Meet Seth Ross, Candidate for Village Trustee
- Published on Monday, 30 January 2017 20:23
- Joanne Wallenstein
Seth Ross was one of the three candidates selected by the Citizens Nominating Committee to serve a two-year term as Village Trustee. The Village election will be held on Tuesday March 21 at Scarsdale Library.
In order to help you get to know him better, we asked him a few questions – and here are his responses.
(Q) Why are stepping up to serve the Village? What in your past civic activities prepares you for the position?
I'll answer these questions together because the answers are really intertwined. I've always believed that it's important to participate actively in one's community. Government "by the people" is meaningless if the people don't participate, and it's only as good as the character and the efforts of the people who are willing to step up.
Accordingly, since I moved to Scarsdale over 20 years ago I have done quite a bit of civic work. Scarsdale was a good fit for me in that the community as a whole works so hard to keep politics and partisanship out of local government. So I joined the TVCC (most of the functions of which have now been assumed by the Scarsdale Forum) and became a member of its board of directors, volunteered as a firefighter, and served on a number of committees, including the CNC and the Procedure Committee (which I chaired about ten years ago). I also served on and chaired the Zoning Board and the Planning Board.
In all of these roles I had the opportunity to participate and to learn about the community and some opportunity to influence outcomes. The work I was doing frequently required me to give a lot of thought to what I believed was best for the community. I also served on the Scarsdale Bowl Committee and chaired that committee in 2010. That was (maybe unexpectedly) one of the most important experiences I've had as a local volunteer because it exposed me to the examples of people who had done really outstanding service to the community, had made Scarsdale a better place, and took tremendous satisfaction in what they had accomplished. These people were great role models, and the satisfaction they got from their community service was contagious.
I am currently a trustee of the Scarsdale Foundation, a local charity that helps Scarsdale residents (as well as others) in a variety of ways and, again, exposes me to people (my fellow trustees) who do a great deal of good in the community. My 20 plus years of service in all these capacities has helped me to understand how Scarsdale functions and to develop the skill set I think is necessary for successful service on the Board of Trustees, and I think that service as a Village trustee is a logical next step.
(Q) What do you think are the key challenges facing Scarsdale today?
As always, the overriding challenge is to provide the government the Village needs, including the services and amenities that our residents expect, and to do so in a fiscally responsible manner. This has become increasingly difficult as it becomes more and more expensive for municipalities even to sustain current levels of service, not to mention upgrading services and facilities to keep pace with residents' changing needs.
This year, of course, there is an additional set of challenges. Both the second reval and the diminution of confidence in our local government that resulted from it must be dealt with. All of this is happening in an environment in which government in general has come to be widely perceived as, at best, a necessary evil rather than a really positive force.
Nevertheless, I think it's important that all of us, particularly those serving or seeking to serve as public officials, appreciate the issues we face as a community and a society and the ability of government to address those issues. Of course, those issues change and evolve over time, as do the tools available to government to tackle them, and one of the fundamental challenges of government at all levels is to evolve accordingly.
The many current threats to the quality of our physical environment comprise one such issue, and a very urgent one. The Village's food compost drop-off (the first of its kind in Westchester County) and the textile recycling bin, both at the Village's Secor Road facility, as well as the pilot LED streetlight program, are among the Village's efforts to combat some of those threats.
In response to concerns about the quality of communications between our local government and our residents, the Village's Ad Hoc Committee on Communications was formed and a new website (which is a big improvement over the previous one) was launched.
These are just a few of the efforts on the part of the Village to address changing needs and priorities. These efforts will be built upon and new ones will be launched as needed so that our local government can fulfill both its mandate and its potential as a positive force.