between the bookkeeping function and the audit
function. It states it’s management’s responsibility, that’s on us, but he can do the simple bookkeeping process. Anybody have any
questions on that letter of engagement?

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: I have a question.


TRUSTEE BENACER8AF: B&P, that’s our bank, right?

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, that’s our bank.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: And past signers have been corrected and the new signers?

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, we’re also going to talk about requiring two signatures for disbursements over five thousand bucks. And that’s something we
can talk about today, if you’d like. It’s an extra ten dollars a month in bank fees, if you want to do that. But I think we should have double signatures of over 5K. I’ll be asking for a resolution for the bank to propose joint signatures on amounts over five thousand dollars.
Do I have a motion to accept that?

TRUSTEE KELSEY: May I ask a question to do with that? What is a typical check? How often is the check over five thousand or it is more likely that over a thousand is the threshold?

MAYOR COLBY: The answer to that is I just don’t know. This is actually the first group of disbursements I’ve had a chance to review myself to see the level of the check amounts as a typical one. I would imagine the insurance checks are a lot. The fire department check, which we haven’s been billed for is twenty-five thousand dollars, and the fire department bills us for that amount. So that’s one item, so I think there are fewer checks over five thousand than under five thousand.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: What about legal bills?

MAYOR COLBY: Well, those are under five thousand for the most part unless there is a special event but we approve them. We approve all the bills and can double signature the check.



ANNBETH ESCHBACK: Who are the authorized signatories?

MAYOR COLBY: Right now it’s just me and Kirk.

ANNBETH ESCHBACK: So that will be changed?

MAYOR COLBY: That will be changed. We’ll probably come up with a we’ll discuss that. Usually the clerk is on the account, we don’t have a clerk, so we need to have another trustee on the account to do that or I guess we’ll talk about that. But I think the important part is the two signatures.

MR. PROKOP: So we’re going to have a relationship with Nawrocki Smith?

MAYOR COLBY: Nawrocki Smith. That’s the engagement letter. They’re auditors.

MR. PROKOP: Would you like to go through the engagement?

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, when we discuss it.


TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: Just a question on that. Will that create independence issues ultimately? Will we have to reconsider them an auditor now that they’re doing the bookkeeping? How do we navigate that?

MR. PROKOP: I think John mentioned that. I think they would have to give us an opinion on that, if that’s not a conflict.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: So we’ll have to consider their opinion.

MAYOR COLBY: They actually state that situation in the engagement letter.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: It just strikes me as a — I recognize it’s a good interim step but

MAYOR COLBY: It is a interim step. Just so you know, this is the fifth turnaround I’ve been involved in. Two non-profits, three non-partisan, I’ve done this before.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: I hear that and I think it’s a very interesting step but it may create an issue of independence. They’re the auditors. I’m just saying that that’s something we would have to be careful about.

MAYOR COLBY: Right, and these folks too need to be careful of that too because that’s their credibility as well.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: It’s their issue and our issue ultimately because we’re making the appointment.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: John, it this an open-ended engagement with them?

MAYOR COLBY: It’s monthly.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: So we’re approving this
for one month?

MAYOR COLBY: We can do so for one month or two until we determine the -­

TRUSTEE KELSEY: I think we should approve it for only one month.

MAYOR COLBY: Okay. That’s fine. So the month of July.

MR. PROKOP: Can I make a suggestion? Make it two months just to get us through. Is it the past month?

MAYOR COLBY: He doesn’t say about June. He just talks about July and August going forward so one month or two months, we can always extend it at the next meeting, but I just want to keep an eye on
it. We need to do this quick. So do I have a
motion to accept this engagement for one month?

TRUSTEE MORGAN: I make the motion.

MAYOR COLBY: Do I have a second?


MAYOR COLBY: In favor?




MAYOR COLBY: Okay. Motion carries.
A search for the village clerk –I contacted Sylvia Pirillo who is the clerk in Greenport to ask her for advice in finding a village clerk, and she made several calls to find a replacement for Laura. As you know, it is unusual to have a part-time village clerk, and she asked specifically if we needed a full-time village clerk and I said no, we need a part-time village clerk on one day a week and she will get back to me with some options. I heard several other options. Well, just to have somebody come in and answer the telephone. I’ve been returning messages on Thursdays, when I can, which have been about twenty to twenty-five messages so far, the title company, the Suffolk County Health Department, different contractors looking to work on different homes in the village and we really need to be responsive to the community, and that, I think, is one of the major priorities, just to have somebody to answer the telephone. If anybody wants to volunteer, let me know. Anybody? Thursday afternoon? We can do that. I have a call log inside if anybody wants to come in and do it. You hit the play messages button to get the message and you write down the information and the date and that’s what we do.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: John, did an advertisement go in the paper?

MAYOR COLBY: No, we didn’t make the deadline for the first time and I wanted to hear back from Sylvia before I put the ad in for the second time.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: So that will go in on Monday?

