Rye City Councilman and Deputy Mayor Peter Jovanovich announced today that he plans to begin gathering signatures in order to run for Mayor as an Independent candidate.
By Tom McDermott
Rye City Councilman and Deputy Mayor Peter Jovanovich announced today that he plans to begin gathering signatures in order to run for Mayor as an Independent candidate. In order to qualify, Jovanovich is required to get 377 valid signatures by August 20.
Rye’s Republican Party, led by Tony Piscionere, announced some time ago that Councilman Joe Sack would be their mayoral candidate, leading a Council candidate slate including Councilwoman Julie Killian and newcomers Terry McCartney and Kristin Bucci, a registered Democrat.
A long waiting game ensued, during which the Rye Democrats, led by Rod Brown, interviewed a number of possible candidates for mayor. In the end, they chose not to nominate a candidate to challenge Sack on the mayoral ballot, but nominated two candidates for the three open Council seats, Shari Punyon and Meg Cameron.
Asked why he was running as an independent, Jovanovich said, “One, the Democrats not running a candidate left only one name on the ballot, and the purpose of the democratic process is choice. And Two, I disagree with Joe Sack on a number of main issues. People deserve to have a choice.”
Additionally, Jovanovich listed some of the issues that he has addressed in his first term on the Council and will focus on if elected mayor:
Rye approved the infrastructure bond last fall, but there is more work to be done: rebuilding the road bed and walkways at Station Plaza, improving traffic and pedestrian signals at Theodore Fremd/Purdy Avenue intersection, and upgrading crosswalks and sidewalks, particularly near schools.
2. Labor Negotiations
The total compensation of City employees is rising 7-8% a year, requiring a new deal with the City’s unions. In particular, the City must slow the rise in health care costs. “We must continue to support the City Manager in his negotiations with our unions,” says Jovanovich.
As Councilman, Jovanovich enthusiastically supported the plastic bag ordinance. He further supports the Sustainability Committee’s agenda to preserve open space in Rye. He says, “I promise to only appoint members to the land use commissions and boards who believe they are stewards of Rye’s neighborhoods, wetlands, and wetland buffers.”
4. Financial Sustainability
The City is now in excellent financial health because of the difficult decisions made over the last four years to deal with the worst recession in 75 years. Services were maintained while taxes stayed under the tax cap, expenses held flat, reserves restored, and our AAA rating reaffirmed.
6. Golf Club
Jovanovich believes the City needs stronger auditing oversight. Jovanovich proposes the City hire a full-time internal auditor, and, to supplement and provide further oversight, also contract with specialist outside auditors to review the Golf Club and the Boat Basin.
In order to provide proper checks and balances in the operation of Enterprise Funds, Jovanovich supports new governance procedures, including the expansion of the Golf Club and Boat Basin Commissions to include citizens with financial expertise.
He also wants to reinforce the mission of providing low-cost recreation amenities. “We have lost sight of this goal: to provide affordable access to recreation,” says Jovanovich. “The cost of a pool membership at the Golf Club is now three times the average cost of other pools in Westchester. That’s not right.”
Councilman Jovanovich has supported Sustainable Playland Inc.’s proposal to save the Park. If elected Mayor, he will work tirelessly to see this innovative approach to recreation in a parkland setting come to fruition.
Jovanovich says he will pursue a balanced approach to governing, combining sound fiscal management with improvements to Rye’s infrastructure and enhancements to its quality of life.
“That’s been my approach throughout my life in Rye,” he states. “Whether as a Director and Treasurer of the Friends of the Rye Nature Center, Council Liaison to the Rye Free Reading Room, or as a member of the Board of Architectural Review and the Planning Commission, I have concentrated on serving the best interests of Rye without regard to political affiliation. If elected Mayor, I will continue in that manner.”
Jovanovich and his wife Robin, publisher of The Rye Record, have two grown sons.