GovernmentThe Examiner

North Castle’s Schiliro Looks Back at 16 Years of Service to Town

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North Castle Supervisor Michael Schiliro following his final Town Board meeting after serving the town for 16 years, the last 10 as supervisor. He leaves office after Sunday.

When Michael Schiliro was growing up on Long Island, there were two moments that perhaps foreshadowed his future service at some level of government.

One was when he wrote to then-Vice President Nelson Rockefeller at about 10 years old asking for some of the stamps from his correspondences with leaders and diplomats from around the world.

Schiliro didn’t get any stamps, instead receiving a letter from a staffer explaining why the vice president couldn’t comply with the request. Enclosed was a photo of the vice president.

A little bit later, his parents were among a group of residents in Baldwin fighting a developer who hoped to fill in a nearby lake to build a housing subdivision.

When Schiliro and his family moved to North Castle about 25 years ago, he never envisioned that serving on the Town Board, including the last 10 years as supervisor, would be in his future. But service to the community has been a staple in the Schiliro household for a long time.

“Never did I think I would ever be running for a local Town Board, let alone town supervisor,” said Schiliro, whose brother was President Barack Obama’s director of legislative affairs. “That was not in my plan at all. But, yes, we were raised on a simple premise, which is how me and my wife raised our kids; you give back more than you take. It’s very simple.”

Since 2008, the first of his six years as councilman before his decade leading the town, Schiliro has given back plenty. Sunday marks the end of his tenure, having decided in late October 2022 that it was time for him to step aside when his term ends and let other people lead North Castle forward.

Greater responsibilities at work, where he is a vice president at a local bank, and spending more time with family after making tremendous sacrifices all these years, were the chief reasons Schiliro cited for announcing last year that he would voluntarily bow out.

“You know when it’s time, and when I look back at why I ran for supervisor, what I wanted to accomplish, I feel like I accomplished all of them,” Schiliro said.

After first getting involved at his church, St. Patrick’s in Armonk, he was part of a group of residents who worked on establishing the North Castle Citizen Corps Council (NC4) following 9/11 when town officials heeded calls to have the capability to respond to local emergency situations.

Over the years he would coach his daughter’s sports teams. Later Schiliro served on the Housing Board, which was to oversee the town’s Middle Income Housing program.

In the 2007 election cycle, Schiliro ran for Town Board for the first time and won. He took office at the start of the Great Recession, which later in 2008 reached crisis proportions not only for the nation, but for North Castle.

Two of the biggest accomplishments that Schiliro points to are related to town finances. In 2009, when the town’s undesignated fund balance had evaporated to an alarming $400,000, he proposed a policy that would soon establish taking a percentage of any year-end surplus and apply it to the town’s savings.

Years later as supervisor, with that policy helping to fortify the town’s fiscal standing, the ratings agencies restored North Castle’s AAA bond rating.

“I thought we still had a few more years to prove ourselves to the agencies, and when we got it, it was just such a highlight for me because we got to achieve something, and it really changed something that really helped the town and the residents and the taxpayers, and it took us six or seven years, but we got there,” Schiliro said.

He also pointed to the delicate balancing act of preserving open space, including 63 acres at the Children’s Preserve, another 57 acres contiguous to the Mianus River and having a conservation easement in place at the Summit Club, while moving the town forward with what he believes is beneficial development.

Perhaps no development helped move the town forward more than the construction and opening of Armonk Square. Building what has become an unofficial town center came out a packed board meeting that had to be moved to the library because residents were upset that they were about to lose the hamlet’s only supermarket, the bankrupt A&P.

Multiple board members, including Schiliro, reached out to the developers of the property on Main Street that is now Armonk Square, to help jumpstart a project that would change the downtown.

“It was a grand slam, not a home run, that development was a grand slam,” Schiliro said.

Another great challenge for Schiliro, and community leaders everywhere, was the COVID-19 pandemic. He said regular and robust communication with the public, ensuring that the board would do everything in its power to help the town’s businesses survive, such as passing local legislation to for outdoor dining, and helping people make or acquire masks, especially early on in the pandemic.

At his last Town Board meeting that he presided over on Dec. 13, Schiliro entered the packed meeting room at Town Hall to a standing ovation. Several people in attendance, both residents and officials, praised Schiliro.

His deputy supervisor, Councilwoman Barbara DiGiacinto, spoke of his respect for everyone, even when debates were heated with residents who strongly disagreed with him on any number of topics. She also cited his years of sacrifice on behalf of the town.

“You are just an incredible human being, your dedication to the town at the expense of your family,” said DiGiacinto, who chaired the Housing Board when Schiliro starting serving in that capacity. “How many times did he miss a birthday, an anniversary, a graduation? Many times, and it was because this was his commitment. On one hand, we’re so fortunate as a town to have Mike serve on the Town Board, serve as supervisor. But I think that he will leave a lasting impression and someone who we will always hold in high regard.”

Assemblyman Chris Burdick credited Schiliro for always fighting for his community, and being one of the earliest lead voices in local officials’ battle against the state’s attempt to dictate local zoning in the Housing Compact.

“I believe if it were not for Mike helping to pull together a coalition of local elected officials…we might well have seen that proposal go into effect, and he did it a second year in this budget season, and we fought the same battle together,” Burdick said.

While Schiliro will have more free time to be with family and finally, hopefully learn to play a guitar that his wife bought him years ago, he will miss the regular interaction with residents that comes with the job as well as the debates over policy.

It was his desire to listen and to help people that made the job rewarding.

“People say (they) have a problem, I try and help them as best I can,” he said.







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