Former Fulton County Treasurer Allen Bohne this week endorsed political newcomer Edger “Terry” Blodgett in his bid to become the next county treasurer.
Bohne served as county treasurer from 1979 to 1991 and is also the former chairman of the Fulton County Republican Committee. Blodgett faces Johnstown 4th Ward Supervisor James Callery in the Republican Party primary Sept. 15.
Bohne said the primary battle between Blodgett and Callery is an important moment in county history because it’s the first time since the general election of 1981 county voters will have a choice between candidates for treasurer. He’s backing Blodgett because he was impressed with his financial experience, which includes working as assistant vice president for consumer lending for HSBC Beneficial in Saratoga Springs, a job in which Blodgett says he had 10 managers under him and $350 million worth of assets.
“I think Terry has more qualifications. I don’t know about Callery, I don’t know if he could do the job if he did take it. If he doesn’t have a good deputy he could be in big trouble because the treasurer’s job is not the easiest job in the world,” Bohne said.
Blodgett said after members of the Republican Party came to him and asked him to run in the Republican primary, he went to Bohne for advice about the job and how to run for treasurer.
“Al gave me a real good heads up about the job. Basically, he’s been my mentor through this thing,” Blodgett said.
If Blodgett defeats Callery in the Republican primary, he’ll face Callery again in the general election. Callery is running unopposed in the Conservative Party primary, ensuring him a spot on the November ballot. No Democrat is running.
Callery said the treasurer’s job is very different from when Bohne held the office and his many terms as chairman of the county Finance Committee give him greater insight into how to do the job today.
“The accounting end of it is totally different with all of the stimulus money we’ve got to keep track of and everything else. I feel I’m quite qualified. A lot of things have changed, new computers and everything else,” he said.
Blodgett called into question Callery’s recent decision to sponsor a resolution to waive the county’s “60-mile” rule to enable supervisors to stay overnight in Saratoga Springs at taxpayer expense during the New York State Association of Counties meeting in September. The rule prohibits county officials from being reimbursed for travel or lodging within 60 miles of Fulton County.
“Obviously I’m concerned that the taxpayers’ money could be used for something it shouldn’t be used for. Why would he even make that resolution? That’s what really bothers me, especially in these economic times, we should be trying to save our money for the county’s people,” he said.
Callery said he was never really in favor of the resolution he sponsored, which failed when no supervisor would second it at the board’s Aug. 10 meeting. He said he put the resolution forward from the Finance Committee he chairs only so that the full board could debate the issue.
“I wanted to put it out for all the supervisors — I’m not going to be there next year, naturally, when I’m going to be treasurer — and to have them debate it and vote on it. I didn’t want a six-member committee to shoot it down either way,” Callery said.
Blodgett said he’d like to set up a debate with Callery, possibly on the WENT radio station. “I would love to have a debate with Mr. Callery. That should happen very shortly. I haven’t heard anything from the Callery campaign yet, but I’m all in favor of that,” he said.
Callery said he’s not hiding from Blodgett and he’s easy to reach. He said he will debate him. “I can’t understand why he can’t get ahold of me. My number is posted in the newspaper [frequently].”
The office of Fulton County treasurer came open in December when Bruce Ellsworth retired to take the job of business manager for the Northville Central School District. The Fulton County Board of Supervisors, in a move criticized by some Democrats, passed home rule legislation last year to allow the board to appoint a treasurer for one year before holding a special election in November for the remaining two years of Ellsworth’s term.
In January the board voted to appoint Assistant Deputy Treasurer Michelle Ippoliti to serve as interim treasurer for 2009.
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Categories: Schenectady County