Merandy Endorses Tamagna for Cold Spring Mayor

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.

Merandy

Merandy

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.

Foley

Foley

“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.”

Tamagna

Tamagna

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.

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28 thoughts on “Merandy Endorses Tamagna for Cold Spring Mayor

  1. As a recruiter at the request of Kathleen Foley for signatures for Dave Merandy, Marie Early and Matt Francisco to be placed on the November ballot, I am offended by the erroneous and egregious claims made by Merandy in his attempt to slander Foley and sway the electorate.

    The facts are as follows: When Foley contacted me to canvas the lower village for signatures, she explained the urgency of defeating the “Better Together” ticket at large and Vinny Tamagna in particular. Like many others in village, it is clear how detrimental Tamagna’s hubris would be for Cold Spring. Foley made it clear that I could not sign the petition I was carrying, but that did not preclude me from signing another.

    I was reluctant to knock on doors for Merandy because I witnessed weekly at the Village Board meetings how he had lost his bearings as a leader, was surprisingly misogynistic, unable to control his temper and frequently acting like a petulant child. But I had been a longtime fan of both Early and Francisco, both of whom have the intelligence and lack of ego necessary to move the village forward. So I knocked on doors. I found myself engaged in conversations with people who also had grave concerns about how the mayor had become unglued and a detriment to village governance. Those who did sign did so because they were able to focus on the value of electing Early and Francisco and understood that were Merandy elected, the board itself would still have the proper ballast to keep the village government moving forward.

    There is no conspiracy here: It was clear from canvasing that Merandy would most likely have lost the election. It’s sad that Merandy’s vindictiveness jeopardizes the future of our village and casts a stain on his legacy.

    • Thank you, Rian. Why support someone so bad for taxpayers?

      Mayor Merandy, who hung up his candidate’s hat in July, now decides to paint himself a victim of conspiracies. What conspiracies? And at the 11th hour, he throws support behind Vinny Tamagna. This seems an act of petty revenge for Merandy’s being challenged. In doing so, Merandy abandons everyone who voted for him, and every taxpayer in the County. How?

      Example: last year, The Current’s Leonard Sparks reported: “Putnam County legislators … voted to provide Transportation Director Vinny Tamagna with a $15,000 bonus for his work on a feasibility study….The funds, which came from a grant, had been earmarked to hire a secretary.…”

      So did Tamagna deprive a taxpayer of a job? If so, does he deserve another job at taxpayers’ expense?

      Another front-page article, about Kevin McConville, Sheriff Langley’s challenger, allows McConville to verbally waterboard Langley by comparing a legal Langley phone call recording to “Watergate.” At the piece’s end, Langley gives a clear explanation of the public-record legal-handling aspects of phone calls.

      Meanwhile, The Current provides links to court documents showing that in 2015, the MTA paid $1.2 million to settle a 2007 lawsuit brought by 10 Black and Hispanic officers who said they’d been subjected to racial discrimination. The lawsuit named the agency, its directors, McConville, and his top deputy. 

      It’s a shame all these flash-bangs are being thrown in order to give questionable candidates like Tamagna and McConville cover–Conspiracies? Watergate? Really?– instead of focusing on the Village’s wellbeing and future. I’d like to see The Current question these two candidates further.

  2. Everyone is entitled to their own facts, as we know, but Foley admits: “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.”

    “Only then” was while campaigning for Merandy. Ouch. She didn’t tell Merandy that she was running against him, while campaigning for him.

    With “volunteers” like that, who needs enemies?

    These people are “volunteering” to serve Cold Spring, to officiate on boards that make decisions material to people’s livelihood and financial futures — until self-interest takes over, but “only then.”

    Knowing Dave Merandy, Marie Early and Matt Francisco, their years of service and their track record, I would vote for them if they were running, i.e., placing their own self-interest first and splitting the vote. But they aren’t.

    • Merandy obviously lost favor with voters and was going to lose, so Kathleen did the right thing and stepped up to work for us, the residents of Cold Spring. Merandy’s only interest at this point is doing what’s best for his bruised ego, not what’s best for his neighbors in Cold Spring. By his own admission in The Current’s article, Tamagna’s Republican agenda (putting the interests of Carmel before Cold Spring) would “need to be balanced out” on the board. Wow, what an endorsement. No thanks.

