By LIZ BUTTON
Mount Kisco Village Manager James Palmer will become Bronxville’s new village administrator in June.
Palmer got the job after a lengthy search process that com-menced in February. At the end of the previous year, former Village Administrator Harold Porr announced his retirement after 10 years on the job.
Palmer began his career in Mount Kisco government more than 20 years ago and, although he was not specifically looking to leave, the opportunity in Bronxville came to his attention in late March and seemed too good to pass up.
“There are very few communities I would leave Mount Kisco for,” he said, “but Bronxville is one of them.”
The two villages are similar in a number of ways, Palmer said, although the Village of Bronxville is less demographically diverse than Mount Kisco.
“They are two very thriving active communities and downtown commerce is an essential part of the economy,” he said. “[Bronxville] is a wonderful, special, historic community in every respect, so the ability to maintain and enhance that as an administrator there, I think, is a wonderful opportunity.”
Current Bronxville Village Administrator Donald Marra, who is filling in on an interim basis, was also hired in March to lead the search for Porr’s replacement.
The village administrator is the employee responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the village, for creating fiscally responsible budgets and for overseeing all village employees.
The five-member Board of Trustees, led by Mayor Mary Marvin, a Republican, creates policy and relies on the administrator to implement those policies.
Palmer said he is currently working with Marra, a municipal management consultant who was once the mayor of Dobbs Ferry and village administrator of Irvington, to get up to speed on the village’s immediate concerns. Palmer said he will also be working with the mayor and the Board of Trustees to prioritize the issues.
Palmer said he will be appointed to the position at the May Board of Trustees meeting. Marra will serve in his interim role until June 23, Palmer’s effective date of employment. The salary for this position is $170,000 according to Marvin.
Soon after completing the administrative search in Bronxville, Marra was hired away to help the Village of Tuckahoe with its own search for a village administrator, a new position the village is creating. Tuckahoe, which also has a mayor and Board of Trustees, created the position in April by a resolution of the board.
Marvin said she and her Board of Trustees are glad to welcome Palmer aboard.
“[Palmer’s] experience and reputation as a hard-working and knowledgeable administrator, as well as his proven track record, made him a very attractive candidate,” Marvin said.
Palmer, whose current Mount Kisco salary is $159,900, was educated at St. Michaels College in Vermont, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree. He received a masters degree in public affairs and policy from SUNY Albany.
He started working in Mount Kisco government as an intern at Village Hall in 1994. Palmer then became the deputy assessor for a brief period in 1995 and, shortly thereafter, was appointed as the village’s full-time assessor.
From 2005 to 2006, Palmer also served as Mount Kisco’s assistant village manager, and in 2006 he was appointed full-time village manager.
He continued to serve as assessor in addition to his manager duties until 2008.
During his time working for government in Mount Kisco, which is also a town Palmer has also served as building inspector and human resource manager. Mount Kisco, along with Scarsdale and Harrison, are the only three coterminous municipalities in Westchester.
When Palmer takes on the role of village administrator in Bronxville, he will also take on the role of village clerk, which mirrors the arrangement in place in Mount Kisco.
Over the last eight years as Mount Kisco village manager, Palmer, who is a board member of the state’s City/County Management Association, said he is proud to have helped produce fiscally sound budgets, succeeding in doing more with less even after the 2008 recession that hit nationally and reverberated locally, and after the state’s implementation of the two percent cap on property tax levy increases.
Other accomplishments during his tenure in Mount Kisco include the construction of a new library, the completion of a hazard mitigation plan, the installation of LED streetlights for sustainability and cost effectiveness, and working with Mayor Michael Cindrich, a Republican, and the rest of the village’s five-member Board of Trustees to encourage new businesses.
Now that he has the Bronxville job, Palmer said he will remain a resident of Mount Kisco, where he lives with his wife Xann and five-year-old twin daughters Zoe and Siena, and will stay active in other ways in the village. He was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Knights of Columbus, and is a former president of the Mount Kisco Lions Club.