New Rochelle Civil Service Meeting Gets a Visit from Talk of the Sound; "We No Hire" Says Chairman Procopio

ShareThis

DSC_5905.jpgNew Rochelle's Municipal Civil Service Commission met today at City Hall. Apparently, you were not supposed to know that. Now you do, courtesy of Talk of the Sound.

This ostensibly public meeting was not listed on the City of New Rochelle web site. There was no calendar event on the City web site. No meeting agenda or order of business was published on the City web site or made available at the offices of the Municipal Civil Service Commission, even on the day of the meeting or during the meeting. It was, obviously, not broadcast on NRTV and will not be made available on the City web site. The City Clerk's office told Talk of the Sound they had no information about the meeting. The City's Media Relations department told Talk of the Sound they had no information about the meeting.

Talk of the Sound has a pending FOIL request for copies of public records demonstrating that the Municipal Civil Service Commission properly noticed the meeting today by publishing a meeting announcement prior to the meeting in an official paper of record (e.g., The Journal News). The City confirmed earlier today that the FOIL request had been forwarded to the Municipal Civil Service Commission which has yet to respond. At this time there is no record that any effort was made to inform the public that the Municipal Civil Service Commission would be meeting.

The meeting itself was scheduled for 3 PM today at the City Hall office of Civil Service Administrator Jeanett Medina. When these public meetings take place they occur in an inner office with the door locked. There is no signage anywhere in the building indicating that a public meeting is taking place or where.

At about 2:40 pm, shortly after I arrived at the offices of the Municipal Civil Service Commission on the first floor at City Hall, Jeanett Medina came out of her office to inquire as to my purpose in the office. Informed that I wished to attend the meeting of the Municipal Civil Service Commission, Medina stated that the meeting was scheduled for 3 pm. This would appear to constitute the first mention of the meeting to any member of the press or public. Moments later Omar Small, Assistant to the City Manager, walked into the offices of the Municipal Civil Service Commission and made a beeline for Medina's office. Two people arrived in the office, one of whom turned out to be John Imbrugia, a man on the agenda regarding a position as Housing Inspector with the Building Department. As Commission members Domenic Procopio, Rev. Feston Leak and Ms. Margaret Chadwick arrived, Medina informed them that the meeting was being moved to a larger room. Moments later Small came out of the office to inform those waiting outside that the meeting was being moved to the Development Department's conference room down the hall.

DSC_5904.jpgShortly after 3 pm, the Commission members along with Medina and Small sat at the conference table across from Imburgia and his brother. Medina called the meeting to order. No mention was made of Agenda item 2, approving the minutes from the last meeting. Imburgia presented a case as to why he should not be declared ineligible for a position with the City, an interesting issue best left for another day.

As Imbrugia made his case, presenting dozens of documents, neither the Assistant to the City Manager, the Civil Service Administrator nor any of the Commissioner took a single note or asked to inspect the documents as they were presented. Afterward, Commissioner Procopio assured Imburgia that he wants to help everyone and that the Commissioner would discuss his case. As the meeting was ending Commissioner Chadwick asked to review one document and did so.

Medina announced that the rest of the meeting would take place in her office. Without adjourning the meeting, the three commissioners and Medina left the conference room, went back to her office and locked the door. Talk of the Sound requested a copy of the meeting agenda from Omar Small who agreed to provide one later.

After several attempts to open the door to Medina' office and realizing it was locked from the inside, I knocked on the door a few times and was admitted to the room by the somewhat astonished Medina at which point the following exchange took place.

"Is there a reason the door was locked?" I asked.

"We were just going to finish up the items on the [agenda]," said Medina. "You wanted to attend?"

"Yeah...the whole thing," I said.

The Commission proceeded to go through the remaining items on the agenda and adjourned the meeting. After the meeting was adjourned, the group scheduled the next Municipal Civil Service Commission for February 16th.

Talk of the Sound later obtained a copy of the agenda after the meeting from Kathy Gilwit via Omar Small: NewRoCSCMeeting_2011-0119.pdf

A few thoughts on the meeting.

1. Whether the meeting was legally noticed or not, it is out of keeping with the other city departments that there is no regularly scheduled meeting of the Municipal Civil Service Commission listed on the City web site.

2. Whether the meeting was legally noticed or not, the Municipal Civil Service Commission did not add their meeting to the City calendar nor post any signage directing the public to the meeting or make available in hard copy or via the web a meeting agenda or order of business.

