Schiliro is New North Castle Town Supervisor: Reiter and DiGiacinto Elected to Town Board
November 10, 2013 Mike Schiliro, Town Board member for the past six years, defeated incumbent Supervisor Howard Arden with 2,018, or 56 percent of votes cast. The two new Board members were top vote-getters Barry Reiter, with 1,809 votes and Barbara DiGiacinto, with 1,802 votes. Jose Berra was defeated, receiving 1,405 votes, as was incumbent John Cronin with 1,359 votes. Doug Martino won the Town Justice seat over Linda Trummer-Napolitano with 1,940 votes or 57 percent of votes cast.
A post-election gathering Tuesday night at Gavi Restaurant was attended by a mix of Democratic and Republican voters who supported the winning candidates. Schiliro had been endorsed by the North Castle Democratic Committee as had Reiter and Berra. Reiter and Berra are registered non-affiliated voters; DiGiacinto is a registered Republican.
Newly elected Supervisor Mike Schiliro credited his success in the 2013 North Castle election to the many constituents who campaigned non-stop for his election. The long list of thanks were extended to family members, citizens, and friends. He was extremely grateful to the support and help of his wife, three daughters, and his siblings, saying, "I could not have done this without you."
He thanked many residents including the North Castle Democratic Committee lead by co-chairmen Barry Malvin and John Diaconis.
Incumbent Howard Arden arrived shortly after the results were in to congratulate Schiliro. The two candidates for Supervisor clashed on many issues. Addressing some of the conflicts, Schiliro said, "It's a new step forward. We can change things on Day One by making a more respectful, civil government, and a more inclusive one. We'll have our disagreements, but we'll be respectful.”
In his remarks, Reiter spoke highly of his running mates and his campaign staff, "Mike has been an inspiration for me and our campaign.” He thanked his family, including his son Matt, who ran the campaign from Washington DC, and Bill McClure, Chairman of North Castle’s Conservative Party, who endorsed Reiter. He singled out Rich DeFilippo and David Bauer, members of the North Castle Citizen Corps Council, who work with North Castle’s Office of Emergency to provide emergency shelter. Reiter serves as the Council’s chairman and must now step down.
Schiliro introduced new Town Board member Barbara DiGiacinto, enthusiastically praising her abilities and welcoming her to the Town Board to loud applause.
DiGiacinto called her victory bipartisan with votes from across all the parties. She named current Town Board member Steve D'Angelo as her mentor or “political Mom.” D’Angelo was not up for re-election this term. She extended thanks to her family, including her cousins and campaign staff-- Joyce Hergenhan, Linda Herbst, and Charlene Decker. DiGiacinto thanked Reiter and Berra, "who I never once thought of as my opponents, they were my running mates.” She concluded by calling this “a great night for North Castle.”
Jose Berra, who did not win a seat on the council, spoke of a kind of victory. He noted that “what I wanted to accomplish at this election is for the bar to be raised for what's acceptable in terms of Town representatives on the Board. I congratulate my running mates. We all looked to improve the town and we changed the tone of what's going on. This is a great victory for North Castle."
Newly elected Town Justice Doug Martino won the seat to be vacated at the end of the year by Judge Robert McGoey, who has served as North Castle's Town judge for 40 years. Martino, who ran unsuccessfully ran two years ago said that it was gratifying to achieve the goal. He thanked his wife Denise for her significant support and other members of the North Castle Republican Committee, including Gail Lombardi Norris, daughter of Jack Lombardi, and Chairwoman Anita Cozza. Martino's goal is to keep the Town Court a place where the people's voice will be heard with or without an attorney. Martino thanked his opponent Linda Trummer-Napolitano for a spirited campaign.
Trummer-Napolitano graciously congratulated Doug Martino, saying that she had no regrets and was thankful for the chance to run in the race.
Speaking to this reporter, Schiliro mentioned that two signs reading "Re-elect Lombardi" were found and displayed on private property a few days before the election. He said that the signs inspired him to recapture what was good from the Lombardi era and take that into the future and that “we will prioritize what we need to do and communicate well with the public, with no surprises, to develop the levels of expectations from people. We'll continue to take best practices from the private sector and recognizing the government is not a business, but we can always incorporate best business practices into the government."
Sitting Board member Steve D'Angelo echoed this sentiment to this reporter, "The candidates who made civility and transparency part of their campaign won. By electing Mike, Barry and Barbara, the town will know everything we are doing. Nothing will be hidden. We'll run government like it is supposed to be done, but the town is not a business. We will provide service to the residents and we will do that starting tomorrow morning."
Schiliro’s election as Supervisor vacates a Town Board seat. The newly appointed Town Board will be sworn in after the New Year and shortly after that the new Town Board will appoint a replacement. A special election will most likely be held in November of next year to elect a Board member to finish the last year of Schiliro's term.
Other incumbents included John Cronin, who was defeated with 21 percent of the vote, and Diane Roth, who lost in the Republican Primary election to Cronin and DiGiacinto.
North Castle Unofficial 2013 Election Results
Mike Schiliro (D)
Howard Arden (R)
Barry Reiter (Non)
Barbara DiGiacinto (R)
José Berra (Non)
John Cronin (R)
Doug Martino (R)
Linda Trummer- Napolitano (D)
November 6, 2013 Note: Affidavit ballots and absentee ballots have not been counted in these unofficial tallies.
Sample Election Ballot of Local Candidates and Six Proposals
October 30, 2013 Voters will be selecting candidates for various judicial, county and local offices on November 5th, Election Day. This year on the ballot there will also be six proposed New York State Constitutional Amendments.
Here is a brief overview of the six proposals from Senator George Latimer:
1. To amend the Constitution to allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York.
2. To entitle a veteran who has received civil service credit for a civil service appointment or promotion and subsequently is certified as disabled to additional civil service credit at a subsequent appointment or promotion.
3. To extend the authority of local governments to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness contracted for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities for 10 years.
4. To authorize the Legislature to settle longstanding disputes between the State and private entities over ownership of certain parcels of land in Hamilton County. The State will receive other land in return.
5. To authorize the Legislature to convey forest preserve land in Essex County to a private company that plans on expanding an existing mine that adjoins the forest preserve land. The State will receive other land in return.
6. Permits State Judges to serve until age 80 depending on the competency and needs of the Court System.'There are going to be efforts to persuade voters in one direction or another regarding these issues and as with any campaign, I urge voters to do some fact-finding of their own. To aid that effort, my office has produced and will be distributing literature with information regarding all six proposals,' Latimer concluded.
Schiliro Running Because He is Not Pleased with the Town's Direction
October 28, 2013 After almost six years as a member of North Castle's Town Board, Michael Schiliro is running for Town Supervisor. As a 15-year resident, Schiliro first became involved with the town after 9/11 when he volunteered for Red Cross training and was one of the founding members of the North Castle Citizens Corps Council (NC4) that works with North Castle's Office of Emergency Management. NC4 helps provide sheltering, last year in the Recreation Center during disasters such as the one the town experienced after Super Storm Sandy.
Years ago, Supervisor Jack Lombardi asked Schiliro to serve on the Middle Income Housing Board. Because of Schiliro's degree in economics, his tax background, and work in the banking industry, he was able to offer a tax and finance background to the Middle Income Housing Board.
Today, Schiliro says he is not pleased with the town's direction or its current leadership. Nevertheless, as was true when he first ran for the Town Board in 2007, he did not decide by himself to run for office, but made the decision to run for Town Supervisor collectively with his family - his wife and three daughters.
When Schiliro was first elected to the Board, he says he spent most of his time studying the town's finances and budgets, going back over 10 years. He reviewed what things were done right and what things could have been done differently, but without criticizing the people that came before him, and learned a great deal. Schiliro saw that the Fund Balance is the foundation of the financial health of the town, but the Fund Balance had plummeted to a low rate. The projected 2009 reserve was only about $400,000. Schiliro therefore drafted a new policy in 2009 that was unanimously passed by the Town Board to rebuild the reserves in the General Fund Balance. "I started a line- by-line review of our expenses to produce structurally balanced budgets. If you don't have enough money, you tighten your budget and spend less." The policy prevented elected officials from spending too much. "It took time," says Schiliro, "but my goal was to restore the fund balance in five years, and we were able to restore most of it in three years. Today the fund is well above $4 million and we are in a much better financial position."
New to the Town Board in 2008, Schiliro asked people for advice about how things worked. "One piece of advice I got and will give to new members," says Schiliro, "is to listen to, learn, respect and appreciate the people who work for the town. Know who the people are and what jobs they do to better understand how government works.”
