Latest news and conversation around the news from Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley.
BloggersSarah Armaghan Nik Bonopartis John Dyer Meghan E. Murphy Timothy O'Connor Matt Sartwell Kenneth Schachter Jillian Sederholm Christian Wade Thomas Zambito Ryan Chatelain Mae Cheng Karl de Vries Nirmal Mitra
Republican Frank Catalina challenges Mary Foster for Peekskill mayor
The election is more than eight months away, but Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster has already drawn her first challenger for the city's top job.
Frank Catalina, a Republican, lawyer in private practice and former Peekskill city attorney, filed paperwork last week with the New York state Board of Elections seeking his party's nomination to run for mayor in the November election.
Catalina, 55, told Newsday that "the last thing I wanted to do was run for mayor" but said he "can't sit by and watch this city go down the drain." He blames Foster for not doing enough to improve the local economy and attract private investment to the city.
"She has been in office 6 years and what do we have to show for it?" he said Tuesday. "We've got a record of no growth and a tax base that hasn't expanded. It's time for a change."
A Peekskill native, Catalina, has worn a number of hats. He served as deputy corporation counsel for Peekskill from 1982 to 1990; on the Peekskill Board of Education from 1983 to 1986 and was counsel to the Peekskill Housing Authority from 1992 to 1999 and Peekskill Corporation Counsel from 2000 to 2001.
Foster, a Democrat, was elected in 2007 and won a second term in 2009. She has focused on downtown redevelopment and the city's efforts to reclaim its 2.4-mile-long waterfront for public use, with plans for boat slips, housing and recreational and retail uses. She is executive director at the Melville-based Grant Thornton, LLP, a management consulting firm, and is a retired partner at Deloitte & Touche consulting firm, according to her biography.
Foster wouldn't say if she intends to seek reelection in November. There are no term limits for elected offices in the city. "Presently the Common Council and I are focused on the city’s business and not campaigns," Foster said in a email to Newsday on Tuesday.
Peekskill has a "weak mayor" form of government where a part-time mayor shares responsibilities with the Common Council while a full-time city manager oversees the city government's day-to-day operations. Democrats -- who have a 2-to-1 enrollment advantage among registered voters -- have all the seats on the council.
No other candidates have filed yet to run for mayor or three seats on the Council.
Marina Ciotti, chairwoman of the Peekskill Democratic Committee, said she expects to have a "full slate of candidates" lined up for the November elections. The city's Republican Committee Chairman Vincent Vesce couldn't be reached for comment.