The State of the City may be strong (or not) but the state of the parade is DOA. Readers reminded me of how excitedly the Mayor announced that the City’s three colleges, Monroe, CNR, and Iona, had agreed to pay for the parade. Representatives of the three schools even stood to be recognized by the crowd. So, what happened? Our inquiries to all three schools have gone unanswered.
I have spoken tonight primarily about the role and responsibility of the public sector but we must remember that the character and strength of this city is defined by much more than municipal budgets and laws. Especially at a moment of great challenge, each of us is called to action. There are countless examples of citizens and groups, houses of worship and not-for-profits that are rising to this occasion…
…Coming together also means preserving the traditions and celebrations that make New Rochelle unique and special. And there’s no better example than the Thanksgiving Parade, organized every year by the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce.
As most of you know, the parade has been supported in recent years by donations from John and Charles Valenti. We are deeply grateful for their generosity, and extend to them our sincere thanks.
This year, we learned that the Valentis could not continue their sponsorship, and that’s understandable, because no donor can be expected to maintain such a commitment indefinitely, and they have already done far more than their fair share. But this raised a serious question about the parade’s survival.
Tonight, happily, I can report that the parade will go on. New Rochelle’s three colleges, Monroe, CNR, and Iona, cornerstones of our city in so many ways, have each agreed to contribute the funds necessary to preserve this great community celebration.
I’d like to ask the representatives of these colleges to stand, so that we can together express our appreciation for their sense of civic responsibility, and for their help in a time of need.
During the speech, Mayor Bramson praises Denise Lally for the organizing the State of the City event. Lally, the director of the Chamber of Commerce, was let go shortly thereafter, at the behest of Rita Mabli, the president of the Chamber, who failed to inform the full board of directors of her intention to terminate the Chamber’s only paid position.
The phone number over at the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce is now “temporarily disconnected” so with Rita Mabli, President of the Chamber’s Board of Directors did not pay the phone bill or she is in hiding. Listen as we call them at 914-576-2300.
The parade has gone off without a hitch for years under the leadership of Greg Pryce but Mabli drove him out of the Chamber of Commerce after more than two decades of membership, 15 of those on the board and the last 8 as Chairman of the Parade Committee. The long-time sponsor pulled out and “Plan B”, the colleges fell apart. Worse, it appears Mabli unilaterally decided to move the parade to the night before Thanksgiving without consulting many of those involved in the parade including school officials. School is closed that day and many people go away for the long weekend.
The Journal News is reporting on the cancellation of the Thanksgiving Parade: Organizer drops city’s Thanksgiving parade
The New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce canceled the event because of a lack of financial support and participation in the community, said Rita Mabli, president of the chamber’s board of directors. Some business leaders, though, said the parade was poorly planned from the start and the change reflected the chamber’s diminished role in the community.
I do not know Rita Mabli but there appears to a bit of a trend here. Since she has taken over the Haunted House has been cancelled, the Thanksgiving Day Parade has been cancelled, the Executive Director has been fired, the office has been moved out of a storefront location and made largely inaccessible to the casual passerby, the ribbon-cutting ceremonies have ended and the phones don’t work.
I suppose we are answering our own question when we asked: Time to Put a Fork in New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce? Or maybe just put a fork into the Mabli presidency. New leadership could hardly do any worse.