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Home Government Charmian Neary: I'll be voting for Steve Otis Andy Ball, Myles Lavelle...

Charmian Neary: I’ll be voting for Steve Otis Andy Ball, Myles Lavelle and Joe Murphy

Today MyRye.com is carrying a guest column from Charmian Neary on her choices on November 3rd.

Charmian Neary is a parent in the Midland School District, serves on the school board finance and budget committee and organizes Friends of the Rye City School District every year, an ad hoc group of women who work to turn out the vote for the school budget.

A polemic on change as a mantra in local politics by Charmian Neary
 
The public's general unease about the economy and our skepticism toward the effectiveness of our representatives in Washington – and certainly in Albany – should not degenerate into a compulsion to throw the baby out with the bath water this Tuesday, Election Day. Here in Rye, we have our issues that need attention to be sure, but our City is well run – why change that?
 
Change is a popular slogan, and particularly after Obama's victory, candidates all over are clambering onto that band wagon hoping to be carried along without scrutiny. If the people in office are performing well, however, the community loses when there's a change,  as anyone new to the office has a learning curve.  In this race the loss would be greater, as the challengers are less experienced and less qualified to begin with, and certainly less familiar with Rye.
 
The truth is, Rye is in good shape financially, and as much as we've been hit by the national recession, we're relatively unscathed when compared to the nation as a whole. Relative to Scarsdale and Larchmont and Mamaroneck and Harrison, which are the communities faced with the same State and County tax burden, Steve Otis has done well for Rye. Our tax rate is lower than all of theirs. Are taxes too high? Of course they are, but not because of our current Mayor or Council. Informed people know that and won't fall for pie in the sky political fairy tales telling them otherwise.
 
I want Rye to remain affordable as much as anyone, if only because my husband and I are on the lower end of the income scale here and its getting tougher to make ends meet. I don't want Rye to change, however. I want it to remain the beautiful City I fell in love with when I first decided to move here on a warm October day in 2002.
 
I haven't heard a word – through all the campaign rhetoric and the flurry of critical mail and ads with which we've been inundated – to indicate to me that the candidates running on the vague platform of change have any idea what it really takes to govern on a day to day basis.  Its easy to spout empty slogans when you're on the outside looking in, but good governance is a laborious process that can't be summed up in carefully scripted and recited talking points. Campaigns can be all about soaring rhetoric…    Yes We Can!  …    Government is a different animal. It is not the private sector, nor can it be, as  Mayor Bloomberg, one of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, has discovered.  His days as filled with raising taxes and cutting services and making compromises and fending off criticism from those who've never governed yet think they have all the answers.  That is the reality of public service. 

Even Barack Obama has had to realize that town halls and focus groups and all the slick 21st century bells and whistles do nothing to turn the economy around. He has learned that the reality of campaigning is far different from the reality of actually governing…its much more complicated than that.
 
I hear from the French team "we'll listen to you, the people".  Nice sentiment…problem is the people don't speak in one voice… the people will take you in all sorts of contradictory directions if you try to follow their wishes. To govern effectively one must LEAD — even when its unpopular.
 
You know I would have laughed if they weren't so dead serious when I saw the agenda  French and the changers assembled from their "town hall" at the Rye Rec. which I attended.
 
Spend less… AND Invest in our roads and sidewalks… Improve employee morale… AND Renegotiate labor contracts to reduce costs… Put pedestrians first… AND Build more parking for cars … stacked, covered, multi-level parking, no less

Work toward a safer, greener Rye… AND allow cell towers in residential areas

Have our cake… AND eat it too!
 
When the French slate criticizes our current administration relentlessly, they are not only casting aspersions on the men who are running this year but on all seven men and women who volunteer to serve. I don't believe French has answers to issues that seven intelligent people have somehow overlooked, or worse, considered and dismissed through shortsightedness…  or an inability to think proactively.

And before we resort to the fallback cliche of new blood as a panacea, consider this – none of the council members has been in office longer than 4 years.
 
Steve Otis and Andy Ball have done a fine job as Mayor and Councilman – a fine job. They have done so while remaining composed in the face of blistering criticism from a small minority of citizens. Most people could not handle what they've been through, let alone raise their hands to endure it again.  I have enormous respect for Joe Murphy by virtue of his decades of service to our community as well as his service to our country in the military.  And I admire Myles Lavelle for stepping up to the plate and agreeing to serve on our council, bringing to the office not only his intelligence but his talent in running one of our most cherished institutions, the Rye Little League.   Myles also possesses something he may take for granted, but which is nonetheless invaluable in making sound decisions for a community. Myles benefits from  the deep roots of his parents and brothers and sisters, nearly all of whom have chosen to remain in Rye and add to its strength by buying homes and raising children here, rather than tearing it down with insinuations that Rye isn't worth it.
 
