2012-08-01 / Misc

Hustis Memo to Cold Spring Village Board

Charles E. Hustis III
Village of Cold Spring Trustee
secondary village email: trustee.hustis@coldspringny.gov

To: Mayor Seth Gallagher / Trustee Bruce Campbell / Trustee J. Ralph Falloon /  Trustee Matt Franscisco

From:  Trustee Charles E. Hustis III

Subject:  Public Comment at Village Workshops and formation of ethics committee

The right of free speech, by the First Amendment of the Constitution is something that people hold sacred to them and the very thought of government, whether it being at the federal, state, county, town, or even the village level not allowing the public to speak when a quorum of a board is present disturbs me deeply.  Stepping back and looking at the whole situation indicates to me that there is a movement in this village to only allow those who profess a certain political ideology to freely express themselves and suppress those who disagree is reason enough to stand up and fight for free speech for all people, regardless of their ideologies. 

I believe that when a quorum of the board is present, we have an obligation to the people of this village to conduct village business, as well as to hear from those in attendance of these village workshops.  One does not have to like what the public has to say, but the pubic pays for our salaries and we work for all people, not just those who voted for us to be in office.  I feel that one increases in knowledge when hearing from those in attendance, as well as possibly rethinking a political position after hearing from those in attendance who may or may not be affected by a decision of this board.  One must remain open to all ideas and possibilities and not be narrow minded in thinking.  Narrow mindedness leads to bad decision making and the people of this village deserve better than to be told that no public comment will be allowed at village workshops.  We took an oath when we were elected to office to uphold the Constitution of the United States, as well as the Constitution of the State of New York and those laws apply to all residents of this village.  If we are to continue down this path of denying people the right to free speech at village workshops, then we need to remove the Customer Bill of Rights from the village hall and tear it apart since we don’t follow our own rules as stated.  Now this holds true for both sides because I feel that the pubic has the right to speak at village workshops in good taste.  No one deserves to be verbally abused or treated as inferior and I do not stand for that at all. 

The second topic that I wish to address is the formation of a village ethics board here in Cold Spring.  We need to establish this board so that we can address ethics charges brought by residents to the Village Board.  The charges raised at the last monthly meeting need to be investigated by an ethics board since I feel that these allegations make the office of mayor look bad, as well as the village board as a whole.  When charges like these are even raised, one can not sit back and hope that the dust settles and everyone forgets what was said.  There needs to be closure to these allegations and peace of mind for all residents in our small village that we are called to serve as elected politicians.  I believe that in the end, an ethics board gives the people a mechanism to keep elected officials in check, as well as appointed board members.  It is always good to have a system of checks and balances, even in our small little community where everyone knows each other and cares for each other.  We need to preserve that aspect of our village and not allow for chaos to take over and make everyone miserable and want to fight each other. 

Thank you for your attention to these two matters and let us continue to make Cold Spring a beautiful village where all people can enjoy living here and not be afraid to be an individual.  We are not the Borg and there is no collective in the village. 

Sincerely,

Trustee Charles E. Hustis III

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