Bloomingdale Mayor Will Seek Court Order to Mandate Council Attendance
Jonathan Dunleavy said borough business needs to be addressed by Monday.
Conflict continues between the Bloomingdale Council's Republican majority members and Mayor Jonathan Dunleavy as the mayor plans to ask the borough attorney to seek a court order mandating the council members attend Monday's scheduled special meeting.
"I am saddened, as a result of the council majority's inaction, that I must seek a court order to ensure I can properly execute the business of our borough," Dunleavy said.
Should council members not attend, Dunleavy said, he is asking that the court order include a clause that would allow him and Democrat Councilmen Ray Yazdi and John D'Amato, who have indicated they will attend the meeting, to govern the borough and vote without a quorum.
The special council meeting was scheduled after three majority members walked out of a regularly scheduled council meeting last week. The council members left after Councilwoman Linda Shortman said she felt "bullied" by questions by Yazdi on the rejected AvalonBay Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program, although Yazdi said he was not bullying Shortman.
"My whole thing was begging one of them to possibly listen and change their vote," he said.
But Shortman said Wednesday she felt uncomfortable with the way the issue was brought up again at Tuesday's meeting, especially considering the council members had already voted against it.
Dunleavy said Friday that he and Borough Clerk Jane McCarthy had not received confirmation from Council Members Linda Shortman, Mark Conklin or Glenn Schiffman by 5 p.m. Friday when notice of the meeting was sent to members on Wednesday. The mayor said he would need to know in advance of the meeting whether there would be a quorum.
In a Letter to the Editor sent to Patch Friday, Dunleavy said he and the borough clerk had heard from Councilwoman Jo-Ann Pituch, who indicated she would not be in attendance if the PILOT program would be discussed again.
"It's up to the attorney, I have no clue about it," Pituch said Friday in response to the mayor's plan to seek a court order. Pituch did not comment on whether she plans to attend Monday's meeting.
Council members Shortman, Schiffman and Conklin were unavailable for comment. But D'Amato said he plans to attend Monday's meeting because "it's my job." He said he feels it is important that the borough business that was not voted on last week, including items such as applying for a Municipal Alliance grant, approving a fix to a water main break and more, are discussed Monday.
D'Amato said that while issues come before the council at times that are uncomfortable to discuss, the elected officials owe it to the public to meet and make decisions on them.
"We took an oath to serve the borough, no matter what," he said.