Former Trustees Launch Write-In Campaign

Early and Murphy ask for Cold Spring votes

Two former Cold Spring trustees this week announced write-in campaigns to return to the Village Board.

Fran Murphy and Marie Early will ask voters to add their names to the Nov. 8 ballot.

There are two open seats on the five-member Village Board, held by Laura Bozzi and Tweeps Woods. Both incumbents filed nominating petitions with the Putnam County Board of Elections by the May deadline and will appear on the ballot.

On Wednesday (Oct. 26) Early and Murphy issued a statement, which read, in part: 

“During our seven years on the Village Board, we shared a strong work ethic and, with the rest of the board, accomplished much. Our hope was that the new administration would carry on the work we were so close to finishing. 

“Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened. This is incredibly disappointing. The year off has re-energized us and we need to complete what we started. Village residents will now have a choice.”

The former trustees are being assisted by former Mayor Dave Merandy, who, in June 2021, dropped out of what would have been a three-way mayoral race. Early also dropped out, and Murphy did not seek re-election. 

The other three seats on the Village Board, held by Mayor Kathleen Foley and Trustees Cathryn Fadde and Eliza Starbuck, will be on the ballot in 2023.

Woods was elected in November 2021 to complete the final year of the 2-year term of Heidi Bender, who was elected in 2020 but resigned. Woods had earlier been appointed by Merandy to complete the first year of Bender’s term. 

Bozzi was appointed in May to replace Joe Curto, who resigned, citing health reasons. He had been appointed to fill Foley’s trustee seat after she was elected mayor.

The two seats on the Nov. 8 ballot are for full, 2-year terms. To assist voters, The Current plans to ask each of the four candidates for responses to three questions and will publish their answers next week.

Michael Turton contributed reporting.

14 thoughts on “Former Trustees Launch Write-In Campaign

  1. How uninspired I was to read in “Former Trustees Launch Write-in Campaign,” where the article alludes to the prospective recycling of former Board of Trustees members to compete for opening 2023 seats. Some of what the two former trustees relate is not exactly forthcoming. For example, to say “the new administration would carry on the work we were so close to finishing.” Please remind village residents exactly what “work” they allude to. If the work was so rewarding, why are they not in office now? I would rather they pledged to clean up the mess they left the new board.

    The article goes on to say “unfortunately, this hasn’t happened” — an unfair and grubby dig at the present administration – barely a year in office. This statement carries a false tacit assumption that the present board would have an interest, even have knowledge of, such unfinished works.

    Both of the Board of Trustee retreads had their chance, notwithstanding their administration’s unpopularity. I wonder at the statement, “Village residents will now have a choice.” Huh? Was there not a fair opportunity at the 2022 election? Residents spoke then with their votes.

    The village needed new energy to tackle vast changes that the former administration — in its bureaucratic torpor — utterly lacked. In their seven years of service, that board demonstrated lethargy and gross ineptitude. Why would the village want to return to those dark days?

    As pertains to the joint statement of the former failed administration officials, I find its content beyond the pale of “out there.” The main thrust alludes to the concept of various enforcements, such as the futile enforcement of STR regulations. That political platform strikes me as rather petty and toothless, bordering on dilettantism. Outside of what the police force does (well), there is virtually no code enforcement by any official, and there will not be for the foreseeable future. This is owing to complacency, lack of resources, and gross ineptitude of enforcement and their betters.

    It’s both disingenuous and cockamamie of former board members to lament what ill-conceived works they tried and failed at, and to blame the current administration.

  2. I wish this was more surprising than it actually is, but here we are. Unfortunately, the recent antics of previous board members, and the seemingly hasty way their efforts have come about, feels all too expected and familiar.

    The deliberate disregard for the process of formally getting their names on the ballot shows a broader disregard for order, transparency and process, in favor of stirring up emotion, resentment, and clinging to “the way things were.” And the insincerity of it all inspires no confidence in their commitment to actually serve on the board with good intention, if they’re successful in their bid.

    On the subject of process, the current board members have specifically worked to make village processes functional and efficient, something that benefits each and every one of us. They’ve cleared the inexplicable roadblocks and smoke and mirrors that defined the Village Hall of the previous administration. They have made village administration less about “who you know” and more about building partnerships and transparency, and they’ve done so with a professionalism that has inspired morale and given us higher expectations of what the people of our village can expect. It takes more time, and it takes patience on everyone’s part, and they have put the time in, in bucketloads.

    We urgently need the proactivity of our trustees to address some very real scenarios, so that we can all continue to enjoy our beautiful gem of a village. If the current board did not work tirelessly to address the historic drought we faced this summer — educating our community on how to deal with this year’s circumstances and then working behind the scenes to finally solidify Cold Spring’s ability to link up to the Catskills Aqueduct in the future — we’d all be pretty screwed.

