Kudos for Departing Trustees Justin Arest and Lena Crandall
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 1001
With two new trustees elected to serve on the Scarsdale Village Board, Tuesday March 22, 2022 was the night to say goodbye to two hardworking trustees who will now retire from service. The opening hour of the Village Board meeting was devoted to lauding Deputy Mayor Justin Arest and Village Trustee Lena Crandall for four eventful years at the helm.
There was consensus that Arest had played a vital role in navigating rough waters during the pandemic, that threatened to sink Village finances. Working with then Mayor Marc Samwick the Village was able to reduce costs and set aside funds to meet revenue shortfalls and COVID expenses. He continued to oversee the budgeting process and worked with Mayor Jane Veron to change the way the budget was built.
Trustee Crandall was lauded for her advocacy for trees, parks and the environment and her leadership in formulating the Village’s policy on smoking, marijuana sales and usage. Consideration of the new MRTA law, was one of the major issues the board handled during the 21-2022 term.
Here are excerpts from some of the comments about the two made by their fellow trustees, the Mayor and visitors to Village Hall:
Trustee Ahuja, Scarsdale’s most junior trustee, noted that the two departing trustees had much in common. He said, “I have only worked closely with both of you for a short time but I am struck by how lucky Scarsdale is to have you serve the town. Both of you share three incredible traits:
Commitment – you both work hardest when no one is looking.
Caring – I don’t know two people who care more for the people who live and work here.
Command of the detail – no one has more command of the details than you!
He quoted athlete John Wooden who said, “It’s the little details that are vital – little things make big things happen!”
The Mayor noted Crandall’s “unwavering dedication, unstoppable energy and her strong passion for natural beauty and the environment.” She said, “You enliven the debate with anecdotes and storytelling … I admire your forthrightness and appreciate that you do not shy away from speaking your mind.” About her reputation as an environmentalist, Veron said,
“No doubt you’re an expert in parks and trees but make no mistake, your influence goes far beyond that ….you should be exceedingly proud of all you have accomplished.”
Turning to Justin Arest, she remembered meeting him on the ad hoc committee on communications and said, “I knew that with you we had struck gold.” Speaking of their partnership she said, “We have worked hard these past four years on every issue the board has confronted. I don’t think there is an important issue that you have not touched.”
Speaking of his dedication she said, “You are always in, all the time. Village Hall is your home away from home. You have a willingness to tackle issues head on… you are facile with every nuance and able to cull through large piles of information to get to the issue. You live and breathe your duty.”
She continued: “I have been honored to have you as my deputy manager during this transformational time. We kicked off a strategic plan, we hired a new village manager, and worked on the pool, placemaking, and transitioned our budget process. Your imprint is on every effort. No one will feel your absence more than I. You are my sounding board and my friend. You will be sorely missed.”
Karen Brew thanked Arest saying, “Justin: I have learned so much from you – both from your questions and answers. You are thoughtful, measured and creative. I admire your willingness to speak your mind even when you know it may not be popular….I have enjoyed getting to know you.”
To Lena Crandall she said, “Marijuana, telecom code and leaf vacuuming. We worked so well together. You approached an issue from a different point of view. You are fair, logical and ready to get to a solution… you approach everything with a seriousness of purpose … you have made every motion that I could second.”
Randy Whitestone remembered the lengthy campaign when the election was delayed from March until September due to COVID. To Lena he said, “You were my running mate during the crazy 2020 election. I remember campaigning together. We walked neighborhoods and prepared for our candidates’ forum. I remember a great discussion about mulching in your front yard. No tree remains unloved. You have been an advocate for seniors and those with disabilities. I thank you for your commitment.”
To Justin Arest he said, “We served as mutual sounding boards. We don’t always agree – but there is a shared interest in doing what is right. You deeply research issues and develop an informed point of view. You have thrown yourself into making Scarsdale a better place
We won’t let you get too far!”
Trustee Lewis showed how the two worked within the non-partisan system. He said, “The non-partisan system has us work collaboratively but not necessarily to agree. You have both sharpened our debate. You have both always taken the long view in an exemplary way.
Our non-partisan system asks us to consider policy for now and for the future. You have both always thought about issues through this lens. You come prepared with careful arguments to support your points of view and are open minded, informed, rigorous, and weigh the facts. You have served this board in ways that will leave an impact in years to come.
Accolades came from the audience as well. Andrew Sereysky said, “Thank you for all the work you do. Justin, I worked on the communications committee with you. I watched the way you work, I listened to your advice – we should all be appreciative of everything you do.”
