Leadership Changes

I ran for Mayor on a platform of change—and that has certainly been the case this year when it comes to key leadership positions in village government. In May we welcomed Village Manager Abraham Zambrano. One of the strengths Manager Zambrano brings is his experience in finance—and with budget season upon us, we are making the most of his keen eye for recognizing opportunities to spend tax dollars more efficiently. Selecting Lieutenant Kevin Sylvester to succeed Chief Joseph Burton as leader of the Ossining Police Department, heralds a new generation of leadership, with an appreciation for tradition. And most recently, we’ve have some unexpected changes on the Board of Trustees.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 5.17.04 AM On September 16, Trustee Rika Levin was sworn into office. She was appointed to the vacancy left by former Trustee Omar Herrera. Trustee Levin’s experience managing budgets in the business and nonprofit worlds will be a particularly valuable skill as we enter budget season. Her appointment is through the end of 2015. Rika Levin’s name will appear on the ballot in November as she seeks to hold her seat for 2016.

Trustee Robert Daraio announced he would be resigning from the Board effective September 30. Complicating the process of filling this sudden vacancy, was a long-planned vacation that Trustee John Codman had just begun the previous day. Now that Trustee Codman has returned, the Board will meet in executive session to discuss how we want to address this newest opening.

These recent changes may make the November ballot seem a bit confusing for Ossining Village voters. So here’s a guide to help you prepare for the November 3 election with regards to the 2016 Board of Trustees:

  • There are 2 seats up for election for a 2-year term, expiring 12/31/17. There are two candidates for these seats: Manuel Quezada & Quantel Bazemore. They are running unopposed. These candidates will appear on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families Party lines. The Republican and Conservative Parties did not endorse any candidates for these seats.
  • There is 1 seat up for election for a 1-year term, expiring 12/31/16. This is the seat that Trustee Rika Levin holds now. She was appointed by the Board of Trustees to fill the position through the end of 2015. On November 3, voters will go to the polls to choose between Rika Levin who will appear on the Democratic and Independence Party lines; or Luke Carbonaro who will appear on the Republican and Conservative Party lines.

The Village Charter instructs the Board to “appoint a qualified person to fill such vacancy; if an elective office, until the next Charter Election, when the vacancy shall be filled at said election for the unexpired term of such office.” Village government has seen a lot of appointments in recent history, including these familiar names: John Codman, Sue Donnelly, Bill Hanauer, Miguel Hernandez…

The Village Charter leaves the process for how to select the appointment up to the discretion of the Board. Each appointment is unique; one significant factor to consider is the amount of time remaining in the unexpired term. The process that led to the appointment of Trustee Rika Levin began with a public solicitation for resumes, followed by Board of Trustee interviews of the nine applicants. We chose Rika Levin knowing that, at the very least, she would be with us through the end of this year. Her experience managing budgets in the corporate and nonprofit world will be of great value during the budget season. It is our hope that voters support her continuing in this position. Her experience in marketing and branding strategy will be an excellent resource for this Board’s goal of improving communication and public outreach.

With less than three months remaining in the unexpired term created by now former Trustee Robert Daraio’s seat, the decision-making will reflect that different circumstance. We could appoint Quantel Bazemore. He is running unopposed to be in that seat on January 1, so an appointment now would essentially give him a head-start on the term. We could leave the seat vacant through the end of the year. We could appoint one of the candidates we interviewed last month when we selected Trustee Levin. We could appoint a community member who has contributed to Ossining over the years and may offer a helpful perspective as we enter this year’s budget season.

This week the Board of Trustees will meet in executive session to discuss how we will proceed with this appointment. Each individual who serves as Trustee changes the dynamic of the group. Whatever decision we make about whether and how to fill the vacancy for the final months of this year, it will be interesting to experience it with this newly established Board. One unifying characteristic among all the trustees I have served with, is our desire to look out for the interests of the people we represent. It is an honor and a responsibility we do not take lightly.

