Readers Write: Manorhaven once again thrives on chaos and dysfunction

Readers Write: Manorhaven once again thrives on chaos and dysfunction

Manorhaven Village Board of Trustee meetings would make for fine reality TV, but they are no place for civil discussion.  The most recent village meeting, held monthly presumably to educate the village residents on current projects, pass legislation and hear comments from the public, descended into complete chaos and was forced to end as a result.

I have lived in this village over 20 years and am disgusted by the lack of professionalism shown by the current mayor and several trustees.  Numerous times trustees talked over another trustee while he was speaking.  The mayor accused the same trustee of calling him a liar.  You would have needed multiple court reporters to track the dialogue since so many voices were talking over each other.  I cannot imagine taking minutes.  In this show of infighting, there is no possibility of the transparency the mayor says exists.

The beginning of the end of the meeting began when a village trustee brought up an item that was not on the agenda regarding a large waterfront project currently underway on Manhasset Isle.  The trustee seemed to be asking that the residents be kept aware of the progress of its development given its scale and impact on the village.  Despite the trustee’s stated intention, it quickly became clear that the unusually large crowd in attendance contained people ready to respond, including the attorney for the development, a belligerent and disruptive attendee and shockingly several trustees. 

The trustee who brought up the matter was immediately accused of ill will and hidden agendas.  As someone who had no idea what to expect at this meeting, I was certainly in for a drama that devolved rapidly.  It became an accusatory, inflammatory blame game and anyone there to listen to village business instead got playground bickering.  For doing his job, the trustee was roundly met with unsubstantiated accusations from several unruly attendees and snark from his fellow trustees. 

It is outrageous that one disruptive attendee, a local business owner who is at every meeting yet does not even live in the village, is allowed at these meetings at all given his repeated outbursts—many of which have been reported on in the past.  And it is unclear why he is so angry. 

Neither the mayor nor the village attorney could restore order and no one in charge seemed to consider removing the person screaming over everyone so that the meeting and public comments could continue.  The person speaking when the meeting was brought to an abrupt end was the developer on the project.  He was one of few who showed decorum, yet he had to be cut off because the disruptive attendee was talking over him to shout at the trustee who brought up the matter at all to accuse him, in addition to random people in attendance, of hidden motivations.

 On my way out, the same person was cursing in someone’s face. I briefly contemplated calling 911 —it was that outrageous.  Perhaps these meetings could use a police presence.

The acrimony in this village is unfortunate yet longstanding and well known.  It should not be too much to ask, though, that the mayor and trustees work together professionally, especially in a public meeting, even if they have differences of opinion.  And certainly the residents, who pay additional taxes for incorporated villages, and other interested parties including trustees, should be able to speak and be heard without being shouted down by others, whether members of the public or fellow trustees, who have no interest or ability to engage in civil discourse.  


Francesca Zahner

Manorhaven resident


No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here