It takes discipline to do all that Christie Derrico, mother of four and head of her own law firm, has done in the Village of Mamaroneck. And this Republican is about to take it one step further.
On Election Day, the current village attorney will be going for the justice seat in the Village of Mamaroneck, competing against Alice Pernick, who is running on the Democratic ticket.
The past year has not been smooth sailing for Derrico. Her appointment as village attorney created a stir in the community (residents criticized Mayor Rosenblum for dismissing the former village attorney before he was officially mayor, and appointing Derrico on a part-time basis before changing the law to allow for such an action). And more recently, the Village of Mamaroneck Democratic Committee asked Derrico to resign her current position before running on the Republican and Conservative slates.
The latter is just politics, she says. "In my heart I feel that the rhetoric that was thrown around was just that, and nothing more."
Derrico adds that the people who know her and have worked with her will trust that "I am honest, I have integrity, I am a hard worker, and that when I say I will do the best I can, I do just that."
Derrico's roles in the village have ranged from being on the Harbor & Coastal Zone Management Commission to presiding over the League of Women Voters of Larchmont and Mamaroneck to being a village trustee. And, apparently, there's time left for other activities, like pro-bono work for the Hispanic Resource Center and volunteering for the Mamaroneck Avenue School PTA.
Derrico is a graduate of Boston University and Brooklyn Law School. She and her husband Donald, a senior partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP and the chairman of the Republican Committee in the Town of Mamaroneck, live in Mamaroneck and are raising four children: Wendy, 17; Madison, 12; Chloe, 9; and baby Gabriel, 2.
Patch asked the candidate for village justice some questions to find out what her next move will be and why.
1) Why are you running for village justice? What is your inspiration/motivation?
I feel that I will be able to positively contribute to the community based upon my education and past experience.
2) What is your party affiliation?
I am a registered Republican, but I have received Republican, Independent and Conservative endorsement in this election.
3) What do you see as the most pressing issues facing the Village Court today and in the near future?
The Village Court wears two hats, one as almost a functioning business that brings in revenue, and one as the legal arm of the community. In a local court such as the village's, justices are required to operate as the CEO, making sure the finances are in order, that fines are collected, while simultaneously dispensing with justice and doing the day-to-day obligations of a judge presiding over the court.
With this in mind, I see the pressing issues as helping to streamline the process and make the court run as efficiently as possible, whether it be from a time perspective for those who come before the court and do not want to be there all day to the economic perspective as it relates to the finances and revenues brought in by the court.
4) If elected, what would your priorities be?
I would take the exact same approach I've done to every position I have held - get in, assess the situation, itemize what's functioning well and what needs to be improved, and seek to improve it. I also look forward to working in conjunction with the other justices, both in the Village and the Town of Mamaroneck, in seeing how we can work together to achieve these goals.
5) What special skill sets/ideas do you bring to the table?
Aside from my education and professional and volunteer achievements, I also have to attribute my knowledge base in running a business, or any organization for that matter, to my family.
I am a third generation female business owner. My grandmother, Patricia Velton, had five children and began a successful catering business that started in her basement and grew into a well-known catering hall. That business is now run by my aunts. My mother, Patricia Sigmon, has run a computer consulting firm for nearly 30 years and has recently written a book, "Six Steps to Creating Profit: A Guide for Small and Mid-Sized Service-Based Businesses."
While both my mother and grandmother achieved success as business women, they always gave back to the community through charity and community involvement. Any skills I have developed stem from them.
6) As someone who has served the village in a number of positions, what advantages do you have over those running against you?
I feel that I know the community, the good and the bad, and from that I can try to deal with these issues. Time and again I have had the historical knowledge that assists me in tackling the issue at hand.
7) What accomplishments are you most proud of achieving during your time as village attorney?
- Giving a professional, intelligent and respectable face to the village and letting others know that we are handling our business in such a fashion.
- Cutting down on legal expense and making that a top priority for the village, whether it be auditing legal bills or evaluating legal matters from their inception (or pre-inception) so that we can either avoid the conflict or, if conflict is unavoidable, handle it in a cost-efficient and top-notch manner.
- Organizing the village attorney's office in such a way that we have a record of each matter being handled, and that such information is easily accessible to cut down on wasted time.
Editor's Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles that ran this summer. We are featuring them again a few days before Election Day in case you missed them. If you have questions for the candidates, ask them in our comments section.