Brown Heads Tarrytown Dems/Tarrytown United Slate
By Rick Pezzullo—
Tarrytown United and the Tarrytown Democratic Committee recently endorsed a slate of candidates for this November’s village election.
At the top of the ticket is Trustee Karen Brown, who is running for mayor. Current Mayor Tom Butler is not seeking reelection.
“After five years as Village Trustee, I am educated on and informed of every issue we face going forward. I understand and relate to the needs of young families, empty-nesters, seniors and local businesses and hear the concerns of our diverse residents,” said Brown, who has lived in Tarrytown since 1995.
“More than ever, people expect transparency and that their voices be heard and considered by elected officials,” she continued. “I have always been a champion of community input. I embrace the expression of the different points of view in our village. I am committed to leading through building consensus whenever possible.”
Butler, 74, who retired as a colonel after serving 35 years in the Army, has served as mayor since last September after longtime Mayor Drew Fixell stepped down. Prior to that, Butler served as a trustee since 2005.
“Life is short. You want to enjoy certain things in life,” he said, noting he has four grandchildren. “It’s time to reflect. I think Tarrytown is in a pretty good place, which I think is because of positive leadership.”
Brown, who Butler called “intelligent and capable,” is founder and co-owner of Hudson Barter Exchange with her husband, Kevin.
“A mayor’s primary focus should always be the day-to-day health and welfare of village employees and residents,” Brown said. “Maintaining a high level of municipal services and community programs in a time of significant revenue reduction will require making budget choices that are prudent, sustainable, and equitable.”
Joining Brown on the ticket for three available trustee seats are incumbents Becky McGovern and David Kim and newcomer Effie Phillips-Staley. Not running for reelection is longtime Trustee Doug Zollo.
McGovern, an Independent, is a retired teacher and has been on the board for the last 14 years. She now serves as deputy mayor to Butler.
“I have spent the last 14 years working as the Village Liaison to many groups including: The Parks and Recreation Department, our incredible Senior Citizen group, The Traffic and Safety Committees, The Tarrytown Municipal Housing Authority, The Comprehensive Plan Zoning Committee, The Warner Library Budget Board and The Affordable Housing Task Force,” McGovern stated. “My work with these various groups has given me an in-depth exposure to and understanding of The Village Code, numerous village policies and the overall budgetary process all of which has helped me serve the village.”
“One of the Board of Trustees biggest challenges this past year has been developing a village-wide plan to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. This included massive changes to how the village was going to continue providing both services and safety to our residents,” McGovern continued. “As we all know the pandemic is still a major factor in all of our lives and the board will need to adapt accordingly to the change in guidelines and how to assist residents in obtaining the necessary COVID-19 vaccine.”
Kim, who formerly served on the village Zoning Board of Appeals, is seeking his first full two-year term. He was appointed last September to fill Butler’s unexpired term after Butler took over as mayor. Kim is an architect, urban designer and developer focused on long term, regenerative development of existing neighborhoods and districts. He has been a resident of Tarrytown since 2016.
“The cost to live in Tarrytown continues to escalate for many, making our community increasingly exclusive,” Kim said. “I hope to utilize my background and experience to keep Tarrytown accessible to as many as possible through sound management of village resources – making the most of what we have and looking for ways to ‘make more pie.’”
Meanwhile, Phillips-Staley is running for elected office for the first time. A resident of Tarrytown since 2016, Phillips-Staley is an experienced non-profit executive with a 25-year work history in social justice, art education and museums. She currently directs the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, where she works to champion educational equity in TUFSD’s public schools.
“Like many who came before me, I moved to Tarrytown with my family because it’s a wonderful place to build a life,” Phillips-Staley said. “As the village continues its planning with an eye towards the waterfront, it’s important that we ensure our streets are safe and walkable, that housing is accessible to all, and that any development complements our village’s historic character and natural environment. I will also advocate for the arts in village planning because it’s a powerful economic driver that benefits local business and enhances quality of life.”
Zollo has served as a trustee since 2005. He previously served a two-year term from 1999-2000. He could not be reached for comment.