Ossining Board Puts Highway Boss Position To Vote

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Town of Ossining Council member Eric Blaha explains his vote Tuesday night in favor of changing the elected highway superintendent position to one appointed by the board. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell
Town of Ossining Board members voted unanimously in favor of changing the town's highway superintendent to an appointed position. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell

OSSINING, N.Y. – The Town of Ossining Board voted unanimously to adopt a local law to change its highway superintendent from an elected position to an appointed one. But Ossining residents in the unincorporated part of the town will have the final say.

The board voted 5 to 0 during a regular meeting Tuesday night in favor of adopting the local law, which would allow the board to appoint a superintendent of highways rather than have voters decide during each election. Voters will ultimately decide on the law during the Nov. 6 general election when the new law is put on the ballot. If voters approve the change, the law would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014.

Ossining residents made arguments against the change at a previous public hearing, with several agreeing that the current system is not broken. Town Council member Eric Blaha said Tuesday night he heard those arguments, but disagrees with them.

“I found the comments to be very enlightening however it does not change my personal opinion as a member of this board that in fact this is a system that in many respects is broken,” Blaha said. “I believe that the process that currently exists is not in the best interests of residents.”

Blaha said a few major problems with the current process is that for someone to be elected as the superintendent of highways, the only requirements necessary are that the person be over the age of 18 and a resident of Ossining. Blaha added that the major issue is about safety.

“If the board has the opportunity to appoint an individual, then that appointment can be based on very minimum requirements that currently don’t exist in the election process,” Blaha said.

Council member Peter Tripodi praised the move by the board to bring the vote to the people.

“Voters will be deciding on this. We are merely giving you the tools to (vote),” Tripodi said. “I think this is a great moment for democracy for the town. I wish a lot of major issues like this could be voted on by the public.”

Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly said Tuesday’s vote would not be the end of the discussions prior to November.

“Most of you have heard our reasoning for the change and I believe we need to move forward for the betterment of the town,” Donnelly said. “We will have more meetings on this issue before the November vote.” 

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Comments (4)

stephano:

Mr. Blaha, what exactly DO YOU KNOW about highways? You could have just added different qualifications for the next superintendent. What is this about safety? Mr. O'Connor is I am sure very concerned about safety..he is after all a long time firefighter. The "buzz" I am hearing is that the Police Merger IS NOT WORKING OUT IN THE $$$$$$ SAVING AREA....I also hear from people WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT...that the coverage is not nearly as good as it was..especially on the overnite tour. More often than not our one car assigned to the town is elsewhere. Is it any wonder why petty crime is up...ie:car breakins...pool tresspassing etc. in the Town. If all of you on the Board are looking for "press" do something positive about LOWERING THE OUTRAGEOUS TAXES that we are paying. You are certainly NOT going to lower taxes by hiring an APPOINTED highway superintendent who is not going to work for anywhere near the 90K salary that the current one does........

Ossiningcandobetter:

Why not focus on more important issues! This change will not ensure a qualified individual if that selection is done by appointment, but rather just another way to garner political favors as seems to be the status quo in Ossining.

homeboundsenior:

Oh, the gods in heaven have heard our prayers. That pompous Michael G. is finally going to get his comeuppance. I'll be the first one on line on Nov 6 to approve the Town Board's decision.

grandmachris:

Here we go again. We are fixing what ain't broken and ignoring what needs fixing. TAKE A LOOK AT OUR PARKS.

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