Yonkers Financial Crisis Reveals Itself a Hoax
By HEZI ARIS
It took only 17 days into the month of January 2014 for the other shoe to drop and it would be as traumatic a sense of doom than could ever be imagined. Mayor Mike Spano in a press release issued only hours before the beginning of the Martin Luther King Jr long weekend reprise from the battery of winter’s wrath, informed the public that be was advised by then Yonkers Public School (YPS) Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio that a $55 million error, to this day never fully explained, had created a “shortfall” in the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE) budget despite the telling in the YBoE ledger. As if the baton had been directed from the Executive (Mayor’s Office) branch of government to the Legislative (Yonkers City Council) branch of office, the seven members presiding over the august, but now besmirched Yonkers City Council Chambers cried out in unison to disparage then Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio and postured in stance and in word that the YBoE had for too long toyed and disrespected the mayors of Yonkers and the city councilmembers. Collectively they would demean and diminish Pierorazio’s conduct at the helm professionally and personally. The praises that for years were quick to be afforded I’m his professionalism, knowledge, and expertise had from that day onward turned vulgar in tone. It was literally as if he were being kicked and beaten in the heart of Getty Square without any assistance from anyone. He had been maligned and denigrated within a day; he was caste from the inner circle, kicked from within the coven collectively known as the “family and friends” network. As outrageous as this seems, there is more much more.
Mayor Mike Spano called for an immediate focus and effort to turn the so-called “independent” YBoE to be transformed into a department of the City of Yonkers (CoY). The vision was clear and succinct to those engaged in what began as a skirmish among “vested” interests to wit the student population, “our children”, yet they where not part of any future consideration. The shock and incredulity expressed by both Yonkers Executive and Legislative representatives insinuated a fear among Yonkersites that was palatable and hold stronger than ever to this day the citizenry. The few expressions beseeching temperance to maintain the status quo, or better still, engage in discourse to ameliorate issues that had been revealed, were quickly silenced. Opposition, the little revealed over the next two-and-a-half months, were quick to learn their stature and standings within and among the “new” pecking order would be their individual and collective death knell were any additional expressions uttered. They were slapped into their chairs and told to “shut the “f***” up.
Few know that the “revelations” that became somewhat public on January 17, 2014 in actuality occurred days before, which further validates the assertions expressed by the virtual online newspaper, the Yonkers Tribune, among other issues expressed on the “featured” BlogTalkRadio program, Westchester On the Level, that is, that it was Certified Public Accountant Nick DeSantis who had first advised Mayor Spano of the “shortfall”. Truth be told, despite the words of praise and amity bestowed upon Pierorazio from the first days of Mike Spano ascending to the Office of Yonkers Mayor and even years prior, the fix against Pierorazio was long ago engaged. The foil or “dupe” was Chief Executive Officer Joseph Bracchita whose responsibility it was to create a budget based on Pierorazio’s directives. Bracchita had two masters, Pierorazio and Mayor Mike Spano. Bracchita leaned to the greater power, Mayor Mike Spano. The snake-like slithering’s of Bracchita; engaged too deep with respect to the Public Private Partnership for Education (P3forE) concept were encroaching on Mayor Spano’s future interests. Bracchita was no match for the mongoose tactics of its Master Mike Spano, among other interested parties. Before a word could be heard explaining how the $55 million “shortfall came about, seemingly residing for all who wanted to see, yet under the financial radar screen, made available to the public, was lost by Bracchita being urged and permitted to leave. Not one subpoena was issued against him. Mayor Mike Spano’s office did not request Yonkers Corporation Counsel Michael Curti issue a subpoena against Bracchita; Yonkers Inspector General Brendan McGrath permitted under his own volition to issue a subpoena did not issue a subpoena against Bracchita, and neither did the Yonkers City Council issue a subpoena against Bracchita. Very convenient indeed. Not a word from any stakeholder has come to light; not one student, one parent; one elected official, albeit too late for their perspective to gain any momentum much less maintain any gravitas. To this day, all those who expressed passion in their breath have disintegrated into silence, henceforth mute and moot in the world of politics and the very vision serving Mayor Mike Spano with little left over, not even a crumb for the self-described “family and friends” entourage. No Yonkersite can afford to be exposed by giving expression to any criticism of Mayor Spano’s administrative conduct any more. Yonkersites have long been silenced. It does seem as though Mayor Spano has brought about a silence in the “realm” that is most horrid in its dismissal of The People, and thereby least benevolent of the public’s needs than any previous mayor I have covered; reference Mayors John Spencer and Phil Amicone.
