Jul 27, 2014
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Amidst Controversy, Rye Golf Commission Meets Tonight

Members spent hours at the last meeting questioning the Commission and General Manager on its dealings with a private company.

Amidst Controversy, Rye Golf Commission Meets Tonight

The Rye Golf Club Commission will meet again Tuesday night, two weeks after dozens of members crowded its last meeting asking questions about the Club’s dealings with a private staffing company, RM Staffing.

Tonight’s meeting is at 7 p.m. at Whitby Castle.

At the Sept. 26 Club Commission gathering, Rye Golf Club general manager Scott Yandrasevich explained he was responsible for hiring RM Staffing, a local private company owned by Suzanne Ruggiero-Madeo several years ago. That company’s $2.2 million bill in salary costs—$400,000 attributed to about 11,000 hours of overtime over an 18-months—has caused members to question Yandreasevich and the Commission’s management of the agreement.

Members and commissioners questioned Yandrasevich on his involvement with RM Staffing and the costs associated with their agreement with the Club last month. After much discussion, the Commission wanted to understand the overtime costs and potential conflict of interest regarding RM and Yandrasevich before voting on the final budget at that meeting.

Commissioner Patrick Dooley explained that after “potentially” excessive overtime costs were revealed in the beginning of September, the Club’s Finance Committee met to look into the situation. Since at least 2009, the Club has been using outside service agencies for employees because “it gives substantial flexibility to reduce costs associated with having full-time employees,” Dooley said.

One issue the members and some commissioners have with the current situation is that Yandrasevich has worked for RM as a consultant and his wife, Anne Marie Yandrasevich is a salaried RM employee.

Yandrasevich emphasized that neither he nor anyone in his family has any ownership interest in RM Staffing. He also said he has made under $1,000 doing contractual based consulting work for RM.

Yandrasevich also confirmed that he worked as a representative of RM Staffing with the Oak Hills Park Authority in Norwalk to negotiate an agreement to have RM run that club’s restaurant. He said that deal has not been finalized and he was not paid for that work.

Club Members questioned Rye City Manager Scott Pickup on the ethics of the situation. Pickup said “[the agreement] is 100 percent by the book,” and that he did not see a problem with  the situation.

“You’re talking about a person who has derived income from a company, [and] he is now recommending to fill a contract—and you see no problem with that?” said resident Tony Piscionere. “That is astonishing to me.”

The city’s code of ethics states,

“no officer or employee of the city shall have any interest–financial or otherwise, direct or indirect–or engage in any business, which is in conflict with or might reasonably tend to conflict with the proper discharge of his duties.”

City Councilman Joe Sack and Club member Leon Sculti both submitted Freedom of Information Requests over the last few weeks for the contract between the Club and RM Staffing. After his  Letter to the Editor was published on MyRye.com on Oct. 2, Sack told Patch he received some of the requested documents.

To view some the documents referenced, click here.

The Club’s Board of Commissioners are predicting a $60,000 short fall for 2013, and had planned to increase membership dues to make up the difference, Commissioner Chris O’Brien told the Rye Sound Shore Review’s Chris Falcone.

The Rye Golf Club was set up as an enterprise fund in 1965, which means it is a city owned property that is self-sustaining, not subsidized by tax payers.

“I think you guys have a crisis at this point,” Former Councilman Mack Cunningham told the Commission towards the end of the Sept. 26 meeting, adding that they should budget in anticipation of a decline in membership due to the controversy.

The Commission will meet again at 7 p.m. at Whitby Castle.  

Check back with updates on Tuesday’s meeting.   

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