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Croton Trustee Candidates Call For More Transparency In Debate

Maria Slippen and Brian Pugh at the Croton debate Thursday. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Kevin McClone and Ann Gallelli at the Croton debate Thursday. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. --- The candidates running for village trustee in Croton-On-Hudson would like to see more transparency on the board.

Four candidates took part in a League of Women Voters debate at the Croton Free Library on Thursday. Candidates are running for two seats on the village board.

Maria Slippen and Robert Anderson are running to fill the remainder of Casey Raskob's unexpired term. Slippen was named to the seat when Raskob became village prosecutor in January 2014.

Slippen, Brian Pugh and incumbent Ann Gallelli, all Democrats took part in the debate along with independent Kevin McClone.

The Croton United Party which represents candidates  Anderson, John Brijeski and Virginia Calcutti declined to participate in the debate. Roseann Schuyler, a spokeswoman for the party said they had deep misgivings about the fairness and impartiality of the debate.

McClone said if elected he will not accept health-care benefits and will use his stipend to provide CPR training for seniors.

Gallelli touted her experience serving on the village board and her understanding of key issues.

"I have promoted positive initiatives for Croton," Gallelli said.  "The village board should be a team running interference to provide the best services and the lowest taxes while taking proactive steps to prepare Croton for the future."

Slippen said the village benefits when the board works together in spite of its differences. Pugh said he wants to preserve Croton's quality of life and make it affordable for middle class families.

"I hope to continue the tradition of critical thinking and honest debate," Pugh said.

When it comes to transparency, the candidates admitted it was sometimes hard to get the word out to people.

"I've spent a lot of time thinking about it," Slippen said. "There are a lot of questions people have. People are hungry for information."

Slippen said during last year's budget process they decided to mail the information to residents rather than just email it.

"It's easy to miss emails," Slippen said. "Re-examing the format of some meetings would be helpful. It could clear up some misconceptions."

McClone said there are issues with having an entire board be from one political party.

"We don't know what's going on unless we FOIL for the information," McClone said. "How open is the current administration? I will represent all citizens and present the facts both pro and con."

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