Last week, Mayor Doug French announced that he would not seek a second term this fall.
By Robin Jovanovich
Last week, Mayor Doug French announced that he would not seek a second term this fall. Explaining that the demands of his career are such that he cannot commit to another four years, French said, “I want to remain an active volunteer in the community — just not in the top job.”
Mayor French said that twelve-hour workdays in Manhattan and frequent traveling to Boston and Chicago were the deciding factors for him. “If it were a two-year term, as it is in many other communities, I would have considered it.”
For the remainder of his term, the Mayor said he would continue to focus on six major municipal projects: strengthening the City’s financial position; finalizing the four-year financial plan; rebuilding Rye’s infrastructure — especially roads, sidewalks, and sewers; updating and improving emergency preparedness and communication; completing the City Code revision project; and restructuring the Golf Club and Boat Basin operations for the long term.
“We need to have functional experts on the Golf Club Commission, as we do on the Board of Architectural Review,” said Mr. French. “The best thing for the City to do is to have an RFP for Whitby Castle and decide whether we lease out the operation.”
Mayor French told the paper that perhaps $1,000,000 of the $5,600,000 it will receive from the sale of 1037 Boston Post Road could be used for street repair. (At least $3 million will go back into the City’s reserve funds.) “There are so many roads in Rye that are in bad shape — Milton, Midland, the train station — and we must find a way to repair them soon.”
Most of the proceeds from 1037 will go back into the City’s General Fund, said the Mayor, but he believes there will be some remaining funds that can go towards a parking plan — even a partial solution — to the shortage of spaces, both in municipal lots and at the train station.
“With all the work before the City Manager, I’ve asked Scott Pickup to add an assistant position in his upcoming budget,” said the Mayor. The City won’t be hiring an assistant city manager but someone to assist city staff as needed.
“We have lots of work to do, and we are making progress on a lot of those projects,” said Mayor French.
In all, four Council seats, including the mayor’s are up this fall. Incumbents Rich Filippi and Peter Jovanovich have not yet announced if they will run again. Filippi and Jovanovich ran on the Republican ticket with French in 2009, along with Suzanna Keith. After Keith moved out of state, Killian was appointed to fill the vacant seat. Killian then had to run for election last fall. She was unopposed at the polls. Killian has announced her intention to run for a full term in November.
Councilman Joe Sack, a Republican, who is two years into his second term on the Council, announced his plan to run for Mayor. This week, Jason Mehler, a realtor in town, expressed his desire to run for a seat on the Council, saying, “I want to be part of the process to ‘Make Rye Better.’”
Traditionally, Council candidates run on party slates. At press time, neither the Rye Democrats nor the Republicans had announced their 2013 tickets. There is talk, but no confirmation, of a combined ticket as there was in 2007.