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Arts Council Chair to Fill Mount Kisco Village Board Vacancy

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The day after the Mount Kisco Village Board welcomed its first-ever member of Hispanic heritage, it will soon become an all-woman board at least for the next year.

Mayor Gina Picinich announced last Monday evening the appointment of Mount Kisco Arts Council co-founder and Chairperson Lisa Abzun to serve the remaining year of former Deputy Mayor Anthony Markus’s term. Markus resigned following last week’s meeting, the day after he was sworn in as one of the village’s two justices.

Abzun said that Picinich recently approached her to consider filling the vacancy, which under state law is a mayoral appointment in a village. She said she was excited for the opportunity to help the community and be part of a board that will be comprised of all professional women.

“I would not say it was a difficult decision but I did want to approach it with a mind toward would I be able to do the best for my community if I say yes,” said Abzun, who also is the co-founder of Kisco Run, the annual 5K race that was first held in 2014. “So I thought about it and I believe that I can.”

Abzun, 56, who will be officially appointed and sworn in at the Dec. 20 meeting, earned her bachelor’s degree from Pace before graduating from Pace University School of Law. She was an attorney practicing mainly real estate law from 1992 to 2003 before she left to raise her family. Her other activities include being a Reiki practitioner, a printmaker and painter as well as having coordinated the Mount Kisco Elementary School After School Program from 2012 to 2015.

She joins longtime Trustee Karen Schleimer and new members Anne Bianchi and Karine Patino, all of whom are attorneys. Patino made history last week as the first Latin on a Village Board in a community that is now more than 40 percent Latino.

“I’m very confident,” Abzun said. “I’m very happy to be serving with these wonderful women.”

Picinch said that she considered other candidates as well but chose Abzun because she cares about the well-being of the community’s residents and is someone who is results-oriented.

“She’s the type of person who gets things done,” Picinich said. “Lisa won’t be the type of person who simply shows up to a board meeting and votes. She’ll take on projects and make things happen, so she’s not only a person of vision but also a person who has the ability to implement.”

Abzun, whose family has made Mount Kisco home for three generations, said she intends to remain chair of the Mount Kisco Arts Council, which has brought concerts and pop-up art exhibits, among other events, to the community since its inception five years ago. If a recusal is needed if it were to involve the council, then Abzun said she will do so.

It is unclear whether Abzun will run for a full two-year term next November. She said she intends to take a little bit of time to decide, although the petitioning period has started in late February or early March since elections reforms were passed by the state legislature a few years ago.

“I haven’t even come close to making that decision,” Abzun said last Thursday. “I first have not even been appointed. That all happens on Monday, the 20th of December, and without having served one day, it will be hard for me to make a thoughtful comment on it that would really mean anything.”

It is believed that Mount Kisco has the only exclusively female town or village board in Westchester. The towns of Bedford and Mamaroneck currently each have women members in four out of five seats as does the Village of Larchmont. The New Castle Town Board has three women in four of its currently occupied seats.

Picinich said she has been unable to confirm whether Mount Kisco is the only municipality in the state to have that distinction.

However, regardless of gender or ethnicity, the board is a talented group of dedicated public servants, she said.

“What we have is a very strong group of people who have deep passion, incredible credentials,” Picinich said. “We have more than 150 years of living in the community, if you combine all of us together, and people who will make things happen with an understanding of what is special and unique about Mount Kisco.”

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