Letter: Former Lewisboro Supervisor Says Reject Cronyism

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LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The Lewisboro Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Email your letters to lewisboro@dailyvoice.com.

To the Editor:

Even as I have been vocal in urging the Lewisboro Town Board to reduce the supervisor's proposed tax- rate increase from its initial 17.7 percent to a number more in keeping with our neighboring towns, several of which have complied with the governor's 2 percent tax [levy] cap, and while I still believe that the board should have and could have cut lower than the 6.4 percent tax-rate increase they agreed to on Monday night, I understand that their job was a difficult one. 

Decades of bad decisions made in White Plains and Albany have led to unsustainable unfunded mandates and health and pension costs which local governments are ultimately left to deal with.

That is why I was so disappointed by the actions of our County Legislator Peter Harckham, who last week chose to support Board of Legislators President Ken Jenkins in an attempt to make radical changes to County Executive Rob Astorino's 2013 budget.

At a time when voters are desperately looking for tax relief and urging common-sense compromise from their elected leaders, Mr. Jenkins’ proposed a series of changes which vindictively went after administrative staffers and robbed from reserve funds to a point that would have jeopardized the county's bond rating.

Understanding the need for a responsible budget, as well as the dangers posed by forcing a veto-filled, dysfunctional budget process, Democratic legislators Mike Kaplowitz of Somers and Virginia Perez of Yonkers crossed over to give the county executive their support.

It was a rare moment of political courage. In that same moment, however, rather than vote with his northern Westchester Democratic colleague, Mr. Harckham chose to stand with Mr. Jenkins, the CSEA municipal workers union and the other down-county power brokers.

And things got worse. As was reported by the media, when he realized the vote would not go his way, Mr. Jenkins stormed from the room, attempted to turn off the lights and microphones and activated a loud buzzer.

While local officials must continue to make the tough decisions necessary to keep municipal government affordable, they will continue to swim upstream until we demand that all of our elected officials represent the best interests of the northern Westchester taxpayers who elected them, over the crony politics that has hurt New York State government for so long.

Charles Duffy

South Salem

Town Supervisor, 2010-11

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