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November 29, 2013

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

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)


Katonah

  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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Bedford town board prepares to fill empty seat


By ANTHONY R. MANCINI

When Bedford’s new town board assumes office in January, its members must decide on how to handle an empty seat on the board.

Bedford’s supervisor-elect Chris Burdick said on Monday that he is optimistic that the new board, which will consist of two Democrats, a Republican and a Republican-backed unaffiliated member, would be able to come to an agreement to appoint a new member to the board next year.

The town board is starting off the year with an empty seat because Mr. Burdick, who is a councilman with a term expiring at the end of 2015, has been elected supervisor. Since he cannot serve in both positions simultaneously, he plans to resign from his council position to take the supervisor position at the beginning of next year, which would leave his old seat vacant.

At a Monday public work session dedicated to informing the public about the new board’s options, Mr. Burdick, a Democrat, said some are quick to assume that a deadlock would occur between the two parties. He said that he and David Gabrielson, a sitting Democrat on the board, have been able to work well with Republican councilman Francis Corcoran, who was re-elected this year, and Mary Beth Kass, who was newly elected this year on the Republican ticket as a councilwoman. Ms. Kass has worked with the town as a co-president of environmental policy advocate Bedford 2020.

“So far all of the discussion almost has predicated on the assumption that there’ll be a split in the town board,” Mr. Burdick said at the work session. “David and I worked with Francis for six years. We’ve worked with Mary Beth for almost as long as well.”

Bedford’s town attorney Joel Sachs, of law firm Keane & Beane in White Plains, described at the work session three options the new town board could take next year to handle the empty seat.

Mr. Sachs said the option most popular with towns across the state is the appointment method, where a three-vote town board majority could fill a vacancy. If Bedford’s new board chooses this option, the appointment would last until the general election in November 2014, where an election would be held for the rest of the seat’s unexpired term. Any discussions relating to the appointment or the appointment itself must be performed during a public meeting.

Mr. Sachs said the new town board could do nothing and allow the seat to remain empty until the general election next November as a different option. Once again, the election in 2014 would fill the seat’s unexpired term.

The town attorney said the most convoluted option is to hold a special election that would take place earlier than November 2014. To do this, the town board must, after holding a public hearing, pass a law enacting the special election. After that, the town would hold a referendum where Bedford’s residents would vote on whether or not they wanted a special election. If the referendum were passed, then a special election would be held. Holding a special election would prevent an election for the town board seat next November.

Town clerk Boo Fumagalli said at the work session that the Westchester County Board of Elections would fund a special election such as this. All of Bedford’s polling sites would need to be opened during this special election. However, Mr. Sachs said he was not sure if the county would fund the referendum on the special election or if Bedford would fund it. He said he was also unsure if all polling sites must be open for the referendum.

“The entire procedure for a special election is somewhat cumbersome, but again, it is an option,” Mr. Sachs said.

The town attorney also said that it would be possible for a member of the public to petition the governor, who could force a special election. He said, however, that the law spelling out this procedure is antiquated as towns now have the option to let the public decide if they want a special election or not.

“I can’t imagine why that would be done,” he said.

Regardless of which option is taken, the seat would be up for another election in November 2015 when its term expires. This election would be for a full four-year town council term.

Bedford is no stranger to filling vacancies for elected positions by an appointment. The town board most recently appointed former Bedford supervisor John Dinin to the position of town justice after the death of sitting judge Kevin Quaranta in July 2012. Mr. Dinin was unanimously approved by a bipartisan town board and was not a member of any party at the time of his appointment, although he had been a Republican official for years. Mr. Quaranta had been a Democrat.

Bedford supervisor Lee Roberts said Mr. Dinin was an ideal candidate because he previously served as a Bedford town justice and because he said he would not run in the following election in November. She said he was the only person considered for the appointment.

“We didn’t talk to other applicants,” Ms. Roberts said at the work session. “We found that appealing because he could step right in and know the function of the court.”

Ms. Roberts will not act on the seat set to be vacant in January because she will not be a part of the new town board, having not run for re-election this year. Her decade-long stint as supervisor began when the town board appointed her for the position in 2003 after Mr. Dinin retired from that role. Ms. Roberts was a councilwoman before her appointment. She said there was not as much deliberation about the vacant seat 10 years ago and that she had to run for election shortly after being appointed.

“We interviewed people for the job but we also had all Republicans on the board so it was a different time,” she said. “We were able to agree on candidates without much trouble.”

Because Ms. Roberts shifted to the supervisor role, that left her old seat open in 2003. The town board consequently appointed Mr. Corcoran to the board, who won several election bids after the appointment. He had previously served as the campaign manager for the Bedford Republican Committee.

Mr. Burdick said he feels that it is important to fill the upcoming vacancy so the town will have a full board. Mr. Gabrielson also advocated an appointment. He said the town bord appoints plenty of people to the town’s various boards and commissions without considering their party enrollment.

“All of my board colleagues, whether they were Republicans or Democrats have always tried to do what we felt collectively was the best thing for Bedford and very few of our votes have been split votes,” Mr. Gabrielson said at the work session. “I actually feel as though the town board members might actually be able to make a unanimous decision on a person whether they are a Republican or a Democrat or nonaffiliated.”

Some members of the public attending the work session, many of whom were affiliated with either the Bedford Republicans or Bedford Democrats, were concerned about the effects an appointment would have on the town.

“It’s a democracy and the voters are the ones who select the councilman under normal circumstances and if that decision gets made, that decision is being taken away from the people,” said Arthur Weiner of Stanwood, at the work session. “It’s also true that there’s also the possibility that whoever gets appointed and runs successfully is going to have an advantage in the next election and that’s not a small matter.”

No action can be taken on the upcoming vacancy until the new town board assumes office in January.


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