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Nargizian resigning

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — March 25, 2008 — Monticello Village Manager Ray Nargizian will be out of a job this Friday.
But not necessarily because he anticipates new leadership on the board.
“It’s for personal reasons,” he said, stating that Mayor Jim Barnicle has had Nargizian’s resignation letter in hand since January 22.
Barnicle confirmed the existence of the letter and also Nargizian’s explanation that he did not immediately follow through with the resignation at Barnicle’s request.
“I was in hopes of winning [the village election] and keeping the body of the board intact so that we could urge him to stay,” Barnicle said. “I’m sure he would have stayed if we’d had the current board intact. In my heart, I feel that.”
But last week’s elections were more in Barnicle’s opponents’ favor, and so Nargizian made public his resignation decision at last night’s village board meeting.
Today, county Board of Elections personnel are expected to open 71 absentee ballots that may either extend or reduce Trustee Gordon Jenkins’ 58-vote lead over Barnicle in the mayoral race.
Though the current mayor has a chance to win, Barnicle is already anticipating a loss (though also planning to challenge potentially illegal and improper votes).
The results may also mean Jenkins’ running mate, Carmen Rue, gets a trustee seat, and in concert with Trustee Scott Schoonmaker, that will give Jenkins a 3-1 edge on the board over Deputy Mayor Victor Marinello, who is currently the leader in the race for two trustee seats.
If he becomes mayor, Jenkins will vacate his trustee seat, and with that 3-1 majority behind him, he will be able to successfully choose his trustee successor.
He’s also promised major changes in village government, and several officials have privately confirmed that he was planning to fire Nargizian and replace him with John Barbarite.
Barbarite was fired by the board last month for a variety of unspecified reasons, though an alleged racial slur by Barbarite was made public.
Ironically, Nargizian hired Barbarite a year ago to help him with code enforcement issues, and Barnicle admitted he was not enthusiastic about either man at first.
“Politics aside, when he first came in, I was not one of his supporters,” remarked Barnicle of Nargizian. “But I grew to respect him… He did [his job] with a dysfunctional board and an adversarial management relationship.”
That job will come to an end Friday when Nargizian’s resignation becomes effective, ending a tenure of just a year and three months.
But in that time, “I think an awful lot of positive things have been done in the village,” said Nargizian, ticking off a list that included the delinquent tax deal with the county (of which he is most proud, having recovered more than half a million dollars in back taxes), the Broadway and Pleasant Street roadwork projects, and good relationships with town government and area developers.
“It’s going to be a loss,” acknowledged Barnicle. “He was just scratching the surface of what he could be as manager.”
But that will soon be up to someone else, as Barnicle well recognizes.
“I hope they pick up the ball and carry it,” he said, “not throw the ball off to the side.”

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