Rye Councilman Peter Jovanovich issued a news release today on his plan to run independently for mayor against his fellow Republican Councilman Joe Sack. Read the announcement below, followed by the June 6 announcement of the GOP slate for mayor and three council seats.
(The Democrats’ announcement, on the party’s two council nominees, is posted here.)
Jovanovich Declares Candidacy for Mayor of Rye
Councilman and Deputy Mayor Peter Jovanovich announced today that he is running for Mayor as an Independent. Through the petition process, he plans to be on the ballot this fall.
“I believe that the City of Rye can only be made a better place through the collaboration of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents,” explains Jovanovich. “The challenges we face are practical, not partisan; and we need volunteers from all points of the political spectrum.”
Here are some of the issues that he has addressed in his first term on the Council and will focus on as Mayor:
Rye made a good step forward by approving the infrastructure bond last fall. But there is more work to be done: rebuilding the road bed and walkways at Station Plaza, improving traffic and pedestrian signals at Theodore Fremd/Purdy Avenue intersection, and upgrading crosswalks and sidewalks, particularly near schools.
2. Labor Negotiations
With the total compensation of City employees rising 7-8% a year, the City needs a new deal with its unions. In particular, the City must slow the rise in health care costs. The City Manager has advocated, in numerous negotiating sessions with our unions, to reform our labor agreements. “The Council must continue to support the City Manager in his negotiations with our unions,” says Jovanovich.
Working with members of the Sustainability Committee, Councilman Jovanovich enthusiastically supported the plastic bag ordinance. He further supports the Sustainability Committee’s agenda to preserve open space in Rye.
He pledges to protect our land use commissions from political influence. The Mayor and Jovanovich were pressured by the chairman of a Rye political party to fire the Chairman of the Planning Commission, and to appoint a “developer-friendly” replacement. They refused. Jovanovich states: “I promise to only appoint members to the land use commissions and boards who believe they are stewards of Rye’s neighborhoods, wetlands, and wetland buffers.”
4. Financial Sustainability
The City is now in excellent financial health because of the difficult decisions made over the last four years to deal with the worst recession in 75 years. Services were maintained while taxes stayed under the tax cap, expenses held flat, reserves restored, and our AAA rating reaffirmed.
5. The Rye Free Reading Room
The Recession put pressure on all City Departments and its non-profit partners like the Library. As Council liaison to the Library, Jovanovich worked closely with the Board of the Rye Free Reading Room to negotiate a sustainable labor agreement. He strongly promoted the use of bond funds to provide sprinklers and other improvements to the library’s historic building.
6. Golf Club
The Golf Club scandal revealed several shortcomings in the way the City of Rye conducts its business – particularly at the Enterprise Funds (Boat Basin and Golf Club.). First, the City needs stronger auditing oversight. Jovanovich proposes the City hire a full-time internal auditor, and, to supplement and provide further oversight, also contract with specialist outside auditors to review the Golf Club and the Boat Basin — places where a great deal of monetary transactions take place.
Second, to provide proper checks and balances in the operation of Enterprise Funds, Jovanovich supports new governance procedures, including the expansion of the Golf Club and Boat Basin Commissions to include citizens with financial expertise.
Third, reinforce the mission of providing low-cost recreation amenities. “We have lost sight of this goal: to provide affordable access to recreation,” says Jovanovich. “The cost of a pool membership at the Golf Club is now three times the average cost of other pools in Westchester. That’s not right.”
Councilman Jovanovich has strongly supported Sustainable Playland Inc.’s proposal, from its inception, to save the Park. If elected Mayor, he will work tirelessly to see this innovative approach to recreation in a parkland setting come to fruition.
Jovanovich says he will pursue a balanced approach to governing, combining sound fiscal management with improvements to Rye’s infrastructure and enhancements to its quality of life.
“That’s been my approach throughout my life in Rye,” he states. “Whether as a Director and Treasurer of the Friends of the Rye Nature Center, Council Liaison to the Rye Free Reading Room, or as a member of the Board of Architectural Review and the Planning Commission, I have concentrated on serving the best interests of Rye without regard to political affiliation. If elected Mayor, I will continue in that manner.”
For Immediate release – June 6, 2013
The Rye City Republican Committee tonight nominated Joe Sack for Mayor of Rye, and Kirstin Bucci, Julie Killian and Terry McCartney for Rye City Council, in the City-wide elections to be held this November. “We have put together a great ticket this year, and I look forward to an exciting election season,” said Tony Piscionere, Rye Republican Chairman. Peter Lane, Executive Director of the Rye Republicans, commented that “this is the best ticket I’ve seen in Rye in many years.”
Sack is a two-term Rye City Councilman. He has pushed for openness and transparency, checks and balances, and communication and consensus building during his service on the Council. A securities litigation attorney in private practice, Sack is married with three daughters who attend Rye public schools. “Between the Rye Golf Club scandal, the Rye TV fiasco, and the FOIL mess, to name a few, people in Rye are just worn out from all this drama,” Sack said. “And quite frankly, folks have lost some confidence in the way city government is run. By asking tough questions, demanding straight answers, and using good judgment, I know that we can help restore that confidence.”
Bucci, a former financial industry analyst, has been an active volunteer in the Rye public schools and Rye youth sports. A member of Rye Golf Club, Bucci was motivated to run for office in response to the recent scandal at the Club. Bucci, a registered Democrat, is married with three daughters who attend Rye schools. “No matter your political party registration, I believe that what we need right now in Rye on a local level is common sense,” said Bucci. “I am proud to be running with Joe, Julie and Terry on the Republican line, and feel that our team is positioned to lead Rye back to the top.”
Killian has been actively involved in the Rye community for over 20 years and was previously in the financial services industry, primarily as an executive at Citibank. She was appointed to the Council and then won election last year. As a member of the Council, Killian has served as liaison to a number of committees, including the Rye Golf Strategic Committee and the Finance Committee, where she has worked to establish a four-year financial plan. “It has been an honor to serve on the Council and I look forward to continuing to institute forward thinking and prudent fiscal management to Rye City. We have put together a terrific bi-partisan team to serve the citizen’s of Rye,” Killian said. Killian is married and the mother of five children, aged middle school through college.
McCartney is an attorney and a named partner with Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, McCartney & Giuffra, a prominent law firm in Manhattan, specializing in products liability cases. A former Marine Corps officer, McCartney has served as a coach and boxing instructor in Rye through the years. He is married with two sons, including one in college. A long-time Rye Golf Club member, McCartney – like Bucci – was inspired to step forward into public service in response to the fraud and mismanagement uncovered at the Club. “I plan to promote the ideals of integrity and accountability in Rye government,” McCartney said. “Working together, we can unite Rye and get back on track.”