Skidmore College business professor Minita Sanghvi will be the Democratic party’s nominee for city finance commissioner, she and party officials announced last week.
Sanghvi and Republican Joanne Kiernan will be competing in the November election for the part-time position overseeing the city finances, which is open this year with incumbent Democrat Michele Madigan’s decision not to seek re-election, after a decade in office.
The city’s finances have generally been strong over the years, but they took a hard hit over the last year, with millions of dollars in losses due to business disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, Sanghvi acknowledged the city faces major challenges.
“This past year has shown how fragile our city’s economy is,” Sanghvi said. “We need to implement bold, new ideas to bolster the local economy, safeguard the city’s resources and bring more voices to the table. My goals are clear — build the city’s finances back better, bolster small business and create an inclusive Saratoga.”
Sanghvi, a tenured business professor at Skidmore, has lived in Saratoga Springs with her family since 2014. She currently sits on the Saratoga Springs Public Library board of trustees, on which she is finance officer. She served on the city’s 2016-17 Charter Review Commission, and is a founding member of the Saratoga Springs Human Rights Task Force.
In the private sector, Sanghvi has worked for Leo Burnett, one of the world’s largest ad agencies, for CARQUEST and for Wal-Mart.
“I’m ready to work. It’s clear we need to focus on contingency options to support our city’s finances. As commissioner of finance I will also work with federal, state and county agencies to invest in our infrastructure and climate initiatives,” Sanghvi said. “I’ll put my business experience to work to help support the lifeblood of our city’s economy — our entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
She said she wants to create new tourism and arts opportunities, encourage more women- and minority-owned businesses, and support diverse voices.
Kiernan, the Republican, announced her candidacy in March. Kiernan is a certified public accountant who serves on the Saratoga Springs Board of Education.
“The COVID-19 pandemic was a tremendous hardship for our businesses and community as a whole and we have come together like never before to support one another,” Kiernan said at the time. “We’re a resilient community. I’m confident I can bring my experience of business and financial planning to lead the city on a course of sustained success beyond the pandemic.”
With four of the five City Council seats due to be vacant because of retirements, the Democrats are fielding a full slate of candidates including Ron Kim for mayor, Dillon Moran for accounts commissioner, Dominique Yermolayev for commissioner of public works, and Jim Montagnino for commissioner of public safety.
Other Republican candidates are Heidi West for mayor, Tracey LaBelle for public safety commissioner, and Samantha Guerra for accounts commissioner. Incumbent Republican Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco is the only incumbent commissioner seeking re-election.
Each commissioner oversees an aspect of city operations, while the four commissioners and the mayor function together as the City Council. Each earns $14,000 annually.