Shandaken GOP picks its slate

Donald Brewer (photo by Violet Snow)

Donald Brewer (photo by Violet Snow)

At their September 10 caucus, Shandaken Republicans packed the town hall as they chose Rob Stanley over Bob Cross as candidate for town supervisor. Donald Brewer and Russell Roefs were selected to run for town council, defeating a third nominee, Randy Ostrander. Brewer and Roefs will compete with Democrats Gael Alba and Peter DiSclafani for two seats on the town board, while Ostrander and Roefs will be on the ballot on the Conservative line. Republicans Jeffrey Feldman and John Horn are the candidates for two tax assessor positions.

Democratic picks for assessor were Dave Channon and Janice Baker, but Baker has dropped out and been replaced by Fionna Tanzillo, the runner-up at both caucuses. Eric Hofmeister was unopposed for highway superintendent, and Joyce Grant was unopposed for town clerk. Hofmeister, Grant, and Stanley also received nominations from the Democrats.

At the Republican caucus, Stanley was nominated by his father, Bob Stanley, who said simply, “He’s doing a good job, and I’m proud of him.” Declan Feehan put up the name of Bob Cross, saying that he had served previously as supervisor and “did a great job.”

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After nominations were closed, nominees were given the chance to speak for two minutes. Cross cited several accomplishments during his two terms as supervisor: completing a long-delayed comprehensive plan for the town; settling a lawsuit with New York City that allowed the town to raise the assessment of city-owned lands; obtaining extra funding from the city for the Phoenicia sewer project that was then lost by his opponent’s administration.

Stanley, running for a fourth two-year term, cited his own record of shepherding the town through natural disasters and obtaining grants for repairs and flood resilience. He commented, “Bob wants to rehash issues from ten years ago. Back then, people were boycotting businesses and not wanting talk to one another on the street. Now we can have a civil conversation. Town board meetings are not tumultuous, my door is open, and we talk about every issue.”

Former supervisor Wayne Gutmann nominated incumbent Joyce Grant for town clerk, saying, “In the past four years, she’s shown the town her efficiency, capability, and most of all, her pleasantness in meeting the townspeople and their requests.”

Grant said she was honored to serve the town and has tried to “save you money, time, and aggravation. If we can’t help you, we will find someone who can.”

Phoenicia’s water commissioner, Rick Ricciardella, nominated Eric Hofmeister for highway superintendent with the comment, “He’s done a fine job and will continue to do a good job.”

Hofmeister said he’s still working with FEMA on projects such as rebuilding five bridges that have been damaged by successive floods. “We’ll get them rebuilt properly so we won’t have to worry about next time. We have to build the town as resilient as possible. We’ll keep making the town better and stronger, able to survive another event like that.”

 

Town board

With two Republicans, Vin Bernstein and Alfie Higley, retiring from the town council, Joanne Kalb nominated Russell Roefs for councilman. The former owner of a string of businesses in Woodstock and more recently a restaurant in the Phoenicia Plaza, Roefs, who had previously served as a county legislator, has returned to town after a couple of years in the Philippines. “He had a business for a while in town, and he was nice to everybody,” said Kalb.

“Twenty-five years ago, you supported me for county legislator,” said Roefs. “I’ve been in business for 50 years, and I believe a town is nothing but a small business, and you folks are all partners in that business. It’s time we move Shandaken in a positive direction, think about the taxpayers, how we’re going to live and become the best town in the state. I’m retired, and I’m back in town to stay, with my wife and young daughter.”

Tom Tintle proposed surveyor and planning board member Donald Brewer for councilman. “He teaches college, and he’s an all around nice guy who will do the town well. He’s a flood control manager, and I don’t know a bigger problem in town than flood control.”

Brewer, who once served on the Rosendale town board, remarked, “I had great mentors who taught me I had to give back. I teach my students at the college, if they’re going to be a professional, they have to serve and be a leader in their community. I enjoy all the people in our town. We have some characters, but that makes it our town. I have no hidden agendas, and I have a passion to serve.”

Barbara Lumbaca nominated Randy Ostrander. “He’s self-employed and spends a lot of time working hard, learning how to conserve money, time, and taxes.  He would work hard to prevent waste.”

Ostrander spoke briefly, saying, “I’m the third generation of Ostranders in the town of Shandaken. I’m a hard worker, and I will listen to you and support you every day of the week.”

 

Tax assessor

Two of the three tax assessor positions are being vacated by Heidi Clark and Carol Seitz. To replace one of them, Tony Eisenbeil nominated Jeff Feldman. “He’s been with us for over ten years, he’s retired, and he had a law firm in the city for 30 years. He wants to give back to Shandaken.”

Feldman said when he escaped the city for Woodland Valley, “it was the best move I ever made. I would like to participate. If people in the city knew what it was like to live here, we’d have two million people, and Donald Trump would be supervisor.”

Gutmann proposed Fionna Tanzillo, saying she had assisted in the care of his mother, who recently died at 103. “In that kind of care, you get to know someone really well,” said Gutman. “Fionna is deliberate, considerate, pleasant, and has a serious management background. She cares about people and has the ability to handle numbers.”

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Tanzillo cited her six years as a juvenile police officer in Yonkers and five years as a district manager for J.C. Penney. She came to Shandaken seven years ago and ran two businesses. “Now I own my own business, which is booming. I would like to help this town build and become — actually, I think she already is — the best town in New York State.”

A third assessor nomination came from Al Peck, who suggested caucus chairman John Horn. “He has experience dealing with assessment cases, and he has a real estate license and an engineer’s license.”

 

75 votes

Seventy-five Republicans voted in the caucus. The tallies were: for supervisor, 45 for Rob Stanley and 30 for Bob Cross; for council member, 52 for Don Brewer, 46 for Russell Roefs, and 28 for Randy Ostrander; for assessor, 51 for Jeffrey Feldman, 50 for John Horn, and 26 for Fionna Tanzillo.

While the votes were being counted, Ulster County Executive candidate Terry Bernardo spoke to the assembly, emphasizing her support for the railroad headquartered in Phoenicia. “My opponent wants to take up the rails and putting in walking trails,” she said, referring to incumbent Mike Hein’s determination to develop the rail trail. “We need to save the historic tracks. The millions of dollars he says it will take to restore them — that’s not true. I have many other reasons for running, but I’ll leave you with that. My campaign is called ‘On Track for Victory.’ It’s a labor of love.”