Mayor Liz Feld has selected a financial investor and political newcomer, Josh Mandell, to fill the vacancy on the Village Board of Trustees left by the departure of Jim Millstein on May 17. (See: VOL Trustee Leaves to Join US Treasury.)
Mr. Mandell, 41, is a Democrat. Mayor Feld, the only Republican on the board, had said that party affiliation would not be one of her considerations in selecting a new trustee. (See: Mayor Feld Announces Mandell is New VOL Trustee.)
A graduate of the University of Florida (1989), Mr. Mandell worked at Salomon Brothers in the 1990s and later at Caxton Associates, mostly as an investor for high net worth individuals and institutions. He now invests primarily for his own portfolio – which leaves him a lot of time and flexibility for volunteer service, he told the Gazette on Wednesday, June 3, following the mayor’s announcement of his appointment.
After a 20-year career “which was rewarding mostly in the financial sense, I’m seeking greater rewards now,” said Mr. Mandell.
Mr. Mandell and his wife, Ravit, lived in Mamaroneck Village for six years before moving to Larchmont Village in 2006. They have three children. “This is a wonderful community – we fell in love with it,” said Mr. Mandell.
Mandell Will Be Fire Commissioner
Mr. Mandell joined the Larchmont Fire Department in July of 2007, a few months after the board’s appointment of a paid chief precipitated the resignation of many long-term volunteers. (See: Larchmont Appoints Paid Fire Chief; Many Volunteers Resign ) Mr. Mandell is now certified as an interior firefighter.
As fire commissioner, Mr. Mandell said his primary responsibility will be to “insure the safe and efficient operation of the department by offering the assistance, consideration and support of the Village Board,” To that end, ”I’d like to work with the chief and others to insure the community enjoys the same local services our citizens have always enjoyed,” he said.
Michael Wiener, a current volunteer firefighter and former fire chief and Larchmont trustee, said Mr. Mandell has been “trying to help work on the healing process” in the department.
Another issue that may confront the new fire commissioner is allocating resources for the department. ”They need to either hire more personnel or recruit more active volunteers,” said Mr. Wiener. “You need to have enough people to safely fight the fires – for the residents and for the firefighters. I hope Josh will have the time to evaluate this in a more expeditious manner.”
Other Issues for the New Trustee
But fire department concerns made up only 10 percent of the conversation with the mayor and the board in the run-up to his appointment, said Mr. Mandell. More critical were topics relating to maintenance of services and infrastructure. Also important, he said, were “seeking out and driving initiatives that improve the quality of life.” He mentioned playing fields and parks, for example.
On another issue, consolidation of services, Mr. Mandell said he is not ready to pass judgment and is “just becoming privy to some of the details.”
The appointment is the mayor’s to make, but other board members interviewed Mr. Mandell as well. Trustee Marlene Kolbert said she is just getting to know him, but “he seems like he has a wonderful temperament for the job. He is very thoughtful. He understands the issues. He has become really involved in Larchmont. And in the relatively short time that he’s lived here, he loves the community: all wonderful qualities for a trustee.”