3. No notes were taken by any one at the meeting (except me)

4. The minutes from the previous meeting in November 2010 were not approved.

5. After Imbrugia completes his presentation, Propcopio says "you show to us all the paper, we're going to talk about" by which it appears he means to say that the Municipal Civil Service Commission will discuss the information presented. No such discussion took place at any point during the remainder of the meeting. The Municipal Civil Service Commission never went in to Executive Session and no Municipal Civil Service Commission meeting was scheduled until mid-February which suggests that there will be some sort of illegal meeting where the Commissioners will confer before making a decision in the case.

5. The meeting was not adjourned after Imbrugia finished making his presentation it was simply transported to another location.

6. The rest of the meeting was set to occur not only behind closed doors but locked closed doors but for my knocking on the door and asking to observe the remainder of the meeting.

7. The meeting was already adjourned when the Commissioners decided to schedule the February meeting.

8. If the meeting was not legally noticed, then the entire proceeding was illegal.

9. The City Council, the Industrial Development Agency, the Zoning Appeals Board and the Planning Board are all held in public meeting rooms, rooms equipped with chairs for the public and the press, rooms which open directly into publicly accessible hallways, rooms with TV cameras in them. It costs $200 to televise a public meeting in City Hall from one of the three available rooms. The Municipal Civil Service Commission meets about 10 times a year so televising its meetings will cost about $2,000. Given that the Municipal Civil Service Commission is the Human Resources department for the City of New Rochelle and handles all of the Civil Service requirements for the City School District of New Rochelle and that personnel-related costs constitute about 70% of the budget for both governments using the shared services of the Municipal Civil Service Commission, a budget of well over $300,000,000, spending two grand a year so the public can keep an eye on their Municipal Civil Service Commission seems a pittance.

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Ruforreal on Sun, 01/23/2011 - 14:25

Its WHO you know and how much they LIKE you!

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 22:44

Funny thing about NR. They want you to be a resident for four months before taking an exam. After you're appointed they could care less where you live. I asked Chuck Strome why they don't require city employees to remain in the city. His reply, the city doesn't pay them enough to live there. So sorry, us rich folk have troubling living there too. At least, some of us want to, and try to stay in the community. Pardon me now, I want to go sailing on my yacht.

NewRoNorthEnd on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 18:59

You don't have to be in law enforcement to read the group picture here,but do they look guilty of something ?

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 19:05

LOL

What aren't they guilty of?

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 16:17

I just got word from the NYS CSC. The city of NR CSC HAS determined I meet their residency requirements. They did so without reviewing ANY documents, taking notes or conducting any type of investigation. It therefore can be concluded thate I met the residency requiremnts at the time the job was offered back on Dec 15, 2010.

The state also acknoledged that the city's residency law needs to be RE_WORDED. How about that, you mean it was actually flawed in some way? Will there be a public hearing prior to re-wording this law? What about the bogus residency rules that are now contained in firefighter exam announcement?

Oh yeah, the only reason the NR CSC gave me an opportunity to address them was because I complained to everyone possible. I was then offered this wonderful opportunity on Jan 19, 2011. Guess what, it was more than 30 days after the job offer was made. Now, according to the state CSC, the job offer has to revoked and my name placed backed on the eligibilty list and another canidate will undoubtley now be selected. I must have a crystal ball and so does Chuck Strome. He predicted this outcome in a meeting I had with him and 4 other NR bigwigs earlier in January. Imagine, me, a mere mortal in a conference room with 5 NR officials. How many job canidates get this luxury? And yes, I also predicted this outcome in a previous post.

Bob Cox is right--there you have corruption.

Thomas Sowell's picture
Thomas Sowell on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 20:55

Why would you move out of New Rochelle while you were waiting to hear about a job? And how long did you live in New Rochelle for? I'm a little confused about this whole issue.

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 22:01

I lived in NR for forty years full-time from 1959 to 1999. Took up part-residence in 2000 elsewhere p/t because of health and personal problems and the desire to go some where to get away. Stayed in NR at the same house from 2000 to July 2010. My brother had brought the house from my father and moved in there this past July with his family. I attempt to stay there with him but it isn't easy. I could not afford my own place in NR due to low income and high rents etc. Been looking for a place but need a better stable job to secure one. I wanted some place small, clean and quite--not easy to find.

Had a friend who had a house out of state and stayed there from 2000 to December 2010. From 2006 to December 2010, he didn't charge me any rent or heat. In exchanged, I worked around the house in my spare time when nothing was going on in NR. This past December, he asked me to leave as he needed to start collecting rent on the apartment. I am now staying with my brother at times, a friend outside Westchester County at times, and driving a tractor-trailer and spend a lot of time in that on the road.

