Schenectady County

Glenville candidates argue positions at forum

Candidates for town and county offices representing Glenville agreed on keeping taxes low, preservin

Candidates for town and county offices representing Glenville agreed on keeping taxes low, preserving services and increasing economic development Monday during a mostly low-key forum.

About 75 people attended the event, which was held at the Glenville Municipal Center and cosponsored by The League of Women Voters of Schenectady County and the American Association of University Women.

Republican incumbents Gina Wierzbowski and John Pytlovany are seeking re-election to the Glenville Town Board. There is one Democratic challenger, John Lockwood.

Wierzbowski was initially appointed to her seat in January 2010 after Chris Koetzle was elected supervisor the previous November, leaving his council seat midway through his four-year term. Wierzbowski was subsequently elected that November to complete the final year of his term.

Pytlovany joined the board in March after being appointed to replace Mark Quinn, who resigned to take a job with Schenectady County.

Wierzbowski, who is assistant chief for the Glenville Hill Fire Department, cited her work as liaison to the Public Works Department in helping redesign snow plow routes to save $50,000, preserving the bulk-item and leaf-pickup programs and creating a leaf-composting facility to save $10,000 in disposal costs.

Pytlovany cited his experience in finances. He put together 12 budgets for the Scotia Police Department during his tenure as chief, which ended in early 2010.

Lockwood, a public defender for Schenectady County, said he is running to provide some balance to the currently all-Republican board.

“I think different and new viewpoints are healthy for local government,” he said.

The candidates had slightly differing views on consolidation of town services. Lockwood and Wierzbowski were both concerned about the impact to the economy from jobs lost through consolidation. Pytlovany said consolidation of services either with the county or village should be looked at if the same or better service can be provided at a cheaper price.

Voters also heard from candidates for Schenectady County Legislature representing District 3, which comprises Glenville and Niskayuna.

Cathy Gatta, Cathryn Bern-Smith, and Thomas Constantine make up the Democratic ticket. On the Republican slate are James Buhrmaster, Michael Dieterich and Kurt Semon.

Buhrmaster, who is seeking his third term, said more Republicans are needed in the Schenectady County Legislature, which currently has 13 Democrats, two Republicans and one Conservative.

“The last five or six years at the county Legislature, we have gone to dictatorial rule and it’s not good,” he said.

All candidates advocated for more economic development through use of Metroplex dollars. Gatta said she wanted to see more manufacturing jobs, the type of jobs providing lifelong employment.

Constantine also advocated for a variety of businesses. “I don’t believe all that money should be going to taverns and restaurants and bars,” he said.

Regarding the issue of a central county dispatch center, Buhrmaster agreed that the current proposal is not fair to Glenville. Constantine, a retired Niskayuna police officer and current assistant director of campus safety and security at Union College, said all the parties should go out on a retreat for 72 hours to come up with a solution acceptable to everybody.

Bern-Smith, who works for the state Senate and is former director of the county Long-Term Care Office, said that experience would serve her well in the Legislature. Niskayuna and Glenville have a large population of senior citizens.

She said she supported building the new Glendale Home.

Democrat Michele Fazio-Draves, who is running for town clerk, spoke about her desire to open the office to more nontraditional hours and offer online services. Incumbent Linda Neals, who was not present, sent a letter pointing to her experience, which includes serving as town clerk since her appointment in 2002, deputy clerk before that and deputy village clerk in Scotia from 1989 to 1996.

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