Patch has asked your candidates a set of questions. Check back each day for their answers. This week, we're looking at county candidates and next week we'll look at town candidates. Check out this for the line up this week.
Today's candidates are Tim O'Neill, Matt Brennan and Louis Falco, battling for the sheriff position.
O'Neill: Conservative, Independence
Falco: Democrat, Working Families
1. What community do you live in?
O'Neill: I am a life long Rockland resident and live in Stony Point
Falco: I live in Blauvelt, in the Town of Orangetown
2. How long have you lived there?
O'Neill: 32 years in Stony Point, grew up in Nanuet.
Brennan: Parents Tom and Helen moved my siblings Faith, Luke, Hope, Mark, and I to New City from Greenwich Village in 1959. We all went to Street Elementary School, Festa Middle School and Clarkstown North. As the eldest, I was in the last combined district class. My brother Luke is in the athletic hall of fame. In the 80's I had an apartment in Manhattan. In the 90's owned a house in Nyack then rented a house in Pearl River before buying my current residence 13 years ago.
Falco: 25 years
3. How old are you?
O'Neill: Married 32 years to my wife Patricia and we have one daughter Meghan, age 29
Brennan: Jacqueline and I were married in 1991 and we currently have four teenage daughters.
Falco: Wife Elizabeth, 2 children, son Louis, daughter Lyndsay
5. What is your education background?
O'Neill: Masters Degree from Long Island University, Bachelor Degree from Mercy College, majoring in criminal justice, Graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy
Brennan: 1980 BS degree in Finance from New York University; 1978 AAS degree in Business from Rockland Community College; 1974 USMC Communications School; 1972 Clarkstown High School
Falco: Graduated North Rockland High School 1977; Rockland Community College, Associates Degree, Criminal Justice; Empire State College with a Bachelors of Science, Police Science; FBI National Academy, 194th Session, Quantico, Virginia
6. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?
O'Neill: My most important qualification for Sheriff is my proven history of being an independent person not controlled by the Ramapo bloc vote, party bosses or any special interest groups. My 34 years of law enforcement and my experience on the Stony Point Town Board also make me qualified for this position. When first elected to the town board, I formed a volunteer citizen’s group at no cost to the taxpayers called F.A.C.T.S. (Fiscal Analysis to Certify Town’s Stability). The town was facing a severe financial crisis because of mismanagement and past corruption (the supervisor was convicted and sentenced to jail). All of the committee’s recommendations, including hiring a comptroller, conducting an audit, changing accounting procedures and establishing a separate committee to oversee the golf course operations are still in existence today. We also renegotiated the police chief’s excessive contract signed by the previous supervisor. All of these actions resulted in the town improving its bond rating and putting the town back on sound financial footing.
Brennan: Having grown up in Rockland County, after graduating Clarkstown High School in 1972, I enlisted in the Marines and served an overseas tour in the Far East during the Viet Nam Era as a field radio operator assigned to a communications squadron. That military experience really opened my eyes to the world and is a fundemental experience that none of the other candidates have. Going to college on the G.I. Bill I eventually earned a Bachelor degree in Finance from New York University. I then beat out two hundred other candidates for an entry level job on Wall Street but quit in order to wear my grandfather's shield on the NYPD. I was promoted to Sergeant in three years. In 2001 I retired after twenty years of service.. In 2002 I was fortunate to be hired as an Indian Point tactical nuclear security responder. I also have NYS private investigator license along with being a public notary. All of my life experience and knowledge makes me worthy of your support for the office of sheriff knowing I will be a frugal and competent administrator. I also know what it is like to be poor and believe law should be used as a shield and not a sword. I will not stand for the trumping up of charges upon the public which is especially true of teenagers just starting out in life who are naïve, vulnerable, and misguided.
Falco: I have been with the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department for 33 years. I began my Law Enforcement career as a Police Dispatcher/Clerk in 1978 for the Departments Police Division. In January of 1980 I became a full time Deputy Sheriff in the Civil Division and subsequently moved on to the position of full time Deputy Sheriff Patrol Division in December of 1980. I have been promoted through the Civil Service ranks from Patrol to Detective, Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant, Administrative Lieutenant, Detective Lieutenant, and Captain. In 2009, I was appointed Chief of the Police Division.
I have gained my leadership through experience. As current Chief of the Sheriff’s Police Division I have the honor of supervising 130 full and part time officers, responsible for assignments ranging from specializations such as Crime Scene Investigation, Arson Unit, Polygraph Unit, Marine Unit, Mounted Unit and Computer Crimes Unit. I have been working together with the District Attorney’s Office, and the Chief’s of Police on shared services such as REACT, Mobil Field Force, Intel Task Force, and the Narcotics Task Force.
I have forged relationships with officials on the local, State and Federal levels over my 33 years in the Sheriff’s Office. I have the experience, knowledge and skill to lead the department into a new era of budget wise decision making.
7. Why are you running for this elected office?
O'Neill: Rockland County is facing a $50 to $80 million dollar deficit, and there needs to be a change in the Rockland County Sheriff’s administration. After twenty years of the same, there is a need for smarter ways to save taxpayer’s monies, eliminate waste, and cut costs, while still maintaining public safety. We also need to take the politics out of promotions and policing in the Sheriff’s Department.
Brennan: I fear for the future of this country and the future of Rockland County.
