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To the Editor:
You may not have heard about “Project Forward." It is a Town of Ossining initiative to take away your right to elect positions. Let’s say that again, the initiative to take away your right to vote. What positions? Town Receiver of Taxes, Town Clerk, and Superintendent of Highways. As the former Receiver of Taxes Gloria Freid has written, appointing these positions opens the door to cronyism, and is a power grab by the Supervisor’s office. Under the current law, those that hold any of these elected offices must live in the Town, and 2 of the 3 positions are voted on by the entirety of the Town including the 2 villages. The exception is the Highway Supervisor position which is only for the Unincorporated Town. But more than that, this will not save any money. They even say so. If you look at surrounding areas and appointed positions, the salaries increase SIGNIFICANTLY when an individual is appointed versus elected, especially if they become civil service positions, which they would. Further, you can go through a revolving door of people (the Village of Ossining has had 5 Village Managers in 6 years), which speaks also to the fact that appointed does not necessarily mean more qualified or the right fit. That’s because you have a handful or people, or one, deciding, versus the community of voters. Lastly, as if all of that weren’t enough, this will result in less efficiency of services, not more. Their plan is to merge the Town Clerk and Receiver of Taxes offices. These are busy offices with very different job descriptions and duties. When has merging ever resulted in better? With respect to the Unincorporated Town Superintendent of Highway, the Town Supervisor has stated they do not know if they will actually replace that position, and so they might pull one of the other workers from the Highway Department, you know, one of the ones plowing your roads, fixing the trucks, clearing the drains, checking the pipes, picking up leaves, checking on the roads and trees, to fill in on that job. Even better, maybe they will take one of the only TWO parks department employees (there were 4 but people have been transferred or retired and doesn’t seem they have been replace) to fill in. No savings, not efficient, and taking away our rights. Vote No on Local laws # 4, 5 and 6.
-- Kim Jeffrey, former Town Councilwoman
-- Kim Santos, Town of Ossining resident