About Lena he said, “I was pro marijuana reform and I ran into her last summer in the pool. After a conversation with her I thought she would be against it. But she ultimately voted for it. She is a trustee who takes her job seriously and gets into the facts – she is a great asset to the Village.”
Margot Milberg said she was there on behalf of the Library Board of Trustees to thank Justin for his work for the library and the community. She said, “He always supported our programs and events and would share information with the board and the community. He was an engaged member of the committee whose insights always led to a probing conversation.”
Alissa Baum, President of the LWVS extended thanks and to Arest and Crandall for their service. She said, “Both of you are exceptional public servants.” She complimented Arest on his financial and legal acumen that helped the village weather this crisis.” She added, “The League appreciates your accessibility.”
To Crandall she said, “We appreciate your commitment to our village in the park, and your sharp legal mind. We are grateful for all your service.”
Ron Schulhof had a few words of thanks to Lena and Justin for their service on the board. He said, “I worked with both of you for many years. Lena: we worked on many projects on the CAC and on sustainability. You are always available and consider all stakeholders. I am appreciative of everything you have done. Justin and I also worked together for many years. We are fortunate to have someone like you – with your work ethic. You keep your eye on the big picture. Many appreciate your willingness to challenge. It’s amazing to see what you have accomplished in your two terms on the board, most recently as deputy mayor. Thank you so much for all you have done.”
Newly elected Village Trustee Jeremy Gans said, “You have steered the Village through unprecedented times. No matter what you think might happen, you have no idea what might transpire during your term. … When COVID hit in March 2020, most of us did not know what to do except to stay home. The trustees had the same concerns but also had to steer and lead the Village during these times. They made all these decision without a playbook.”
Michelle Sterling thanked Crandall for being an amazing liaison to the CAC for three years. She said, “you came prepared, always with great ideas.”
To Justin she said, “You have given 150%. You are so prepared, so diligent and helpful. You always seem to put the WE above the I, and that is important.”
Bob Harrsion came to the mic to thank both trustees, noting that Lena “always returns my phone calls.” He thanked her for her support of the comfort station at the middle school and thanked Justin for his support of the Youth Tennis tournament.
Marcy Berman Goldstein gave a heartfelt thanks to Arest for his dedication to the Scarsdale Business Alliance. She said he was “Always available and instrumental in the ongoing success of the village reopening task force.” She said, “Thanks for being a mentor, role model and friend.”
Madelaine Eppenstein expressed her personal appreciation for the trustee’s work on behalf of the community. She said, “Best wishes to both of you.”
Lena Crandall then turned to Justin and said, “I always admired your knowledge of the law and your facts. I am grateful for your work on the budget.” She encouraged the public to speak up, saying, “Write down your comments and send them in. We listen to you!” She complimented trustee Whitestone on his ability to communicate and to “turn a phrase.”
Not to be outdone in the praise department, Arest made the following remarks:
I feel extremely fortunate to have represented Scarsdale for the last four years. While I am sad to leave the board, it has truly been an honor working with all of you, Village staff, and the countless volunteers who make Scarsdale such a special place to live.
To my family, my wife Allison and children, Madeline and Julian, thank you for supporting my desire to serve and for understanding that I could not be home many evenings. I love you and I hope that my passion to give back has been something my kids appreciate and will learn from.
To the residents and volunteers that I have worked with: Thank you for all that you do for Scarsdale, thank you for pushing me; thank you for challenging the board; thank you for helping me to learn and grow both personally and in my role as a member of the Village Board. There are so many people that deserve to be mentioned because without them I would not be here and do not believe I would have been able to achieve many of the accomplishments I am most proud of during my tenure. I hope you all know who you are and how appreciative I am and fortunate I consider myself to know you. I would be remiss however if I did not call a few people out but please know this does not diminish the impact of so many others. Madelaine Eppenstein, thank you for encouraging me to run and always being a supporter. Jon Mark, thank you for always being there to give advice and help run my campaign. Dara Gruenberg, who knew when you mentioned some crazy idea about renovating our library it would be part of a journey that brought me here. Thank you for being such a great friend, supporter, campaign chair and sounding board. I met Ron Schulhof in the peanut gallery of Village meetings. That is where I taught him everything he knows about sustainability. Just kidding of course but thank you Ron for your attention to detail and advice along the way. Diane Greenwald, thank you for all of your counsel and support. Andrew Sereysky is someone I might never have met if it wasn’t for volunteering and I am fortunate to have you as a friend. I am going to stop now because I could go on for a long time and this is still a Board Meeting.
