GREENBURGH, N.Y -- Monday night at the Town Hall, Greenburgh’s three town justices and town clerk came face to face with their challengers in the upcoming September primary for a debate organized by the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations.
Town Clerk Judith Beville, who is in her second two-year term, and her opponent Sherron Fantauzzi each had two minutes to answer questions asked by moderator Ina Aronow, a member of the League of Women Voters.
While Beville emphasized her role in organizing community events and modernizing the town clerk office, Fantauzzi promised a hands-on approach and a return to the town clerk’s basic functions.
“I am not going to ask you to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself,” said Fantauzzi, board member at the Theodore D. Young Community Center.
Just after 8 p.m. the town justice candidates took to the podium, with incumbents Arlene Gordon-Oliver, Doris Friedman and Sandra Forster introducing themselves, followed by challengers Walter Rivera, Bonnie Orden and Delores Brathwaite.
Gordon-Oliver, who became town justice in 2007 and is facing her first election, pointed to her role in hiring a court administrator.
“A lot of issues that had been in the court for decades before my term are being resolved by the court administrator,” Gordon-Oliver had said just before the debate, mentioning the backlog of tickets as one of those issues.
Forster, calling herself a “whistle blower,” blamed the chief clerk for the court problems, as she had done in the past, while Friedman highlighted her “compassion, understanding and patience.”
“I listen to anybody who comes before me,” said Friedman, who has been an incumbent since 1999, just a year longer than Forster.
The challengers highlighted their experience and the need to “reform the court.”
“I believe the court should be reflective of the diversity of this great town,” said longtime lawyer Rivera, in a clear reference to his Hispanic origin.
Just before the debate, Orden, a lawyer and former prosecutor, had said that, as associate commissioner of the New York City corrections department, she used to oversee a $75 million budget.
“If the voters are listening, I think I have a great chance to win,” she said.
Just as Orden did, Brathwaite also pointed to her administrative skills.
“It’s not enough to have legal knowledge. You also need to know how to manage the staff and how to manage the money,” said Brathwaite, who is the executive director of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission.
Ella Preiser, secretary of the Council of Greenburgh Civic Associations, said that her organization doesn't endorse any candidate, but believes it's important to promote debate before the primaries.
“As far as I know, there’s no republican candidates, so whoever wins the primary will win the elections,” she said.
Back in May, the Democratic Town Committee endorsed all four challengers.
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