MRB Group History with Village of Lyons – Conflicts of interest?

Results of 021413 FOIL request of v of lyons (Emails between MRB and Village of Lyons)

MRB Invoice for disseminating village dissolution information dated 111412 (MRB in the pre-vote process, appears to have prepared mailings and the village’s presentation that Trustee Vanstean presented).

DOC242 MRB CGR and NYCOM accounts from 2011 to 2013 (Payments to MRB, CGR, and NYCOM since 2011).

DOC249 LGE grant application with background info (Dissolution committee initially told that they were required to prepare an alternative plan as part of dissolution law.  OneLyons investigated finding that allegation was inaccurate.  We discovered that Mayor Kleisle applied for and was granted funds in November 2012 with a goal of preparing two plans so that an option for a re-vote was available.  This is allowed under the efficiency grant system, but the village had to acknowledge that $26,000 previously given for these same purposes yielded little actionable results on the village end).

MRB-Strategic Municipal Initiatives:  Former NYCOM President/Former Anti-dissolution Mayor of Seneca Falls who travells the state cautioning communities about dissoltuion.

Here is a Print Screen review of MRB and their dissolution project managers who are the former Seneca Falls officials –> Per the minutes there is no discussion about any potential conflicts of interests in the presentation to the Village of Lyons:  MRB group and strategic municipal initiatives.

  1. Who spoke against dissolution without revealing thier financial ties???
  2. Who stood to gain village business by helping save the village?
  3.  Did MRB later receive village contracts to assist their fight to save the village?

July 25 MRB village dissolution meeting emails and info0001.  Review the next few pages of emails and see if you notice any concerns about transparency, apparent intent to deceive the public, and potential conflicts of interest.  

  • July 17 2012 1033hrs Mayor Corrine Kleisle advises via email to the board and lawyer that MRB will be coming to a special meeting to brainstorm and answer question about dissolving the village.  She asks them to bring a list of questions to be better informed.  She notes Ryan Colvin of MRB group will not charge for attending the meeting and mentions that ”we may need to notice the public of the meeting.”
  • Having that knowledge 8 days in advance, the village clerk officially notifies the Wayne County Star and Times of Wayne county at 1040hrs on July 20, 2012 of a special meeting to be held 5 days later.
  • Notice that the notice to the media warns them “Do NOT Print, FYI only.”  This is the village meeting the letter of the Open Meetings Law but utilizing the loop holes in it to avoid media and public attention and attendance.
  • In referencing the media notice — the notice does not discuss the real reason for the meeting.  It notes the meeting purpose “To review pending projects and any other business that comes before the village board.”  It also notes the meeting will be at 1030hrs, not 6pm as standard.  How does this promote transparency and allow for a working public who wishes to observe government as allowed in OML to do so?
  • Finally, see the full minutes at  Note that the entire course of the meeting was interviewing MRB and their subsidiary Strategic Municipal Initiatives Connie Sowards and Diana Smith about dissolution.  Per the minutes and later FOIL request certifications, the statements of fact made by MRB during this were never verified by the village and no supporting documentation was ever provided to support the allegations made at this meeting.  (Note that Diana Smith is the former president of the powerful NYCOM Mayor’s Lobby and was a vocal anti-dissolution voice). 


Here is a 2012 recap of MRB mentions in Village minutes:  Take note of October 9 and December 3…. MRB Group mentions in 2012 Village of Lyons Minutes.

In 2012 alone via just perusal of village minutes, MRB did $9650 in business with the village, including $3250 to assist the village with dissemination of information against dissolution.  How much more was paid to this “consultant” who was amazingly awarded the village’s contract to perform a dissolution study?  Given that this “consultant” stands to lose tens of thousands of dollars every year of village business, assisted with anti-dissolution consulting, and provided personell to speak against dissolution without revealing they were MRB group employees….  How is this process not tainted?

OneLyons asks you the community and media to research this further….   Can a company with such strong ties to saving village government really be trusted to perform comprehensive studies on savings in dissolution?

Why was the village so against utilizing the Center for Governmental Research again to perform a full dissolution study?  Was it because of the significant savings CGR found in thier review of possible consolidation that potentially exceeded $5 per $1,000 in savings and may find more in a full study?  Would CGR have any financial or political conflict of interests in the process?  Would Barton & Legoudice have any of those conflict of interests?


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