"When decisions are made," Schiliro says, "you have to understand the impact of those decisions. Input is important from everybody to shape the Town Board's decisions. The tendency to hastily think that you have a special ability to change things or think that you know a better way to operate can lead to mistakes."
With the current town board Schiliro says that too often he has not had an opportunity to contribute to the decisions made because not all board members are consulted when reviewing the issues. "We need collaboration among the entire board. Everyone should be involved in the conversation," Schiliro says. The recent situation with Con Edison is an excellent example. We need Con Edison to do a better job in town, says Schiliro, and the current upgrade in service that has been in the works for months will help us. But as a board member, Schiliro learned about Con Edison's new plan to remove approximately 847 trees only a half hour before the board meeting announcing the upgrade. But important questions such as whether to bury the power lines, how much this would cost, and whether there is a better or cheaper way to do this "can't be determined without collaboration among the town board members," says Schiliro.
"If I'm Supervisor," says Schiliro, "on day one we go back to the way government should be run, where meetings are open, work sessions are regular, and issues are reviewed by the whole board. We need collaboration to improve our services, and do more with less. We need to look into shared services and inter-municipal agreements with other communities. We need to do an inventory of all our assets in town, especially town-owned real estate. A committee needs to be formed to study how we can best leverage town-owned property to protect the taxpayers. We also need to look at our master plan, a guide book that was last updated in 1995. The age doesn't necessarily mean that the master plan is outdated, still we have had a lot of changes in our town."
Schiliro would like to put together a group of people, drawing from some of our volunteer boards, to work with the Town Planner to look at the town's comprehensive plan to see what sections of it, if any, need to be updated.
Ground water is always a concern, says Schiliro. "We've brought sewers into certain areas to protect open space, which protects ground water." Banksville is an environmentally sensitive area, and Schiliro says that though it took a long time, he was able to forge a consensus among the residents, business owners, and their representatives to come up with a compromise. Heavy industrial activities were forbidden along the strip on Banksville Avenue to help protect the ground water.
To understand government is to know that it is not a for-profit operation like a business, says Schiliro. But municipalities should be run efficiently, using the best practices from business, Schiliro says, and decisions that involve the expenditure of money should be made according to business models. For instance, Schiliro has used a public sector labor model to determine the right size of the labor force for some of the town's departments. Schiliro analyzed the Highway Department, then applied this model to the Town Clerk's Office and the library. He determines how many labor hours are needed to make a department function, then figures out how many people are needed. He starts with what tasks are required, how much time the tasks take, and how many people do the tasks require. Different variables are plugged in before the number of hours is calculated. By analyzing a labor contract, you can determine how many hours you can get out of each person. Then divide the number of hours that one person can give into the number of hours needed to complete a task, and that tells you how many people are needed. During his tenure, Schiliro says, the town's workforce has been reduced by over 20 percent, and that has helped to control expenses.
In the last couple of years, Schiliro has been concerned about the lack of civility of several members of the Town Board toward residents who express concerns about our town. "We need to respect the residents," Schiliro says. "It is their town, not ours. We need to hear their voices, whether we agree with them or not. And we need an open, transparent government among the five people elected to the board." As Supervisor, Schiliro says, "I will provide the leadership to achieve more of a consensus when tackling issues."
North Castle Electorate Cautioned On Advisability to Take New E-Poll
October 25, 2013 A group calling itself Choice4NorthCastle is conducting an on-line poll of voters in North Castle, asking them five questions to indicate for whom they will be casting their ballot in the upcoming Town Election on November 5th. Two of the questions asked the recipients if the Town Board should approve Brynwood's zoning change.
Those who have received this e-poll early this afternoon are advised to be cautious in answering this poll for several reasons. The group is only identified by a PO Box number in Armonk; none of the people behind it have come forth to indicate their association with this group. This group will also be overseeing the results of this poll and might use it for internal distribution in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the election. By responding to the poll, your e-mail address and corresponding vote will be the purview of this group and no one else. Last, how you respond to the poll may result in an effort to get you to change your vote. Also, there is no oversight as to the number of times one person or persons can vote in this poll, further skewing the results.
Until such time that Choice4NorthCastle identifies itself and its political association as well as who or what other organization is funding the poll, North Castle residents are encouraged to disregard it.
Doug Martino -- Candidate for North Castle Town Justice
For almost three decades, Town Justice candidate Doug Martino has been dealing with many types of issues in many different courts. He has represented both sides of legal disputes - the prosecution and the defense. As an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) he was responsible for prosecuting a large caseload of misdemeanor offenses throughout the Westchester County,
including DWIs, assaults, larcenies, and many drug-related offenses, as well as some of the most serious felony cases in the County’s Supreme Court trial division. As an attorney in private practice, he has defended hundreds of people in criminal court, and many other individuals, municipalities, and businesses in civil and commercial matters in state and federal courts. His 25 years of judicial experience as a small claims arbitrator in lower Westchester has given him substantial background on the many issues that are raised in local courts.
Martino served as an ADA for the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office beginning in 1985. He was later promoted to the Grand Jury Bureau of the District Attorney’s Office and then to the Supreme Court trial division. In 1988, he entered private practice as an attorney with the firm of Martino & Weiss. In the two decades since, he has developed a reputation as a skilled litigator in matters involving domestic relations, divorce and child custody.
When Martino has defended people in criminal court, even those charged with assault or aggravated harassment, he feels that it’s important to develop a complete picture of the defendant and the situation that precipitated the legal proceedings. “Everybody has a story to tell,” says Martino, “and there is a story behind every incident. It helps to know what the defendant's problem is -- is it a drug problem, is it a problem with their relationships, a problem at home? Understanding what's going on helps to see what can be done to try to help solve that problem.”
As an example, Martino points to a criminal defendant in court repeatedly, already in a rehab program for drug dependency. “The judge must decide -- do I put him in jail, or back in the program, what do I do to address these problems? The District Attorney is clamoring for one thing, the defense attorney is looking for something else, and the judge has to make a call. Should I deny the person the opportunity to return to the program? It's difficult.”
Martino explains that although the legal issues may not be complex, the impact of the judge’s decisions on people’s lives can be enormous.
Martino elaborates about the discretion a judge has in some cases, and others when a judge must proceed based on the strict parameters of the law. In his years as a small claims arbitrator, Martino found that listening to people and allowing them to “get their story out” may be his most significant contribution. He notes that a good judge is thoughtful, yet decisive. Efficiency is important to enable a judge to handle a court's full calendar. The judge must be able to focus on each case and efficiently make a decision. He emphasizes that the most important skills include compassion and respect -- listening to people, giving them respect, and every opportunity to be heard in court
Martino has also served as an Administrative Law Judge for Westchester's County Solid Waste Commission, a division charged with licensing and ensuring the safety of haulers, containers, and dumpsters. He has also served as Chairman of Westchester County's Arbitration panel in New York State attorney-client fee disputes.
Martino's community connections and civil involvements include President of the Armonk Lions Club, panel member of the University Women's Justice Center, Director of Mount Vernon Police Foundation, Mock Trial Judge for the Westchester County Bar Association, and Mass Lector, C.C.D. Teacher and volunteer at St. Patrick's Church.
“Theoretically, politics is irrelevant when running for judge,” says Martino. “There are no political differences between judges when they are on the bench. Party affiliation has no bearing and becomes absolutely irrelevant, but everyone must run on a party line.”
On November 5, Douglas Martino will appear on the Republican, Conservative and Green Party lines for Town Justice. His opponent is Linda Trummer-Napolitano, who is on the Democratic Party line. The North Castle Town Justice will fill the position left by Judge Robert McGoey who is retiring after serving 40 years.
Brynwood's $78,000 Contribution to Campaign Committee Questioned
October 5, 2013 The "Committee for a Better North Castle" sent out nine fliers supporting the re-election of Supervisor Howard Arden and Town Board members Diane DiDonato-Roth and John Cronin. Before the September 10th primary election, three of the campaign fliers had messages to re-elect Diane DiDonato-Roth; one flier said "Re-elect Arden - DiDonato-Roth - Cronin in the Republican Primary" with their three photographs, another quoted a letter from John Cronin criticizing Barbara DiGiacinto, and the remaining five fliers attacked DiGiancinto, the incumbents' opponent in the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party primary elections.
The primary election results had Barbara DiGiacinto receiving more votes on all three party lines than Cronin and DiDonoto-Roth.
What is the Committee for a Better North Castle and why did it intend to shape and influence North Castle's primary election?
The Committee for a Better North Castle's filings with the New York Board of Elections reported a financial disclosure on October 4, 2013. This was several days after DiGiacinto sent a town-wide email on October 1st, asking, "Who are the secret financial backers behind Arden, Cronin and Roth?"
