Croton United’s Joel Gingold on the Benefits of Diversity of Ideas and Opinions

This letter was published in last week’s issue of The Gazette.

To the Editor,

Eileen Henry is 100% correct—diverse groups do make better decisions. But when considering good government, diversity goes well beyond race, gender, or ethnicity. The most important component, by far, is the diversity of ideas and of opinions. And this has been sadly lacking on our village board for the past several years.

But this condition can be easily remedied by electing Croton United’s Greg Schmidt, Bob Anderson, and Ken Walsh in November. Adding these exceptionally well-qualified and experienced individuals to the board will mark the beginning of a new, progressive era in the way the board conducts the people’s business.

For far too long, the board has passed laws, resolution, budgets, etc. with little discussion and rarely, if ever, a debate on the merits of the issue at hand or a critical examination of whether it is truly beneficial to the citizens of the village. Time after time, measures have been moved, seconded and approved without a dissenting vote, or even a question as to their effectiveness, appropriateness, and financial impact on the citizens of the village.

The Croton United team will reverse this process. All significant proposals, and especially those that are controversial or require a significant expenditure, will be publicly aired and subjected to critical analysis. Open, lively, and respectful discussion and debate among all board members will be encouraged and input from the public will be sought and, more importantly, considered in the discussions. Alternatives to the initial proposal will be explored, and comprehensive, honest cost/benefit analyses prepared whenever appropriate. If these activities indicate that the initial proposal should be modified, that will be done, and compromises among those with differing opinions will be achieved if necessary.

Of one thing you can rest assured. When this process is implemented, the actions taken by the board will have considered every aspect of the issue at hand and the final decision will have been made based solely on the best interests of all of the residents of Croton.

Greg, Bob, and Ken understand the need to consider all ideas and opinions relevant to village issues. If in the majority, they will always consider input from the minority, because no individual or organization has a monopoly on good ideas. If in the minority, they will support the majority when they believe they are acting in the best interests of the village and offer alternative proposals when they do not.

As Pope Francis so wisely said, “I like it when someone tells me ‘I don’t agree.’ This is a true collaborator. When they say ‘Oh, how great, how great, how great,’ that’s not useful.”

Return the diversity of ideas and of opinions to the Croton village board. Vote for Honesty, Integrity, and Experience in November. Vote for Greg Schmidt for Mayor and Bob Anderson and Ken Walsh for Trustee.

Joel E. Gingold