Readers Write: When ethics and integrity equal unemployment

The Island Now

Employee turnover in the public and private sector is a way of life.  It is to be expected.

But should a job performed with integrity and applied ethics, a job well-done (by an experienced, dedicated village Building Department employee) be rewarded with forced retirement?

Perhaps, the recent retirements in your village or town require investigation. Paraded around town and the local press as retirement by choice – retirement by free will – instead of what it truly represents – ethics and integrity lose yet another battle.

Score another notch for the developers.  Score another notch for loosey-goosey law enforcement in local government.  Former Village of Great Neck Building Superintendent, Len Baron, and former Building Inspector, Dennis Fromigia, are recently, departed by the way.

Like it or not, on more than one occasion, building department employees with decades of village law and plan review experience, folks who not only respect residents but respect their role in upholding daily village laws and necessary standards (including those for public safety), have, of late, been known to quietly disappear from the village payroll.

For appearance’s sake, the public is advised that so and so in the building department has retired.  He/she has found a lucrative position closer to home.

How often is the above statement a convenient cover-up and code for:  Long-term government employee, a resident favorite, is ousted because he got in a certain developer’s way, slowed down a million-dollar job and was costing a developer untold lost revenue?

If you think this isn’t happening in your upscale community – think again.   The fine men and women who looked out for you and protected you from illegal construction and new development encroachment where you live couldn’t fight back – couldn’t fight the system.  They have been known to leave quietly.  They have their livelihood and professional reputation to consider.

This is what happens when suburban government leaders, not under anyone’s jurisdiction, not under scrutiny, make a conscious decision (with a wink and a smile) to look away from local law.  And they have untold power to do so.  Are these actions to be accepted by the tax-paying public?

Local law should first and foremost be enforceable law – despite the “wish list” of certain developers.

Let’s face it – single-minded developers and their complicit attorneys only want what they want.  And what they want is for the outspoken, oppositional Zoom public or in-person public to disappear.  Not long ago, a developer’s attorney demonstrated the ingenious strategic tactic of requiring advance online registration for a public meeting as a means of minimizing attendance and participation.

Elected leaders who greenlight all proposed construction and new development – appropriate or inappropriate for the location – are selling out the community.

The question is:  Who will be left to protect your biggest investment – your single-family home — when all the truly decent, hard-working, ethical, government employees are gone?  “Mysteriously retired” so to speak?

Wake up Long Island.  This is real and this is happening under the code words “revitalization and new development.”

Judy Shore Rosenthal

Great Neck

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