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Malta Town Board race seeing crowded GOP field

Malta Town Board race seeing crowded GOP field

It’s looking like there could be a crowded field for the Republican nominations for two Malta Town B

It’s looking like there could be a crowded field for the Republican nominations for two Malta Town Board seats.

Incumbents Peter Klotz and Tara Thomas are both expected to run for new four-year terms, but at least three others have also submitted resumes seeking the seats, said town Republican Chairman Ted Willette.

They include town Tax Collector Lynda Bablin, current Deputy Supervisor Craig Warner, and Timothy Dunn, vice-president of Zone 5, a marketing and communications company in Albany. And more may come forward.

“It is a growing field,” Willette said Tuesday.

A Town Board contest would come as the board wrestles publicly with how to address financial and operational problems at the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where GlobalFoundries is located. The owners have asked for zoning changes to make it easier to attract potential tenants.

Bablin, a former village trustee and mayor in Hudson Falls, moved to Malta in 2004 and was elected tax collector four years ago. She has had a very public feud with Town Clerk Flo Sickels, accusing her of ethical improprieties.

“I don’t believe the people on the Town Board truly represent the taxpayers of the town of Malta,” Bablin said. “I want to bring integrity back to the board, and transparency.”

Bablin, 56, is vice president of the government banking division for First Niagara. She said the town needs to be paid money it is owed for maintaining tech campus roads before the campus is given any further assistance.

Warner, 59, was named to the non-voting position of deputy supervisor by Supervisor Paul Sausville in 2004. He works for General Electric’s water and power division in Schenectady.

“I thought about running for supervisor, but decided I could accomplish more on the Town Board,” he said.

He also said the town needs to collect the several hundred thousand dollars it is owed for tech campus road maintenance, but he feels the uses in the tech park should be expanded to cover small technology businesses and corporate offices.

“At this stage, it’s too controlled,” he said.

The potential newcomer to town government would be Dunn. He said his experience in economic development is a strong qualification for running. The 36-year-old worked for several years at Mohawk Valley EDGE, the economic development agency for the Utica area, and was there when it was competing with the Luther Forest Technology Campus for what is now GlobalFoundries.

“The town is facing big issues,” Dunn said. “I have a deep background in the semiconductor industry and government service, so I bring the right skills.”

“I’m running for my own reasons. I’m not running against anybody,” he said.

The two incumbents, however, believe they should be returned to office.

Klotz, 58, pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, said he has 25 years of experience in the town’s emergency services and planning process, including eight years on the Town Board.

“I think my familiarity with Luther Forest is a plus,” Klotz said. “I was around for its original development and adoption, so as we consider changes, I have the background and experience to know why things were done the way they were as we go forward considering changes.”

Thomas, who has also been on the board for eight years, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The Republican Committee will interview Town Board candidates March 22, at the same time it considers candidates for town supervisor and other offices. Willette said he doesn’t expect committee endorsements to end things, however.

“I would expect there will be a primary,” he said.

“You have to at all times listen to the residents. It’s their town.”

With Sausville not seeking re-election, former Shenendehowa principal Vincent DeLucia and Mark Luciano, now on the staff of Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, are seeking the Republican nomination for the supervisor’s seat.

Republicans currently hold all town offices, but Democrats are expected to field candidates this fall.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 885-6705, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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