I must thank the Scarsdale Inquirer and Scarsdale 10583. As Walter Conkrite once said, “Journalism is what we need to make democracy work.”
There are too many former staff members and board colleagues to mention but I do want to say that I appreciate all of their work and particularly all of their knowledge and wisdom. I do want to thank the other Mayors that I served under. Dan Hochvert, you did not know what to do with me at first but I think we became great colleagues as well as friends. Marc Samwick, you may still not know what to do with me but I was honored to serve as your deputy and am grateful for your leadership in one of the most challenging times for our Village. I am also fortunate to call you a friend. I would also like to briefly thank former Manager Steve Papalardo and former Village Treasurer, Mary Lou McClure. I learned a tremendous amount about municipal government and finance working with both of you.
To current staff…I have said this before but will happily say it again…I am so optimistic for the future of this government. We have such a great team in place. Donna, I am not sure if you count as current or former but I want to thank you for all of your help with Personnel, your dedication to this community and just being a wonderful person. Aylone, I really think you have grown a lot in your position and expect that to continue. Your enthusiasm and dedication are without question. Thank you for all of your help and I still am expecting to see improvements on parking technology and data collection in the near future. Ingrid, we have always had a great relationship. I think we have worked well together and have never hesitated from giving each other a hard time but all in good fun. Thank you for your commitment to this community. Alex, we have not worked together long but I think you are great and am excited to see you continue to grow in your role and help lead. Dan Pozin, thank you for leading our legal efforts. I appreciate your knowledge but also your willingness to be challenged in the pursuit of finding the best results. There are some other department heads who are not here that I want to mention. Dave and Greg…thank you for all of your help with the village center and everything else that you have worked hard to advance. Jeff and Tyler, thank you for your dedication and professionalism. Frank, we have worked together for almost a decade between my current role and the zoning board. You are a good person and Scarsdale should recognize how hard you work to keep the building department humming and also to keep the community safe. Victoria, I do not think I have heard one negative thing about you. And you are an Assessor! I was watching the board of education meeting last night and smiled when the assistant superintendent for business commented on the incredible job you are doing. We are so fortunate that you chose Scarsdale. Brian, you and Bob do so much to ensure that PRC runs well and is able to successfully provide year-round services to everyone from our littlest learners at the nature center and the pool, to our children on our ball fields, tennis courts and the pool, to our seniors through various offerings including yoga and the pool…and more. Beth, we started working together well before I joined this board. Thank you for leading our Library, especially through a transformative decade. We would not be where we are today without your vision and leadership. Chris, we have been so incredibly fortunate that you chose to give so much of yourself to our community and lead all of our IT efforts. Christine, thank you for all of your help scheduling and other ways you have directly and indirectly supported the board. The custodial team, and particularly Winston, thank you for all of your help over the past four years. So many late nights I always appreciated your smile and wave on my way out. Anne, you have been integral to the change and improvements that have occurred not only in your department but throughout the village. We have just started the process of overhauling our systems and have already accomplished so much. I am excited to see all you and your team will accomplish. We are so lucky to have you as our treasurer.
To the Chiefs. Chief Mytych and I have not done much together but, with a team of such great paid and volunteer firefighters, I am eager to see what he is able to accomplish in making the fire department even better and more efficient. Chief Maturro, my respect and admiration for your abilities and leadership has never waned. Thank you for your dedication to Scarsdale and for keeping my family and all of our families safe. To David Raizen, it would not be a Board meeting if your name or SVAC wasn’t mentioned but that is only because of the incredible work you and SVAC do and we are all grateful.
Is there anyone else? Oh, the Village Manager. Rob, it feels like another lifetime that we worked together on the ad hoc communications council. I knew instantly that you were someone who liked to really understand issues and always strived to improve processes. You also put a lot of weight in finding best practices before making decisions. I enjoyed debating with you then but probably not as much as I do now. I could not be happier than to see you in that seat today. You are available to everyone, transparent, and encourage accountability. As manager, you have demonstrated that the council-manager form of government and proper and healthy board oversight are not mutually exclusive. The board can ask a lot of you and staff. And sometimes, the pendulum swings too far one way or the other. But I am confident that under your leadership, that dynamic will continue to be calibrated correctly to foster the best results. And, I am also confident that our conversations about how we can improve our government and our community will continue. I will look forward to them.
