GETTING RESULTS: New Rochelle Civil Service Committee Holds Public Meeting

Written By: Robert Cox

CSCMeeting2011 0225Under normal circumstances it would not be news that a government committee in New Rochelle would hold a public meeting…unless that committee was the Municipal Civil Service Commission in New Rochelle which has routinely ignored both the New York State Open Meeting Law but the State’s Freedom of Information Law.

After a surprise visit from Talk of the Sound which highlighted numerous violations of the New York State Open Meeting law, Talk of the Sound asked readers and listeners to show up and sit in on the meeting yesterday. Six people attended the meeting in addition to three commissioners and the Civil Service Administrator so there were 10 people in the room. In the past, the CSC has been holding its meetings in a private office behind locked doors without posting official notice, listing the meeting on the City’s web calendar or even putting up a note on the door as to what was going on inside.

The February 2011 meeting of the Municipal Civil Service Commission showed some signs the City was getting the message that the Commission was not exempt from State law. The meeting was noticed on the City web site, the meeting was held in a meeting room, the door law left open and unlocked, a sign was placed in the entrance area of City Hall. This is certainly progress. On the downside, copies of the meeting agenda were not made available to the public, the meeting was not televised or recorded on video tape for archiving on the City web site.


While the CSC has made some progress from last month, it is not even close to enough. Talk of the Sound has called for meaningful reforms to the way the CSC conducts its business:

1. Require that the Municipal Civil Service Commission notify other departments including the City Manager, the Media Relations Department and the City Clerk when they are having their meetings. Readers will recall that “no one” knew about the meeting last month.

2. Require that the Municipal Civil Service Commission properly notice their public meetings per the New York State Open Meeting Law and post their meeting announcements on the City of New Rochelle web site including the calendar.

3. Require that the Municipal Civil Service Commission hold all of its meetings in a room already equipped with video cameras such as the room in 90 Beaufort and broadcast then archive the meetings as is done for meetings of the City Council, IDA, Zoning Appeals and Planning Board; require that signs be posted in and outside the building directing the public to the meeting room on the day of the meeting.

4. Require that a PDF version of the meeting agenda for a Municipal Civil Service Commission be posted on the City web site along with the calendar event; require that copies of the meeting agenda be made available to the public in or near the meeting room on the day of the meeting.

5. The Municipal Civil Service Commission already posts notices of job openings on the City web site; add to that by uploading PDF versions of all job application forms and linking the appropriate forms to the various job opening notices. Just as there is no reason a Job seeker should have to go to City Hall to learn about available positions; the job seeker should be able to obtain a job application form through the mail, via fax, via email or on the City web site.

11 thoughts on “GETTING RESULTS: New Rochelle Civil Service Committee Holds Public Meeting”

  1. Do we even need the CSC?
    Seems like a total waste of $300,000 to me.

    What are they supposed to be doing anyway that justifies a budget of $300,000? We reaaly should consider getting all these people/commissioners off
    the public dole. I wonder if they get health and pension benefits too?

  2. PS,
    If Domenic P can read,


    If Domenic P can read, what is he trying to read in this photo? He doesn’t look happy.

  3. Bob,
    For readers that claim


    For readers that claim you only report the negative side of NR, this article proves them wrong. Here you claim the CSC is making progress and has addressed the concerns of TOS. You give them credit for their progress.

    It’s unfortunate that you had to put pressure on them to obey the law. You are simply asking them in this story to do what is right. How is that negative? Seems to me your stories on the CSC have brought about positive changes for NR.

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  4. How are jobs posted when no mention is made at budget hearings?
    A while ago there were employee changes in the Parks and Recreation Department through “forced” retirements. Even Council was not informed of the process at the time. I went to the meeting on Friday but saw no indication how the Civil Service Commission deals with department changes. Maybe someone who knows can clue me in.

    1. The city council is not
      The city council is not informed about a lot of things this commission does. It tends to do as it pleases regardless of the law.

      It is high time they started doing business in public. For too long they have may it hard for the public to know what it is they discuss at their meetings. This process should be open and televised so that the public can stay informed.

      As far as “cluing you in”, just keep on them to hold their meetings in public and on TV and we will know at least in the future what goes into their decisions.

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