At a crossroads in Thurman, campaign signs for candidates seeking local posts vie for the attention of motorists passing by.
General Election Day is here, bringing with it the conclusion to a variety of intriguing and dramatic 2013 campaigns for local public offices.
The highest-profile race in the county this year, full of passion and controversy, is for the chief executive post of one of the towns with the least population: Thurman.
Last year, Thurman Town Supervisor Evelyn Wood had received a considerable amount of praise for her handling various issues facing the town, including straightening out town finances and investing many hours in the effort to recover from the devastating, historic 2012 floods that washed out many roads and bridges in town, and to obtain grant funding to rebuild.
But she sparked considerable opposition in late 2012 when she and the town board voted against funding the local ambulance squad after the independent agency’s financial needs increased substantially, and regional emergency officials questioned the local agency’s financial viability. Wood and the town board also voted to discontinue municipal trash collection, based on the concept that local landowners who generated no trash were paying toward other residents’ trash collection and disposal — and that funding it would cause local tax rates to soar.
Retaining both the trash collection and funding for the ambulance corps would have prompted a tax increase of as much as 50 percent.
Many citizens, however, lobbied for taxpayer support of the squad.
The groundswell of public opposition to these actions prompted Haskell to run again, based on his pledge to renew support for the squad and reinstate trash collection.
The two Republicans faced off in the September G.O.P. primary, and Haskell won handily in a 159-78 vote tally.
Wood is listed on the ballot on the Democratic, Conservative and Independence lines. John Haskell is listed as the Republican candidate as well as an independent.
Haskell’s ability to assume office, if elected, has not yet been settled, as legal experts are divided on the issue. Haskell was removed from his supervisor post after his 2008 conviction for Defrauding the Government, a felony.
Wood has contended that Haskell is unable to hold office because of that conviction, and she and others say they are ready to challenge his ability to do so, if necessary. Legal experts are divided on the issue.
In neighboring Warrensburg, Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty (Rep., Con., Indpc.) — who serves as the county’s Chairman of the Board of Supervisors — is being challenged by former town supervisor Maynard Baker (Ind.), who gave Geraghty a formidable opposition for the post in 2009.
Geraghty is running on his record of effective leadership in both the town and county. He has been either county Budget Officer or Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in recent years, an era when he and others slashed expenses and trimmed payroll.
Baker is campaigning on issues of property rights and minimal government interference.
Baker has pledged to establish a hydropower station on the Schroon River, which he said would provide revenue for the town. Geraghty has said that the concept has been explored in the past, and is at this point impractical and could indebt the taxpayers. Baker has also pledged to keep the landfill open seven days a week, which Geraghty said would add to the town’s payroll expenses.
Baker has campaigned for lower taxes, but Geraghty has said in response that despite the spiraling costs of retirement and health care for town employees, he and the town board have crafted annual town budgets since 2006 that increased merely $10,000 per year average. He said this week that the town tax rate is now less than it was when Baker was in office in 1995.
In Bolton, two-term incumbent Town Supervisor Ron Conover (Rep., Indpc.), retired from the post of Director of Planning and Community Development for Rome, NY, faces a challenge by Kam Hoopes (Ind.), a former local Zoning Board of Appeals member and retired Finch-Pruyne executive. For the post of Bolton Highway Superintendent, three candidates are seeking to follow Tim Coon, who’s held the post for years but is now slated to retire. William A. Sherman (Dem.), will be facing off against Matthew R. Coon (Rep.) — Tim’s brother — and Anton F. Cooper (Cons.).
In Lake George, Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson (Rep., Indpc.) is running unopposed. In the contest for two town board seats, four candidates are competing. Incumbent councilman Vinnie Crocitto (Rep., Indpc.), is challenged by former county Public Works chief Fred Austin (Indpc.) retired teacher Nancy Stannard (Rep.) and Kevin J. Mulcahy (Ind.).
In Horicon, relatively new town board member Matthew J. Simpson (Rep., Indpc.) is running unchallenged for the position of town supervisor, with long-time supervisor Ralph Bentley slated for retirement. But there’s a three-way contest occurring for two Horicon town board seats. Long-term board members Frank Hill (Rep., Indpc.) and Robert Olson (Rep.) are facing a challenge by Georgia A. McMeekin (Ind.).
In Stony Creek, long-time Supervisor Frank E. Thomas (Rep.) is also unchallenged.
Incumbent Johnsburg Town Supervisor Ron Vanselow (Dem., Cons.) is facing off against with Curtis C. Richards (Ind.). For the post of Johnsburg Town Clerk, present Deputy Town Clerk Jo Ann Smith (Rep., Ind.) is challenged by Sharalee Falzerano (Dem., Ind.).
For two seats on the Johnsburg Town Board, Republicans Katharine Nightingale and Arnold Stevens are being challenged by Robert Nessle (Ind.).
For Johnsburg Town Justice, there’s a three-way race this year between incumbent Vincent Schiavone (Rep.), Howard E. Tucker Sr. (Rep.) and James W. Haker (Ind.).
In Queensbury, it’s a political free-for-all, where there’s a nine-way race this year for four at-large seats on the Warren County Board of Supervisors. Competing are incumbents David J. Strainer (Dem., Cons.), Matthew Sokol (Rep.), Mark Westcott (Rep., Cons., Ind.), and Bill Mason (Dem., Cons.) — challenged by present Queensbury Town Supervisor Ron Montesi (Ind.), W. Dean Boecher (Dem.), William Brown (Dem., Cons.), Rachel Seeber (Rep., Ind.), and Douglas N. Beaty (Rep., Ind.).
For the position of Queensbury Town Supervisor, John Strough (Dem., Cons.) is unopposed.
For Queensbury Town board’s Ward 4 seat, competing are incumbent Tim Brewer (Indpc.) challenged by former at-large county supervisor William
Van Ness (Rep.) who won the G.O.P. primary vote and endorsement in September, plus Jennifer Switzer (Dem.), who serves as the chief financial officer of EDC Warren County.
Running unopposed for two seats on the Thurman Town Board are contractor Mike Eddy (Rep., Ind. ) who has voiced support for Haskell, and newcomer Daniel E. Smith (Rep., Ind.). These two defeated incumbent Charles Bills (Rep.), in the September primary election. For Thurman Highway Superintendent, incumbent Patrick S. Wood (Rep.) is challenged by Howard Cook (Ind.).
For Warren County Judge & Surrogate, incumbent John S. Hall Jr. (Dem., Ind.), a native of Thurman and former Warrensburg attorney, is challenged this year by Ted Wilson, a court attorney for Washington County Court. (Rep., Con., Indpc.).