The disclosure says, Brynwood Partners LLC, of 505 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10017, under corporate posting as Brynwood Partners, paid $78,000 to the Committee for a Better North Castle. According to the New York State Board of Elections website, a political committee is any corporation that aids or takes part in an election to elect or defeat a candidate for public office in a primary or general election.
Almost all of the $78,000 was listed as checks, paid as expenditures and payments to Strategic Political Group. The Strategic Political Group's website says they have the "ability to provide effective communications, access, influence and timely problem solving. The professionals of Strategic Political Group are experienced government relations experts and campaign strategists."
Jeffrey Binder is part of a team of the Strategic Political Group that is located White Plains. Binder was also reported as a large recipient of payments in Howard Ardens' 2011 campaign for Supervisor and he also represented DiDonoto-Roth in her unsuccessful bid for State Senate.
The $78,000 is the largest political donation of any kind in the history of North Castle's elections.
Barbara DiGiacinto asks, "Did the money come from developers seeking to influence land-use decisions? Did it come from a property owner hoping to be thanked with a favorable land use decision after election day?"
"As permitted by law, Brynwood Partners, LLC" according to their statement, "contributed funds to support the efforts of the Committee [for a Better North Castle]. As part of that effort, the Committee supported the Republican primary re-elections of Diane DiDonato-Roth and John Cronin for Town Council. At no time during the Committee’s activities was there any coordination with the campaigns of anyone involved in the primary election."
Dean Bender, of Brynwood's public relations agency, Thompson & Bender, says, "Pursuant to campaign finance laws, it is not legal for an independent expenditure committee to directly coordinate campaign activities with a candidate. Brynwood Partners followed the law and did not coordinate any campaign activities with any candidates."
Barbara DiGiacinto asks, "Did Arden, Roth and Cronin support the content of the mailers sent out by the committee and if not, why didn't they question and denounce them?"
Town Board Candidate Files Suit to Verify Count of Independence Party Voters
September 19, 2013 A candidate for North Castle's Town Board, Jose Berra, filed a motion on September 17, 2013 challenging the results of the primary election for Independence Party.
North Castle's Independence Party voters cast at least 129 votes for two Town Councilmen. Barbara DiGiacinto received 41 votes, Jose Berra received 31 votes, and there were 48 write-in ballots, presumably split between the two incumbents Councilman Diane Dinoto Roth and Councilman John Cronin. In addition, there were 6 absentee ballots cast and at least 3 affidavit ballots. A voter may file an affidavit ballot alleging that he has a right to vote in the Independence Party Primary in a particular district (North Castle has 11 districts), but the voter's information must be verified.
The motion requests that the Independence Party votes be judged for their validity by checking the voting rolls of the registered members of the Independence Party. Typically a motion like this is filed as a protective measure anticipating that not all of the absentee ballots and affidavit ballots are valid.
The Independence Party ballots have been impounded until a judge makes a ruling whether the non-standard votes (48 write-ins, six absentee ballots, and several affidavit ballots) must to be overseen when opened, counted and determined whether they are legitimate, and if so, how.
Berra says one issue is whether the voters who cast the affidavit ballots are registered Independence Party voters. Berra is seeking an order that he, or a representative, be present when the impounded ballots are opened and counted.
Upon opening the ballots, someone must determine whether the voters are qualified Independence Party voters or not. Some voters may have confused their un-affiliated registration with registration in the Independence Party. if a change in party registration was filed, it also has to be determined whether the application was received by the Westchester Board of Elections by their deadline of October 12, 2012.
As of June 4, 2013, there were 300 registered Independence Party voters in North Castle, and 2,273 un-affiliated registered voters, out of 8,641 total registered voters.
Berra says he does not want to disenfranchise any voters. But he believes in democracy and says that counting illegitimate votes is a disservice to North Castle voters who actually went to the polls.
The motion allows both sides to submit their arguments to a Westchester County Judge by September 24. The named defendants in Berra's motion are: Barbara DiGiacinto, five members of the committee that filed the designating petitions for the opportunity to run for the Independence Party line (Anne Marie Benish, Matthew Long, Joseph DiMauro, Elizabeth Alberty and James Travalino), the Westchester Board of Elections, and the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.
North Castle Primary Results
September 11, 2013 Congratulations to Michael Schiliro on his victories in the Democratic, Independence and Conservative primaries for Supervisor. "This is a good night for the Town," said Schiliro. "Tonight the Town of North Castle spoke and soundly rejected the Roth, Arden, Cronin way."
Congratulations to Barbara DiGiacinto as she won the most Republican votes, with 38% of the Republican primary votes for Town Board. DiGiacinto also won the Independence and Conservative primaries. DiGiacinto said, "Your vote is your voice and the people have spoken."
The second seat in the Independence primary for Town Board is too close to call. Jose Berra received 31 votes. But there were an unconfirmed 48 ballots counted as Independence Party write-in votes, and it is yet to be determined exactly how the write-in votes were split among the incumbent councilmen John Cronin and Diane DiDonoto Roth.
Berra says, "First, I am very pleased that the voters did not let themselves be swayed by the nasty attacks on Mike and Barbara. As for the Independence Party candidacy, it's still too early for me to claim victory, but I'm really happy with the results thus far. They indicate that although I've kept a relatively low profile in the nearly 25 years I've lived in North Castle, the word is starting to get out: my only agenda is to do what's good for the Town, and my capabilities and experience will be put to good use on the Town Board."
Diane DiDonoto Roth said, "Taking a stand on issues to get things done is a risk I knew I had to take to put this town back on a strong fiscal footing and provide the improved services for our residents. It is always easier to just vote no to everything and do nothing but I am a person that gets things done. I am proud of what we have accomplished and thank the amazing people I have worked with on the Beautification Committee, Recycle Committee, Communication Committee and Recreation Board. We have allowed the residents to finally have a voice in the future of their town and I enjoyed helping them accomplish their goals. North White Plains and Banksville finally has a voice and I hope it will always be heard loud and clear. I was attacked, pushed, and shoved, but it just made me stronger and to shoot straight as an arrow to stand up for what I believe in.
The chairman of the North Castle's Democratic Committee, Barry Malvin, said, "I am thrilled that the voices of criticism and attacks on our candidates have not only been ignored, but elicited such a negative reaction among the voters."
North Castle's Republican Committee Chairman, Anita Cozza, said, "I am happy with the results. Now maybe we can get down to the important issues facing the town, and do away with the mudslinging, half-truths, and personal attacks that we had to deal with during the Primary. I was happy to see the endorsed Republican Candidate, Barbara DiGiacinto, win. She conducted her campaign with dignity, respect, integrity, but most importantly, with honesty. Our town needs to get back to having leadership that will represent the entire community, and be governed by an entire elected board. I think last night's results showed us how the community feels, but that we also have a lot more work to do. As Chairman of the town Republican Committee, I think the town should know, the District Leaders and I are always available to discuss any concerns anyone may have."
Congratulations also to Linda Trummer Napolitano on her victory in the Independence Party primary for Town Justice. "It is a small victory and I'm not taking anything for granted," Trummer-Napolitano said. "I will continue to work very hard to meet as many people as possible between now and election day."
All the candidates have been asked to comment on the primary results; more may be provided soon.
North Castle's Unofficial Primary Election Results Updated September 26, 2013
18% of eligible North Castle voters voted on September 10, 2013
SUPERVISOR NORTH CASTLE DEMOCRATIC PARTY MICHAEL J SCHILIRO 386 votes, 84% ANTHONY FUTIA 75 votes, 16% Approximately 15% of registered Democratic voters voted for Supervisor
COUNCILMAN - VOTE-FOR-TWO REPUBLICAN PARTY BARBARA DIGIACINTO 455 votes, 38% JOHN J CRONIN 415 votes, 35% DIANE DIDONATO ROTH 328 votes, 27% *Approximately 21% of registered Republicans voters voted for Town Councilman.
SUPERVISOR-CONSERVATIVE PARTY MICHAEL J SCHILIRO 48 WRITE-IN 12 Approximately 42% of registered Conservatiave voters voted for Supervisor
COUNCILMAN - VOTE-FOR-TWO CONSERVATIVE PARTY BARBARA DIGIACINTO 49 BARRY S REITER 36 WRITE-IN (Approximately 20+) *Approximatley 39% of registered Conservative voters voted for Town Councilman
SUPERVISOR INDEPENDENCE PARTY MICHAEL J SCHILIRO 47 WRITE-IN 24 Approximately 24% of registered Independence voters voted for Supervisor
COUNCILMAN - VOTE-FOR-TWO INDEPENDENCE PARTY BARBARA DIGIACINTO 41 JOSE L BERRA 31 WRITE-IN 48 *Approximately 20% of registered Independence voters voted for Town Councilman
TOWN JUSTICE INDEPENDENCE PARTY LINDA T NAPOLITANO 38, 54% DOUGLAS J MARTINO 32, 46% Approximatley 23% of registered Independence voters voted for Town Justice.