We're in the middle of the worst economic crisis in nearly eighty years. It is no mystery why we're all feeling anxious about the future – yet its nothing endemic to Rye. Let's not give in to the mentality of a small craven mob and look for someone to pillory. I hope we in Rye make our decisions in a more rational manner.
 
I'll be voting for Steve Otis Andy Ball, Myles Lavelle and Joe Murphy on Tuesday. Their experience and qualifications can't be matched.

32 COMMENTS

  1. From: CHARMIAN6@aol.com
    Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 00:17:39 -0400

    To: amico777@msn.com

    Jimmy, my friend, you have my support. I myself, like numerous others in Rye– advocate for pedestrian safety and I agree our children deserve a safe route to school. Where we part ways is that I don’t see a need for a changing of the guard. The public’s general unease about the economy and our skepticism toward the effectiveness of our representatives in Washington – and certainly in Albany – should not degenerate into a compulsion to throw the baby out with the bath water. Here in Rye, we have our issues that need attention to be sure, but our City is well run – as is our School Board. I will be voting to re elect Steve Otis and Andy Ball, just as I supported the incumbents on our School Board. Change is a popular slogan, and particularly after Obama’s victory, candidates all over are clambering onto that band wagon hoping to be carried along without scrutiny. If the people in office are performing well, however, the community loses when there’s a change, as anyone new to the office has a learning curve. In this race the loss would be greater, as the people you’re endorsing are less experienced and less qualified to begin with, and certainly less familiar with Rye.

    The truth is, Rye is in good shape financially, and as much as we’ve been hit by the national recession, we’re relatively unscathed when compared to the nation as a whole. Relative to Scarsdale and Larchmont and Mamaroneck and Harrison, which are the communities faced with the same State and County tax burden, Steve Otis has done well for Rye. Our tax rate is lower than all of theirs. Are taxes too high? Of course they are, but not because of our current Mayor or Council. Informed people know that and won’t fall for pie in the sky political fairy tales telling them otherwise.

    Jimmy, you know I attend School Board meetings regularly and I keep up with City Council meetings on line. I want Rye to remain affordable as much as anyone, if only because my husband and I are on the lower end of the income scale here and its getting tougher to make ends meet. I don’t want Rye to change, however. I want it to remain the beautiful City I fell in love with when I first decided to move here on a warm October day in 2002.

    I haven’t heard a word – through all the campaign rhetoric and the flurry of critical mail and ads with which we’ve been inundated – to indicate to me that the candidates running on the vague platform of change have any idea what it really takes to govern on a day to day basis. Its easy to spout slogans like” we need to be proactive not reactive” when you’re on the outside looking in, but good governance is a laborious process that can’t be summed up in carefully scripted and recited talking points. Campaigns can be all about soaring rhetoric Yes We Can! But government is a different animal. It is not the private sector, nor can it be, as even Mayor Bloomberg, one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, has discovered. His days as filled with raising taxes and cutting services and making compromises and fending off criticism from those who’ve never governed yet think they have all the answers. And guess what…many days Mike Bloomberg is reactive… not proactive! Horrors! but that is the reality of public service.

    Even Barack Obama has had to realize that town halls and focus groups and all the slick 21st century bells and whistles do nothing to turn the economy around. He has learned that the reality of campaigning is far different from the reality of actually governing…its much more complicated than that.

    I hear from the French team “we’ll listen to you, the people”. Nice sentiment…problem is the people don’t speak in one voice… the people will take you in all sorts of contradictory directions if you try to follow their wishes. To govern effectively one must LEAD — even when its unpopular.

    You know I would have laughed if they weren’t so dead serious when I saw the agenda French and the changers assembled from their “town hall” at the Rye Rec.

    Spend less… AND Invest in our roads and sidewalks…
    Improve employee morale… AND Renegotiate labor contracts to reduce costs…
    Put pedestrians first… AND Build more parking for cars … stacked, covered, multi level parking, no less
    Work toward a safer, greener Rye… AND allow cell towers in residential areas
    Have our cake… AND eat it too!

    When the French slate criticizes our current administration relentlessly, they are not only casting aspersions on the men who are running this year but on all seven men and women who volunteer to serve. I don’t believe French has answers to issues that seven intelligent people have somehow overlooked, or worse, considered and dismissed through shortsightedness… or an inability to think proactively.

    And before we resort to the fallback cliche of new blood as a panacea, consider this. With the exception of George Pratt, who is stepping down, none of the council members has been in office longer than 4 years.

