By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Former Lumberland supervisor and County Republican Committee chairman John LiGreci was named Monticello’s village manager by the board on Tuesday.
The unanimous decision was surprisingly made without comment or difficulty, and it’s likely LiGreci will be doing the job without a deputy.
In fact, the board asked LiGreci if he wanted a replacement for deputy village manager, the post he held under John Barbarite for the past year.
“I feel I could do the job without any assistance,” LiGreci recalled telling the board. “It is a vacant position I will not fill.”
The board is expected to abolish the position at a future meeting.
In the meantime, LiGreci’s glad to be doing a job he’s mostly handled since Barbarite in anticipation of a July 31 retirement started using up his remaining vacation days.
Indeed, it’s a job he’s wanted since 2009, when he was briefly Village Clerk Edith Schop’s replacement.
“I think I’m going to be user-friendly,” LiGreci remarked in an interview this week. “I’m willing to compromise as well as be tough when I need to be.”
That attitude was evidenced when negotiating his contract with the village. LiGreci wanted a $72,640 annual salary but settled for $66,640, still $10,000 higher than what he earned as deputy.
His draft contract also entitled him to a village-provided car, but he eventually agreed to using his own car in exchange for a mileage reimbursement at the state rate.
The contract ended up being for one year, rather than two, and it now requires consultation with the mayor on hirings, firings, discipline and appointments of all employees over which the manager has authority.
“I know the board is very conscious on hiring and salaries,” LiGreci acknowledged. “I’m where I wanted to be, and I don’t have any issues.”
He’s already begun finding ways to lower village expenses, from phones to insurance to electricity, and is aiming for another zero percent tax increase next year.
LiGreci, however, said he’s also committed to maintaining the village’s infrastructure, pointing out major rehab work at the village’s parks (to which he said Yellow Cab is now offering $3 one-way rides for entire families residing in the village).
Broadway’s massive reconstruction project is just about over, and LiGreci said he’s eager to encourage businesses to locate on the downtown strip. He plans to ask the board to institute incentives and tax abatements to accomplish such.
He also hopes the board will seriously consider allowing one-bedroom apartments in the second- and third-story lofts lining Broadway. Residences are currently prohibited there, which LiGreci blames for the 33 percent vacancy rate in storefronts.
“I will do everything in my power to ensure the stability of the village,” he promised.
Moving on lighting
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the village board unanimously agreed to go out to bid to complete the decorative streetlamp lighting along Broadway.
Sixty-four Sullivan Renaissance-purchased lights are waiting to be erected on pedestals installed by the state. The village is responsible for wiring them, however, and is hiring an electrical contractor to oversee an in-house wiring job not to exceed $25,000.
Bids will be opened on August 29 at 11 a.m. at the village hall.