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Mayoral Recusal on Village Administrator

By Richard Kavesh

On April 8th, the Nyack Village Board will hold a public hearing to discuss the creation of a new Village Administrator position. The Village Administrator would conduct the duties that outgoing Treasurer John Cincotta has handled for the last sixteen years, plus additional responsibilities.

Nyack is in a state of near crisis, the result of years of overestimated revenues, excessive spending, failing infrastructure, and an insufficient tax base to meet our needs.  It can’t be run by a part-time board of trustees and mayor, all of whom have other employment and whose statutory responsibilities are primarily legislative in nature.

Although Village Hall is operating at minimal staffing levels, our governmental responsibilities to those who live, work, and visit here are much more intensive and complicated than those of many other villages with similar-sized budgets. We are operating stressfully and we are managing inefficiently.

While much of the public has been supportive of the possible creation of the position of Village Administrator, a few Nyack citizens have objected to Trustee Doug Foster’s desire to be considered for the job. For the record: Doug did not seek this job. The suggestion for Doug to throw his hat into the ring was mine and I take full responsibility for all the commotion.

I asked Doug to apply for the job because even though I’ve known him for less than a year, he has proven time and time again to be one of the hardest-working, most reliable, selfless, and multi-talented people I have ever met or worked with. He has more than justified the faith I placed in him when I named him as Nyack’s Deputy Mayor. His integrity is rock-solid and I am 100% certain that Doug had no intention of applying to be our Village Administrator when we were running as a ticket last fall.

I encouraged Doug to apply for this position out of my concern over the immediacy of John Cincotta’s departure and out of respect for Doug’s proven skills as an organizer, manager, planner, and web developer who has already put forth many innovative ideas about how to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness of our village government.

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In retrospect, my encouragement of Doug to apply for this position, however well-intentioned, was a mistake. But that was my mistake, not Doug’s. As a result of my mistake, some people have questioned whether I can interview candidates for Village Administrator in a fair, neutral, and objective fashion and if I am capable of making the best decision for the Village based on the qualifications of all the candidates.

I want to assure the public and all applicants that the process, including the public hearing(s), will be fair and thorough. If the Village Board creates the position, we will post it on our website and accept resumés. In fact, we have already received four resumés from people who have asked to be considered. I have no doubt that we will have many terrific candidates, especially in this time of job loss and recession.

The people of Nyack and all applicants have my word that the playing field will be level for all candidates. Accordingly, should the Village Board create the position of Village Administrator and should Trustee Foster apply for the position, I will recuse myself from all interviews and will pledge to nominate whichever candidate is recommended by the screening committee of Trustees Steve Knowlton, Louise Parker, and Jennifer Laird-White.

If the Village Board creates the position of Village Administrator and appoints Doug to this position, he will resign his seat from the Village Board as required under New York State law.

Please feel free to contact me if you believe that there are any other ways that this process can be improved.

Richard Kavesh is Mayor of Nyack New York. You can call him at 353-1935.

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Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.


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