Noam Bramson’s crushing defeat in the race for Westchester County Executive, effectively ending Bramson’s political career (at least for now) has thrown New Rochelle Democrats into disarray. There are a lot of rumors flying around that could bring significant changes to New Rochelle.
1. At the top of the list is the rumor that Noam Bramson will resign as Mayor before the end of 2014. Word is that Noam’s family wants him out of elected office. Working as a lobbyist or a college professor are said to be on the table.
2. Next up is the rumor that Barry Fertel will leave City Council. Word is that Barry is first in line to be appointed to the newly created “fourth judge” position in the New Rochelle City Court. Also reported to be vying for the position are school board president David Lacher, Library Trustee Greg Varian and Noam’s Campaign Treasurer Matt Costa, among others. No word yet on who would be appointed to replace Barry should he be appointed.
3. It is rumored that Arnie Klugman may be replaced as Democratic Party Chairman. Mitchell Tarnapol has long coveted the position although Noam Bramson is said to have his own person in mind. I tend to doubt this one as Klugman has long had the support of County Clerk Tim Idoni, who is the highest ranking New Rochelle Democrat in the County.
UPDATE: Mitchell called to laugh off this particular rumor by issuing a Shermanesque statement, denying any interest in becoming Chairman of the local democratic party. Mitchell’s statement was a bit more in the vein of Lyndon Johnson’s version: “I do not seek, and will not accept, a leadership position in the New Rochelle Democratic Party”.
4. It has long been rumored that Jared Rice would be Bramson’s choice to fill any unexpired portion of Noam’s current term. Every member of City Council that is not Barry or Noam is thinking about themselves as the next elected Mayor of New Rochelle.
5. Police Commissioner Carroll is said to be preparing to step down. His house has been on sale since last Spring. Word is that Carroll, Murphy and Strome will take another whack at padding pensions after their previous effort to do so by creating civilian Assistant Police Commissioner positions for the current police captains (thus increasing salaries and moving the current captains into the far more lucrative civilian pension system with significantly higher annual payouts). This time Carroll will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Murphy leaving his spot open for Captain Joseph Schaller who would stay on long enough to qualify for a civilian pension at which point Captain Kealy would become Deputy Police Commissioner.
6. Rumors concerning two other department heads, have Finance Commissioner Howard Ratner and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bill Zimmerman gone by the end of 2014.
7. It is not a rumor but a fact that Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak has gone on sick leave for the rest of the year and a new full-time replacement will be hired and in place by July 1st. Word is the board has narrowed the choices down to three candidates with Board President Lacher supporting one candidate and the rest of the board opposed to Lacher’s choice. In the meantime, Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff is holding down the fort.
Who can say which of these rumors will pan out but it appears quite possible that New Rochelle will have new faces filling a number of major positions by this time next year — new Mayor, new Police Commissioner, new Schools Superintendent, new Parks Commissioner, new Finance Commissioner, New Council Member for District 5, a new City Court Judge and possibly more. When they say “elections have consequences” they were not kidding!
To be continued…