By Frank Murray
On Thursday evening, January 15, friends and supporters of the Civic Progress Committee gathered in Sea Cliff to nominate candidates for the Village election, which will be conducted on March 18 to elect two Trustees as well as the Mayor. The nominating caucus was conducted by Dan Maddock, chairperson of the committee.
Before the nominating process began, however, a number of tributes were made in honor of Carol Vogt who is stepping down as trustee after six years of steadfast service to the Village. Mayor Kennedy stated the sentiments of many when he expressed his deep appreciation for Carol’s contribution to the civic life of the Village. He also reminisced a bit about their work together on the Board of Trustees: “Carol and I had the extreme pleasure of coming into office with the global economic meltdown, the failure of the world’s biggest banks. We were told ‘Welcome to government. Now don’t spend any money!” I am so grateful to have had Carol by my side as we shredded proposed budget after proposed budget, figuring out how we were going to provide our constituents the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost.
Carol is kind, fair, conscientious, steadfast and persistent, while at the same time she can be comical and uplifting. She is an incredible public servant and a good friend. She will be sorely missed by the Board of Trustees and me.”
Following those words, the chair opened the floor for nominations. Ed Lieberman was nominated for trustee by Carol Vogt. The nomination was seconded by Kathleen DiResta. Dina Epstein was also nominated for trustee by Kristine Janusas. That nomination was seconded by Cindy Neugebauer. Bruce Kennedy’s name was then placed in nomination for mayor by Phil Como and seconded by Bruce’s wife Robin. With no further nominations being made, the nominees were approved unanimously.
Each of the nominees then responded to their selection. After thanking the committee for his nomination, Ed Lieberman stated his commitment to work on behalf of the Village: “With Trustees Villafane and McGilloway, along with my fellow nominee Dina Epstein, it is certain that our Village will continue to be a special place to live and raise a family. As a public servant I will continue to ensure that my oath of office will be honored; to be vigilant to the general welfare of our residents; to be responsive to their needs and concerns; to be faithful to Sea Cliff’s heritage of tolerance; to champion the preservation and protection of Sea Cliff’s natural beauty and its resources.”
Following Mr. Lieberman, nominee Dina Epstein detailed her reasons for accepting her nomination with the following words: “My family and I are the beneficiaries of all that Sea Cliff has to offer. There are beautiful, scenic places to walk, jog and ride bicycles. There are street fairs, beach parties, musical gatherings, plays, art shows – too many civic and community events to mention. Sea Cliff has services for seniors. We have an incredibly dedicated Fire and EMS Department who respond immediately if you need them. The infrastructure of our Village is well tended. We enjoy a tremendous level of services from our public works department, yet unlike most of our neighbors, our taxes have remained level.
“The excellent quality of life here in Sea Cliff has not happened by accident, nor is it a given. Rather, it is the result of the cumulative efforts of generations of Sea Cliff volunteers who have given their time and expertise to guide Sea Cliff’s future while honoring and protecting its past. It would be my honor to join them as a Trustee of this Village.
“It is my hope that the residents of Sea Cliff see fit to place me in this position of trust. Thank you.”
Brue Kennedy then accepted the nomination for mayor. Among his remarks were the following: “When I originally ran in 2009, I promised to work hard, to put a lid of Village taxes, to rebuild our downtown and to fairly represent our residents. I believe that I have kept those promises and we have seen great progress in the past six years. The success we have experienced has not been a one man show—it has been the collaborative efforts of ten different hardworking Board members, a dedicated staff, countless volunteer groups and many members of our community.
“We have seen a total resurgence of our downtown area with class A restaurants, shops, jewelers, artists and photographers. Part of this success has been incredible synergies between the restaurants and the arts community. I am proud to have been part of this collaborative effort.
“I picked up where previous administrations left off with the renaissance of our waterfront. We have expanded the old pavilion and built a full scale kitchen. We have built a performing arts gazebo on the beach that is fully equipped with a professional sound system and LED lighting. Additionally, we were able to realize the hard work and vision of 3 previous administrations with the completion of the Scudders Pond remediation project.
“A project that is currently underway that will help shape the next generation is the interior renovation of the Children’s Library which will make the facility handicap accessible, energy efficient, and historically restored.
“The first of three phases in the restoration of Village Hall occurred a few years back but we were unable to continue onto Phase II because of budgetary constraints. Through perseverance and relationship building with other levels of government, we were recently awarded a $300,000 grant that will enable us to complete Phase II and part of Phase III, which will include some much needed interior work.
“An environmental and downtown revitalization project that has been one of my main goals for the past 6 years will begin next week—the downtown sewer project. Former Mayor Krieb started this project with a feasibility study and the securing of assorted grant money. We picked up where she left off and this nearly $2 million project will be completed by the spring.
“Taking a leadership role such as being Mayor or a member of the Board of Trustees is a true labor of love and at times requires a very thick skin. It requires countless hours of work, time taken away from your family, and a willingness to take chances. The rewards come from leaving behind a community that is in better condition than when you started.
“We have accomplished tremendous success in the past 6 years, but I am not done yet. I still have the fire in my belly, the desire to work and serve, and the support of my family to serve another term. I accept your nomination and look forward to working together throughout this campaign. Thank you.”
Following those words, chair Dan Maddock concluded the meeting and exhorted one and all to support the committee’s nominees in the coming election.