It’s not an easy task for voters to pick members of a government board.
Not all candidates possess the same qualities or bring the same breadth of experience to the table.
Voters need a diverse board, one that brings different approaches, knowledge and stills to a team that ultimately will have a hand in deciding everything from how much taxes residents pay, to the quality of roads, to how many baseball fields the community has.
Voters not only have to look at the candidates individually, but also the role each individual will play in forming a board that will best serve their needs and the needs of the city.
Fortunately for voters in Schenectady, who will go to the polls Tuesday to elect four of the seven members of the City Council, they’ve got solid options among a variety of candidates.
In examining the records, experience and approaches of the seven candidates on the ballot, we recommend voters fill in the circles for political newcomer Carmel Patrick and incumbents Leesa Perazzo, John Polimeni and Vince Riggi,
This combination of talent, community involvement and experience will, we believe, enhance the current makeup of the board and provide the best council to continue the city’s forward progress.
Vince Riggi, a retired auto repair shop owner, is the most independent member of the current board, and he serves as the voice of the voiceless. He’s not afraid to speak up and challenge decisions and to ask tough questions of the mayor, fellow council members and city employees. We hope in his next term, he brings forth more ideas for solutions to complement his critiques.
Leesa Perazzo, the human resources director at Proctors, combines a deep understanding of the issues with a fervent interest in the details, while also being willing to challenge the status quo and go her own way when she feels strongly about an issue, such as with her proposal during the budget process to use more fund balance to lower taxes even further.
John Polimeni, a city native and college professor in Albany with a PhD from RPI, brings intellect, economic development background and research skills to the council, where he serves as chair of the Finance Committee. We’d like to see him get more aggressive on coming up with ways to cut spending and raise revenue, especially in his committee role, during his next term.
Political newcomer Carmel Patrick, a vice president at mi-Sci, is heavily involved in the community in numerous capacities, including libraries, youth activities, parks, music and downtown improvement.
She brings to the council a great understanding of the city and its neighborhoods, an articulate list of goals and solutions, and plans to help make people self-sustainable.
Of the candidates we didn’t endorse, we were most impressed with young entrepreneur Brendan Nally, who demonstrated a refreshing energy and understanding of local issues, particularly regarding the struggles of those trying to start businesses and those just trying to get on their feet. If voters don’t put him on the council on Tuesday, the mayor would be wise to harness his interest, passion and knowledge in some other capacity until he’s ready to serve on the council or as mayor.
Incumbent Ed Kosiur didn’t put forth any fresh ideas or plans for cutting spending, and in fact seems a bit too eager to increase spending. And we’re concerned with his relationship with the county.
Challenger Rima Cerrone is heavily involved in the community and deserves praise for all she does for the city. But nonetheless, she didn’t offer many specifics about what she’d do in office.
When Schenectady voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they have a chance to make their government stronger, by supporting Vince Riggi, Leesa Perazzo, John Polimeni and Carmel Patrick for City Council.