MAYOR COLBY: On Monday. But, again, we came up with a job description for village clerk.
The village clerk should have a notary, they should have certain qualifications that are defined by the Association of Village Clerks for Suffolk County.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: May I ask — to my knowledge, what we’re looking for is someone who is familiar with all the responsibilities of a village clerk, who knows — is proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel and QuickBooks. If anybody has any recommendations, please let us know.


KEN WALKER: You might call Carol Russell who was a clerk. She called me a couple of months ago asking what happened. She could be someone to answer the phone. She’s capable to do the functions of a village clerk or maybe something in the interirm.

MAYOR COLBY: I’ll give her a ring. Thank you.
[Editor’s note: Jim Goldman is recorded in the official transcript as Jim Feldman. All references have been corrected to Jim Goldman for clarity and accuracy.]
Yes, Jim Goldman?

JIM GOLDMAN: Right down the street we have a wealth of information, the town of Shelter Island. We have an ivy league graduate, the supervisor, with great experience involved with a lot of people. There may be somebody in his office, in or out, past or present who already has experience and knows the island too. That would be a good suggestion.

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, thank you, Jim.
I already talked to Laurie about it and she talked to Dorothy Ogar who is the town clerk.

JIM GOLDMAN: But James would know a lot more.

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, he would indeed. Thank you. Anyone else?

ROB FERRIS: As part of the job description, have you considered or are you stating what the hours are? Because I think it would be a good idea to ask the whole community when they would like the village hall to be open.

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, I agree, and it also depends on the experience of the applicant and how much we paid them. I’d like to open up the village hall more than one day a week, that’s my preference. It depends on how much we want to pay the person to do it. I think we should do it. Certainly the high summer season there needs to be more coverage here, less so in the winter time, but again, still a part-time person. I agree with you.

TRUSTEE MORGAN: Maybe we could do it on a Friday so that if people come for the weekend it’s much more convenient for them to stop by the village hall.

MAYOR COLBY: I think that’s a fine idea. Sometimes it’s difficult to find people. When we get a pool of applicants, we can decide what their strengths are and what their availability might be. It’s negotiation, we can manage that.
The next item is the waterways mooring and dock law. We talked to Charley Modica and came up with the existing dock laws and mooring laws and would like to review the current code and see what we can do to improve it. And that’s all I really have on that other than Charlie’s aware that he’ll be working on that and Betsy Morgan may be able to help and we can go from there.


MAYOR COLBY: The other roadwork permit -­fortunately I talked to Jake Hard (phonetic) last week and I told him, whatever you do today, don’t start digging today because Kirk Ressler is having a fundraiser at his house tonight and Jake said, that’s a really good idea, John, and I said, good, Jake, don’t do it. So they’re not going to dig the road up for Kirk’s fund.raiser tonight but that will start probably in the next ten days. Jake is slated to and I went over this with him at the board meeting which happens once a month at the town hall and maybe I can convince one of the other trustees to pay a visit to the water committee. A lot goes on there. It’s the water improvement function of the village. The committee tries to determine projects, where to spend the money, for example, the two percent money from the water — the preservation fund that we voted was water works. The trouble is where to .spend that money and the committee works with great diligence as to where that money is spent. And Jim Goldman is on the committee and so it’s a nice idea pool for where to spend or use the money rather than to just give it to individuals, it’s better to do it for the community to help everybody, not just one or two people who want upgraded septic systems. That’s the idea of upgrading septic systems, that they are old and aged and whatever that mean, well, you need to upgrade them. It might be mandated at some point by Suffolk County, we’re hoping to avoid that but that’s the road everybody’s going on. Certainly if you’re new construction or want to improve your house by more than 50 percent of the footprint, you might be
subject to a cesspool, septic upgrade which could be between fifteen to twenty thousand bucks a pop for that. And the issue is should that money –the two percent money be spent on that and the answer generally is, no, it’s too specific to the individual and the idea is to spread it out where the most people in this community can benefit from it like the school or the youth center in town. think the speed bumps are in on Shore Road. I think somebody said that one of them is too –there’s no room for a bike to get by. Is that right? Did I hear that from somebody?

KIRK RESSLER: I talked to Jim Reed and he said he thinks the speed bumps are not great. We did have a bicycle accident outside of Charley’s house a couple years ago so –but Jim said in general they’re fine. One that he really objects to was in front of Martha’s house because it really goes from curb to curb and there’s no little space in the middle or space on either side for anybody to get by with a bicycle so maybe we could get them adjusted.

MAYOR COLBY: Okay. Thank you. Anybody else on speed bumps? All right. That’s all I got today. I’d like to thank everybody for coming. I’d also like to thank Kirk for working on the transition for the last two weeks. It’s been a difficult process but everybody chipped in. Everybody did their part, so I appreciate that. The day of the next meeting is August 19th. I will have the board appointments at that meeting and additional resolutions will be ready to go.

