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Locals Petition Tarrytown To Investigate Blau

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Family and friends of the two men who died last year in Tarrytown after entering a manhole are petitioning the village to conduct an investigation of Village Administrator Michael Blau.

In a letter given to the Board of Trustees at its recent meeting, the Citizens for Better Government of Tarrytown argue that Blau's conduct and performance before and after the September 6 accident should be independently examined.

“Based on the PESH Report (“the Report”) and numerous inconsistent public statements, there are a number of concerns that must be investigated and the findings reviewed to determine whether the Village Administrator breeched his obligation to the village government and its employees,” the letter states.

When asked whether the village would investigate Blau, Trustee Douglas Zollo said a letter had been submitted and the board would discuss the letter before deciding to take any action. Zollo advised Blau not to answer questions about the incident since the board had not decided on a course of action.

“I think we have an obligation to discuss the letter, and we will follow-up,” Zollo said.

The letter questions whether Blau knew that Tarrytown had a confined space policy in place and references inconsistent public statements Blau made to the media after the deaths of John Kelly and Anthony Ruggiero as to whether the village had a policy in place. The letter also questions whether certain confined space policy documents were forged.

“The residents of Tarrytown need to have faith in the integrity, conduct and capabilities of Village Administrator, Michael Blau and the actions he took before and after the unfortunate fatalities of September 6, 2010, an event that still haunts our village today,” the letter states. “Open government requires that the people of Tarrytown have answers to these questions.”

In addition to the letter, several people questioned trustees about the investigation of General Foreman Scott Weaver. Village employee Pete Lombardi was one such person.

“We're all looking for an answer,” he said.

Village attorney Jeffrey Shumejda said an independent hearing had been conducted, but the village was waiting for the decision of the hearing officer. Because the investigation is being done independently of the village, the village has no control over the timing, Shumejda said.

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