Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kimbiz/Kazmin Update

So Brian Kimbiz has (temporarily) abandoned his seat on the Village Board. He has allegedly been accepted into a 3-month Americorps program in Nevada. Kimbiz has refused to answer any questions related to this situation, so I've been left with no choice but to make inferences based on the information I have been able to verify. I welcome any clarification from any of the outgoing or incoming Board Members, including Kimbiz, despite their failure to respond to any communications on this matter thus far.

Unanswered Questions
 
In this week's New Paltz Times, and via email on May 20, the letter below was sent to all outgoing and incoming Village Board Members. We received only one response, from Trustee Feldman, indicating that he had no awareness of the Kimbiz rendezvous until reading about it here at Legislative Barbie last week.
We are writing in reference to Trustee Kimbiz' announcement of his extended absence from the Village Board. We are seeking answers to the following questions, and appreciate your consideration and prompt response.

1. When did Trustee Kimbiz apply to the Americorps program and when was he notified of his acceptance? There were rumors about his "leaving the board" as early as March, so it seems likely that some of this information was available well before the community was informed.

2. Who did Trustee Kimbiz notify of his intentions and in what forum? Were the current or incoming Trustees made aware of this situation and, if so, when?

3. What was the response to Trustee Kimbiz' notification? Was he granted any official or unofficial leave of absence from the Board? If so, on what basis was this decision made and who made it? Was the Village's Attorney consulted about Trustee Kimbiz' plans?

4. What is the justification for this extended absence, instead of a simple resignation? In addition to at least six meetings Trustee Kimbiz will be missing in June, July and August, Trustee Kimbiz will also be missing both May meetings, for a total of at least eight missed meetings. This only accounts for regularly scheduled meeting, and does not include the likely possibility of also missing special meetings. This is compounded by any missed committee liaison assignments; these committees will either be neglected entirely for more than a quarter of the year, or that work will be spread among the four remaining officials, which seems unfair and irresponsible. Missing four months of duties, especially during a time of transition, seems unjust and inappropriate.

Given all of the above, and the further fact that Trustee Kimbiz has not been a regular attendee at his committee assignments over the course of the last year, vacating his office would appear to be the course of action that would best serve the public interest. He would certainly be eligible to run in a special election in May of next year if he wished to resume his public service.

Thank you,

Pete Healey - phealey3@gmail.com - 845-399-3288
Brittany Turner - turner.brittany@gmail.com - 916-384-6735
We also received a "response" from Mayor Dungan at last night's Village Board meeting, indicating that he was unaware of the situation until the May 11 Village Board meeting that Kimbiz didn't attend. Mayor Dungan suggested that even Kimbiz did not know about this until the very last minute, but we have found evidence that suggests otherwise. Each of the sitting Trustees have issues with telling the truth (one need look no further than Mayor Dungan's claim in this week's New Paltz Times that Kimbiz received over 900 votes to see that), so the lack of response followed by a response that doesn't fit with all of the other information should definitely be met with a certain level of skepticism.

While Kimbiz has announced that he will be continuing to respond to Village business via email, it's been 5 days since he received the email and we still have no response. Perhaps he's only responding to what/who he wants to respond to. No idea. Regardless, we've also been able to uncover some inconsistencies and identify some new options with ways to proceed.

Misinformation?

Some of the information disclosed at this point just doesn't add up. For example, Kimbiz allegedly called incoming Mayor West from the airport on his way to Nevada. However, according to Facebook,  Kimbiz appears to have driven out to his new job.
While this inconsistency is relatively minor, there are others that are more intriguing. For example, this Facebook screenshot suggests that Kimbiz was aware of his acceptance into the Americorps program as early as February 17, which is extremely inconsistent with the early rumors regarding his departure for position in California and Mayor Dungan's assertion that the entire thing was very last minute.

