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Apr 14, 2015 5:23 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Delay In Application Approval Process Angers Dozens In Flanders

Apr 18, 2015 7:38 AM

Tempers flared at Monday night’s Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association meeting after more than two dozen people learned that their membership applications—submitted over the past two weeks, mainly by those opposed to a proposed residential garbage district that has been endorsed by leaders of the group—had not yet been processed.

The lack of action by the board prohibited the new members from voting in FRNCA’s annual election on Monday night. As a result, all five incumbents—President Vince Taldone, Vice President Steven Schreiber, Treasurer Larry Carnevale, Secretary Patty Hopkins and Executive Board member Lonaway Muldrow—ran unopposed and were unanimously reelected to one-year terms.

Even though nearly 100 people crammed into the David W. Crohan Center in Flanders, only a little more than a dozen registered members of the organization were allowed to cast ballots in the election for the five executive board seats.

Just prior to the vote, and immediately after learning that they would not be permitted to cast ballots, many of those in audience—including those standing near the exits to the rear of the room—began shouting: “But we sent in our dues!” “We are members!” and “You cashed our checks!”

Mr. Taldone called the police. Several minutes later, a Southampton Town Police officer arrived and informed those who had parked in the fire lane outside the venue that they would have to move their vehicles. Most of those in attendance stayed for the remainder of the meeting, which lasted more than two and a half hours, and focused mainly on the proposed garbage district.

“We’re here to stay,” said Ron Fisher, a Flanders resident and one of the two dozen people who did not have their memberships approved by the board, after Mr. Taldone threatened to close the meeting to all non-members. “You wanted public participation—and that’s what you’re getting.”

Mr. Fisher noted that he was unaware that the group’s annual elections were scheduled for Monday evening; still, he said that he and the others who were also waiting to have their memberships approved should have been allowed to cast ballots.

Both Mr. Fisher and his brother, Frank, who also lives in Flanders and owns Go-Green Sanitation on County Road 39 in Southampton, have been rallying members of the community to join FRNCA’s ranks in recent weeks, because they do not think the group’s leaders are fairly representing the wishes and needs of the community.

The two have also started a petition and joined a Facebook group, called “Flanders Homeowners Against Town Garbage Pickup,” to stop the proposal for the residential garbage district before it receives approval from the Town Board. Even if the board signs off on the plan, registered voters in the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton must still sign off on the proposal, which is expected to be voted on by the public this fall.

In addition to the garbage district situation, the Fisher brothers both said they want to join FRNCA to add their voices to the organization. Frank Fisher’s membership application also was not approved in time for Monday’s meeting.

“As we were talking to people, everyone had an opinion about what they think would be a good thing in Flanders,” Ron Fisher said. “Garbage got the conversation started, but everyone had an idea about how to improve this community.”

Mr. Taldone tried to explain to those in attendance Monday that the group, which has grown from 87 to 96 members in the past few months, received an additional 30 to 40 applications on the same day—Monday, April 6—and simply did not have enough time to vet the applications in a week. All were hand-delivered by Ron Fisher to Ms. Hopkins.

On Tuesday, Mr. Taldone further clarified the FRNCA application process, noting that all applications are reviewed by both himself and Mr. Carnevale. He said measures are taken to ensure that every applicant rents or owns a home or business in the tri-hamlet area, and is not someone who is “acting against the entity” but, rather, is an individual “who wants to work with us to make the community better.”

“I am going to review them, and I suspect most of them won’t be a problem,” Mr. Taldone continued. “But it’s my job to check.”

Annual FRNCA memberships cost $20 for individuals, $30 per family and $75 per business.

Mr. Taldone noted that membership has gone up once the garbage district proposal started to gain traction at Town Hall.

Ron Fisher confirmed that he hand-delivered the stack of applications to Ms. Hopkins, adding that she advised him that she would present them to Mr. Taldone and Mr. Carnevale later in the week. Mr. Fisher also presumed they would have been approved prior to Monday’s meeting.

But Mr. Taldone said they did not have ample time to go through all of the applications, adding that he expects to have all the requests addressed within the next few weeks.

“I’m a volunteer—I have a day job,” Mr. Taldone said. “It’s a simple review, but we have no obligation to process applications in a certain time frame.”

Additionally, Mr. Taldone said while he is happy to see membership grow, he’s suspicious of the motivation behind the sudden filing of so many applications.

“If they came in one by one, I’d be less skeptical,” he said. “I want to believe that everyone is going to be involved after the discussion about the garbage district, but I just don’t know.”

Ron Fisher said he plans to remain an active member once his application is approved. “That is my intention,” he said, noting that many of the neighbors he solicited to join the organization have offered ideas on how to improve their community.

“I think people do care and want to participate,” he continued, “but we’re up against people who don’t want us to, in my opinion. And the intimidation tactic of trying to clear a room full of people who want to participate? I think that was wrong on so many levels.”