Changed my CDL class A driver's license to NYS. I had several endorsements on it including one that allowed me to go into Canada and another that allowed me to haul haxardous materials. It cast over $300.00 to get. Had to spend that money again to get it in NY. It wasn't easy to come up with.

Nonetheless, I met the requirements that were contained in the NR municipal code. I was in fact a resident for four months prior to taking the test. What else matters? Ask the neighbors.

Also graduated from Iona College with honors as well as Westchester Community College. Have a BS in Criminal Justice. Served in the NY Air Guard for six years as a security specialist, and left with an honorable discharge and a meritorious service award. Received and academic excellence award from Andrew O'Rouke. Worked with my brother as a carpenter for more than tenn years building and renovating house in the Stamford, CT area. The last job I did for him was to renovate my father's old home--the one my brother brought and moved into this past July. Finished that around May of 2010. Need more?

Rob Baker on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 18:23

First, I want to say the reporting by Talk of the Sound is very good. I think the comments on the article by subscribers are overly rough. I don't always agree with Mayor Bramson, but he always conducts himself as a gentleman with those whom he disagrees. I think the same courtesy is due back. City Manager Strome is one of the nicest, brightest, hardest working and most humble persons I know. Kicking him, is like kicking the cat. I find the ethnic remarks directed toward Commissioner Procopio so inappropriate and out of the mainstream of modern American political discourse that I will leave it at that. I have always known him to be a gentleman, and his word is his bond. Perhaps the NR Civil Service Commission never operated like other similar bodies b/c nobody took an interest in its work. Clearly that has changed; hopefully to the benefit of the public.

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 07:47

Mr. Baker,

The CSC is required by law to hold their meetings in public and announce their agendas. Perhaps the majority of the time no one will attend. But for the few times that someone wants to attend, the opportunity to do so needs to be there.

Secondly, I for one, would have liked to be there when they modified their residency requirement for testing. This is a matter that affects a great many people and the public had a right to be there and express their concerns. The CSC conversely, decided they had the right to change their requirement illegally and by doing so they
disqualified perhaps many applicants inappropiately. I was not interseted in being one
of their victims and tried to give them ample
opportunity to correct their ways. They chose to do so in a public forum and perhaps at great embarrassment to themselves. I should not be punished or illegally disqualified for raising an issue of legimate public concern.

As far as Mayor Bramson, I agree with you. He is a gentleman and treats everyone with great respect regardless of their views or status in the community. I do not know Domenic Procopio well enough to comment on his character but believe deep down he has a good heart. I can't imangine that he would knowingly violate the law. I'll reserve my comments on Chuck Strome, although I find him very articulate.

I must also thank the Talk of the Sound for reporting this matter. Their website keeps city officials on their toes and essentially keeps "honest people honest." Great website with good stories particularly those on old NR.

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 02:54

Rob Baker is somewhat ridiculous when he writes...

Mayor Bramson -- always conducts himself as a gentleman with those whom he disagrees.

Chuck Strome-- nicest, brightest, hardest working and most humble persons I know.

Dominic Procopio -- a gentleman, and his word is his bond

New Rochelle Civil Service Commission never operated like other similar bodies b/c nobody took an interest in its work.

Noam makes a point of publicly presenting himself a certain way, a calculated act, for the rubes of which you appear to be one. Behind the scenes Bramson has a well-deserved reputation as a "my way or the highway" tantrum thrower who is known to scream, threaten and curse like a sailor.

Chuck is generally OK but I seriously doubt that even he would claim to be "humble". Anyone who has watched Chuck in public meetings and seen his crossed arms and rolled eyes would know he is someone who does not suffer fools lightly.

Procopio pocketed tens of thousands of illegal tax exemptions, including money set aside for combat veterans, and never lifted a finger to return any of the money until he was exposed here on Talk of the Sound. His word is his bond? Your kidding right? He paid back only the combat vet money, not a dime of the illegal star exemptions tens of thousands of dollars which remain in his possession.

Any person who would take financial benefits intended for combat veterans is a scumbag, pure and simple, no matter how courteous they are while they are lining their pockets with public money. Your credibility just fell to zero with your rhetorical wet kiss to Procopio.

Rob Baker is beyond ridiculous when he says the Municipal Civil Service Commission holds its public meetings behind locked doors with no public notice because ""nobody took an interest in its work." How could anyone take an interest in meetings they do not know exist on topics on which they are not informed? This statement is in the running as the single stupidest statement ever added as a comment to this site. It is so idiotic that I considered not responding because obviously the author was struck by a brick in the head at a young age or has some other sort of brain malfunction.

