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Home Government Rye City Council Candidate Paula Gamache

Rye City Council Candidate Paula Gamache

MyRye.com has invited all city council candidates to complete a Q&A for our readers this week. The election is next Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Today we introduce you to candidate and sitting councilperson Paula Gamache:

Paula Gamache IMG_7149_final

Your Name:  Paula Gamache, Deputy Mayor of Rye

What are the three most important issues for Rye in 2012?

Background: I have been a City Council member since January 2008 and have worked on three city budgets. In early 2009, Mayor Otis appointed me to the Recession Planning Task Force to work with city staff on ways to reduce spending while maintaining services. The city manager’s re-set budget came out of this process.

There are many more than three important issues for Rye in 2012. The overarching issue is fiscal responsibility in setting the adopted 2012 budget, which the council will do between Nov. 9 and Dec. 21. The past couple of years have been most challenging as the council has worked to keep the tax rate increase as low as possible while maintaining services that residents want and expect. We are now in a 2% tax cap environment, which we would have met in the past two years. I can’t say what the financial challenges will be for 2012 until the city manager presents the proposed budget on Nov. 9. I expect additional challenges and difficult decisions ahead.

Most all of the important issues are affected by the city’s ability to provide funding. Delivery of quality services, flood mitigation on a community-wide scope, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, pedestrian and traffic safety, funding of the Rye Free Reading Room, and the disposition of 1037 Boston Post Road which will return funds to the city to be redeployed are some examples.

Outside of that, any changes to Rye Playland and Rye Town Park based on proposals by their governing bodies will have a direct impact on Rye City and the neighborhoods near those parks. We need to stay on top of this.

What current issue in Rye gets more than its fair share of attention?

There are many issues that get attention, and deservedly so. One issue that gets more than its fair share of attention is Hen Island — the agenda of a disgruntled shareholder who is not a Rye resident, cloaked in a veil of purported concern for the environment, has had more than enough air time.

Which of the current Rye Playland alternatives do you favor?

As a member of the City Council, I don’t believe it is appropriate to state a preference, as the county, not the city, has the ultimate authority to decide what happens to Playland, and in any case, the financial information was redacted, so there’s no way to know which, if any, of the plans advanced for further review are financially viable. A majority of the council did vote to issue a resolution defining a vision for any changes to Playland. I will note that Councilman Sack did not support the resolution; I did support it. The basic principles of the resolution are: insuring and enhancing public use and access to open space, the Long Island Sound and facilities; sensitivity to environmental considerations and sustainability; respect for historic landmarks; a financially responsible and sustainable plan; a plan that complies with existing Rye ordinances.

Beyond efficiencies through shared services, cooperation with non-profits or other initiatives, should Rye City consider reductions in various service levels to reduce expenditures?

There would be a dialogue with the public in the event that significant reductions to service levels are contemplated. Everything must be on the table, given trends and constraints, and I expect the preference is to continue to work at streamlining operations.

How did you come to run for Rye City Council?

I was encouraged to run for re-election by a number of people, both Republicans and Democrats, who think I contribute positively to the governance process. As you may know, our Republican Mayor French appointed me, the lone Democrat on the council, Deputy Mayor at the beginning of 2011, in recognition of my nonpartisan approach to governance, and because he values my thoughts and opinions. I am a team player. Working cooperatively to build consensus with other council members is how the council gets the job done for Rye residents. Grandstanding for sound bites is counterproductive, and we have too many important issues to deal with to waste a council seat on anyone who is divisive.

What Rye citizen (non-elected official, non-city employee) do you hold as a role model for the rest of us vis-à-vis their contribution to the city and its social fabric?

There are many people in Rye who volunteer their services on boards, commissions, and committees. We couldn’t operate the city the way we do without them. I’m the council liaison to the Rye City Finance Committee and to the Rye Free Reading Room, and I am most impressed with the caliber of the people who serve. My husband is a member of the Zoning Board. I have friends who volunteer on various boards, commissions, and committees. I’d say that any of these dedicated Rye residents could be a role model for others in the community..

Where do you live in Rye?

I live at 14 Lake Road in the Greenhaven neighborhood. I’m a longtime member of the District One Committee, a neighborhood group representing Greenhaven, The Preserve, and Hannan Place.

How long have you lived in Rye – since what year?

I moved to Rye in July of 1992, so over 19 years as a Rye resident

What’s your day job?

I work on the Derivatives Unwind Team of the Lehman Brothers estate. My job is to negotiate settlements with Lehman derivatives counterparties, the need for which arose after the September 15, 2008 bankruptcy filing by Lehman Brothers Holdings.. 

If your co-workers (from your day job) were to describe you in a single word, what word would they use?


As a young person, what was your first paid job?

As a young teenager, I organized an all-girl snow-shoveling band in my suburban neighborhood; also baby-sitting.

Tell us about your family.

