Progress Continues in Mamaroneck
by Mayor Tom Murphy
On March 3rd, the Board of Trustees held a meeting where we met in Executive Session to discuss the contract for the Village Manager, Jerry Barberio. New York State law allows municipalities to meet in closed Executive Session to discuss personnel matters. It happens in every municipality, and it is good and proper that it does. These discussions and decisions have always been made in Executive Session. The process protects both the Village and the employee. This employment decision is solely up to the Board to whom the Village Manager reports.
During that discussion, the Board—after much dialogue and thought—decided to offer Jerry a four-year contract. This decision passed 4-1.
I’d like to explain my reasons for voting to extend the current arrangement. I have been involved in Village government for over two decades and the past 4 years have been transformative. Most Village Departments have been re-imagined and are running more efficiently and productively than ever. Staff are allowed to experiment with new ideas and to show initiative. This has manifested itself in greater job satisfaction for our workers, significant cost savings, and better services for our taxpayers. The phrase “that’s the way we have always done it” no longer stifles progress. Jerry was the catalyst for reorganizing how our departments operate.
In the past 3 years, Mamaroneck has faced huge challenges from both COVID and the worst flooding in our history.
The immediate challenge that COVID presented was to make sure that all our residents, particularly those who faced vast economic hardship, had enough to eat. I said at the beginning of the pandemic that, “No kid in Mamaroneck should ever go to bed hungry!” I believe that the Village working in tandem with our friends at the Larchmont/Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force made sure that no one was hungry. Jerry was integral in making that policy a reality.
When the catastrophic flood hit, the Village Manager and staff worked beyond the point of exhaustion to help every one of our neighbors and friends recover as quickly as possible. I can say with confidence that although we had the worst flooding on record, we had the best recovery and clean up ever. This all stemmed from the leadership team at Village Hall. When emergencies strike having an experienced hand on the rudder is essential.
In the past four years, the Village Board and the Village Manager’s office have worked hard to reach out and connect with the immigrant community and with people of color who have historically felt unheard and unseen by our government. The Village Administration has also worked hard to have our staff more closely reflect the demographics of Mamaroneck. While there is more work to be done, there has been much progress.
In my view, the Village faces two main challenges in the years ahead:
1. Getting meaningful flood mitigation in place to protect the lives, property, and peace of our community—the cornerstone of which is shepherding the Army Corps of Engineers plan to conclusion.
2. Increasing the affordable housing stock in Mamaroneck so that the diversity that we all cherish will be preserved. Folks whose families built this community should have a chance to remain in Mamaroneck.
While these are not the only issues we face, they are issues that absolutely require a skilled and strong manager to see through to fruition.
No person is perfect, myself especially included. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. When I was making this decision, I was genuinely motivated by what I thought was best for the Village, both in the short and long term. Using those criteria, it was an easy choice to vote to continue with Jerry as our Village Manager. He has a track record of accomplishment and I’m confident he is the right person to steer through the perilous days ahead.