I spoke with Americorps directly, to get some more information about the specific program and Kimbiz' relationship to it. According to them, after looking up his record in their database:
  1. Kimbiz has only applied for two programs: the 2011 Summer Veterans Green Corps in Nevada, which runs from May 16 through August 11 (applications accepted January 10 through April 24), and the Americorps Northwest Service Academy, which runs from mid-May through the end of October, in the Pacific Northwest (including California).
  2. According to their database and records, Kimbiz has not been officially selected for either program. His application to the Summer Veterans Green Corps has been submitted, but no action has been taken. His application to the Northwest Service Academy is "under review." They explained that it is virtually impossible for an individual to be currently serving in an Americorps program without this being reflected in the record, as it is updated at each phase of the process.
What does this tell us?
  1. Kimbiz may not be working for Americorps at all. The individual I spoke to was adamant in his assertion that it is simply impossible for an individual to be working for Americorps without the application status, candidate acceptance, and/or placement being reflected in the database. None of this information appears in the Kimbiz record.
  2. Despite the dozens of similar programs available in New York, Kimbiz chose to apply for only two programs that are clear across the country.
  3. Kimbiz lied about the start/end dates of the Nevada program. While his past communications with others have described the program as June through August, the program began in May, and his absence at the last two Village Board meetings would be consistent with that timeline. Given this, it is impossible to identify his return date with any certainty, and his inability to respond to inquiries provides no additional information.
  4. The original rumors regarding Kimbiz' departure suggested he and girlfriend/Village Clerk Amanda Erickson would be moving to California. These rumors are supported by the other program that he applied for, which instead of being a summer-only program, extends through the fall, keeping Kimbiz out of New Paltz for at least six months. By applying, Kimbiz was prepared and willing to abandon his post for six months, rather than the four (or three, according to him) that he is currently skipping.
  5. Assuming Kimbiz is actually where he says he is and that Americorps is having an error with their database, he will be missing at least six additional regularly scheduled Village Board meetings, and has an additional two absences in May. These absences do not include special meetings, of which there are already two scheduled (May 31 and June 1), as well as his liaison obligations and other responsibilities, which he has never regularly participated in even while present in New Paltz.
Moving Forward


Despite the assertions of the outgoing and incoming Boards that nothing can be done, I've identified at least three existing legal options that can be taking against Kimbiz by either Board and/or residents of the Village of New Paltz.
  1. Article 78. The NYS Civil Practice Law allows for proceedings under Article 78, which basically compels a public officer or governing body to follow the obligations as outlined by law. These include actions related to arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable conduct by these entities and individuals. Initiating an Article 78 proceeding, if decided favorably, would compel Kimbiz to return to New Paltz in order to fulfill the obligations of his position. This action may be initiated by either the Village, a sitting Board Member, or a Village resident.
  2. Official Misconduct. Section 195 of the NYS Penal Law discusses the crime of Official Misconduct, which is two-fold. A public officer may intentionally act illegally or, as is particularly relevant in this case, "knowingly refrai[n] from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office." It seems like attendance at meetings, and therefore the ability to represent the voters and make decisions on village business, would certainly fall under this expectation. A criminal act, Official Misconduct should be initiated by the Village of New Paltz, and is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor, which would result in a criminal record, possible fines up to $1,000, and a possible maximum jail term of 1 year. For comparison, other Class A misdemeanors include certain types of assault, stalking, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, identity theft, arson, and criminal possession of controlled substances and weapons. This is no joke.
  3. Application to Declare Vacancy. The third, and perhaps most preferable option, is outlined under Section 36 of the Public Officers Law, which discusses the procedure of removing a local public official through an application to the court on the basis of "any misconduct, maladministration, malfeasance or malversation in office." Under Section 30 of this law, it outlines the criteria for vacancy, including item G, "the judgment of a court, declaring . . . . that his office is forfeited or vacant." This action certainly could've been commenced against Trustee Gallucci with her 56% attendance, Trustee Osborn with her 35% attendance, and arguably Feldman to his refusal to formally resign from the Board in 2011, but they are no longer in office. As of May 11, Kimbiz has had a 79% attendance rate of Village Board meetings (Committee Liaison activities are near 0%), and with his absence expected for at least nine additional meetings beginning yesterday, May 25, his numbers will closely resemble the other two no-shows by the end of summer. There is precedent for removal on the basis of absence, as outlined in Williams v. Travis, where Fire Commissioner Travis was removed from office due to his significant absence from meetings and lack of participation. If the seat were declared vacant by the court, the Mayor would be permitted to appoint a new Trustee to the vacant seat, with a special election held for a replacement in May 2012. This action may be initiated by ANY Village resident.
Given the serious ramifications of Kimbiz' actions, and the potentially severe consequences of his disregard for the position of Trustee and the community at large, the final and most prudent option is the IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF TRUSTEE KIMBIZ.

While both the outgoing and incoming Village Boards have suggested that they cannot take any action in this matter, the law shows otherwise. Their failure to hold their colleagues to this standard is not a matter of inability, but rather unwillingness to remove Kimbiz from office. If neither Board is prepared to take action on the matter, Pete Healey and I are fully prepared to initiate an application to vacate this seat under the Public Officers Law. If you are interested in joining the application as a petitioner to remove Kimbiz from office, please feel free to contact us for additional information.

