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Letters-to-the-Editor & Commentary

Privileged Document on Officer Should Not Have Been Made Public

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March 5, 2015

To the Editor: 

As the Mayor of Sleepy Hollow, I was surprised to see a story in the February Hudson Independent that was based on a privileged work document written by the Village’s labor attorney.

The public has been demanding for months that Trustees Wompa, Campbell, Stupel and Handelman explain their actions in voting not to hire a highly qualified local resident – Greg Lobato – to the Village police force. They have steadfastly refused, citing the sanctity of executive session and stating that personnel matters should remain confidential.

As we learned at the Village Board meeting of February 10, Ms. Wompa released this privileged work document to the press and select individuals. She did this with the approval of Trustee Campbell and Village Attorney Janet Gandolfo. She never consulted me or other trustees, even though, as Ms. Gandolfo admitted that evening, the document belonged to the entire Board.

Wompa’s intent is clear: she is seeking vindication for her actions in refusing to hire Mr. Lobato. At that same board meeting, Campbell cited the letter as “truth.” Their duplicity as to what is private and public is breathtaking.

Our labor lawyer drafted a narrowly focused letter to the U.S. Department of Labor in order to protect the Village from a lawsuit stemming from actions by these same Trustees. Essentially, the Village’s defense was that Mr. Lobato’s veteran status was not the reason these trustees refused to hire him. It should be noted that the Department of Labor advises that Mr. Lobato retains the right to have his claim referred to other government agencies.

I continue to believe that Greg Lobato would be a good hire. The reason he wasn’t hired was petty, local politics which unfortunately is all too legal. It is petty politics therefore that are “truth.”

There are many, many issues at play here. At the moment, what is most disturbing is the lack of respect shown to the Village Board and to me in the release of this privileged document by a trustee for self-serving and hypocritical reasons.

Ken Wray
Mayor
Village of Sleepy Hollow

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