Fight Erupts at FRNCA Meeting


A dispute between elected leaders of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association quickly turned into a shouting match during the group’s monthly meeting on Monday night.?Michael Sacco, the group’s vice president, accused President Michael Brewer of purposely prohibiting him from becoming a member of the organization’s bylaws committee. The ensuing argument during Monday night’s meeting, held at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside, prompted one member of the group to drop out of FRNCA.?”I think Michael Brewer really doesn’t like any kind of opposition thinking within FRNCA,” Mr. Sacco said on Tuesday when asked what led to the confrontation the night before.?Mr. Sacco, who has been a part of the group for two years, said that because FRNCA follows parliamentary procedures, specifically the rule of ex-officio, any of the elected board members can also serve on any subcommittee within the organization.?The bylaws committee, which has not been active since 2005, serves as an advisory committee that assists the executive board. “The bylaws committee is another layer of trying to get some independent thoughts and ideas in FRNCA,” Mr. Brewer said. ?Mr. Brewer, who has served as president since 2003 and was a founding member of the group in 2001, joked several times during Monday night’s discussion and ensuing argument that he was going to resign. Mr. Brewer declined to speculate on that possibility when reached on Tuesday, though elections are scheduled to be held next month.?Doris Schneider, who serves as the group’s secretary, also asked on Monday if she could sit on the bylaws committee. Though both Mr. Sacco and Ms. Schneider are permitted to serve on the advisory board, Mr. Brewer suggested that no one now on the executive board should serve in that capacity.?”I suggested that the bylaw committee should be independent from the executive board, so that the bylaw committee can interpret and advise the executive board on matters without conflicting our thoughts,” Mr. Brewer said. “The recommendations of the bylaw committee come back to the executive board anyway and any changes have to go through a general election.”?FRNCA member Chris Selden, who chairs the group’s bylaw committee, said members of the executive board should not sit on his board in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Mr. Selden added that, in his opinion, Mr. Sacco is making Mr. Brewer’s suggestion personal, when it is not.?Mr. Brewer added that Mr. Sacco might have misinterpreted an e-mail that Mr. Brewer sent stating that it would be better if no one on the executive board sits on the bylaws committee. Monday’s conflict prompted one group member, Terry Flanagan, to stand up and announce his resignation from the organization.?”He’s done a lot of good things for FRNCA,” Mr. Sacco said of Mr. Brewer. “But he can’t be an expert in every area; A board is supposed to bring people together who lend different skills.”?He added that FRNCA members have to “fight tooth and nail” to have their opinion heard within the organization. Mr. Sacco also announced on Monday that he will consider suing the organization, alleging that the group is not following “its written rules.”?”This isn’t about Michael Brewer,” Mr. Sacco said. “It’s about rules being lax, which could prevent someone from exercising his rights in an organization.”?In other news, group members discussed their continuing work on the Dark Skies initiative, which seeks to limit the amount of light pollution emitted from the Suffolk County Center in Riverhead and the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside.?They also announced on Monday that a new Northampton hamlet sign has been installed on County Road 51, near Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus. The sign cost approximately $4,000. The group has already installed similar signs at the intersection of Flanders Road and County Road 105 on the Flanders-Riverside border.

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