New Rochelle City Manager Chuck Strome Announces Sudden "Retirement" of City Attorney

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New Rochelle City Manager Chuck Strome Announces Sudden "Retirement" of City Attorney

June 27, 2009 - 04:41

DCB39949-2772-4A04-9A14-63F6DB6CE56B.jpgStatement from City Manager Charles B. Strome III:

“The Corporation Counsel for the City of New Rochelle has retired effective the end of business day on June 26 after 12 years of distinguished service.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The City is formally disputing our reporting that Bernis Shapiro was fired. Our position is that if Strome worked out a deal to avoid litigation by letting Shapiro come back and then file retirement papers that's fine but if they want to challenge our original reporting on this matter they had better be prepared to see every detail of what transpired this week published here on Talk of the Sound.

The Journal News is now reporting on the Bernis Shapiro "sudden retirement":

New Rochelle corporation counsel abruptly retires

The city's longtime corporation counsel, Bernis Shapiro, has abruptly retired, and officials yesterday gave little explanation of what happened.

There are 6 Comments

This is typical of the city administration that sweeps everything under the rug and allows malcontents to rape citizens via the retirement system. This event transpired because Bernise Shapiro got into a pissing match with Strome and lost, now to save face and avoid future litigation the kiss her on the a$$ on her way out the door to the bank. Ms. Shapiro was making $146,000 with the city and was a control freak. She was not user or public friendly. It was her way or the highway and Strome should have abandoned her on I-95. When you defy your boss you deserve to be fired not rewarded. Again the taxpayers will foot the bill and the next corporation council will be hired at the same or higher salary as is the city’s standard operating procedure.

In my dealings with the City government, I have always found Bernis Shapiro to
be a fair-minded, hard-working, and very capable attorney who has served the City selflessly. It would certainly seem that she has been treated unfairly. What are our City leaders thinking?

My understanding is that the personnel decision taken by Bernis Shapiro was to demote Kathleen Gill from Deputy Corporation Counsel to Assistant Corporation Counsel for unprofessional conduct, but without reducing her salary.

Why was Bernis Shapiro forced to leave the City on only 1 day's notice, over a personnel decision completely within her authority according to the City Charter (as posted on the City website), after 12 years of loyal and professional service to the City?

Was her downfall because she was non-partisan and did not ingratiate herself to the powers that be, and that she dared to discipline a favored employee?

What does this tell us about the judgment, ethics, and motivations of the City administration under Chuck Strome?

While Shapiro as the head of her department may suggest personnel decisions they must be approved by Strome who as city manager is responsible for the day to day operations of New Rochelle. Shapiro defied Strome and left him no choice. Strome has a history of being soft on accountability from staff so Shapiro must have backed him into a corner. She was a control freak who was not user friendly. While Strome appears to have a backbone, the fact that she was allowed to return to the building and negotiate a retirement package proves Strome’s weakness. This situation will cost taxpayers since now she retires with a full benefit package be causes she retired as opposed to being dismissed. Can anyone tell me when her retirement dinner will take place, I would love to attend?

There is no doubt New Rochelle talk of the sound is justified in reporting to the public what is going on at City Hall. I look forward to further updates on this topic.

Its time for Strome III to retire.
The City has never been so poorly run.
Never have we seen it so run down.
Strome is misareable in the job and miserable at the job.
You think he likes the toe to toe with Boy Wonder.
Frankly a few more retirements, or a few more moving on inclusive of some of he beauts for Commissioners would serve us all better.