Ed Day and David Fried are running for Rockland County executive in the
Tuesday, Nov. 5th General Election. Day is running on the Republican and
Preserve Rockland party lines. Fried is running on the Democratic, Working
Families and Independence party lines. Thomas Sullivan is listed as the
Conservative Party candidate but has not been actively campaigning.
Patch sent questionnaires to the two major party candidates, who provided the following responses. Their answers are listed in alphabetical order by last name after each question.
1. Why did you decide to run for election?
I realized that if someone did not step up and take on the challenges Rockland was facing, my son would not be able to raise my grandson in the County we call home. I decided that I needed to step up to the plate for all of our children and grandchildren here in Rockland.
My campaign for County Executive was the result of countless individuals – elected officials, community leaders, and ordinary citizens – urging me to run. The decision to take that leap was not an easy one. As a sitting Judge in Spring Valley, I was prohibited from engaging in political activity and seeking a non-judicial elected office.
When I looked at the current political and government landscape in Rockland, I saw a county yearning for change. After 20 years of Republican control of county government, I saw that Rockland County wanted and needed change. They wanted someone who didn't have a litmus test on ideas; instead, they wanted someone with an open mind and who would govern with an open door. That's always been my governing philosophy – I'm willing to meet with anyone and everyone, to discuss the issues that matter most; a good idea is a good idea, regardless of who's behind it.
2. What personal or professional experiences qualify you to serve as county executive? Have you run or held elected office previously?
I have substantial private and public sector leadership experience, with executive and budgetary responsibility. From serving as Lieutenant-Commander of Detectives in the NYPD and Chief of Detectives in the Baltimore Police Department to Corporate Director of Security at a major housing corporation, I know how to lead large organizations and how to lead in crisis. I have also served as a County Legislator since 2005, elected over the incumbent in a 3-1 Democrat district.
Rockland County government has to learn to live within its means, reducing spending by creating efficiencies in government. It's not about bigger or smaller government; it's about smart government – knowing how the different levels of government interact and delivering results for taxpayers. I have extensive experience at multiple levels government, experience that will give me the tools needed to create the necessary efficiencies.
- As an Advance Aide to President Bill Clinton, I worked directly with the Secret Service and government agencies, coordinating presidential trips.
- Later as a District Representative for Congresswoman Nita Lowey, I helped constituents navigate federal bureaucracies, making sure seniors and veterans received the care they deserve.
- When I served as a Judge in Spring Valley, I revolutionized the court, reducing case backlogs and resolving outstanding warrants.
These experiences give me the tools necessary to reduce waste in county government, streamline departments, and create new efficiencies.
Previously, I was elected as a County Legislator for the 13th District; later, I was elected as Spring Valley Judge.
3. What are the top three issues facing Rockland County residents?
The top three issues are:
1) Rockland’s budget crisis
2) Rampant irresponsible development
3) A sagging and weak local economy
1) Taxes: Only through budget gimmicks was Scott Vanderhoef able to keep this year's tax increase in the single digits, still more than five times the state cap. Residents are tired of paying for the mistakes of government.
2) Overdevelopment: One of the biggest problems facing Rockland County is the unchecked overdevelopment that's threatening our quality of life.
3) The Deficit: When I was a County Legislator, we had a budget surplus. Now, we have a $125 million deficit and the lowest credit rating in New York.
4. What are your plans for addressing these issues?
I have a ten point plan to address each of these key issues, all of which were diligently researched and created in concert with experts in each area. My plan to solve the budget crisis includes such key points as zero based budgeting and slashing both patronage jobs and salaries for all elected officials and the highest paid appointees. My plan to stop over development includes high mandatory fines and authorizing the County to enforce already existing building and fire codes.
My plan to revitalize our economy includes downtown revitalization tax credits, critical skills tuition rebates for our youth, and a business protection border zone. The full plans are available on my website, www.electday.com
1) Taxes: Before any tax increases or the sending of seven-figure bills to the towns and villages, government needs to lead by example. That's why I will reduce the County Executive's salary 20% and seek a public referendum to shrink the size of the legislature. If government is asking people to do more with less, shouldn't government do the same?
