Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Vanderhoef: County Exec or Senate Candidate?

by Cliff Weathers

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef has dropped his interest in running for State Comptroller and is now mulling a run against Kirsten Gillibrand for her seat in the United States Senate. But yet another career-enhancement diversion by Vanderhoef is bad news for Rockland County as our reluctant executive once again seems concerned more about his political career than the unmeasurably critical job at hand in New City.

Vanderhoef told the Albany Times Union today:

‘€œI have been encouraged to look at it, and we are making calls to chairs and talking to them about it, and trying to gauge the support that might be there,’€ Vanderhoef confirmed to me by phone. ‘€œThis is exploratory, getting a sense of what’s going on in the state.’€

Vanderhoef, who fought a dirty campaign against Thom Kleiner to win a fifth term as County Executive just this past November, has told the Albany Times Union that he’s reached out to county party chairs upstate, despite some of them having endorsed Bruce Blakeman, who has been actively running for the Senate as a Republican. Billionaire Mort Zuckerman recently announced that he will not seek the Senate nomination. According to the Times Union, Vanderhoef is working with a well-connected GOP operative.

In addition to his interest in running for Comptroller and Senate, the former which he announced the day after he began his fifth term as Executive, Vanderhoef ran for Congress and Lieutenant Governor while at the helm of Rockland County. There have also been reports that Vanderhoef has sought the President’s post at Rockland Community College and an top position with Giuliani Partners while serving as Executive.

While I am not against politicians seeking higher office, Vanderhoef has made it very clear that he does not care much for his job. His public job-seeking exploits have been a distraction and many people have begun to wonder whether Vanderhoef is paying enough attention to the County and its serious financial problems. Under his watch the County has consistently faced eight-digit shortfalls due to the Executive’s perennial tax revenue miscalculations. Vanderhoef has become Rockland County’s King Nero that fiddles as the County budget burns. While our taxes have risen, services have been cut, and County salaries have been frozen, Vanderhoef had the nerve to ram through a 12.5 percent salary increase for himself in December. And just a few months into another four-year term, does Vanderhoef really think he has already accomplished what he was elected to do?

Right now, many people are wondering, and rightfully so, whether Governor David Paterson should resign his post. Beyond his ethical lapses, the question is whether Paterson can competently handle matters of the State of New York while being distracted with other serious issues. I believe the same criteria should apply to Vanderhoef; if the County Executive will become too busy running for higher office over the next eight months should he continue to serve the county? Rockland is in the midst of its greatest financial crisis in a generation and attending to our problems should trump political aspirations. I, for one, do not like the idea of unelected underlings of Vanderhoef’s taking the helm of the county while he abandon’s his post for a full-time statewide campaign.

I’m putting politics aside and my concerns for the Rockland first when I ask that the County Executive either drop the idea of running for the Senate or resign as County Executive. This is no time for an absentee leader in Rockland County.

This piece is cross-posted on the Rockland Progressive Dems Web site.

You May Also Like

The Villages

This week in the Villages we look at the rumor-filled and then abrupt ending of Starbucks in Nyack and what it means.

The Villages

This week in the Villages, we look delve into all the empty storefronts downtown and look back at St. Patrick's Day festivities through the...

The Villages

This week in the Villages, we look at Nyack's school board, which is expected to go into a special executive session Friday night after...