Letters to the editor

Wonderful people
It is with sadness I read in the paper about the Southold Animal Shelter and the North Fork Animal Welfare League.
People just don’t understand the dedicated workers they have there. I have adopted from them in the past and would not hesitate to do so again.
The workers there are the most dedicated and hard-working people you could ever meet. They worked under horrible conditions in the past and did a great job caring for animals needing human kindness.
Now the animals and people can enjoy a much nicer environment. Keep it as it is.
My hat’s off to all of them.
John Grodski

Several reasons
This is a response to Ms. Ellsworth’s question of why the town is seeking bids to run the animal shelter. (“Stay with NFAWL,” Feb. 10.)
The Town Board is obliged, by law, to expose a contract of such magnitude to competitive bidding. The 2008-2011 contract for dog-control services and operation of our animal shelter costs taxpayers $569,686.
The contract should have been put out to bid in past years.
The state Department of Agriculture and Markets mandates dog control in our community. Dog-control officers should be appointed by the municipality or the Commissioner of Ag and Markets. The present contract for dog control, and operation of our animal shelter, calls for one full-time and one part-time dog-control officer. The North Fork Animal Welfare League’s self-appointed agents are not qualified to perform the required service.
Dog-control officers can pick up dogs running at large and respond to complaints of neglect and abuse. The Ag and Markets law states that every dog-control officer shall have the power to issue appearance tickets and serve summonses to owners of seized dogs, as well as participate in legal proceedings.
The NFAWL has no authorized or qualified agent to perform the required dog-control services.
New York’s not-for-profit law classifies humane societies and dog-protective associations, like NFAWL, as corporations for the prevention of cruelty to animals. The law also says the required certificate of incorporation must include the approval of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
In lieu of such approval, the organization must include a certified copy of an order of a justice of the State Supreme Court of the judicial district in which the office of the corporation is to be located.
NFAWL has neither attached to its incorporation certificate.
In short, we have been paying for a service that we have not been receiving. Following the law as written is neither political nor personal. Those are the reasons why.
Carole Geiss

More than just a job
I have been reading the letters to the editor about teacher salaries and I wanted to add my two cents.
I was born and raised in Mattituck. I graduated from Mattituck High School 10 years ago and am now a teacher in the St. Louis City, Mo., public schools and I will never see the salaries that teachers on the North Fork are making.
As a fourth-year teacher I am making $38,000. I know many of you will argue the cost of living is less but not that much less.
What I deal with teaching in an urban school district would blow the minds of some of the teachers on the North Fork. I should add I teach in an elementary school.
On the elementary level we deal with gangs, knives, violence, parents that just don’t care, homelessness, a free and reduced lunch rate of 90 percent and an ethnically diverse student body of 75 percent African-American, 20 percent Caucasian and 5 percent other.
I spend a lot of money on my students because if I don’t no one will. Teachers will not only bring in school supplies but also clothes and food, anything to help that child.
Would I leave the St. Louis public schools? No. Yes, I face challenges every day, but someone needs to do it and for my students. They need someone to believe in them.
It is not just a job. To be a city teacher means the pay is not there, you face the harsh realities of life but the reward is extremely big.
Carolyn Kramkowski

Trustee got it right
When entering into a responsible scientific dialogue, in this case, regarding fecal coliform testing and creek closures, the minimum standard requires the reading of detailed reports and charts with a basic understanding of accepted scientific practices.
Last week’s Suffolk Times contained two letters to the editor that sadly did not meet that standard. We all have opinions and they are valued. But these letters were unfairly critical of Trustee John Bredemeyer’s West Creek shellfish land status report, as both letters demonstrated a lack of due diligence before offering a retort of science-based findings.
After reading the five-page report and analyzing the four attached charts, the North Fork Environmental Council’s land use committee applauds Trustee Bredemeyer for raising community understanding regarding creek closures, road runoff solutions and the need to “increase awareness of the benefits of complying with the pooper-scooper ordinance.”
In our opinion, the report is valid, concise and complete with achievable recommendations that can be applied townwide with great benefit for all.
The NFEC encourages informed discussion and participation in this matter, as well as the continued Trustee efforts to apply the best scientific methodology to “save what’s left” and safeguard the interconnected health of our community, environment and shellfish industry.
Mike Domino

Waterfront progress
The Southold Town Trustees would like to share some great news.
First, Suffolk County recently completed its dredging for the season. Keeping our creek interfaces open is critical for the environment, plus allows boaters the opportunity to navigate our channels. Through the Trustees’ efforts, we were able to get six channels dredged this season.
Included for the first time in many years was Halls Creek. This channel had all but closed up, creating a critical environmental hazard. The Trustees applied to the county to include Halls Creek as eligible for dredging four years ago. The permits were received by the county last winter, allowing it to be dredged this season.
Secondly, the town recently received a state grant for just under $10,000, which the Trustees applied for to offset a percentage of the operational expenses for the two pump-out boats. These two vessels give boaters the opportunity to off-load sewage while on the water, thus helping to protect our bays.
With the valuable assistance of our office staff, we have been successful in obtaining this grant every year since the program was established. These grants assist us in running a program that supports our environment at minimal costs to local taxpayers.
We’re also pleased to see the recent court decision halting the proposed saltwater fishing license. We were the first town agency to respond to the call for help when the Southampton Trustees initiated their lawsuit. We successfully organized local efforts to lobby against this proposed legislation.
Finally, we would like to draw your attention to our Trustees Web page, southoldtown.northfork.net/trustees. We have brought back our series of short articles entitled Trustee Matters. Reading these articles can provide a more comprehensive understanding of our roles as stewards of the environment.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 765-1892 if we can be of assistance to you.
Trustees Jill Doherty, Dave Bergen, Bob Ghosio and John Bredemeyer
Trustee James King declined to sign this letter