2) Overdevelopment: Since I began my campaign for County Executive, I've been outspoken of overdevelopment. It's why I oppose projects like Patrick Farm and the proposed desalination plant for Haverstraw. For too long, the County Planning Board has been a rubber stamp for developers. When I'm County Executive, I will appoint people who understand the balance between economic development and the environment. Rockland County needs smart, sustainable development. We need to encourage projects like the Shops at Nanuet and Orangetown's Bloomberg Data Center – projects that utilize existing locations and turn them into engines of economic opportunity.
3) The Deficit: Just the same as you cannot tax your way to a balanced budget, only reducing spending doesn't bring balance either. The best way to increase revenues is by fostering smart, sustainable economic development. Combine that with the creation of new efficiencies in government and you have a roadmap to prosperity. For too long, government has asked taxpayers to do more with less, all the while never taking responsibilities for their own failures. When I'm County Executive, every county government job will be audited for necessity, salaries of appointed positions reduced, and efficiencies and consolidations created.
5. How do you differentiate yourself from your opponent’s platform?
Our key points of differentiation are:
1) Our plans: I have created extremely detailed plans to address the most major issues facing our County, what he has offered amounts to little more than a tiny percentage of the detail and focus of my plans.
2) Our experience: I bring substantial public and private sector executive and budgetary experience, the experience necessary to implement any plan – he has no such executive or budgetary experience.
3) Political independence: I have committed to term limiting myself, will not seek higher office, and am beholden to no political interests – he has refused to make such commitments and is a member of the Ramapo-Spring Valley political machine.
Where we differ is how we propose to turn Rockland around. While Ed Day promises to introduce zero-based budgeting practices, such a model is unworkable in the public sector; more than 70 percent of county government spending consists of state and federal mandates. Instead, we need to administer the mandates more efficiently. I'm proud to have the support of my many colleagues in government in the State Legislature and US Congress – they need a County Executive who will partner with them to deliver results for Rockland.
Ed and I also disagree on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Where Ed wants to threaten the MTA with Rockland leaving the compact, I want to work with my colleagues in government, the County Executives in the outlying counties of Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess. With a collective voice, we can improve public transportation across Rockland and the Hudson Valley.
I also disagree with Ed when it comes to zoning. He wants county government to completely take over zoning and code enforcement from the towns and villages, creating new government bureaucracies and courts. Instead, I want to empower the towns and villages with information, creating an inter-municipal database of code/zoning offenders, while increasing the fines for repeat offenders. I will also work with local judges in the towns and villages on better education of code/zoning laws.
A major area of disagreement between Ed and I is on desalination. When I began my campaign, I took it upon myself to learn as much as possible about the proposed plant to turn Hudson River water into drinking water - I visited the pilot plant, met with officials from United Water, read information from experts, and held meetings with environmental activists. With all the information, I came to the conclusion that the plant wasn’t necessary and I oppose its construction. In contrast, Ed Day has tried to hedge, maintaining an openness to supporting the plant.
6. If elected, what would you like to achieve over the course of your term?
I want to bring the budget into balance, create a culture in government of zero-tolerance for corruption or abuse of the system, begin delivering pro-growth tax policies, and ensure that everyone in Rockland is held to the exact same standard when it comes to building and services.
First and foremost, Rockland needs to tackle its deficit. Brought on by years of bad budgets, Rockland County has a $125 million deficit that grows every day. Instead of double digit tax increases and out-of-left-field charge backs to the towns and villages, government needs to do more with less. That's why I want to cut salaries for the County Executive and other high paid positions. It's also why I want to shrink the size of the legislature. These aren't policies that will eliminate the deficit, but they do show government is serious about reining in spending. Then, by partnering with colleagues in government and business leaders, we can turn vacant properties into engines of economic opportunity. The best way to increase revenue is to grow the economy with smart, sustainable development.
7. What is your current employment and will that change if elected?
I currently work as a security consultant for a New York City-based firm, and have taken a leave of absence for this portion of the campaign. If elected, I will resign from that position.
Since I resigned my judgeship in Spring Valley, I have been a practicing lawyer, helping clients with a variety of legal matters. If fortunate enough to be elected, I would be a full-time County Executive.
Related articles -------