This year, the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees completed all 31 agenda items at its organizational meeting without a hitch.
After Mayor Norman Rosenblum and Trustee Louis Santoro, both Republicans, were officially sworn-in to their seats on the dais at the Dec. 2 meeting after being re-elected to office last month, the Board of Trustees unveiled its assignments to the village’s volunteer committees.
Rosenblum and Santoro defeated Democratic challengers Clark Neuringer and Kerry Stein respectively in the November general election.
The trustees were on the same page regarding each volunteer committee appointment; a stark contrast to events that occurred during the same meeting in 2012.
At issue last year were important assignments to the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission. Democratic trustees Andres Bermudez Hallstrom, Illissa Miller and Leon Potok, all newly-elected at the time, voted several of Rosenblum’s volunteer appointments down. Leonard Violi, an attorney in the village who was a member of the Board of Architectural Review at the time, was at the center of the most controversial votes.
After the Democratic trustees voted him down for the ZBA appointment, preferring incumbent member Robin Kramer remain in place, Potok then nominated Violi for a seat on the HCZM, a position in which Violi never expressed interest. The vote to assign Violi to HCZM was deadlocked 2-2, Trustee Miller abstained, and the appointment was not made.
Following the controversy surrounding his volunteerism, Violi resigned from the BAR on Dec. 17, 2012.
Although emails exchanged amongst the board members at the time suggested the Democratic trustees told Rosenblum they would not support nominees well in advance of the organizational meeting, the mayor maintained the appointments were his to make, and the board’s approval was a pro forma matter absent a compelling reason a nominee should be denied a seat on a volunteer board, as that is the way the process was handled in years past.
The attempted appointment of village resident Maggie Leigh O’Neill to the Board of Ethics also caused controversy on the board last year.
According to Potok, the mayor wanted to appoint O’Neill to the ethics board, but the three Democratic trustees did not feel she was qualified for the position. This time around, she was appointed to Board of Architectural Review.
This year’s appointments to the HCZM and Zoning Board of Appeals were not rife with controversy; the board approved them unanimously.
Barry Weprin was re-appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a term that expires in Dec. 2018. No chairperson of the board was announced at the meeting, and Kramer remains as a holdover from year-to-year until the mayor nominates a candidate who is approved by the board, according to Potok.
Alice Pernick was also re-appointed to the HZCM for a term that expires in 2016.
-Reporting by Ashley Helms