Edward Lieberman will preside over his first full meeting as Sea Cliff’s mayor Monday night, two weeks after trustees appointed him during a last-minute meeting.
The Nov. 28 meeting, called to consider five applicants for the village administrator position, began with Mayor Bruce Kennedy at the helm and ended with him as the new $159,437-a-year administrator, after he stepped down as mayor.
Kennedy had selected the five administrator applicants to present to the board. He said he hadn’t considered applying for the administrator position and only did so after trustees urged him to throw in his name.
Kennedy had been helping run the North Shore village for years, even though that was not required as the $8,885-a-year part-time mayor, said trustee Robin Maynard, who first suggested Kennedy for administrator during an executive session of the meeting. Kennedy estimated he put in 30 hours a week as mayor.
“The amount of time and volunteerism he spent on the village is really incredible,” Maynard said. “Honestly, nobody knows the village better than he does.”
The vote to approve him was unanimous.
None of the five other applicants had experience as a village administrator, and Kennedy was clearly the most qualified candidate, said trustee Dina Epstein.
“The man is completely dedicated to this village,” she said.
The Nov. 28 meeting was called that afternoon, said Village Clerk Marianne Lennon. Notices of the meeting were posted in the library and Village Hall, she said. No one was in the audience, she said.
Ken Girardin, an analyst with the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany-based group that promotes government transparency, questioned why the appointments couldn’t wait.
“It’s difficult to justify doing something like this in such a rushed manner and depriving taxpayers of their right to be involved and ask questions,” he said.
John Mirando, who was identified on the village website as administrator but whose official title was director of public works, left Nov. 4 for a job in Long Beach. Maynard said a replacement for him was needed urgently.
Kennedy had voluntarily taken on Mirando’s job at no pay during the search for administrator, trustees said. His salary as administrator also includes the jobs of public works director and assessor. His salary is identical to Mirando’s old salary.
With Kennedy’s title as administrator comes responsibilities he voluntarily carried out as mayor but that Mirando did not have, Maynard said.
Lieberman said he hasn’t decided whom to appoint to fill the four remaining months of his term as trustee, but, after conferring with trustees, may announce a decision Monday night. Lieberman said he plans to run for a full term as mayor in the March 21 election.