2012-02-15 / Front Page
Verbal Sparring Match for Valentine's Day at Cold Spring Meet
Gallagher goes after Serradas, threatens to have him ejected
Valentine's Day in Cold Spring ended with a verbal sparring match between Trustee Airinhos Serradas and Mayor Seth Gallagher, when Serradas asked a question about an addition to the health insurance plan and Gallagher became clearly angry and threatened to have him ejected from the meeting.
The tinderbox was set off when Trustee Serradas questioned treasurer Ellen Mageean: “As we were reviewing the bills a short time ago, Trustee Chuck Hustis caught something, someone has been added to the health insurance who is not a Village employee, but an elected official.”
Mageean said “the person approached Mary (Saari) about being put on the insurance.. In the past, we have done that for elected officials, put them on the insurance and then we receive reimbursement in full from the individual that is put on the insurance; so there is no outlay of money by the village, but 100 percent of the money is reimbursed by the individual. It had been precedent in the past that we had done that. Mary had called the state, and the state had said yes, that's an allowable procedure, to allow anyone to be, we can allow any elected official to be on our insurance."
Serrradas said, “I understand about protocol but ethically the village board should be notified and as far I know no one from the board has been notified and it is upsetting to me, I don’t understand that line of thinking; I know I’m babbling but I don’t want this hidden.”
Mayor Gallagher, who seemed perturbed by the sparring, said, “It’s not being hidden and you are babbling, we have done this in the past for the longest time. The judge has done it and other trustees, I don’t remember being asked about that. You will make a mountain out of any molehill. I didn’t know I had to inform you.”
Gallagher then stated, "We don’t have to in inform the board. I understand you wanting to make a deal of this because you haven’t had any luck with other things you have been working on, you have a month left, exactly a month, and you are willing to stir things up.”
Serradas, whose term as Trustee is completed in March, remained calm as he continued to respond to the Mayor, “I don’t want this community to end up paying for anyone’s health insurance.”
Gallagher became increasingly frustrated and said, “You are wasting time, which is what you do meeting after meeting, and time is money.”
Serradas: “Seth, you are really not going to like this when this comes out.”
Gallagher: “It's already out.”
Serradas: “You have asked in the past to have heath insurance provided by the Village.”
Gallagher: “We have done this in the past with no cost to the Village.”
Gallagher then banged his fist on the dais to call the meeting back to order, saying, “Airinhos, am I going to cut you off, do I have to ask you to leave?" And then loudly repeated again, "Do I have to ask you to leave? I want you to leave if you can’t behave; are you ready to obey the rules or I will have you escorted out.”
Gallagher then took a five-minute recess and returned to the dais with a proper gavel.
Tuesday's exchange was one of a number of increasingly bitter exchanges between the two officials. In recent weeks, they've also disagreed heatedly about whether the village should consider or seek outside vendors for trash collection.