    Steve Otis and Andy Ball have done a fine job as Mayor and Councilman – a fine job. They have done so while remaining composed in the face of blistering criticism from a small minority of citizens–as you certainly can appreciate. Most people could not handle what they’ve been through, let alone raise their hands to endure it again. I have enormous respect for Joe Murphy by virtue of his decades of service to our community as well as his service to our country in the military. And I admire Myles Lavelle for stepping up to the plate and agreeing to serve on our council, bringing to the office not only his intelligence but his talent in running one of our most cherished institutions, the Rye Little League. Myles also possesses something he may take for granted, but which is nonetheless invaluable in making sound decisions for a community. Myles benefits from the deep roots of his parents and brothers and sisters, nearly all of whom have chosen to remain in Rye and add to its strength by buying homes and raising children here, rather than tearing it down with insinuations that Rye isn’t worth it.

    We’re in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the great Depression. It is no mystery why we’re all feeling anxious about the future – yet its nothing endemic to Rye. Let’s not give in to a mob mentality and look for someone to pillory. I hope we in Rye make our decisions in a more rational manner.

    I’ll be voting for Steve Otis Andy Ball, Myles Lavelle and Joe Murphy on Tuesday. Their experience and qualifications can’t be matched.

    Look familiar Folks, Check the date and time.
    After Sending out an email to numerous contacts including Charmain, this is what I received. I always included Charmian because I thought she cared about Pedestrian Safety including her own family. Last night I found out she is only concerned about politics or should I say Mayor Otis! She USED my email contacts to campaign for Mayor Otis!
    In case you don’t know Charmian also lives on Midland Ave. Ever wonder why she doesn’t step forward on the subject?
    She has been asked numerous times why not? We are still waiting for her answer???

  2. Charmian,

    You have recently been revealed to be a digital puppet for the Mayor. Your claims of obtaining data from easily available public sources were proved false – and the tawdry efforts launched to diminish lifelong residents (like me and others) who find Steve Otis lacking as a civic manager have boomeranged on your “client.”

    Charmian you should be candid with readers here that you earn a living as a professional political operative and are well versed in Albany politics. So why does this Mayor hide behind you? He could come out and speak for himself. I for one would like him to leave a professional political hack out of his closing arguments.

    I don’t mean to diminish the way you earn a living – years spent in Washington have provided me with an appreciation of the role of political operatives. So I’ll tell you why he conceals his presence on MyRye – because he is the kind of person who does things like that.

    “our city is well run – why change that?” – “Rye is in good shape financially”

    Really Charmian – you are not a very good copy writer and as for the persuasion equation – please keep in mind that those kinds of phrases “test” very poorly when a 3 term incumbent carries this tonnage of mismanagement baggage.

    And I do love the tortured attempt to spin the pain he and Mr. Plunkett have caused citizens with their fatuous “we don’t pick the battles” lies (see Home Depot) and code violation cover-ups (see link below) which bring some of Rye’s most respected residents to the microphone at council meetings month after month to ask them to obey the law, admit and fix mistakes and provide governmental transparency rather than endless lip service and backroom duplicity.

    No Charmian it just doesn’t fly. Not for Steve Otis, not this election cycle and not in this town anymore.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV1I1MSIfUk

  3. GOOGLE CARROLL v ASSESSOR

    This is the first thing you’ll see.

    http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/ad2/calendar/webcal/decisions/2009/D22530.pdf

    This is the link to Mr. Carroll’s lawsuit against the City. He is such a hypocrite he’ll shill for Doug French and whine about litigation costs. Guess who’s driving up those costs?
    If all you boys want to truly bring down the cost of litigation — Stop Suing the City!

    “Your claims of obtaining data from easily available public sources were proved false”
    -Ted Carroll-

    How are they proved false, Mr. Carroll? I used Google. It’s not difficult, its public, and it’s easily available.
    Voila, here you are.

    “the tawdry efforts launched to diminish lifelong residents”
    -Ted Carroll-

    To which lifelong residents do you refer, Mr. Carroll?
    Andy Ball and Myles Lavelle?
    Whose “tawdry efforts” were launched to diminish these men?

    Or is it only “tawdry” when, after months of unfettered access to your nightly pity party with your brothers in outrage, someone said “shut up, Ted. No one wants to hear your nasty vitriol any more”?

    You boys are all like the Cowardly Lion —big bullies until Dorothy slaps your face.

    Then you’re “disheartened” I called out some anonymous coward who, in trying to accuse me of being dishonest as to my identity, was not only dead wrong in his assumptions, but couldn’t string together a coherent insult.
    And you’re “disheartened” I went for this snipers’ jugular? He’s just one of a dozen sock puppets populating this blog with their nasty anonymous posts.
    Spare me your pathos.

