Ulster Town Supervisor James E. Quigley III is hoping his on-again, off-again relationship with town government will remain on for another term. After deciding earlier this year to not seek election to a third consecutive term – including suddenly submitting then retracting his resignation letter in late April – Quigley switched gears on Friday, July 24 and announced plans to earn his way onto the Republican line at November’s elections.
“I asked for re-election yesterday morning,” Quigley said on Friday afternoon. “I advised Mr. [Jim] Maloney of the Town of Ulster Republican Party that I will be seeking at caucus the Republican endorsement for supervisor.”
Just two weeks ago, the Town of Ulster Republican Committee announced its list of endorsements, including a familiar face they hoped would step comfortably into a role he once held: Former Supervisor Fred Wadnola held the office from 2002-2005. But the town GOP has yet to hold their caucus, and Quigley said he’s hoping his track record in office will help him earn the party endorsement prior to the general election.
“Let’s focus on the future of the Town of Ulster and the benefits that my skill-set brings to the Town of Ulster,” Quigley said, adding that he feels he’s ideally suited to help the sale of TechCity, the 258-acre former IBM facility, go through in a way that would benefit both its current owner, Alan Ginsberg, and the town.
“Over the last six weeks since Mr. Ginsberg put the TechCity property into the market, he’s convinced me he’s committed to completing a transaction on the property,” Quigley said. “There have been a couple of prospective buyers through my office that I know from who they are they have the financial wherewithal and the skill-set to redevelop the property. I think that’s an exciting opportunity for the Town of Ulster.”
Quigley said he’s proven over the five-and-a-half years he’s been in office that he’s good for business.
“Look at my track record in the Town of Ulster in the last five years in economic development of what we’ve accomplished, who we’ve actually attracted, and who we’ve attempted to attract, and I think all those attributes that I bring to the table will assist Mr. Ginsberg and the Town of Ulster in bringing this property back to life,” he said.
The other candidates unanimously endorsed by the town’s Republican committee earlier in July are all incumbents, including Councilman/Deputy Supervisor Eric Kitchen, Councilman Joel Brink, Town Clerk Linda McDonough, Town Justice Marsha Weiss and Highway Superintendent Frank Petramale. The nominations were expected to be officially formalized at a GOP caucus later in the summer, but that was before Quigley decided to run again. Now, the supervisor said, the caucus should be “very active.”
“I think at the present time the Republicans in the Town of Ulster will be presented with several choices,” Quigley said. “Mr. Wadnola, a very capable supervisor in his time, is still going to be on the ballot. He has not advised me he is getting off the ballot. So the citizens in the town of Ulster will have an opportunity to select who they think is the best candidate.”
Quigley added that there may be a challenger to McDonough at the caucus as well; Quigley has had a fractious relationship with the clerk’s office since McDonough was appointed to replace Jason Cosenza, who stepped down from his post.
“The town Republicans are going to be well served by this caucus so that they can make a choice that they want to make, not a choice that the Town Republican Committee made on their behalf,” Quigley said. “At the end of the day, this whole issue of my contention with the town clerk is in the hands of the Republican voters. And so is my future, and I’m willing to accept what the voters say. If they feel I have done a bad job and they want to bring back Mr. Wadnola, and they want to bring back his experience from 10 years ago, I can’t argue with that. The voters are always right. I call on Mr. Maloney to call a Republican caucus as soon as possible so that we can get on with the future of the town and not have to be worried about politics.”
Quigley said he’s twice been convinced by members of the community to stay in office after initially deciding to step away: Once in 2013 when he planned to step away at the end of his second term, and again earlier this year when he withdrew his resignation. But he said his indecision about staying in office in the distant and recent past is not indicative of his commitment to the town and the office of the supervisor.
“I will admit, I’m a very good businessman and a lousy politician,” he said. “I speak my mind and sometimes it’s not politically correct. I make quick decisions I sometimes have to change. That’s who I am. I can’t change that.”