1. Why are you running for a third term as Village Board Trustee? I am running for a third term because I feel that Sea Cliff can benefit from my experience and proven track record as an independent, unifying force who gets things done. I see myself as a ‘steadying hand’ and ‘voice of reason’ on the Board of Trustees who can mentor new talents with lesser experience to keep Sea Cliff growing while maintaining its character and charm.
2. What skills or experience do you bring to the position? I have almost 40 years of experience in both public and private sectors who uses my financial (MBA), technology (MS) and business skills to lead teams to solve problems. This experience includes 20 years on the Boards of the Henry Viscardi School and Abilities, Inc. (serving as Chairman of both at different times), Chief Information Officer for Lehman Brothers and AXA/Equitable, 8 years on the Sea Cliff Zoning Board of Appeals, and the last 4 years as a Sea Cliff trustee (2 as Deputy Mayor).
3. What do you see as the two or three most important challenges or issues facing the Village? First, there are the continuing challenges facing most villages, including the opioid epidemic, over-development (and associated traffic and safety concerns), and protecting our environment. Sea Cliff is also working to protect our residents from corporate exploitation, most recently by challenging American Water’s business practices. Perhaps the most important challenge we face is remain a unified community focused on doing the right thing for Sea Cliff and avoid the polarizing us-them politics that are plaguing our nation.
4. What do you believe the Village government should do in addressing those issues or challenges? Sea Cliff government has been actively addressing these issues, with each trustee taking the lead in one or two areas and bringing solutions to the Board of Trustees, such as introducing new ‘bag it’ regulations, evaluating ways to resurrect a Youth Council, and pursuing litigation against Garvies Point over-development. In my case, this past year alone I have spear-headed the introduction of new statutes to control short term rentals and am in the process of launching a committee to review and as necessary revise our zoning statutes on sub-divisions. Additionally I formed and head the Technology Task Force, a group of 19 volunteers who are leveraging technology to bring better connectivity, transparency, and efficiency to village operations. But the most important thing our village government can do in addressing these challenges in harness to power of our entire community, since together we can solve any issue.
5. What does Village Government do well? Sea Cliff has been called a ‘village of volunteers’, with literally hundreds of residents working beautifully in dozens of groups to keep Sea Cliff special. I believe that our government does a great job in fostering such volunteerism, with everyone working together with one goal: doing what’s best for Sea Cliff! Sea Cliff government also has done a great job in managing our finances, earning a AA+ bond rating and A-Plus NYS Comptroller rating (highest given), while limiting tax growth and winning almost $10million in grants over the last 4 years.
6. What, if anything, could the Village government do better? Our government is working to bring new levels of transparency to our operations to further support community involvement. We must also continue our efforts to integrate the many new faces moving into Sea Cliff into our volunteer groups.
7. Are there any new proposals you would make as a Village Trustee? If so, what? The Board of Trustees is constantly evaluating ways to improve the quality of life in Sea Cliff. Examples of possible new proposals would include working with the NS Schools to relocate the Littleworth Lane playgrounds back onto the school campus, expanding meet-the-candidates schedule, and as noted above, revising our sub-division statutes.
8. What do you believe are the characteristics or qualities of a great trustee?I believe a great trustee starts with strong personal strengths: being an intelligent, independent thinker, a courageous leader who does the right thing (not the popular thing), and excellent team player/listener. Combining those traits with a solid understanding of their municipality, a strong work ethic, and the ability to be a unifying force in the community completes the profile of a great trustee.