    The write-in challengers imply a return to the “good old days.” It’s not a realistic stance to bury our heads in the sand as we face challenges here and now. We’re all living side-by-side, looking out for one another, and trying to maintain our strong sense of community while so much changes around us. We have to listen to one another and work in a collaborative way that doesn’t leave anyone behind. So who best to lead in times like these? Those who try to sow division, work behind closed doors, and effectively ignore some of our most basic village matters? Surely, we deserve better than this.

    I support the two candidates whose names actually appear on the ballot: Laura Bozzi and Tweeps Woods.

  3. Can I say I was nervous winning my election when the team I ran with lost? Yes I was, but the team that the village has now is the most dedicated and hard working I have seen living in the village for 27 years. Things long back-burnered are getting done at a pace that even I try to keep up with.

    I’m asking you to be sure you fill in that little Sharpie circle for Tweeps Woods and Laura Bozzi because they are dedicated to getting things done for the good of the village. We have so much left to do.

    Fadde is a Village of Cold Spring trustee.

  4. The words in the statement by these write-in candidates for trustee do not align with what I know as someone serving on the Short-Term Rental Committee (note: I am commenting for myself and not the committee). As I see it, if the code originally created by the Village Board when trustees Murphy and Early were serving was enforceable, the code would not currently be “bogged down in committees.”

    I do not see the hard work of the citizens of Cold Spring who volunteer for the various committees mentioned to be “bogging down” the process. I wish these write-in candidates had respect for our hard work and community engagement.

  5. I was thrilled to learn that former village trustees Fran Murphy, and Marie Early organized a write-in campaign for the two seats on the ballot on Nov. 8. I’m also thankful current trustees Tweeps Woods and Laura Bozzi are seeking election. It’s a rare individual that’s willing to put in the time away from family and personal interests for the often thankless task of running this village.

    However, I think the board, in its current configuration, lacks experience on the whole, and appears to serve as an echo chamber for the mayor. Electing Murphy and Early would return to the dais two people with nearly seven years of experience serving on the Village Board, and in Early’s case, deputy mayor as well. These two women are among the most honest, hardworking and dedicated to duty people I have ever worked with in my life. They deeply understand the inner workings, and statutory obligations, of this village. The current board would be vastly improved by electing these two proven leaders.

    I salute them both for identifying the need for a choice on Nov. 8 and making the difficult decision to step up.

    Voloto served on the Village Board from 2016 to 2020.

  6. Recent comments frame Marie Early and Fran Murphy’s candidacy as dirty politics, “expected and familiar” and “uninspired.” What I find similarly expected, familiar and uninspired is the distortion of a candidates’ records and the suggestion of some tawdry ulterior motive for their running.

    I get that fans of this the current administration are bent out of shape that this is a write-in candidacy, even though such bids are hardly novel and why there are boxes titled “Write-In/Escribir-En” on the ballot. One commenter opines “we’re all living side by side, looking out for one another,” which is true. As such, I’d expect from these Early/Murphy detractors the respect and decency to honor the seven years of non-stop, selfless and full-time work these women, our neighbors, rendered us, village taxpayers, rather than reframing seven years of non-stop progress and surpassing goals as “bureaucratic torpor.”

    I realize that facts are less and less popular these days, but if we are to have a substantive discussion of our small-town politics, one that doesn’t devolve into the world of make-believe like on the national scene, previous letters and comments should at least acknowledge the decades of administrative experience of Fran and Marie, rather than paint them as discontented usurpers. While one letter derisively puts quotations around Fran and Marie’s “work” as former trustees, the writer might acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of dollars that these women saved this village in streamlining our employee handbook and spearheading energy audits to bring down the utilities our taxes pay for, and their unyielding negotiations on our behalf for boats that want to dock on weekends.

    If the “lethargy and gross ineptitude” is how one commenter feels about Fran and Marie’s feet, physically being on the ground, to see through the implementation of the Main Street sidewalk repairs, or the coal-tar remediation on New Street and the myriad other accomplishments during their tenure, this person simply wasn’t paying attention. Another comment, that Fran and Marie “work[ed] behind closed doors” is quite at odds with their being the first administration to bring video coverage into every village meeting for anyone to watch, after years of this being spouted as a priority but no one taking any action.

    Several of the comments imply that it’s the “will of the people” that Fran and Marie are no longer serving, almost suggesting that they ran for the spots and lost. Neither Fran nor Marie ran in our last elections. But they are running now because with so many on the field, and so much unfinished business, no one is noticing the fumbled ball wobbling on the 5-yard line. Fran and Marie simply want to get that ball into the end zone.

