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Walsh Reflects On Her Time in Office

The mayor/supervisor will transition to a private citizen when she leaves office at the end of the month.

Any transition is unsettling. You are straddling the fence between looking toward the future and looking back to determine your final legacy before moving on.

Harrison Mayor/Supervisor Joan Walsh is facing a particularly momentous transition. After 35 years in public service, she will be transitioning to private life on Dec. 31 after her second term as mayor.

Walsh is hoping to make her final days in office count. She continues to take a strong stand on issues she sees as critical to the well being of the town, including the conservative fiscal approach she hopes to see continued after she has gone.

“The national economy remains uncertain and many in our community are still suffering financially. I hope the new board will continue to be financially conservative and maintain the gains that we have worked so hard as a community to achieve over the last four years,” she said.

Looking over her two terms as mayor, Walsh can cite achievements she is proud of as well as some disappointments.

“My greatest satisfaction is that I was able to contain spending and thus reduce the town’s debt,” she said. “We watched every dollar and it shows. That was what I was elected to do and we did it.”

But Walsh said there are things that she wishes she had more time for. She will leave office during a critical time in the MTA project's development plan. At the end of the year the future of the project will be placed in the hands of the new administration.

It's a project she will keep an eye on even after leaving her position.

“After years of trying to upgrade the downtown by many administrations, we finally have an opportunity to begin the renaissance of the business district," Walsh said. "I worry that the new administration will stop it.”

There are other projects that have gained little momentum over the last four years, which Walsh says has been frustrating.

“My greatest frustration is the state of limbo that exists for the beaver swamp brook field," she said. "It was before a NYS DEC Judge before I took office in 2008 and there is still not a decision as to what we can do there.” 

As to the future, Walsh is excited to be able to spend time at home with family and friends. She said she is especially looking forward to spending time with her husband.

“I am particularly looking forward to getting to know my husband again," she said. "I look forward to time together with him and other family and friends.  We used to have dinner parties 10 to 12 times a year and large gatherings two to three times a year. I can’t remember the last time we did either.” 

Walsh began that family time with a recent trip with her daughter, but found that the transition from public official to private citizen is not always instantaneous. She said she spent part of the trip analyzing things like parking plans, sidewalk repairs and other town maintenance issues.

"It's one of the residual effects of being mayor," she said with a laugh.

With her time in office quickly coming to an end, Walsh said she has enjoyed her time in the public light, but now is the time to look toward the future.

“I will finally have the gift of time,” Walsh said. “And after the last four years I know just how precious a gift that is.”

Dr John December 12, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Well Joan is proud of what she has accomplished. You notice it didn’t take a lengthy article to get her accomplishments listed. Joan’s first term in office was spent attacking the police department. Two years of accusations and invisible complaints against the finest police department in the country! What came out of this was a great expenditure of money for the town to find out that all of the accusations were false. This is the term Joan won because of her stance on Project Home Run. Four years later nothing has been accomplished at this site. Then started the negative news reports, that over the four years of Joan’s tenure has made Harrison the laughing stock of Westchester County. Joan’s second term was more of the same. From the Food pantry thefts to the Pizza delivery mystery. Which by the way both involved friends of Joan Walsh. The financial situation the Joan inherited was mostly due to the collapsing economy but her dealings with the unions and the employees in general left much to be desired. I think Joan Walsh’s tenure as Mayor of Harrison will go down as the most tumultuous terms of Mayor Harrison has ever had.
Nurse Ratched December 12, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Well said Doc. Also if you notice how she put more effort (once again) into berating the Chief of police in public. She spent more time on that article than she did on her "Accomplishments." Dont forget about the golf cart, her closed door relationship with the mastermind of the lawsuits (RALPHIE), padding her son's paychecks, blaming Malfitano, handling personnel matters in the news, dividing the town and the public employees, raising taxes 33%,cutting resident services, allowing Lucille Held to run the town Board meetings.......the list goes on. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"- Don Julio
Harrison @ Halstead December 12, 2011 at 05:35 PM
“I am particularly looking forward to getting to know my husband again," she said. "I look forward to time together with him and other family and friends. We used to have dinner parties 10 to 12 times a year and large gatherings two to three times a year. I can’t remember the last time we did either.” I bet he's just thrilled! Pizza parties galore on Spring Lake Drive! Friends will order the pizza.
ScorpioSr December 12, 2011 at 05:58 PM
re: "10 - 12 parties per year and large gatherings 2 - 3 times per year" She may not remember the last time she had one of those parties, but I'll bet the whole town remembers one in particular. The one she "borrowed Town property without permission" to transport her guests to the party! And that was only, what, 2 years ago. Certainly won't miss her selective memory when it comes to the things she did! Good bye and good luck and good ridance and watch out for that door on the way out!
TTH December 12, 2011 at 07:53 PM
I'm so happy that while on vacation in Paris she found the time to study the parking problems,the disrepair of the sidewalks and the town maintenance issues. because in four years here she did nothing about it
ScorpioSr December 12, 2011 at 09:01 PM
I guess she considers "thinking about it and analyzing it", just before she leaves office, one of her accomplishments!
Harrison @ Halstead December 13, 2011 at 12:32 AM
She had to go all the way to PARIS? All she had to do was go to neighboring communities. She was so "busy" saving all that money that she forgot about quality of life issues. Our town died during her term. It's going to be very hard to bring it back to life, if not impossible. Her inability to grasp the reality that she lived in a kitty litter box with only 4 or 5 people complaining made for compelling entertainment every 2 weeks, but it killed our town. she tore it apart. Listening to the incoherent rambling’s of Ms. Held, Pritchard, the Porto's and her party chairman while closing out the rest of the community led to her and Vetere's demise. The asinine "Watchdog" hurt her because she never would denounce the inaccuracies and false statements contained within. Her negativity and sour attitude was brought out in spades during the campaign with all the insulting advertisements and mailers. Her campaign manager should be sent to the wood shed and paddled for being so out of touch with Harrrison. She may have worked for John Passidomo and Congresswoman Lowey but she missed qualities they both enjoyed and was/is respected for. Those qualities are integrity, honesty, and love of one’s community above self. One word I hope she took the time to learn in Paris: Au revoir !
TTH December 13, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Hey Joan, You forgot to list one of your biggest and best achievements of all. Getting Pat Vetere booted out of office!
Ross Revira December 13, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Joan Walsh was a poor Mayor/Supervisor because she was not qualified to do the job. This is what you get when the voters elect the chief executive officer of Harrison Inc. Her tenure should be a clear indication of Harrison's need for a town administrator.

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