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Meet the Mayoral Candidate: Q&A with Nancy Silberkleit

Nancy Silberkleit
Nancy Silberkleit

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. Rye resident Nancy Silberkleit, current city council members Joe Sack and Peter Jovanovich are competing for the position of mayor.

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 third 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.

Silberkleit is running as an independent candidate and this is her first run for public office. She decided to run for mayor last year after spending time in Starbucks talking to fellow residents left without electricity for several days following Super Storm Sandy. Sack, a Republican, is running on the Rye United ticket nominated by the Rye Republican Committee with Killian, McCartney and Bucci. Jovanovich, also a Republican, is running independently.

Silberkleit, 59, is a 25 year resident of Rye who lives in Greenhaven. She has a daughter who is currently in college. Her late husband Michael Silberkleit was a co-CEO of Archie Comics, a Mamaroneck-based business that his father founded with a partner in 1942. He left Silberkleit, a former public school teacher, half the company when he passed in 2008 and she has been involved in several lawsuits with employees since then. Currently, employees there are suing Silberkleit for harassment seeking $25 million in damages and to ban her from the offices. Read more on the lawsuit and Silberkleit’s position on the issues here. 

Why are you running for Rye City Mayor? 

I am a resident and not a politician. I reflect the needs of the residents and want to demonstrate just that by working very hard with the council to move issues along for the best intents of the community and not party affiliation.

The words that are echoing throughout the city of Rye are  Transparency and Collaboration and I want to have those as the guiding principles in conducting the day-to-day business.

What do you feel are the top three issues facing the city of Rye right now?

 Flooding, accountability and new construction square footage.

Also the HUD-related concerns. 

What is your position on the Sustainable Playland deal? Do you want SPI to take over management of Playland? 

This project defiantly contradicts the character of Rye but we must consider a compromise. We have a historic entertainment site that is crumbling and a motivated group that has credible management capabilities. I would encourage any construction be inspired and reflect the  nature in the area, let the architecture blend in with the sanctuary,  the massive scenic water ambiance and the beautiful beach! Google the Human Cradle museum in South Africa as an example that it can be achieved. The picture may not do it justice but its architecture confirms my vision on how nature , and Rye’s culture could melt.

An experienced, motivated group committed to a long term plan is a good thing but my preference would be to scale the project back, firm up its scope and diligently fight against any scope creep. Before I would fully give it my support I need to be shown a firm end-to-end project budget commitment.

 One aspect missing in current proposal  is a realistic formula for  parking. 

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?

- Transparency of issues;

- build public support through knowledge

- identify the majority  interest

- work towards a  balance.

Compromise must be embraced for the best of the community 

What should the future of Rye Golf Club look like in terms of management and its relationship with the city?

 I am confident  the commission will  now proceed  with greater oversight that has consistent checks and balances and seek a system that will be accountable with proper expertise behind such an operation. 

 I would ask for further changes that seek to expand  broader  community relationship to better  address wide range of Rye’s residents economic levels so it can indeed be   a" public facility”.

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?

A lesson for  all - to always follow the money. I would like that everyone, especially our younger community members, use this unfortunate situation as a learning opportunity , to better understand how a town works, the need for oversight, the need for dialogue, the encouragement to always question, to become and stay involved...  My motto, quoting a US president is to “Trust but verify”.

On a related note, I find it critical to use my position not only  to be  the  leader/ ambassador of our great city ,  but also  A TEACHER and MENTOR!

Name two decisions the current city council made over the last four years that you think were the right choice for Rye. 

1.  Recognizing  environmental plea for banning Plastic bags and leaf blowing.

2. Generating revenue from our parking lots  and passing the bond on necessary maintenance of roads and side walks.

Name two issues with which you think the current city council could have done a better job over the last four years.

 1. Limited progress in the long term planning for our city, the existing plan has not been updated , an updated plan is badly needed.

2. New construction and size of homes

 How would you have managed those situations differently?

 Regarding the long term planning:  I will Request a  one-year deadline for submission of  a  sustainable  plan  with attainable goals. 

Regarding the New construction: We must look at every project and how it relates the surrounding site.

If elected mayor, would you propose making any significant staff changes? If so, which departments might see a change? 

I can not comment on it until I can gather detailed information.Need   time to analyze city’s payroll, budget, expenses, skillsets and contributions of each staff member.

What in your experience and background prepares you for this job?  

 The experience as a teacher in the public schools system and as a business woman, top level executive at  an American icon, Archie Comics.

Being a teacher in a classroom is an asset for communication , long term thinking , research and  planning.

Being an executive in a boardroom, offers knowledge, confidence, and useful foundation of  business skills  that I believe can not be found in any text book. Further, being part of a brand that comes with global recognition provided numerous paths to opportunities  of expansions of one’s ideas and goals. The experience in this professional arena has definitely  prepared me for the leadership position, furthering my personal embracement on the value of community, support, strength, appropriate mindful thinking under pressure are attributes that I have demonstrated when faced with complex challenges.

 My natural aspiration is to get the job done and in doing so be able to reflect the people’s desires so our city continues to be a thriving community.  

What differentiates you from the other candidates?

 I come with fresh eyes.  I have no allegiance to a party or a person, am only committed to the community. I am a creative thinker, love people and respect one’s personal perspective. Further, as a teacher I naturally understand one's thinking and am adaptable to all kinds of situations . 

Anything else you want to add?

The art of politics is corrupting our beautiful city. We need to get back to the issues with the old-fashioned openness and transparency.

  

wendy November 03, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Nancy is an impressive woman with a wealth of great ideas.
Bob Zahm November 04, 2013 at 04:21 AM
The responses indicate a total lack of understanding the issues. Case in point, "Nancy"'s response to the question about the Golf Club asserts "the commission will now proceed with greater oversight that has consistent checks and balances and seek a system that will be accountable with proper expertise behind such an operation. " None of this will happen without the City Council making changes - changes to the way it operates, real delegation of authority (information access, decision taking, etc.), and repair of city staffing / reporting. Nancy - please, if you're going to run for office, at least take the time to understand the issues.
Pioneer Elizabeth Bennett November 04, 2013 at 09:03 AM
I have known Nancy a couple of years now. The media has made her out to be something she is not. If I were where she was geographically I would vote for her. I know her heart is with the people. I hope she wins!
Julie Rivelle November 04, 2013 at 10:35 AM
It's not the media that has tarnished Silberkleit. It's her own court documented actions. No mater what some of her friends might say or her own evasion of the facts, the courts have proven she has "Credibility issues"
dita von struedel van trappyodel November 04, 2013 at 12:54 PM
I would love to see her make use of her reputed "salty language" when dealing with some of the nutcase gadflies that show up at each and every Council meeting. It would make for good TV viewing and entertainment.
arnold rachlis November 04, 2013 at 05:44 PM
She will bring intelligence and passion to the job
Marie Creste November 04, 2013 at 08:42 PM
I have known Nancy for many years, in both professional and social contexts. I have never heard her use any profanity; it is just not who she is or how she interacts with people. She is an optimistic and creative problem solver who will work her hardest for the city of Rye.
Y. Laboy November 04, 2013 at 08:45 PM
I have seen her give her time and support to meaningful causes. Her committment comes from the heart.

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