BLOOMINGDALE - St. Armand Town Supervisor Joyce Morency last week responded to comments made by her Democratic challenger in this November's election; Tom Jones.
The incumbent, who has been in office since the early 1980s, says that Jones made a series of statements that were misleading at best.
"Some of these things that he says are just careless words thrown into a statement that he's making," Morency said.
"He says it's time for change," she said. "Everybody says that every time there's an election and someone's been in office for a while. Change is only good if it's good for St. Armand, and I don't think that if he wins this election and becomes supervisor that will be in the best interest of the people in St. Armand."
Jones announced his candidacy about two weeks ago. At the time, he said he wanted to open up the lines of communication between the town board and the community.
"I would conduct board meetings in a more inviting manner," he said. "Some people come to ask questions. I would try to be patient and answer those questions in a civil manner."
But Morency disagrees.
"Our meetings have always been open," she said. "The one thing about St. Armand is, a lot of people don't attend the meetings. I have so many people come in and out of this office with something they want to know about or some request and we take care of it."
"So they don't come to the board meeting because maybe they're happy with the way things are," she added. "We run a pretty tight conservative budget and we're a small town, there's a lot of things we might want to do but can't afford to do. But he's wrong when he says we're not an open government."
Jones also said that he wants to revisit the town's method of procuring maintenance equipment and heavy machinery. He believes the town needs more transparency during the bidding process.
"One of those is the procurement of trucks and heavy equipment," he said. "Our policy is we need to have three bidders. But that policy is not always followed. I think it's important that the policy be utilized. We adopt it every January but we don't really use it."
Morency says that statement is simply not true, citing a 2008 purchase of a snowplow for the Highway Department.
"Our highway superintendent talks with the Essex County DPW and prepares specs to make sure anybody can bid on the truck," she said.
On the county level, Morency has chaired several committees and has been actively involved in the budgeting process year-in and year-out.
"I've got experience working with CPAs," she said. "Financing is my thing and that's what I'm recognized for at the county." She's also worked closely with North Country Community College.
Morency also notes that Jones said Medicaid takes up half of the county's budget - which is approximately $96 million. In the county budget, $14 million is raised by the tax levy, with $7 million going to Medicaid.
"He's talking about how he's going to try and get more support for it, because he says it uses up half of the county budget," Morency said.
"There's a big difference between a county budget and the tax levy. Our county budget is $96 million. So that's an example of things that he doesn't understand but makes statements about."
Morency says that she's proven herself as a leader in St. Armand.
"I believe in my experience and my abilities and my dedication to the residents of St. Armand and I put them up against Mr. Jones anytime," she said.