The other day as I sat in my office, I reflected upon my years volunteering at Village Hall. Between the Zoning Board, the Board of Trustees and the Office of the Mayor, it has been 26 years of going into Village Hall and loving every minute of it. The number one reason is clearly the people I work with and people like you who I work for. But I realized, in looking at the Village’s employment statistics, my longevity doesn’t even hold a candle to so many who have worked on our behalf at Village Hall.
Since one of the real joys of a small hometown is the ability to know each other and know each other in a more than superficial way, I thought you would enjoy meeting the following village employees who have given over 25 years of service to Bronxville. The group is fortunately so extensive that a subsequent column will also highlight our staff.
Leading the group is Lieutenant Richard Bunyan. Rich has been with us for 37 years and has truly seen it all!! From his perspective, the most rewarding part of the job is his connection with the Police Chief and the Chief’s management style of having the Lieutenant partner in every aspect of running the PD, whether it is developing a budget in the morning followed by surveillance in the afternoon. This varied nature keeps every day different and stimulating. The Lieutenant has been married for 37 years and has four sons with whom he and his wife are extremely close and fortunate to have living in the area. In his free time, he loves to fish and read and spend time with his tight family unit. A little known fact is that in the course of his 37 years, the Lieutenant went to night school and has a law degree. When urging him to share an anecdote, he said his tenure is so long, unlike that many Village residents, he not only knows who Jack Paar, Ed McMahon and Jose Melis were, let alone where they lived in the Village! Rich says he has observed first hand that every police officer in the department has the best interests of the Village at heart and he feels what distinguishes his job in Bronxville from others is that the community support has been sustained and fantastic.
Following right behind the Lieutenant is Joseph “Joe” Scaglione he who has been with the Village since 1986 as a parking enforcement officer. Joe was born and raised in the Bronx and moved to Yonkers in 1993. He has one daughter, Jenna, now 25. When Joe started with us, all tickets were issued manually which means just pen and paper and Joe still proudly has the original tin box that held his ticket stubs. The cost of a ticket for an expired meter infraction was five dollars. You see Joe walking the Village virtually every single day and as a result, he has had many memorable experiences including a time he saw a deer get hit by a car on Pondfield Road right in front of the post office. In his younger days, Joe was an avid softball player and bowler but now enjoys gentler pursuits including movies and concerts. In the archives, there is a wonderful story from the Herald Statesman chronicling a day in the life of a parking enforcement officer as seen through the eyes of a reporter. A really enjoyable read!
Probably occupying the hottest seat in the house so to speak is Linda Thomas who has worked in our parking office for the last 33 years. Linda started out in our court and is known as a terrific coordinator of our parking enforcement officers. As the person who listens to your frustrations with all things parking, she has developed a very calm demeanor and gentle style. Ever adaptable, Linda has transitioned brilliantly to the ever evolving advancements in parking technology. She was born, raised and still lives in Mount Vernon with her son and loves to spend her spare time traveling to flea markets. She admits to having some favorite patrons of long-standing in the Village and two came right to mind - Susie French and Florence Kooluris. Her favorite early memory of working for the Village was watching the police chief eat an entire pizza pie during his lunch break when he was a young officer.
A mainstay for 33 years on our sanitation route is Luigi Sanita. Born in Eastchester and now residing in Mahopac with his wife Lisa and two of his children - the third being married, Luigi is known for his incredible work ethic. He is actually a second generation employee of the Village with his dad, Ambrogia, working for us as early as the 1970’s. When Luigi started he said they had so little equipment that their greatest tool was their “arms”. What has changed most for him on the job is the vast amount of recycling and to be honest he’s getting a little tired of all the Amazon boxes! He is absolutely dedicated to the cleanliness of the village and jokingly refers to the banner day was when Fresh Direct went to bags instead of large boxes. He reminisced about the lunch break in years past when everyone brought in mostly homemade Italian food and yes even wine! He said the quality rivaled the best delis on Arthur Avenue. He shared a wonderful story of one of the former employee’s wives who made a special mushroom relish cultivated from female oak trees that he said was the most delicious thing ever. His greatest enjoyment while working is traveling his route and seeing the children of residents he knew well moving back into the Village as he loves the multi-generational aspect of the Village and the traditions that bring people home.