Monday, Jan 30th

LatimerCounty Executive George Latimer discussed the search effort for the downed plane.County Executive George Latimer held a press conference at 10 am on Friday morning January 20, 2023 to report on a plane crash and rescue operation that occurred in stormy weather on Thursday night January 19, 2023 near Westchester County Airport.

According to Latimer, hundreds of EMS workers and firefighters as well as the FBI were called in to search for the small two person plane that crashed in Louden Woods near King Street in Armonk at 5:30 pm on Thursday night. Workers searched for the plane during a treacherous storm in thunder, lightning and heavy rain and did not find the plane until 10:30 pm that night. It was located by finding the signals from the cell phones of the two lost in the accident

The single engine Beechcraft A36 plane was enroute from JFK to Cuyahoga County airport, south of Cleveland when it lost pressure and crashed in to the woods near Rye Lake about a mile and half from the Westchester County airport runway.

The two occupants of the plane were identified as the pilot Boruch Taub and Benjamin Chafetz. Both were members of the orthodox religious community in Cleveland. According to the Cleveland Jewish News, Taub was the proprietor of MasterWorks Automotive & Transmission, and Chafetz was the owner of 121eCommerce LLC in Cleveland Heights.

According the Jewish Chronicle, “Moments before the crash, Mr Chafetz sent a text to a friends’ WhatsApp group that said their plane had “lost engines” and asked his community to pray for him. The message read: “I love you and the kids, “I am sorry for everything I have done. We lost engines. Call and have community say Tehillim.” Tehillim is the Hebrew term for the Book of Psalms.” Chafetz leaves behind a wife and seven children.

Just prior to the crash the pilot was communicating with a series of control towers and said he had low engine pressure at 5:20 pm. The plane lost altitude too quickly to clear the lake and land on the runway.

The search for the plane was on water, land, and in the air, but ultimately a cybersearch located the plane. The FBI brought in special equipment to ping the phones. Once the coordinates were given, rescuers located the wreckage of the plane. It was found five and half hours later at the location of the last blip received by the FAA. The victims were on the ground, deceased.

TaubChafetzPilot Boruch Taub and passenger Benjamin Chafetz died in a small plane crash near Westchester County Airport on Thursday evening January 19, 2023.

The medical examiner released their remains for burial in Ohio by sundown on Friday, as is the Jewish tradition.

Westchester County Commissioner of Emergency Services Richard Wishnie said the weather was “impossible,” and that even after they pinged the phones of the occupants, they were not sure whether the plane was in the water (Rye Lake) or on land. He thanked members of the Armonk, Portchester, Purchase and West Harrison fire departments along with EMS agencies from Armonk, Harrison, Portchester and Rye-Rye Brook.

The area will be sealed off for the next several days for an investigation and removal of the wreckage.

Latimer asked for prayers for the two lives that were lost, saying “it could have been us.”

conedison bill sample 2010 1Westchester County Executive George Latimer is reminding residents to check their heating bill more than a month in to his initiative to suspend sales tax collection on home energy costs from Dec, 1 to Feb. 28. The sales tax suspension covers home heating oil, propane, natural gas, electric, coal and wood for residential heating purposes and covers homeowners as well as rental units.

Latimer said: “Westchester County Government is constantly looking to find ways to make the lives of residents a little easier. This winter, heating your home will now cost you a little less. As we all face rising costs in our daily lives, this suspension of certain sales tax will add extra dollars to the wallets of those who call Westchester home.”

Landlords and renters will be eligible depending on the structure of the unit’s heat and electric use. The initiative is administered by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance; the vendors will not be assessing sales tax as directed by the State. The sales tax will automatically be taken off the bill. 

Latimer said: “If you see you are being charged Westchester County sales tax for any home energy item starting December 1 please contact the County right away at (914) 995-2900.” 

Thomas P.DiNapoliNYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNaPoliAn audit of the Scarsdale School Districts overtime payments by the Office of the NY State Comptroller in the Spring of 2022 found that the district overpaid for overtime services for custodial services from July 1, 2020 to January 31, 2022.

At the Board of Education meeting on Monday December 18, 2022, Dr. Patrick explained that offices of municipalities are regularly audited every five years or so and the Scarsdale School district was last audited in 2016. In the spring of 2022 the State Comptroller focused on “Overtime” to “determine whether the Scarsdale Union Free School District (District) officials ensured overtime was properly approved, accurate and monitored”.

Dr. Patrick further explained that the audit looked at the period of time that fell during the Covid Pandemic when overtime was higher than usual. However, Dr. Patrick also admitted some mistakes were made as were highlighted in the Report of Examination.

As per the report, “Although overtime was properly approved, District officials did not monitor overtime to ensure it was accurate…In addition, District officials and department heads were not properly monitoring overtime charges. While the need for certain overtime can be difficult to anticipate, routine work for other events should be planned in a more cost-effective manner than using overtime. We found the District incurred overtime costs for the use of substitute staff, sporting events, cleaning and contractor visits, which could have been easily prevented with adequate planning and schedule adjustments.”

The report details a corrective plan of action which Dr. Patrick assures it is already in the works and should be wholly achieved by March 31st, 2023. For a look at the full report which could not be made public until Friday, December 16th, please click here:

The report explains:

"District officials did not properly monitor the use of overtime. During our audit period, the District paid approximately $1.23 million in overtime wages. We analyzed the overtime paid to 20 employees with the highest overtime charges for the audit period and reviewed all of their time records and payments totaling $524,934. Our review of the time records for these 20 employees found $447,485 (87 percent) of the overtime charges were for routine anticipated events that could have been avoided with scheduling adjustments (Figure 1). For example, had the District adjusted employee schedules, such as a Tuesday through Saturday work week or staggered work schedules, some of the overtime charges could have been avoided, and employees working on Saturday or after school hours could have been paid the regular rate. For example, we found that the District paid overtime, totaling $123,113 to six of the 20 employees in our sample to clean the school on Saturdays or after school hours, despite the District knowing that coverage would be needed ahead of time.

In addition, District officials and department heads were not properly monitoring overtime charges. While the need for certain overtime can be difficult to anticipate, routine work for other events should be planned in a more cost-effective manner than using overtime. We found the District incurred overtime costs for the use of substitute staff, sporting events, cleaning and contractor visits, which could have been easily prevented with adequate planning and schedule adjustments.

We determined that had the District adjusted employees’ schedules, some of these charges may have been avoided or paid at regular pay. As a result, the District could have saved over $155,516 in overtime expenses. District officials told us that the majority of overtime spending was due to custodial and maintenance staff overtime that was required to keep the buildings properly cleaned. However, the District did not perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether hiring additional staff or adjusted employees’ schedules could have reduced overtime expenses or the overall costs in wages paid. Because District officials did not ensure overtime was properly monitored and did not provide adequate review of time records, the District is spending more for overtime charges than necessary. Additionally, the increased overtime will also increase the amount owed by the District, annually to the State, for its share of the cost of the District’s employees’ retirement benefits."

students inside albayFor the 12th consecutive year, the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale will select one high school student to attend the annual Students Inside Albany Conference to take place from May 21n to May 24, 2023 in Albany, New York. Any Sophomore, Junior, or Senior student who attends Scarsdale High School or resides in the school district is eligible to apply.

This four day, in-person, and interactive event will bring together high school students from across the state to learn about New York State government and will immerse them in the process by which public policy is proposed, revised, and enacted in New York.

As in past years, the agenda will be packed with tools to instruct students on how to influence public policy decision-making at the state level. A highlight of the conference is the opportunity for students to meet with legislators to discuss issues and advocacy.

Past Scarsdale student participants were unanimous in their enthusiasm about the program.

The cost of the conference, including hotel and meals, is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters New York State Education Foundation, Inc. and the Scarsdale League.

Applications and more information are available on the LWVS’s website under the Youth Programs tab:

Applications are due by Monday, February 6, 2023.

For more information, please click here.

spotlightThe Scarsdale Foundation will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. Since its founding in 1923, the Foundation has quietly but effectively helped local individuals and community organizations through student scholarships and project grants.

In honor of its centennial, the Scarsdale Foundation will present a second award, in addition to the Bowl, called the Spotlight Award, at its annual dinner, to be held on April 27, 2023 at Mamaroneck Beach & Yacht Club. The dinner will pay tribute to the Bowl honoree, as always, while celebrating the spirit and culture of volunteerism in Scarsdale. The Spotlight Award will recognize an individual or an organization that has made a significant impact and brought about positive change in one targeted sphere of community engagement.

“The new award is meant to showcase another aspect of the incredible volunteer work done every day in Scarsdale,” says Scarsdale Foundation President Suzanne Seiden. “While the Bowl Award is Scarsdale’s highest honor given to a resident who has participated in multiple aspects of public service in the community over the course of some decades, the Spotlight Award is meant to call out folks who have focused on moving the needle in one area, and made significant progress.”

The Scarsdale Bowl Committee seeks a diversity of candidates for consideration for the Spotlight Award. To access the nomination form, click here.

Nominations will be accepted until December 23rd.

Questions? Please reach out to Erika Rublin, Bowl Chair at erublin@gmail.com. Additional information about the Scarsdale Foundation and the Scarsdale Bowl may be found at https://www.scarsdalefoundation.org/

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