*Calculations are based upon 1/2 of the total votes cast for the postion. Results will be distorted if voters cast only one vote.
North Castle Primary Information
September 10, 2013 North Castle's primary election is today September 10, 2013. The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Registered Democratic voters will vote for the office of supervisor. The candidates are Anthony Futia and Michael J. Schiliro.
Registered Republican voters will vote for two candidates for the office of councilman. The candidates are John J. Cronin, Barbara W. DiGiacinto and Diane DiDonato-Roth.
Registered Independence voters will vote for the offices of supervisor, councilman, and town justice. The candidate for supervisor is Michael J. Schiliro. The candidates for councilman are Barbara W. DiGiacinto and Jose L. Berra. Vote for one of the two candidates for town justice, who are Linda Trummer-Napolitano and Douglas J. Martino.
Registered Conservative voters will vote for the offices of supervisor and councilman. The candidate for supervisor is Michael J. Schiliro. The candidates for councilman are Barbara W. DiGiacinto and Barry S. Reiter.
To vote for a person whose name is not printed on the ballot, the voter must write or stamp his or her name in the space labeled "WRITE-IN" that appears at the bottom of the column containing the title of the office. Then the voter must fill in the oval corresponding with the write-in space in which the voter has written a name.
Justice Robert DiBella Ruled Democratic Candidates Barry Reiter and Jose Berra's Designating Petitions and Certificates of Authorization are Valid
August 1, 2013 The Honorable Robert M. DiBella rendered a written Decision and Order after the Westchester County Supreme Court's hearing on July 29, 2013. Town of North Castle Democratic Committee member Anthony Futia petitioned to invalidate the Designating Petitions for the office of Councilman of North Castle and Certificates of Authorization of Barry Reiter and Jose Berra, who were nominated by the North Castle Democratic Committee.
In addition to Barry Reiter and Jose Berra as candidate respondents, Barry Malvin, co-chair of the North Castle Democratic Committee, Robert Romano, secretary of the North Castle Democratic Committee, and the Westchester County Board of Elections were also named as respondents.
At the May 28, 2013, Town of North Castle Democratic meeting, a quorum of members interviewed and voted to designate Reiter and Berra as candidates for two town council seats and Michael Schiliro as the candidate for town supervisor.
Justice DiBella said, "The evidence established that, at a duly noticed meeting of the Town of North Castle Democratic Committee, a motion was made and adopted, designating respondents Reiter and Berra for the public office of town councilman. As a result, the presiding officer and secretary at the meeting signed and acknowledged Certificates of Authorization, which were timely filed with the Westchester County Board of Elections of July 9, 2013."
The New York State Election Law regulates that "the members of the party committee may, by majority vote of those present at such meeting provided a quorum is present, authorize the designation or nomination of a person as a candidate for any office, who is not enrolled as a member of such party."
Justice DiBella said in the Decision & Order after Hearing dated August 1, 2013, that while the designation or nomination of a non-party member must be authorized by the members of the party committee, the issuance of the Certificate of Authorization does not have to be separately voted upon."
Futia said at no time did any of the candidates, Reiter and Berra for councilman and Schiliro for supervisor, who introduced Messrs. Reiter and Berra, announce that Reiter and Berra were non-affiliated, registered voters. However, Futia said he, as a committee member, did have the list of enrolled Democrats, but he did not look at the list. And although Futia had the opportunity to interview the candidates, he did not ask them to state their party affiliations.
"The credible evidence," added DiBella, "also established that, with the possible exception of petitioner [Anthony Futia], all the voting members of the committee present at the meeting were apprised that the candidates [Reiter and Berra] seeking the party's nomination were unaffiliated with any political party."
Malvin said that he had spoken with everyone on the committee, except Futia, before the May 28th meeting and had advised them that Berra and Reiter were not Democrats. Malvin told allaboutarmonk.com that he did not tell Futia because he did not know what Futia would do with the information. In Malvin's sworn statement he said, "he did not trust him, and could not count on him."
Furthermore, Justice DiBella said, "Even assuming that the petitioner was unaware of the respondents' unaffiliated statuses, and would not have voted in favor of their nomination had he known, the respondents had more than the simple majority votes needed to secure their nomination."
Futia's petition was subsequently denied and the proceeding was dismissed. Reiter’s and Berra’s names can appear now on the ballot of the Democratic Party primary on September 10, 2013.
Supreme Court Overturns Board of Election Ruling on DiDonato Roth and Cronin Designating Petitions By Ryan Raichelson
July 31, 2013 North Castle's incumbent councilmen Diane DiDonato Roth and John Cronin, appeared in court today to argue the legality of select designating petitions for the Republican primary they filed with the Westchester County Board of Elections.
Republican candidates for North Castle's Town Board are required to obtain 144 signatures in order to enter the primary election. The total number of registered voters in the North Castle Republican party, which is tallied at over 2,800, determines the number of signatures required. As an integral part of their campaigns, Ms. DiDonato-Roth and Mr. Cronin filed more than 30 petitions with a total of 320 signatures.
Gail Lombardi, a member of the North Castle Republican Committee, and Barry Malvin, co-chair of the North Castle Democratic Committee, officially challenged DiDonato-Roth and Cronin's petitions.
On July 25, the Board of Elections (BOE) ruled on Lombardi’s Specifications of Objections, determining that 211 of the 320 signatures were invalid. The BOE decision voided DiDonato-Roth and Cronin's petition due to an insufficient number of signatures. The ruling on Lombardi’s objections left the candidates with 109 legitimate signatures, just 35 signatures short of the amount required to appear on the Republican primary ballot.
Jeffrey Binder of Jeffrey M. Binder PC and Associates represented the two incumbent plaintiffs. Mr. Binder’s case involved proving that his clients had obtained the appropriate number of signatures legally, without engaging in any type of fraudulent behavior. If he could prove this point, the Board of Election’s ruling on the invalidity of the petition would be overturned.
Mr. Binder began the trial by calling Mrs. Susan Coppola to the stand to testify on his clients’ behalves. Mrs. Coppola, secretary for the North Castle town supervisor, had been responsible for distributing the petitions in question. Mr. Binder’s questioning revealed that she had changed the date on the bottom half of the petition forms. This impromptu change was the catalyst for a major objection filed by Ms. Lombardi. However, direct examination of Mrs. Coppola revealed that the modification was made to the forms before they had been signed.
Supreme Court Justice Joan B. Lefkowitz deemed Mrs. Coppola’s testimony as credible, and ruled for the reversal of the Board of Election’s initial decision. The ruling reinstated 117 signatures, giving Mr. Cronin and Ms. DiDonato-Roth more than enough signatures required to enter the Republican primary in September.
Ken Leitner, council at the office of Jeffery M. Binder PC, was pleased with the outcome of the case. Mr. Leitner said, “Democracy has prevailed. The voters have been refranchised.”
A Day in Court for North Castle Politics By Ryan Raichelson
July 29, 2013 Mr. Tony Futia, an elected member of the North Castle Democratic Committee, recently sued his own political party for alleged misconduct. Mr. Futia challenged the Democratic designating petitions for the public office of Councilman in the Town of North Castle for candidates Barry Reiter and José Berra.
On July 29, 2013, in the Westchester County Court, Mr. Futia, represented by his attorney, Mr. Guy Parisi, disputed the overall validity of Mr. Barry Reiter and Mr. José Berra's petitions. Futia claimed that the nomination of Mr. Reiter and Mr. Berra was not properly authorized in accordance with the longstanding bylaws of the Democratic Committee. The two candidates are currently registered as non-affiliated voters, which necessitates compliance with specific requirements of the Wilson Pakula Act. This act allows non-affiliated candidates to receive a nomination from a party that they are not registered with.
Mr. Parisi described the infraction by stating, “According to my client’s testimony, there was no separate vote for the Wilson Pakula authorization, which would authorize a non-Democratic member.” The absence of this element of the statute, says Parisi, would render the petition invalid. In addition to claims of negligence, Mr. Futia testified that he had never even been informed of the two candidates’ political affiliation. Although he cast a ballot in favor of Mr. Reiter and Mr. Berra, Mr. Futia insisted that he would not have supported them had he been fully aware of the situation. Mr. Futia's accusations are rooted in his belief in the two-party system and he commented, “Cross endorsements are being abused.”