My husband, Serge Nivelle, owns a commercial photography business as well as a high-end rental studio http://www.tribecaskyline.com. Serge is a member of the Rye City Zoning Board of Appeals, president of the Brevoort, Lake, Shore Association, and an executive committee member of The New Group, an off-Broadway theater company. Our 30-year-old son, Alex Nivelle, works in private equity. He is a graduate of Rye Country Day School, Princeton University, and Wharton Business School. Alex is engaged to Hayley Urkevich, a Kansas State University and University of Pennsylvania Law School graduate, who is an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett.

What’s your favorite Rye area restaurant for “date night” with your partner?

Our favorite place to dine out is Shenorock Shore Club. It’s our home-away-from-home place to have dinner with each other and with friends. For special occasions, we love the menu and atmosphere at La Panetiere.

What’s your favorite Rye area restaurant for take-out or delivery when you are having dinner at home with your family?

We’re not much for take-out. Serge is an excellent cook, as are our son Alex and his fiancee Hayley, so there’s lots of cooking in the 14 Lake Road kitchen when family gets together. Truffle dinner coming up in November.

Where might we find you on a Sunday morning?

On a Sunday morning, one might find me working on my hobby, crossword puzzle construction, as I have little time to do that during the week, given my full-time job and city council responsibilities. On a Sunday afternoon, one might find me in Pleasantville working with Will Shortz on New York Times crossword business.

What is your political affiliation?

Registered Democrat who is not a fan of partisan politics

Your favorite major league baseball team: New York Yankees

Your Facebook page: Personal Facebook page is Paula Gamache; Campaign Facebook page is Ticket of Experience

Your twitter call: None

Your campaign web site: http://www.ticketofexperience.com/


  1. Mrs. Gamache,
    I may not be a Rye resident but I am a Rye taxpayer and the main issue here is how the City of Rye with you as Deputy Mayor does not enforce the laws that were put in place to protect the health and safety of the people. The environment just happens to be one of the other things that you as Deputy Mayor are failing to protect.

    Could it be that your comments are reacting to the full page ad (copied below w/ pictures of Ms.Gamache and Parker omitted) that I directed http://www.HEALtheHARBOR.COM to run in this coming week’s edition of the Rye Record?


    Unfortunately, it’s now readily apparent to pretty much everyone that this Rye City Council – as constituted – would rather do little more than nothing to resolve the long running health and safety issues out on Hen Island. And the recent political game of “pass the buck” with The Westchester County Government Health Department has now ended – with the County directing Rye City to be the first mover in Hen Island sanitary and safety enforcement – as everyone always knew it must be.
    Long before being charged by the City of Rye with building without permits, In his pre-election campaign, then candidate & now mayor Douglas French assured Heal the Harbor’s director Ray Tartaglione and other prominent citizens that if elected he would see that the multi decade issues surrounding Hen Island’s sanitary and safety code enforcement would be speedily remedied in accordance with Rye’s laws.
    Yet this summer Hen Island again remained a breeding haven for fresh water mosquitoes and with them the potential remained for bringing West Nile Virus infections to the residents of Greenhaven, Milton Point and beyond.
    The residents of Rye know that the City Council has the authority and responsibility to enforce its ordinances as they relate to human sewage handling and stagnant water storage. And the decision of whether or not to enforce the city code is in the hands of the Mayor and City Council.
    When it comes to protecting the environment, issues like these should be easy, bright line, decisions. Heal The Harbor cannot understand why the City Council and Mayor they helped elect have been struggling with and resisting this matter for so long. Mayor French is now falsely claiming Mr. Tartaglione is trying to “develop the Island.” (Even if that were true, which it is not, it could not be done without the approval of more than a half of dozen City Boards and governmental agencies.)
    For the past five years, both Paula Gamache and Catherine Parker have been silent on these serious issues. Not only has Ms. Gamache been silent but her husband Serge Nivelle served on the zoning board of appeals in 2008 when a home on Hen Island was approved for construction without meeting any of the current Rye City or Westchester County codes for sewage or potable water. Ms. Gamache’s husband voted in favor of allowing this application to proceed. Why reward council persons for not speaking up against pollution, health and safety risks? On November 8th help send a message to Mayor French and the entire Rye City Council by not reelecting Paula Gamache and Catharine Parker to the Rye City Council.

  2. I’m with Paula on question #2. It’s evident that “Mr. Floatie” has lots of his own time and energy to waste on his ongoing vendetta with his neighbors. He should stop wasting ours.

  3. Ray. Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. Unless you own additional property other than your leasehold on Hen Island, you are NOT a taxpayer to the City of Rye. You own shares in a corporation that pays taxes to the City of Rye just like any other co-op owner. Best of luck with your vendetta.
    Actually, what I don’t understand is why the taxpayers of Rye allow you, a non-resident and non-taxpayer, to assault their duly City government. Maybe one day they will wake up and send you on your way.

  4. Ms. Gamache’s strategic silence for many years on a different and very big local issue disgusts me. I’m a lifelong Rye resident and she will not get my vote. Here’s why:

    Decades ago my once boss and eventual partner (now retired) former CBS, Inc. President John Backe once scolded me for casually mentioning that TV network family viewing hour regulations were becoming passé and irrelevant in a 500 channel universe. He said it was the duty of all broadcasters to think first and foremost of the possibility that impressionable young children could be exposed to inappropriate material without their parents knowledge or guidance, and that their faith in the integrity of the network and the affiliates would be irreparably harmed if this did in fact take place.

