The temperature of Tuxedo politics

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The political temperature in Tuxedo is reaching record highs despite the full frontal assault of another Canadian-born polar vortex.

Last week brought news that former Tuxedo Supervisor Peter Dolan has withdrawn his application for the Town Planning Board. This is perhaps interesting as a footnote in history, and certainly not a memorable event. What is very much momentous, though, is the sudden and unexpected resignation of Lisa Spivak from the Trustee seat she just won in the past election. This baffling development will no doubt welcome in a long and hotly contested debate about what should happen with her empty seat.

Returning to the issue of new Planning Board members, due to the above two developments it is now clearly evident how the Planning Board sausage is being made, politically speaking. Two weeks ago there were only two candidates, Mr. Dolan and Tuxedo Park resident Jake Matthews. Some of you may know Jake as Trustee Christian Matthews’ brother. The logic seems to have been that getting Mr. Dolan out of the game would have made Jake Matthews the appointee, by default. But now things have changed. First, Mrs. Spivak’s resignation leaves only four votes from the Board, and there are two additional candidates. According to the Town office, these two candidates are myself and Town resident Ray Ferri. This means there are currently three applicants, two are new, one dropped out, and Jake Matthews remains as he has been since the beginning. The remaining four Town Board members must now vote on which of these three candidates will be appointed to the Planning Board.

Earlier this month Tuxedo Park resident Mary Graetzer aggressively attempted to foil Mr. Dolan’s application by implying improprieties of all sorts, and supporting them with various election statistics. Nowhere, though, did she mention the quirk of the other candidate’s conflict of interest. Had the situation unfolded as Ms. Graetzer so industriously angled for, Trustee Matthews would have been spared the requisite recusal that he should make to maintain ethical propriety. The disingenuous thrust of Ms. Graetzer’s approach to editorializing these events is frustrating to those who are actually trying to understand the situation.

Speaking only for myself, there is no way I could vote one way or another on a municipal Board appointee if they were directly related to me. Recusing oneself from situations such as this can only serve to reinforce the confidence of those around you and that you truly act in peoples’ best interests. The fact that this whole situation has transformed into such a morass without this wrinkle of the truth coming out before now is surprising.

I sincerely hope newly elected Supervisor Rost recognizes the challenge he currently faces, and that Trustee Matthews recuses himself of his own accord in the interest of giving Tuxedo’s residents a level playing field for applicants to work from.

Robert Zgonena

Tuxedo Park

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