The respondents to Mr. Futia’s objections called upon the two North Castle Democratic Committee Co-Chairmen, Barry Malvin and John Diaconis, to testify on behalf of the committee's defense. While Mr. Malvin admitted to not personally advising Mr. Futia on the updated status of the nominees, he felt that Mr. Futia was availed ample opportunities to become informed before the official vote. Both Mr. Malvin and Mr. Diaconis alluded to a speech given during the nomination meeting on May 28 by town supervisor nominee Michael Schiliro. Messrs. Malvin and Diaconis said they are certain Mr. Schiliro announced his support for Mr. Reiter and Mr. Berra, and publicly stated the nominees’ political affiliations.
Supreme Court Justice Robert DiBella must decide if the Wilson Pakula Act has been properly executed for the nominations of Mr. Reiter and Mr. Berra.
Mr. Futia hopes to see a recall of the petition, as well as the alleged infractions rectified. While Futia may win the case, there is still no guarantee that Mr. Reiter and Mr. Berra will not be endorsed by the North Castle Democratic Committee.
Justice DiBella is set to release his official written decision later in the week.
North Castle's Republican Petitions of DiDonato-Roth and Cronin Legally Challenged
July 28, 2013 Petitions signed by 320 people filed to designate Diane DiDonato-Roth and John Cronin as Republican Party candidates in a Republican primary election for North Castle's Town Board have been declared invalid by a Westchester County Board of Elections. The BOE ruled on specific objections filed against DiDonato-Roth and Cronin petitions.
Jeffrey Binder of Jeffrey M. Binder PC and Associates is representing incumbents DiDonato-Roth and Cronin. Binder says after the evaluation of the litany of objections was filed, the Board of Elections determined that there were not enough signatures on the incumbants' petitions. The requirement of 144 petition signatures of registered-Republican North Castle voters is based upon the overall North Castle Republican party enrollment of over 2,800 registered voters.
General objections, followed by specific objections to DiDonato-Roth and Cronin's Republican petitions, were filed by Gail Lombardi, committee member of the North Castle Republican Committee and Barry Malvin, co-chair of North Castle Democratic Committee.
The Board of Elections ruled on July 25 on the Specifications of Objections filed by Lombardi. The results of the BOE indicated that 211 signatures of the DiDonato-Roth and Cronin petitions were invalid, and therefore, the petitions were ruled invalid due to an insufficient number of signatures. Some of the objections sustained included date changes from the prior year's petition with the year whited-out and not initialed; a defective witness signature including initials, as opposed to a full name as signed in the election records; ineligible signatures; witnessed own signature; and other technical objections. DiDonato-Roth and Cronin filed more than 30 petitions with 320 signatures, totaling more than double the amount required. The BOE's ruling on Lombardi's objections permitted 109 signatures to remain valid, 35 signatures short of the amount required to appear on the Republican Primary ballot.
No objections were filed for the petitions of the Republican-endorsed candidate for Town Board, Barbara DiGiacinto, who collected 397 signatures.
Co-Chairman Barry Malvin said he filed the specific objections to DiDonato-Roth and Cronin petitions on behalf of the Democratic Committee. The Westchester Board of Elections sustained 136 of Malvin's objections from the 320 signatures of their petitions, leaving them with 184 signatures; this figure is more than the required 144 signatures needed to remain on the ballot. Malvin has been served, and is scheduled to appear in Supreme Court on July 29, 2013, along with Gail Lombardi and the Westchester Board of Elections.
In anticipation of arguing against the objections, Binder, representing the incumbents, had filed for a hearing of an order to show cause in the Supreme Court. The court date will be held on Monday July 29, 2013, in White Plains, New York. The scheduled hearing will be presided by Supreme Court Justice Orazio Bellantoni at 9:30 a.m. The judge will view the evidence and exhibits of the Board of Election's decision.
Binder says the trend is not to disenfranchise the voter, but to give voters a chance to vote, allowing the primary to be held, rather than upholding the BOE's hyper-technical ruling that doesn't exercise discretion unless the petition signatures are filled with errors or fraud. For instance, Binder says, if the BOE deemed a signature ineligible, the signatory can be asked to take the stand and the judge will determine if the signature stands. During the hearings, if the witnesses can be identified and located, they may testify when they signed DiDonato-Roth and Cronin's petition to determine if the signature was dated as 2013 or 2011. “Anything can happen,“ Binder says, "the hearings could take place over several court dates.”
The dates for all of the Westchester County election hearings are set so that the hearings are held in a timely manner to be ruled on before the primary on September 10, 2013, and the general election on November 5, 2013. The dates for the court hearings are set, says Guy Paresi, representing Gail Lombardi: The Supreme Court date is July 29, the Appellate Division Court dates are August 13 and 14, and the Court of Appeals dates are August 20 and 21.
Petition challenges are common, says Binder. In the case of incumbents' petition being challenged, the incumbents are fighting for their political survival and their interest in serving the public.
Correction made 7/28/13: DiDonato-Roth and Cronin's petitions had a total of 320 signatures, rather than the 420 signatures that was previously reported.
Futia Challenges Endorsed Democratic Candidates
July 28, 2013 Futia has filed a lawsuit against the North Castle Democratic Committee. Guy Parisi, the lawyer representing Futia, said Futia is challenging the circulated Democratic petitions of Barry Reiter and José Berra, who are not Democrats. "Our position is that the petitions were not authorized because the Democratic Committee did not comply with the law. Documents were filed," says Parisi, "but my client's position is that he did not know that Reiter and Berra were not registered Democrats when the vote was put before the Democratic Committee."
Futia is a member of the North Castle Democratic Committee and a Democratic district leader. He has petitioned to primary Councilman Michael Schiliro for the Democratic Party line for North Castle supervisor. Schiliro has been endorsed for by the Democratic, Independence and Conservative Parties.
The Democratic Committee had anonymously endorsed two non-affiliated candidates, Barry Reiter and José Berra, for North Castle Town Board.
North Castle Democratic Committee Co-Chairman Barry Malvin said he fulfilled the mandate required to meet the conditions certifying the authorization of the Wilson Pakula Act; this act allows non-registered candidates to receive a nomination from a party in which they are not registered. Reiter and Berra are both registered as non-affiliated voters.
The Democratic Committee voted on the nominees at the end of May.
Billy McClure, Chairman of the North Castle Conservative Committee, said he feels confident in the candidates that have been endorsed by North Castle's Conservative Committee. The Conservatives endorsed Schiliro, Barbara DiGiacinto and Reiter. McClure says, "The system will prevail."
Schiliro, DiGiacinto and Berra received the endorsement from the Westchester County Independence Party.
The court hearing will be held on Monday, July 29, at 9:30 a.m. in White Plains and will be presided by Supreme Court Justice Robert DiBella.
Trummer-Napolitano Begins Campaign for Town Justice
July 22, 2013 Linda Trummer-Napolitano officially began her campaign for North Castle Town Justice with family and friends at David Chen's restaurant on July 9th.
Ms. Trummer-Napolitano is campaigning door to door. She has already met hundreds of people, but intends to knock on over three thousand more doors. "Why should you vote for me if you don't know me," she asks.
The North Castle Democratic Committee has endorsed Trummer-Napolitano. Democratic Co-Chairman Barry Malvin says Trummer-Napalitano is an excellent candidate. "She is fair, balanced, bipartisan and has a respect for the law that can't be underestimated. She has the right judicial temperament."
Trummer-Napolitano graduated summa cum laude from Queens College, CUNY and received a J.D. cum laude from Fordham University Law School. Linda has handled general litigation responsibilities, including appellate practice in the state and federal courts, for over 30 years. She has her own private practice, the Law Office of Linda Trummer-Napolitano, in White Plains.
Michael Schiliro, the Democratic candidate for North Castle Supervisor and a sitting Town Board member, says he has known Linda for years. "Her background and resume speaks for themselves," Schiliro says. "Her credentials are impeccable, and couple that with the fact that she is a good person, and the town benefits," adds Schiliro.
Former Town Supervisor Reese Berman and former Town Clerk Ann Leber have also endorsed Trummer-Napolitano. And former North Castle Town Magistrate Susan Shimer, the first woman lawyer to serve as a Town Justice in New York State, has also endorsed Trummer-Napolitano.
Doug Martino Returns to the Campaign Trail by Ryan Raichelson
June 29, 2013 Candidate for Town Court Judge, Doug Martino, hosted his first official campaign event at Gavi Restaurant in Armonk on Tuesday night, June 25. During the function, Mr. Martino mingled with both community members and family, expressing his gratitude for their support. The fundraising event was an opportunity for the candidate to collect crucial petition signatures needed for his placement on the November 5 ballot.
