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Yorktown Town Board Asks for Comptroller's Resignation

Joan Cavorti Goldberg has serves as the comptroller for the last 16 years.

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.

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truth May 16, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Max, your guess is wrong...................... Michael Grace is the first one to exhibit the "fortitude" to do what should have been done a looooooooooong time ago. And they don't need the public's approval to do it. Yorktown deserves better than Joan Goldberg, and now we'll get it. And Susan Siegel does know why. No shame here at all, unless you are talking about Goldberg.
David May 16, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Regardless if she needed to be removed or not, this was no way to go about it. Instead of transparent, we have crass government. Didn't realize the people of Yorktown wanted to be represented by individuals that conduct themselves as such.
Francis T McVetty May 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM
You nailed it, especially with the last sentence!!
Francis T McVetty May 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM
David, you DON"|'T know what went on behind the scenes. This was in the works the day Mr Grace was elected. A house cleaning was in order. The next to go is the town attorney. That was a "contract" and all contracts should be null and void when a new supervisor is elected.
truth May 17, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Do you really think she hasn't been spoken to before? Grow up Max. ALL OF THE TOWN'S FINANCES ARE MESSED UP, (why so crass in your writing Max, can't you state your view without being so crass like a teenage boy?) and that's why she was "asked" for her resignation. She KNEW it was coming, been asking around town for letters of recommendation. Good luck with that. She has angered everyone that worked for or with her.
Plamena Pesheva (Editor) May 17, 2012 at 02:44 PM
The article has been updated to include a comment from Joan Goldberg. Based on some of the comments above, I want to reiterate – she was not terminated and retains her position as town comptroller. The town will be interviewing candidates for the job and Goldberg says she too would be applying.
bertie May 17, 2012 at 03:46 PM
If you're making accusations of corruption against the Town Comptroller, it behooves you to spell them out: incident/time/date/issue. Criminal charges? for what?
NorthCountyHound May 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
When will they do away with the highway boss? He's a bigger problem than the rest of them put together.
Susan Siegel May 17, 2012 at 04:04 PM
To set the record straight. In January, every incoming new Supervisor and Town Board reevaluates which appointed officials they want to reappoint. This applies to the Town Comptroller, Town Attorney and Receiver of Taxes. This is especially important for the Supervisor who works closely with all three officials. In 2010, after I had had an opportunity to work with Joan Goldberg on several different financial issues, I recommended to the Board that she be reappointed. Looking back over all that happened between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011, and looking at the Town’s much improved financial condition, I'm convinced we made the right decision. I found Ms. Goldberg to be very responsive and her institutional knowledge extremely valuable. Much has been said about the NYS audit. However, if one takes the time to CAREFULLY read the report,AND the Corrective Action Plan (available from the Town Clerk’s office) that was submitted in response to the report, they’d see that most of the issues raised by the state were actually corrected even BEFORE the Town received the final audit report -- and that Ms. Goldberg was fully involved and instrumental in addressing many of those issues. It should also be pointed out that many of the problems cited in the report reflected on previous Town Boards and other Town departments. The Comptroller doesn’t set policy or act autonomously -- she takes direction from and answers to the Town Board.
Mike May 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Asking for her resignation was the right decision and should have been done a long time ago. I am grateful that we now have leadership strong enough to make these tough decisions. Michael Grace has the town's best interest in mind and needs his entire staff to share those same sentiments. He did not just come in and immediately clean house, which he could have done. But instead give everyone the chance to prove themselves. It is obvious that she would not change her ways and that this change was needed to achieve a better Yorktown! MT
expose the truth May 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Susan Siegel is the last person to set the record straight. Susan do you care to comment on MS Goldbergs state pension tiering you facilitated?
expose the truth May 17, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Susan. recommending Goldbergs reapointment was your first of many mistakes. you turned your back on the people that put you in office with the promise of change. the only thing that changed was you. to top it off you almost cost your party the election for your own political advancement, and nearly put Don Peters back in office, which would have been the death of Yorktown.
Bill May 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM
When the voters have their say next year. Unless you want to try for a recall election, if there can even be one for that position.

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