By PHIL NOBILE
A new appointee to the Village of Mamaroneck Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission was made this past week and proper volunteer board appointment procedure was clarified as a result.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, appointed Nancy Wasserman, a Mamaroneck resident since 1961, to serve an interim term on the commission, replacing departing board member Nick Allison.
Allison’s term would have ended in December 2016.
No stranger to the village’s ongoing issues, Wasserman said she looks forward to making decisions for the entire village in a level-headed manner.
“I think I can do things the right way without getting into politics and can form opinions based on facts given to me and not a political decision, but one to represent everyone in the village,” Wasserman said.
A commercial real estate broker for Coldwell Banker, Wasserman started as a college intern for the village administration early in her career and, since then, has served as a special assistant to a former village manager and as a board member for the Board of Assessment Review in the Town of Mamaroneck.
The appointment comes during a transitional and, often controversial, period for the harbor coastal commission.
On July 8, consistency training was held for both the harbor coastal commission and village trustees after a May vote gave the trustees the power to make consistency determinations with respect to the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the overarching legislative guideline for coastal matters created in conjunction with the state. Previously, the power of consistency determinations on proposed development projects fell under the jurisdiction of the commission, leading to a recommended change in policy by the state and the trustee vote to do so in May.
Wasserman, who was at the consistency training session, said she couldn’t
understand the antagonistic relationship between the Board of Trustees and the Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission these past few months, but she wanted no involvement in it.
“We need to stick to the issues and not the personalities,” she said.
Wasserman’s appointment was met with some skepticism from the Board of Trustees as to whether it was appropriate to do so.
Village code states appointments to the harbor coastal commission are made with the Board of Trustees’ approval after a mayoral nomination of a possible new member. When it comes to interim appointments, if a board member resigns mid-term, the land use boards—the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals—can have the positions filled by mayoral appointment without Board of Trustee approval.
According to new interpretations of state law by Village Attorney Charles Goldberger, the harbor coastal commission also falls into the same category as the two land use boards when a vacancy is made via resignation, so the mayor can appoint someone to the position rather than needing a vote from the trustees.
“Clearly, New York State law provides for public offices‑including members of the harbor coastal commission‑where a vacancy occurs not by expiration of the term, it is the mayor’s prerogative to make the appointment,” Goldberger said, adding local law cannot supersede state law and amendments would be drafted to align the two.
According Cindy Goldstein, chairwoman of the Harbor and Coastal Zone Management Commission, Allison was set to resign at the July 16 meeting, after press time, due to time commitments and other unrelated pressures.
Goldstein declined any further comment on the matter.
Wasserman said she was unsure whether or not her time with the commission would be interim or extend into a full-length term, saying she would “see how it goes” over the next few months.
Volunteer board and commission members are appointed for three-year terms.