I made it into a Phil Reisman article just for lunch appointment with Mayor Noam Bramson! You can find me at the end of the article. It’s always useful to have lunch or an adult beverage with fellow elected officials to discuss the issues facing our community and how we can work together to better serve the people. From Washington to Albany to White Plains to New Rochelle and Pelham, we need more elected officials breaking bread and finding common ground. The Reisman article is below.
Phil Reisman: Bramson job rumors look premature
The Journal New, January 26, 2013
Noam Bramson says none of the rumors about him are true.
He’s not quitting his job as mayor of New Rochelle to take a job with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Nor is he about to jump ship and join Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff.
He hasn’t sought a job. Nobody has even approached him with an offer.
It’s all bunk.
“I’ve been getting a good laugh out of the career planning that others are doing for me,” he said.
Bramson, a Democrat who ran for Westchester County executive in November and lost in a landslide to Republican incumbent Rob Astorino, has two years left as mayor. In a phone interview, he told me that he intended to serve out the term.
Rumors of his future plans recently made their way into the Snoopy Allgood column, an anonymously penned feature that for many years has been a mainstay of the Westchester County Press, a weekly newspaper published in White Plains. The column attributed the various Bramson job scenarios to a “well-known Republican activist.”
The rumors seem to be based on the notion that Bramson’s political career has hit a dead end and that the time has come to make a change and move on. Right after the bruising election, he suffered another serious political setback when a development project he ardently supported for Echo Bay, a prime piece of the city’s waterfront, was rejected by the Democratic-led city council.
Snoopy’s “well-known Republican activist” could very well be one of the many locals who loudly opposed the Echo Bay project and were calling for the mayor’s scalp. If so, then the predictions of Bramson’s imminent resignation should amount to nothing more than partisan wishful thinking.
“I have not read the Allgood column, although I’ve heard these rumors,” Bramson said. “There is no truth to it.”
However, based on a contrived Rule of Three, Bramson’s assumption of a new job would make sense. After all, he was one of the three officials who vied for the Democratic nomination for county executive, and the other two men, then-county Legislator Bill Ryan of White Plains and Legislator Ken Jenkins of Yonkers, have since secured nice little sinecures.
Ryan received a generous waiver from his board colleagues so he could take a $190,000 job with Westchester Medical Center a year earlier than allowed under a county ethics law. As I said in a Jan. 9 column, it didn’t hurt Ryan’s chances that Mark Tulis, the chairman of the medical center’s board of directors, is a law partner of John Kirkpatrick, a White Plains city councilman and Ryan’s friend. Kirkpatrick’s wife worked as an administrative assistant for Ryan in the days when he was chairman of the Board of Legislators. (An addendum: I have it on good authority that three days after that column appeared the Kirkpatricks threw a party for Ryan.)
Jenkins not only lost his bid for county executive, he was unseated as board chairman, resulting in a drop in salary of about $37,000 from his chairman’s pay of $89,200. But Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano came to the rescue by appointing him president and CEO of the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency. The IDA’s mission is to promote economic growth and create jobs. Jenkins’s job will pay him $60,000 a year.
How he will divide his time between the part-time legislator job and the IDA is unknown.
Christian Gilmartin, a Spano spokeswoman, said: “His role is not designated by hours, as the traditional 9-5 in the office. His role will be out in the marketplace, garnering interest from developers.”
At any rate, Bramson is staying put in New Rochelle. He said he took a long, introspective break over the holidays.
“I’m sure you’ve had this feeling that you didn’t realize how tired you are until you stop,” he said. “And I was completely exhausted. So I feel really quite refreshed. I’m eager to get going with all the things we can do this year.”
One of the first things he’s done so far is revive a tradition of occasionally breaking bread with Legislator Jim Maisano, a popular New Rochelle Republican who was at odds with Bramson over Echo Bay.
“Why would he ask me to go out to lunch to talk about the next couple of years in New Rochelle if he was going anywhere?” Maisano said.
“I’ve always had respect for people that can reach out their hand and say, ‘Let’s talk,’ ” he said. “That’s a good thing in politics. We’ve lost a lot of that.”