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. Current city council members Joe Sack and Peter Jovanovich are running against each other and Rye resident Nancy Silberkleit for the mayoral seat.
Patch asked all of the candidates to answer a series of questions about their experience, their platforms and proposals for the City of Rye. This is the first of the mayoral candidate Q&As. Find all the city council candidates Q&As here.
The candidates running for city council are: Jason Mehler, Julie Killian, Terry McCartney, Meg Cameron, Shari Punyon and Kirstin Bucci
The election is on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Sack is leading the Rye United ticket, nominated by the Rye City Republican Committee, along with city council candidates McCartney, Bucci and Killian (incumbent). In late July, it appeared Sack would be uncontested when the Democratic City Committee did not nominate an opponent for mayor. But Jovanovich and Silberkleit both filed as independent candidates by the Aug. 20 deadline. Jovanovich said he decided to run in order to give voters a choice for mayor after he saw the Dems did not nominate a challenger and before Silberkleit had announced her candidacy.
Sack is currently serving his second term as a city council member. He was first elected in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. If he is not elected mayor, Sack will have two years left on his council term.
Sack is a 12-year resident of Rye and lives on Thorne Place with his wife and three children who all attend Rye City public schools.
Read more on the candidate's position on the issues and background here.
Why are you running for Rye City Mayor?
To restore faith and trust in the way that our City government is run. See my video link:
What do you feel are the top three issues facing the city of Rye right now?
A loss in confidence in City government due to recent unprecedented scandals in the outgoing administration, the failure of the outgoing administration to negotiate a fiscally sound and fair police contract, and the lack of urgency that the outgoing administration has shown towards public works projects like the Central Avenue Bridge.
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 support the SPI concept of re-inventing Playland for the 21st Century, but I also think that the City Council should play a stronger role in protecting Rye from quality of life impacts, and in ensuring that the community is kept better informed of the details of the SPI plan.
You can’t make everyone happy all the time, or can you? How do you plan to balance the needs of different neighborhoods, community groups, businesses, city employees and special interest groups?
You can’t keep everyone happy. That is why I’ve always tried to do what I think is right. But an important part of the process is communication and consensus building, which has been sorely lacking during the outgoing administration. That will change when I become Mayor.
What should the future of Rye Golf Club look like in terms of management and its relationship with the city?
The City needs to issue a request for Proposals immediately. Only through that process will we have a better understanding of the future of the Club, at least regarding Whitby Castle. The lack of leadership and urgency on this from the outgoing administration has been troublesome. That will change when I become mayor.
What did you learn from the RGC investigation that revealed the golf club manager had been stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the RGC members? How will you put those lessons learned to good use if elected mayor?
Beyond the conduct of the Golf Club Manager, the City Manager’s conduct was also problematic, not just with regard to failures to provide proper oversight and management, but also with regard to misstatements about the situation. Those shortcomings have never been properly addressed by the outgoing administration. That will change when I become Mayor.
Name two decisions the current city council made over the last four years that you think were the right choice for Rye.
Focusing on sidewalk improvements throughout the City, especially on Oakland Beach Avenue, and implementing the transition from traffic lights to stop signs on Purchase Street.
Name two issues with which you think the current city council could have done a better job over the last four years.
The Rye Golf Club scandal and the Rye TV debacle.
In those situations, did you, and how did you, try to work towards an outcome you think would have been better for Rye?
With regard to Rye Golf Club, I pushed for answers as the scandal was unfolding, despite being stonewalled by the outgoing administration, and was even compelled to file a Freedom of Information Law Request, an outrageous thing for a sitting City councilman to have to do. Ultimately, I formed a consensus amongst a majority of my colleagues to retain a top-notch law firm to do an independent outside investigation, which uncovered unprecedented misappropriation of funds, and misstatements by management. Meanwhile, the outgoing Deputy Mayor dubbed the unfolding events a “tiresome” “mini-drama” and a “faux cause célèbre” that would not amount to any more than a “hill of beans.” Could he have been more wrong? I have demonstrated the proven leadership and instincts on Rye Golf Club, and the ability to finally lead the City beyond all the unfortunate controversies of the past few years.
If elected mayor, would you propose making any significant staff changes? If so, which departments might see a change?
All City employees should always be held accountable for their actions, as should the members of the City Council.
What in your experience and background prepares you for this job?
A sense of humor, a thick skin, and a love of people.
What differentiates you from the other candidates?
My approach to the issues covered above.
Anything else you want to add?
I am pleased to be running with my Rye United teammates – Kirstin Bucci, Terry McCartney and Julie Killian. See us at www.Facebook.com/RyeUnited