To my colleagues on the board:
Sameer: I have really appreciated your perspective over the past year. You had not spent a lot of time in Village Hall before joining the board and getting a fresh perspective from an intelligent and thoughtful person who is always willing to listen and learn was very helpful. Your expertise, calm demeanor, and your practical intellect will continue to serve this Board well as our government continues to evolve.
Karen: You had been a volunteer for many years but we had not really worked together and I had no idea what to expect. The first thing I thought about was, wow she really wants to challenge spending on anything…and I loved it! You have no qualms about pushing back and asking why decisions are being made or monies are being allocated. But, you also understand that if we ignore the needs that we face, we are only kidding ourselves if we think they will just go away. That is never an easy balance, but I think you do it well.
Randy: We have only officially worked together for about 18 months but it feels a lot longer. We got to know each other in what may have been the longest campaign of all time. I have always appreciated our conversations. Particularly because it was likely that I would learn something. Sometimes it was learning substance and other times just talking an issue or idea out with you allowed me to better express myself. You are truly an asset to this Board and I have high expectations for the next two years.
Jonathan: I guess you could say that we brought some debate back to Rutherford Hall! We have different perspectives on many things but in the end I do not think we have been very far apart on any issue. I am sure you will miss my hypotheticals and wish that I had spoken more at times but rest assured that I will only be about 7 rows away. I know that you will continue to push for what you feel is in the community’s best interests.
Lena: Two elections and four years of hard work but what I will remember most is that I finally got you to laugh a few weeks ago in a meeting! You have been a tireless advocate- and I mean that in the best way- always open minded, but eventually willing to support your position on various issues as well as to assist your liaison assignments. You have always made sure that the needs and comments of your liaison assignments have been well presented to the Board and well considered when we have made decisions. Just last week you had arranged to have our assessor meet with our senior council. Normally, this would not be something to mention in this context, but I found it so special because you had scheduled this meeting six months ago. Maybe longer!
You are also a bill champion. I always thought I took our role in auditing the bills seriously. Our job is to ensure that all approvals are present, and that proper procurement protocols have been followed. It is also an opportunity to learn. But, I do not think anyone took the bills more seriously than you. Earlier in our tenure I would get a phone call every time you did the bills to compare notes and you would make lists of items to question in the future. Thank you for all of your hard work.
And Mayor Veron, Jane, I do not even know where to begin. You had known me as someone who sat in on a lot of meetings and asked questions when you recommended that I be added to the ad hoc communications council. I appreciated working with you on that new effort that was both supported and resisted. Soon thereafter, we ran together, me for my first term, you for your second. Working with you- as Trustees and under you as Mayor- has been amazing. I think we both recognized issues in our government early and were always allied in getting them…maybe I shouldn’t say corrected but… improved? And, in many ways, our time together has been building the foundation for this year. Thank you for being the Mayor that you are and being open to making change- not for the sake of change but because we needed it. I will miss my coffees and your teas. Thank you for entrusting me as your deputy and for always hearing me out even when it may not have been what you wanted to hear.
Serving on this Village Board has truly been one of the honors of my life. And while I really am sad to leave, especially with all of the important work ahead, I am happy to pass the baton to Jeremy Gans and Ken Mazer. And, I could not be more proud of what we, and it is a big we, have accomplished.
I am not sure if anyone has heard the Mayor speak of the pillars, but my biggest sense of pride will not be an individual project or improved process, or a specific budget, or a specific search committee…it will be my participation in making those pillars, the government that we need and that will take us into the future, a reality. I will conclude with one very short anecdote from very early in my first term. An issue was coming before the Board and we were presented with a resolution and virtually no backup. I sometimes like to get into the weeds on issues, but this was just a request for additional data to better understand how the decision was made. The answer that I received was, “It is because that is how we have always done it.” I will not continue with my retort or the conversations that ensued but suffice it to say, that encounter helped accelerate what I knew I needed to fight for. And, I am very happy to say that those are not words I have heard together in quite some time. Thank you all for what we have achieved, thank you for what will come next, and above all, thank you for your service.
Scarsdale Bowl Winner Terry Singer Says Volunteering is a Wonderful Way to Meet Like-Minded Neighbors and Friends
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 927
Terry Singer will be the recipient of Scarsdale’s highest volunteer award, the 2022 Scarsdale Bowl on Thursday night April 28 at Brae Burn Country Club. The entire community is invited to celebrate Terry, along with the 2020 honorees, Jon Mark and BK Munguia and the 2021 honoree Michelle Lichtenberg. Buy your tickets here.