They let us down
I was not surprised at the overwhelming response from so many about their visit to the website WWW.SEETHROUGHNY.ORG. There was a variety of reactions, ranging in feelings from anger, disgust, surprise and no surprise with many just appalled and sickened.   
And then there were two others.  
One person spoke highly of how hard teachers work. I can’t help but wonder if she were to go on the website and compare teachers’, administrators’ and other staff salaries how she may think differently about that theory. Secretaries work hard and are the foundation for any organization. They are not compensated in proportion to their worth, using the structure of the teachers’ scale of worth.  
According to the website, $20,000 to $40,000 is the typical salary for secretaries, aides and similar positions that are vital to organizational operations. Posted teachers’ salaries of $90,000 to $135,000 thousand does not compare to any secretary’s salary. Are non-teaching staffers less worthy or is the worth of the teaching staff inflated disproportionately?
Another person admonished me for incorrectly believing in everything posted on the Internet, particular posted salaries as high as $193,000 since those people recently retired. Please remember that I did not create the website, I just pass along information for people to research on their own.  
I presented my theory about the possibility that retirement payments are determined by the last three years of employment. People in the system frequently work extra assignments to boost their salary base and with it their retirement benefits. I questioned if this is the case for retirees highlighted on the side.  I did not get an answer.
I will continue to search for the truth. Unfortunately, what I’m finding is that people who work in school districts justify the salary scales and people who don’t work in the system are horrified by them. I also am troubled by the sentiment that North Fork teachers make a lot less than West End teachers, therefore in essence we should shut up and be happy.
This does not bring comfort to me, or justification for a system that is out of control. It’s time to stop. It’s time for negotiations to start taking away and deflate the salary base that brings unsuitable distress to the community at large.
I am not anti-teacher. Rather, I am an advocate for the disadvantaged. In this case, that’s the common taxpaying people in this community.
On The Suffolk Times website a former Mattituck High School student writes that she’s a four-year teacher in the St. Louis Public School system making $38,000 per year.  The posts on that website are unbelievable. I urge everyone to view it.
If it’s the school board’s responsibility to protect the interests of the community, then they have failed us. Now is the time to just say no, no more increases until balance is restored.
MaryAnn Fleischman

A very bad move
It has taken me several days to grasp my emotions so I may properly react to what must be one of the ill-conceived decisions by the Oysterponds Board of Education, or any school board or any board for that matter, and I feel I must respond.
Not only did the board have the opportunity to get former Superintendent Stuart Rachlin’s termination right, they had two chances to do it. And unbelievably in the midst of short-term vision, they got it wrong twice.
They have basically fired the guy and sent him on his way with a blank check. The board has agreed to pay him and his wife their private health insurance benefits for the rest of their lives. While they have ended his contract, they have levied a “Rachlin tax” that will saddle our taxpayers for years to come. And as we all are aware, this cost will increase dramatically every year and there is no cap on what it will cost us. It will cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars to have him do nothing for us.
Tell that to the kids when you want to cut a program.
So how do the board members try to sell us on any budget going forward when they can’t even operate effectively? Personally, they’ve lost all credibility with me as a representative board of their neighbors. At least Krista de Kerillis and Linda Goldsmith had the gumption to vote no. The other five members ought to start paying attention to what our community can endure.
Maybe they should resign. Is their message to our community “perform poorly and be rewarded”? Where was the backbone to stand up and fight for us?
Due to their mismanagement, their legacy could be the beginning of the end of our community school. We are faced with a declining enrollment, higher contributions for teacher retirement costs and reduced state aid.
This board’s action begs me to ask, if we don’t have effective leaders, who can be fiscally and morally responsible? How are we going to survive?
Walter Gaipa

A community effort
I would like to thank Beth Young for her lovely article about John’s Place Homeless Shelter at Orient Congregational Church in your Feb. 10 edition. Many Suffolk Times readers have responded with words of encouragement, monetary contributions and gifts of food.
Our 40 volunteers come not just from Orient Congregational Church, but from several other houses of worship as well. St. Agnes Church gives us bus tickets, lunches and toiletries. Congregation Tifereth Israel has underwritten the cost of transportation from St. Agnes to Orient Congregational each Tuesday night.
Our appreciation goes to all these good people who give of their time, talent and treasure. John’s Place is an interfaith partnership of which I am very proud.
The Rev. Ann Van Cleef
pastor, Orient Congregational Church


Much appreciated

In spite of the horrible weather, 88 dedicated people came out to donate blood on Wed. Feb. 2. This was the first blood drive at our new location and it was an overwhelming success.
We can’t thank our donors enough for their continued support. We would like to commend Jim Rich and the Southold Fire Department for offering to host the town blood drive at their facility and for making a delicious dinner for everyone. They will host our next blood drive as well on Wednesday, March 30.
Also, a special thank you goes to the East Marion FD for being the first department to make a monetary donation for future dinners for donors who attend between 5 and 7 p.m.
It was a wonderful idea on the part of the fire departments to coordinate their efforts to support the blood drive and meet the desperate need for blood in our community.  
We were quite delighted when we received a letter from Rita Hagerman of Academy Printing offering us 2,500 postcards including our new time and location information. We are very grateful for their generous donation.
We’d also like to thank Tim Kelly and The Suffolk Times for doing a great job publicizing our drive in a timely manner.
Our committee just wanted to express our heartfelt thanks to the many people in our town who took the time and made the effort to help others.  
Well done!
Mary Hewitt, Barbara Klos,
Virginia McCaffery, Nancy Reeve,
Louise Egert and Penny Coyle
Southold Town blood drive chairpersons