    This served as a kind of brush-back-pass at me about the duties and responsibilities of those in positions of power, and was meant as a lesson about protecting the vulnerable and by doing so protecting your own interests and vulnerabilities. I always kept it in mind from that day forward as a board member and executive at the dozens of U.S. media and information companies we’ve owned.

    Imagine therefore if you will that unlike many of the current members of this stunningly incurious Rye City Council, someone trained as I was has now reviewed hundreds of pages of transcripts, stolen Rye City documents, photographs, engineering reports and engineering drawings, and scientific analyses and studies gathered under compulsion by order of a Judge in good standing that – to anyone other than a liar – show a stark apparent pattern of malfeasance and corruption (including testimony to corruption under oath) reaching from employees and lawyers up to and including now members of the executive office of the county government.

    This evidence currently sits in cardboard boxes in a home on Milton Point owned by a vulnerable senior citizen who did absolutely nothing to bring this entire matter upon himself. This is exactly the kind of person that any government is charged with protecting from acts of this nature committed by anyone, including and especially the government itself.

    A former Rye City Mayor and retired Judge knows about all this and has publically called for a local public investigation (as outlined in the Rye City charter). A sitting councilmember who’s an attorney in good standing in the State of New York has publically done the same. And hundreds of regular Rye City residents have signed petitions supporting such an investigation and an accounting of the matter and they’ve been delivered (repeatedly) to members of the city council. The outcry over the matter helped tip the city election of 2009 to the current council majority, all of whom promised to support a public investigation to identify the wrongdoers, remediate the damages and thus put the matter behind the city so that they could govern a credible, trustworthy institution going forward. Then they did nothing but quietly over time join the stonewallers.

    A key question heading into another election to me therefore is who has the courage and wisdom to remove the wraps here once and for all? Who’s a promise keeper and sees it in the interest of all Rye City property owners to clean out the barn and start governing here in the mold of those who came before, keeping Rye highest on the map of well run municipalities and thus attractive to the people who live – or might one day live here.

    It’s long past the point of caring what Councilwoman Gamache might say or think here. She’s let her silence and personal support of further stonewalling speak volumes year after year. Let’s vote her out. We deserve better.

  5. Voice of Treason,

    You can’t be serious? Have you ever been to any of these 3 islands? I wouldn’t walk my dog on 2 of the 3!!!

    You people want this to go away so badly you should try asking our City Government to enforce our laws!!!

    Everyone is so quick to shoot the messengers around here, how about a thank you for exposing a problem and then actually doing something about it?

    I want Hen Island resolved just like everyone else, it doesn’t matter what side you take here, what matters is there are serious issues out there and no one is addressing them…That is what matters!

    So, you go ahead and keep voting the remains of the Otis Administration and French in year after year and Ray will be in City Hall that much longer!!

    All you Ray haters need to get your heads outta your A**ES and help rather than attack Ray!!!

  6. Above average citizen equals Ray Tartagleone.
    Ray Tartaleone’s alter egos talking to eachother
    Mr. Flotie talking to a jackass

    Get a life Ray and with that a grasp on reality..let Rye elect their choice…

    You are not a King maker..just an outsider …….

  7. Mr. Ederer,

    Nice to finally hear from you under your real name. Trust me if you read the history link to above average citizen you will easily see, he is not I but he does seen to be a supporter.

    Since we have you here, I have attached a picture link to your abandoned septic system along the shore of the Long Island Sound. Maybe you can tell us when you are going to be stopping the sewage flow into the sound and become a responsible home owner.

    I have also attached a report from a licensed New York state Hydrologist who states (after testing systems on the Island) that the septic systems on Hen Island are polluting the waters of the long Island Sound. Read the last paragraph on page 3.

    If you would prefer to watch a full length video click below.

    What amazes me most is that Ms. Gamache has allowed this to continue. That is exactly why she should not be re-elected. Thanks for allowing me to show the voting residents of Rye some critical parts of the story.

    O, one last thing. Wasn’t that your son’s house that Mrs. Gamache’s husband Serge Nivelle allowed to be built on Hen island without any permits for sewage?

  8. Mr. Ederer,

    If you pay close attention to my writing vs Ray’s it is quite obvious that we are not one of the same.

    And why would that be so important to you anyway?

    Shouldn’t you be focused on the problems Ray has brought forward?

    Do you actually bring guests out to your Island to share that FILTH? When your guests ask you for a glass of water do you really give them that infested water???

    Like I said, I have been out there and I wouldn’t allow my dog to walk on those 2 Islands.

    Any homeowner on Hen Island who is not behind Ray 100% on this ought to be ashamed of themselves!
    If you can’t afford to make the proper upgrades to be in compliance with NYS Health Department Laws then you need to sell your homes to someone who can afford it and actually cares!
    You don’t get a free pass because of your financial status!

    Do all of you treat your “homes” that are not not on those Islands in the same manner….I bet you don’t, can you tell me why you live by 2 seperate standards?


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