Falco: I am a career Law Enforcement professional, I have gained my leadership through experience, I am not a politician. I have been working 33 years for this great opportunity. I will continue to serve all of the people of Rockland County with integrity, professionalism and fairness without judgment of race, nationality or creed. I will not hold a grudge or criticize anyone who has not supported me. I firmly believe that a Sheriff must be fair and impartial while enforcing the law. I will work to unite communities, not divide communities. I will continue to work side by side with all local law enforcement in our communities, and will continue anti terrorism initiatives. I will work diligently, always being fiscally responsible, and budget minded while protecting Rockland’s law abiding citizens.
8. What are the three issues that most concern you?
O'Neill: The three issues that are of most concern are the influence of the Ramapo bloc vote and political party bosses on the Sheriff administration, the $50 to $80 million dollar budget deficit the county is facing and the waste, corruption and duplication of services in the Sheriff’s Department. Four years ago when I ran for Sheriff, I uncovered the illegal transfer of a Hasidic prisoner from Pennsylvania, serious lack of training for the correction officers and special treatment for politically connected people.
Brennan: Illegal Immigration; Social Service Fraud; Civil Defense network
Falco: Public Safety, Budget, Keeping Narcotic and Intel Task Force intact and operational
9. Explain your proposed approach to managing these issues.
O'Neill: I have pledged to cut the Sheriff’s budget by a minimum of 5% in my first year, cut my own salary by 5%, and I will define the mission of the Sheriff’s office by focusing on the operation of the Rockland County Jail. I will also take the politics out of the illegal promotions that have occurred in the Sheriff’s office.
Brennan: Fifteen year ago congress asked for local help with illegal immigration and amended the Immigration and Nationality Act with section 287(g). This ignored tool enables local law enforcement entities to enter into a federal partnership under a joint Memorandum of Agreement with Immigration and Custom Enforcement. This is a direct federal and local partnership which bypasses state government. However the current administration is not participating and hopefully the new administration will Illegal immigration is destroying the basic fabric of our country and county. Locally housewives are murdered, human trafficking creates more prostitution while statutory rape arrests and heroin use is on the rise. Financially, un-reimbursed demand for public services has left us bankrupt on federal, state, county, and local school district levels while bankrupt hospitals used as free clinics close. Illegal immigrants utilizing forged documents take jobs away from the unskilled, the handicapped, and the next baby boom of teenagers who must learn a work ethic in order to save Social Security. An untaxed black market economy also drains money from local circulation as millions of dollars are sent home to foreign nations. As sheriff I will change the current status quo of turning a blind eye to this morass by doing all which is legally possible humanely as possible in a better way for all concerned.
Rockland County is fifty million dollars in debt. The Department of Social Services’ Special Investigations Unit does a tremendous job in identifying Welfare, Medicaid, Food Stamp, and Temporary Assistance fraud. Although they work with the District Attorney’s office, too much bureaucracy inhibits their operation. Deputies with summary arrest authority reassigned from service duplication will empower this unit. Our community is inhabited by thousands of citizens with military and first responder experience who need to be recruited to form a Contingency Force ensuring we are properly prepared for any contingency event be it a hurricane, lost child, or fugitive murderer.
I plan to achieve these goals that the other candidates have not even mentioned by redeploying existing resources while eliminating current duplication of services.
Falco: I will continue to maintain public safety by working with local law enforcement through our shared services such as REACT, Mobil Field Force, Intel Task Force, the Narcotics Task Force, and the Sheriff’s specialized services such as Crime Scene Investigation, Arson Unit, Polygraph Unit, Marine Unit, Mounted Unit, anti- terrorism initiatives and Computer Crimes Unit. Additionally, we will continue working with all municipalities to give the best level of public safety to all law abiding citizens in our diverse County. I will continue to be fiscally responsible by constantly monitoring needs and expenditures, while pursing alternate revenue sources such as State and Federal Grants, and will continue to pursue Asset Forfeiture funds, forfeited from convicted criminals based on their illegal activities.
10. Have you held elected office before?
O'Neill: Stony Point Town Board Councilman 2003-2007
Brennan: In 2003 I unsuccessfully ran for Clarkstown Councilman. In 2004 I received forty thousand votes against Eliot Engel for Congress which are the most by a Republican. I always do better than expected in underfunded campaigns.
Falco: I have never held elected office, I’ve been a law enforcement professional my entire career.
11. What organizations do you belong to?
O'Neill: Founder and President Children of Promise Stable (the COPS Barn), Leadership Rockland Board of Trustees, 21 Century Collaborative for Children and Youth Board member, Rockland County Shields, Haverstraw Elks Lodge 877.
Brennan: Rockland County Shields Rockland County Lacrosse referee's association Rockland Republican Comittee St. Francis of Asisi parish
- On the board of Keep Rockland Beautiful
- On the board of Rockland County Shields
- Leadership Rockland, Criminal Justice Committee
- Rockland County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association
- Rockland County Sheriff’s Deputies Association
- New York State Sheriff’s Deputies Association
- Member, Rockland Association of Management
- On the board of Mothers Against Drunk Driving
- Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Rockland Community College
- Sheriff’s Department liaison to St. Thomas Aquinas College Forensic Science Program
- Member, Haverstraw Elks Lodge 877
- Member, Italian American Social Club, West Haverstraw
12. Election website?
O'Neill: Tim O'Neill for Sheriff
Brennan: Visit Matthew I. Brennan on Facebook
Falco: Louis Falco for Sheriff