  7. I was astonished to learn that Ms. Early and Ms. Murphy have decided to enter the race for the Board of Trustee in late October as write-ins.

    Ms. Early, along with the former Mayor Merandy, pulled out of the 2021 race when others entered their race as challengers. Ms. Murphy did not enter that race. Had they chosen to enter the present race as challengers in what had been the usual way, campaigning, engaging in debate, and offering voters other than an “us-against-them” approach, the ensuing dialogue and their run would have an air of legitimacy. As it is presented, they are wanting to “complete what they started.” They seem to think that they were somehow deprived of this right when they decided to pull out from the 2021 race. Whatever work was left unfinished, it evidently wasn’t possible in the seven years that Early, Merandy and Murphy held office.

    They say they had hoped the new administration would carry on their work. Hobbling the new administration in an unusual, but now familiar move, the previous administration chose active non-participation in the normal and democratic tradition of assisting in the transition. The new group of electees were forced to figure it out for themselves. It is remarkable that through the diligence and dedication of the entire board, they have been able to set the village back on course.

    When tradition and the-way-it-was-done is conducive to, and benefiting of the Village, it is good. I am not a fan of new for the sake of new, but the current administration is doing an extremely admirable job of addressing many, too-long-ignored issues, as well as some issues directly created by the previous administration. One example of this was the surprising need to transition from a village refuse/recycling system to an outside company brought on by the failure to maintain the village-owned equipment. The transition to Royal Carting itself was as smooth as it could possibly have been. And not by any accident, but by exceptional planning on the part of the trustees, along with former Trustee Joe Curto. The community was invited to participate in the discussion making the selection process an entirely transparent process.

    The work that the current trustees and mayor are doing is thoughtful and essential and warrants our support to reach full stride given the handicap of the unassisted transition. We should be thankful to the current board for putting the work of the code update back on track. Laura Bozzi and Tweeps Phillips Woods are the voices of reason and people of action and integrity that the village needs now.

  8. With voting now underway it’s important that we vote for qualified candidates. It’s incumbent on us, as individuals, to exercise due diligence and learn the facts about the candidates. Not hearsay, but facts and having worked closely with Fran Murphy and Marie Early for close to seven years on the Village Board, I can say without a doubt that both stand head and shoulders above the other candidates. I am in no way disparaging the other candidates. Fran and Marie just bring far more experience, volunteerism and commitment to our village.

    Fran and Marie are accomplished women with a combined 75 years of leadership in business/financial management and higher education. Add to that impressive number, 27 years of selfless service to our village as both volunteers and elected officials. Not only did they both volunteer for several years before being elected but Fran continued to volunteer two days a week while a village trustee.

    Fran was appointed and served on the Recreation Commission. Marie served on the Special Board, Historic District Review Board and Chair and member of the ZBA. Both were elected for three terms as trustees, with Marie serving as deputy mayor during all three terms.

    Knowing the importance of the Code Update, they spent countless hours, meeting two or three times a week, reviewing recommendations by the Code Update Committee and going line by line through all of our codes, making them as strong and as clear as possible. They also spent countless hours walking every inch of our streets, noting where additional signage was needed, existing signage updated and where state regulations were not met. This couldn’t be more tedious, mindnumbing work, but they rolled their sleeves up and, with the exception of Chapter 134 Zoning, which is 99 percent complete, got it done.

    Fran and Marie are both sincere, open-minded, trustworthy, reliable, dedicated, professional and sincere, but the attribute that stands out most and the one that is most lacking in our current society, is humility. Neither craves attention or recognition for the work they do or the work they’ve accomplished. Their volunteer work and service as elected officials was for the betterment of our village. Improving safety and our quality of life was their only agenda.

    Find the small boxes in the lower right hand corner of the ballot and write-in F. Murphy and M. Early. They are the most qualified candidates.

    Merandy is the former mayor of Cold Spring.

  9. I write in support of Marie Early and Fran Murphy as write-in candidates for village trustee. Each has ably served the village for many years, in particular through the critical Code Update project, which has yet to be resumed by the current board. I experienced firsthand Marie’s diligent work during our years on the Comprehensive Plan Board, which involved painstaking drafting work, organizing numerous public meetings, and balancing often contentious viewpoints. I also benefited from Marie’s leadership in my role on the Code Update Committee. She’s thorough, open, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the village.

    I don’t have any criticisms of the two candidates on the ballot. However, it does concern me greatly that the Village Board has not acted to implement Comprehensive Plan/Code Update Committee recommendations for zoning (including potential rezoning of the Marathon property and scenic viewshed protection – which I drafted, full disclosure), or the residential parking program for east of the tracks, which was enacted by the Village Board in July 2021 pursuant to a 2015 state law. If any work is being done on code updates, it is happening without transparency, which is very problematic and possibly illegal.

