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Public Forum Educates, Engages Harrison Voters

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Alfred Menna, of West Harrison, left the West Harrison Senior Community Center Wednesday with a bit more knowledge and confidence in his town government.

"This meeting was extremely productive because we heard everyone," Menna said. "I've got a good idea of how I'm voting now. It definitely helped me form a decision."

Mayor and supervisor candidate Ron Belmont (R, C, I) and incumbent Joan Walsh (D) participated alongside council candidates Stephen Malfitano, Fred Sciliano (R), Howard Hollander and Pat Vetere (D) in a public forum Wednesday night in West Harrison hosted by the West Harrison Neighborhood Association.

Candidates answered pre-written questions without interacting with each other as residents had one of their first chances to get up close with the mayor/supervisor candidates for the November general election. The two-hour discussion ranged from privatizing the town's department of public works and hiring a town manager, to illegal landlords and civility at board meetings.

Hollander said the town should consider implementing Robert's Rules of Order -- a widely recognized guide to running meetings fairly and effectively -- to maintain order in public meetings, to which Menna said he agreed.

"Look at how the meeting went tonight," Menna said. "It was similar to Robert's Rules and we got to hear what everyone had to say."

For Walsh, she said it was an opportunity to show Harrison what she has done and why she should be reelected.

"I brought some sanity and stability to the finances of town," Walsh said. "Common sense is what I bring."

For Belmont, who likely received enough votes last week for the Independence Party line in the race, it was a chance to show what he could do differently.

"I'm here because I care about our town," Belmont said. "Our ratings have dropped drastically. I know the issues, and I'm here to make Harrison prominent in Westchester County and New York State."

Town Clerk candidates Frank Corvino (D) and Jackie Greer (R) were present but were not part of the public forum for the sake of time, according to Angela Amodeo, the neighborhood associationÂ’s secretary.

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