    You all have been using this blog as your own little bully pulpit for too long. Enough, that’s it.
    I’ve had it with character assassination. We slid down that slippery slope in the school board race and it doesn’t benefit anyone here in Rye.
    You open your vicious mouth and slander someone in public from now on you’ll get called on it. That’s how it should be.

    As for you Jimmy, don’t be silly. You sent me a mass e mail saying vote for Doug French in the middle of it. So I hit reply all. Big deal.
    Some of your “contacts” were people like the reporter for the Journal News — she’s not “yours”.
    You sent a political e mail, I sent one back – because I disagreed. And Jimmy, you knew I disagreed before you sent it. I didn’t get all twisted with you, don’t get all twisted with me. I’m on your side.

    And don’t be silly about me never speaking up about traffic on Midland either. You know that’s the first conversation we ever had, and we’ve had many since then.
    All I care about is politics…you know that’s not true. My son can’t sleep right now and I’m sitting beside him so he’s not alone in the dark. You shouldn’t accuse anyone of not caring about her child…least of all me.

  4. Charmian,

    Now that you’ve gotten that off your chest – please tell readers about your professional background. You know – a little resume about your accomplishments outside of homemaker and mother. You know – paycheck jobs. Google provides some interesting nuggets on you. Please don’t be shy.

    Btw you should be aware that certiorari ambush tax assessments are very much standard operating practice by the Otis Administration. ‘Tax more and spend much more” politicians operate like this. This was the tactic used to launch the attack on The Osborn and there are hundreds of tax attacks like these launched against Rye citizens by Steve Otis under the banner of fairness. Desperate to spend is more like it.

    And since you’re pretty new to town I’m sure you instinctively knew what arcane municipal data to dig for about legitimate administration critics to prepare your diminishment slime counter-op against the dozens of vocal critics of “The Gang of Steve.”

    No Charmian, it was watching the multiple public beatings of Bob Schubert that brought me into the mainstream political process. I knew Bob’s land and the Gate’s land as a boy because Mayor Morehead who owned that land was a family friend. I knew the Schubert property water flows and their robust consistency from a very early age and they remained constant until the construction that’s caused all the controversy.

    In old Rye, in my Rye, municipal mistakes were identified and rectified quickly. But under Mr. Otis and Mr. Plunkett this is not permitted. Mr. Plunkett gets to line his pockets and Mr. Otis gets – exactly what? Google Kevin Plunkett, Bill Plunkett and George Pataki and what do you see? Don’t miss that story about the board of the NYS Thruway Authority – I think $30,000 a year is a “nominal” amount, don’t you?

    Here’s a video for your contemplation – a letter from a Rye democrat of longstanding being read by Bob Schubert. It’s worth investing the time to listen to.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vlt3XyqUSw

  5. Charmian,
    WOW, Never knew you held in that much anger, LOL!
    BTW- Don’t forget you threw the 1st punch days ago with Ted,Ray,Tim, you only have yourself to be angry with.

    As for my mass email, it was your choice to use the email addresses for your own personal agenda or Mayor Otis’s, whichever!
    You call your return email disagreeing, HOLY COW that was some disagreement! You take one name off my list and tell me she is not mine,I didn’t claim ownership! I simply stated you used my contacts and had no right to given your purpose.

    My entire email was about Pedestrian Safety and my comment to Vote for French was related to that! I didn’t include a crap load of political non-sense!

    Your intention was very obvious and completely unrelated to my email!

    So, you think because you had a couple of conversations with me you can call that advocating?

    I did not single out your son I used the word Family and did not say you did not specifically care about your son. Don’t blow that into something it is not! I apologize if that is what you read and if I used poor language in misleading you.

    If you showed as much compassion for the dangers on Midland Ave. and the rest of Rye as you do for Mayor Otis’s campaign I would not be making that comparison.

    Next time why don’t you write a very long email on Pedestrian Safety and mass email it?
    After all, you did say you are an Advocate for Pedestrian Safety.

    So, now will you ANSWER THE QUESTIONS?

  6. Why would anyone be surprised that Neary is supporting Otis. She is a Democratic operative working in Yonkers.

    This was published in the Yonkers Insider in September:

    Charmian Neary, a Rye based political consultant who is advising Perez on campaign issues, said ”I could report seeing the Loch Ness monster from my table at X2O after too much Pinot Noir and the Yonkers PD would be required to assign a number to my complaint.

    Really Charmian? How much is Otis paying you for your services?

    Perhaps your screen name should reflect your status in this election. Rye Outsider trying to get inside.

    Go back to Yonkers.

