With the election just around the corner, I want to take a moment to share a few thoughts about the team that can best lead our city for the next four years.

Barry Fertel lives and breathes New Rochelle. He served for many years on the Board of Education, including two years as its President. With little fanfare, he contributes time and energy to numerous not-for-profits and volunteer organizations that support our schools, libraries, the arts, and more. He practices law out of his offices in our downtown. He even collects New Rochelle memorabilia, amassing an impressive array of historic maps, booklets and postcards, all of which attest to his real passion for our city.

District 5 map. Click for larger image.

When I become mayor six years ago, Barry succeeded me as the representative for Council District 5. And, frankly, he is better than I ever was in his determined advocacy for neighborhood priorities and in his follow-through on the many individual concerns that constitute a big part of any Council Member’s responsibilities.

Just as important — and maybe more so — Barry has been an essential partner on all of the big challenges confronting New Rochelle. We share a common view of the the City’s history and a common faith in its future. We share a value system that respects public action as an instrument for improving lives and communities. We share a — perhaps impolitic — tendency to eschew empty pleasantries and offer candid truths. In short, Barry and I trust and rely on each other, and my ability to govern well is greatly enhanced by his presence on the Council.

If Barry has a flaw, it is that he’s a much better government official than politician. Let’s face it: politics is a field in which many people under-perform their duties and then oversell themselves. Barry does the reverse — he gets the job done, but too often neglects to tell anyone about it. So as someone who has been his friend and admirer for close to twenty years, I am happy to do the selling for him. Barry is a terrific Council Member and deserves to be reelected.