MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Although a contract for the proposed police consolidation with Westchester County was approved by Mount Kisco lawmakers two weeks ago, the matter continued to be contentious at a Monday village Board of Trustees meeting.
Talk started when resident Kim Terlizzi announced that she and her husband, who is village police Lt. Louis Terlizzi, collected residents' signatures on a petition calling for a referendum on the consolidation.
Kim Terlizzi stated that 810 signatures were collected in a week.
“These are your constituents," she said. "This is a democracy. You must let us vote on this issue.”
Kim Terlizzi also claimed that the village's Police Department was being done away with.
“This Police Department is being abolished. It’s a de facto abolishment.”
Village Attorney Whitney Singleton recently told Daily Voice that the department is not being abolished. Mayor Michael Cindrich previously noted that it would remain with a chief and a small group of patrolmen. The contract with the county also excludes some policing duties, such as parking enforcement, from the county's scope of services.
Singleton previously said that state law does not provide holding a referendum for intermunicipal agreements (IMAs) which is what the contract is. He reiterated his opinion when asked after the meeting.
Residents traded arguments over the consolidation proposal.
John Bodie, an assistant fire chief who was speaking in his personal capacity, blasted a flier circulating that is critical of consolidation.
“This is very misleading," he said, adding that it falsely states the Police Department is closing.
Patric Kilkenny, who has been an outspoken skeptic of consolidation, admitted to creating the flier.
Bodie also criticized Louis Terlizzi, who previously noted that the mayor's son serves in the county police department and posed the question of whether that presents a conflict of interest.
“I think it’s very bad, Lt. Terlizzi, to attack the mayor’s kid," Bodie said. "That’s wrong.”
Louis Terlizzi responded that “I was pointing out an inherent conflict of interest, and that’s all."
Bodie reiterated his support for consolidation and cited a decline in village police staffing. He also noted a recent example of a fast response time from county police to a motor vehicle accident on the Saw Mill River Parkway involving a rock slide.
Several village policemen turned out to the meeting in support of the deal, applauding when residents spoke in favor of it. Some policemen held a pro-consolidation banner.
Kevin Reilly, a village resident and local police officer, voiced his support for the deal, calling it “the best thing that could ever happen to the village/town of Mount Kisco” and for Westchester County.
The contract is now pending before Westchester County's Board of Legislators.
Previous coverage is available here.