3 vie for GOP nod for Kent panel

By Mike Risinit

(Original publication: Sept. 08, 2001)

KENT Future growth of the town and Kent's relationship to New York City concern the three Kent Town Board candidates in Tuesday's primary.

Incumbent Republican Councilwoman Pat Madigan; Lou Tartaro, a former county legislator; and Kathy Doherty, chairwoman of the Lake Carmel Park District, are seeking the two spots on the Republican line.

"I want to make an effort to preserve the town of Kent's future," said Madigan, 52. "We need to try and do something about lowering taxes and attracting some commercial growth."

Madigan, a program assistant at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County, is seeking her second four-year term. Tartaro, a county legislator from 1988-1990, is making his second bid for Town Board. Doherty, 46, is making her first run for public office.

Tuesday's primary won't knock any of the candidates off November's ballot. Madigan has the backing of the town's Conservatives and the county Independence Party. Doherty, a registered Republican, was endorsed in the spring by the Kent Democrats. Tartaro also will appear on an independent line.

Also on Tuesday, Kent Democratic voters will be asked to choose two candidates for town justice. The Kent Town Democratic Committee backed the GOP incumbents Joseph Esposito, a retired Kent police officer, and J. Peter Collins, a Carmel lawyer. A. Robert Fagnani, a retired postmaster and registered Democrat, collected enough signatures to force a primary for the spots.

Federal employees are prohibited by law from running for partisan elective offices, and his retirement came too late for Fagnani to seek the endorsement of the town Democrats. His 34 years with the U.S. Postal Service, which included training in arbitration and contract negotiations, along with paralegal studies at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, have prepared him to sit on the bench, Fagnani said.

"I always look for a just resolve in anything I deal with," said Fagnani, 55. "I have common sense and can render a fair decision."

Collins and Esposito, who is seeking his fourth term, both cited their experience.

"I'm available 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Esposito, 66. "I know the whole works."

"I think I'm the best qualified," said Collins, 57. "I have 30 years of trial experience and dealing with the law on a daily basis."

Town justices serve four-year terms and earn $19,541 a year for the part-time job.

On the Town Board side, Doherty said she would make sure the board kept an open dialogue with its residents. Doherty has battled with the board recently over a few issues, including the purchase of the Lake Carmel Jewish Center.

"I will responsibly manage the growth and development of our town," Doherty said.

A 30-year resident of South Lake and a New York City teacher, Tartaro said his experience with county government would benefit the town. Kent needs to balance protection of the city's drinking water with the town's growth, he added.

"The way we tackle questions relating to the New York City watershed agreement, community planning and fiscal management will impact our community for years to come," said Tartaro, 53.

Town Board members make $13,681 a year for a four-year term.


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