Attending the Village of Manorhaven Board of Trustees meeting on May 23 was reminiscent of the old time Abbott & Costello baseball comedy skit with all of us residents as well as our village officials totally confused in a circus type atmosphere. The numerous resolutions by one of the trustees, with backing by a majority of the Board, left all of us perplexed while putting undue pressure on the village deputy clerk who at times seemed like the only one in control. I have never been to a village meeting as this during my past nine years back in Manorhaven, or during my tenure as trustee here from 2016-2020, or even my 25 years as a police supervisor in various villages throughout Nassau County. How totally different this administration is from the past Board of Trustees I was privileged to be a part of for four years where we sometimes disagreed but always acted and served as “one”! Accusations were being thrown around about conflicts of interest, fiduciary obligations, as well as sufficient resources being available to investigate complaints. This Board of Trustees meeting brought back memories for many of us residents of the questionable and sometimes volatile history for this small village that has existed for decades. The talk of the village clerk’s salary brought back recent memories when I was the only trustee to peruse a past proposed budget and find that the village clerk had changed the salary and overtime lines for our employees which was not an acceptable accounting practice. The Mayor had the village clerk make the appropriate changes and we had an acceptable budget for our Village. Also, our past two village clerks have made in excess of $100,000 with overtime lines listed in the budgets. There has always been talk of conflicts of interest circling around this small village regarding relatives or construction business transactions while Manorhaven has somehow maintained a steady course. Finally, when it comes to complaint investigation and code enforcement, our village has always been lacking the needed personnel to cover the daily violations that exist whether it be garbage, parking, loose dogs, street cleaning, etc. During my tenure I attempted to add code enforcement personnel, as well as a parking permit program, however my plans never seemed to get final approval. Any of you residents who find it difficult to park by your own homes during the Summer months (Edgewood Road-Kirkwood Road) especially on weekends would benefit by code enforcement on weekends as well as evenings. Investigating code complaints has little effect if there is not sufficient personnel to enforce our regulations. Our present complaint investigator who was also our code enforcement officer in recent years was more active and more efficient than any other employee I have seen here in many years.
During our Public Session I spoke of the need for our entire Board of Trustees to make themselves totally aware of the highlights of the B.O.L.D. (Building Overlay District) Section 155 of our Zoning Laws. There is presently an apartment project in the planning stage for 12-20 Matinecock Avenue (Haven Marina) and our Mayor, Trustees, and Building Department need to take the appropriate steps to make sure this or other waterfront projects follow the strict guidelines of the B.O.L.D. Section as well as other regulations set forth by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Nassau County Health Department regarding proper testing of soil and groundwater wells that was also conducted at 22 Sagamore Hill Drive a few years back. This testing resulted in recommendations by professional engineering firms to apply a safety barrier because of volatile organic compounds that were detected in five test wells in 2011 and again in 2019 (4 of 5 test wells were still above acceptable levels). This property is adjacent to 5 Sagamore Hill Drive (Thypin Steel) which has worked diligently since 2004 to clean up their hazardous contaminated soil and groundwater as per NYSDEC and Nassau County Health Department.
It is very confusing that almost all of the trustees have taken totally different positions from the present Mayor who in reality either ran for office with most of them, supported them during their run for office, or they were recently appointed by the Mayor to fill an empty seat. This situation is similar to that of the past Board back in 2015 which prompted me to run for trustee in 2016. For the life of me I cannot understand or comprehend why this Board, with a few Trustees here for only a short time, is so driven to fire all of these employees who have done an effective job for our Village. I think that our residents should give strong consideration when they vote for Trustees on Tuesday, June 20th as we need someone with fresh ideas who is willing to get our Village back on steady keel!
—Respectfully, Ken Kraft, Former Trustee 2016-2020