The following letter was published in last week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the editor:
I am writing to express my gratitude to former Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt for appointing me to the Village Planning Board in July 2016 to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Mr. Rocco Mastronardi. I also wish to thank former Village Trustee Robert Anderson for his assistance with my appointment.
A political outsider and self-avowed independent voter, my selection was not a campaign reward, nor was it a slam dunk. I did not know Mayor Schmidt then and, in fact, have only met him a few times over the past three years. Same with Trustee Anderson, although we have since become friends during the time he served as the Village Trustee liaison to the Planning Board. When I learned of a vacancy on the Planning Board, I expressed my interest to a mutual friend who suggested to the mayor that I be considered. A former practicing landscape architect and former practicing attorney (currently stay-at-home dad), skilled in site planning, land planning and development, civil engineering, construction and land use law seemed like a pretty good fit. Mayor Schmidt agreed and asked me to fill the open seat.
My brief time on the Planning Board was one of my favorite professional accomplishments. Despite the sound of it, in my situation stay-at-home dad does not entail a lot of spare time to volunteer. The chance to serve our community and give back with my particular blend of qualifications meant sacrificing several hours of family time, but it was an opportunity to serve that I felt was important to do. I am glad to have made that choice because I enjoyed greatly getting to know the other members of the board and found that we were an excellent team. Our backgrounds in architecture, law, business, and planning worked well together. As a board, each member expressed valuable points of view. We did not always agree, but we always demonstrated respect for opinions and viewpoints other than our own individual positions. I have the utmost professional and personal respect for each of them. Many times over the past two years I have been approached by residents who have had business before the Planning Board and have been told that we worked well together and made the experience productive and helpful. There can be no better reward.
Mr. Mastronardi’s full term expired in December 2018 and by Village Code I was expected to carryover the term on the board until re-appointment or replacement by the current Board of Trustees. I was notified in an email last Monday evening by Mayor Pugh that I would not be re-appointed. I served at the pleasure of the Mayor and the Board of Trustees and it was a privilege to do so. While I have not been informed of my replacement, I wish her/him the best of luck. I know the members of the Planning Board will welcome you as they did me.