RICHARD J. STERNBERG, M.D.
CANDIDATE, OTSEGO TOWN BOARD
COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: Cooperstown
EDUCATION: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., 1974; State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine, M.D., 1978
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 36 years practice as an Orthopedic Surgeon. Retired March 2015
COMMUNITY/POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT: Village of Cooperstown Planning Board. Cooperstown Rotary and Rotary Foundation member. Temple Beth El (Oneonta), Finance and Ritual Committees.
FAMILY: Two grown daughters – Marisa, 27, graduate Ithaca College ’11. Manager for ARC of Anne Arundel County, Md.; Jenna, 26, graduate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ’11. Currently studying for her Ph.D. in neurosciences at the Institute Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.
IN TWO OR THREE SENTENCES, EXPLAIN YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT: The purpose of government is to facilitate those services that in a complex society are most efficiently performed cooperatively for the benefit of the citizenry and for individual citizens. Government exists by the consent of the people to protect the rights of those people and promote the common good.
WHAT ARE THE THREE MAJOR ISSUES THE OTSEGO TOWN BOARD FACES, AND HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THEM?
One: The first problem is to reestablish the concept of civil discourse in dealing with town issues and avoid the open antagonism seen many times this year. Before we can solve any other problems cooperatively it is necessary that we talk to each other in a nonthreatening manner and that we courteously listen to each other. I would start by seeking out those with different opinions especially ones that differ from mine and see if we can find common ground to build on.
Two: Maintain the wonderful quality of life and environment that we are blessed with. For all the complaints and concerns we are very lucky in the Town of Otsego when compared to the vast majority of rural towns in Central New York. We have two beautiful lakes and adequate water supplies. We have boating, fishing, hunting, and multiple sports available to us. We have excellent schools. I would diligently look at any potential needs or changes to protect what we already have. We can try to improve these things but in the process we need to be careful to “do no harm.”.
Three: Maintain cost effective delivery of the prime services of the town; roads, courts, and supervision of development. Again this is performed by diligence in evaluating these activities, being familiar with the budgets, and making sure we get value for the dollar. Only by being on top of expenditures will we be able to prevent tax increases.
WHAT QUALITIES/EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE THAT MAKES YOU THE BETTER CHOICE IN THIS RACE?
I have run my own businesses (private medical practices) with over one million dollar budgets. I have had to make payrolls, read and write balance sheets, arrange loans, manage receivables and payables, supervise eight employees, and deal with constantly shifting government rules and regulations. I have made decisions under pressure numerous times that affected people’s life and limb. Additionally being recently retired and with my children being adults I have as much time as necessary to fully investigate and evaluate any issue that may come before the council.
IS THERE A STATEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH VOTERS?
There has been a lot of comments about there not being enough jobs locally. I think that comment is false. In fact we have over 2,000 jobs in an area of 3,900 total people. In terms of jobs we need to work with the current employers to help them to continue to grow or at least maintain their current work-forces. More jobs would be better but we already are in a better position than most other upstate rural areas.
I feel that I have the ability and skills to do an excellent job as council member. I love living here, most evidenced by my decision to stay here in retirement and to work for the benefit of the community. Most importantly I can approach the issues of the town from an independent perspective. I don’t have any personal issues that I want resolved in my favor. I just want to do this job well.