Click here for Robbins' responses.Editor's Note: We asked the candidates for Somers Supervisor –Christine Robbins (D) and Somers Councilman Rick Morrissey (R) – a series of questions before the Election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Below are Morrissey's responses.
Patch: Why did you decide to run for re-election?
Rick Morrissey: Somers is at a point where we can’t afford inexperience running our town. We have a lot of work to do and tough decisions need to be made. These decisions will not only have an impact on the future of Somers at large, but also our
financial well-being. I have watched Somers grow into a charming suburban town that has valued its unique rural characteristics. This has not happened by chance, but through strong fiscal policies, smart growth, and common sense bi-partisan practices that have preserved our fine town.
I intend to use my government budgeting experience to develop and continue sound fiscal practices while protecting tax payers and promoting business growth. It is imperative that, as Somers continues to grow, we focus on doing so in a well planned, balanced and smart direction. I am a full time resident of Somers and plan to be a full time Supervisor.
Patch: What personal or professional experiences qualify you to serve as a supervisor?
Morrissey: I hold a Masters of Public Administration degree and I am currently the Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Health for Westchester County. I am responsible for managing a $19 million budget and a staff of 90, all with a goal of protecting the approximately 1 million county residents. I have gained a unique expertise in government efficiency and have built the necessary skills to effectively run a large government organization. I have real-time knowledge and experience in disaster preparedness and response, in which I helped to craft the county’s response to 9/11, and most recently, Super Storms Irene, Lee, and Sandy.
I have extensive government, municipal and civic experience. Along with my county government experience as Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Health, I am completing my first 4-year term as Somers Town Councilman. I Chaired the Architectural Review Board for 18 years and Co-Chaired the Open Space Committee, which was responsible for the purchase of 654 acres, now known as the Angle Fly Preserve. I also served as a member of the Somers Ethics Board, s the Treasurer of the Somers Land Trust and a Past President of the Somers Lions Club.
I have dedicated myself to serving the residents of Somers for over 34 years, and believe I’ve reached a point in my life where I’d like to utilize my professional skills full time for the good of my community.
Patch: What are the top three issues facing town residents?
1) Protecting Tax Payers
One of the most attractive elements of living in Somers is our broad tax base. We are one of the lowest taxed communities in a County which is the highest taxed county in the nation. The Town government is efficient and has no extraneous positions. The Town Board has strived to bring in a budget under the States 2% tax cap for the past three years. One of reasons we can not remain at a zero tax in Somers is because we must meet salaries, health care, and retirement expenses. Through efficient use of tax payer dollars I intend to maintain he Town’s infrastructure while keeping a reserve fund for unexpected situations.
2) Promoting Business Growth
As anyone can see in our town there are a number of vacant businesses. I would like to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and discuss ways to promote small business growth. Building owners may be enticed to use their vacant space as incubators for home base entrepreneurs who could lease space and share common services such a network connections, printers, and copiers.
3) Preserving Essential Services
Preserving essential services for town residents will be a priority. Maintaining roads and keeping them safe throughout the year but especially in winter is mandatory as far as I am concerned. Additionally, maintaining services for our senior population is essential. Nutrition and transportation services are vital to our senior population and must remain intact.
Patch: Describe your campaign platform or how you differentiate yourself from your opponent's platform?
Morrissey: I have a wealth of knowledge of environmental issues and have gained a unique expertise in government efficiency in which have built the necessary skills to effectively run a large government organization. I have real-time knowledge in disaster preparedness and response…in which I helped to craft the county’s response to 9/11, Super Storms Lee, Irene and Sandy.
During my term as a Somers Town Councilman, I have used these skills to hold the line against taxes, explore alternative funding sources, and help navigate the town through one of the most difficult economical environments of our time.
Patch: Should you be re-elected, what would you like to achieve over the course of your term?
Morrissey: I have over 30 years of experience in government management, municipal environmental issues and emergency preparedness….a skill-set that would be invaluable as Somers Town Supervisor. I plan to take a fresh look and perspective in managing the town, and believe we have a bright road ahead.
However, Somers is at point where we can’t afford to have inexperience running our town. We have a lot of work to do and tough decisions still to be made. These decisions will not only have an impact on the future of Somers at large, but also on our financial wellbeing.
As Supervisor my priorities will be to keep taxes as low as possible, while maintaining a great quality-of-life for our residents. Every decision I make will be in the best interest of all of our residents and my door will always be open. I promise you that.
What I can also promise is that the job of Somers Town Supervisor is not easy, and the decisions that need to be made are not easy ones….But, I believe I have the experience and character to lead our town forward.