By LIZ BUTTON
City Council appointees Richard Slack and Richard Mecca are expected to gain the Republican nomination for this year’s special election, according to sources within the city’s Republican Party.
The party’s nominating caucus is scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, To date, Slack, unaffiliated, and Mecca, a Republican, are the only names that have surfaced as candidates for the two seats up for election this November.
Slack, 53, and Mecca, 59, were appointed in early January to fill the seats vacated when incumbent Councilman Joe Sack, a Republican, was elected mayor and Democratic Councilwoman Catherine Parker was elected county legislator.
At the Rye City Republican Committee’s April 29 meeting, Slack and Mecca expressed interest in retaining their seats on the council, sources told the Rye City Review. The party was then expected to form a nominating committee to screen the two candidates.
After defeating independent candidate and former Republican Councilman Peter
Jovanovich in last year’s mayoral race, Sack appointed Slack—a partner with the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York City—and Mecca—an electrical inspector for the City of White Plains‑to the City Council at its Jan 8, 2014, meeting.
If elected, political newcomers Slack and Mecca would finish out the balances of Sack and Parker’s unexpired terms, which end in December 2015.
Slack said he is glad he decided to accept the council appointment, after initially
turning it down when Sack first approached him. He lost his reluctance after speaking with Republican Councilman Terry McCartney, he said, and since then has enjoyed working with a council he said is as unfailingly professional and well intentioned as he expected.
Slack said he looks forward to learning more and to continuing to work effectively with his fellow council members on a host of ongoing issues.
“I think there is a pretty big learning curve in being on the council and I think it is fair to the community to give them more than a year of service,” Slack said.
Going forward, Slack said the council will continue to protect Rye’s interests when it comes to the county’s agreement with Sustainable Playland, Inc., continue doing its homework on the senior affordable housing development proposed for the corner of North Street and Theodore Fremd Avenue, and will take on the task of choosing a new city manager.
“We’ve had our plate full and it is going to continue to be full, but we have done a lot with a number of big issues,” Slack said. “It’s satisfying that we’ve been able to take a bite out of the list that we have.”
Mecca also said he has been enjoying his time on the council.
When he was asked to step in to fill the second council vacancy, Mecca said he assured the committee he would be available to make a longer term commitment than the one year, pending whether they found other candidates. Mecca said he is not currently aware of other candidates who are being vetted by the committee.
Although the duo of Slack and Mecca is expected to easily secure the GOP nomination next week, it remains too early to tell whether they will face any opposition from the city’s other major party.
Rye City Democratic Committee chairwoman Meg Cameron, who replaced Rod Brown in February, said Democrats may nominate candidates at the committee’s next meeting on Tuesday, June 3.
“We are still weighing our options,” Cameron, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last November with fellow Democrat Shari Punyon, said.
Democrats fielded two council candidates last year though four seats were open, including the mayor’s.
City Council members are elected to four-year terms with no annual compensation.