What makes you uniquely qualified for this position?
While I believe no one should claim they are “uniquely qualified” to hold public office, I would bring to the office of mayor of Tuxedo Park a lifetime of experience that would provide me with a foundation to lead the village.
As an attorney, arbitrator, and judge, I learned to approach even the most difficult issues with an ability to gather evidence, weigh the options, and reach a reasoned and equitable decision. As a mediator, I learned to be a good listener and to treat all sides with respect and due consideration. My seven years of experience as a trustee on the village board in Montebello, N.Y., provided me with the opportunity to deal directly with infrastructure, budgeting, historic preservation, taxation, and other local government issues.
What are the most pressing issues in the office you are seeking?
Governance: The village government has become estranged from its residents. If elected, I will resume the long-standing tradition of volunteer service by the village’s elected officials and return the mayor’s $35,000 salary to the general fund. I will provide adequate notice to the community of important issues by publishing board of trustee agendas well before the day of scheduled meetings, and by publishing the proposed village budget well in advance of the day it is up for approval. I will seek the public’s comment and input on major local government action.
Taxes: The taxes in Tuxedo Park are too high. While the mayor has no direct control over school, county, and town taxes, which make up the vast majority of residents’ tax bill, I will create a Citizen’s Budget Committee to start a line-by-line budget review to make recommendations to reduce village expenses and thereby village taxes.
The environment: Protection of Tuxedo Park’s three lakes, reservoir, forests, viewsheds, and ridgelines is a priority. I will oppose any proposals that decrease property values by degrading the unique environment, including the natural and historic beauty of Tuxedo Park.
Infrastructure: Create long-term plans to repair and replace aging water and sewer systems and roads.
What do you see as the mayor’s primary role?
The mayor is the chief executive of the village government. In that role, it is essential that the mayor treat all residents fairly, equally, and with respect. There should be no “friends and family” program at village hall. The mayor should take a leadership role on important issues facing the community and state his support or opposition to proposals without waiting to see “which way the wind is blowing.”
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?
I will form four new citizen’s committees -- finance, budget, contract review, and playground -- to tap into the wide-ranging expertise of Tuxedo Park residents.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for the municipality (town or village) any way you wanted, what would you want to do with it and why?
If Tuxedo Park was “blessed” with such a grant, I would use it to repair the village’s aging infrastructure.