Since when it is the obligation of the public to first show interest in a government department before they are obligated to give public notice of their meetings, holding the meetings in unlocked rooms or otherwise allow the public to view the proceedings. The same for their obligations under the Freedom of Information Law.

Except for the aforementioned statement, the final statement would have been the stupidest statement ever made. So, to that extent on congratulations on submitting the two most idiotic sentences of all time on this site all in one paragraph.

Rob wrote "Clearly that has changed; hopefully to the benefit of the public."

How has "that" changed? What has changed? There was been no public response by the City stating that they are concerned with how the Civil Service Administration noticed the meeting or that she walked out of a public meeting with all three commissioners and then restarted the meeting in her private office after locking the door behind her. Jeanette Medina works for the City Manager. How is her behavior acceptable to Chuck? The Commissioners are all appointed by the Mayor. How is their behavior acceptable to Noam?

If you disagree with the behavior of either Chuck's subordinates or the Mayor's appointees try calling into their radio shows on WVOX and see how humble and courteous they are as they hang up on you. Well, that's not really fair. Chuck at least will argue his side and make his points unlike our coward Mayor who runs from people who disagree with him. I may not always agree with Chuck but he is a man; Noam is failed, frustrated, child trapped in a man's body.

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:03

BTW, great comment!! LMAO!!

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:01

I just read your comments and as always find them very enlightening. Clearly you know these people a lot better than me. I can only comment on how I was treated by them for the few times I spoke with them.

With all the nonsense that goes on, it is often hard to tell who your friends are and who isn't. And yeah, you may be right about Chuck Strome. He is a fighter and a good opponent, I think I just push the wrong buttons when I talk to him.

Mr. Cox, it was a pleasure to read this story--keep up the good work.

Fifth Ave Guy on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 15:16

Do we really need any of these people? What a waste and all for a simple HR decision.

This would NEVER NEVER NEVER happen in the private sector and reminds me of a joke that goes....

Q: How many Civil Service Commissoners does it take to change a light bulb?

A: 4 plus a DWP guy to get the ladder, climb the ladder and change the bulb.

Political Forechecker's picture
Political Forec... on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 19:10

Only in New Rochelle

Martin Sanchez's picture
Martin Sanchez on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 14:07

Great Piece Bob - As a long time Labor Relation Specialist, with municipal unions in NYC, I thought I had seen it all. Your reveleation of New Ro CSC is appaling and simply highlights the lack of transparency by this Commission and the Mayor & the City Manager, who have authority over these commissions. I wonder whether the Mayor has the cojones to comment on this expose? The law is clear (see below) and it seems that Bramson and his cronies are thumbing their nose at it. Ignorance of the law is no defense! Any future aspiration for this Mayor will hopefully come back to this and other similar issues. The Mayor seems to enjoy operating a la Baby Doc Duvalier.

See http://www.ecode360.com/?custId=NE0964

City of New Rochelle Charter – Chapter A367

The Commission shall designate one of its members as Chairman. Two Commissioners shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The Commission may appoint a Secretary who shall not be a Commissioner, and such other subordinates and employees within available appropriations as it may deem necessary or proper to carry out the purposes of these rules and the law. It shall fix the duties of these employees. The Commission shall keep true and accurate minutes of all its meetings and proceedings, which shall be open to public inspection.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

NRinfo on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 12:02

Procopio is a joke, a deal maker from a lost era who needs to retire. This is another example of corruption in New Rochelle. Here's a suggestion, FOIL for the eligibility list, I hear there are two candidates, Mr. Imbudia and someone whose father is part of the in-crowd who is a small time NR developer and political donor. Wanna bet who gets the job?

John Imburgia on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 12:47

That happens and Mr Imburgia will be laughing all the way to the bank with the nice hefty amount he will collect from a lawsuit.

PS:

Look at the residency requirements on the housing inspector job announcement contained in the PDF link in the story. Then look at the residency requirements contained in the NR civil service laws also contained in this link. Notice how the two differ and the city never changed the rule with the proper public hearing that the state requires. Now, they have been bumping people off the list who move out of town after taking the test. According to their own rules, you only have to be a resident until the examination. So how can they remove people from the list who move after the test? I guess we will see...