Impeccable sources who will remain anonymous to all our readers have alleged in their telling the Yonkers Tribune, that Yonkers Deputy Mayor Sue Gerry, who for almost two-years lied about her residence requirements demanded by an evidently worthless Yonkers City Charter, and defended her status as not one of a fully functioning Yonkers Deputy Mayor, among other misdeeds and “cronyism” stormed into Pierorazio’s office a few days before the Martin Luther King weekend was to begin. They manhandled Pierorazio in such a manner as to literally lift him from his seat, slammed onto his knees, while barking orders for him to sign a document declaring his departure from the Office of YPS Superintendent. Be proud Yonkers, our own Abu Ghraib goon squad. Pierorazio signed. No explanation as to what happened other than this telling has come to light to this day. Pierorazio remains silent; Mayor Spano was not advised the “rest of the story”, leaving us to share this unsettling happenstance with you.
Having learned to outwit Yonkersites, emboldened Mayor Mike Spano decided to marginalize the entire Albany Delegation in his mano-a-mano discussions with the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Mayor Spano believed he could work out a deal to his liking and he did, despite the Yonkers City Councilmembership believing they were on the same ship, they were and continue to be marginalized by Mayor Spano who has crafted wording of oversight which neuters whatever the Yonkers City Council decides. The word is “shall”, rather than “will”. In legal terminology, “shall” gives expression to an action and by using the term “shall” demands follow through; “will” may present the same course of action but does not demand the follow-up suggested. “Will” is more of a suggestion that need not be implemented. Mayor Mike Spano agreed to “shall” because it suits him to have the Legislative branch of government, the Yonkers City Council, neutered. And further, the New York State Regent has oversight over the Yonkers Public School system, thereby eviscerating any directive they may wish to institute but “shall” and can be overridden by the New York State Board of Education Regent. Perfect for Mayor Spano, an impotent Yonkers City Council and an impotent Yonkers Board of Education Board of Trustees. The jail sentence for the YCC and the YBoE Trustees is 10 years. A “control board” not defined in word but in future conduct.
Notice how in none of these scenarios does the needs, visions, and hopes of Yonkersites come into play. It is all about the “power” of the “strong mayor form of government” that suits Mayor Mike Spano, and the fight for relevance by the YCC membership that will be less and less relevant into the coming years.
The “drama” that permeates Yonkers psyche and like any other trauma caused by shock, that is constant and demeaning, and diminished by finger pointing and dismissive terms, governed by the might of “goon squads” from within the Office of Mayor Mike Spano, enhanced by the pale of silence among the 200,000 people within our borders, have wrought about these days.
The issue never answered which exposes how Yonkers has been maligned from within can be told because the Yonkers Tribune has been able to find the evidence under the darkening cloud that hangs over the City of Hills. Let us decipher it together.
However the “shortfall” came about, how did the City of Yonkers pay $55 million in payment for 18 months duration without ever receiving the money expected to fill the city coffers for the benefit of the YBoE? Cash flow didn’t keep the city solvent; but payment was made to satisfy all personnel and all vendors. Further there is no rush to pass the budget by the due date despite requiring passage of Mayor Mike Spano’s Proposed Y2014-2105 Budget gaining approval before CoY may legally start billing for taxes due. That is the question. Like the show, “Jeopardy“, the answer will reveal the trauma caused to hide the basis for this staged hoax on Yonkersites and the New York State Legislature, and Governor Andrew Cuomo alike, and the largesse that remains unseen by the Certified Public Accountants who can’t figure what the numbers hide.
Credit to former Senator Nick Spano for a brilliant screenplay; and Mayor Mike Spano for winning the Yonkers “Oscar” for Male Lead in a “leading” role. The “other” protagonists play themselves.
Proof of the hoax is that nothing said during the crisis of 2014 has damaged the ever draconian demeanor of Mayor Mike Spano who remains less than Nick Spano, who continues to eclipse all others in maintaining polish to his number 1 status. It’s always been about Nick, and not about Yonkersites; ever. Get used to it.
The truth is recognized in Mayor Mike Spano’s Proposed FY 2014-2015 Budget. Here is the snapshot of the aftermath of Yonkers Hoax of 2014:
No elimination of municipal positions; No cuts to vital services; among other issues that were not part of the “trauma” exacted upon Yonkersites.
Yonkers is now under a dark cloud in which there are no challenges to the “strong mayor form of government”; and a budget that dismisses the unions that are still operating under contracts now expired; most were written over five years ago.
Remember, once the budget wins approval, and it will, as is, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano will have created a de facto control board eviscerating and silencing the Yonkers City Council, no matter what gibberish they feign in the coming days; it is all show, and worse, too late to matter.
The Yonkers Tribune was the first and only news media outlet to advise of this coming. Interest or passions of our telling did not engage the public to an arena in which discourse could begin, because The People were not given permission, and because Yonkersites continue to believe they must work within the system to get their crumb to sustain themselves and their families.
Is there another way? Yonkersites know there is. Perhaps the reason Yonkers can be so easily played is that Yonkers, by too many, is considered a transient stop along the path to something “better” elsewhere. Yonkersites have yet to commit to a city that can do better than it can even begin to imagine. It’s time to say, “I do” to Yonkers’ cry for respect and love and giving, not taking and abusing.
Now you know the “rest of the story!”