And Now There Are Three

Before the most recent City Council meeting, May 23, there was only one Rye resident, Julie Killian, who’d put her name forward as being ready to temporarily fill Suzanna Keith’s seat. Mayor Doug French announced several weeks ago that it was his hope to fill the seat, with Council approval, at the June 13 Council…

A1Killian
Published June 9, 2012 5:00 AM
4 min read

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Before the most recent City Council meeting, May 23, there was only one Rye resident, Julie Killian, who’d put her name forward as being ready to temporarily fill Suzanna Keith’s seat. Mayor Doug French announced several weeks ago that it was his hope to fill the seat, with Council approval, at the June 13 Council meeting.


By Robin Jovanovich


A1KillianBefore the most recent City Council meeting, May 23, there was only one Rye resident, Julie Killian, who’d put her name forward as being ready to temporarily fill Suzanna Keith’s seat. Mayor Doug French announced several weeks ago that it was his hope to fill the seat, with Council approval, at the June 13 Council meeting.

 

Since then, two more residents have informed Mayor French of their interest in serving: Charmian Neary, and Jason Mehler. We interviewed Killian and Neary in person, but Mehler was unavailable, except through email. Both Killian and Neary presented their qualifications to the Council at the May 23 meeting. Mehler has met with individual Councilmembers to explain his positions.

 

All three say they are prepared to step into the position immediately. Neary told the paper it was not her intention to run in the November election. Whoever is appointed to the Council this month must run in the fall to fill out Keith’s term.

 

Killian has a solid financial background, having worked as a credit analyst for Merrill Lynch Futures, while pursuing an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School. She worked in the structured loan market at Citibank and, most recently, traded distressed bank debt. She told the paper she believes she can help the City deal with its financial challenges and ensure that it is on a financially sustainable path. At the beginning of the year, Killian was appointed to the Rye City Finance Committee. She’s been involved with the Rye City Schools and a number of local non-profit organizations, including The Twig, the Rye Historical Society, and the Rye Arts Center. She and her husband, Gary, a retired Wall Street executive, have five children.

 

A1NearyNeary brings 30 years of experience in government and public life. She’s worked for the NY State Division of Housing & Community Renewal, the Departments of Transportation and Consumer Affairs, and owned and operated a political consulting firm. “My partner and I succeeded in forcing the first contested GOP Presidential primary in NY State history,” she said proudly. On the local volunteer level, Neary has served on the Rye City School Board Finance Committee, the Caring Committee, and as chair of the Friends of the Rye City School District for four years. She received a B.A. in English History from SUNY Albany. She and her husband, Gerry, a retired NYPD Detective 1st grade, have a son, Russ, who is 12.

 

Mehler has been an associate broker at Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty since 2004. Previously, he worked as a corporate comptroller for over 15 years in Manhattan. “I think I can be a great addition to the Council with its essential task of fiscal accountability,” he said. Mehler received a B.S. in Professional Accounting from SUNY Plattsburgh. Last year, he was appointed to the Rye Town Park Advisory Committee. He and his wife, Carin, a fourth grade teacher at Osborn School, have two daughters.

 

When asked what motivated her to put her hat into the ring, Neary said, “I think an individual should be able to step forward and run. I believe in elections, not selections. I’ve been disappointed by the results of the last few Council elections.” She’d like to see Rye change its charter and have non- partisan elections down the road.

 

Killian said she wants to work for change. “Our unfunded liabilities are frightening. I worry about the future for us, and our children. I want to keep Rye a vibrant com- munity that people can afford to move to.” She said that the more elected officials we have who understand the financial issues in New York the better.

 

A1MehlerMehler said he volunteered for the appointment because he wants to be part of the process to “Make Rye Better!” He added, “Filling the position left by Suzanna Keith will not be an easy task for anyone.” He said his approach would be non-partisan.

 

On the immediate question of whether the capital infrastructure bond the Council plans to put to the voters in November, Killian says that she’s for the bond in general. “We can’t put off sidewalk and road repair indefinitely and I’m a proponent of doing what we can to prevent more serious flooding. It’s a good time to borrow, as interest rates are low.” She wasn’t ready to say how much of the proposed multi-million dollar bond should go for flooding or street work. “I would have to see the cost/benefit analysis.”

 

When Neary and her husband moved to Rye, their two criticisms were “the condition of the sidewalks and the way people drive.” She says she’s sorry neither has improved. As far as the bond, she worries that too great a percentage of it will be eaten up by flood mitigation. “Rye is still not of one mind about flooding and the problem needs to be looked at countywide.”


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