L to E: Leave “Take-It-or-Leave-It” alone—it works for the community

April 8, 2014
by Robin Murphy

Dear Adam, Elise, Jason & Lisa,

Yesterday, someone mentioned on the Chappaqua Moms facebook page about the changes in Take It Or Leave It.  When pressed for an explanation, Rob Greenstein responded as follows:

Yup, no more take it. It was a BIG problem for our recycling guys. They were the ones who requested the change. John Buckley also asked me to do away with it. It was a program meant for residents to leave stuff, and other residents take stuff. The problem is that the only people taking stuff were the same non-residents every week. Not only did it force us to staff the shed, it led to confrontations with our recycling staff. Many of the items taken would then find their way into the goodwill shop - where they were sold. Allegedly, some of our DPW workers were also taking stuff and selling it on eBay. Bottom line, it turned into something that was not it’s intended purpose.

When asked if a group of volunteers would come forward to manage the project, he came back and said:

We signed a 6 month agreement with Big Brothers Big Sisters. We are giving it a shot. If volunteers want to organize something for the future, go for it.

I recall my family’s visits to the shed and there were always volunteers there but I didn’t know whether something changed since then.  However, tonight I was forwarded an email, (copied below) written by Marian Williams, long time resident, wife of our Town Historian, and, I believe, a volunteer at Take It or Leave It.  Her email represents a very different picture than the one described by Rob Greenstein.  It also shows that his statement that an agreement has been signed is not truthful as it is on tomorrow night’s agenda.

I also was assured that there are, in fact, many committed volunteers dedicated to supporting the project and it is not run by the town staff.  Lastly, I was told that the reason the Town Board has agreed to shut down this very special Chappaqua project is “because the Town Administrator can’t figure out how to handle it.”  Granted, I do not know if this is fact but if it is, it is very disappointing.  If there is another reason, I’d like to know what it is and what effort has been taken to put together a way to address and resolve the issues while allowing TIOLI to continue.

Here’s Marian Williams’ email:

Well! I was unable to access the agenda for tomorrow night’s Town Board Meeting, but called Town Hall. The Clerk’s assistant said “It doesn’t look like recycling is on the agenda.” But I went to Town Hall anyway, and fortunately there was a copy of the agenda. Under “Authorization to Approve”, item 12, is “License Agreement with Big Brothers Big Sisters.” What time this comes up depends on the length of all the other business transactions. At least it’s before the Monthly Reports of various departments.

I am certainly planning to be there, and will speak. I think the TB has no idea how popular TIOLI has been, and what a service to the landfill it is - direct transfer of stuff, much of it usable but not salable, from people who want to leave and people who can use. No trucking, an incentive for people to use the recycling center rather than load up the curbside trash collectors. The issue of “out-of-towners” (especially volunteers) “poaching” is nonsense. The volunteers are certainly entitled to find things they might want, and so what if someone sells something at a tag sale? The Farmers’ Market and TIOLI are regular Saturday pleasures for me, and I’m highly annoyed at the way this matter has not been discussed. The new board ran on a platform of “transparency” - HA!!!

Hope you all will pass this message on to people you know who have used and admired TIOLI.


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I realize that the vote is tomorrow [now tonight, April 8].  I hope that before you casually agree to terminate TIOLI, you will reconsider.  As a newish member of the community posted tonight, “Things like TIOLI may be thought to be of little consequence to some in town, but it’s sometimes these small things that help to define a community.”

Please consider preserving TIOLI.

Yours truly,
Robin Murphy
428 Quaker Road

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