Outlines trustee votes to achieve a ‘balanced board’
Dave Merandy, who will complete his third term as the mayor of Cold Spring this year after dropping out of the race for reelection, said today (Oct. 22) that he is endorsing former Putnam County legislator Vinny Tamanga to succeed him.
In an advertisement placed in The Current and addressed to voters, Merandy disparaged Trustee Kathleen Foley, who is the other candidate for mayor, accusing her of betraying his trust and engaging in “conspiracy theories” about Putnam County politics.
Merandy, who was elected in 2015 and reelected in 2017 and 2019, dropped out of the mayoral race in June after Foley emerged as a candidate. A former longtime member of the Historic District Review Board, she ran unopposed in November 2020 to win a seat on the Village Board.
Merandy charged that Foley, while gathering signatures to get his name on the Nov. 2 ballot, also covertly gathered support for her own campaign.
“After relying on Kathleen to collect signatures we were shocked to learn that Kathleen had asked some village residents to hold back signatures from our petitions so they could sign petitions for her to run for mayor, reassuring them that there would not be a three-way race for mayor, that she guaranteed there would be only two candidates: Kathleen and Vinny,” Merandy wrote.
“That is wildly incorrect,” Foley wrote in an email on Thursday (Oct. 21) when asked about the claim. “I worked hard for Dave in three elections, and was actively doing so again. We both agreed that Vinny Tamagna doesn’t represent the future of Cold Spring.
“I recruited volunteers to carry Dave’s nominating petitions, and from the field they reported that many people had significant reservations signing for Dave. It was clear he had lost too much public support to win. That’s a chance I wasn’t willing to take for our village. I kept my commitment and got Dave the signatures he needed to be on the ballot. Only then did I inform the volunteers of my decision to run as a third candidate. They had the option to sign his petition, mine or none. They signed mine. Dave made his own choice to drop out.”
Merandy took a highly personal tone in his ad, saying that Foley “had been a dear friend of my wife and mine for nearly a decade” and that the couple were “stunned and saddened by her actions and her public conduct toward both of us.”
In the ad, Merandy said that Trustee Marie Early, who planned to run for her fourth, 2-year term, and Planning Board Chair Matt Francisco, who entered the race to succeed exiting Trustee Fran Murphy, dropped out with him because of Foley’s “duplicity” and “to avoid eight months of her [Foley’s] negative campaigning against us.” Merandy said he was hearing concerns from residents “about the lack of qualified candidates.”
The mayor shared his “voting strategy,” which was to endorse Tamagna for mayor, citing his experience in county government, while asserting that Foley is “deeply disliked among elected officials in our county government” and that she “invests a lot of energy in conspiracy theories.”
Merandy said that if “Vinny has an agenda,” it could be neutralized by voting for “the right combination of trustees,” which Merandy said would be candidates Yaslyn Daniels and Cathryn Fadde, who are running with Tamagna on the Better Together ticket, and Eliza Starbuck, who is running with Foley and trustee candidate Tweeps Phillips Woods.
“I’m only voting for Eliza as part of my strategy to maintain a balanced board,” Merandy wrote, saying she was “likely to align with Kathleen,” who will either be mayor after the election or remain as a trustee for the second year of her term. (If elected mayor, Foley also would select her replacement on the board.)
The key to his strategy, Merandy asserted, was Daniels, who he believes would be a swing vote and prevent a consistent majority voting block. Daniels is running to serve the final year of the term of Heidi Bender, who resigned earlier this year. She is challenging Woods, whom Merandy appointed to take Bender’s seat until the Nov. 2 election.
Of Fadde, who owns Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill on Main Street and served on the board from 2014 to 2016, Merandy wrote: “Cathryn understands local business and her experience will be valuable on our Village Board. For residents who lived through the [Roger] Ailes era in Cold Spring, you may hesitate in voting for her. However, I think many lessons were learned during that era and today I am willing to bet on Cathryn.”
The other trustee candidate for the two full-term seats is Jeff Phillips, who is running with Better Together.