Shani Bechhofer for Town of Ramapo Council

Candidate for Ramapo Town Council (Republican, New Direction, Reform)
BIO/RESUME

Shani Bechhofer
  • Married, live in Monsey, proud mother and grandmother.
  • PhD from Northwestern University in Education and Social Policy. Experience. Jewish educator for over 3 decades
  • Former high school principal in Chicago – Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School, profiled in US News & World Report as strong principal
  • Former: assistant professor at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and adjunct professor at Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies
  • Current: Senior Research Fellow at ARCC Institute of Applied Research for Community and Collaboration. Conduct research and evaluation of Jewish education programs and institutions
  • Current: Consultant to Jewish schools and to organizations that work with them. Foci: school improvement, institutional assessments, organizational effectiveness, governance and board training, management restructuring, leadership transition support, leadership coaching, grant and program evaluation.
  • Local
    • Moved to Monsey in 2001.
    • Founding president of neighborhood organization VERAFI – Viola Estates Residents Allied for Integrity.
    • Advocate for integrity and responsibility in building, planning, and zoning in Ramapo; and for building bridges across ethnic divisions through respectful communication and problem solving.

LEADERSHIP

An elected leader should possess three kinds of qualifications. As an authentic leader, my values are unshakeable commitments, I have the wisdom of many years in educational leadership addressing conflict, diversity, personalities, and complexity, and I am an ethical person with a passion for truth and for peace. As a skillful leader, I am a clear communicator, an organized thinker and doer, a hard worker who gets things done right, a motivator and manager, a strategic problem-solver, and a collaborator who listens and learns. As a knowledgeable leader, I have deep expertise in organizations and systems, I know how to intervene in systems to fix dysfunction, I understand specific ways Town code, processes, and procedures should work, and I have assembled expert advisors on economics and municipal planning with whom I consult.

CONTRAST VS. OPPONENT 

I am a person of integrity, conviction, good sense, patience, and caring. I have been blessed with intelligence and skill, I work hard, and over the years I have acquired the wisdom to be an authentic and thoughtful leader. I take the responsibilities of governing very seriously, and have made it my business to identify and study practical policy strategies for solving Ramapo’s challenges. Our platform is detailed and was reviewed by lawyers and municipal experts. My opponents have not demonstrated any of these qualities.

Being a wealthy businessman like Mr. Wanounou and aligning oneself with powerful interests does not qualify one for the responsibility of being a public servant. Spending years as an integral part of a corrupt government that served the narrow interests of the same powerful lobby that backs the Democratic ticket today, does not qualify Mr. Ullman for the role of change agent and reformer. Their platform consists of vague generalities and impossible promises, and their cynical manipulative campaign has primarily consisted of ad hominem attacks, nasty insinuations, and fear mongering – online and in print. They are the same old, same old, and will take us down a dangerous self-destructive path once elections are over; Grant and I, with Bill, [the New Direction ticket] bring the ideas and values that will bring Ramapo together and revitalize our Town for a bright future.

 

PLATFORM PLANKS
What are your main platform planks (list up to five)?

  1. Establish a Citizens Help Desk in Town Hall as a single point of entry for citizens contacting the Town; charge the Help Desk with being responsive to the needs of citizens, logging and tracking all calls made to the Citizens Help Desk, and logging actions taken, staff the Help Desk during all business hours.

Explanation: To govern with integrity, the citizens of the Town of Ramapo deserve a high quality government that is responsive to their needs, open to their scrutiny, respectful of the highest ethical standards, well versed in best practices from around the country, and fair and impartial in its approach.

  1. Reform the Town Attorney’s office through an external expert evaluation of the Office and its personnel, and repeat the process annually, while establishing a civil rights function within the Town Attorney’s office to ensure all Town and Village actions are legal and to protect citizens from religious or racial discrimination.

Explanation: Professionalizing Town government, developing a culture of accountability and integrity, and actively foster a culture of respect are top priorities for us, and there are dozens of practical examples in our platform; this is one structural way to ensure these happen.

Top priority day one in office?

Forensic audit of town finances.