Constantly juggling the demands of being a village mayor and full-time professional, NCVOA Past President Barbara Donno’s cell phone rings constantly. But she was surprised during her tenure as president when she answered her phone and the caller was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. It seems the governor learned of several local mayors whose villages were being impacted by his plans to construct a third LIRR track. They sent a letter to Mayor Donno asking the NCVOA to support their opposition to the project. Governor Cuomo called Mayor Donno to discuss his revised plan. During the conversation, they agreed a meeting should be arranged with the mayors to review the new proposal. A meeting was confirmed for the following week with MTA Chairman Thomas Pendergast and the local mayors whose villages would be most impacted. When Mayor Donno and the mayors arrived at the meeting in Manhattan, it was the governor – not Pendergast – who was there to make a personal appeal to the mayors to consider his proposal. According to Mayor Donno, the governor was concerned with the issues raised by the mayors and promised to work with them to develop a plan that would be least disruptive to their villages and residents.
After all the animosity created by the governor’s controversial consolidation legislation, it was encouraging to see him recognize the critical leadership roles of village officials in their local communities.