UPDATE, 5/27/11: Via text message last night, Jason West stated, "Interesting blog post. Once in office i will ask our attorney specifically about the options you laid out. Was not aware of those options, nor was the attorney i spoke to apparently. Didnt realize you wanted a response from incoming board members - must have read email too fast."

14 comments:

  1. I've given up reading the New Paltz Times (although I'm reconsidering in light of a remarkably ethical decision made in relation to a political advertisement) and couldn't find the letter you referenced from Mayor Dungan online. If it is online, could you link to it in the post?

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  2. @Terence, it's in this week's letters to the editor. Terry basically wrote a letter saying Brian received over 900 votes in his election, far more than Jason in the most recent election. This is particularly weird since it's practically common knowledge that Brian only received in the 90s (95? votes), in a very questionable election, and with Pete Healey trailing by 1 vote.

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  3. Weird indeed . . . Terry's not known for flat-out making stuff up, he's more subtle than that. If it's not a typo it could be that he was hit harder by that stroke than I had previously thought.

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  4. @Terence, here's the quote: "Of course Jason [West] would love the opportunity to replace Brian with a hand-picked appointee, giving him a solid voting majority on the board. However, he would do well to remember that Brian was elected with over 900 votes, compared to his own less than 400."

    I usually try to find excuses for Terry whenever possible, because I do sincerely think he is a good (albeit often deranged) person. I don't think this one can be considered a typo OR stroke-related. It's similar to his antics all along, which have worsened over time, and almost the entire premise of the letter hinges on this lie.

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  5. Is there a reason you don't have anything better to do with your time than make up blatant lies about Trustee Kimbz? Really, what are your motivations? Do you seriously see all of this malice and delusion as valuable contributions to the new paltz community? Instead, do yourself a favor and grow up and get real, barbie. -concerned individual

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  6. @Anonymous, could you be more specific about the "blatant lies"? Because everything I've said is sourced and documents, whereas everything you've said is, well, a mystery.

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  7. i'm not gunna waste my time challenging all your truly unfounded and manipulated assertions.

    i will however, question your credentials:

    did you not actively campaign for West while you were Village Clerk?

    is this all because your lover, Pete Healey, lost to Kimbz? are y'all still bitter about that? and please, don't give me some bull about how this didn't "actually happen"..

    is that what all of this is about? because i cannot imagine why someone would run her mouth of about a young man whom is going above and beyond is dedication to community service by our serving not just the Village, but our nation...

    and, are you not the previous village clerk who destroyed a whole bunch of documents? what was that about?

    -anonymous (i do not feel comfortable stating my identity, as i'd really rather not have you focus your fine-tuned harassment efforts on me)

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  8. @Anonymous, like I said, point out a lie, because no one else has done so thus far, including Kimbiz/Kazmin himself.

    1. Yes, I did actively campaign for West on my personal time while serving as Village Clerk under West's appointment.

    2. No, this is not because Pete's victory was illegally overturned by the Ulster County Board of Elections. It is because Kimbiz/Kazmin is an unprincipled, unqualified, disrespectful, incompetent official who hurts the community, more than it helps, and gives SUNY NP graduates a bad name.

    3. Nope, never destroyed a single document. Actually tried to implement a sound records management system as per the guidelines provided by the NYS Archives, as well as reclaim stolen documents, only to be shut down by both the West and Dungan administration.

    I appreciate your effort to try to change the subject, but you're the one who alleged that the information provided here is inaccurate. If you can't put your name behind what you say, or provide a single example of the supposed facts that are misrepresented here, I don't see how anyone is supposed to put any credibility behind anything you say.

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  9. bitch please. you need a life re-assessment plan.

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  10. people that choose to exercise their democracy by shit-talking under delusional premises give SUNY New Paltz graduates a bad name.

    -SUNY NP graduate

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  11. Anonymous, or if you prefer, "SUNY NP graduate", you're the real Brian Kimbiz, aren't you?
    Is this your official response to our open letter to you and the Village Board?
    The reason I suggest it's really you is that nobody else in the world uses "y'all" in this way or spells "gunna" like that.

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  12. @Pete, naah, we've got another Brian on our hands... maybe the ridiculous language comes along with the name?

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  13. Most likely that is a former SUNY NPZ Poli Sci major who was once a gadfly.

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  14. The way it is written, inspires me a lot and I wish for more such informative aspects.keep on posting such ideas and information.

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