  7. “The truth is, Rye is in good shape financially”
    I am astounded that you claim this as fact. Have you heard what’s been happening on Wall Street in the past 2 years? Were you aware that the majority of paychecks from Rye residents come from the securities and financial services industries? Have you heard about the massive layoffs from financial firms? Do Bear Stearns or Lehman ring a bell? With local unemployment at or above 10%, are we really in good financial shape?
    As I understand it, your family’s paycheck is issued by the government. Perhaps that’s why you can make such a claim. Your family’s employer has the power to tax others to provide your family with a paycheck – and there’s the rub for the rest of us. Your comfort in the city’s finances, and in the ability of the state to continue to pay you generously now and permanently in your retirement, is in direct contrast to the taxpayers who see more and more of the wealth they created being confiscated by the state.
    As Chief Justice Marshall once said, the power to tax involves the power to destroy – and while the 80% growth rate in the past 12 years has not destroyed Rye, it has certainly weakened it. We are not seeing any corresponding increase in service. We haven’t seen an 80% increase in police protection. Our garbage is still collected twice a week, not four times a week. The Fire Department hasn’t seen an 80% increase in fires.
    What’s most unsettling is your argument that our taxes are too high, but it’s not the fault of our current Mayor or Council. According to the city charter, they – and they alone – have the power to determine the tax liens to be levied. The Mayor has presided over the past 11 budgets and voted affirmatively for each and every one of them. If we are to blame anyone for the 80% increase in taxes, and the 19-fold increase in debt, it is most definitely him.
    Furthermore, Andy Ball, the only other incumbent running in this election has voted affirmatively for the past 3 budgets. I, for one, find it deeply unsettling to have an elected representative claim that nothing can be done to make Rye more affordable. If he believes that nothing can be done to control spending, he’s simply unfit for office – unless you think the role of an elected official is to increase the wealth of the public sector at the expense of the private sector. I believe the role of an elected official is to represent the interests of the taxpayer and electorate who put him into office, not to simply rubber-stamp budgets proposed by city employees.
    We’ll find out on Tuesday if voters agree or disagree that Rye is in good shape financially. We’ll see if they’re happy to pay more and more of their diminishing wealth to a politician with conflicting ties to Albany.

  8. Charmian Neary has lived in Rye 5-7 years and she says;
    “In this race the loss would be greater, as the challengers are less experienced and less qualified to begin with, and certainly less familiar with Rye”.

    How does a few years living in Rye make you qualified to speak on “familiar with rye”?

    I agree, an outsider trying to fit in where she CAN’T!!!
    If indeed you were ever welcome, I believe you have worn that out…GO BACK TO JONKERS!!!

    Okay people, let’s all run out to the polls on Nov.3rd, stand behind Charmian Neary and watch her pull the lever so we can follow!

    NO THANKS, I’ll stick with what I am familiar with…RYE!!!

  9. Matt, you make good points.

    However, do you think any candidate can promise a zero tax increase for the next few years? I don’t and I’m guessing you don’t either. That being said, wouldn’t you expect a tax increase of about 3-4% for the coming few years? As I stated yesterday, budgets almost have to go up due to contractual salary/benefit increases (as they make up a large chuck of any muni budget). Of course there are areas that we can save dollars, but it is very easy to state them now, and another thing to implement them.

    This isn’t a challenge to your position but a sincere question: what areas in the budget do you think we can cut to conteract increased expenses (i.e., salaries) and decreased revenues (i.e., mortgage fees)?

    Everybody wants the police to ticket drivers on cell phones UNTIL it is you that gets stopped. Then everybody has an excuse and the officer is ‘harrassing’ them! I believe it is the same thing. We all want the ‘fat’ cut out of the budget, but cut the library funding or the Rec budget and people get upset. Delay purchasing equipment for Fire/PD and you get another set of citizens upset.

    I would love to see my taxes decrease or even stay stagnant, but is that truly possible? I like your idea of inflation-based increases, but I’m not sure if that would work. I’d love to see a local muni give it a shot!

  10. What amazes me is that after all these years there are people who claim to be concerned about Rye’s future but the minute there’s a chance for intelligent discussion, hide behind personal attacks.

    Ms. Neary is brave enough to focus on the issues, make arguments and stand behind them without resorting to name calling, avoidance and diversion.

    It seems to me that there are bunch of people here more concerned with their agenda than with intelligent discourse.

    The focus needs to be on Rye’s future and I think that Ms. Neary makes some very smart and important points

  11. Average Citizen –

    A major difference between the two slates is that one side is drawing a line in the sand and saying they will freeze taxes, and the other side is saying they won’t even try.

