Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi, the longest serving chief executive in the town’s history and only the second female to ever hold the position, announced Wednesday she will be retiring at the end of 2021.
Puglisi, whose current streak of 29 years as supervisor is equaled only by Paul Feiner in Greenburgh, will finish out her 15th two-year term before bowing out.
“It is with a heavy heart and sadness that I make this announcement since I love Cortlandt and all of its wonderful people very much,” Puglisi stated. “It has been an honor to be Cortlandt’s Supervisor for all of these years. I have always taken the trust that people have given to me when they elected me to be the leader of Cortlandt seriously, humbly and with great pride. Every single day I always said to myself how can I make Cortlandt even better than it already is and how can I reach out to every neighborhood, organization, group and individual to make their lives better. That has always been my goal.”
Puglisi, a former preschool teacher in Mohegan Colony, first entered the political scene in 1987 when she was elected to the Cortlandt Town Board as a running mate of Jack Gaffney. Four years later, she ousted Gaffney, who was elected supervisor in 1989, in a four-way race during a contentious political time in the town.
And she has never looked back.
“I am very proud of all the achievements and accomplishments I have worked on over these three-and-a-half decades including: our Advanced Life Support (ALS/Paramedics) programs and for bringing in the 911 system to Cortlandt. Also, I was the original supporter and negotiated with Lakeland School District to purchase their then closed elementary school for our Town Hall. I’ve been the first elected Supervisor in our lovely Town Hall. I also negotiated with Metro North to build the Cortlandt Train Station (in two phases),” she stated.
“I promised 30 years ago to keep town taxes very low and have delivered on average for 30 years only increasing town taxes by 1% for this entire period at the same time having very low debt, a completion of over $160 million in capital projects (infrastructure, paving, water tanks, etc.) and will be leaving a strong fund balance (savings account) of close to $20 million dollars, four times of what was in this fund when I started,” she continued. “I’ve been so proud to work with our veterans on their many important issues, to put up many memorials and to hold many wonderful veteran ceremonies throughout the years. These men and women are heroes. I have worked hard over the 30 years to monitor the safety of Indian Point, to co-chair important closure task forces and now to be part of the overview of the soon to be decommissioning project. Also, I have always been there for our residents throughout the major storms, power outages, the pandemic still ongoing and of course the tragic day of 9/11/2001.”
Puglisi said with local political parties starting to seek candidates for the 2021 election she felt she should unveil her plans now.
“I pledge to work with the next leaders (Supervisor and Town Board members) elected next November and to make it a very smooth transition in order to achieve my original goal to do what’s right for this very special town and for the many residents and families who call CORTLANDT HOME,” she vowed. “We will have one more year (2021) to continue working together. Let’s make it our best ever! Thank you so very much. I love you all and I love Cortlandt!”