Saratoga County

Political staffer challenges longtime Clifton Park supervisor

The race for town supervisor could be seen as a referendum on the past 12 years, which is fine with

The race for town supervisor could be seen as a referendum on the past 12 years, which is fine with both candidates.

Philip Barrett

Age: 44

Ballot Lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence

Education: B.S. in business administration from Providence

Experience: Military officer and career in banking; currently a vice president for Key Bank; town supervisor for six terms

Family: Single with three “wonderful children”

Marty O’Connor

Age: 54

Education: B.A. in political science and psychology from SUNY-Brockport, M.A. in political administration from Syracuse

Experience: Staff member in NYS Legislature; worked for state’s Legislative Commission on Expenditure Review; executive deputy to PEF president

Family: Married with adult son and daughter

The Nov. 8 election pits six-term incumbent Republican Philip Barrett against Democratic challenger Marty O’Connor in a rematch of the 1999 campaign.

O’Connor said he is running for office again because he feels the town needs to be put on a different course. “I’m running because I think we need a new direction in Clifton Park,” he said. “I don’t think we have a direction right now. This Town Board tends to stumble from one thing to the next.”

As evidence, he described what he calls a failure to create new baseball fields after it was clear the town wanted more fields and the Town Board even bought land. He argued that the idea never became reality because of a lack of planning.

One of the key platforms for O’Connor is a pledge to make the town run more efficiently, which he said would start with more shared services. Additionally, he said that the various town governments are a waste of money and should be consolidated.

O’Connor feels he is qualified to take on these challenges because he has a master’s degree in political administration, worked as a staff member in the state Legislature, audited programs for the Legislative Commission on Expenditure Review and has been employed for the last 22 years with the Public Employees Federation.

For Barrett, his 12 years in office are what he wants to be judged on.

“I have proven experience in the position of town supervisor,” he said. “If you look at our record over the last 12 years you’ll see a record of delivering results.”

He said there are a few things that need to be tackled immediately, including the continued streamlining of the town government and the completion of the Crescent Road trail project. He added that development of the Exit 9 area is ongoing and he wants to coordinate that.

Barrett also touted the town’s development under his tenure, which he said was made possible by the business climate he created.

Whoever wins the position of supervisor could have new responsibilities next year, as the tentative 2012 budget combines that job with the town administrator position. The administrator position, which pays about $100,000, was vacated earlier this year and has remained unfilled. The new job will pay about $90,000 a year, approximately a $70,000 increase over the town supervisor position, which is now part time.

Barrett said the decision to combine the jobs stemmed from the desire to save money. He argued that the size of the town mandated that someone take over the responsibilities. If re-elected, he said he would become a full-time supervisor and leave his job at Key Bank.

O’Connor said he would not leave his job with PEF and suggested the town might not need to fill the administrator position. He noted that the town has survived for months with the position vacant.

The other contested Town Board race is for a seat on the council held by Republican Scott Hughes, who is running against Democrat Wanda Zygmuntowicz. Hughes appears on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines and Zygmuntowicz is running as a Democrat and Working Families candidate.

Categories: Schenectady County

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