Martino has been endorsed by the Republican and Independence parties. Through his career as a lawyer, Martino feels he has gained valuable experience that he wants to bring to the Town Court. In his work as both prosecutor and defense counsel, he considers himself uniquely qualified to interpret both sides of a criminal case. Martino has had previous experience sitting on the bench. He has served as a City Court small claims arbitrator, an Appellate Court Litigator, and as the Administrative Law Judge for the Westchester County Solid Waste Commission.
After losing a close 2010 race for County Court Judge, Martino is motivated to work even harder in this race. A supporter, Neal Baumann, spoke enthusiastically about the Martino’s merits: “I’ve known Doug for a number of years, on both a personal and professional level. He is a person of the highest level of integrity who will make a perfect addition to the Town Court.”
Voter Registration Tallies for North Castle
As of June 4, 2013, there are 8,641 North Castle registered voters.
Editorial Republican Nominating Petition for Three Incumbents Said to be Circulating in North White Plains By Michelle Boyle
Updated June 21, 2013 At the North Castle Republican Town Committee’s May 7th meeting, Arden, Cronin and DiDonato-Roth were invited to appear before the Commmittee to seek its endorsement for their re-election efforts. At that time, Arden was endorsed in his re-election bid as North Castle Town Supervisor.
Later at that same meeting, Cronin was asked if he was going to run for re-election; he told the group that he had not yet decided whether to run. DiDonato-Roth chose not to attend the meeting nor to seek the Committee's endorsement. With neither Cronin or DiDonato-Roth stepping forward to seek their party's endorsement, the Republicans chose another candidate, Barbara DiGiacinto to run with Arden and left the second slot for a Town Board position vacant.
Although Cronin declined to seek his party's endorsement on May 7th, he was quoted within days in another publication as saying that he did not respect the members of the committee who would have considered endorsing his candidacy.
So what were Cronin and DiDonato-Roth thinking? Did they fear that they would not receive their party's endorsement? Did they purposely want to force a Republican primary for this September?
In light of these questions, there has been an unconfirmed report that a Republican nominating petition was circulated on Wednesday in North White Plains by Sue Coppola, Arden's personal secretary and a full-time North Castle employee. The nominating petition allegedly has the names of Howard Arden running for Supervisor, Cronin for Town Board, as well as DiDonato-Roth for Town Board. The three incumbents' terms end on December 31st.
DiDonato-Roth and Cronin have not yet officially announced if they are running for Town Board. Arden's name already appears on another Republican petition being circulated which includes the names of Barbara DiGiacinto, Patricia Colombo (for Receiver of Taxes) and Douglas Martino (for Town Justice) on it.
I emailed Howard Arden to ask if there is any truth that a Republication petition is being circulated in North White Plains for him, John Cronin and Diane DiDonato-Roth, as well as if they all appear together on the same petition? I have yet to receive a response.
However, North Castle Republican Town Committee Chairman Anita Cozza said she spoke with Supervisor Arden on Friday morning and he told her that he knew nothing about a petition that had his name, along with Cronin's and DiDonato-Roth's, name on it.
I then spoke with Coppola and asked her if she carried petitions this week in North White Plains. While she is at work, she said she is unable to speak about campaigning; while she agreed to speak with me from home, she has not yet returned either that or a follow-up call.
A Republican resident of North White Plains, who asked to remain anonymous, said she spoke with two people in North White Plains who were asked by Coppola to sign a Republican petition and they did so. One person said the three incumbents' names were on the petition and the other said she wasn't sure which names appeared on the petition, which she signed nevertheless.
DiDonato-Roth said that she did not know of any petition with her name on it. She added that she is waiting for Cronin to announce if he is running and, if so, DiDonato-Roth said she is only running if Cronin runs. Otherwise, said DiDonato-Roth, "It is so disheartening to serve." Roth added that she will not publicly announce if she is running until she speaks with her husband.
I also called Cronin and left a message. He too has not returned my call, but he has said that he still has things to accomplish as the Town Board liaison with the Parks and Recreation Department and he is not sure he wants to serve a full four-year term.
If Cronin were to be re-elected and then to resign, the board would then appoint a Town Board member to fill his vacancy until a special election could be held.
Filling a potential vacancy on the Town Board would hold true if Councilman Michael Schiliro is successful in his quest for the Town Supervisor position. Endorsed by the Democratic Party, Conservative Party and Independence Party, Schiliro, if he were to win, would then oversee the appointment of a replacement of his position on the Town Board.
With this alleged effort of a petition-signing for Arden, Cronin and DiDonato-Roth underway, the North Castle Republican Town Committee, which has endorsed life-long resident Barbara DiGiacinto for Town Board, must now plan for a primary for the Republican party line for Town Board. It is anticipated that Arden (and Roth and Cronin, if they run) will file an opportunity to ballot that permits them to carry petitions under parties for which they are not registered. If that happens, we will likely see a primary for the Conservative and Independence party lines.
The Conservative party has endorsed Michael Schiliro for Supervisor, Barbara DiGiacinto for Town Board and Barry Reiter for Town Board; the Independence Party has endorsed Michael Schiliro for Supervisor, Barbara DiGiacinto for Town Board, José Berra for Town Board, Douglas Martino for Town Justice and Patricia Colombo, Receiver of Taxes.
If a registered Republican resident were to sign a petition for the three incumbents, that resident would not be eligible to sign any other petition with their names on it. Arden's name already appears on petitions being circulated within North Castle; if a resident has signed a petition with the three incumbents' names on it, that signature would be void from any petition if the signator signed more than one petition with Arden's name on it.
Political party petitions require at least five (5) percent of the registered voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election, said Tony Futia. Futia is carrying nominating petitions for himself in North White Plains in order to primary for Supervisor on the Democratic Party line. Since it is a common political strategy for an opposing side to file with the Westchester County Board of Elections to review petition signatures, candidates typically gather more than is necessary. Futia said he needs 150 signatures and plans to get around 200 himself.
Adding interest to the primary process might be Developer Michael Fareri. He said that he has been asked by so many people for an awful long time if he was interested in running for Town Supervisor. He is now not sure of how he is going to go forward, but he plans to look carefully at all the candidates.
Fareri said that Schiliro is a great candidate for Supervisor and would do a good job. Although Fareri supported Arden, DiDonato-Roth and Cronin in their prior runs for Town Board positions, Fareri said he will not endorse them this time, or vote for them, because he is not thrilled with their voting records.
DiDonato-Roth's unsuccessful run for State Senate last year was a bad idea, said Fareri. It was troubling to him to see DiDonato-Roth willing to resign halfway into her four-year term to seek another, higher political office.
"Everyone has the right to run for any political office, but it is to the advantage of the voters to have the opportunity to see the past performance of the incumbents," Fareri added. “What they said and what they did is black and white.”
Fareri said he still has certain issues with Arden's campaign two years ago when Arden ran for Supervisor. At that time, all of the candidates for Town Board attended a meeting held by the Residents of Windmill Inc. at the Windmill Club. At the meeting, Arden said, as did all the candidates, his position on Brynwood Country Club's wanting to rezone the site was that he would not support more than the allowed "as of right" units for which the property is currently zoned. Since his election as Town Supervisor, Arden has voted to allow the Brynwood application to move forward. Cronin and DiDonato-Roth have voted with Arden; Schiliro and Councilman Steve D'Angelo have not. (Brynwood's application for 88 condominiums overlooking the 18-hole golf course is set for a public hearing on June 27.)
As this political season heats up, there will be several petitions circulated in North Castle. During the next month, North Castle residents will be asked to sign nominating petitions. Please review whose name is at the top of any petition before signing it. Voters are advised to sign only one petition for each candidate. Find out who is running against them. Most important, consider where the candidates stand on issues that are meaningful to you. If you have questions and the candidate is not carrying the petition that seeks your signature, ask that the candidate call you to discuss any issues -- and wait to sign once you're satisfied. Candidates should contact you if they are serious about getting your signature and eventually your vote. If not, reconsider signing their petition.
Candidates, please provide sincere answers to voters' concerns, rather than answers you think the voters might want to hear, just so that you can get your name on the ballot. After all, you wouldn't want to mislead the electorate.
North Castle Conservative Party Endorses a Mix of Dem, GOP and Unaffliated Candidates
Updated June 4, 2013 The North Castle Conservative Committee has announced its endorsements for the November 2013 election. Chairman Billy McClure said yesterday that the Conservative Party Committee has endorsed Michael Schiliro, a Democrat, for Supervisor. McClure said the committee endorsed Schiliro for his last two runs for Town Board and he has not disappointed them, so they endorsed him once again. Schiliro also has the Democratic Party and the Independence Party endorsements.
