New Rotterdam board members vow to improve town

The two newest members of the Rotterdam Town Board said they have plans to put aside political affiliation and work as a team to improve the town.

Democrat John Silva and Republican Michael Della Villa, who were sworn into office on Tuesday, Jan. 1, are relative newcomers to Rotterdam town politics.

But both men have spent time as public servants.

John Silva, 52, moved to Rotterdam four years ago to serve as president and CEO of Hometown Health Centers.

Silva served for six years on the board of selectman in Hull, Mass. The board of selectman is the executive arm of town governments in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, selectmen are not endorsed by a political party.

I ran as a resident in Massachusetts and not a Democrat, said Silva. "I hope to take the partisan stuff out of Rotterdam's government and employ a common sense approach."

Silva said he would try to get the town board to focus on putting labels aside to take a united approach to town issues. He also said he wants to focus on essential issues like infrastructure and property reassessment instead of getting caught up in personnel and departmental issues.

"When I was running for the board, I knocked on every door. I think I've got an idea of where the people of Rotterdam are coming from," said Silva. "We're not keeping pace with the broadening tax base so we need to focus on infrastructure before we start building more condos."

Silva said that being a newcomer to town politics has some major advantages.

"I'm kind of an unknown quality to both Democrats and Republicans," he said. "I'm not necessarily labeled or aligned so I can focus on the issues."

Silva lives on Maida Lane with his wife of 32 years, Helena. The Silvas have three grown sons.

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