To the Editor,

In recent news articles, I have been reading with disgust of the shameful, petty and selfish political tactics that several Democratic legislators are engaged in with regard to the 2017 county budget proceedings. The legislator for my district in Haverstraw, Michael Grant, has unfortunately been a leader in practicing such tactics.

In Mr. Grant’s profile posted on the website, there are two facts that may be of interest to county residents. The first is that he identifies himself, first and foremost, as a community activist. While community activism is certainly a commendable endeavor, when it is embedded in a public office holder who is also a career politician it can be a very toxic mix against good government..

This mix may help explain Mr. Grant’s continual advocacy for unaffordable increased spending plans over the years, his support for the “sham” Democratic proposal for a tax refund with no real funds to pay for it and his fighting “tooth and nail” against the county executive’s proposal to sell (wise way to reduce county debt) the Bain building without the decency from him to formulate and propose a responsible alternative plan to reduce the extraordinary county deficit.

While I am a registered Republican, I can fully support effective Democratic office holders. I look with pride and happily support the excellent Democratic leadership in the town board of Haverstraw as an example. The board provides excellent government for all residents and delivers high quality services in a fiscally responsible manner. In addition, the Democratic town supervisor reaches out and works positively with the district’s Republican State Senator to foster programs that mutually benefit their overlapping constituencies.

Mr. Grant and his fellow Democratic ilk should demonstrate a similar “can do good things” attitude within the County Legislature. To date we have not seen that.

Secondly, Mr. Grant’s profile indicates that he is employed as a Senior manager – Public Affairs official with Orange and Rockland utility. While the county does not have jurisdiction over the electrical utility and I know nothing about his job responsibilities with O&R, there is certainly an appearance that his position as a county legislator and utility official could have a possible influence with state officials who oversee utility operation matters. On its face, I don’t think this is a particularly healthy situation. I hope someone has looked into the propriety of this potential conflict of interest.

All in all, while I feel Mr. Grant is a fine person and certainly has good intentions with his political beliefs, I respectfully suggest that he embrace a career with one of the county’s wonderful non-profit agencies to satisfy his community activist interests and leave public office to others who are willing and better able to perform in fostering effective and responsible governance. We have learned from President Obama’s failed presidency the economic and social damage a community activist/organizer in public office can inflict. I see similar results happening at the county level if individuals like Mr. Grant are permitted to prevail in our county government.

Tom Cooney

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