  3. It’s a shame Mayor Merandy can’t take responsibility for his nasty demeanor and foul language over the past couple of years. Yes, I would have begrudgingly voted for him as the lesser of two evils, but I would not have been happy about it.

    Mayor Merandy left the village in serious jeopardy and he has only himself and his bad attitude to blame. I am thrilled Kathleen Foley, Tweeps Woods and Eliza Starbuck have stepped up to do what few are willing to do, dedicate their time and attention to the needs of many. Thank you, ladies, and I can’t wait to cast my vote for you on Nov. 2!

  4. I was astonished to read that Dave Merandy hopes for a balanced trustee board after the upcoming election.

    Thanks to Zoom, I have been able to attend more than 20 Village Board meetings in the past 18 months. I have witnessed at least a half a dozen times when Dave Merandy acted angrily, irrationally and unprofessionally. He reacts to any valid questions (questions I myself would want to have answered) or opposition to his own views as a personal attack and resorts to absurd conspiracy theories.

    Mayor Merandy needs only to reflect on his unbecoming conduct as to the reason why villagers were uncomfortable signing a petition to put him on this year’s ballot. If he were running for re-election, a balanced board with diverse opinions would be the last thing Dave Merandy would want.

  5. The practice of carrying petitions for more than one candidate for the same position (where there would be only one vacancy) is highly irregular. For Foley to claim that she only decided to run for mayor at the end of the canvass is laughable on its face because the petition to put her on the ballot was for mayor, not some other post.

    The petition carriers were recruited by her, not by some third party. So it would appear obvious that they might encourage voters to choose the Foley petition over the Merandy petition. To take the result as a clear preference for Foley over Merandy is not valid — it’s the equivalent of push-polling or skewing sample sizes.

    I’ve known Dave Merandy and Kathleen Foley both for quite some time. I’m quite surprised that The Current, which normally abhors ad hominem attacks, would permit comments that call him “misogynistic” or “irrational.” He is none of those things. He is a dedicated individual who has fine qualifications to be kept on as mayor. He knows the village in fine detail; he understands all its working parts in a practical, not a theoretical, context.

    Foley, on the other hand, has long exhibited a pattern of behavior of assassinating the character or competence of individuals with whom she disagrees. I served on the Historic District Review Board (HDRB) board with her for 10 years. She constantly attempted to dominate and control the board’s deliberations, always having to have the last word. Several years ago, she wanted Dave to not re-appoint the HDRB’s chairman, until she was talked out of it. She employed the same interruption tactic against the HDRB chair as she has against Dave in village meetings. A few HDRB members have told me over the years they quit because they’d “had enough of her.”

    Foley does not have the qualifications to be the chief executive of Cold Spring. A PhD is a nice thing but it is not hands-on experience in management. Volunteering a few hours a week for this or that board is not evidence of ability to take on the 24/7/365 responsibility that the position of mayor demands. We don’t need an autocratic dictator.

  6. Just as it is any human’s right to sign a petition of their choosing, it is any human’s right to carry and solicit the signing of any petition of their choosing). It would be an even better practice for advocates of democracy to carry all viable petitions before an election and have each individual be able to decide which petition he or she might sign, without social pressure.

    That being said, can we all please cut out the ad hominem attacks and focus on the various issues of vital importance to the twin villages?

  7. I was approached to sign Dave Merandy’s petition but I chose to decline due to the misogyny and disrespectful behavior I witnessed at Village Board meetings. I look forward to voting for Foley, Tweeps and Eliza, who are highly qualified, dedicated, connected to the community, and who treat others with respect. [via Facebook]

  8. I have been very happy with the performance of our current mayor and council and I thank them sincerely for their service. But I am disappointed that they may have left a terrible legacy that the village will have to live with for many years. With his cross-party endorsement, the mayor may help to elect someone who clearly does not share his values or those of the board, and someone who is not as vested in the interests of our residents. Pure emotion has gotten us in this predicament. Let’s hope it doesn’t win the day.

  9. I am disappointed, but not surprised, with Mayor Dave Merandy’s spite-filled endorsement of Vinny Tamagna to follow him as mayor of Cold Spring. I know firsthand what Dave thinks of Vinny Tamagna.

    During Dave’s short tenure with us as a member of the Town Board, I recall a meeting where Dave’s treatment of Tamagna, who is the Putnam County transportation director, and a local business professional was so disrespectful and inappropriate that I apologized to both of them the following day. Dave’s lack of control continues to this day. Anyone who questions or challenges Dave gets a dose of his fury. We have all witnessed it. Dave’s endorsement of Vinny Tamagna is not to “ensure balance in the village.” He is attempting to push what is the worst possible outcome for the village to satisfy his own rage at not being mayor anymore.

    Dave talks of unfounded “conspiracy theories” that Philipstown shouldn’t worry about. Does Dave know that while Vinny has been transportation director, a position that did not exist prior to him being appointed to the role, that ridership has dropped by 30 percent while the cost per rider has gone up by 44 percent? These numbers are pre-COVID, comparing 2012 to 2018. Does Dave know that Vinny switched the $2 million+ transportation contract from First Transit, a company that everyone was happy with, to MV Transportation, a company that hired Vinny’s brother? Does Dave know what Vinny’s salary and lifelong pension are now compared to when he was first appointed? It began at $75,000 a year for what Vinny described as an “interim role” and is now a $105,000 salary and pension that we’ve been paying for eight years and counting and will continue to pay for the rest of his life. Are those the conspiracies we shouldn’t be worried about?

    Trustees Kathleen Foley and Tweeps Phillips Woods do their jobs and ask questions. They are cherished members of this community, not career politicians. I have had the pleasure of campaigning and getting to know mayoral candidate Foley and trustee candidates Tweeps Phillips Woods and Eliza Starbuck. These women are prepared, knowledgeable and capable; they will treat everyone with control and respect. They deserve to be the people representing Cold Spring, not Vinny Tamagna.

    Van Tassel is a member of the Philipstown Town Board. He is running unopposed as a Democrat for town supervisor.

    • John Van Tassel has pointed out that Dave Merandy can be tough and temperamental, problematically so at times (though when it came to the Roger and Elizabeth Ailes-led attack on the soul of our town, Dave was a tough and temperamental politician who helped to restore sanity in a way that no other citizen could). One thing John does not do — as other citizens have suggested doing — is label Dave as a misogynist. I concur. As both a local citizen and as an openly radically feminist public figure, one who has traveled across the country and around the world and stood up to both aggressive and (ostensibly nuanced) withering attacks on women, I have never experienced Dave Merandy as a misogynist.

    • John, I am shocked and disappointed at the use of your official voice/capacity here to make these personal, attacking remarks towards Dave Merandy. Further, that you would use your interpersonal history with him in an attempt to lend credibility to what you ascribe to him as his true intentions here. It is, in my opinion, shameful behavior that is impolitic of even a walk-on town supervisor. And ironically it seems to me as if you are engaging in the very behavior that you accuse him of. Specifically here that you disagree with his concern and strategy to avoid a voting block on the village board. More simply put, you disagree with him so you are attacking him here in this very public forum.

  10. Certainly, I am not enraged because my term as mayor is nearly over, but I am very sad and troubled to have been betrayed and now attacked by people I once considered friends.

    I knew Foley would call on her supporters to submit letters and come to her defense after my ad was printed, but I never expected Town Councilman John Van Tassel -– a former colleague and someone I considered a friend -– would be one of them.

    Unfortunately, John misunderstands my recommended voting strategy and does not understand what it’s really like to work with Kathleen on a village board.

    Taking Vinny Tamagna’s experience in county government into account, including issues on which Vinny and I agree and disagree, Vinny remains the best qualified person to lead our village as mayor, and Cathryn Fadde and Yaslyn Daniels are the best qualified candidates for trustee.

  11. I like Dave Merandy. He has been a great mayor. I voted for him twice and I would have voted for him again. However, I must disagree with his recommendations for how we should vote in the village elections.

    We elected Dave to get away from the Cathryn Fadde-dominated Village Board. I believe Kathleen Foley, Eliza Starbuck and Tweeps Phillips Woods would represent a continuation of how Dave Merandy led the village. In fact, I believe that the Dave Merandy who served the village so well would disagree with the Dave Merandy who endorsed Vinny Tamanga.