TRUSTEE KELSEY: I’d like to make a comment as a new trustee. There’s been a huge change in the village, in the board here, you all know that, and a lot of it came from a lot of you wanting a change, wanting to see some clarity regarding village laws, some clarity regarding litigation and how we enter in to it and how we get out of it, more communication, a different mood, a different environment. And I for one am pledging myself to do all I can to move forward. It has been, and we all know, a bumpy road the past couple of weeks but once we get these bits and pieces taken care of, we hope to really move forward on the things you really all care about.



JIM GOLDMAN: It sounds like you have a lot of things on the dock, I can see you are very busy but is it necessary to wait that whole month? Is it possible to have another interim meeting? We could accomplish more by having an earlier meeting and then doing the audit phase. Just a suggestion, again, to get things done because after September you begin to lose a lot of input.
MAYOR COLBY: Right. I appreciate that. think that the onset of the appointments will continue as they are now until the time that we can change them. The only activity might be before the arb, in which case I will not be the chair of the arb. In that situation Vicky decided to volunteer, to step up to chair the arb.

JIM GOLDMANN: I guess I’m asking if they would like to move anything along, they can probably have another additional meeting.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: Jim, I think it’s entirely possible that we can throw that all together before the August meeting and that’s our goal. We don’t want to be doing this the day before the meeting, that’s not going to be the case. There’s a little bit of work left to do but it might
take a few days.

MAYOR COLBY: Thank you.

JULIA BRENNAN: All of these things you have resolutions for, meaning the bank -­

MAYOR COLBY: They’ll be posted on the village

JULIA BRENNAN: — meaning the village attorneys, meaning all the members of the committees, these continue as of last July?

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, that’s right.

JULIA BRENNAN: There’s no deadline, they don’t end -­

MAYOR COLBY: Not until we change them.

JULIA BRENNAN: — at the end of the calendar year? And then one other question. You have an appointment to make for a trustee? Is that -­

MAYOR COLBY: We do. And deputy mayor, yes.

ROB FERRIS: If you have a potential applicant for a building permit and therefore arb review, which would be the membership of arb and others to look very hard at all the rules and regulations that caused so much misunderstanding and contention. So this, I think, should be one of the first priorities of the new trustees, is to instruct and call for a review of the arb regulations.

MAYOR COLBY: If we want to review them then we have to propose a moratorium on any new building applications for at least six months while we review it formally. So if that’s something you want to do, we can discuss it.

ROB FERRIS: I think it’s worthy of discussion because I don’t think we want to go through the terrible mess that the Sunshine application can turn this into because we were trying to get a design without really having a way to do it.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: John, I’m not sure that’s right. We may review them and determine that they’re just fine. So in the interim, the rules are the rules. And if there’s a commission established to review them and ultimately they are changed, they’re changed on the day they’re changed. So I don’t know if we would have to have a moratorium. We may decide they are fine.

MAYOR COLBY: We could review them and decide if we want to change them. If we want to change them then we go through a public hearing process. That may take a long time. We just can’t change the rules today.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: In the interim, the review process in and of itself does not warrant -­

MAYOR COLBY: Warrant a moratorium. That’s right.

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: I think Rob’s suggestion is a good one. Many people have complained and been puzzled by the rules. I think it’s something we should consider because if we haven’t done that, we probably should.

MAYOR COLBY: Right, I agree. I sent the entire code book — we scanned — I sent it to all the trustees and one other person, I forgot who it was, but everyone’s got a copy of the entire code book and that’s the village code as filed with Albany and that’s the current version of it. I haven’t printed any out but I put them all on

TRUSTEE BENACERRAF: I have a copy here, but -­

TRUSTEE KELSEY: Can we post that on the website?

MAYOR COLBY: I think Bridg has gotten it all up, right? We’re missing only a couple of sections?

BRIDG HUNT: It’s about 50 percent up, there are a couple of statutes that I will confer with you about, because I think they need to be folded back in. They are from the ’80s and the ’90s and they’re, as I said, about 50 percent are up now and the remaining will be in the next week or two.


TRUSTEE KELSEY: That’s a good place for everybody to start, as John said. I’m sure when you look at it you’ll focus on certain aspects that really do need to be reviewed.

MAYOR COLBY: Yes, Bob Ruttenberg?

BOB RUTTENBERG: Who appoints the deputy mayor and the new trustee?

MAYOR COLBY: The mayor appoints the deputy mayor and the trustees appoint the open position by vote. I make the appointment but the trustees need to consent to it, but I can appoint the deputy mayor without consent.
Anything else?

(No response}

MAYOR COLBY: So unless we have another meeting early, we’ll say next meeting is August 19th and we need a motion to adjourn.







MAYOR COLBY: Motion carries.
Meeting is adjourned. Thank you all for coming today.

(Meeting adjourned at 9:39 a.m.)




) ss:


I, Carissa Ahearn, a Shorthand Reporter and Notary PubJic within and for the State of New York, do hereby certify:
That the foregoing transcript is a true record of the proceedings.
I further certify that I am not related to any of the parties to this action by bJood or marriage and that I am in no way interested in the outcome of this matter.

Carissa Ahearn