Rounding out the field of candidates for office in the Town of Shandaken, we have town clerk Laurilyn Frasier running for reelection against Lois Lapinski and Joyce Grant; highway superintendent Eric Hofmeister challenged by Keith Johnson, who formerly held the position; and two unopposed assessors, Heidi Clark and Carol Seitz, wishing to keep their posts.
We interviewed the contenders for town clerk and highway super, asking for their qualifications and reasons for running.
Having started and run three local businesses, Democratic nominee for town clerk Joyce Grant is confident that she has the expertise to run the town clerk’s office, while bringing “professionalism, courtesy, and efficiency” to the position. A resident of Chichester since 1971 and a graduate of Onteora High School, Grant says her mother and husband were both born in Shandaken.
She started Dustbusters Cleaning Service in 1984, when “there was no work in town for women with kids and without cars. It was a great opportunity for the women. Some of them went on to better jobs. I often worked along with them.” She supervised 14 employees in the business, which is now run by her son and his wife.
Grant also created the Phoenicia Antique Center and Auction Service and ran it from 1991 to 2000. She wrote a book on New York World’s Fair collectibles. With the advent of the Internet, she shifted to an online business specializing in vintage toys and continues to operate Timewarptoys.com, which she says she can easily do on evenings and weekends.
Her volunteer positions in the community have included serving as a Girl Scout leader and as PTA co-president and treasurer.
“When I see a need for something, I do it,” she stated. “I have a lot of energy and a positive attitude.”
As town clerk, she would like to expand the office hours to include one Saturday a month to accommodate second-homeowners and to train all staff to be notary publics. “I would like to have the office be more active in states of emergency,” she noted. “We could take calls and give out information. I would look into making the town hall a wi-fi spot.”
In her campaign literature, she includes as one of her goals, “Restore harmony to the town clerk’s office which will help in achieving a more efficient and functional government.”
Grant will be on the ballot on the Democratic, Conservative, and Independence Party lines.
Republican candidate Laurilyn Frasier is in her 24th year as Shandaken’s town clerk, having served as deputy town clerk for the eight preceding years. She described her job as “one of my passions. I love solving problems and dealing with the records and history of the town.”
She said she was the first woman to hold the post of town clerk in Shandaken, adding that the last two men in the position were supported by their wives as deputies, including her husband, Charles Frasier. They have been married 38 years and have four children and seven grandchildren. She is a lifelong resident of the Catskills and has lived in Phoenicia for 30 years.
Frasier has attended trainings to obtain certification as a New York State Municipal Clerk through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and is now a master municipal clerk. “I keep up with all the records management classes,” she said, “learning inventory and planning and GIS. I’ve gotten over $100,000 in grants through records management.”
In 2003 and 2004, she was on the Dean’s List at Tompkins-Cortland Community College, while obtaining her A.D. degree in applied science, paralegal. This training is useful, she said, as “I’m constantly looking up laws, and I write resolutions for town board meetings, which are legal documents.”
Other town-related activities include overseeing the food pantry, the health equipment lending shed, and the dog kennel. She was a Girl Scout leader for 13 years and has volunteered for the American Cancer Society, as well as running bike rides to raise funds for several organizations. She and her husband were among the founders and builders of Glenbrook Park, raising $30,000 in grants for the park’s creation.
As town clerk, she expanded the office hours from four days a week to five, and by appointment on evenings and weekends. In 1986, she said, she had the first computer in the town hall. The following year, she instituted the first computerized tax program in Ulster County, and she adopted records management in 1988.
“I’ve served the town over half my life,” said Frasier. “I love doing this stuff. It’s in me.”