Supporting Local Businesses with Fun Raising

The Craft Beer Tasting & Pool Party was a big success thanks in large part to the generosity and hard work of our hostess County Legislator Catherine Borgia and several local businesses.  Supporting local businesses is a core value for my family.  It reinforces our goals for preserving our environment, growing our local economy, rewarding ingenuity & customer service, and just old-fashioned looking out for your neighbor.  Some of the local business that directly supported this event were:

The Mike Risko Music School    Sterling Sweets   Charms by Amy  and  The Pastures Grass-Fed Free Range Beef  (at the Ossining Farmers Market)

Bill Hanauer brings such passion to his work as Mayor of Ossining.
Catherine Borgia was such a generous hostess. She’s a fantastic cook and throws a great party. One more terrific reason to become active with the Ossining Democratic Committee!
Life-size lawn signs will be ready in October. Will you post one at your Ossining home? Send me a message below if you can!

David Carlucci made at least four trips across the Tappan Zee on that Saturday. He’s working hard to get to know the Ossining voters he seeks to represent now that his NYS Senate district includes Rockland and Ossining.

I’m not sure what Sandy Galef and I found so hilarious, but I love this picture. She takes her role as public servant seriously, but is joyfully light-hearted about the rest of life.

Swinging Left: A Day Dream…?

“I hope Huntsman does well.”  That’s what I said to my husband yesterday shortly before the NH returns started coming in.

“Isn’t that bad for Obama?”  He replied.

“Yeah.  But good for our country.”

Let’s just imagine what might happen to our political discourse if the leading Republican voice were an actual moderate.  Someone who acknowledged that evolution is science and creationism is religion; that global warming is a fact; that the way to solve our budget and deficit crises is to use a combination of taxing and cutting.  Just imagine…what might happen to the “center”?

When beloved “liberal” Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the bench in 2010 he made the observation that when he was appointed in 1975 he was the “moderate”.  And every appointment since then, with the possible exception of Justice Ginsburg, was more conservative than the justice (s)he replaced.

The “right” has systematically drawn us all to their side of the spectrum.  I’ve often been amazed by the policies and words of past Republican presidents like Nixon and Eisenhower.  My view of all Republicans is so tainted by the cartoonishly ridiculous extremists that characterize their party today.

Obviously, Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.  And despite what Newt Gingrich wants us to believe, Mitt isn’t a Massachusetts moderate.  Mitt is whatever the polling data tells him to be.  With “leadership” like that the Republicans will keep the political discourse as ridiculously extreme as serves their current short-sited ideological and greedy goals.

But yesterday, for a brief moment, I got to imagine that this presidential election might have swung left.  That President Obama would have had to fight to energize his base by taking actual progressive stands.

That the next time discussion about healthcare came up for debate, the idea of a single-payer not-for-profit government-run program was actually on the table for discussion, instead of marginalized as some extremist Socialist insanity.

That the next time fracking or oil sand pipelines were up for debate, the response was a resounding NO, we will not destroy our economy and our environment for the short term gain of one bloated tax-payer subsidized industry.

That the next time the Defense of Marriage Act came up for debate, every Democrat proudly stood up and acknowledged it’s not any government’s job to dictate who a person loves, rather it is our federal government’s job to preserve people’s rights.

That the next time legislation for campaign finance reform was presented, it stood up to Citizens United and corporations, and stood up for democracy and American citizens, by removing corporations from the political process.

Perhaps instead of waiting for the Republicans to make it easy for the center to swing left, those of on the left need to make it happen…

Vic’s Views

Writing is one way that I deepen and clarify my beliefs on things that matter to me.  Another is to engage in conversations (live or virtual) with people who share my beliefs and especially with people who see things differently.  My views are ever evolving, just like me.  And they are informed by all that I am and have been…woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, homemaker, childbirth mentor, teacher, producer, marketer, social worker, class-mom, Quaker, citizen, activist, environmentalist, voter, taxpayer, writer, reader…

We marched with IATSE Local 52 in this year's NYC Labor Day parade.
We marched with IATSE Local 52 in this year's NYC Labor Day parade.

You can find me elsewhere online in a few different spots.  In 2010 I began my small business, Birthing From Within Westchester.  I help parents prepare for childbirth.  If all parents had access to classes like those that I teach, children and families would be healthier and happier.

I also edit and contribute to the monthly newsletter published by the Chappaqua Friends Meeting where my family and I worship.  I’m grateful for the opportunity this provides to help me focus my thoughts on spirituality beyond Sunday morning worship.

Since announcing that I’m seeking the Democratic Party endorsement to run for trustee on the Ossining Village Board, The Patch is now carrying my blog.

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