Teri Schure, the executive director of the Cedarhurst Business Improvement District for more than 10 years, says she lost the $25,000 a year part-time job because she could not find clear guidance from several government officials to hold the annual Summer Sidewalk Sale.
Schure, of North Woodmere, said she was tasked with learning if the sidewalk sale, which attracts thousands of people to Cedarhurst over four days, could be held during Phase 4 of New York state’s reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Schure said over two weeks she made roughly 20 attempts to have a state or county official lay out written guidance as to how to conduct the sale. “I want the merchants to be successful, to come back bigger and better,” Schure said. “I could not participate if it wasn’t legal.”
At a BID board meeting on July 21, Schure was fired by the board in what she thinks was a coordinated campaign by Deputy Mayor Ari Brown, who is also village’s liaison to the BID and is a BID board member.
Brown, who abstained from voting, said that is untrue. “I respect her opinion, [but] the board agreed to go in a different direction,” he said.
Brown, with the backing of several business owners, pushed to hold the sidewalk sale, Schure said. After a call to New York’s Empire State Development, Brown said he received an OK from an epidemiologist to hold the sales event, as it was equated to a farmer’s market. What the BID called the InsideWalk Sale was held Aug. 5, 6, 7 and 9. “It was the board’s position,” Brown said. “They decided to go ahead.”
Schure said Brown also accused her of sabotaging BID databases, lists of businesses and other information that she had compiled as part of her job. “I brought something to the BID that brought something to the merchants. I would not manipulate BID databases,” Schure said, adding that over the time she served as executive director, the sidewalk sale grew, she created the BID’s Midnight Madness sale after Thanksgiving, and suggested extending free holiday parking and installing holiday lights along Central and Cedarhurst avenues.
“Teri didn’t do anything wrong by inquiring,” Steve Silverman, a BID board member and owner of Morton’s, said about Schure asking for guidance on the sidewalk sale. “I was disappointed. She is a very capable person. Teri was a very important part of the BID. She executed our plans.” Silverman, who voted to retain Schure, said Brown lobbied for votes to fire Schure.
Brown said the $25,000 paid to Schure is part of an $85,000 BID budget. He said a person has offered to coordinate the events at a “fraction of the cost” that could save the BID at least $15,000. “It was always contentious with her,” Brown said of BID interactions with Schure.
BID Chairman Steven Schneider said he tried hard to avert Schure’s firing. He did not vote, as Schneider typically only votes if there a tie. “She was right all along,” he said. “I think it was unfair and wrong.”