Business owner Mike Cinquanti announced Thursday, via social media, his intention to run for mayor of Amsterdam.
Cinquanti, the president and majority shareholder of the Genium Publishing Corp., said he intends to run in the Independence Party primary for Amsterdam mayor against incumbent Mayor Michael Villa.
“I’ve got 35 years of management experience. I’ve lived here all my life. I love the city,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to get more involved with the city. I’ve always thought about running for mayor when I had the time to do so.”
Cinquanti, 65, said he’s a registered member of the Independence Party, but he intends to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party for the mayor’s race. He said he was originally registered as a Democrat before changing his party affiliation around the year 2000.
Former Deputy Mayor Chad Majewski, a Democrat from the 3rd Ward who is chairman of the city Democratic committee, said for Cinquanti to run as a Democrat in November he will need to receive the nomination of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. Majewski said the Amsterdam City Democratic Committee will meet early next week and decide whether or not to endorse Cinquanti.
Cinquanti said he served two separate terms on the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of education, once in the 1980s and again in the early 2000s. He said he also serves as one of the founding board members of the Liberty Fresh Market and volunteers for other community activities.
Describing his private sector career, Cinquanti said his company Genium Publishing Corp. began as a division of GE Global Research, a department in charge of producing non-proprietary technical manuals sold to other businesses. He said in 1984 GE was looking to shut down the operation, but agreed to sell it to the employees working on the manuals if Cinquanti was willing to be the president of the company. He said he took the job and majority shareholder position in the new venture and has operated the business ever since. He said Genium used to have a brick and mortar location in Schenectady, but now operates out of his basement at his Amsterdam home, only producing a few profitable products — curriculum guides, pocket guides for factory floors, among others — and the business has substantially “wound down.” He said if he’s elected he will still run the business as long as his long-term customers want its products, but he doesn’t anticipate it taking up much of his time.
Cinquanti said he has no specific criticism of Villa’s administration, but said he believes his ability to solve problems in the private sector will translate into better management of the city’s difficulties, including its estimated $9 million deficit.
Villa has signaled he will likely propose a 2019-20 budget with a property tax levy increase in the range of 10 to 12 percent, in accordance with the advice of the city’s consultant Municipal Solutions.
Cinquanti said he knows that taxes have to be increased, but he wants spending cuts to be a part of the city’s plan to close its budget deficit.
“It can’t all be put on the backs of the taxpayers,” he said.
When asked whether he would ever consider abolishing one of the city’s departments in order to reduce spending, Cinquanti said he intends to leave “all options on the table” as mayor. He said he isn’t certain what he thinks about the city’s Municipal Golf Course, Villa’s plan for the city to operate a bar restaurant at the Muni Club House or about the fire department ambulance service. He said he needs more information about each of those topics before he can come to a conclusion about them.
Cinquanti said he has researched the history of Amsterdam for three books he self-published, two featuring 800 birthdays of Amsterdam natives and one a list of top ten lists, which included top ten longest tenured mayors. He said he was a supporter of former Democratic mayor Ann Thane, voted for her at least once, but he can’t recall whether who he voted for during her race against Villa.
“I honestly don’t remember,” he said.
The city of Amsterdam is a majority Democratic city, with 3,776 registered Democrats and 2,432 registered Republicans.
Cinquanti said he intends to challenge Villa to a debate during his campaign for mayor.