Tom Jeferstahl on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 14:38

Is the question whether or not Mr. Imburgia is a resident of the city? If that is the question the city of New Rochelle should conduct its own investigation. If Mr. Imburgia claimed a New Rochelle address to take an exam it should be easy to subpeona his personal records, checking, credit cards, phone records, utilities to see if indeed he did move to New Rochelle. Did his cell phone use the same cell towers where he was located before his move to new rochelle and his move out of new rochelle. Rental records, subpeona his old landlord, his old neighbors etc. If he lied then he should be prosecuted for filing false documents. How soon after the exam did he move away?

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 14:45

PS

Hey, you get the award for most idiotic comment of the day. Good luck proving your claim.

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 14:42

Such an investigation would be welcome! Maybe you would like to do it.

Tom Jeferstahl on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 20:33

Do you know where he lived before moving to New Rochelle, where he claimed to live in New Rochelle and where he move to after leaving New Rochelle? Give me those three addresses and I'll do the rest.

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 22:14

Yeah, he lived at 17 Jackson Street from 1959 on. Go to the PD as well. FOIL incident reports if you wish. Make sure you understand the the confines of NR residency law before going to court though. Also. muddy the waters all you want. I would love a day in court to talk about the assorted details of my life. Oh, and I only had two addressed in 51 years since the day I was born in 1959. 17 Jackson Street in New Rochelle and 30 River Street in Woodtock, VT. Like I said, the VT address was a p/t place until this passed December. BTW, a person only has to be a residents in NR for four months prior to taking the test. Not a legal resident--just a resident. That's their ruled not mine. I have 40 undisputed years there. An additional 10 years p/t that I can easily establish, Hope that
counts for something. How long have you been there?

Go knock yourself out now with your investigation.
Maybe you want to come by for dinner one night? You can check out the house, asked the nieghbors who cleaned the yard and so fought. Good luck!

Thomas Sowell's picture
Thomas Sowell on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 17:39

I'm not sure about the housing job, but most New Rochelle requirements list residency as a requirement to take the test and then state that preference in hiring will be given to residents. So it seems to me that New Rochelle is being quite upfront with candidates that move out of town after taking the test. If you move before being hired you will not get hired. You guys have to cut the city some slack sometimes. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 08:09

Wrong, Jerry. There is no "preference" list in NR. State and local law is clear on the subject. Read it, take it to a lawyer. They screwed up. They are not upfront.

Stating a rule in a job announcement w/o a public hearing is invalid especially when they already have a different residency rule in their regs and on file in Albany. Sorry buddy.

Thomas Sowell's picture
Thomas Sowell on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 14:18

New York State Civil Service Law allows for the establishment of residency requirements by municipalities. A municipality can not prevent someone from taking a civil service exam but they can give preference in hiring with regard to residency.. How is New Rochelle violating this? Every job posting I've ever seen has included information about preference in hiring given to residents. Thanks

John Imburgia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 14:39

Yes, only NR has had a residency requirement since 1975 that only requires canidates to be mere residents for four months prior to taken the exam--they do not have to be residents of the city and/or surrounding areas for anytime thereafter. This rule is on file with the state. It cannot be modified without a public hearing as per state and local law. It was modified however. They also do not have any rule on file in local CS law that allows them to have a preference list. Nor does NR have a preference list rule on file with the state CSC.

NR Resident on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 09:57
Title: Medina

Could someone give me some background on Medina and her qualifications for her present position? Pardon my ignorance.

John Imburgia on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 06:20

You know what would be funny,

If they welch on the job offer now that they were caught with their pants down. I wonder how they will decide this case with out discussing the matter or reviewing the documents? Ahh, the fairness of city hall...

It's amazing how a job offer can be swiped away from someone even before they are declared "unqualified." Here's a prediction: The CS commission finds this canidate qualified, but the job offer gets taken away, they "re-certify" the list and the Building Department then claims they prefer to hire someone else. Do they make this stuff up as they go along?

southside man on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 01:20

so let me get this right.

They have meetings nobody knows about .

They dont let you know where and when .

They move the mettings to rooms where there is no video or recording of any kind, Not even minutes!

They have a $300.000.000 budget ,and dont have $2.000 for video for cable ?

HMMMMMM!!!

This is a tough one .

Now this is the perfect point why we schould be happy to have an avenue of access to public information .

Thank you Talk of the sound!!!!!

P.S . Jannet you schould learn to smile!!!

Recent Comments

John Imburgia | Very sorry to...
Jim Maisano | Thanks for...
Jim Maisano | Thanks
Robert Cox | Right. Fixed
Ken Lewis | So I think you...
John Imburgia | Guess one...
Robert Cox | Chuck appears...
John D'Alois | I Guess New...
Ken Lewis | Advice to...
John Imburgia | I always love...

Google Translate