Singer has volunteered in the Scarsdale Schools, the Scarsdale Adult School and at the library, where she was instrumental in the building of Scarsdale’s beautiful new library.
Below see her thoughts on volunteering and all the doors it has opened for her.
For those who don’t know you, tell us something about your family and educational and professional background?
Paul and I have been married for 38 years and lived in Manhattan until moving to Scarsdale in 1989. Our two children, Sarah and Lee, both graduated from SHS, and along with Lee's fiancé Mindy, they all live and work in NYC. I am fortunate to also have my mother Sylvia nearby in White Plains. My undergraduate alma mater is Cornell University, having attended the College of Human Ecology. I then went on to pursue a Master of Architecture degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
My professional career began in NYC, where I worked at several small and large architecture and interior design firms. I worked on various types of buildings, including brownstone renovations, and new apartment and office buildings. Some interesting projects include the restoration of several of the bridges in Central Park, the lobby space of the Chrysler Building, and a ferry terminal at Battery Park City to Hoboken. Since moving to Scarsdale, I have spent a good deal of time applying architectural skills toward community projects, having assisted in various capacities on improvements to the school facilities, Westchester Reform Temple's renovation and sanctuary addition, and the Scarsdale Public Library.
How did you first get involved in volunteer work?
A neighbor was the chairperson of the BAR. We met casually one afternoon while he was walking by our home, and when he heard about my architectural background he encouraged me to join the Board. That was in 1991, and how I originally engaged in local land use.
Several years later, while my daughter was a Heathcote kindergarten student, I was a class mother, and proceeded to get more involved with the PTA. I chaired the After School Clubs before becoming PTA President.
Among your early activities, what were some of the highlights of your work in the schools?
I have particularly fond memories of my Heathcote PTA experience. We had supportive and dedicated parents, teachers and administrators. One of the initiatives I am particularly enthusiastic about was our introduction of Learning to Look as a parent run program. It used to be a Scarsdale Teachers' Institute course and not all teachers had the time or inclination to enroll. This meant only some students were able to benefit from the program. While I was PTA President, we restructured the Learning to Look program so it would be run through the PTA. The program director adapted the lessons to be parent led, and with the amazing support of the parents, teachers and the administration, we transitioned the program to be taught in classrooms throughout the school. That was over 20 years ago, and I understand the program is still running successfully.
At SHS, my work with the PTA Scholarship Fund stands out. I had the opportunity to serve on and chair this committee for several years. Collaborating with compassionate parents who shared the goal of assisting graduating seniors with the financial burdens of their freshman year at college was especially meaningful to me. The SHS PTA Scholarship Fund paves the way for the Scarsdale Foundation, while they support our local students during their later years in college.
Tell us about your work with the Scarsdale Adult School?
The Scarsdale Adult School is extraordinary. Without having physical walls, the school is a community of committed life-long learners. My term on the Board began in 2012, and I became Co-chair in 2020, which was a few months into COVID-19 when people were mostly house bound. This was quite a challenge, as the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee, the Executive Director and staff, all had to envision how to meet our students' interest to continue attending classes. We met frequently on zoom, tried different virtual course offerings, and had to be both flexible and experimental. It was a true team effort, with Executive Director Jill Serling very much at the helm. Our goal was to offer students learning opportunities and a sense of connection while in pandemic isolation. We were able to develop an online platform, and many of our talented instructors adapted to this format. Local students continued to enroll, and we were able to reach out-of-town students as well. Now with COVID-19 restrictions opening up, we have started in-person classes, and look forward to bringing more people together again. It has been quite a two-year ride!
I have been fortunate to have a wonderful Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, Advisory Committee, and SAS staff. We continue to meet regularly for scheduled meetings and frequently in between to address any issues that arise during the constantly changing COVID-19 environment.
In your leadership roles, what has been your process for resolving conflicts of opinion?
Communication - so much can be resolved when people have an opportunity to express concerns, and when they are confident that their opinions are taken into serious consideration. Whether at a public forum like the BAR or at smaller Board meetings, an open dialogue is so important to enable understanding and acceptable compromises. This is critical to the process of resolving conflicts of opinion, it takes time and often multiple conversations, but it's very important.
Tell us about your role in envisioning, planning and building the Scarsdale Library. What, if anything, surprised you about the process?
