Schoenberger Kicks Off County Executive Campaign

The legislator held his first campaign event Thursday night


It wasn’t scheduled to be a surprise party Thursday night at the New York Country Club, although Rockland County Legislator Ilan Schoenberger tried to make it one.

“I have a surprise for you all,” he told a group of 80-plus. “I’m running for county executive.”

Of course, it wasn’t totally a surprise, as Schoenberger announced last month he was planning on running, but on Thursday night he held a kickoff event for his campaign for next November’s race. Current County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced earlier this year he will not seek reelection.

“My vision for the future of Rockland County is a leaner, more efficient government, a government that works in coordination with town and village governments to create efficiencies and to reduce costs, to find areas where we can avoid duplication, to create shared services, to work to reduce costs to maintain service of the residents and taxpayers by working harmoniously together,” Schoenberger said.

So far, fellow Rockland Legislator Ed Day, Suffern Mayor Dagan Lacorte and former Spring Valley Justice David Fried have also announced they will run for county executive.

On Thursday, Schoenberger talked about his time in the legislature and serving Rockland County as an attorney, the Town of Ramapo as finance director, the county attorney in Rockland and more.

“As a county legislator, I have had to make hard decisions and tough choices to preserve our way of life in this county,” he said. “I have never ducked a tough vote, and I never will. I stood up with my colleagues in the legislature, many of whom are here to tonight, and made unpopular political choices. Why? Because we had to for the good of all the people in Rockland County.”

Also speaking on his behalf were Rockland County Sheriff Lou Falco, Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack and Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips.

“We’re entering a new era,” Gromack said. “We need to move forward, we need to move forward with an individual that understands the working of county government, but just as importantly, how you form working partnerships with our towns and villages because I’ve found that when you have working partnerships, you can knock down walls and you can concur with the world. Ilan Schoenberger has been an individual that understands the term ‘working partnership.’”

Gromack is also the chair of the Rockland County Supervisors Association and said that all five town supervisors are looking to work more with the new county supervisor than they have with Vanderhoef.

“We are longing for a county executive that can be a partner. We don’t expect things to happen overnight, but we do want things to start, and Ilan has certainly pledged to do that,” Gromack said. “And by that I mean, we need to start talking about how the towns fit in working with the county on economic development, how the towns and county can work on important drainage projects, how we can work on tourism, how we can work on sharing like services, highway department services, how we can form partnerships to divide important police services. We started that and the current county executive eliminated that, the intel unit, the narcotics task force unit.”

Phillips agreed with Gromack and said the county and towns need to work together for the betterment of Rockland.

“Government must be a bridge, it can’t be a burden,” he said. “Ilan understands that.”

Phillips also said the county needs to move in a new direction with its new executive.

“There will be a change, but we need to make sure that it’s a Democrat, and we need to make sure that that Democrat has the knowledge, the extensive background, the vision and the ability to lead,” he said. “I am confident that Ilan can do that.”

Falco echoed Phillips’ sentiment.

“I’m proud that November of next year, we will elect a Democrat to be the next county executive and that should be Ilan Schoenberger,” he said.

Other elected officials on hand included Chairwoman of the Rockland County Legislature Harriet Cornell, Legislators Jay Hood, Alden Wolfe, Aney Paul, Philip Soskin, Toney Earl and Aron Wieder, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, County Clerk Paul Piperato and Town of Clarkstown Councilwomen Stephanie Hausner and Shirley Lasker.

