Now that more has information emerged about Harley Doles’ resolution to surrender Lead Agency status in the DEC Annexation deal with Kiryas Joel, a.k.a. “The Monday Surprise”, we now have much more of an understanding of the underhanded manner in which the Monroe Town Supervisor wants to systematically dismantle the town in order to hand it over lot-by-lot to developers for high density development.
Beginning with the 507 acre annexation request from Kiryas Joel that created the contention in the first place. The discussion at Monday’s Board meeting morphed into a four-hour long angry discourse. Surprisingly, most of the ranting and complaining was done from the supervisor’s chair by Harley Doles himself, and anyone remotely associated was spared no blame from Mr. Doles’ personal and often unwarranted attacks. Citizens had 3 minutes to make their compelling case before the assembled board and neighbors, remarks that range from being interrupted by Doles to a convenient stance of avoiding responses to any direct questions.
Councilman Dan Burke, questioned in an interview by News12’s Blaise Gomez, seemed very confused about the wording and intent of the resolution, and whether it has direct correlation to the annexation approval. Indeed, for someone who claimed to have seen the resolution before the meeting, his re-reading of it on camera struck no one convincing, despite his Monday night protestations of favoring the motion.
Not helping was his comment before the final vote in which he openly commented to the crowd, “Don’t talk to us, we’re criminals.”
The vote failed passage by a 2-2 tie.
Members of the press and United Monroe have obtained the copy of the disputed resolution that turned Monday night’s Town Board meeting into a four-hour-long angry rant. We’ve provided a link to the resolution, which Harley Doles and Town Attorney Michael Donnelly admittedly spent the previous long weekend drafting.
As you’ll note, the language of the resolution makes clear the assumption that Kiryas Joel leadership will act responsibly and file the necessary requirements to become its own separate municipality. At least Harley Doles would like to convince you that would be the case. But that argument lacks one major element: evidence of previous similar behaviors.
Harley Doles and Michael Donnelly assert that in 7 out of 8 cases in which the DEC has ruled on annexation cases, the decision has been granted to the requesting party (Kiryas Joel, in our case). They then attempt to extend that corollary to a case such as ours which is different in a number of ways.
1. The DEC has in Kiryas Joel a habitual scofflaw to any environmental findings. The Kiryas Joel waste treatment plant is one subject of many violations to DEC Regulations. Granting lead agency status to a known scofflaw sets an obviously poor precedent for the agency.
2. The DEC has delayed its decision on lead agency. Perhaps this is due to it being an election year, perhaps its due to the known outrage that would occur were Kiryas Joel be granted the opportunity to watch over its own hen-house. Perhaps also it’s because the DEC has the option of appointing itself as lead agency when there are clear conflicts of interest, as there are in our unique situation.
3. Three of the four council members continue to assert that Kiryas Joel’s population growth rate is one that will continue to outpace that of the remaining town outside KJ’s boundaries. It’s an argument similar to suggesting that an alcoholic will continue drinking to excess, and we should therefore send a few cases of whiskey to help out. Ceding 507 acres doesn’t address the core issue, just as contributing to destroy an alcoholic’s liver isn’t doing them any favors.
Take a good read of the language in the resolution. Nothing is guaranteed. Not Kiryas Joel abiding by the letter or spirit of the agreement, not their becoming a separate municipality (something which is far from assured), not their intent to act in anything other than their own self-interests which run counter to those surrounding their community.
And Harley Doles’ actions subsequent to his loss on the resolution demonstrated his own desire to use his position and the full resources of the Town of Monroe as his personal asset toward granting whatever power he desires. Or using town resources to exact any sort of embarrassment that he decides to promote.
Jamming last minute resolutions and holding oddly-timed meetings that exclude both the public and other council members serve to demonstrate a total contempt for the citizens of this town and the New York Open Meeting Laws. These aren’t the behaviors of a responsible elected official.
They’re the behavior of a schoolyard bully. And they have no place in a community of responsible taxpayers.
Pictures courtesy wn.com and twc.com, all rights to their respective owners.