For the Town Board, the Conservatives have endorsed life-long North Castle resident Barbara DiGiacinto, a Republican. "The people who interviewed me felt I was a sincere candidate who desires to bring back the word "We" rather than "I" at Town Board Meetings and discussions," says DiGiacinto. "In addition, various residents approached all three Chairs and encouraged them to endorse me because they had faith in me as a person as well as faith in my judgment to serve on the Town Board. I am thrilled to be endorsed by all three parties and vow not to disappoint the Republicans, Independence, and Conservative Party Members who trust my ability to serve on North Castle's Town Board."
A newcomer to the political scene, unaffiliated Barry Reiter has also received the Democratic and Conservative nod. Barry Reiter says, "I'm humbled to have received the endorsement of two political parties. Words cannot fully emphasize how honored I am to have earned their confidence and faith that I will be the one who will work hard to be a voice for the town's residents and address the town's matters with my colleagues."
In addtion Reiter says, "I'm not registered to a specific party because I support candidates who work best with others to get the job done. North Castle deserves a candidate who can do that by collaborating effectively. That is the candidate I'm going to be. My vision for this town is a reinvigorated pride in our community and confidence in our decision makers. I've talked to many residents of different political parties and they agree with me. They are ready for fresh leaders who are motivated and eager to work hard, listen and make the right decisions to move our town forward."
"These candidates have been around for a good amount of time and should be good for the election," McClure added, "they are fair-minded people."
To date, the only other candidate who has announced that he is seeking election to town board is also an unaffiliated newcomer, José Berra. Berra has received endorsements from the Democratic Party and the Independence Party. "I'm flattered that they are willing to me give me their support," he says. Berra is unaffiliated with any party, he says, because his philosophy is that people should be elected on their merits, on their qualifications and sense of fairness, and not because of their party affiliations.
Incumbents Diane DiDinoto-Roth and John Cronin have not yet announced whether they are seeking reelection. Both of their first terms expire this year in December.
The Republican Party, Conservative Party and Independence Party has also endorsed incumbent Patricia Colombo as North Castle's Receiver of Taxes, who appears, so far, to be running unopposed.
The North Castle Conservative Party Committee is made up of 21 District Leaders, five of them executive members. Most of the committee members have been longtime residents. The Conservative line usually generates from 130 to 140 votes per elections, says McClure.
The Conservative Party and Independence Party typically does not endorse its own candidates, they usually cross-endorse candidates from the two major parties. But it is an advantage for candidates to appear on at least two party lines of an election ballot, which gives the party endorsements of the Conservative Party and Independence Party more weight. The North Castle Conservative Committee will submit the recommendations to the Westchester County Committee, McClure says, and generally the Westchester County committee backs the local recommendations with few exceptions.
As of September 2011 there were 8,482 registered voters in North Castle. The party affiliations were as follows:
McClure served 20 years on North Castle's Town Board. He was a registered Republican until 1985. "I still lean that way, McClure says, "but I'm a Conservative with sanity," similar perhaps to longtime New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who said he was "a liberal with sanity."
North Castle Democrats Endorse Candidates for Town Board
Updated May 30, 2013 On May 28, 2013, the North Castle Democratic Committee endorsed Michael Schiliro (Democrat) for North Castle Town Supervisor, as well as two newcomers for the Town Board: José Berra and Barry Reiter, neither of whom is a registered Democrat.
Democratic Committee Co-Chair John Diaconis said the Democrats have a strong slate for Schiliro to run on, with good candidates who listen well and keep an open mind. The candidates do not have any personal agendas, Diaconis says, and they will make decisions based upon the facts. Most important, says Diaconis, the candidates want transparent government.
Co-Chair Barry Malvin says the Democratic Committee is united behind the ticket, including the two nonaffiliated candidates running with Schiliro.
Michael Schiliro is currently serving his second term on the Town Board. If Schiliro were to be elected as Supervisor, the new Town Board would appoint a councilman to fill Schiliro's seat until the next election in 2014, about a year before Schiliro's term would otherwise end. If Schiliro were to lose, however, he would remain Councilman. Schiliro was reelected to the Town Board in November 2011 with 1,600 votes, or 28% of North Castle's votes in a four-candidate race. The winners were Schiliro and Stephen D'Angelo, who defeated Matt Rice and Chris Carthy.
José Berra has lived in North Castle for many years, says Diaconis, and has been involved with the Armonk Outdoor Art Show. Berra was a tax lawyer with the United States Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy.
Barry Reiter has three children, two of whom have graduated from the school district, and he has been both an active parent and an athletic coach. Reiter is also the current chairman of the North Castle Citizens Corps Council (NC4).
This November there will be two open positions for the North Castle Town Board, since the terms of Republicans Diane DiDinoto-Roth and John Cronin are expiring. Neither DiDinoto-Roth nor Cronin have announced yet whether they intend to run for reelection.
Registered Democrat Tony Futia is considering petitioning for a primary against Schiliro for Supervisor. Futia worked for the Town of North Castle for decades in the Sewer and Water Department, retiring as Superintendent in 2011. Futia attends most Town Board meetings, often providing political observations from a historical perspective. In 2005, Futia ran for Supervisor on the Libertarian line and received 5% of the vote against Reese Berman, who won 51% of the vote when she unseated Jack Lombardi, who won only 43% of the vote. Lombardi had served as North Castle's Supervisor for 44 years.
Democratic Co-Chair Diaconis says he would be disappointed if Futia ran for Supervisor.
Supervisor Howard Arden says he expected Schiliro to run all along, especially since Schiliro met with Westchester County's Independence Party Chairman, Giulio Cavallo, about three weeks ago. Arden says the town is in a better position than it was two years ago and that his record speaks for itself. "North Castle is the envy of Westchester County and now voters will have a choice," added Arden. "The game is on."
As the candidates of different parties begin to seek signatures for their nominating petitions, which begins June 5, 2013, be sure to ask them questions about where they stand on important town issues such as commercial development, rezoning, and multi-dwelling residences.
Tony Futia Says The Town's Benefits Hurt the Board's Objectivity
Updated May 10, 2013 Tony Futia, North Castle's former Sewer and Water Department Superintendent, has always been opinionated, attending Town Board meetings since 1967. Futia has also unsuccessfully run for office, and sued the town over many issues.
Futia's most recent question, posed during the citizen comment portion of the May 8 Town Board meeting, was: "Why are so many people using public offices as an opportunity for self-enrichment instead of for promoting the public interest?"
Futia says only two prior North Castle board members, one Democrat and one Republican, have actually had the town's best interest at heart. The rest of the members, he says, have consistently looked out for themselves. One factor is the benefits received after 10 years of service, says Futia. After a board member's first four-year term (or two-year term for Supervisor) Futia says, elected board members realize that they only need to serve six (or eight) more years to get lifetime benefits. Then the elected officials start to make decisions, says Futia, with reelection, and with these benefits, in mind. "They try to justify it by saying how this job is so important and that it takes them away from their families much of the time. They claim they deserve these benefits," Futia says. But he also warns that board members lose perspective whne they seek re-election and lifetime benefits.
The actions of Town Board members are not always in the public's interest, says Futia. One decision that was politically motivated years ago, he says, was during the discussions about whether a supermarket would be located at the Armonk Bowl on Old Route 22. Futia says that at the time the town's administrators did not want the project to progress because they believed that the development would have cost them votes at election time. Futia also accused one elected official of "double dipping," by choosing the town's benefits over benefits from a career job in order to avoid paying into the latter.
Futia says he is confident, however, that the current administration will not incur these types of problems, because perhaps atypically, they will keep North Castle's best interest at heart.
North Castle Democratic Committee Endorses Linda Trummer-Napolitano for Town Justice
April 26, 2013 At its monthly meeting on April 9th, the North Castle Town Democratic Committee unanimously endorsed the candidacy of Linda Trummer-Napolitano for North Castle Town Justice.
A resident of Armonk, where she lives with husband of 36 years, Michael Napolitano, living literally five minutes from Town Hall, Linda has an excellent 31 year record of complex litigation experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants. She has the education, training and work ethic that is necessary to become an outstanding municipal judge here in North Castle. She opened her own private law practice in White Plains in 2004 representing a variety of clients in all courts and providing trial and appellate support to other law firms. Ms.Trummer-Napolitano has an extensive appellate practice, having briefed and argued many cases in state and federal courts.
She graduated cum laude from Fordham University School of Law and served on the Law Review, after graduating summa cum laude from Queens College, CUNY.
While her goal is to become a sitting Town judge in North Castle, she is admitted to the Bars of the NYS, the Southern District of NY and the Eastern District of NY, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Fourth Circuits and the United States Supreme Court.
We believe Linda has the temperament, experience and dedication to be an excellent Town Justice.