Z December 07, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Schoenberger: "I stood up with my colleagues in the legislature, many of whom are here to tonight, and made unpopular political choices. Why? Because we had to for the good of all the people in Rockland County." Is 18% property tax hike for the good of the people? This guy was the person responsible for overseeing and advancing the budgets that have raised our taxes 30%, 18%. What will it be next year if he becomes county executive? Ed Day all the way!
Maureen December 07, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Greetings everyone from a damp Ireland. What a team! Schoenberger with the bloc vote - chair of the committee that brought a 30% increase in taxes last year and 18% this year teaming up with Gromack who increased taxes over 6%, dumped a 1% 'surcharge fee' on the school tax bill to pay for more of his spending, gave the police a 13% raise over the next 5 years while having 4 police officers together making a combined total of $1 million and provided a job in the highway department so Ballard could hire legislator Sparaco for $75 thou a year to answer the telephone while he hired the chair of the bronx Republican Party to handle Clarkstown's tax cert work for $87 thou. Also on hand last night it appears were Shirley Lasker and Stephanie Hausner. Schoenberger, Gromack and Hausner are all up for election in 2013. Folks you need to vote and put an end to this madness!
steve December 07, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Where does he stand on the 18% tax raise. Where does he stand on the budget. Will he continue to spend more of OUR money which he does not have. Answer these questions and then we shall see if he deserves our vote
Don December 07, 2012 at 12:19 PM
This county is doomed if he becomes County Executive. He's the head of the Budget and Finance Committee, and look where he helped bring Rockland. Here's something that was posted on preserveramapo.com. Running for legislator, he won all four districts of NEW SQUARE but lost the remaining 10. "ELECTION RESULTS FOR ILAN SCHOENBERGER Take a look at the election results for Ilan Schoenberger and you may (or may not) be surprised. After 30 years in government and over 15 years in the Legislature…. With the advantage of the Democratic, Conservative, Independence and Working Families lines…. With one lonely opponent- Mike Parietti- on the Preserve Ramapo line, Row G who had no election signs and accepted no campaign contributions of any kind, Here are the results: Ilan won the 4 election districts of New Square 2,195 to 4. Ilan lost the remaining 10 election districts by a 2 to 1 margin- 1044 to 535. Ilan lost even his own home election district- where he has lived for 30 years- by a margin of 114 to 66. It says something when your own neighbors don’t vote for you! This conclusively demonstrates that, without the blessing of New Square’s leadership and their election day edict to vote for Ilan, the “Boss” of the Legislature would have been forced into retirement."
steve December 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Well you answered my question, we would have to be fools to vote him in
Michael N. Hull December 07, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Good Points! Shoenberger has led the finance committee of the Legislature to give us bankrupt status with and a bond rating just above junk. He signed a "contract" with the CSEA that no one could be laid off. Senior citizens will get 1.7% increase in social security next year. His 18% tax increase wipes out that increase. As Sabitini points out http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/is-rockland-county-dysfunctional Schoenberger even kept the sheriff's horses in the budget! Who is smiling at the microphone above - none other that the sheriff himself - the head horseman! Vanderhoef should veto this budget until the 'asses' that ride the horses ride out of town WITH the horses. I asked Legislator Carey (who I count as a friend and who voted against this madness) at the Nanuet Civic Asoociation if he could explain the rationale for taking away the whole of seniors social security increase to feed and pay the bill for highly paid cops to 'trot' around town on horseback. I reminded him that horses are not members of either the CSAE or the PBA and so have no 'contract' that they can not be 'laid off'. He was unable to do so. Therefore I conclude that when it comes to horses versus senior citizens Schoenberger's budget says the horses will be fed and the seniors will be bled. Why do we need horses? - For 'crowd' control I am told. Keep them well fed in case they are needed to trample a crowd of destitution-bound seniors!
Watchdog December 07, 2012 at 02:01 PM
"My vision for the future of Rockland County is a leaner, more efficient government, a government that works in coordination with town and village governments to create efficiencies and to reduce costs, to find areas where we can avoid duplication, to create shared services, to work to reduce costs to maintain service of the residents and taxpayers by working harmoniously together,” Schoenberger said. " UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP...ROCKLAND COUNTY SUED CLARKSTOWN FOR CLOSURE IF SAMUEL ROAD. UNDER HIS LEADERSHIP HE TRANSFERRED MILLIONS OF COST TO THE TOWNS.
Cal Mendelsohn December 07, 2012 at 02:13 PM
His "harmonious vision" seems to include double digit tax hikes for all Rockland residents and protecting government workers at the expense of the rest of the electorate. Can't see his election resulting in anything positive for Rockland
Alan December 07, 2012 at 02:17 PM
They all need to go. They are ALL USELESS and coconspirators. That board needs to be abolished. Term limits need to be put in place.
Bradley Jensen December 07, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Don't vote for him. Fox in sheeps clothing.
Alan December 07, 2012 at 02:32 PM
No more retreads. They have all shown that THEY ARE WORTHLESS! They are not fit to clean horse stalls let alone local government.
Alan December 07, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Alan December 07, 2012 at 02:43 PM
We CANNOT ESCAPE the 100 MILLION they put us in the hole without cutting. They have to go. I bet they all have money in there pockets.
Fairness4All December 07, 2012 at 04:45 PM
If you like the direction that Ramapo is going, then you will love what Schoenberger will do for Rockland. Where was his biggest supporter, Christopher St. Lawrence? Probably was told to stay away. Schoenberger doesn't stand a chance. Ed Day all the way! The public school parents in ER will not vote for Ilan.