    What needs to change is the process – of course it’s extremely difficult to control taxes when you spend only five weeks working on an annual budget which covers fire, police, municipal services, clerical workers, recreation department, legal department, Rye Golf, Boat Basin, and management, not to mention support for the library, the Rye Historical Society, the Rye Arts Center and other community-based organizations. Wouldn’t it make more sense to start talking much earlier in the game to all the users of funds, to ensure they are planning to use funds wisely? The library and the Rye Golf Club are two institutions that fully approve their budget before the council has a chance to review.

    This places the council in a very tricky spot – if they are going to do right by the taxpayer, they will need to undercut these or other groups, and force them to change plans late in the game. Often, it’s too late for the institutions to make those changes.

    A much better way to manage a budget is to have the dialogue begin earlier, so the various departments that are reliant on taxpayer money clearly hear the need for constraint. Look at the way most business budgets are set, and you’ll see that the budgeting process is almost a continuous dialogue that extends up to six months or more.

    What we have now is a game that all users are tempted to play, which is to ask for more than you need, hoping the council doesn’t target you for cuts in their five week review during a very busy holiday season.

    I do believe that there is fat to cut. In order to begin, you need to find out where it is – which means asking questions and setting goals. If a candidate takes the attitude that nothing can be done, then he’s essentially throwing in the towel without even stepping in the ring – which again, makes me question why he’s running in the first place.

  12. Some people seem hell-bent on criticizing Charmian just because she disagrees with them.

    They say she hasn’t lived here long enough and imply that because she’s worked in politics, we shouldn’t listen to her.

    Well, I couldn’t disagree with them more.

    This woman strikes me as very smart, someone I am going to pay attention to. I would think that someone with experience in politics might actually have an opinion worth listening to. And I don’t care if she’s been here five years or fifty.

    She’s smart. She makes sense and I think we should pay attention to what she has to say.

  13. Well, Look at all the Otis/Neary Fans coming out of the closet!

    Maybe if all you cowards put your REAL NAME behind your words it might actually be taken seriously!

    For all we know you are Otis or maybe even Charmian herself!

    Nice try….. you have to work a little harder than that!

    Matt,
    Careful answering all these questions from the Otis camp!

  14. If I thought for a second I wasn’t going to get attacked personally just for having the gumption to disagree with you, “Matt” I would sign my name but your decision to call me a coward just because I said we should listen to what she has to say shows me that you might not actually be interested in having an intelligent discourse on the issues.

    I am not Charmian or Otis. Just someone who thinks that we can have a smart political discussion about the future of our town without resorting to name calling and character assassination

  15. Wanting the best:

    I think you mis-read the previous post. “Above Average Citizen” was simply giving me an aside, not calling himself (or herself) Matt.

    I haven’t attacked Charmain, but I fundamentally disagree with her assessment of the state of Rye. To disagree with someone is not to attack them.

    Additionally, there’s more than a grain of truth in what Above Average Citizen says about Charmain’s statement on experience in Rye. I can’t buy the logic that the most qualified to serve are those who have lived here the longest. The quality of our elected representatives goes so much deeper than that. Intelligence, creativity, desire, energy, honesty, integrity, professional training and expertise, education – are these to be ignored simply because the opponent has lived longer in Rye? If that were the case, wouldn’t Charmain’s own opinion count less, given that she’s only been here for seven years?

  16. WantingThebest,

    If you would have signed your name in the 1st place you would not need to defend yourself!

    That’s the problem here in Rye, everyone seems to have an opinion but no one wants to REALLY step to the plate and hit it out of the park!

    How do you expect anyone to take you seriously?

    Mr.Fahey,
    Sorry you got thrown under the bus here, that was not my intentions!

  17. Matt and Ted and Jim and Charmian-
    Thank you for having the self confidence to use your real names. I write on this blog with great trepidation due to fear that my comments will be misconstrued and cause unintended ill will.
    Bob.

  18. Thanks Bob.

    I don’t know if you knew the late Ned Gerrity? He was a widely known journalist and longtime Rye resident. He wrote a letter a few years back to The Rye Record and he shared a copy of that letter personally with Bob Schubert.

    Bob recorded a reading of the letter and I think you and other rising public figures here may find it interesting – especially as we now close in on voting day. It’s a little windy (8 minutes) and Bob is not exactly Walter Cronkite, but the words are quite moving and germane to where the city has found itself today and why.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vlt3XyqUSw

  19. Bob,
    Thank You. I never really understood the whole “hide behind a mask” theory!
    I’m proud of my words and stand behind everyone of them, even if sometimes I am misunderstood or at times misleading!

    I don’t concern myself with the Nay Sayers unless they are attacking my family.

    It is hard to take someone serious without an identity.

    Me, I’M DEAD SERIOUS!