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Alexa, I'm wondering if you were at this meeting that you are reporting on? I'm assuming not
since there is no mention of the FRNCA board members and and their hostile, dictatorship yelling, running around the room pointing their finger in people's faces. Vince Taldone was clear nobody's application was being excepted because he knew he would be voted out by the community. Why would you not report on his actions that night and give him a day to cool down and then make a different comment. He ...more
By srtocci (2), Flanders on Apr 15, 15 2:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By srtocci (2), Flanders on Apr 15, 15 2:42 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Vince Taldone (8), Riverhead on Apr 15, 15 2:59 PM
I need to clarify the cost and frequency because of a type-o:

The cost of pick up is $25 per month. This rate provides garbage pickup twice per week (three 32-gallon pickups each pickup day). In addition, the rate includes bulk item collection on the second regular garbage day (which includes appliances, furniture, mattresses and other large debris) and bagged leaves. One additional day per week is for collection of recyclables - all together in one container (plastics, cans, bottles, newspapers ...more
By Vince Taldone (8), Riverhead on Apr 15, 15 5:15 PM
Mr. Taldone is very good at maligning people's reputations, I see. I suggest he let the carter speak for himself. He alone owns the company, and the brother, Ron, owns a printing company. The issue here is the vote that they refused to postpone, and the fact that many community members feel they are NOT appropriately represented by Taldone & co. I was at the meeting and the tactics employed by Misters Schreiber and Taldone were meant to intimidate. They could have de-escalated the situation by ...more
By Earthgirl (52), Southampton on Apr 15, 15 6:09 PM
Earthgirl, you're almost right. He USED to be good at maligning people's reputations. The people of Flanders know the content of my character and what I'm about and don't believe his nonsense. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
By RonFisher (28), Flanders, New York on Apr 15, 15 10:09 PM
I think The Fishers have grounds for a defamation of character lawsuit just from that slanderous comment about their business. It's one thing to argue with or even insult a person, but when one makes unsubstantiated desparaging remarks about someone's means of making a living, they have crossed a line that could lead to a lawsuit. Stupid.
By Nukiepoo (123), Southampton on Apr 15, 15 7:17 PM
Sadly, most of what he does is try to malign people personally rather than encourage dialog in his "community association." It's my opinion, after engaging with nearly 200 residents over the past month, that that is why his membership is dwindling. Flanders Residents AGAINST Town Garbage Pickup on facebook has proven that the community DOES care and they're tired of being treated poorly.
By RonFisher (28), Flanders, New York on Apr 15, 15 10:07 PM
This board should be ashamed and there will be hell to pay, Your done
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Apr 15, 15 7:40 PM
I want to make it abundantly clear that I support small businesses. ALL small businesses. I have NO commercial interest in my brother's company. He doesn't pay my mortgages, he doesn't pay my bills. I have no greater financial interest in Go Green Sanitation than I do in any other sanitation company. What I do have an interest in is encouraging a community to insist that it is well represented in community organizations, and help those that make a community better not worse. Vince, you have ...more
By RonFisher (28), Flanders, New York on Apr 15, 15 9:52 PM
Once again, the Fishers did not start, organize or sponsor the Facebook page...I started the page as a concerned taxpayer who would like to let my neighbors know that there are underhanded "studies" being done that will increase our property taxes again. I have only met Ron Fisher through this page and knew Frank Fisher from his sponsorship and support of Flanders Little League. A quick scroll to the first post on the Facebook page tells you that I created the page...simple fact checking. One ...more
By royaldancrsmom (1), Flanders on Apr 15, 15 9:54 PM
Thank you Meigan, I again appreciate the time you took to clarify the origins of the facebook page. PS. Great idea by the way you started a movement.
By RonFisher (28), Flanders, New York on Apr 15, 15 10:10 PM
The way the Annual Meeting where the elections were to be held coincided with the forum FRNCA board set up for the community to hear from the Town regarding the garbage issue was telling in itself. The domestic partner/husband? (I'm not sure if they are married) of SH Town Councilman Brad Bender sits on the board of FRNCA. The conflict of interest in FRNCA pushing back so hard the people of the community who opposed this issue could not have been made any clearer than the disgusting display of ...more
By fazool (22), Southampton on Apr 15, 15 10:44 PM
I have been watching the development of Flanders for 30 years. I hate to tell you it looks exactly the same. Wind bags like Brad Bender do nothing, but talk. Mr Taldone has made a Facebook site, and little else. You have Renaissance drawing pretty pictures with no chance of anyone ever building these ideas. So the path of Flanders will remain the same with no direction for the future. Flanders Northampton needs more than a garbage district it needs to be incorperated into a village to correct zoning, ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 16, 15 7:50 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 18, 15 5:10 PM
It was truly amazing, all these people suddenly wanting to join FRNCA, where have they been since the associations founding in 1999? Where were they when we were applying for grants, holding fund raises, awarding scholarships and getting dirty, picking up the GARBAGE in our community? FRNCA has only one goal...clean up our communities and make it better. Why haven't any of these well dressed, apparently educated and vocal people been...till now? We could have used your help, input and financial ...more
By Topadabay (2), Flanders on Apr 16, 15 8:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Really you are worried about a carbon footprint in Flanders NY? You are exactly why things don't get done in Flanders. You can't see the forest from the trees.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 16, 15 10:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well, I hope, Chief1, if you are truly interested, you will join FRNCA and give us a hand getting things done. We would appreciate the help.
By Topadabay (2), Flanders on Apr 16, 15 12:55 PM
You only had a dozen people vote for board members, and one hundred people in attendance. Something seems wrong when it comes to getting things done in Flanders.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 20, 15 10:59 AM
They were not members and thus were not eligible to vote. Read the story.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Apr 22, 15 2:14 PM
The article states that an unnamed applicant claimed that FRNCA “had cashed their checks” but refused to let the person vote. But no checks had been cashed. I invite the reporter to come to my office and see the package of applications that we are now starting to review. We review applications, approve them and then cash checks. I still have the checks here because I haven’t gotten to the bank.

Once reviewed and cashed, applicants receive a notice of approval by me as ...more
By Vince Taldone (8), Riverhead on Apr 16, 15 12:55 PM