Two of three unscheduled resolutions introduced near the end of last night's long Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees meeting by Mayor Ken Wray ignited tense exchanges between Trustee Karin Wompa and other members of the Board.
The first resolution asked the Board to approve a two-percent salary increase for Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio. At the Sept. 11 meeting most other full-time village employees were granted two percent raises, but Giaccio's name was not even on the list for consideration. At that meeting, trustees Wompa and Evelyn Stupel walked out after a 45-minute closed door executive session without voting on the raises.
Wompa later explained that the women's walking out was coincidental and for personal reasons — Wompa, for one, said she had to go home and relieve her babysitter since her husband was out. As far as Giaccio not being on this list, Wompa said that "he wasn't left out, we had just discussed a different compensation."
Last night, a clearly irritated Wompa called for a "roll call vote" on the resolution and announced she was voting no. "I am voting no to this raise to which Mr. Giaccio is much deserving, because Mayor Wray has not discussed this with the Board. I just saw this resolution two seconds ago when it was handed out," said Wompa.
Fellow trustee Stupel voted no without explanation. All other Board members voted yes and Giaccio got his raise.
Wompa told Patch that she felt bad following the exchange and spoke to Giaccio. "It's no reflection on him," she said. She did say that Mayor Wray had called her prior to the meeting but they had never connected. The matter was "not of an urgent nature" so she didn't think it merited a rushed vote.
Another resolution asked the Board to approve one-year $39,000 contract with Daphney Mickel for video services, such as filming meetings and local events.
"As with all contracts, I think we should discuss this in executive session. I've sent emails about this to Trustee Campbell and gotten no response," said Wompa. "Why spend $39,000 for something that Tarrytown does for $8,000? There are more efficient ways to get this information to residents. This was not discussed with the Board appropriately."
Trustee Jennifer Lobato-Church said she remembered things differently. "I clearly remember Trustee Wompa going through the contract with a pen and striking things out. Comments on contracts should have been more widely distributed."
"I recall that we were going to pull this contract apart and discuss it," said Trustee Stupel.
"We have already allocated this money in the budget and it seems an appropriate use of the funds," said Trustee Susan MacFarlane.
"I have been waiting for the Mayor to call an executive session on this," said Wompa. "That was never done."
"But can't any Trustee call for an executive session?" inquired Lobato-Church.
"I don't think we should talk about this anymore," snapped Wompa. "You and I clearly remember things differently."
"If you don't mind, I continue to chair the meeting," said Mayor Wray. "And yes, Trustee Lobato-Church, any Trustee can call for executive session."
The Board voted yes to the contract for video services, with the exception of Wompa and Stupel who voted no.
Wompa later told Patch, "I did not agree with the terms of the contract, while apparently the others who voted yes, must have been okay with it. I was hoping we could discuss the actual terms of the contract and not just vote for it based on the amount having been budgeted for."
The Board also approved hourly increases of $1.50 for recreation department part-time employees and $1 an hour increases for all other part-time staff.
Wompa said she had citizens in mind when making her objections. "I just didn't feel we're acting as a Board," she said. "Every $100,000 increase of our budget is a 1 percent increase of the tax. There's really not that much intrique to these things, I just think these things merit more discussion."