MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- The proposed police consolidation with Westchester County was met with concern from several residents at a Monday meeting before the Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved terms for the deal.
Louis Terlizzi, a village resident and lieutenant in Mount Kisco's Police Department, voiced opposition to the deal, which is called an Intermunicipal Agreement.
“Unfortunately, once this deal is completed there’s no going back," he said.
Terlizzi, who called for a referendum on the consolidation, blamed village officials for the current state of the police department.
At another point in the meeting, Mayor Michael Cindrich brought up what he said it would take to invest in the local department and bring it up to par. He said that to give the salaries, equipment and technology requested would result in a policing budget of more than $8 million.
The agreement calls for Mount Kisco to pay $6,437,548 to the county for 2015, with the number rising to $6,936,035 by 2019, the deal's last year.
Terlizzi also noted Cindrich's son serves in the county police department and asked the mayor whether he sought local or state ethics board opinions on whether he should participate in the negotiations or voting. Cindrich said his son, a lieutenant, does not have input or decision-making power in the process.
The lieutenant's wife, Kim Terlizzi, was also outspoken and called for a referendum. She also blasted the mayor's performance, saying he “should be ashamed of your relationship with this department.”
The merger has support from the village force's Police Benevolent Association.
“We continue to support the merger and feel that it is beneficial to the PBA, the village of Mount Kisco and its citizens," states a union letter, which Cindrich read at the meeting.
The Terlizzis were two of several speakers inquiring about a referendum.
In a follow-up interview, Village Attorney Whitney Singleton, who researched the matter, said there is no framework to have a referendum on an agreement. State law allows for having a public vote if a police department is being abolished, although Singleton said this does not apply to Mount Kisco because the local department will still exist.
Under terms agreed to, the county will provide 25 police personnel and Mount Kisco police who choose to resign could be hired by the county at equivalent ranks. Cindrich, at the meeting, said a chief and a smaller contingent of patrolmen would remain. The agreement excludes parking enforcement and court security from county police purview.
Some residents argued the board was not transparent enough and called for more public interaction.
“I don’t think there’s been enough transparency from the board to the village residents," said Ralph Vigliotti.
Deputy Mayor Anthony Markus defended the board's handling of the issue, calling it "very transparent."
Markus said a presentation previously was done and Cindrich gave updates on the process in his reports.
John Bodie supported the village board's performance and the deal.
“Me personally, I think you’re doing the right thing.”
Previous coverage is available here.
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