Running for Re-Election in Irvington

The Village Board may remain unchanged as two incumbents are vying for two open two-year seats at the March 18 election. At press time, there was still a possibility that Independent candidates could file to be on the ballot.

Democrat Patricia Ryan is running for her second term after serving for two years.

In addition, Walter Montgomery, a Republican who was also endorsed by the Democratic organization in town, is running for a second term after he was appointed in April to finish the term left vacant by Erin Malloy when she became mayor.

Residents will also have a chance to vote for incumbent Village Justice Lawrence Ecker, who was unopposed at press time. He is running for his fifth four-year term.

Meet the Village Board candidates

Walter Montgomery, a resident for 22 years, has served as liaison to the Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Education and the Citizens’ Budget Committee.

Before his appointment to the Board, Montgomery served on the Planning Board from 2001 to 2007, and as a trustee on the Irvington Board of Education from 1989 to 1995.

In the region, Montgomery serves on the Board of Directors for Union Settlement Association, a charitable organization based in East Harlem. He is also on the Board of Directors for Project Hope, an international organization that strives to make healthcare available to everyone around the globe. For the past five years, Montgomery has been CEO of Robinson, Lerer and Montgomery, a corporate communication firm based in Manhattan. He’s worked at this firm for 20 years. He also has a Ph.D. in Chinese history from Brown University. As for the most important issue facing Irvington, Montgomery replied, "I believe it’s fiscal responsibility." Montgomery said it’s important to keep the tax increases at a reasonable level. Montgomery is also interested in making the village attractive for businesses. "That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be liaison to the Chamber of Commerce," he said. Montgomery said his longevity as a resident and his involvement in public life has given him a broad perspective of the issues facing the village. As for being the lone Republican, he said, "I am not fixated on party labels and ideologies."

Patricia Ryan, a resident for 30 years, has served as a liaison to the Environmental Control Board, the Library Board, the Community Advisory Board, the Building Department and the Water Department during her first term as a Village Trustee. During the past six years, Ryan was vice president of the local historical society, where she remains as an editor of their newsletter. Ryan’s youngest child is now a junior in college, but when they went through the Irvington School District, she volunteered at the Dows Lane Publishing Center, working with teachers to publish children’s books. Now retired, Ryan worked for 12 years as principal of St. Dominic’s, a school for severely emotionally handicapped children in Rockland County. Before that, she taught at the school for several years and also taught at various public and private schools in New York City. Currently, Ryan is a freelance writer, writing essays and travel pieces for magazines. When asked about the most important issues facing Irvington, Ryan replied, "As with many of the small villages, taxes are a critical issue." She added that she and other members of the Board have worked hard to bring them down. "We made some progress last year and I think we’ll make more progress this year," Ryan said. Since Ryan lives on Ferris Street, she is particularly interested in the Off-Main Street Zoning Committee. Ryan explained that over 90 percent of the homes in Irvington are non-compliant with the current zoning code, and she would like to bring more residences into compliance. Ryan said she always tries to be open and available to all residents, and she believes that she is part of a good team on the village board.

Meet the Village Justice

Lawrence Ecker, a resident for over 30 years, has served as Village Justice since 1993. Before then, he was acting Village Justice for three years, replacing the term left vacant by the late Judge William Roy, who died in office. He also served as the acting Village Justice for North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow) from 1988 to 1989. Since 1974, he has been a partner at Ecker & Ecker L.L.P. (former Ecker, Loehr & Ecker) in Yonkers. For a few years before that, he was associate counsel for the Legal Aid Society of Westchester County. Since 1993, he has been on the Board of Directors for St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers and the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry. He’s also been vice president of the Justice Cardozo Westchester Bar Association since 2007, on the executive board of the professional division for the Westchester United Jewish Appeal since 1994, on the Westchester County Executive’s Criminal Justice Advisory Council since 2002, on the Irvington Community Advisory Board since 1993, and the Initiator/Chair of Partnership in Government Project since 2006. He was president of the Greenburgh Hebrew Center in Dobbs Ferry from 1996-1998 and was on the board of directors for the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson from 1993-l996. From 1993-2003, he was a presenter on the Juvenile Law Education Project. Ecker said the most difficult cases that come before him involve inter-family and landlord/tenant disputes. While he enjoys helping people "who deserve to be helped," he’s also signed many commitment orders to the Westchester County penitentiary. "My job is to carry out the letter of the law," Ecker said.

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About the Author: Brett Freeman