I am responding to the recent Viewpoint article that was submitted by Brandon Holdridge regarding the leadership of the Chester Town Board.
I attend almost all Town Board meetings as well as the one referred to in the article. Brandon Holdridge was not in attendance, in person, at this meeting.
The audio and video for online viewing was barely legible during the portion of the meeting that was referred to in the article.
I disagree with Brandon’s assessment of what transpired at this meeting.
Mr. Valentine was neither disrespectful nor did he argue with Mr. Sussman and he did not shout at him.
Mr. Valentine simply stated the facts and his position as Town Supervisor who represents all of the town citizens. He also let Mr. Sussman speak.
Since when is stating facts and having an opposing view arguing?
It appears to me that Brandon decided to take the low road to castigate Mr. Valentine and the Town Board in efforts to further his political ambitions.
Why isn’t he presenting what he would do differently regarding the Board leadership?
This was his opportunity to tell the citizens of Chester how he would make improvements to the Board.
Leadership is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward a better vision. For example, leadership is identifying that there is a problem, developing a solution, getting consensus and success fully implementing it.
I have seen no evidence of Brandon demonstrating these qualities.
Yes, Chester does need more people on the Town Board that who provide the leadership, commitment, ensure that laws and ordinances are complied with and the time to focus on all Town matters in a timely manner.
The Town Board needs to constantly keep the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning as well as Community Preservation Plan up-to-date. This should be performed at least once every 5-7 years.
Property taxes continue to rise every year. More and more of our residents are leaving because they either cannot afford and/or unwilling to pay these high taxes. Seniors on fixed incomes are mostly affected.
To address this problem, the Town Board needs to continually review expenses and strive for efficiencies. This includes large purchases, staffing, salaries, professional services and contracts as well as looking for more cost effective solutions.
The Town Board needs to be more proactive, accountable and responsive to taxpayers, transparent in doing Town business, enforcing laws and communicate with taxpayers.
I ask you, shouldn’t a person who is running for Town Councilperson be a Chester homeowner and taxpayer, lived in town for at least five years, have been in the work force for at least 10 years, has or have served as a Chester board member for multiple years, have authored and/or participated in implementing a Town Ordinance and has the time and commitment to dedicate eight or more hours per week in performing the necessary tasks to responsibly serve the taxpayers?
Candidate for Town of Chester Board