I joined the library team as a Community Advisor, to assist the library Board through the programming and pre-schematic phase. As a Board member, I co-chaired the Building Committee, and it was during that time that we engaged an architect, constantly reviewed priorities, responded to designs, monitored the budget, and kept the Community and Village informed. Ultimately, the finalized designs were turned into construction documents followed by a bidding and construction phase. We attended biweekly meetings in the trailer in the library parking lot with the construction manager, the architect and the various contractors. It was many years in the making, but the end result is this wonderful library that residents from Scarsdale and our neighboring towns can benefit from.
The degree to which our Community rallied behind this project was stunning. There was a tremendous display of enthusiasm and commitment. The volunteerism, financial support, Village government and Library staff support all contributed to the success of the project. It is a testament to the uniqueness of our Community.
If you could look into a crystal ball, what are some of your hopes for Scarsdale for the next decade and beyond?
I hope to see the downtown continue to become more revitalized. Some of the recent enhancements, like the tent, the outdoor dining, and the public art, have been terrific. It would be wonderful to see these types of successes continue into the next decade. I am also enthusiastic about any improvements that can be done to our public outdoor spaces, like the pool and the pond adjacent to the library. Scarsdale has beautiful resources that we should continue to take full advantage of.
What would you say to those who have not yet volunteered to encourage them to jump in?
I suggest getting involved in areas that are of particular interest. I sought out involvements in areas related to education and continuous learning, architecture and land use. But there are organizations, boards and councils that contribute to our community across many spectrums. There is sure to be a rewarding volunteer opportunity, and as a bonus, it is a terrific way to meet wonderful like-minded neighbors and friends.
Celebrate Terry Singer along with Michelle Lichtenberg, Jon Mark and BK Munguia at the Scarsdale Bowl Dinner at Brae Burn Country Club on Thursday April 28. Click here to purchase your tickets.
In Support of the SCNP Slate for Village Trustee: Election March 15, 2022
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Hits: 608
These letters to the editor are written to support the SCNP slate of candidates, for election on Tuesday March 15, 2022 from 6 am to 9 pm at Scarsdale Library.
Dear Scarsdale Community,
We respectfully ask you to vote for Jeremy Gans, Kenneth Mazer, and Randall Whitestone for Village Trustee in the upcoming election on Tuesday, March 15th.
Jeremy Gans, a 15-year Scarsdale resident, serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Executive Committee of the Scarsdale Forum, and the Scarsdale High School PTA Scholarship Fund Committee. Previously, he was President of the Scarsdale Youth Soccer Club. Professionally, Jeremy is the President of JDJ Capital Management Company. Jeremy and his wife Lisa have three sons currently attending Scarsdale schools.
Ken Mazer has lived in Scarsdale for over 25 years. He has served on the Scarsdale Volunteer Fire Department for 22 years. During this time, Ken was a Lieutenant, and has also been elected as President. Ken also serves as Chairman of a grant-making foundation at UJA-Federation of New York, and previously was a board member of the New York Association of New Americans. Professionally, Ken is Vice President and co-founder of Global Textile Partners. He lives in Fox Meadow with his wife Melissa and has three children, all educated in Scarsdale schools.
Randall Whitestone, a 27-year Scarsdale resident, is nominated for a second term as Village Trustee. As Trustee, he has served as chair of the Quality of Life and Communications committees and a member of the special committee on the 2021 Village Manager search. Previously, he has served on the Scarsdale Forum; the Citizens Nominating Committee; the Scarsdale Procedure Committee; the Scarsdale Foundation Bowl Committee; and the Arthur Manor Association board. Professionally, Randy is head of media communications and public affairs for The D. E. Shaw Group. Randy and his wife Lisa have two children, both SHS graduates.
Honest and effective local government relies on capable people, like Jeremy, Ken, and Randy, who care about the community and are willing to commit their time, energy, and expertise to continue to improve Scarsdale. They have been selected by the Citizens’ Nominating Committee (CNC), comprised of 30 members of the community, elected to evaluate candidates for Village Trustee, Justice, and Mayor. The CNC welcomes and encourages any Scarsdale resident who would like to serve on the Board of Trustees to submit an application to the CNC for consideration. The CNC thoroughly evaluates each candidate, carefully considering relevant experience in community organizations, professional and educational background, and reference checks. While the process is transparent, the content of the CNC’s deliberations is kept confidential, for the sake of Candidates’ privacy, to encourage open and honest dialogue, and to foster greater resident participation. To learn more about the Non-partisan process, please visit: www.scarsdalecitizens.org.
