January 17, 2014

Name-dropping on the town board

At last week’s town board meeting, the board undertook one of its first orders of business in the new year, filling the vacant seat left by Chris Burdick after his election in November. His seat is up for re-election in November 2015. The board did not reach a consensus at the Tuesday meeting.

The town board options are to do nothing and let an election take place in November; appoint a member with a three-vote majority; or try to pass a law to hold a special election. The last option would require a referendum to approve the special election.

According to Bedford’s town attorney Joel Sachs, if the referendum were approved, it would mean requiring a special election for every future vacancy. This law would eliminate the town’s option to appoint officials to open seats in the future, and the process would be complicated because Bedford no longer owns any voting machines.

If the town endorses a change to the law, an election would take place soon afterward with no primary.

Those are the rules of the games. Right now the board is considering its options.

The idea of doing nothing is appealing as it spares the cost of a special election. It also keeps the town’s options open when it comes to future vacancies.

By doing nothing, however, we lose the manpower and input of a fifth board member, significant in a town where much of the work is done by volunteers. Much of the work of board members, including public service events, work sessions and emergencies, is time consuming and labor intensive. So for about eight months, during a critical period as a new supervisor takes the reins, Bedford would be “1.0 manpower” short.

Consensus on an appointment would require some political concessions. From a practical standpoint there’s a risk that the equal number of Democrats — supervisor Chris Burdick and councilman David Gabrielson — and Republicans — Mary Beth Kass and Francis Corcoran — would deadlock on issues.

But we recognize that historically Bedford is a bipartisan town and most board votes pass unanimously. And, given the difficulty of mounting a special election, the requirement of a binding resolution to fill all future vacant seats via a special election, and the cost to the town, we believe an appointment makes the most sense. We have extraordinary citizens here, and off the top of our head we can think of a dozen of them who would make an excellent appointee or candidate.

The least intrusive and most flexible option would be an interim appointment.

A list of qualified candidates has already been delivered to the town house. Should the board decide to go with an appointment, picking among them will be the board’s first challenge (did we just say that Bedford was nonpartisan?). While potential appointees come from both sides of the aisle, some of the candidates may have political ambitions. That should not be a deterrent when selecting an appointee. The ideal placeholder candidate would be someone having broad expertise, familiarity with the town and the time and energy for an intense eight or nine months.

But board members should not play it safe when it comes to making the appointment. Remember, we’re talking about someone who will play a large part in running the town, with input on our budgets, our roads, our water and our emergency services. Look at it as a probation period, an excellent opportunity for the public to watch them in action. Pick the person you believe is best, Democrat or Republican — or is that Republican or Democrat?

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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