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7 Comments by Zach Cohen


King seeks second term as highway superintendent

The people who have criticized Scott King for not making a public announcement about ex-Supervisor McGintee’s “borrowing” of Highway surplus might be setting an unrealistically high standard of conduct that they would modify if they knew all the facts. Basically, I, Scott, an elected official of East Hampton, and a State Comptroller employee, had a hunch that ex-Supervisor McGintee had moved money out of the Highway surplus in, or before, 2008. I asked McGintee at a public Board meeting in December 2008 if he had taken money from the Highway fund. McGintee admitted that he had borrowed Highway surplus earlier in the year for a short while, but said it had all been returned. Since the borrowing was technically legal until December 31, 2008, since it was feasible that the money had been returned from a recent $10 million deficit borrowing, and since we had no proof of our position (the audit for 2008 is still unfinished), we felt that the best course was to let the State Comptroller handle it. " Oct 30, 09 7:07 AM

Questions abound over East Hampton CPF transfers

Dear Cruiser: Thank you for the comments, especially the closing sentence about how the use of CPF money is still open to wide interpretations. Hopefully, my view is thoughtful and grounded in the actual words of the law, but I am respectful of other viewpoints. I am not always right, but I am happy if my “wrong” interpretation leads to a good discussion. However, the only time I remember when I stood alone on the Management and Stewardship Committee was on the issue of the Amagansett Life Saving Station, a project I support but which I felt was not legal as a CPF project. I announced that opposition at a Town Board meeting in September 2008 and in December 2009 the Town attorney issued an opinion that agreed with mine.
In the 100 pages of financial and legal history that I recently gave to the Board and the newspapers I try to avoid interpretations and present mainly facts consisting of Town Board resolutions and my reporting of the actual checks and transfers of money into and out of the CPF. I did devote a couple of pages to whether some of Mr. Hult’s actions were errors, or purposeful improper transfers made to appear like errors, or simply done because he and the supervisor had a different interpretation of the CPF law. I did that so that others could see that the issues are complex and can not be simplified without a loss of understanding and, consequently, a loss of accuracy of judgment. Zach Cohen

" Apr 25, 10 8:39 AM

State Legislature passes financing bill for East Hampton

The administration has already said they will effectively borrow more than is needed when they say they will sell assets and not use the money to decrease the deficit. The permission to bond is based on the deficit at the end of 2009 but the bonds do not need to be sold before December 31, 2011(we will borrow short-term until then). The accumulated deficit at the end of 2009 will be the highest point, say $30 million for this discussion. But, there is deficit reduction of $2.4 million in the 2010 budget that we have already paid taxes for, and which will part of our tax rate for the next 10 years. That needs to be used for what we paid for, meaning reducing the 2009 and prior deficits. Also, say the Town sells $3 million dollars worth of properties between now and Dec. 2011. In my book, the prudent action would be to use all the $2.4 million plus $3 million so that the bond sold in Dec. 2011 only needs to be $24.6 million (even less because there should be deficit reduction of at least $2.4 million in the 2011 budget). But, if the administration is allowed to sell, say, $27 million in bonds, then effectively they have bonded for the $3 million that could have been used to reduce the deficit. Zachary Cohen" Jun 1, 10 9:34 PM

referring to my comment immediately above: the last line should be that if the Town bonds for $30 million, instead of $27 million, after selling $3 million of assets, then effectively they have bonded for the $3 million that could have been used to reduce the deficit." Jun 1, 10 11:29 PM

East Hampton Town Investigates Illegal Clearing In Springs Nature Preserve

I can add some information that was not verified until after Will James posted the story. Andy Gaites is the Environmental Analyst in the Land Acquisition and Management department who does most of the hands-on work on Nature Preserves. He and Tommy Miller, who is a retired East Hampton policeman, did intercept the workers before code enforcement arrived. The workers showed Tom and Andy the house of the person who hired them, which is across from the Preserve. Andy talked with the owner of the house via cell phone at that time. The owner gave excuses but did not deny that he had ordered the work. All of this was submitted in a report made by Mr. Gaites. Thanks for your comments; several committee members have found them interesting and helpful. Zachary Cohen

" Feb 24, 11 8:27 PM

Wilkinson And Cohen Offer Competing Versions Of Financial History

Dear zaz,
The EH Dems website (below) has a short biography of me. There is also a link to my email and if you write me, I will happily send you a resume. There will be a link to a list of my town financial work, but it is not active yet. Also, the Home page has a list of shared goals with my running mates, and the platform page has most of our detailed position papers.
Thanks, Zach
http://ehdems.info/wp/candidates/zach-cohen-supervisor/" Sep 28, 11 7:03 PM

Springs Community Members Breaking Ground On Pussy's Pond Bridge Project

I am glad that the photo included Matthew Bobek as this nice article was written before he started work. Matthew has already taken the planking across the water and started on the walkway on the other side. Of course, the corner stone of the project is Ray Hartjen. This incredible gentleman is indefatigable, persevering, and knowledgeable. But, I wish we could have listed all the hundreds of supporters. With all the help that has been forthcoming, the next photo you see will be the Springs School children installing the last pieces of planking." Oct 18, 12 9:01 AM