After toying with the concept of running for mayor for almost two decades, Rondout painting contractor and community activist Joe Marchetti will be the Republican candidate to be Kingston’s alderman-at-large in November. Marchetti, who ran for mayor as an independent in 1983, was selected by the Republican city committee on vacancies last month after convention nominee Mike Gill declined.
Marchetti remains a non-enrolled voter, but will appear on the GOP line for alderman-at-large. He will face 10-year incumbent Democrat Jim Noble, who led the ticket for re-election four years ago.
Marchetti has teamed up with party mayoral nominee and First Ward Alderwoman Andi Turco-Levin, who cited his “enthusiasm and the best work ethic I’ve ever seen.” She called Marchetti “a Rondout pioneer who staked his ground and stood up for his community.”
“I’m very happy to have Joe as a running mate,” she said.
Turco-Levin will face challengers Rich Cahill, Ron Polacco and Jean Jacobs in a GOP Sept. 13 primary for mayor. Marchetti will be on the ballot regardless of who wins the mayoral primary.
While calling Noble “a nice guy,” Marchetti said the incumbent has been ineffectual and largely invisible. “He’s had 10 years to make this position more than it is and he hasn’t done it,” Marchetti said. “This position needs to matter. It doesn’t right now.”
Marchetti said he would be an outspoken advocate on a wide range of issues, particularly business issues. But he said he would not supersede the mayor. “You have to be out there. You have to be somewhat relentless. You have to be part of the fight,” he said.
Noble, a plumbing and heating contractor, said he brings a wealth of experience to the position, including several terms as an alderman and as an appointee to several city agencies.
He said as alderman-at-large he has tried to be fair with council members, regardless of political affiliation, and the public. He said he might be “my own worst enemy” in not speaking out on issues, but that does not mean he is not intimately involved. Noble said he is “fully qualified” to step in as mayor should circumstances warrant and best prepared to guide the legislative branch during “tough times ahead.”
City Democratic party Chairman Frank Cardinale extolled his candidate who he claimed has displayed many of the qualities Marchetti says he’ll bring to the office.
‘A misunderstood office’
“People don’t know what goes on at City Hall, they don’t know the role he plays. He’s been in the trenches,” Cardinale said. “It’s a misunderstood office.”
Noble, an alderman at the time, succeeded Mayor Jim Sottile as alderman-at-large in 2002, and was his running mate in 2003 and 2007.
Cardinale said Noble has been a close advisor to the mayor and has participated in many of the major decisions during his administration. Though not seeking re-election, Sottile had recommended Noble as his party’s candidate for mayor. Noble declined.
Speaking to Noble’s public persona, Cardinale said, “He’s not a big press guy. He doesn’t blow his own horn. He does the work that needs to be done but generally doesn’t get any credit for it.”
The alderman-at-large has limited duties under the charter. He appoints Common Council committees and presides over council meetings, voting only to break ties. By charter the alderman-at-large succeeds the mayor when a vacancy occurs.
Marchetti takes the position that if the alderman-at-large doesn’t become more relevant the position should be eliminated.
“It comes down to one of two things,” he said. “If you’re going to have the position, make it matter. If not, do away with it. In reality, the city clerk could do what the alderman-at-large does now.” Noble does not agree.
The alderman-at-large serves a four-year term, with a salary of $8,000 a year.