Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

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Murphy Might Run for Town Supervisor

The November elections are a looong way off, but already there are signs of an impending contested election for the position of Mamaroneck Town supervisor. “I haven’t totally made up my mind, but I am seriously considering a run,” said Tom Murphy, 47, a Democrat currently serving as deputy mayor in the Village of Mamaroneck.

“There are many challenges facing our community that would benefit from having a supervisor with a fresh perspective who will provide innovative leadership,” he said.

Among the issues, said Mr. Murphy, is consolidation of services. Further, the Mamaroneck Town Board should “consider what’s best for the villages when the Town makes decisions,” he said.

The current Mamaroneck Town Board does not include a resident of the Village of Mamaroneck. Four Town council members live in the unincorporated area of the Town of Mamaroneck: Ms. O’Keeffe, David Fishman, Ernie Odierna and Phyllis Wittner. Nancy Seligson lives in the Village of Larchmont.

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy

Valerie OKeeffe

Valerie O'Keeffe

The other likely candidate is Valerie O’Keeffe, 66, a Republican who has held the office since 1999. She won her first two-year term for supervisor (against Paul Ryan) in 1999. Subsequent races were uncontested until 2007, when she prevailed against Town Councilman Ernie Odierna with 69% of the vote. (See: O’Keeffe & Myers Re-Elected With Wide Margins.)

During her tenure, she has been the only Republican on the Town board.

Reached for comment, Ms. O’Keeffe said she was “not prepared to make a statement at this time.” Candidates are not required to declare until June.

Mr. Murphy, an elevator mechanic, moved with his family to the Heathcote Hills neighborhood of Mamaroneck Village in 1990. He and his wife have three children, 16, 13, and 7, who attend Mamaroneck public schools.

Mr. Murphy first served on the Mamaroneck Village Board of Trustees for six months in 2001. He ran again in 2004, becoming the only Democrat on the 5-person board. He won again in 2006 and 2008. The current board has only Democrats serving.

Ms. O’Keeffe, an attorney, has lived in the Town of Mamaroneck for most of her life. In 2007, she was elected president of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association, which includes members of 45 municipalities.

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1 comment to Murphy Might Run for Town Supervisor

  • Gman

    Mamaroneck Village Deputy Mayor Tom Murphy’s likely candidacy for Mamaroneck Town Supervisor, motivated by what he claims is the Town Board’s insensitivity to the needs of the incorporated villages (the Villages of Mamaroneck and Larchmont), provides a clarion call for the immediate incorporation of the unincorporated area of Mamaroneck Town.

    A review of the Mamaroneck Town budget will demonstrate that all but a small fraction of that budget is expended upon services for the unincorporated area, a fitting result considering that all but a tiny fraction of Town tax revenue is exacted from the residents of the unincorporated area, and that the residents of the unincorporated area must look only to the Town for their municipal services (as some of those residents have discovered when erroneously calling Larchmont or Mamaroneck Village police or fire departments, based upon those person’s postal codes rather than municipal boundaries).

    The residents of the incorporated villages, Mamaroneck and Larchmont, look almost entirely to their mayors and village boards for their services, not to Town government, and those public officials, accountable solely to the residents of their respective villages, serve and fight for the interests of those residents and not the residents of the unincorporated area.

    Yet, because the Town of Mamaroneck encompasses roughly half of the incorporated Village of Mamaroneck and all of the incorporated Village of Larchmont, residents of the half of the Village of Mamaroneck who are within the Town and all the residents of the Village of Larchmont, are permitted to vote for the Town’s Supervisor and the Town Councilpersons, despite receiving almost no services from the Town and despite contributing almost nothing to the Town’s tax revenue.

    As a result, the residents of the unincorporated area have the effectiveness of their votes diluted by the votes of the residents of the neighboring villages who have little stake in the operation of the Town. There are two highly undemocratic consequences of this vote dilution. The first is highlighted by Mamaroneck Village Deputy Mayor Murhpy who demands that the Town Supervisor and the Town Board consider the interests of the incorporated villages even if those interests conflict with the best interests of the residents of the unincorporated areas (need I mention resident versus non-resident fees at Harbor Island or Metro North parking lots, or at tennis courts, or land use planning, as a few examples). The second is, in the event that Town government is failing in some area (e.g., if the Town Highway Department were slow in filling potholes), as the government service involved is likely only provided to the unincorporated area, about half of the electorate will be neither effected nor offended, minimizing the clout of those in the unincorporated area who complain).

    To restore democracy’s hallowed “one person one vote” principal to the unincorporated area, and to prevent those from outside of the unincorporated area demanding that our municipal officials compromise our interests to better serve the interests of others who have less concern for the unincorporated area and have the interests of their villages at heart, it is imperative that we immediately incorporate the unincorporated area of the Town of Mamaroneck

    Adding another municipal layer can sometimes add significant cost because new municipal service departments must be created. However, that is not the case if the entire unincorporated area is incorporated into a single new village. The departments of the Town which serve only the unincorporated area will simply be carried over as the new village departments (e.g., Town fire becomes the new village fire department and Town police become the new village police department). Further, cooperative service arrangements currently existing between the Town and the villages, such as the Town-Village of Larchmont Joint Sanitation Commission will be carried over to the new village as well. The current Town Administrator would become the new village administrator and, rather than looking to the Town Supervisor for leadership, the unincorporated area residents would have a mayor of their own. By law, town government must continue to exist, but it would be an inexpensive shell of itself, with very few functions, and suitable to a “volunteer” very part time administration.

    Moreover, incorporating the unincorporated areas will not change anyone’s “address” as those addresses are assigned by the Post Office based on Zip Code service area. Thus, for example, despite the incorporation, those residents of the unincorporated areas within Zip Code 10538 will keep their “Larchmont” addresses despite the incorporation (and will continue to have nothing whatsoever to do with the Village of Larchmont’s services, despite that address). Of course, school assignments and school taxes, set by the Mamaroneck Union Free School District, will also remain unchanged.

    I therefore ask my fellow unincorporated area residents to give serious consideration to incorporating our area into a village of its own, so that, next time Mamaroneck Village Deputy Mayor Murphy believes that the unincorporated area is not being run in a manner that suits persons who do not live in it, rather than seeking a political takeover of the unincorporated area, he instead has his mayor call our mayor to negotiate the issue in a neighborly manner, negotiations in which our mayor will be our advocate.

    By the way, I do not oppose Mamaroneck Village Deputy Mayor Tom Murphy’s potential candidacy on partisan grounds, as I am a lifelong registered Democrat. I strenuously oppose the candidacy of anyone living outside the unincorporated area who seeks to take over the sole and overarching municipal government of that area upon the ground that the interests of those who contribute next to nothing to that government’s operation and who are only minimally served by that government, should be paramount.

    Barry Gedan
    Larchmont (Unincorporated Town of Mamaroneck)