Thom Kleiner, Candidate for Orangetown Supervisor (Democratic, Green, Independence, Working Families, Women’s Equality, Orangetown First)

BIO

I served as Orangetown Supervisor previously (1996-2009), inheriting a town government plagued by cronyism and fiscal mismanagement. I implemented a merit hiring system and restored fiscal transparency to town government. Orangetown improved its bond rating and we achieved lower aggregate tax increases than any other town in Rockland.

Before becoming Supervisor, I worked in consumer protection and prosecuted slumlords for code violations in NYC. Over the last eight years, I served in senior roles at the NYS Department of Labor where I got to see how other local governments are addressing significant issues, and at the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, where I helped improve the business climate for our region. My lifetime commitment to public service, my record of results as supervisor and my history as a longtime resident of Orangetown where I have raised my family, gives me the right combination of experience for Orangetown.
RESUME
Regional Representative, NYS Department of Labor (2010-2017)
Deputy Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (2011-2017)
Supervisor, Town of Orangetown (1996-2009)
Managing Attorney, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (1990-1995)
Supervising Attorney, Housing Litigation Bureau, NYC Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (1986-1990)
Law Clerk, NYC Civil Court (1984-1986)

B.A. (History) Wesleyan University, Middletown, Ct. (1980)
J.D., Cardozo School of Law, NY, NY (1984)
Previously admitted to the bars, of New York, New Jersey & U.S. Supreme Court

Board Member: Orangeburg Library (Treasurer); Nyack Hospital (Secretary)
Previously: Helping Hands of Rockland, United Way of Rockland, JCC of Rockland

ENDORSEMENTS

Orangetown CSEA
Orangetown & Rockland PBA
Rockland County Building & Construction Trades
Rockland County Central Labor Council
1199 SEIU
Sierra Club (Atlantic Region)

PLATFORM PLANKS
Protect the character and integrity of our neighborhoods;
Abide by the State tax cap;
Finish the RPC redevelopment by protecting the Lake Tappan waterfront for active and passive recreation consistent with the Master Plan we passed in 2005;
Use the JP Morgan Chase payment to the town to reduce taxes, provide and improve needed services and explore the building of a community center;
Improve relationships with town employees to get the most out of our workforce to benefit all

What is the top priority you will tackle day one in office?

To protect the character and integrity of our neighborhoods, we need to fully review, enforce and strengthen our zoning codes and bring our building department into the 20th century with tools to allow our employees to do their jobs more efficiently and better serve residents and businesses.

Why should voters believe you have the leadership qualities necessary to achieve your goals?

The position of supervisor is – or should be – a non-partisan one. I have demonstrated the ability to work across party lines, with varied constituencies and in partnership with different levels of government to build consensus over critical issues facing Orangetown. That effort bore fruit with the revision of our Orangetown Comprehensive Plan, our RPC Redevelopment Plan and the Route 303 Sustainable Development Plan – all efforts which took teamwork, consensus building and leadership from the Supervisor’s position for the betterment of the town.

Contrast vs. Opponent

Over 14 years as Supervisor, 10 of which was with a Republican board, I worked across the aisle to get things done for the benefit of the town by building consensus and encouraging cooperation. I can now build on my statewide connections nourished over the past 8 years to benefit Orangetown, by accessing grant money to reduce taxes and cutting through red tape.

My opponent appears to have a “my way or the highway approach” on issues ranging from the creation of the Village of PR, to the idea of putting a ferry in Piermont, to his call to instill “military discipline” in town, to his desire to micromanage the police department and the rest of town government in ways that would hurt the delivery of services to you, the taxpayers, to the way he’s proposed to turn himself into a super real estate agent for the town, and to the dismissive way he responds to those he disagrees with on Facebook.

Orangetown has five independently elected board members, several independently elected department heads and town employees represented by municipal unions. Collective engagement is the right way to engage all these varied constituencies to reap the best results for the residents and businesses of Orangetown.