Three out of the five Yorktown town board members have asked for the resignation of Joan Goldberg, who has served as the town comptroller for the last 16 years.
Following a heated discussion in a closed session late Tuesday night when shouting and yelling was heard at times by attendees outside the room, supervisor Michael Grace publicly made a motion not to reappoint Goldberg and ask for her resignation.
She was not present at the meeting and was not made aware of the board's intentions.
The motion passed with Grace, councilmen Vishnu Patel and Terrence Murphy voting in favor, while councilmen Nick Bianco and Dave Paganelli voted against.
"It's been a position that has been the focus of a lot of attention over the years," Grace told Patch, referring to last year's that criticized town practices. "It's prudent to look at what our options are for the position."
Former Yorktown supervisor Susan Siegel said the decision to ask for the woman's resignation on television instead of speaking with her privately was "humiliating."
"I think she is a very competent person, the town is in good shape and I don't understand why three members of the board asked for her resignation without any reason," Siegel said.
Grace said Goldberg was not reappointed when the new board took office in January and it was part of a procedure to ask Goldberg to resign because the town would be interviewing other candidates. However, Goldberg would still act in her position of town comptroller and be considered for the job, Grace said.
The reason for that decision, Grace said, was because he wanted change and needed to find the best candidate for the job.
"It's not about Joan [Goldberg]," Grace said. "I got a lot of respect for her. It's a feeling every new administration should do a review of the critical positions."
Goldberg has worked on the new purchase order system with the previous board, something the new board wanted to pursue further. Siegel said the comptroller was "always responsive" to the board's needs.
"Her institutional knowledge is invaluable," Siegel said. "She will be a great loss to the town. I am saddened. I have seen no indication of any wrongdoing."
Bianco said the discussion was added to the agenda late at night and he would have liked to have had more time to prepare. The resolution about Goldberg was not listed on the agenda for the meeting.
"It didn't make any financial sense," Bianco said of the decision. "I want to know the reason."
He did not wish to discuss what arguments each board member made, but he said they "made no sense" and he had no power to change their minds.
Bianco spoke highly of Goldberg and said she is the one who controls the money, follows the rules and does her job.
"I'm hoping after they see the crop that comes in, they'll understand they've made a mistake," Bianco said is response to supervisor Grace saying he would be interviewing candidates for the job.
Patel, who voted in favor of the decision to ask Goldberg to resign, said he has nothing against her personally, but he did not think she has implemented the needed technology for the town and has not worked with the entire board.
Immediately before the board voted on the issue, they accepted a 5-year Police Benevolent Association (PBA) contract. Bianco called it ironic since that contract was something Goldberg had worked "very hard" on.
When reached on Thursday, Goldberg said she was "shocked" at the decision at first and expected there would be a conversation with her before the decision. However, she said she would "welcome" the opportunity to interview for the position and tell the board of her accomplishments over the years.
"I retain my position," she said. "They want to see what's out there. I am happy to apply for the position, I love Yorktown and I would never want to leave."
Editor's Note: The article has been updated to include comments from Yorktown supervisor Michael Grace and Joan Goldberg.