Gans, Mazer and Whitestone have been nominated by the CNC for their character, temperament, extensive civic activities in Scarsdale, and their commitment to public service. The village election will be held on Tuesday, March 15, in the Scott Room at the Scarsdale Public Library. Please vote for Gans, Mazer, and Whitestone.
Jared Stern and Omer Wiczyk
Co-Chairs, SCNP Campaign CommitteeTo the Editor:
I am writing to express my support of the Scarsdale Village Trustee candidates nominated by the Citizens’ Nominating Committee (CNC) – Randy Whitestone, Jeremy Gans and Ken Mazer.. I am a long term resident of the Village who raised our family here. I have participated on many civic committees over the past 20 years, have served as a member of the CNC and have been twice elected a Village Trustee.
The CNC has put forth a strong slate of candidates for voters’ consideration. They all have significant experience volunteering to better our community and have achieved success in these roles. They have diverse backgrounds that will complement each other as well as the current members of the Village Board. They will also add a variety of perspectives that will contribute to shaping the important issues facing village government. Background on the candidates, including their professional accomplishments and their prior service in the Village can be found on the Scarsdale Citizens’ Non-Partisan Party’s website, "www.ScarsdaleCitizens.org".
I am particularly acquainted with Randy Whitestone who I have known for more than 20 years. We served on the Scarsdale Forum’s Village Fiscal Affairs Committee where I learned of Randy’s professional skills and good judgment. As he has demonstrated in his first term as a Village Trustee, he is an astute analyst of village government and the services it provides. His thoughtful application of his analytic skills which reflect his career in finance and professional communications, has enhanced the effective governance of our village.
Since Randy joined the Village Board two years ago, I have watched with interest, and the perspective of a former Trustee, as he digs in on both strategic and tactical priorities for village government and brings a measured, balanced view to the issue at hand.
Randy Whitestone embodies and demonstrates the kind of leadership we need in these uncertain times. We are fortunate to be able to take advantage of his willingness to serve and dedicate his time and expertise on our behalf.
At the core of our great community’s long-term success are the talented and dedicated citizens who work tirelessly without financial reward for the greater good. Their commitment makes all of our lives better. While these candidates are running without challenge it is important for us to vote. Voting participation legitimatizes our democratic process. It also sends an important message of support to our candidates who dedicate a significant amount of time to maintain our high-quality Village government and the services it provides.
I encourage all of those registered to vote for Randy, Jeremy Gans and Ken Mazer – all excellent candidates -- and show our community’s support of our non-partisan system which has served us well for decades.
Please vote on March 15th at the Scarsdale Public Library.
(Photo Credit Mark Jessamy)
SHS Prom Date Could Conflict with Playoff Schedules
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
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Parents and athletes are upset about a revision of the timing of the Scarsdale High School Prom that may cause conflicts for student athletes who qualify for the post season.
The Scarsdale High School Prom is customarily held on the Thursday after Memorial Day, which this year is June 2, 2022. And that is the date that was printed on the community calendar.
However, this date was changed to May 19, 2022 this past fall and many did not note the change. The issue is that teams like girls lacrosse. girls softball, boys tennis, track and field and boys lacrosse are scheduled to hold playoffs on May 19 and 20. Student athletes may not be able to participate in pre-prom parties, the red carpet event or post-prom fun the following day.
Requests were sent to Principal Kenneth Bonamo to change the date and he explained that though the earlier prom date is "less than ideal," the school made every effort to come up with a new solution, but "they were not sucessful."
He said that the school initially tried to secure June 2 at the Glen Island Harbour Club but it was not available. They also sought other venues but found that many were already booked.
Other available dates conflicted with school testing and obligations for senior options.
Last the administration realized that if they did change the date, they might cause conflicts for other students and vendors and concluded that "no one date would work equally well for every member of the senior class and their families." Therefore they decided to remain with May 19, 2022.
Principal Bonamo hopes that postseason games can be scheduled in the earlier part of the day to allow seniors to enjoy the prom. This has been done in the past with cooperation from other teams.
So mark your calendars and cross your fingers. The SHS Senior Prom will be held on Thursday May 19, 2022 at Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle.
Trustee Randy Whitestone Looks Forward to Addressing Challenges in his Second Term
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
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When residents stop Village Trustee Randall Whitestone to share a concern or offer up a complaint, what is on their minds? We asked Whitestone what he hears from his neighbors and he explained, “People are around more, they notice their surroundings and want peace and enjoyment. Quality of life comments are big: people are talking about road conditions, pathways, pedestrian safety and flooding. With climate change we will face that even more. They also talk about the conditions of the fields, and noise and light pollution from outdoor lighting installed by neighbors.”
