With an important Irvington Trustee election on Tuesday, March 18, resident voters have choices to make at their polling places. Francis Goudie, an Engineer with extensive work experience throughout the Metropolitan area, and Jim McCann, a financial adviser, will be write-in candidates for the office of Village Trustee.
Left to right: Jim McCann and Francis Goudie
Independents, Goudie and McCann had their petitions presented to the Board of Elections in White Plains and specifically to the Democratic Commissioner, Reginald Lafayette. Goudie and McCann collected well over the requisite number of signatures needed to be placed on the Irvington ballot. A week after filing their petitions, Mr. Lafayette, who in addition to working for the County Board of Elections is also the Westchester Democratic Party Chairperson, informed both men that they had not submitted a “Certificate of Acceptance” as required by the law and therefore would not appear on the Irvington ballot. This questionable denial has not deterred the candidates from contacting residents and getting their messages out to voters through the internet. Goudie and McCann want Irvington residents to know that on Election Day a “write-in campaign” could get them elected.
At a recent interview their message was simple. No present Irvington Trustee has engineering experience or any related experience in village infrastructure. In addition, no present Irvington Trustee has a background in finance or finance-related work. Both Francis Goudie and Jim McCann want to fill that void.
Francis Goudie has lived in Irvington for the past 17 years. He is an engineer by profession and works on multi-million dollar projects within the New York Metropolitan area for the firm of Halmar International. “I am very familiar with bonds, with equipment purchases, engineering costs and maintenance procedures for heavy equipment,” he said at a recent interview. By his own report Goudie uses his analytical skills daily, in his various capacities as an engineer, supervisor and estimator.
Jim McCann has lived in Irvington for the past 11 years. He has worked as a financial advisor for the past 26 years and is currently employed in Manhattan with the firm of UBS. He sits on the board of the Ardsley Park Property Owners Association and is a member of Irvington’s Citizen Budget Committee (CBC). Prior to moving to Irvington McCann was a Trustee for Finance in the Village of Salt Aire, New York. He was responsible for all the budgets and contracts that the Village approved which included a new firehouse, ambulance, ferry dock and terminal.
For Francis Goudie the “Off-Main Street Zoning Committee” created by the current administration, is a major concern. In particular, he is critical of Trustee Pat Ryan who resides in the specific area and was instrumental in the creation of the Committee. The Committee is separate and distinct from the Village of Irvington’s Zoning Board.
“Trustee Pat Ryan, who is running for reelection, started a committee to examine making a zoning code which would exactly fit the myriad of buildings in the Off-Main Street area. This attempt is fraught with problems. The residential area doesn’t lend itself to any one regulation because the homes were not built at any one time. So the net result to date, according to the Committee’s report, is going to be the desecration of the area. Lot lines and setbacks will be decreased and more townhouses would be permitted,” Goudie said. “The Off-Main Street Zoning Committee was also
created by Trustee John Malone, an architect, and to date it’s been reported that the Committee has spent $10,000 to $15,000 in outside consulting fees. I feel they are just reinventing the wheel at the taxpayer‚Äôs expense,” Goudie added. “The Village Board wants to cut services and yet they spend money on outside consultants. For me the straw that broke the camel’s back was the loss of $322,000 for what’s being called the “phantom fire truck.” When I heard about that I could not let these people run for reelection unopposed,” he said.
Goudie praised Irvington’s Zoning Board and noted that authorities on land use and regulation, including Pace University, have cited Irvington’s Chairman, Louis Lustenberg, as “the example” to follow. “I have always known the Board to be balanced in their decisions so I don’t think rezoning is required. The current zoning laws and the Board are very adequate,” Goudie added. All the members of the Zoning Board, which includes Goudie’s wife, were appointed by the previous Flood administration.
According to Jim McCann, he began to see some questionable patterns with regard to decision-making in the Irvington Village government. As a member of the Citizen’s Budget Committee (CBC) he is proud to have served with people he considers to have phenomenal expertise. “We put out a report that was over 40 pages that gave a multitude of ideas to the Village Board on how to save money. I thought that the Board would have taken the simplest recommendation and not the most difficult. They did just the opposite and took on the most difficult measure first, which was the Police merger with Dobbs Ferry. I said to myself that it didn’t make any sense. There would have been so much goodwill if they had chosen a measure where they could have saved a couple hundred thousand dollars. In short order the community came out very much against the merger and it disappeared,” he said.
After that McCann experienced the CBC took a back seat and felt that their input was minimized because of the Board’s problems with the Police merger. “I thought that as a CBC member we were going to be active and as it turns out we are just now having a meeting at my house to try and reinvigorate the Committee,” he said. When McCann learned of the Off-Main Street Zoning Committee and that Trustees Pat Ryan and John Malone were, by their own words, working on the “urbanization of the downtown,” he grew alarmed. Alarmed that single-family homes were being threatened. “A developer would be able to come into the Village and put up two-family townhouses right to the property line, with a new rezoning law.” He then added, “I don’t believe the people in Irvington want that.”
Like Goudie, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and pushed McCann into the election was, by his terms, the debacle over the fire truck. “I give this example to people I speak with. What if they had a $450,000 house remodeling job and were dealing with a contractor who had been in business for three years, who wanted a check for $322,000 before he even started?” Well the $450,000 was the cost of the new truck. Elite Fire Apparatus had been in business for only three years and a surety bond protecting the Village’s money would have cost $3,000 to $4,000. The Village decided not to purchase one. With no bond the Village is set to lose the entire $322,210. According to McCann, flags should have gone up immediately to anyone in that situation. “Now I see a pattern in Village government that has gone from conceptual and questionable decisions to out-and-out bad decision making,” he said. In essence McCann is running for office because he has seen a trend in Irvington with the Police merger, the rezoning issue and the fire truck. “When I see a problem I say to myself, how can I help? I see a problem on our Board and the way to help that problem is to run for office,” he said.
Both Francis Goudie and Jim McCann are very eager to serve their community and both will leave it up to the community to determine whether or not they are wanted. Residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, March 18. n
BEFORE YOU VOTE: Irvington residents wanting to learn more about the Off Main Street Zoning Committee can go to RiverJournalOnline.com and click on “Letters to the Editor.” Scrolling down to December 14 and November 16 readers will find two opposing opinions.
The most recent issues of the fire truck and the Citizen Budget Committee’s recommendations along with the Board’s attempt at lowering taxes can be found in several articles. Once again, go to RiverJournalOnline.com and click on “Irvington.” Then scroll through a variety of articles on the Village dating back two years.