Newburgh Council, city manager discuss communication and secrets

One thing driving a group of Newburgh City Council members to consider a charter amendment giving the body final approval over executive appointments is the belief that City Manager Michael Ciaravino’s shares information with a very small loop that excludes some of the people who hired him.

Ciaravino did nothing to dispel that belief during Thursday’s City Council work session, whose agenda included a discussion about “communication” and his explanation of why he is sharing little information with the Council about philanthropist Bill Kaplan’s possible involvement in a new project.

Councilwomen Cindy Holmes and Karen Mejia, who both backed an April 27 public hearing the charter change, shared their concerns about being excluded from the information-sharing process.

Holmes cited one example: learning from residents in her ward that Kaplan and city officials were discussing his possible purchase of Newburgh’s Activity Center on Washington St.

“I don’t know nothing but what I hear,” Holmes said. “I shouldn’t have to go to Mr. Kaplan and ask him what is he doing and what is he purchasing.”

Ciaravino said talk about the Activity Center is part of a larger concept that would include Delano-Hitch Park and the Armory Unity Center. His administration has “purposely” not revealed Kaplan’s involvement because there is no firm commitment, Ciaravino said.

“To make announcements, I almost feel that we might actually jeopardize something that Mr. Kaplan’s not prepared to make.”

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