    Also, the short-term rental law, which was duly enacted by the Village Board in July 2021 after years of study, meetings and debate, is in limbo, relegated to an “ad hoc” committee, with perhaps noble intentions but unclear purpose. Declaring that an enacted village law cannot be enforced invites non-compliance with all village laws. It is the solemn responsibility of the Village Board to determine how to enforce the law. Marie and Fran are up to that challenge.

  10. I write in support of Fran and Marie’s write in candidacy. But I am deeply saddened and disheartened by these attacks on our neighbors who are simply offering their services, yet again, to the village at little to no cost. Write-in candidacy is a completely legitimate approach to do so and I would imagine that they came to this decision when they became aware after the petition deadline that the candidates for these seats would run unopposed. We should welcome democratic participation and choice so why is any of that in question here? 

    These negative comments are undemocratic, un-neighborly and worse they are unkind. I think that the author of the article has successfully baited many of you by telling you that these “former trustees are being assisted by former Mayor Dave Merandy.” A baseless and unfounded propaganda technique of guilt by association in my opinion. Maybe the editor/author knows that Dave paid for an ad in support of them? I don’t know if he did or not but this falsely implies that these are the Merandy candidates attempting to roll back into Village Hall in a Trojan horse. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

    These are forthright, independent, professionally experienced, hardworking neighbors who have given countless hours of their time to the village. There is nobody that I trust more to do the hard work and independently represent the village’s interest. Even if I were to disagree with a decision of theirs I would have every confidence that they did their research and relied on their knowledge and experience to arrive at that decision. If they are not your candidate then simply support your candidate and don’t vote for them. But let’s not regress to the lowest common denominator here. This isn’t Washington so please let’s stop attacking our neighbors as if they were career politicians. Marie and Fran are independently and of their own accord offering their services to the running of the Village and I support their candidacy and our shared choice/opportunity to vote for them.

  11. I’m grateful to Marie Early and Fran Murphy for putting themselves forward, even at this late stage, as write-ins. Marie and Fran are highly accomplished in their professional careers as well as their volunteerism. They bring unrivaled experience in business administration, business management, volunteerism, and public service. This all experience our village needs.

    Marie and Fran are proven municipal project managers, fluent in our local code, municipal protocols and attentive to state laws and requirements governing the activities of our village.

    Fortunately, most of their accomplishments on the Board of Trustees and as volunteers on board and committees are recorded in the public record.

    In their service to our village, both Marie and Fran have already delivered key improvements to local governance, infrastructure, public health and safety, as well as direct revenue and sustained tax savings, including, Transparency and Openness in Government, Tax Savings and Direct Revenue (representing a gain of nearly $1 million to our village’s budgets during their tenure) and Public Health and Safety.

    Finally, but not least, Marie and Fran understand the significance of our Code Update plus the LWRP and how adopting those will protect our village’s interest and give the village the legal standing we need when negotiating with New York State parks and its proxies (especially in relation to the Fjord Trail project). Adoption of the Code Update and LWRP, while continuing to leverage our invaluable committee volunteers’ contributions, is the strategic approach we need from Village Hall. Marie and Fran will bring experience, skill and fluency in key issues to the work of the Village Board.

    Please join me writing-in M. Early and F. Murphy for village trustees.

  12. I am a little non-plussed to read the generalization, “These negative comments are undemocratic, unneighborly and worse they are unkind.” The truth is the opposite: Public comments are part of the democratic process. “Unneighborly” or “unkind” has naught to do with representing the village’s best interests, or the democratic process.

    It is disingenuous to insult the Foley administration by saying “both stand head-and-shoulders above the other candidates. I am in no way disparaging the other candidates” — as it were “with all due respect – not.” Such comments in support of the former failed administration undermine the efforts of their succeeding betters.

    Other comments hyperbolically extol virtues (great works) which are less than readily apparent. For example, “key improvements to local governance, infrastructure, public health and safety.” What the former admin has accomplished, for better or worse, lives only in the past and imagination.

    “Transparency and openness in government” was never one of the former administration’s strong suits. As I remember, it was extremely aloof and unprofessional, and unwilling to endure public opinion. To cite “a combined 75 years of leadership in business/financial management and higher education” is dyed-in-the-wool campaign rhetoric.

    I encourage village resident to face forward progress of the energetic, well-intended new administration. Give it a fair chance before panicking and dredging up former officials who have no coherent campaign platform.

  13. Not hyperbole. Clarity and facts. All of Marie Early and Fran Murphy’s good work and service to this community is reflected in the extensive public record, including (but not limited to) their legislative actions that enabled the DEC Coal Tar Clean Up project at New and West streets. Not imagined, not fabricated. Real work for the public health of our village. That’s Marie and Fran! 🙂

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