Campaigning under ‘Life, Liberty and Justice’ banner
By Kevin E. Foley
The Philipstown Republicans have formally acknowledged to The Paper they are running three incumbent candidates for re-election to town offices and are introducing one new candidate for Town Board.
In a statement, short on biographical information but long on enthusiasm for the candidates and the coming campaign, County Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, Highway Superintendent Roger Chirico and Town Clerk Tina Merando were all heralded for their service and skills.
Merando was cited for her commitment to communications and efficiency as well as a professional and courteous manner.
Chirico was lauded for a record of being “creative and accomplished at roadwork, engineering and snow removal.”
Scuccimarra was said to have “support in every corner of Philipstown and Putnam Valley” (the legislative district includes part of Putnam Valley) and she “works tirelessly to deliver for the town.”
Craig Watters of Garrison was referred to as a Town Board candidate who “offers an independent fresh look at managing the Town of Philipstown’s operations.” As of yet, no biographical information is forthcoming on Watters.
The quartet is planning to run under a banner proclaiming “Philipstown Republicans: Life, Liberty and Justice.” The reasons for this particular slogan for a town election were not articulated.
The statement encouraged a visit to the “Life, Liberty and Justice” Facebook page, where the incumbents weigh in on their time in office.
“I always aim to get the job done. I have experience and work hard. I am devoted and dedicated to getting the task done,” posted Chirico, who at 82 lays claim to 62 years of construction work experience.
Chirico asserted: “The Highway Department does a great number of projects in-house. This is not typical and I can only accomplish it because I have both trained the crew and built a fleet over my tenure as highway superintendent with the vision of saving the taxpayers’ money. I have saved a great deal of money because we do not bid projects and allow someone else to profit, we can handle just about anything.”
Among the points made by Scuccimarra, a one-term incumbent legislator with previous service on the Philipstown Town Board, were that “western Putnam County needs an energetic responsible representative, one that will fight for her constituents — I am that person. I believe in addressing problems in a straightforward manner with the goal being to resolve problems.”
Toting her service as chairwoman of the county legislature’s Health, Social and Environmental Committee, Scuccimarra also said western Putnam municipalities (presumably Cold Spring, Nelsonville and Philipstown) need to find creative methods to save taxpayers’ monies. She did not say what these methods might entail or what local program cuts might be needed.
Perhaps not intentionally, her Facebook post listed a sole accomplishment: “Butterfield lease,” an apparent reference to the intention of the county to lease space for a senior citizen center from developer Paul Guillaro, an issue Scuccimarra has championed.
According to the statement, Merando has served as town clerk for two decades and said: “I believe that government should work for the people. Government offices should be a place where constituents come for answers and are responded to with respect, understanding and accurate information in a timely manner.”
Merando also said: “I would like to see the Town Board establish funding for improving technology. Since 2004, the town’s website has not been funded to improve what could be a more user-friendly tool. Although it had been discussed with an IT expert, the Town Board felt the cost was too high and never moved forward.” The clerk is an independently elected official but receives funding for the office from the Town Board.
Among her accomplishments, Merando cited the creation of digital town records and her work as the grants administrator for the town, involving $500,000 received.
All the candidates, assuming their availability, will be interviewed individually well before the Nov. 10 election.