  20. Ted,
    I don’t buy the idea that our “right of choice” in the last election was stolen. I find NYS law problematic in its requirements for getting on the ballot. Write-ins are allowed. If someone / some group had cared enough to run, they could have found a way to do so.
    Bob.

  21. I received my 2nd half school district tax bill today. I’m sure you-all will get yours, too. Needless to say, the bill is large, certainly larger than I would like. And I voted for the budget that generated it – twice.

    School district tax dwarfs anything from the city or county. That doesn’t mean I’m okay with spending & tax growth by either of those bodies, but it does mean that to have a real impact on affordability, action on school spending will have a larger payback on taxes than action on city or county spending. I do find myself wondering why the candidates so focused on controlling taxes haven’t run for the School Board, but that’s an entirely different story line.

    What’s the good news? For the school district, there appears to be serious recognition of affordability issues as seen in the long running RTA contract negotiations. Similarly it looks – can’t tell for sure due to limited public communication – as though the city is taking a firm line in the PBA negotiations. That is a start, but the same needs to happen with all city labor contracts, either in contract negotiations OR by reducing headcount. Regardless of what our governing bodies say about unfunded mandates, they do have control over a significant portion of their labor costs.

    Of course, there are tradeoffs as Charmian pointed out with her question about reconciling controlling spending with improving employee morale. In the short term, I don’t see how you can have both tight labor spending and high employee morale. This is not an issue of leadership, but it may be an issue of pandering.

  22. Bob,

    Right. Stolen is too strong. The people who could have objected stayed silent – so that signaled assent.

    And of course “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    Municipal victimization of senior citizens, or any citizen, is an indefensible evil.

    Will Steve Otis produce the long missing Gates Wetland Permit before the election – I think not.

  23. Bob:

    Thank you for pointing out how clueless you really are when it comes to employee morale and contract negotiations. I can see why the teachers negotiations are in their third year.

    Morale is more about respect, fairness and equality than it will ever be about money.

    I believe you are abusing your position by trying to negotiate a contract in the press.

  24. While the school district tax is larger than the city and county taxes, any tax levied on citizens should be managed as carefully as possible. As you are well aware, the school board has had a history of tax increases well above the cost of living. It is only recently that this trend has ended, and the community thanks you and others on the school board for making difficult choices.

    Those who run for the School Board are usually doing it out of an interest to improve education, not necessarily to control spending. Unfortunately, there are many who believe that a bigger educational budget will somehow result in a better student body. While there is certainly a cause to believe in a correlation between the two, many other factors can have a profound influence on our children’s education. Parental pressure to excel, educational background of one’s relatives, required curriculum, the quality and motivation of the teacher, the competitive peer pressure to excel (or not to excel, as the case may be), and, of course, the intellectual curiosity of the individual student all hold sway in the end product. There are others, no doubt.

    I’m not convinced that high employee morale is attained solely by greater spending. I find the idea that a bigger salary will always lead to a happier employee is too simplistic. If a teacher can only be made happy by a bigger paycheck, then perhaps they should re-evaluate their career choice. There are many who teach simply because they love it – and their love of learning is often passed on to their students (I consider myself most fortunate to have had such a teacher). Often, greater autonomy in their choice as to how and what to teach leads to improved morale. Unfortunately, the state and the Teachers Union are firmly tied to the concept that more money will produce happier employees, and standard curriculums will produce superior students – yet there is no shortage of contradictory evidence.

    Lastly, I’m curious as to the evidence you may have on the PBA negotiations. If true, it’s certainly welcome news.

  25. Bob,

    In my experience, bad line managers are the cause of most organizational problems. The Rye Police have a very bad manager currently, installed on purpose to ride roughshod over them by Steve Otis so he can show the rank and file “who is boss.”

    This is a travesty that I’m shocked has been allowed to continue. Andy Ball has Rye police roots. Where’s he been – playing “yes man” to Mr. Otis as usual?

    Money? If you think Rye police morale and their 80% vote of no confidence in their failed leadership is about money I believe you would be wrong. Want to save money in the police department? Fire the guy assigned to try and slap them around. THEN sit down with them and say ok, change has happened, now let’s fix things. But clearly Steve Otis has got to be gone as a necessary first step. He is despised, no surprise.

  26. @Mr Fahey:

    Yes, I have heard about what’s happening on Wall Street.

    I stated that Rye is doing well compared to the rest of the country. I did not compare Rye today to Rye two years ago. The difference is the recession, which has affected everyone, not just Rye.
    We are in good shape financially, considering we’re in the worst economic period since the depression.
    Individuals who have lost their financial sector jobs are greatly affected, obviously, but as a community we have enough accumulated resources that we are weathering this difficult period.

    You are misinformed about my husband’s paycheck. He works for Citibank.

