Letter: Endorsement, Caution on Blame

 I am writing to endorse two community-spirited, unusually well suited candidates for the elective office of village trustee: Matt Francisco and Donald MacDonald. I hope your readers will join me in voting for these gentlemen on March 18.

Matt and Donald are known quantities who will keep the best interests of our village at heart as it meets the frequently exciting, and often quite daunting twin challenges of change and continuity the times are promising.

That said, I need to comment on the statement of candidates Bowman and Fadde concerning responsibility for the sad state of our post office, as reported in “Scuccimarra, Candidates Blame Village Board Over Postal Woes,” in the Feb. 26 edition of the Putnam County News & Recorder.

It is an error to blame the Village Board for “a lack of leadership,” for “(not being) serious” or for “(an) inability to make a decision,” as a significant cause of this current disagreeable situation. Why? The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a federal agency empowered by Congress; it has far greater resources than our (all but volunteer) Village Board.

Yes there have been ineffectual attempts by the Village Board, local or regional governmental agencies, and elected representatives to coordinate with the USPS, so as to avoid the condition we now face. Doesn’t matter. The USPS bears ultimate responsibility for this predicament, regardless of the competence, interest, or attentiveness of any state, regional, or local government. The federal government has, in principal at least, the authority and the resources to get the job done properly, including keeping the public duly, and directly, informed as the situation was developing. On the latter point, they clearly failed.

Even as the Village Board may have honestly come up short on managing the post office transition, trustees are only human; also it’s water under the bridge as the USPS has recently re-assumed their responsibility for solving the problem.

An appearance of judiciousness and impartiality is also important. There’s no shortage of valid issues upon which to challenge the work of the Village Board. But it’s all too easy to complain. To achieve true consensus and real agreement within the board, and throughout the village, is no easy task. It must mean something when opinions significantly diverge, as they often do here. But it’s great we at least get to hear and consider these opinions. I would even venture to consider this an indication of good, healthy government. Maybe we’re more fortunate than we know.

Summing up, I would like to gently encourage candidates Bowman and Fadde to be more circumspect in their campaign; everyone benefits. Criticism should be constructive, and should include specifics (i.e., not simply asking for better leadership or quicker decision making). As it’s election time, and voters are serious, it’s even more important now.

In this little village, together, we, everyone, need everyone’s good ideas, and carefully considered comment.

And we need Francisco and MacDonald.

Frank Haggerty
Cold Spring


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