Letter: Committee Assignments

The article in the Feb. 5 issue, Montgomery Reveals Ouster from Committee, provides no explanation for why Putnam County Legislator Nancy Montgomery was surprised she did not get the committee assignments she wanted. Does it surprise anyone? She has created the adversarial relationship with the county executive and the Legislature.

Has she received what she sowed in her first two years in the office? Why would she have earned a leadership role with a board she continually criticizes? Ms. Montgomery has rendered herself ineffective and needs to learn what her role is; instead of decrying county government as broken, she needs to develop better negotiating skills and learn to work with others, regardless of party affiliation. What is broken is her ability to bring consensus to issues.

It takes five votes — a simple majority — on the nine-member Legislature to accomplish most things. There is also a benefit from advice from the county executive and department heads. If her goal, as she states, is to get the county government to help Philipstown, she needs to develop support and allies.

By her admission, she admits she has not worked well with others in the county government and keeps on fighting instead of compromising. Perhaps it is too late, and she has already done irreparable damage. Nancy’s issue is that she challenges everyone and has lost so much for the residents of District 1, such as more than $15,000 in reimbursement for the Village of Cold Spring, which was her oversight.

I served in the Legislature for six years and accomplished a great deal for Philipstown. I worked alongside many department heads and know how hard our county employees work. Forming trusting relationships and building consensus is something I enjoyed, quite the opposite of today’s representation. Anytime I had a question, my approach was first to listen, second to analyze, communicate and, finally, advocate for the need. I had six successful years and it brought a senior center, prevented the post office from leaving, fought the war on drugs and underage smoking and vaping, and added a host of environmental protections to our Hudson River Valley efforts.

Nancy needs to learn that leading requires understanding and compromise, working toward solutions and solving problems, regardless of party affiliation. It should never be about red or blue. We are one community. Sam Oliverio did a fine job and worked well with all Republicans on the Legislature for many years as the sole Democrat when he represented Putnam Valley.

In the end, we must remember that we need to come together to benefit the people who live in Putnam County. The county is not broken, but the turmoil continues. The divide is widening between the eastern and western sides of the county because of an unwillingness of our legislator to cooperate. I know we are better if we work together, and I am considering running for the seat again this year.

Barbara Scuccimarra, Garrison

4 thoughts on “Letter: Committee Assignments

  1. It was never about red or blue. Dini LoBue, a Republican legislator, received the same personal criticism, which became the campaign mantra for her opponent. She was adversarial, uncooperative and refused to compromise. Ostracized, she was unable to obtain information and committee assignments. Why? She raised thorny questions about the policies and methods emanating from the county executive, which legislators, neglecting their obligation to hold MaryEllen Odell accountable, rubber-stamped; they also fast-tracked resolutions, often bypassing their own rules, without vigorous debate.

    An exception was Scuccimarra’s work with the senior center, which invited the need for much investigation into her in-volvement and into the entire project. Both Montgomery and LoBue were central to raising uncomfortable questions. Make no mistake about it: Scuccimarra’s conception of “consensus” is knee-jerk compliance.

  2. One would assume from reading Barbara Scuccimarra’s letter that she set the world on fire for the benefit of Philipstown while a member of the Putnam County Legislature.

    As one of nine Republicans on the nine-member board, one would hope that she would get something accomplished. As we all know, those were the scraps that County Executive MaryEllen Odell threw her to make it appear that she was effective — and about as effective as her predecessor, Vinny Tamagna, upon whose coattails and tracks she followed. Pity that there was not another transportation position or some such that she could be given for service rendered after her defeat at the hands of Nancy Montgomery.

    She attacks Nancy because she didn’t go along to get along, i.e., be a nice quiet girl and something will be thrown your way. If this statement isn’t the height of misogyny, then I don’t know what is: Nancy “needs to learn what her role is.” Then, Nancy “needs to develop better negotiating skills,” and fix “her ability to bring consensus to issues.”

    That pretty much describes Scuccimarra’s tenure on the other side of the county. Keep quiet and ignore why the people of Philipstown sent her to Carmel, build consensus and receive nothing for her efforts.

    Nancy went to the county Legislature to advocate for her constituents, and this Republican cabal holds tight on all their perks and doles them out to good boys and girls. Nancy calls things as she sees them and this Legislature, and especially Odell, are not wont to put up with that.

    If citizens want to know what happens in Carmel, open the county website and listen to the recordings of its meetings, because you won’t find what they do anywhere else. “I served in the Legislature for six years and accomplished a great deal for Philipstown,” Scuccimarra wrote. Her accomplishments were smoke-and-mirrors. That’s why the voters threw her out. The senior center and the county’s dealing with the seniors are minimal and underutilized, with no outreach. There is minimal use of the senior center in the Butterfield complex, drivers for elders to medical appointments and so forth.

    • For anyone to even suggest the Philipstown senior center is useless, you’d better know what you’re talking about. Even with this terrible pandemic, our senior center is a busy place. It furnishes 45 meals per day and offers a one-week supply of frozen meals to shut-ins. It staff does comfort calls and provides transportation to any senior who can’t find a way to the doctor. (The vehicles are partitioned between the driver and passenger and sanitized after each transport.) It has more than 50 remote classes per week. The staff is now working on remote programs to prevent falls.

      We are thankful to have such a place. Philipstown has a large senior population and all are welcome. We can’t wait until they are able to open so we can see our friends again. I thank Putnam County every day. FYI, the local number is 845-808-1705. When open, the center can serve up to 90 meals per day and, I must say, our cook Laurie is awesome. I sure miss her homemade soups.

  3. As an elected official, as well as someone who has taught and been a student of government, I know that there are three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. These three branches are not a club, but are meant to provide checks and balances.

    Nancy Montgomery, our Putnam County legislator, represents the people who elected her to the Legislature and the people who reside in Philipstown and Putnam County. Nancy was elected to ask questions and advocate the people’s interest, not join a club. She has done an outstanding job fighting to retain public health jobs and funding, and public safety funding, pushing Putnam to enact Climate Smart initiatives and to establish a Human Rights Commission.

    Nancy was the first to fund a drug resources coordinator in Philipstown and to help our town establish the Philipstown Hub. She made train safety for all commuters a reality. Nancy has shown nothing less than honor, integrity and compassion. This is why I endorse her for re-election — we need an independent and strong voice for all the people of Putnam.

    Farrell is a member of the Philipstown Town Board.