After a nail biter of an election ultimately requiring a vote recount, the triumphant Joe Rende proudly took office as North Castle’s new Town Supervisor on January 1st with a positive outlook and a determination to make sure North Castle continues to be a town to take pride in.
Public Service As A Great Calling
A resident of Armonk for over ten years, Rende made this his home when he and his significant other, the Honorable Linda S. Jamieson, Justice of the Westchester Supreme Court, who has lived here for forty years, were seeing each other. Rende, a lifelong resident of Westchester, grew up and raised his family in Port Chester. As a young businessman running and operating his family’s home heating oil business, Rende Economy Fuel, with his dad, he was always very interested in politics. A registered republican at the time, Rende became active in various campaigns for different people running for elected office in Port Chester. His political career officially began when he was asked to take an open seat on the village planning commission. He eventually served as chairman of the village planning board, then as an elected member of the board of trustees, deputy mayor, and later as Westchester County’s deputy director of emergency planning and management.
Rende attributes his interest in government to his father, who was a big influence on him. Dinner table conversations often involved local and national politics. Rende’s father was always very active in their community and even ran for political office.
“I always viewed public service as a great calling and certainly necessary as an important part of our form of government,” says Rende. “I always had a sense that you need to give back to your community and what better way to do it than public service. It was instilled in me by my dad, who I was very close with.”
Living in North Castle, Rende, now an involved member of the local democratic party, continued to take an interest in town-related issues. When former Town Supervisor Mike Schiliro decided not to seek another term, Rende felt there would be a void in leadership and threw his hat into the ring.
On the Agenda
One of the first things Rende is focused on is getting the North Castle Eagle sign, a town landmark, back up. The sign, which greets visitors at the intersection of Route 22 and Route 128 was unfortunately knocked down on December 11th.
Rende is also turning his attention to several capital improvement projects. One of those projects involves renovating the recently purchased town swimming pool. He has been working with an engineering firm, the town administrator, and the superintendent of recreation to develop a plan to address those necessary improvements. Other potential projects include improving Town Hall, upgrading the crammed police department, assessing all the town facilities, and putting together a focused capital improvement plan to ensure that there is no further damage to the overall envelope of each of the town’s buildings. He also plans to address the highway department’s lack of a facility to house the newer bigger trucks used to maintain the roads. Storing the trucks outside where they are exposed to the inclement weather has led to their faster degradation and reduced years of service from these vehicles.
Also on the agenda is the review and approval of several large development plans that have already gone through lengthy processes of planning and zoning. Rende’s vast experience on the Port Chester planning commission and board of trustees has provided him with a great grasp for smart development and makes him an asset for the town in that regard.
As the current Director of Business Development at Judicial Title Insurance Agency, Rende has plenty of flexibility that will allow him to balance his profession with the role of town supervisor. His career has allowed him to develop management skills that will serve him well in his new position. His leadership experience came at a young age owning his own business with his dad. When he later sold his business to Robison Oil and took a management role there, he really honed his leadership skills.
“To me, leadership has always been about motivating people to work towards a common good,” he explains. “I like to empower people and give them the necessary tools to do their job and make sure they have the resources that they need. I encourage people if they come to me with a problem, to also try to bring a solution. I will never fault anyone for trying to solve a problem. If you need my help to figure out a better way, I will do that.”
Rende also emphasizes that the importance of compromise. Even though different members of the board and various elected officials can have different views, he recognizes that “everyone has the community’s best interest in mind, and he looks forward to working with them.”
In his Spare Time
When Rende has free time, you can find him just being “grandpa.” He and Judge Jamieson share ten grandchildren. Their weekends typically revolve around activities with the grandkids. In the summer, they spend time at the lake at the Windmill Club. They play some golf at various association outings, but most of the time they are enjoying their grandkids, their friends, and some traveling as well.
Pride in North Castle
One thing Rende really appreciates about North Castle is the community’s involvement and enthusiasm for the town. “Events like the Fol de Rol, the concerts in the park and town square, the Armonk Outdoor Art Show, the Stayin’ Alive Fun Run, the Frosty Parade, and the funds raised by these events for great causes really show me the heartbeat of the town,” he says.
Recognizing that it was a close election, Rende knows that he will have to stay on top of his game and hopes to prove to the entire community that he is more than capable of doing the job. “I won’t rest on my laurels and take anything for granted. Hopefully after my first term, residents who voted for me as well as the ones who supported my opponent will recognize that I was a good choice, and I was worthy of it. I am going to make sure this continues to be a town we can be proud of.”