Could be a crowded field for mayor and trustee positions
By Kevin E. Foley
This year’s Cold Spring village election, a harbinger of spring amidst winter’s frost, promises some new faces and perhaps more than a touch of competitiveness as candidates begin to emerge from their strategy sessions onto the village streets.
Answering a request from The Paper to formally acknowledge they are running, three candidates have said they are set to go about collecting the requisite 50 signatures on their petitions to qualify by the Feb. 10 deadline.
This year’s election will have two open trustee seats for the five-member Village Board and the mayor seat as well. The mayor serves as one of five trustees in a first-among-equals role that includes some limited executive authority and responsibility.
For the first time, the Putnam County Board of Elections, based in Carmel, will supervise the event, scheduled for Wednesday, March 18.
Running as the People’s Party in the formally nonpartisan election, two Cold Spring natives have teamed up to offer a formidable combo. Dave Merandy, a veteran of both civic and political engagement, is running for mayor, and Marie Early, a stalwart of standing and special village committees, is seeking a trustee seat.
Merandy is currently a member of the elected Philipstown Town Board and served for several years as the president and a member of the Haldane School District Board of Education. In a statement, Merandy said:
I love the Village of Cold Spring and feel lucky to have been born here. Like the three generations of my family before me, I’ve chosen to spend my life in this beautiful setting, with such rich history and among neighbors who genuinely care about our community. I’m running for mayor because the Village of Cold Spring deserves a mayor with a record of dedicated volunteerism and successful and productive community leadership, a person who demonstrates a long-term investment in and love for this community. I believe I’m that mayor.
Early, who is known for her willingness to help with village business in both an official and unofficial capacity, detailed her and her family’s civic background in her statement.
I am running for village trustee because I care deeply about the Village of Cold Spring. I was born and raised here and returned to Cold Spring some years ago because I love this place we call home. My father was both a trustee and mayor of Cold Spring and president of the Cold Spring Fire Company. I have spent significant time volunteering for the village, as chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals, on the Historic District Review Board and the Special Board for the Comprehensive Plan and Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan. With my skills and professional experience and history of dedication to my home, I feel I can make an even greater contribution as a trustee.
A newcomer to the village political scene is Fran Murphy, a former college administrator. Murphy made a point of declaring she will be running as an independent, not part of a candidates team. “In recent elections it has become practice for candidates to run in teams. I will run independently, for I believe that the time for teamwork is once the board is formed,” she said in a statement.
Murphy wants to offer a more managerial and analytical approach to local governance.
My experience in management, budgeting, analyzing data and decision-making in an atmosphere driven by competition and very tight deadlines makes me a perfect candidate for this position. I worked in committees comprised of colleagues both from within and outside my organization. We may not have always agreed, but we discussed the issues and in the end we came to a decision.
Continuing, she said: “There are a number of very important projects coming up this year. From water and sewers to sidewalks on Main Street — funding sources need to be identified, decisions need to be made. To accomplish this we need a board that will work together and get things done.”
Potentially crowded field
More people are expected to join the race. Long-serving trustee Bruce Campbell, a proven vote getter, has indicated he will likely run for reelection, but he has not yet announced his intentions. He is thought to be waiting on a decision by current Mayor Ralph Falloon, who has told The Paper he is keeping his options open. People who claim to be familiar with Falloon’s thinking say he has already decided not to run.
When he ran last time, Falloon expressed his disinterest in a competitive race. At that time, then village newcomer Barney Molloy declared his candidacy and was seen being introduced on village streets by Barbara Scuccimarra, Philipstown’s county legislator. But 48 hours later Molloy withdrew in favor of Falloon. Afterward, Falloon appointed Molloy (a former planning board chair in Peekskill) the village Planning Board chair to oversee the then stalled Butterfield development project, which Scuccimarra has resolutely championed during her tenure.
Molloy, who is known to be gathering signatures for a run for mayor along with campaign teammate and trustee candidate Robert Ferris, a serving county deputy sheriff, told The Paper they were not yet ready to submit photos and formal statements of candidacy.
The Paper and Philipstown.info will seek to interview all the candidates and be open to their views and those of their supporters in service to our readers.
Mike Turton contributed reporting for this story.