Three incumbents – Valerie O’Keeffe, Ernie Odierna and Nancy Seligson – are running for re-election on the Mamaroneck Town Board – at this point without opposition.
Valerie O’Keeffe, 66, announced on Tuesday, June 2 that she would run again for supervisor. An attorney, Ms. O’Keeffe has been on the council since 1993 and the supervisor since 1999. She is the sole Republican on the board.
Ernie Odierna, 73, was first elected in 1998 and was re-elected without opposition in 2001 and 2005. He runs his own technology company, Com/Peripherals. He and his wife, Camille Odierna live in the unincorporated area of Mamaroneck Town. Their son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren live in Mamaroneck Village.
Nancy Seligson, 48, was appointed to the board in 2000 to fill Ms. O’Keeffe’s unexpired term. Ms. Seligson ran unopposed later in 2000 and again in 2001 and 2005. She is the co-chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Long Island Sound Study, which works with federal, state and local governments on restoration and protection of the Sound. Ms. Seligson lives in Larchmont Village with her husband, John Feingold, and a son who is finishing 9th grade at Mamaroneck High School. She has three stepdaughters.
In her announcement, Ms. O’Keeffe cited her good working relationship with the board. (See complete announcement.)
“Our present Town Board has been very productive and worked in a cooperative, non-partisan manner which has led to many accomplishments, especially in the areas of land use, the environment, and enhancement of recreation programs.”
Mr. Odierna and Ms. Seligson did not disagree with Ms. O’Keeffe’s characterization. However, they both said they would like to see new leadership.
“It’s reasonable that a change would be good for the town – change is in the air,” said Ms. Seligson. “A different person, planning and vision for the future would be good.”
Ms. Seligson said it was not a good time in her own life to run for supervisor. Further, the bulk of her work is focused on Long Island Sound and on environmental initiatives, she said, and she “can do a lot of good in the environmental arena” as a council member.
Mr. Odierna already ran for supervisor against Ms. O’Keeffe in 2007, losing by more than 2 to 1. Tom Murphy, a Democrat on the Mamaroneck Village Board, had stepped up to the plate in April to challenge Ms. O’Keeffe. However, last month, Mr. Murphy abruptly withdrew from the race and later resigned as trustee, citing unspecified personal reasons.
There is still time for someone else to come forward. Nominating petitions are not due until July. “We’re still considering several candidates,” said Roz Weinstein, chair of the Mamaroneck Town Democrats.
However, given Ms. O’Keeffe’s long-term electoral success in a town where Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans, it may be hard for the Democrats to find a viable challenger.
Work Done, Work Left to Do
In her announcement, Ms. O’Keeffe listed a number of accomplishments of the past two-year term. These include: introducing use of bio-fuels to heat municipal buildings and operate two sanitation trucks; consolidating senior programs for the Village of Mamaroneck with those for Mamaroneck Town and Larchmont Village; and working with Westchester County and neighboring municipalities on flood mitigation.
Ms. O’Keeffe also cited new medians on Myrtle Boulevard and new traffic signals at the nearby intersection with North Chatsworth along with the soon to be completed parking deck. Timing of the lights and new fees for parking have generated considerable controversy in the past two years.
Ms. O’Keeffe mentioned also that she had been elected president of the Westchester-Putnam Association of Town Supervisors.
Ms. Odierna said, going forward, a focus will be on services consolidation to save money. “I don’t know if there is enormous savings to be had or any low hanging fruit, but it’s worth looking at and exploring with the two villages.”
He would also like to see more recreational programs in the unincorporated part of Mamaroneck, such as kayaking at Gardens Lake. He said he has not given up on the idea of developing a teen center in the Highway Department garage. (See ).