Saratoga County

Former Charlton supervisor St. John seeks to unseat incumbent Grattidge

This town doesn’t have a general election contest very often, but in November, town Supervisor Alan

This town doesn’t have a general election contest very often, but in November, town Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge is being challenged by former supervisor Paul St. John.

Alan Grattidge

POSITION SOUGHT: Charlton town supervisor

AGE: 56

BALLOT LINES: Republican, Conservative, Independence

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Graduate of SUNY Cobleskill; owner-operator of Charlton Suburban Services, an excavation company. Town councilman 1996-2005; town supervisor, 2006-present

PERSONAL: Married, two children in college

Paul St. John

POSITION SOUGHT: Charlton town supervisor

AGE: 71

BALLOT LINE: Broom Party

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE: Graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh; retired after 31 years with state Department of Transportation; concrete technologies consultant. Town councilman 1978-90; town Planning Board chairman 1991-94; town supervisor 1994-97

PERSONAL: Married, four grown children

St. John, who was supervisor from 1994-97, is running against Grattidge under the independent Broom Party banner, “to sweep the incumbent out.” Grattidge has the Republican and two other ballot lines.

St. John said the town government could be run more efficiently and in a more open manner, especially by giving department heads more leeway to cover small unanticipated expenses in their departments — something that now goes to the Town Board.

St. John, 71, a retired state Department of Transportation engineer, said he was asked to run by Town Board members Bruce Gardner and Douglas Salisbury, who have become disaffected with Grattidge, even though all of them are Republicans.

“I want to get a change to civility back in government,” St. John said. “I want to try to make government more friendly, more open.”

St. John said town spending cuts may be needed, even though the town has been without a property tax for nearly 30 years.

“The sales tax [revenue] is down, the mortgage tax is down,” he said. “If we keep dipping into the reserves, in two years we’re broke.”

He said the town should try to negotiate with Time Warner for high-speed Internet access in its rural areas and should resume a residential bulk item pickup that was eliminated this year to save money.

St. John acknowledged he plans to spend mid-January through early March in Arizona, but said he’ll fly back as needed.

“The rest of the year, I’m here,” he said.

If elected, St. John said he will donate his entire town salary to local charities like food banks.

Grattidge, 56, said voters have good reasons to re-elect him to a fourth two-year term.

“I want to see Charlton continue moving in the direction we’ve moved for the last six years,” he said. “We’ve provided services to residents without any town or highway tax.”

He said his accomplishments have included working with the Town Board to adopt the town’s first comprehensive land use plan, then following up with planning aimed at preserving the town’s agricultural areas.

“One of the things the people of Charlton want is to protect and preserve our rural character, and that means keeping working farms,” Grattidge said.

He said the town was also successful under his tenure in getting the new town hall built after decades of talk. “That building will serve the town for 100 years,” he said.

He was critical of St. John’s plan to spend winters in Arizona.

“I think the people of Charlton deserve to have a supervisor who’s there day to day. Practically every day you have something come up that needs the supervisor’s attention,” Grattidge said.

He wouldn’t match St. John’s proposal to donate his entire town salary — $11,465 a year — to charity.

“I work seven days a week on this job, and I have two children in college,” he said, noting that St. John also has a state pension.

Town Republican Chairman Adam Todd said the Republican committee, which endorsed Grattidge last spring over a challenge from Gardner, continues to support him.

“We feel he’s done a solid job for the town,” Todd said. “I sat down and talked to Paul St. John and I talked to the committee, and the committee saw no need to change.”

If re-elected, Grattidge would be in a position to move up into leadership on the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors over the next two years, potentially chairing the board in 2013.

Other than the Grattidge-St. John race, the Nov. 8 election has Republican candidates running unopposed, including incumbent Town Board members Sandy Verola and Bob Lippiello.

Categories: Schenectady County

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