Democrat Photo by Nathan Mayberg
RAY NARGIZIAN, NEWLY-appointed Monticello Village Manager
Nargizian Takes Over as Monti Village Manager
By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO December 26, 2006 Ray Nargizian, the Village of Monticello’s new Manager, is hoping to “tighten the belt” of a village facing major financial difficulties, poverty, crime and a struggling Broadway.
Until this point, he has been known politically for his heavy activism in local Republican politics as well as his staunch and loud support of proposed casinos.
He arrived here via Queens in 1970. He previously worked for his uncle’s rug washing and repairing business, which involved his father as well.
And it was the oriental rug business which brought him here due to a relationship with George Parker, whose grandfather founded the Concord. Parker and Nargizian were college buddies at the Pratt Institute. Nargizian graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science in Business degree.
Nargizian took a trip down to the Concord one day to deliver a rug to Parker, and ended up setting up an oriental rug store at a vacant store there. He spent 15 years there until leaving when he began to see the decline of the hotel.
He entered into the wholesale rug business and merged with another company to become one of the largest rug importers in the world based out of Secaucus, New Jersey. He was personally profiled in several trade magazines.
Ten years ago, he sold the business and has been living in retirement just outside the village line in the Town of Thompson. He has been dabbling in real estate, importing and insurance appraisals. He owns five pieces of property in the village, including the old Miller Automatic and Promenade building. He opened up a Republican County Party headquarters there this past election, and has several offices above it.
It was only four years ago that he became a Republican committee person in the Town of Thompson. But two years ago, he ran unsuccessfully for the Chairmanship of the Sullivan County Republican Party when Greg Goldstein stepped down.
Asked what made him enter politics, and he replied that he “felt there was a void in terms of business people being involved in politics. I thought that if I became involved in a political party, that if I could help in the selection of candidates running for a political office, it would change the landscape of our local politicians.”
Nargizian, 61, cites his business experience and background as being a reason he can improve the shape of the village.
“I felt that if I applied that to the job I could make the changes necessary to change the village.
“We need government that is effective, efficient and accountable and innovative. I haven’t seen that type of politician in our midst as of yet.”
He and his wife Terri have two children, who Nargizian laments for not being able to stay in Sullivan County for a lack of jobs. “Unfortunately, Monticello had little to offer them and they moved to northern New Jersey.”
But Nargizian said he enjoys living in Sullivan County. “It’s peaceful. The air is clean. I have nice neighbors.”
Despite the village’s problems with crime, poverty and taxes, he is decidedly optimistic about the future. He blames the decline of the hotel industry as a result of people’s changing travel habits and the rise of Atlantic City taking conventions away, as the major reason for the village’s problems. In addition, he thinks more accountability has to be placed on Broadway landowners who do not take care of their properties. He appears to be confident that the old Rhulen building is on its way down soon shortly.
“We have a lot of potential,” he stated. He sees the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and a casino at Monticello Raceway as the basis for a rejuvenation of the area. “People will be more willing to invest as they are developed. Hopefully, the economy will make a nice turnaround,” he said.
He compared the village to a business, and said its belt has to be tightened. But he said he needs time to examine the village’s financial situation before he can make specific recommendations.
“No one person can make the changes, it has to be a community drive,” he said.