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.