Fortunately for Scarsdale, Whitestone is currently serving his first two-year term as a Village Trustee and heads the “Quality of Life” Pillar of the strategic plan. He has a clear vision of the problems we face and a process for how to address these issues in his next two years as Village Trustee, a seat for which he is running unopposed on the Citizens Non-Partisan Party slate.
We sat down to discuss the state of the Village and Whitestone’s candidacy at Metro Diner on Friday February 18, where it looked like the Village was returning to life. It was a sign of the times that people were waiting for tables in a restaurant that was often half full during the past two years.
What has the Village Board accomplished during the last two years? Whitestone said, “We have re-engineered Village government.” He explained that when he started, the business of the Village was all done on paper, and there were huge stacks of paper everywhere. The Village had been run the same way for many years and the trustees realized it was time to update operations for the 21st century. They are currently in the process of moving all systems online, which will allow them to both operate more efficiently and gather data and analytics that they can use to make smart decisions down the line.
Another hallmark of his first term has been a big turnover in Village staff. Whitestone said Scarsdale was a part of the “great resignation,” and retirees and departures included Village Manager Steve Pappalardo, Village Clerk Donna Conkling, Village Treasurer Mary Lou McClure and Fire Chief Jim Seymour.
Trustees have been successful at recruiting new talent such as assessor Victoria Sirota, treasurer Ann Scaglione, assistant Village Manager Alex Marshall and promoting Rob Cole to Village Manager and most recently Chris Mytych to Fire Chief. These new appointees bring new perspectives on how the work can be done more efficiently and they are implementing better systems.
And new thinking will be vital as the Village faces some large infrastructure needs. Whitestone said that Village Managers and trustees will need to decide how to tackle a necessary upgrade or even replacement of the Scarsdale pool and replace portions of our water system that are over 100 years old. He also mentioned the need to focus on our storm water management system that contributes to some of the flooding we’ve experienced during recent storms. During his second term he looks forward to addressing traffic and pedestrian safety, including studies the Village commissioned for the village center and Sprague Road, as well as reorienting the budget process to put goals front and center and measure and benchmark progress.
Whitestone explained, that the board needs to analyze the Village’s financial capacity, staff capability and resident’s willingness to pay for the services they expect.
As part of the ongoing 2022-23 budget discussions, trustees have been discussing fund balance levels, our bond rating, managing cash balances and our capacity to take on more debt to finance some of this work.
Whatever the outcome, Whitestone said, “We can’t starve our long term needs for long.’
Of late, Board meetings have been calm and lacking in the controversy that marked previous times. We asked Whitestone why he thought Village business had quieted down. He explained, “We have a board that asks questions, probes and invites public participation. Mayor Veron has invited comments and tries to be transparent. We spend the time necessary to listen and to analyze.”
The talk turned to affordable housing as Governor Kathy Hochul had just removed a controversial proposal to permit accessory dwelling units on single family lots from her budget. We asked Whitestone if he thought conversations about developing the Freightway Garage site into multi-family housing, retail and parking might be renewed in the next two years.
He said, “Freightway is over fifty years old. We do regular condition assessments to ensure that it is safe. It is an aging facility and perhaps there are better long term uses for the parking structure and the adjacent lot. I am in favor of continuing to think about it and asking our Village Planner for an analysis.” But in terms of priorities he said, “We have so much on our plate including the water system, the pool and even Village Hall” that we have to do what we have time to think about.”
We asked Whitestone for his views on historic preservation and he pointed out that the Reconnaissance Level Cultural Resources Survey of historic properties had not been updated since it was done in 2012. He said, “Perhaps it is time; it could be more comprehensive.” He said wistfully, “my grandparents were the first owners of a house built in Fox Meadow in 1928 and it’s still standing.”
Now that all Village Board meetings are available on ZOOM, how has this shift to hybrid meetings affected the process? He said, “I would rather see people in person but having the meetings available online makes them accessibile to more people. It’s a mixed bag, but net net it’s positive. We are investing in new equipment to improve the quality of the online experience.”
What else? Some projects don’t require years of consideration. Whitestone happily relayed that the trustees are considering building either four or eight pickleball courts at Crossway, opposite the Fire Station. He asked what I thought and I responded with an emphatic “Yes.”!
The Village election is scheduled for Tuesday March 15, 2022, from 6 am to 9 pm, with voting at the Scarsdale Library on Olmsted Road.