    @”Ted C”, “VoteFor..”,”AboveAverage” et al

    I am not a paid political operative. I have not been employed since my son was born nearly 10 years ago.

    In the past I have worked for two more or less successful Mayors, Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani, so I am somewhat informed about how government functions, but I not employed now.

    I have never lived in Yonkers, nor have I worked there. Virginia Perez is a young woman who sought a seat on the Yonkers Council after her younger brother was murdered. I advise her from my home because I am fond of her. She does not pay me.

    @ “Above Average”

    Do you realize you look foolish when you persist with the “catch your train” theme? If I were to conceal my identity to post, would I do so as “average citizen” so I could agree with Matt Fahey?
    So I’m a flack for the Mayor (per Ted Carroll) — but I conceal my identity to fraternize with a failed GOP candidate? — hmmmm.
    Does that sound right to you?

    Oh, one more thing: when you rant on about cowards not signing their names — And YOU DON’T SIGN YOUR NAME –does the word irony cross your mind?

    Finally, “Mimi”,

    I understand you may want to conceal your identity due to the gender bending thing, but taking cheap shots at Bob Zahm, who is admired by just about everyone on this blog — and in Rye — only highlights your well deserved reputation as a sock puppet.

  27. TedC, you wrote: Money? If you think Rye police morale and their 80% vote of no confidence in their failed leadership is about money I believe you would be wrong. Want to save money in the police department? Fire the guy assigned to try and slap them around. THEN sit down with them and say ok, change has happened, now let’s fix things. But clearly Steve Otis has got to be gone as a necessary first step. He is despised, no surprise.”

    I’m not sure how firing Connors (I assume that who you mean) will save money in the PD. Can you clarify?

  28. Avg.Citizen,

    Does a lack of Management Skills come to mind?

    I believe if you look into the overtime expenditures you will find your answer.

    And while your looking that up pay attention to what it is used on and what we receive in return.

    I know there is one person on here that can give us these answers.

  29. Ted and Matt,
    Thanks for your quality responses. It’s a pleasure to engage with people who think.

    I am guilty of a gross oversimplification. Morale is not solely driven by compensation. In my experience, money is an enabler – a certain level is necessary. [Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs]. After that, other, more complex needs come into play. Things like individual control, self-esteem, external approval, respect etc. I’ve seen organizations with below average compensation that have high levels of morale as well as the reverse. But, I have also found that when people say “It’s not about the money, it’s about respect”, it is usually about both.

    I have tremendous respect for our teachers and our police. I find their professional commitment to their duties amazing. I could run on, here, but won’t because my comments would focus on the teachers because I know them better and can give more examples of my sources of respect for them. As an aside, I do find the Westchester Magazine’s classification of the RTA as the biggest loser of the month more than a little distasteful.

    Re the PBA negotiations, I have no inside track on the City’s positions. I am hopeful that the negotiations are dragging on because the City has taken a market-relevant position on compensation and benefits. However, there could be other reasons as well. It would certainly be helpful for the City to give an update ala the BoE’s negotiation communications so that we can all determine for ourselves the level of stewardship being shown by the City.

    Mimi – I will disregard your posts until you decide it’s time for you to use your real name.
    Bob.

  30. Avg.Citizen,
    The last 2 years RPD has cost the Taxpayers an average of $500,000 per and there is no reason to think that 2009 will be any different! Some of these officers make up to $60,000 in overtime each year.

    Now, I do not doubt the need for overtime whether it be the RPD or the RFD, but $500,000.00????
    Don’t forget we spend this kind of $$$ on overtime and we have an Auxilary Membership!!!

    Imagine if we spent just a small portion of that money on enforcement resulting in handing out tickets there would not be much of an arguement!

    Now Mayor Otis put yet ANOTHER Committee together called the Task Enforcement Committee or something to this nature.

    There is NO REPRESENTATION from the RPD on the TTC but here we have Commissioner Connors, Dr.Shine (Superintendent of Schools) and a host of others.

    Let me see if I understand this correctly; Connors, who gets PAID to Manage the PD is costing us $500,000 every year in overtime due to his poor management skills and now he is qualified to lead this Task Enforcement? Doesn’t enforcement define what a Police Officer is hired to do?

    Doesn’t Connors know how to get his Men & Women to do their job?

    Why do we need a committee to delegate enforcement? That’s what a cop gets paid to do in the first place!!

    Dr.shine is no more qualified to help run the PD than Connors is to run the schools! What’s next, a committee with PD members to assist the School Administration?

    NEED I REMIND EVERYONE WHO BROUGHT US COMMISSIONER CONNORS ALONG WITH A HOST OF OTHER FAILURES!!

    I wish Steve Otis all the best where ever he may end up!

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