To the Editor:
We read with great interest the comments by two former Town Supervisors, Valerie O’Keeffe and Elaine Price… regarding the vacancy on the Mamaroneck Town Council, and their concern that geography should play a role in the selection of a new Council member to fill the seat of Phyllis Wittner, who served so ably for so long. While we respect the opinions of our two former Supervisor colleagues, we respectfully disagree. The only relevant requirement for the next Town Board member is that he or she is talented, community-minded and willing to serve all the residents of the Town. Their zip code is irrelevant.
We have both served in the same position, Town Supervisor, and we have worked with talented residents in all capacities: not only Town Board members, but those who serve on the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, and on numerous other boards that affect traffic, coastal zone management, recreation, LMC-TV, sanitation and as liaisons with our police, fire and EMS services. In every single case, the individual who steps forth to serve the community does so with unique talents and experience – no two are alike – but share a common commitment to serving all of us.
The unincorporated portion of the Town extends over a significant distance; residents of Marbourne Drive may have never made their way to Pryer Manor Lane or Dillon Road, or vice versa. Residents of Howell Park may not intrinsically know the backyard problems of Murdock Woods, and vice versa. But in each and every case, a Town Board member rises to the occasion: they learn the budget specifics, the delivery of service specifics, the people and concerns of each neighborhood or incorporated village.
It is always tricky for former elected officials to publicly advise their successor: we know all too well the balancing act that goes into every Council discussion and decision. We have confidence that current Supervisor Seligson and her board colleagues will do their duty well, weighing all factors, and will pick the best possible Council member to serve for the balance of the year. Then, the voters of the Town, every village and neighborhood, will have their say this November and next November, on who should hold the seat for the future.
The interests of the Town will be best protected by selecting the best possible candidate, regardless of geography or another such arbitrary factor.
Dolores A. Battalia