New Castle Supervisor Robert Greenstein announced Monday that he will not seek a fourth term this fall.
Greenstein, 51, a registered Democrat who ran and won three times for supervisor on the Republican line, said he knew following his 2017 victory that it would be his last race. He said he made a commitment to spend more time with family and he wants to focus on other obligations.
“We have done so much together. With the updated Comprehensive Plan, infrastructure and streetscape improvements and zoning changes that we are currently working on, we have positioned downtown Chappaqua and Millwood to grow and prosper,” Greenstein said. “I am proud of what we accomplished at Chappaqua Crossing. I will admit that it will be hard to walk away. I enjoy getting things done and I do feel like there’s more to do.”
Councilwoman Hala Makowska, who is in her fourth year on the Town Board after having served as fire commissioner with the Millwood Fire District, will also bow out at the end of 2019.
“I started a new career and it’s time-consuming and I think there are lots of people ready to step up to the plate,” Makowska said when reached Monday afternoon.
The announcements came as candidates must make earlier decisions on whether to run because of the election reform measures approved by the state legislature last month that pushed up the petitioning period and filing deadlines. Any primary would be scheduled for the fourth Tuesday in June to coincide with the federal election calendar.
Greenstein said in addition to the progress made on larger issues under his leadership, he was also happy that he was able to vastly improve communication with the public. He established an electronic newsletter that was e-mailed to residents who signed up for it and he has been a prolific contributor via social media.
“Projects come and go but we always needed local government that communicates and is responsive,” Greenstein said. “That, I think, is a major role of local government and what I’m also proud of it. I hope I encouraged other people to run.”
Although New Castle voter registration is overwhelmingly Democratic, in 2013 his Team New Castle ticket, which consisted of Councilwoman Lisa Katz and former councilman Adam Brodsky, broke the Democrats’ stranglehold on the Town Board. Katz is also a registered Democrat while Brodsky was unaffiliated.
Town Republican Committee Co-chair Warren Gottlieb and a couple of Town Board colleagues who were reached Monday said they weren’t surprised with his decision.
Gottlieb said that Greenstein gave his all to the role and figured he would likely leave at the end of this year. The committee has also made a commitment that it will continue to operate in a nonpartisan fashion and will look to field a full slate of strong candidates regardless of political affiliation.
“One of the things that Rob really did well was that he was extremely responsive and accessible,” Gottlieb said. “That’s a big deal.”
Although Greenstein had a reputation for abrasiveness, particularly early on in his board tenure, Councilwoman Ivy Pool, a Democrat who ran on the opposing ticket in a tough 2017 campaign, said in the 13 months she’s been on the Town Board, Greenstein has been welcoming and has served as a mentor.
“Rob is somebody who brings incredible passion, he’s worked very hard and he’s been laser-focused on getting results for people in this town and I greatly admire that about him,” Pool said.
Councilman Jeremy Saland, the lone board member whose term is expiring this year and will run for re-election, said he was grateful to have served with Greenstein.
“I commend Rob for having the courage to stand tall for his convictions and make the sacrifices necessary to put the residents of New Castle first,” he said. “I haven’t always agreed with Rob but that is of little consequence when you work together and roll up your sleeves to best figure out the path forward for your community.”
Greenstein, a proponent of nonpartisan local elections, said he would only run for office again if he felt he could make a positive difference. He said has no intention to pursue the Board of Legislators seat being vacated at the end of this year by Michael Kaplowitz.