'Tis the Season!

Subject: Tis the Season; Reflections, Opportunities, and Gifts

Dear Islanders: 

It's an exciting time of year. It's that special time when we come together with our family and friends to reflect on our most cherished values and beliefs and when we celebrate the joys and accomplishments of the the last twelve months. 

This year I'm in higher spirits than usual with the swearing in just around the corner on January 1. You're all invited. It will be held at the Buffalo Launch Club at noon. And that evening I will be taking part in a celebration for the newly elected town officials that I ran with at the Beaver Island Clubhouse from 4 pm to 7 pm. We sent out invitations, but if you have not received one and are interested in coming, please contact me.     

A time of planning and opportunity

As much as this is a time of celebration, it's also a time of somber reflection and planning as we look forward to the opportunities and challenges of the year to come. Regarding this, I have been meeting with my team regularly to assess how best to accomplish the goals I set out during the campaign. As a reminder, I made 4 promises:

1. Respect every citizen—provide transparency, open meetings, and an open Town Hall
2. Support small business—understand and address the concerns of businesses and work on creative solutions to improve the Island's business climate
3. Enforce the Master Plan—establish predictability for Islanders and protect our neighborhoods  
4. Beautify the Island—seek aid and partnerships to maximize on Grand island's unique natural setting

Now, truly accomplishing these goals will not be easy. But I am fond of the Latin proverb Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat, which literally means "Fortune comes to the aid of those who are daring," but which is often translated as "Fortune favors the bold." Some say this is what Roman warriors said before battle. But I have always taken it to mean that you must dream big and aim high to accomplish anything of worth. I am certain that with the support of my fellow elected officials, my new assistant (keep reading to find who that is), and the volunteer efforts of talented citizens across Grand island we can accomplish great things. 

For those of you are worried about me and the challenges we face, be of good cheer. I know quite well that some wish me failure. And I know that this will be a struggle. Further, I do not expect to turn Grand Island into a sparkling wonderland overnight. Any success I have will be based on the grinding out of a million little steps of labor rather than large moments of fanfare and fun. But there will be some fun too. And I plan to share it. 

My new assistant

To do anything, however, I'm going to need support. And after much mutual consideration I have chosen an important partner: my new assistant Cyndy Montana.

Please read the press release regarding this appointment below: 

GRAND ISLAND, New York—December 18, 2015—Supervisor elect Nate McMurray announced today that he will appoint Cyndy Montana as the new Assistant to the Supervisor at Grand Island Town Hall. McMurray points to Cyndy’s extensive experience in the hospitality industry, her constant community involvement and her success as a small business owner/operator as reasons he believes Montana will thrive in her new role. 
“Finding talented people like Cyndy to work with is no easy task,” said McMurray. “We screened many candidates, and I feel quite relieved and lucky that I was finally able to persuade Cyndy to take this role. Anyone who knows her knows just how capable she is. And her involvement in projects like the Kaegebein playground build-out prove that as well.”
Montana’s appointment will be in the Town Board meeting agenda on January 4th. But Montana is already at Town Hall acclimating herself to her new position. “I ran for Town Council so I could be more involved in our community.  This position will certainly give me that opportunity.  I am very excited to be a part of it and to work with Nathan and the rest of the team at Town Hall.” said Montana.

Some of you may be thinking that by choosing Cyndy I am playing the same old game of insider politics. I am not. I did not even know Cyndy until a few months ago. Many of you have likely known Cyndy far longer than I have.

But Cyndy has demonstrated to me again and again that she is talented, organized, hard working, and reliable. And given her experience in the hospitality industry and as a business person, there simply is no better candidate for this job. And I should add that I had to talk her into it, which was not easy! But now that she's on board I truly believe I have someone that will be my sounding board and who will keep on track and paying attention to all of the little details that I might not otherwise think of.      

No more blogging, but regular correspondence

I know that many of you enjoyed the blog, but I have decided to stop blogging like I once did. Frankly, the pace was killing me. I decided instead to write a weekly letter (ta-da!). I will also try to create periodic videos and give regular interviews to keep you updated and informed. So please don't mistake my slight change in style to mean that I will not be around. You will be hearing from me. I promise.

I sincerely want you to know what is happening in Town Hall, and I want you to feel that we are listening. The decisions we make might not be exactly as you would like, but we promise to listen and make decisions after thoughtful deliberation of public feedback and based on what we feel is in our best judgement good for of the Island and the residents as a whole. 

A wonderful gift

We all know this is also the season of gift giving. And I recently received a wonderful gift that I would like to tell you about. Many of you may know that I spent a great deal of time in Asia. In Korea there is a form of traditional quilting that is used to cover plates of fine food and wrap gifts. Today that quilting form has evolved into an art. The quilts (made of silk) are often hung as displays and there are several master artists who focus on this genre. 

My wife has been learning Korean quilting for some time. And as early Christmas gift she gave me a quilted depiction of Grand Island to hang in the Supervisor's office. She actually stitched this for me by hand. Please note when you see it that the white space is intentional. In Korean art (and many forms of Asian art) the absence of color is often considered as important as color. You can see some pictures of the gift on the Archive section of this site and below. And I hope you get the chance to stop by my office to see it.

I'm very grateful for her gift. I will cherish it, as I will cherish this opportunity to serve the people of Grand Island and to begin the journey of making it "Grand" again. Thank you all once more. I am truly humbled.


Supervisor McMurray