Barry Malvin and John Diaconis Co-Chairs North Castle Democratic Committee
North Castle News From January 1964 Rings True Today
February 13, 2013 The well remembered newspaper ran a front page story about the newly formed North Castle Business Development Committee. Supervisor Jack Lombardi described the committee's objectives and importance of coordinating with other committees and town boards. Lombardi was quoted as saying, "We want to bring the right kind of businesses into this community to broaden our tax base and at the same time keep the Town green."
Almost 50 years later, his statement about commercial development still holds up. As the economy slowly shows some signs of rebounding, the various town boards that review applications for business development should be concerned with broadening our tax base while preventing over development. It's a balancing act complicated by the available leasing of retail spaces scattered throughout North Castle and the future commercial developments of Armonk Square, Marianni Gardens and CVS Pharmacy at the Armonk Shopping Center.
The objective is challenging. As we elect a Town Supervisor and two Town Councilman in nine months, think carefully about who you cast your vote for, as Lombardi put it so well, to be "the salesman of our community."
Election Day in North Castle Brings Big Changes By Linda Fernberg
November 6, 2013 On November 5, 2013, Election Day brought some dramatic results to the Town of North Castle. Perhaps the outcome was in part thanks to the accomplishments and influence of the late Becky Kittredge and the late Millie Wago.
Two years ago the trio of Howard Arden, John Cronin and Diane Roth became an influential force on the North Castle Town Board. Many residents soon began to feel as if something akin to “The Tea Party” had taken control of the Town Board. Sadly enough, Town Board meetings often erupted in arguments, and many citizens felt their voices were not being heard.
In the September 2013 Primary, Town Councilwoman Roth was forced to forfeit her candidacy. The remaining candidates fought hard to win through mailings, emails and debates.
The citizens of North Castle were left with a serious choice to make: Would they vote to keep the direction of the current board without Roth or would they vote for what many considered a much-needed change?
Gavi Restaurant became the place for celebration on election night. The Democrats were there in full force, tallying the results of the election. When it became clear that Mike Schiliro had won the position of North Castle supervisor, cheers erupted!
Then came some unexpected results. Barry Reiter won the “unofficial” most votes for councilman; right behind him was Barbara DiGiacinto. Jose Berra received more votes than John Cronin and fell just short of being elected. Linda Trummer-Napolitano made a valiant effort, but failed to win a coveted judgeship; still, the hearty crowd cheered Linda for all her hard work.
Howard Arden came to Gavi and conceded the election to Mike Schiliro.
Then Schiliro, filled with emotion, took to a chair and said, “This is for Becky.” Becky Kittredge had wanted him to become the next town supervisor, and he carried her picture, along with Millie Wago’s, throughout the campaign. His speech resonated loudly with the crowd. Then he thanked everyone who helped him achieve the “top spot” in town. He especially thanked his wonderful family, which includes his three girls and partner in life, Lori.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the win by Barbara DiGiacinto, Republican-Town Board member elect. When she arrived at Gavi, cheers erupted again. Barbara and Sam Morrell, founder of Small Town Theatre, bestowed upon Mike Schiliro a picture of Town Hall that Becky had left for Barbara. Everyone at Gavi remembered and felt especially grateful for the years of non-partisan service given by Becky Kittredge and Mildred Wago. The torch was passed, and the Town Board was ready to enter an exciting new era.
Linda Fernberg is a North Castle registered Democrat and is also an active member of the North Castle Democratic Committee.
Barry Reiter: Candidate for North Castle's Town Board
September 18, 2013 An Armonk resident for over twenty years, Barry Reiter will appear on the November 5 ballot for Town Board on both the Democratic Party line and the Conservative Party line, which he won in the Primary election. As a non-affiliated registered voter, Reiter told All About Armonk that he prefers that people in the town get to know about him as a person, regardless of party affiliation. Born in Manhattan and moving to Mount Vernon during middle school, he attended American University, graduating in 1976 with a BA in Political Science and Criminal Justice.
Reiter worked for many years in a family business started by his father. Faculty Practice Services, Inc. is a service business for medical billing and practice management which works with physicians, hospitals, and the related health-care community. For a period of three years beginning in 2001, Reiter worked as a consultant organizing doctors’ office workflow. About six years ago he went back into the medical billing business and took on two partners. He based his new business in Armonk.
Reiter and his wife Barbara moved to North Castle for the quality education offered by the Byram Hills School District for their three children and the unique character of the town. “I loved the local, small business feel the town has. It’s what really set it apart from other towns in the county,” said Reiter. Reiter served two full terms on the Byram Hills Education Foundation's board from 2000 to 2006. He worked collaboratively with other members to raise grant money for a variety of programs such as software, smart boards, cameras, the high school observatory, and teaching programs. “A strong school district significantly affects property values. Serving on the Education Foundation allowed me to provide innovative tools and necessary resources for our teachers to ensure our children receive the education they deserve.” said Reiter.
“Town services also affects property values,” he continued. "We need to reverse the decline in town services. There's definitely some mismanagement. Many roads, for instance, are in terrible shape. Services can only be cut to a point -- you have to be mindful, resourceful, to understand what has to be done to allocate the resources that are needed. To me, there is a big difference between fiscal responsibility and neglect. Sometimes tough choices need to be made that result in reduced services, but the town government needs to make sure that all issues are studied, addressed and efficiently managed. Groundwater is also an important issue that I'd like to focus on."
Reiter currently serves as Chairman of the North Castle Citizen Corps Council (NC4,) which works with the North Castle Police Department's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to provide awareness, education and preparedness. NC4 also offers direct assistance to residents during emergencies by operating public shelters with beds, electricity and clean water. He joined the organization of one hundred members about four years ago. For thirteen days after Superstorm Sandy hit last year, Barry worked with dozens of other volunteers at the Hergenhan Recreation Center, assisting some of the 90 percent of town's residents out of power.
"It really was an eye opener," said Reiter. "We helped a lot of people, including many senior citizens. I was most impressed by how close the community came together to operate the shelter. People were donating food and working long shifts when they had plenty to worry about in their own homes. I made many new friends during those 13 days. Many of them did not know what they would have done without the shelter. They were incredibly appreciative of everything NC4 had to offer. This feeling helped inspire me to run for Town Board. Being able to help my fellow residents and finding ways to bring the community together. That’s what I want to bring to the Town Board."
During that time, he listened and learned a lot about what the town issues are. He reported about the shelter daily on the municipal calls with state and federal authorities with other towns. "We were one of the few places in Westchester County that had the sheltering and resources to get through such a serious disaster. FEMA complimented us for having one of the most well prepared shelters in the county. It is evident that there will be more storms in the near future. We need to strengthen our preparedness and raise awareness about these programs," he added.
Barry decided to run for the North Castle Town Board around the time of Sandy. A major concern was whether his family wanted to support his campaign. His wife, Barbara, has worked hard on his campaign and drives with him while campaigning door to door. Reiter also confirmed that his business partners were on board with his candidacy since he would require time away for campaigning and then, serving on the Town Board.
While he has watched the town deteriorate in certain areas, Reiter said he has become concerned, "There is a lot of mismanagement. With declining revenues and limited resources there's a higher demand and we need to invest money in infrastructure. High quality services should be delivered in the most cost effective ways."
Zoning laws have to be diligent and must be examined, said Reiter. "All the concerns have to be weighed and looked at a respectful manner. The Town Board members have to be thoughtful of how zoning is considered at a reasonable pace. But some people don't listen, it is evident at some of the Town Board meetings that people have made their minds up already."
Reiter served as Secretary and on the Executive of the Board of the Healthcare Billing and Management Association (HBMA) Trade Association. He has had the opportunity to participate in many leadership programs in executive training, learning management skills, and service skills for organizations. At the strategic planning meetings for the trade associations, Reiter learned how to deal with his business; strategically planning where you are now; where you want to be in six months; in two years; and five years. "The Town Board should do strategic planning sessions," said Reiter. "Look back to see where the Town was, what plans were accomplished, look what other towns are doing and where we want to be."
Reiter served on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Health Advisory Panel for a short time and currently serves on Senator Gillibrand's panel for aging, dealing with issues such as Alzheimer's. Reiter also served as a resource for Congresswoman Nita Lowey's office to inform on the professional side of Medicare and other important healthcare issues. Reiter helped bring information to the congressional members so that they can use his knowledge in considering legislative issues, regulations and changes.
In a service business, Reiter works as a project team member: "It's something this Town Board needs desperately. On a collaborative issue you have to work together and sit down and agree to disagree. I can listen, evaluate and make a decision based upon the facts. To make a good decision, you have to understand the facts, and do the homework by taking the time to do the research."