Evolution, Not Revolution

by Michael Otten

As a ‘retired’ School Board Member and President, who served two terms under the ‘old’ Nominating Committee based tradition, I believe the current challenge is consistent with our non-partisan tradition, although a shift in process.  In my view, proposing an alternate slate of candidates can be quite non-partisan, as long as all the candidates are driven by what they think is best for Scarsdale, not some broad national ideology (esp. Republican versus Democrat).  I know both Mayoral candidates quite well, and they are examples of the finest of our traditions for community service.  I believe that both mayoral candidates have earned and deserve the respect of the community as individuals who want the best for Scarsdale and its residents. They do represent different styles of governance and oversight.  The choice may seem to be based on specific issues, but I believe we are more importantly choosing between styles of management, and it may well be that this is the time for change.
In my opinion, we’ve become too ingrained in consensus governance, where majority votes are the norm for our trustees, thereby inhibiting true representation of the diversity of views in our intelligent and interested community.  I don’t think anyone on the Board is acting in bad faith, but the ‘traditional’ way of handling mistakes just isn’t working well.   I shall be voting more for a different management approach rather than choosing a ‘better’ person. Having non-unanimous votes by or for the Board is not a sign of weakness nor lack of purpose.  I believe we are mature enough, and can expect our Administrators to be mature enough, to tolerate differences as policy and process are developed. The Board and community can then better support decisions once they are made. 
I am grateful that the new Scarsdale ‘party’ is not aligned with traditional political parties or unions. I think the alternate slate of candidates is a way for members of our community to organize to propose a different approach to governance.  I support this direction as evolution, not revolution. At minimum, I am pleased to see intelligent discussion taking place, recognizing that even Scarsdale has room for improvement.
Respectfully submitted, 
Michael Otten,
 Stonehouse Rd, Scarsdale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *