With three in the race for mayor and six competing to fill three city council seats, this year’s election is a big one for Rye. No matter what the outcome, at least two new faces will be seated at the city council dais and Rye will have a new mayor. Outgoing Mayor Douglas French is not running for re-election.
Patch asked all of the candidates to answer a series of questions about their experience, their platforms and proposals for the City of Rye. Over the next two weeks we will post all of the candidates’ responses. This is the fifth of the city council candidate Q&As. Find others here.
The candidates running for city council are: Jason Mehler, Julie Killian, Terry McCartney, Meg Cameron, Shari Punyon and Kirstin Bucci
The candidates running for mayor are Peter Jovanovich, Nancy Silberkleit and Joseph Sack.
The election is on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
McCartney is running on the Rye United ticket, nominated by the Rye City Republican Committee along with Julie Killian, Kirstin Bucci and Joe Sack for mayor.
This is the first time he has ever run for a city council position.
McCartney, 50, has been married to Rye native Julia Rheingold for 26 years. They have two sons, one who is a RHS graduate and a current sophomore at Northwestern University and another who is a special needs student who attends the Northern Westchester BOCES program. McCartney lives on Park Avenue between the Glen Oaks and Bradford Park neighborhoods and is a 13 year resident of Rye.
Read more on his background here.
Why are you running for Rye City Council?
I am running for Rye City Council because I think that public service is what makes Rye such a great place to live and raise a family I want to do my part to keep it that way for others. I am concerned about the numerous scandals that have beset Rye recently and think we need a change in leadership to get Rye back on track.
What do you feel are the top three issues facing the city of Rye right now?
1) Returning civility, respect and integrity to the City Council so that the business of Rye is handled in a professional manner that we can all be proud of; 2) Resolving the Rye Golf Club situation and returning the golf club to financial stability and to being the wonderful resource to our community that it has always been; and 3) Negotiating reasonable long-term contracts with our police, fire and DPW personnel that are fair to both taxpayers and the people who keep our city safe and beautiful.
What is your position on the Sustainable Playland deal? Do you want SPI to take over management of Playland? If so, why? If not, then what should be the future for Playland?
I am in favor of SPI because the plan is well thought out and provides a good combination of services that Rye and Westchester County residents need while, at the same time, adding green space to our community and preserving Playland as a Rye landmark that everyone treasures.
You can’t make everyone happy all the time - How do you plan to balance the needs of different neighborhoods, community groups, businesses, city employees and special interest groups?
I think you have to take the personalities out of the analysis and focus on the appropriate balancing of the issues involved. For example, if you strip the personalities out of the Hen Island situation and focus on balancing the issues of public health and safety versus property owner’s property rights to live as they choose, the City Council could solve that problem fairly easily. Mosquito control and limited fresh water situations are dealt with everyday in third world countries, we can certainly figure it out in Rye, NY.
What should the future of Rye Golf Club look like in terms of management and its relationship with the city?
I think that we should: issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the restaurant and catering operations as soon as possible; hire an interim manager until we can assess the proposals submitted; once we have an idea on what the Club Manager’s job will be going forward, do a full executive search for a qualified person to run the Club; support the work of the Golf Club Commission and give them and the City Council access to the information necessary to provide proper oversight; supervise the City Manager to ensure that he is performing his duties at the golf club properly.
Name two decisions the current city council made over the last four years that you think were the right choices for Rye.
1) Not selling the Lester’s property for the first offer made ($3.6m) and ultimately selling the asset for far more ($5.6m); 2) Putting in the sluice gate to improve flood mitigation.
Name two issues with which you think the current city council could have done a better job over the last four years.
1) Rye Golf Club scandal – that was a leadership failure by the Mayor and City Manager; 2) Rye TV scandal – the City Manager, Mayor and other members of the City Council displayed a shocking absence of integrity and character at the expense of a fine young man who had the integrity and courage to do the right thing despite improper pressure from his superiors.
How would you have managed those situations differently?
1) RGC – I would have ensured that the City Manager reviewed the club audit that identified numerous problems and take action. I would hold the City Manager accountable for his failure to do his job. 2) I would not compromise my integrity by asking a public employee to lie in the first place and would commend him for having the courage to stand up to his superiors’ improper conduct. I would hold the City Manager accountable for his part in this incident.
Tell us one thing that you learned about Rye, or the people of Rye, on the campaign trail that surprised you.
How much the average Rye citizen is informed about the issues facing Rye and is willing to get involved; also how funny many of our citizens are when you knock on their door.
What in your experience and background prepares you for this job?
I am a trial attorney who has been handling difficult litigation matters for almost twenty years so I have good planning, problem-solving, negotiation and public speaking skills. Before becoming a lawyer, I was a Marine infantry officer for eleven years so I have real-life leadership experience in demanding situations and know how to manage and supervise people to accomplish a mission.
What differentiates you from the other candidates?
Leadership ability and a strong sense of integrity.
Anything else you want to add?
Rye deserves better leadership than it has been getting for the last four years. If you are tired of bickering, discourteous behavior and nothing getting done, vote for me and let’s turn it around.