Andrew Wiley December 07, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I look forard to Mr. Schoenberger explaining how Rockland got into this mess? As chair of the budget and fianace committee he has great influence on other legislaors and how they vote. What actions would he do differently as County Executive? Will he be able to convince voters that he can change things that happened on his watch during his tenure as chair of the most powerful budget and finance committee?
John December 07, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Appreciate everyone's views, but how do we actually get them voted out next year? Everytime someone is up for election, we all go on and on about how much they are hurting the local government, but time after time they get elected in. We need to have an ACTION PLAN to get the vote or organize in some way like our neighbors in New Square to make a change!
Julie December 07, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Let's remember who is Chair for the Rockland County Budget & Finance Committee, Ilan S Schoenberger, (wonder if he runs his family budget like this). If you want change in Rockland why not start here. Read this very important article about Rockland's issue and how the advice by outside research companies has been ignored by this committee and his cronies for years. You want change get out and VOTE. Educate yourself on what's been going on for years. Below is a link for a really interesting article. VOTE FOR CHANGE - VOTE for ED DAY http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2012/12/06/candidate-says-rbapattern-budget-deficit-white-paper-on-the-money/
Julie December 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM
We all need to go out & vote....get everyone you know out there to vote...if they need a ride let's get them a ride to the polling locations....we need to stand up all together to be heard
steve December 07, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Mad Dog December 07, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Why on earth would any resident of Rockland County support this man for county executive? He has been in county government too long as it is. He is partly responsible for the mess we are in now. He passed a budget this year with no layoffs leaving Vanderhoef questioning if it should be vetoed. The only reasonable choice so far for next County Exec is Ed Day.
Alan Tekel December 07, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I don't see people trying to get together. Just a lot of talk. If we want to get rid of all of them that keeps killing us, we need to sit down somewhere and mobilize
Kevin Roy December 07, 2012 at 08:40 PM
John, there are ~315,000 people that live in Rockland. 173,018 are registered to vote, with 59,493 voting for either Vanderholt or Kleiner during the last election. The split was 4,611 so it's important that the non-voters show-up to at least prevent Schoenberger from getting elected. My initial thought is that the easiest way to do this would be to organize some type of event at the Palisades mall or to advertise in the paper. I've actually inquired about the cost to advertise and have the rate sheet. I know there are a few organizations that have been fighting the cause, but not sure if any of them would be the best platform to effectively organize the non-voters. However, something I'm thinking about and will certainly share my thoughts.
Kevin Roy December 07, 2012 at 09:09 PM
For what it's worth, I emailed Supervisor Gromack and he clarified to me that he has not endorsed Schoenberger. From his email, "I have said I will attend the announcements of all those running and if asked to speak would do so. However, regardless of how my remarks were interpreted, I did not endorse Mr. Schoenberger, and he realizes that fact."
Watchdog December 08, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Also speaking on his behalf were Rockland County Sheriff Lou Falco, Clarkstown Town Supervisor Alex Gromack and Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips. Did they endorse?
Michael N. Hull December 08, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Kevin: A rational mind may not find it possible to interpret any of Mr. Gromack's remarks. This is the man that called police salaries 'obscene' and then proceeded to give them a 13% raise over the next 5 years. He has a admirable Janus-like ability to be on both sides of any matter simultaneously. In my opinion he is one of the masters of doublespeak. I discussed this in an article I wrote entitled "The Town That Cried" http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/the-town-that-cried Here is a wonderful example: Gromack tried to hide part of the Town's tax needs by putting a 1% surcharge at the last moment on the School Tax bill. His rationale in his own doublespeak went like this: "The $1.5 million RAISED from the school tax fee would not be a burden on taxpayers because the town would end up LOWERING town taxes for the coming year. In other words, while the school taxes would INCREASE, homeowners’ share of town taxes would DECREASE. A $1.5 million INCREASE in revenue would allow the town to LOWER its tax rate by 2 percent. This is money that is COMING FROM town residents and GOING BACK to town residents in tax relief.” Regardless of how his remarks were interpreted he stripped $1.5 million out of taxpayers pockets with this shell game scheme. "Doublethink is the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." - Nineteen Eighty-four
D.Hamilton December 08, 2012 at 10:54 PM
i was there i heard supervisor gromack speak and he praised ilan schienberger and it sure sounded like an endorsement. I was there and I heard Supervisor Gromack speak and praise Ilan Schoenberger and it sure sounded like an endorsement. It was being recorded by news 12 ans many other people I am sure you can hear Supervisor Gromack's endorsement for yourself.
John December 13, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Agree with mobilizing voters and increasing turnout. The problem is that a number of people just don't understand the issues and/or don't understand how they are DIRECTLY affected by them. Everyone needs to make a concerted effort over the next few months to get the word out, one way or another. Not sure who the other candidates are or their platforms, but I firmly believe in a smaller government and would prefer someone new from outside the political circle!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »