Running unopposed for Putnam executive

Kevin Byrne
Kevin Byrne

Kevin Byrne, who is running unopposed to succeed MaryEllen Odell as the Putnam County executive, announced his transition team on Monday (Oct. 3).

Byrne, a state Assembly member, will appear on the Republican and Conservative Party lines on the November ballot.

He said his team will be chaired by Jim Burpoe, commissioner of the Orange County Department of General Services, and include Joe DeMarzo, Putnam County’s former deputy commissioner of mental health and social services; George Oros, who was the chief of staff for Rob Astorino when he was Westchester County executive; Willis Stephens Jr., the Southeast town attorney; and William Spain, the former Putnam County attorney.

Byrne said in a statement he has “reached out to every town supervisor and village mayor in the county to hear their thoughts and discuss ideas on how they can do more to work together moving forward.”

He also said he had “secured a group of top-tier government experts to review the current structure, finances, programs and personnel within Putnam County government” to provide “detailed recommendations” for his tenure.

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3 replies on “Byrne Announces Transition Team”

  1. Not surprisingly, all the members of Byrne’s transition team are white men.

    While we all know that Byrne, and Republicans in Putnam County generally, are vocally opposed to fostering diversity, one would think he might be interested in at least the appearance of propriety by pulling from his Log Cabin Republican or female supporters. This announcement is nothing less than a slap in the face to his future constituents who do not support Republican views or values, whether they are Democrats, independents or from some other party.

    In 2020, as a state Assembly member, Byrne refused to vocally denounce the actions of a local man who drove a truck decorated with the words “Fuck Black Lives” through a Black Lives Matter protest in Carmel. The Westchester Fair Campaign Practices Committee failed to find evidence that Byrne refused to condemn the act, but we know he did, because many of us and others we know asked him to, via phone calls and on social media, and we were ignored. Byrne said at the time, in replies to social media posts, that not every act by a “disturbed” person deserves a public statement.

    His transition team, along with his history of failing to condemn racism and public championing of groups like Moms for Liberty, is further evidence that Byrne plans to run Putnam just like it has been for decades — as a good old boys’ club headed by white cronies trying to preserve their power while keeping women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and other minoritized groups relegated to the shadows and without services or community.

    Byrne still has time to make it right if he wants to, and to diversify his team. But we won’t hold our breath.

    This letter was also signed by Baila Lemonik, Judy Allen, Dwight Arthur, Janet Mahoney, Juergen Tempel and Karen Freede.

  2. There are many of us in the Putnam County community who share the same common-sense values of Kevin Byrne.

    I’m glad to see that he doesn’t pander to the “woke” culture. He has chosen a transition team that he feels is best to help him in his important duties, regardless of their gender or skin color. I applaud that!

    And I am further delighted about his non-apologetic support for Moms for Liberty, a group of conservative women who protect parental rights against the critical-race theorists and LGBTQ activists.

    You have my vote, Kevin Byrne, and I’m proud to stand with you.

    1. Moms for Liberty is quite the misnomer. They are Moms for Censorship/Book Bans. Truly puzzling that so many conservatives, who spend much of their time these days wailing about “cancel culture” and censorship, are so supportive of them. And lets be real — Byrne did not choose the best people for the job, he hired his friends. “Many” may share your views, but many don’t, and that number is growing. Any politician would be well advised to listen.

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