The Valenti Puzzle

OP-ED BY MARK PETERLIN

Franklin Roosevelt’s first vice president, former Speaker of the House John Nance Garner, famously said of the vice president position, it wasn’t “worth a pitcher of warm spit.” The reason? Because unless the president is incapacitated in some fashion, there is almost nothing to do. The only reason that there is a “vice this,” a “lieutenant that,” or a “deputy of the other thing,” is to serve in the event that the chief executive in the post is unable to complete his term.

Now we come to the puzzling case of Anthony Valenti, current trustee and deputy mayor of Airmont, who is running for reelection on the Phil Gigante ticket. Mr. Valenti previously served as deputy mayor to our former Mayor, Dennis Kay, who passed away while in office. Anthony could then have completed Mr. Kay’s mayoral term. That, after all, was the job he was being paid an additional salary to do. But, when Dennis Kay died, Anthony Valenti refused to become the new mayor.

According to Airmont Trustee Ralph Bracco, “Valenti was supposed to take over. I was against Boesch becoming mayor. I, as well as several other Trustees, attempted to talk Valenti into becoming mayor. We wanted a special meeting to discuss it as a board. It’s a sorry thing that we lost Dennis Kay, he was a great mayor. It was a positive working relationship. We reluctantly appointed Boesch after we were coerced into doing it.”

Surprisingly, because of course she knew that he had already declined to complete Mr. Kay’s term as mayor, Mrs. Boesch then chose Mr. Valenti to serve as her deputy mayor.

We seem to have prima facie evidence, based on historical precedent that Mr. Valenti does not want to accept the responsibilities that come with being deputy mayor. This leaves us with the question, “Why does Mr. Valenti want to be deputy mayor?”