In what was described by Town Clerk Ruth Mazzei as the worst meeting that she has ever attended, the two factions on the five-member Southeast town board made their differences quite clear Sept. 23 as the debate over a state comptroller’s audit of the town escalated. After 20 failed motions to go into executive session, Supervisor Michael Rights called in sheriff’s deputies before everyone started to storm out of the chamber.
A recent survey conducted for the Courier revealed that 63.6 percent of respondents in Southeast would like a new supervisor. But Rights maintains he is simply on a quest, along with Councilman Dwight Yee, to root out corruption. The three other members of the board—Roger Gross, Robert Cullen, and Elizabeth Hudak—say that Rights, as the town’s chief budget officer, is the source of many of the board’s problems.
At issue was an audit of the town Rights had requested from the state. The audit is still in draft form and has not been approved for public release, though Rights, over the objections of Cullen, Gross, and Hudak, read from it last Thursday. The Courier has obtained a copy of this audit, which is critical of the town for wasteful spending, including reportedly excessive payments to former assemblyman and current town attorney Willis Stephens. —Carli-Rae Panny
"Dial Down the Hysteria": Supervisor Calls in Sheriff's Deputies as Meeting Gets Heated
'Draft Audit Suggests Double Dipping": Rights, Yee Cite Willis Stephens's Salary as Example of Wasteful Spending
"Southeast Residents See 'Dysfunction' But Rights Says He is Going After Corruption"