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Get to Know Briarcliff Trustee Candidate Murray

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Two candidates are running unopposed for two open spots on the Briarcliff Board of Trustees in the March 20 village election.

Mark Pohar and Robert Murray received the nominations from the People’s Caucus of Briarcliff Manor in January. They are campaigning to take the seats that will be left vacant from trustees Robert Mayer and Anthony Capasso – who will not be seeking reelection this year.

The Daily Briarcliff asked candidates to answer a questionnaire and provide some basic information about himself. Below are the answers provided by Murray.

Candidate: Robert Murray Age: 56  Education: JD, Georgetown University Law Center (1980); BA, Duke University (1977) Place of Employment: Partner (corporate), Baker Botts LLP.  Memberships/Other organizations: Member, planning board, Briarcliff Manor.  Party affiliation: Republican (social liberal, fiscal conservative)

1. Why did you decide to run this year?

I've been approached for a few years by current and past trustees about running for trustee. I've always said "no way." However, this year with two trustees coming off the board and, at the time I decided to run, no candidates on the horizon I relented. I did so because I believe Village governance is critical to our quality of life in Briarcliff – and you need experienced people to do the job. Having worked on the Planning Board for the past 5 years, I decided I was seasoned enough to move up to the "big stage." 2. Have you run for political office before?

I've never run for office – but I have been appointed to some Village boards. Specifically, a committee formed to look into parking at the Scarborough train station back in 2006 when Metro North was doing renovations at the station, and in 2007 I was appointed to the Planning Board.

3. What do you see as the biggest issues facing Briarcliff Manor in the next few years?

Finding a way to break free from the Town of Ossining is a priority, as Briarcliff is taxed for services it doesn't use. We need to continue to add affordable housing stock, lest the Federal Government makes those decisions for us under the Westchester Housing Settlement. Increasing our business base has been a major issue for many years, and our paucity of practice fields also needs to be addressed. 4. How did the process work of being nominated by the caucus? What was your response to finding out about the nomination?

The caucus process is fairly painless – anyone can be nominated at a nominating meeting (just bring a friend), at which you give a five minute presentation about yourself. Then, there is a live Q&A session the following week at which the candidates answer questions posed by residents. It so happens that Mark and I are the only two that "sought" nomination, so we are running unopposed. I knew pretty much going in that Mark and I would be the only candidates, as there are few secrets, from a political perspective, in Briarcliff. 5. If elected, what would you hope to accomplish before leaving office?

I'd like to help the Village extricate itself from the Town of Ossining, perhaps by forming by its own Town. I'd also like to see the business base grow. 6. How long have you lived in Briarcliff Manor and what do you like most about the village?

My wife Missy and I have lived in the Village since 1981 – 30 years. We've always enjoyed the sense of community spirit in Briarcliff, and its been a great place to raise our three sons.

7. What about your background or personal history makes you an ideal candidate for the Board of Trustees?

My background as a deal lawyer and member of the Planning Board makes me a solid candidate – if not an ideal one. I'm used to working through issues after considering the views of parties with multiple agendas. 8. If residents knew one thing about you, what would you want that to be?

All I'll add is that I'm running to ensure we continue to have a Board of Trustees that is receptive to the views of residents and transparent in its processes. Those who serve on the Board have a great deal of influence on our lives – they control the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Recreation Department and the Department of Public Works, among others, and have taxing power. So residents need to pay attention to who is serving on that Board and what their views are.

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