Mayor Drops Out of Cold Spring Race

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Two trustee candidates also end campaigns

A week after submitting a nominating petition to appear on the November ballot in pursuit of his fourth term, Cold Spring Mayor Dave Merandy has dropped out of the race.



Trustee Marie Early and Matt Francisco, the chair of the Planning Board, also abandoned plans to run for the Village Board, which has five members, including the mayor. Like Merandy, Early would have been seeking her fourth, 2-year term.

There will be three open seats on the board, including one held by Heidi Bender until her resignation on April 16. Merandy named Tweeps Woods to fill the seat until Election Day on Nov. 2; Woods will appear on the ballot to fill the seat for the second year of Bender’s term, along with Yaslyn Daniels, who announced her candidacy on May 24, the day before nominating petitions were due.

With Merandy’s departure, the candidates for mayor who will appear on the ballot are Trustee Kathleen Foley, who ran unopposed in November to join the board, and former Putnam Legislator Vinny Tamagna, who is the county’s transportation director. 

In a statement issued on Thursday (June 3), Merandy said a three-way race for mayor “would not serve the best interests of the village.” He and Early, who were planning to campaign with Francisco, called the decision to withdraw “extremely complicated and heart-wrenching” but offered no details about their reasoning. 

Francisco said in a statement that he had joined the race to “work with Dave and Marie,” but when they withdrew, “I felt I could make a greater contribution to the village by remaining on the Planning Board.”

Statement by Dave Merandy and Marie Early

It’s been an honor and privilege to work for the village for the past six plus years. We’ve put our heads down, rolled up our sleeves and have taken on all that’s come our way. We haven’t asked for recognition or accolades, we just wanted to do the work of the village. All that we’ve done has been in the best interest of the village and we are extremely proud of our accomplishments.

Unfortunately, after six years of working collaboratively and at times agreeing to disagree in a respectful manner, we find ourselves faced with a three-way race for mayor. We believe a three-way race for mayor will not serve the best interests of the village.

Therefore, we have decided to withdraw our bid for another term. It was an extremely complicated and heart-wrenching decision.

For now, a huge thank you to Trustee Fran Murphy who has given so much time and energy to the village and whose commitment to consensus and compromise for the good of the village cannot be overstated, and to Matt Francisco who joined our ticket and who has served admirably as the chair of the Planning Board since we were first elected in 2015. The village is fortunate to have benefitted from the service of such dedicated, professional individuals.

Thank you to all those who have supported us over the years. We are so appreciative of your support and hope we have served you well.

The three remaining candidates for the two full-term seats now held by Early and Fran Murphy, who is not running for re-election, are Eliza Starbuck, the president of the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce and co-owner of Flowercup Wine on Main Street; Cathryn Fadde, a former Village Board member and owner of Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill on Main Street; and Jeff Phillips, a carpenter who, like Starbuck, will be seeking office for the first time. Tamagna, Fadde and Phillips are campaigning together.

Foley had worked to elect Merandy in his three campaigns, dating to 2015. When asked why she wanted to unseat him, she replied in a statement on Wednesday that she has “the dedication, enthusiasm and experience to lead Cold Spring now — it’s time for the next generation to step up and lead. Our mayor, trustees, staff and so many volunteers have thanklessly laid the groundwork that makes this village strong. We need to build on that foundation.” 

At board meetings in recent months, Foley and Merandy have engaged in a number of tense exchanges over issues such as the ongoing review of the Cold Spring Police Department. More than once, Foley chastised the mayor over his tone when addressing her and former trustee Bender.

In other business …

■ The Village Board, with Murphy absent, on Tuesday (June 1) continued its discussion of a proposed local law to regulate short term rentals, including Airbnbs. No action was taken but there was general agreement on a number of provisions:

  • Permits will be issued in three classifications: hosted sites where the owner lives in the building; unhosted sites where the owner lives elsewhere; and special provisional sites for residents who want to rent out their house once a year for up to 14 consecutive nights. The total number of permits to be issued is yet to be determined, but the board members favored issuing a larger number for hosted sites than for unhosted.  
  • A lottery will be used to determine who is granted a permit only when the number of applications exceeds the number of available permits. 
  • Rentals must be for a minimum of two nights.
  • Fines will be increased to $1,000 for a first offense, $2,000 for a second offense; and $5,000 and a loss of permit for a third offense. 
  • Only one rental at a time will be allowed for each short-term rental unit.
  • The application fee will be $100. If a one-year permit is issued, the fee will be $250. If the property does not pass inspection by the code enforcement officer, 50 percent of that fee will be refunded.
  • Hosts must submit a record of all rentals to the village annually. 

■ A request to operate a food truck at Mayor’s Park was denied, in part because parking in that area may soon be metered, depending on recommendations from the Parking Committee and acceptance by the Village Board.

4 thoughts on “Mayor Drops Out of Cold Spring Race

  1. Dave Merandy was a great public servant for many years on many venues. I’m proud to have served with him on the Haldane school board, and he deserves a break. [via Facebook]

    • Fran Murphy was planning to step down, but Dave Merandy and Marie Early did not step down because they needed a break. They stepped down to avoid a “three-way race,” as they announced, calling it “heart-wrenching” decision.

      Kathleen Foley’s decision to run came as a total surprise and clearly offended those who are now are stepping down to avoid a loss to Tamagna. As a direct result, we will lose Marie Early, Dave Merandy and Matt Francisco, who clearly doesn’t want to serve without either of these candidates who have brought Cold Spring into the 21st century, e.g. police reform, updating the zoning code, overhauling building inspection, working on transparency (making sure meetings are recorded and posted online), running the village’s website, elections and committees… 99 percent of this work was done by those now leaving. Not to mention the 4th of July and the Film Festival. Cold Spring will lose great things. It stinks.

  2. Thank you Dave and Trustees Marie Early and Fran Murphy for stepping up and giving it all a go. It’s very easy to be a spectator. If it was easy to manage village codes and village anxieties, well, anyone with a Facebook rant could do it. [via Facebook]

  3. There are no perfect mayors, and that’s the point. No mayor can be every-thing to everyone. Keeping us all as happy as we can be is not his or her job and it’s childish to measure progress that way. In leadership, choices must be made and compromises hashed out to keep a ship upright and on course.

    Thank you, Mayor Dave Merandy, for your authentic and plain-dealing approach to the governance of our village. You have always kept the work of the village focused on the good of its residents and your hard work is appreciated.