It was an upbeat and optimistic Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature, John Parete, who opened the nominations at the August 13 Democratic Party Caucus in Olive. There were only three contested positions in the upcoming elections and four of his Party’s candidates to approve.
Parete, co-owner with his wife, Barbara, of the Boiceville Inn in Olive, is the patriarch of local political royalty whose sons, Richard and Robert, preceded him as members of the County Legislature. He presided over the meeting as a former Commissioner of the County’s Board of Elections for the Democratic Party introducing West Shokan resident, Paul Maloney, to nominate incumbent Town Supervisor, Sylvia Rozzelle, for another term in office.
Maloney, a custodian for the Onteora School District known to many as a bass player for The Pontiacs, Big Joe Fitz & The Lo-Fi’s and other area musical groups as well as his own singer-songwriter activities, presented a glowing appraisal of Rozzelle, the results of which could be seen as a reason Olive Republicans did not advance an opponent for her at their August 6 caucus.
Citing her “ability to make prudent, fiscally responsibility decisions, commitment to social and environmental causes, dynamic leadership qualities and an extensive knowledge of local, state and federal procedures, policies and protocol as they relate to town government” gathered in her 30 years as Olive Town Clerk, Maloney suggested Rozzelle would be a daunting foe for any challenger. In the past couple of years, he said, she’s secured $162,000 in grant funds, benefiting flood analysis studies and other town projects, which include streamlining a solar application process, and finalizing a six-figure FEMA hurricane claim to pay local contractors who have been waiting four years for reimbursement, among other accomplishments.
“She recognized that our skilled Highway Department employees are a significant and valuable resource,” Maloney said, “capable of repairing a landfill cap adhering to DEP regulations, which they completed for about $144,000 less than the lowest independent contractor’s bid.”
Maloney pointed out that Rozzelle has become such an omnipresent factor in Olive that a letter addressed to “Sylvia, West Shokan” was correctly delivered without zip code or any other identifying information.
Boggess, Melvin vs. Van Buren, Freidel for town board
The caucus nominated Drew Boggess and Bill Melvin to contend for the Olive Town Board positions of Republicans Donald Van Buren and Peter Friedel.
Boggess, who retired from Rotron in February has served as Chair for the Planning Board for nine years and represented Olive on the County Planning Board for the past two years, said that he felt it was time for him to serve at a higher level. Also a member of the town’s Flood Advisory Committee and the Central Catskill Collaborative supporting a Route 28 Scenic Byway, he added that he believed his engineering expertise will be a positive addition to the Town Board.
Melvin, an Onteora teacher, now retired and working as a ski instructor at Belleayre Ski Center as director of an adaptive program for disabled skiers, has managed the town’s swimming pool for several years for the Olive Recreation Committee and served as Treasurer for the local Democratic Party.
Also nominated for the Town Justice position vacated by Ronald Wright was Tanya Davis, an Olive resident since 2001 who graduated Albany Law School in 2010 and currently serves on the Onteora School Board. She will face John Kurz in the November election, who was nominated at the Republican caucus earlier this month. Conservatives will set their nominations at a caucus on August 28.
Supervisor Rozzelle urged residents to attend the September 8 Town Board meeting where State Senator James Seward will announce a project about which Rozzelle has been consulting with him, but would not identify before that time.
Venturing that local municipalities possess the “most responsive” form of government despite the tax cap the state has imposed to run local boards “out of business,” she said “I’m big on public involvement in the democratic process. It’s important for people to participate. All they have to do is come to express their opinions and go home; make their comments known.”