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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February 4th, 2017

Dysfunction in Monticello Lingers – Perhaps It’s Time to Dissolve Village

The political cesspool known as the Village of Monticello never seems to end. Just when it appears to the naked eye that everything is running smoothly – comes continual behind the scenes backstabbing along with more controversy in a never-ending saga.

In the eyes of many – Monticello is a far different and better place than it was just a few short years.

Mayor Douglas Solomon along with the Board of Trustees are making the tough decisions necessary to turn things around.

Village Manager David Sager has been professional and ethical in running the municipality’s day to day operations. He has spent endless hours in correcting errors of the past. 

Police Chief Robert Mir along with his law enforcement team are doing an outstanding job when it comes to public safety.

But in the world of Board of Trustee Carmen Rue things in Monticello are far different. In her eyes, Solomon along with other board members are not doing their job and she wants Sager fired as Village Manager.

In fact, I don’t recall any recent Village Manager that she didn’t want fired.

With so much development surrounding Sullivan County – Now is not the time for turmoil or disruption of government – All eyes are on us – But that is not how Carmen Rue operates.

If Monticello politics continues to make headlines, chances for full recovery will disappear. No one will want to do business or visit a place that is constantly in turmoil.

Perhaps the only solution is for the Village of Monticello to dissolve and consolidate into the Town of Thompson.

The latest eruption in Monticello began with the leaking of a preliminary report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli citing some errors that his office not only knew about when his audit began, but was told that corrections were already being initiated by village officials.

Nonetheless – it is the obligation of the New York State Comptroller to conduct audits of public entities and to make recommendations on how to correct errors it finds.

Key Findings

Claims are not properly audited and bank reconciliations are not completed accurately and in a timely manner.

The Board has not established any policies or procedures to establish an acceptable number of consecutive estimated readings before an actual water meter reading was done or address how water accounts should be billed for minimum usage.

The Board did not have a succession plan in place during periods of unexpected vacancies or staff changes.

Key Recommendations

 Pay claims only after the Board has audited and approved them for payment and complete accurate bank reconciliations on a monthly basis.
Develop policies or procedures for water meter readings including an acceptable number of estimated reads before other enforcement action is initiated.

Develop an integrated approach to succession management to include continually assessing potential employee turnover; providing a formal, written succession plan as a framework for succession initiatives; and developing written policies and procedures to facilitate knowledge transfer.

The complete report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapolli can be found at

Questioned about the audit, Mayor Douglas Solomon told me, “All the issues in the Comptroller’s report was already known to us and was already in various stages of being corrected. When we first met with them they knew that we can’t fix everything over night, they were very well aware that it takes time.”

The formal Village Response letter to DiNapolli was crafted with all members of the Board of Trustees except Rue. 

While the report noted a number of concerns that have been present in past audits, little to no blame was cast on current Village Manager David Sager.

Apparently, that did not sit well with Rue, who on December 30, 2016, took the highly unusual step of authoring an unsolicited and unofficial response letter to the Comptroller that took exception to the auditors’ findings and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Sager despite the fact that New York State audits prior to Sager’s time on the Village of Monticello documents the same problems. 

Rue issued a blistering attack on the Village Board and Sager on Saturday February 4, 2017 entitled “Firestorm” In Monticello Created By Dysfunctional Form Of Government — Monticello Needs A “Strong Mayor” And Active Board Of Trustees, Not A Village Manager”

For years, Carmen Rue has carefully tried to portray herself as the bastion of hope for the Village of Monticello. Throughout the Jenkins era, she was viewed as the “Voice of Reason” on an otherwise chaotic board.

Theoretically, the chaos in Monticello should have died not only with the removal of former Mayor Gordon Jenkins, but also with the election of intelligent and reasonable board members Doug Solomon, Jill Weyer, Aleta Lymon and George Nikolados.

However, the chaos continues and it is time to question who actually is responsible for it all.

In the world of closed door politics, Rue is widely known for divisiveness, back-stabbing and personal vendettas.

Despite her well-publicized disputes with Jenkins, she actually reunited with him and Rochelle Massey in the waning days of her election last year to obtain absentee votes and to get his people to the polls for her.

Over the past 2 years Rue has waged a covert battle against current Village Manager David Sager attempting every which way to discredit him.

According to Sager, Rue was responsible for a high level of distrust and lack of communication between him and former Village Treasurer Lilu Li, and has created a hostile work atmosphere between him and other employees while regularly attempting to micro-manage and manipulate village activities.

Sager says it has gotten as low as to rumors being spread throughout the Village that he was having an affair with a subordinate in his office.

It is also alleged that Rue waged a campaign against at least two Village of Monticello employees with unsubstantiated allegations of theft, which ultimately lead to the New York State Comptroller’s Office most recent audit.

In a blistering uncalled for attack on Sager, Rue wrote on her website, “I am willing to stand up to this bully because I owe it to the people of Monticello who elected me. He is skilled at presenting a charming face when he chooses in order to manipulate listeners. Though some who have not seen this side rally to defend him, many will confirm my experience that he has less pleasant side that is motivated by a drive for power and self-service. Multiple complaints have been made to the board not just by employees, but by taxpayers and members of the public. Some officials are willing to look the other way, promising to “take care” of each new issue, but then do nothing. Perhaps some feel they owe a favor to Mr. Sager. I do not. Perhaps they hope that by ignoring persistent problems, the public will be lulled into thinking everything at Village Hall is “quiet” and therefore going well. It is not.”

Rue adds, “Valued and reliable longtime employees, many because they were not in a position to tolerate this Manager’s abusive nonsense, have resigned. Some have made their complaints public, such as the former

Director of Public Works who was physically shoved and insulted by the Manager (to which I was an eye-witness); or the former Treasurer who endured extreme rude, disrespectful, and unprofessional behavior Others have chosen to simply leave.”

The official New York State Audit Report was released by DiNapolli on Friday, February 3, 2017.  Virtually none of the language was changed by the Comptroller’s Office from the draft report to the final report.

However, a formal response letter from the Village of Monticello is included as part of the final document. 

The response letter was signed by Village Manager Sager, however, I have been informed that it was crafted with the help and approval of the remaining four board members aside from Trustee Rue.

While the response letter does not mention Rue by name, it clearly refers to her in tone and historic accounts. This response letter notes much of the interference she has played in village government and comments on some of her bad behavior.

Despite the Rue’s best efforts, neither the NYS Comptroller’s Office, nor the remaining members of the Village of Monticello Board support her wild claims and allegations against Sager. 

The time has come for all this disruptive nonsense to stop for the sake of all of Sullivan County. Monticello is the County Seat and if Monticello fails so will everything else. Perhaps the only solution is to dissolve.

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.


2 comments to Dysfunction in Monticello Lingers – Perhaps It’s Time to Dissolve Village

  • Helen muniz

    If you all can’t start fresh let the past go stop competing do your jobs. An stop the high school he said she said get to work. Make a place for kids to skate board safely. They need something to do in this town they have to walk everywhere it’s dangerous

  • Monticello can be fixed. As President Kennedy once said (paraphrasing) “Problems are man made, but so are the solutions.”