1. Why did you decide to be a candidate for Village Board Trustee?
I am a 15 year resident of the Village of Sea Cliff, and have always been involved with the community in a quiet, behind-the-scenes way, much like most of our residents. As the Director of Fine & Performing Arts for the North Shore Schools, I came to know the children and families who are so committed to musical and artistic expression. I joined the Sea Cliff Beautification Committee when my husband and I felt the municipal parking lot across from our house would benefit from being maintained with gardens in the spring and summer. We have done many improvements on our home that required we work with Village Hall on the permitting process. I have always been proud of this Village we call home, and have done my best to be a good neighbor.
In late 2016, there was a Board of Trustee meeting that resulted in a significant change in the Village governance and administrative structure. I was disturbed that the events appeared to take place behind closed doors, without public input, and in a hurried, secretive fashion. I reached out to the newly appointed Mayor Lieberman explaining why I found the proceedings to be troubling. And while he explained to me that the letter of the law had been followed, I continue to maintain that there is an appearance of impropriety that has not shed a positive light on the actions of the Board of Trustees.
I am running for Sea Cliff Village Trustee because I love living in this village, and I want to give back to the community that has been very good to me. We all know that the Village faces many challenges both externally and internally. Leadership in today’s complex world requires the devotion of the eager volunteerism exemplified throughout Sea Cliff’s history combined with a deep understanding of best policies and practices in governance and management. I am running as the Sea Cliff Open Government candidate for Trustee alongside Liz Baron because we both believe there is much work to be done to ensure that the citizens of Sea Cliff are served by a Board of Trustees that respects all voices, works for openness and transparency, and is committed and prepared to serve the community with professional skills and competencies learned in our personal careers. Let’s work together to ensure that Sea Cliff is as charming in 5, 10 and 20 years as it is now. Open, inclusive, and transparent government processes will bring people together to work on the best and most creative solutions to problems.
2. What skills or experience do you bring to the position? I recently retired after more than 25 years in public service both as a manager in New York City government and most recently as an Administrator with the North Shore Schools. Over my long career, I was involved in implementing new programs and government processes from the introduction of Local Law 19, New York City's mandatory recycling law in the late 80's, to the many improved procurement and supervision practices required of school districts to ensure that government funded processes and practices are transparent and accountable to tax payers. I have worked alongside community members to develop and implement initiatives that address a need, including the Arts Angels, a North Shore non-profit organization that advocates for the arts in the North Shore Schools and promotes community involvement through the arts. All of these professional responsibilities required that I collaborate with diverse groups of people to set reachable goals and create action plans that meet the identified needs of the community. I understand the complexity of issues and how to approach solving them in a way that includes all voices. I know how to listen and how to ask questions. I have been responsible for implementing the day-to-day operations of my positions, including long and short-term planning, budgeting, supervision and evaluation, grant writing, and community relations. I know how good government works, what it takes to serve the residents of a community, and how to facilitate the work necessary to get the job done in a way that is open and transparent and fiscally responsible.
3. What do you see as the two or three most important challenges or issues facing the Village? What do you believe the Village government could or should do in addressing those issues or challenges?
1. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY IN VILLAGE GOVERNANCE AND OPERATIONS
2. THE IMPACT OF OVERDEVELOPMENT ON THE HEALTH OF HEMPSTEAD HARBOR, SAFETY, AND SOCIAL FABRIC OF THE VILLAGE
4. What does Village Government do well? What, if anything, could the Village government do better? Village Government currently provides good garbage and recycling collection services, snow removal services, fire protection and EMS services, senior citizen services, beach and recreational services, and approaches spending in a fiscally conservative manner. We have a broad network of committed volunteers who work alongside Village employees to ensure our Village stays charming, walkable, and friendly. I want to be sure that these traditional values are maintained so that Sea Cliff is the same charming village in 5, 10 and 20 years as it is now. I am concerned, though, that because there is currently no comprehensive planning, the Village will face in the near future the expensive impact of deferred maintenance on infrastructure projects, such as sidewalks, parks, and environmental mandates like the current remediation of fuel storage tanks at the DPW. There is currently a lack of long term planning processes to respond to the deleterious effects of overdevelopment in the surrounding community and, potentially, within our own borders. Our Village must undergo a comprehensive and transparent planning process that actively engages the expertise, competencies and voices of its residents in order to have a flexible, responsible roadmap for navigating the challenges of today and the future. Having a comprehensive plan will allow Village Government to improve its efficiency through the upgrading of technology and communication systems, better personnel management practices, coordination and timing of large capital projects, and effective leveraging of resources with other community and governmental agencies.
5. Are there any new proposals you would make as a Village Trustee? If so, what? The idea of a 5 year strategic plan was introduced to the Board of Trustees by Deb McDermott this year. Developing this plan will require significant resources of time and coordination by Trustees over the next year and will ultimately result in a fluid, working document that includes many practical ideas for improving Village governance and operations. For example, including an initiative to use technology more effectively to streamline back office processes, including permit applications and inspections, could potentially reduce the current backlog of open permits, allow transparency to the process for residents, and reduce costs to the village. I propose that we engage in a comprehensive 5-year strategic planning process that will uncover and coordinate the vision, mission and goals that the citizens of Sea Cliff are committed to preserving from the past and pursuing in the future.
6. What do you believe are the characteristics of a great trustee?
7. And I'm throwing in one more [question] for good measure! CURRENT READING
"Radical Inclusion: What the Post-9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About Leadership" by Martin Dempsey & Ori Brafman
CANDIDATES' RESPONSES (click on name)