Unofficial minutes of the BPCA meeting to approve the 2013 budget

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Field strip 3January 29, 2013 By Steven E. Greer

We were live blogging the BPCA board meeting today. Below is a summary of the comments.

Update 1: The BPCA board is discussing the 2013 fiscal year budget, “Expenses going down every year, revenues going up”. This means more money for the city, and the residents here pay for it. $126 million “excess revenues”, all goes to the city. We who live here cannot even get a traffic light on West Thames Street.

Update 2: After the BPCA (under Horwitz) fired 19 people “to save money”, they are now considering giving themselves RAISES. Chairman Mehiel said that this was not yet implemented, and seemed to realize how tone deaf that move would be. Fernando Mateo was pushing for it. Anne Fenton recently received a 45% raise.

Update 3: They are selecting law firms now. They are spreading the money to a pool of firms. Their RFP received more than 25 applications. This is the first time the BPCA has used a pool. (Editor’s note: In-house counsel Phyllis Taylor seems to be doing a good job). The period of time will be for a 5-year contract (previous contracts have been 3-years). There is a $250,000 cap on any individual project per firm. Randy Mastro’s firm Gibson Dunn LLP, hired to renegotiate the Asphalt Green firm, was not on the final list that won the RFP and did not apply for the RFP.

Update 4: Board member Martha Gallo, senior executive of JPMorgan, was once again a no-show, and attended via speakerphone. BatteryPark.TV has never seen Ms. Gallo in attendance at a BPCA meeting.

Update 5: The contract with the city to provide park officers (PEP) was discussed. The contract will be for 3 years. The salaries are higher this time. The number of PEP officers will be 45 officers (so be sure to demand high performance by calling (212) 417-3100)). Martha Gallo raised (via speakerphone) the problem of PEP officers “being over aggressive with neighbors” and questioned the quality of the service provided by the PEP. She said that they are rarely seen. The BPCA President, Demetri Boutris, defended the PEP as being very courteous. Mr. Boutris admitted that he has been “walking the grounds” only since October 2012, and seemed completely unaware of past scandals and ongoing federal civil rights lawsuits against the BPCA. Chairman Mehiel asked Tess Huxley whether the BPCA received complaints from residents about PEP, and Ms. Huxley said “no.” (This is completely false. Town hall meetings have bee the venue for numerous complaints about PEP).

Update 6: Chairman Mehiel addressed the post-Hurricane Sandy status of repairing Asphalt Green and ballfields. He thanked Sheldon Silver for arranging the ballfields experts. Mehiel assured that the fields will be replaced in the most expeditious manner, and confirmed that they are not waiting for the RFP. He was “Extremely mindful” of the impact to the community for Little League and summer camps. The timelines were still uncertain, and said that “maybe in a week” we will have the timelines ready. “That is about all we will be able to say”. Of note, nothing directly was mentioned about the Asphalt Green facility. He then went into non-public executive session.

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