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Politics

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Mamaroneck Dems Press Mayor Further on Village Attorney

The Village of Mamaroneck Democratic Committee is disappointed that Mayor Rosenblum resorts to name-calling and baseless personal attacks rather than engaging in constructive dialogue regarding the Village Attorney.

The Village Attorney, appointed by the mayor to an impartial, non-partisan post, has announced her candidacy for the office of Village Justice on the Republican and Conservative party tickets. The Village Democrats have said that she should resign her current position. The Mayor’s response: name-calling and personal attacks. He offered no explanation or justification for allowing her to stay on in her current post.

In our view, the position of Village Attorney should be filled by an attorney who can provide non-partisan, impartial advice to the Village’s Mayor, Board of Trustees, Village employees and volunteer committees. We believe it a mistake to have filled the position of Village Attorney with a party activist, and a gross error in judgment for her to stay in that position while running for the office of Village Justice. How can any opinion she now offers appear impartial and non-political when she is actively running on the Republican and Conservative slates? We believe her candidacy precludes her from functioning as a nonpartisan counselor to the Board of Trustees.

The Mayor raises the ridiculous notion that if the Village Attorney were to resign the incumbent trustees should resign as well. The Mayor seems unable to see that the incumbent Trustees are running for re-election on the basis of their record as trustees. The Village Attorney, on the other hand, is running for political office on the slate of the Republican and Conservative parties, with Trustee Ybarra as her running mate, while supposedly serving as impartial counsel to Trustees Hofstetter and Ryan who are running for re-election on the Democratic line. This obviously creates an appearance, at the very least, of a conflict of interest.

The larger issue, which the Mayor also chooses to ignore, is whether the Village Attorney should be a political appointee or an independent, impartial employee appointed on the basis of his or her legal qualifications. Is it good enough to appoint an attorney with the appearance of an agenda favoring her political party and backers and her own political ambitions?

The Mayor is correct when he says that in November, the voters will decide whether they agree with the Democrats – including our position that the Village needs a competent, independent professional village attorney committed solely to the welfare of the Village. Voters will decide whether the Village is better off having replaced a professional Village Attorney with a new attorney who announces, less than eight months after being illegally appointed, that she is looking to resign her position if she wins an election for Village Justice. (We note that it was only after she was appointed, that the law was changed to allow for her appointment.)

The citizens of Mamaroneck deserve and need continuity from its Village Attorney. This position is too important to serve as a convenient, eight-month launching pad for political ambition.

The mayor has cited “numerous fiscal and administrative improvements the Village Attorney has instituted.” We, however, have seen nothing of consequence. Indeed, we have noted that the Village Attorney is frequently AWOL when the trustees and volunteer committees need her for counsel. Village Laws are being written by outside consultants and Village employees, none of whom are attorneys. This has meant that Village business is conducted less efficiently and other professional employees are drafted to perform legal work rather than the work that they were hired to perform.

Our positions are clear. We have yet to hear coherent responses from the mayor.

Said Village Democratic Chair Elsa Puerto Rubin, “The Village Democrats look to engage in constructive discussions where differences in opinions and policies are aired openly. We will continue to do so.”

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