Article and photos by Grace Bennett
At a sometimes light-hearted and sometimes poignant inauguration ceremony at Town Hall on Monday: Hala Makowska and Jeremy Saland were sworn in to serve first terms on the Town Board, Justice Douglas Kraus was sworn in again (after running uncontested and following 22 years of service to New Castle), and Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein was sworn in for a second term. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino swore in Greenstein and Kraus, and former state Senator Steven Saland swore in Makowska and his son, Jeremy Saland.
• Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Town Board member Lisa Katz offered a welcoming statement. Of public servants, Katz stated: “We all aspire to stay united as a community…and all take pride in calling New Castle our home. Public officials in attendance, included the Clintons’ Director of Operations Oscar Flores; a district director for Congresswoman Nita Lowey; County Legislator Michael Kaplowitz; and former town supervisor Jan Wells.
• Former Town Supervisor Mark Tulis was introduced with a summary of his many accomplishments by Town Board Member Adam Brodsky. Tulis, in turn, introduced Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
• Astorino immediately quipped, “It’s great to be here in the heart of Trump country…Oscar, I’m joking!” He reminded everyone that “the hardest thing to run for is local office, “ and how fortunate we are to live in a society that engages in “a peaceful transition to power…the people of New Castle have decided in which direction they wanted to go.”
• New Town Board Members Hala Makowska and Jeremy Saland were both sworn in by Jeremy’s father Steven Saland, who served the 41st district as member of the New York State Senate, from 1990-2012. Stated Steven Saland: “There’s no more challenging spot than to be a member of the town board.” The proximity of a town board member’s constituents is what makes it so challenging and rewarding. “You don’t get the face to face time with state and national reps, but you can always get face to face time with your local reps…Labels don’t mean as much at a local level.” On Jeremy and Hala’s election to the town board, Steven Saland said: “Jeremy has always been a source of great pride to me and his mother.” He described Hala as “totally dedicated to the town,” citing her work as a fire commissioner, in particular.
• Post her swearing in, and following a thank you to New Castle first responders for all they do, Hala Makowska stated that “it’s local government that has the greatest impact on the quality of our lives and value of our properties.” She said that she “hopes to offer an independent voice” and is always “willing to listen to anyone who has something to say.
• Jeremy Saland choked back tears recounting his father’s accomplishments as state Senator including, he said, redrafting domestic violence laws, and more, laws that protected children, describing these undertakinigs as “the foundation of who he is.” A lesson from his dad, he noted, is “that the end result is equally as important as how you get there.” He emphasized the need for transparency in government and how important it is to consider the opinions of opposing views.
• Justice Kraus, before being sworn in, added lightly: “I know..this was a real cliffhanger,” referring to his uncontested candidacy. Nonetheless, he added, that he does not take New Castle’s support for granted.
• County Executive Rob Astorino swore in Robert Greenstein to serve a second term as Town Supervisor.
• Greenstein noted that he didn’t know what to expect when he was first sworn in, but does now! He said he was warned his position “might be viewed by some as a ‘thankless job,’ but it has been anything but.” He took the opportunity to thank Town Administrator Jill Shapiro stating, “much of what we do can’t be done without her,” Town Hall staff and all the volunteers for the town’s many advisory boards. “I’m looking forward to two more years of progress.”