  12. Was the ad free, too? A political person pays for a huge ad that mentions nothing about the lack of county sales tax revenue or loss of county funding for toilets or loss of a sheriff’s patrol in our river, but attacks another public servant. Then, after purchasing that big, expensive ad, he gets a front-page headline, to boot. Whatever happened to Gordon Stewart’s Current? [via Instagram]

    Farrell is a member of the Philipstown Town Board.

  13. The Current did an excellent job reporting this complex, controversial and important development. The dry facts are there, and it is up to us, the readers, to decide. More of that brand of reporting is always welcome.

  14. So someone — it’s not clear who — buys a half-page ad in your paper to publish Merandy’s wild conspiracy and then the paper puts a story about the ad on the front page but buries Foley’s response on Page 21? Is The Current is now selling access to its front page? [via Facebook]

    • Our story wasn’t about the ad, which Merandy purchased; it was about his endorsements. We think it’s news when a mayor makes an endorsement in the race to succeed him, especially if the choice is unexpected, regardless of how it’s delivered.

  15. After I read all of that hateful and misogynistic B.S., I wondered who’s really taken in by conspiracy theories. People didn’t sign for Kathleen instead of Dave. Dave’s rantings, and such a consistently vindictive style, said enough and turned people away. Why else would he have dropped out?

    I thought Roger Ailes died years ago, but it seems he came back for a Halloween surprise and he’s running The Current now. It’s sad to see an otherwise good paper place biased pieces on the cover. Does the vicious ad pay for that kind of “journalism”? [via Facebook]

  16. I carried petitions for Mayor Merandy. I carried out my duties earnestly and honestly as I have for years, always excited to participate in our democracy. I was never told to stop what I was doing by anyone. I know the rules for gathering signatures because I’ve been volunteering for all kinds of village campaigns for 11 years.

    Want to be mayor? Run a really good campaign and win. A third person has entered the race? Beat them fair and square at the polls. I will be voting for Kathleen, Tweeps and Eliza, and I am particularly excited to see Kathleen, who has worked so hard for so many years to deliver good candidates over the finish line (including the current mayor), finally become mayor herself. [via Facebook]

  17. I’m flashing back to the days when Cold Spring Trustee Stephanie Hawkins was attacked every week in a coordinated effort by village trustees, [one-time mayoral candidate] Barney Malloy and employees of the Putnam County News & Recorder. Dave Merandy took a cut in pay and benefits to run for mayor. I am so grateful to both Merandy and Foley for resurrecting us from the all-time low when Hawkins was attacked for things like tending to a sick tree and securing important funding for our town.

    The conflict between Merandy and Foley is tragic, and I can’t support Merandy’s proposed slate of candidates, who sat by as the Ailes machine attacked public servants. But Mayor Merandy sacrificed a lot to save our town. [via Facebook]

  18. For me it is, and probably always will be, a mystery how:

    1) “We both agreed that Vinny Tamagna doesn’t represent the future of Cold Spring.”

    turned into,

    2) “Dave Merandy… is endorsing former Putnam County legislator Vinny Tamanga to succeed him.”

    These two declarations imply there was either an enormous misunderstanding between the two around the time of the decision to gather signatures, or something else… perhaps evidence of some sort of an error in memory, a selective memory, and/or a flat-out misinterpretation or mischaracterization of the actual events. For us, it’s just not clear, and it cannot be clear, just what happened. The differences in the accounts are entirely between Merandy and Foley. In their minds. Only they may know (and it is even possible they don’t know!) exactly what happened.

    However, I do recommend the voters attempt to understand and try to judge the clarity and the accuracy (i.e., the level of objectivity and precision) of the statements candidates for public office offer, certainly prior to the (potentially grave) voting decision. At this point Foley is a candidate. Merandy is not.

    Foley fails to acknowledge in her account, and it is not well-reported in this article (though Merandy just hints at it in his comment, videlicet, ‘John… does not understand what it’s really like to work with Kathleen on a village board’), a key fact. There were major (often belligerent) disagreements during the board meetings. (Were there disagreements elsewhere, outside of the public meetings?)

    These disagreements were extensively reported in our local papers. (Were these reports in error? Were there no such disagreements? Were not some of them belligerent?)

    Notably, these disagreements started at least a few months, if my memory is correct, before Kathleen Foley was even sworn in as a trustee.

    Finally, it might help us, the voters, if we knew better just what it is that Foley apparently so much fears from Tamagna as mayor. Does she know? Can she explain?

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