October 17, 2008
On September 29th, the Water Board released a public notice regarding the extension of frontage. Any recent visit to the Water Board website and you’re bound to find this public notice, right? Wrong!
This new public notice is secreted away with nearly a dozen other obscure public notices. The is no indication on the site’s homepage that there is a new public notice to be viewed; they just took a controversial issue like extending frontage and did what they could to pass it below the radar without notifying people that it’s happening or what they can do to protest it.
The internet should be used to share information. The Water Board didn’t even have a website until less than a year ago, opting instead to keep all their goings-on a secret. We thought that their new website would be a great way to finally inform the public about the operations of a city entity that had previously been shrouded in secrecy. But if the Water Board isn’t using their website to share information and inform the public, what is it for?
October 10, 2008
I just returned from a Water Board meeting where I received independent corroboration of a tip that I received on Wednesday: Emily Lloyd, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, has indeed resigned.
Lloyd became DEP Commissioner back in 2005. Prior to that she had been Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation, director of business development at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and commissioner of traffic and parking for the city of Boston.
In the private sector, she had been executive vice president for government and community affairs and for administration at Columbia University. She leaves the DEP to go back into the private sector; she’s been hired by Trinity Real Estate either as a CEO (the New York Daily News reports) or as a COO (the New York Observer Reports).
(UPDATE 1/29/09: Recently approved Water Board minutes confirm that Lloyd has taken the position of Chief Operating Officer, as the New York Observer has reported.)
There is no indication that she was forced out of her position.
As all this is going on, the DEP’s Deputy Commissioner, Steve Lawitts, is biking through Amsterdam.
October 3, 2008
I recently received a phone call from a reliable source in the City Council. This source enlightened me regarding various factors that were not initially evident that have contributed to the resignation of former Water Board Chairman Jim Tripp.
I was told that the timeline of events did not occur in the order that they were reported. The public was initially told that Tripp had stepped down and that Alan Moss was selected to replace him. Actually, what happened was Mayor Bloomberg took away Tripp’s chairmanship and gave it to Moss. As a response to this Tripp stepped down.
Clearly the mayor wanted Tripp out. He couldn’t completely remove Tripp from the Water Board because members are selected for four year terms and the mayor can’t force them out in the middle of their terms. So the mayor did the only thing he could: not let Tripp be chairman. Tripp responded as I’m sure the mayor expected, by stepping down completely.
The second piece of information I received is even more scandalous. Why was Moss selected as the new chairman? Apparently, six of the seven Water Board members (this was back when Tripp was on the Water Board and there were seven members) signed a letter to City Hall urging the mayor to reconsider the current rental agreement (the amount that the DEP pays the city for use of the reservoirs, currently estimated at a whopping $122 million). Who was the one and only Water Board member that didn’t question Mayor Mike’s decision to continue forwarding this enormous cost onto NYC’s residents? You guessed it! Alan Moss.
There you have it. Tripp said in May that he considered quitting over the Mayor’s recalcitrance but, being the loyal and dedicated environmentalist that he is, he plugged on hoping to be able to make a difference despite the mayor’s stubbornness. That was until the mayor underhandedly removed him and made his opinions as well as his dedication all but useless. It would appear that with the city budget skyrocketing, Mayor Bloomberg and Mark Page, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, are making sure that the DEP pays the entire rental agreement.
I’ve said it before but now, in light of this new information, I say it again with renewed enthusiasm. Chairman Tripp served us well for 16 years. His tenacity, dedication and, most of all, his desire to stand up for what’s right will be sorely missed.