Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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March 13th, 2014

Will Hotbed Issues Sway Votes?

The outcome of three village elections on Tuesday March 18th will have a major impact throughout Sullivan County. Monticello, Liberty, and Bloomingburg could see major shifts in their governments.

The two most controversial obviously are Monticello and Bloomingburg.

Even though these villages provide extensive public services to their residents and are responsible for budgets – It is the underlying political controversies that make these elections newsworthy.

Mayor Gordon Jenkins has turned our County Seat into an embarrassment. He has habitually used the race card as he mismanages Monticello and allows it to further sink into the ground.

Jenkins’ record as Mayor is a disgrace to all of Sullivan County and he doesn’t even care what he is doing.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a recent audit found the village to be financially mismanaged and possibly on the brink of bankruptcy. It appears that Monticello is losing an important USDA grant.

Concerned that he will lose control of his board after the elections, Jenkins is rushing to replace himself as Village Manager and appoint someone else, and wants to disband the Monticello Police Department.

Democrats loudly denounced Jenkins in January in a stunning defeat of his candidates running in a Democratic Primary. They said – Enough was Enough!

Voters overwhelmingly supported former Police Chief Douglas Solomon, and Sullivan County Planner Jill Weyer over Jenkins’ live in girlfriend Rochelle Massey and resident Oswald Allen.

Solomon and Weyer are running on Tuesday on the Democratic, Republican, Conservative, and Independence lines under the tagline “Monticello United” while Massey and Allen are running on Jenkins’ “G Man” line.

Because of the overwhelming vote in the Democratic Primary for Solomon and Weyer, insiders are concerned that voters do not take the outcome for granted, and are urged to vote.

Incumbent Monticello Trustees Carmen Rue and Larissa Bennett have endorsed Solomon and Weyer, as has Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.

Judge Josephine Finn who was appointed this week to the prestigious New York State Board of Regents is also seeking reelection under the “Monticello United” banner.

Voting will take place in Monticello Tuesday from Noon to 9 PM, Districts 6, 9, and 10 at the Stroebele Center – Districts 7 and 8 at the Monticello Firehouse. Monticello United has offered free rides to the polls by calling 798-7157.

Monticello United has an active website at, the “GMAN” line does not.

The Village of Bloomingburg has been in turmoil over the planned Hassidic Development making current residents fearful that their municipality has the possibility of turning into another Kiryas Joel.

Incumbent Mayor Mark Bernentsen has been facing the heat with accusations flying that he benefited from granting approval of the Orthodox development. Trustees have resigned from the Village board.

There have been extensive legal battles and challenges already over who is eligible to vote. It has been reported that groups backing Bernensten have registered over 140 people in living quarters that have come under scrutiny from the opposition.

The FBI executed search warrants at several residences owned by developer Shalom Lamm on Thursday – Most of the new registrants said they resided there so they could vote in Tuesday’s election.

A mikva and other locations were also searched.

Because standard political parties do not run candidates, Bernstein is seeking reelection under the “Bloomingburg Strong” banner while the opposition is running on the “Rural Heritage Party” banner.

Frank Gerardi, a seven-year Bloomingburg resident and retired school grounds worker in Long Island is looking to oust Berentsen.

“Bloomingburg Strong” candidates are Mark Berentsen for Mayor, Charles Griswold and Harold Baird Trustees. Baird is the former Supervisor of Mamakating.

“Rural Heritage Party” candidates are Frank Gerardi for Mayor, and Katherine Roemer, and James Johnson trustees.

If the Rural Heritage Party candidates are victorious we can expect them to stop or scale down the planned Hasidic development, and possibly work to dissolve the village into Mamakating.

No matter what the outcome of the votes are on Tuesday night, we can expect the ballots to be impounded and for there to be a legal challenge as to validity of votes cast.

The Rural Heritage Party has a Facebook site that can be seen at

Bloomingburg Strong does not have a website.

In Liberty two trustee positions will be up for grabs.

Incumbent Trustee Joan Stoddard will be running with former Village of Liberty Police Chief Robert Mir on the Democratic and Independent line, while former Mayor Richard Winters who lost last year to current Mayor Dan Ratner will be running on the Republican and Conservative lines with former Trustee Thomas Sprague.

What is interesting in this race is that popular Mayor Ratner, a registered Republican, ran last year on the Democratic line and is supporting Stoddard and Mir.

Stoddard and Mir have also received endorsements from Liberty Supervisor Charlie Barbuti, Legislator Cora Edwards, Trustee Ron Stabak, and Councilman Brian McPhillips.

Stoddard and Mir are running on the accomplishments of the current board, public safety, stabilized taxes, and pushing resort destination casino at Grossinger’s.

Winters and Sprague obviously are less supportive of Ratner’s endeavors, and are concerned over police department costs.

Neither Winters nor Sprague have attended any recent Village of Liberty Board meetings.

More information on Stoddard and Mir can be found at

Winters and Sprague do not have a web presence.

Everyone who lives in these villages must exercise their right to vote on Tuesday.

Good luck to all the candidates – And, no matter who wins, thank you for you commitment to public service.


Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.


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