Tony Sayegh Seeks Seat on
Eastchester Town Council
Tony Sayegh is running in the Republican primary on Tuesday, Sept. 9, for the opportunity to run for a seat on the Eastchester Town Council in he general election. Sayegh believes the Board needs an independent voice, along with the perspective of someone who owns and manages a small business, on issues confronting the community. “I will vote for what I believe is best for the community, even if it means going against my colleagues,” he says.
“I think it is time to give voters the choice, and not restrict choice, to a group of four people. I’m running against someone who is the third handpicked member of the board. He is a nice and decent person,” Sayegh explained, “but he has not shown any independence on the Board. This is the third person who has been appointed to the board in five years. Over 8000 Republican voters should at least have a choice of who represents our party on the ticket.” Frederick Salanitro, Esq., filled the seat vacated when Rocco Cacciola become the Tax Receiver for Eastchester.
“We need a board that is talking about creating efficiencies in government; that will create savings for taxpayers along with cuts in some discretionary spending, rather than finding ways to spend more money,” he stated. “If elected, I would be the only small business owner on the
Board. And, I think the Board needs the input of someone who owns and manages a small business. In government, if you start treating taxpayers money like your money, you have completely lost sight of the role of government.”
Sayegh first became a candidate for public office in 2002, when he ran for the 88th Assembly District, receiving the largest percentage total of any Republican in the district in over a decade. Democrat Amy Paulin currently represents the 88th Assembly District. Sayegh subsequently ran for Trustee in the Village of Tuckahoe and was eventually named Deputy Mayor. He won a second term, garnering over 65% of the vote.
“The most important thing that happened in Tuckahoe, while I served on the Board, that I would like to bring to Eastchester, was public dialogue, to add transparency, that I believe is critical to good government,” he said. One innovation that Sayegh is especially proud of was taking the Village Board meeting out of Village Hall, to venues that drew greater attendance, such as churches and community centers. On a few occasions, attendance reached 100 persons or more, a dramatic increase over the more usual 6-10 regulars at Village Hall.
Sayegh believes the success of his two terms in Tuckahoe was the result of running as an advocate of “good government” and implementing “best practices,” rather than following a partisan agenda. His slate re-instituted Fireworks at the Parkway Oval, and controlled operating costs by working with department heads to economize; enhancing revenue while holding the line on taxes. Sayegh served on a board that secured over $1 million in grants to improve streetscapes in Crestwood and village parks. They also obtained traffic safety devices, successfully lobbying the State DOT for a traffic light on Route 22 and Winter Hill Road.
Tony Sayegh, who will be 32 in October, grew up in Eastchester, and graduated from The George Washington University, with a BA in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration, with a concentration in state and local government. Sayegh completed his graduate work as a Presidential Administrative Fellow, the highest fellowship honor GWU confers. He has worked for Jack Kemp, Susan Molinari and Nick Spano.
From Jack Kemp, Sayegh learned, “That politics is really about ideas and when you run for office, it should be with a set of core principals guiding you. Jack Kemp has real clarity and purpose. Kemp feels that America should be the country of hope and growth and opportunity, and that coincides with the principals I learned, growing up as a first generation American.
That is what America is all about.” “I interned for Nick Spano when Eastchester was a part of his district. I learned, from Nick, the importance of constituent service as an integral part of being an effective public servant. People are truly putting their trust and hope in you as an elected of-ficial. You need to be accessible to people and responsive to their needs,” Sayegh said.
“Working with Susan Molinari was a great combination of the experiences with Nick and Jack Kemp. Susan was someone who understood the power of communication,” he added. “It was wonderful to see how Susan connected the dots for people, how she translated them into something people could understand. She had a real sensitivity to people. Susan never forgot that people back home were being affected by her decisions.”
Sayegh believes, “Government, on a local level, needs to provide the services most necessary to preserve the safety and quality of life of all residents while supporting other goals including improving infrastructure, and enhancing programs, for our children and our senior citizens. But, as a council member, my primary job will be to respect my fiduciary responsibility while coming up with budgets that support your goals.”
He further stated that, “Another responsibility of government is to hold other elected bodies responsible. Westchester County government needs to down sized, not necessarily eliminated; but put on a very strict diet. I can’t comment on specific numbers, but most of the budget is not discretionary.
It comes down from the state to be distributed to the municipalities. So why do we need so much government, to act as a conduit to the municipalities?” “You need a County Executive, you need a County Clerk and you need a District Attorney, but what is the role of the County Legislator? They are injecting themselves into the role of a ‘big brother’ and telling people how to conduct their lives. I prefer that they keep their eye on the bloated budget.”
Sayegh concluded, “Here’s the bottom line: We have to start remembering that tax revenue comes from real people, not a blind trust. Someone’s life is being affected every time we raise taxes. Couple that with what we know about the direction of the economy and our obligation to taxpayers
is to spend the next year protecting them. I don’t see anyone doing that, and I will. We need more than a watchdog. We need someone who will actively take the lead in bringing needed change to government.”
If elected, Sayegh would campaign to market Eastchester as a vibrant, charming community and lobby the state for money to enhance the business
district. Tony and his wife Maria were both raised in Eastchester, and their four children are enrolled in Tuckahoe public schools. The Sayeghs attend St. Joseph’s Church in Bronxville.