Column: The way forward

MAYOR-FRENCHRye Golf Club will be remembered as the city’s Madoff moment when institutional breakdowns in oversight over a long period of time may have led to financial corruption. As part of the city’s work to restore public confidence in the enterprise entities, the council is reviewing a set of governance rules, practices and procedures as to how the Rye Golf Club and boat basin will be directed and controlled.

Enterprise funds are proprietary funds used to report on activity for which a fee is charged to external users for goods or services, and are operated separately and apart from the city’s general fund. The governance framework is designed to balance the interests of the many stakeholders to include membership, residents and taxpayers, commission members, City Council, city management and staff. It will encompass every aspect of oversight–budgets, capital plans, policies, internal controls, performance measurement and public disclosure.

A summary of the highlights of the governance rules being discussed are as follows:
Commission role: The commission shall serve in an advisory capacity on behalf of the members of the Rye Golf Club and boat basin (the “Clubs”) reporting to the City Council and shall have the responsibilities set forth below. It is intended that the commissions will have day-to-day advisory oversight responsibilities for the clubs in conjunction with the city manager and designated staff for the execution, implementation and management of the authorized operations of the clubs consistent with approved plans, budgets and policies.

Monthly updates and authorizations for the council: A standing monthly agenda item for the clubs will be added to the regular meetings of the City Council for updates, approvals and discussion on club operations.

Annual audit: An annual, independent audit shall be conducted by the city on behalf of the clubs by an auditor with experience in said operations. An annual presentation on the audit will be held at a regular scheduled meeting of the City Council.

Commission responsibilities: Review, advise on and approve an annual budget and capital plans for the clubs provided and prepared by staff and any other committees established by the commissions.

Work with the city manager in reviewing and negotiating all contracts, which will bind the clubs (other than omnibus municipal contracts) subject to final approval by the city manager (with input as needed from the City Council).

Have responsibility for interviewing and recommending to the city manager and City Council the terms of employment for managers and similar personnel to be employed by or consultant to the clubs.

Inform the city manager of any concerns regarding a particular employee’s performance and work with the city manager, as needed, in any disciplinary or termination actions.

Upon request, have managers, city employees or other department head designated to the club provide an update to the commission and/or council on operations regarding the club as requested.

Recommend in conjunction with the city comptroller, changes necessary to ensure accurate accounting practices and procedures at the clubs and for the clubs to invest as needed in the proper resources to ensure compliance with financial controls and reporting.

Commission membership: The Rye Golf Club Commission shall consist of twelve members. Nine of the members shall be elected by the membership, and the mayor shall appoint with council confirmation one council liaison, one member from the club’s finance advisory committee, and one additional appointment.

The boat basin shall consist of seven members. Five of the members shall be elected by the membership, and the mayor shall appoint with council confirmation one council liaison and one additional appointment. All members on each board shall be voting members.

All commission meetings shall comply with the Public Officers Law and be posted with agenda materials on the City of Rye website. Minutes shall be kept for all meetings.

The commission can act only if a quorum of members are present and all votes must be approved by a majority of the members in order for any action to be passed. Commission members cannot miss more than three consecutive meetings to remain in good standing.

The council will hold one more public meeting before adopting the new governance structure.

For more information on this or other city matters, please contact me, the city manager, a Rye City Council member or visit the City of Rye website. Office Hours of the mayor by appointment by e-mailing dfrench@ryeny.gov.