McKenna seeks reelection as Woodstock supervisor as Moran aims for a write-in return

Bill McKenna and Jeff Moran. (Photos by Dion Ogust)

Woodstock voters will decide between incumbent town supervisor Bill McKenna and write-in candidate and former supervisor Jeff Moran for the top town seat while all others are running unopposed. Both tout their records while Moran says he’s the one who can devote the time needed for the job.

Bill McKenna is seeking his second elected term as supervisor, having been appointed to the job in January 2017 to replace the late Jeremy Wilber, Woodstock’s longest-serving supervisor.

“I think I have a proven track record,” McKenna said, differentiating him from Moran.


“I’ve successfully overseen completion of all three major projects in town and a lot of smaller ones.”

McKenna was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, is married to Hilary and has a son, Gabriel and a stepson, Jory. He has served on the Planning Board and as a town councilman.

McKenna stressed the importance of having a good financial base and touted being one of the first supervisors in 55 years to have a Comprehensive Plan. Based on its recommendations, committees for housing, telecommunications, complete streets and zoning revision have formed.

Another major accomplishment he touts is the town takeover of the cemetery after its board disbanded amid fiscal difficulties. “People tell me it’s never looked better,” McKenna said.

The supervisor said he wants to see more affordable housing and hopes the Housing Committee comes up with some recommendations.

“I was one of the most vocal supporters of RUPCO,” he said, referring to the Woodstock Commons development behind Bradley Meadows. Initially a highly controversial affordable-housing project, most townspeople have since embraced it.

McKenna sounded the alarm bells when state audits found budget shortfalls in 2011, during Moran’s tenure.

“I really had to push to control spending and rein it in,” he said.

McKenna sees Woodstock on the upswing. “In the past Woodstock suffered through hard times with many vacant shops and few music venues,” he wrote in a letter to the editor. “Today we experience a different Woodstock with a vibrant economic center.  Many of our older buildings have been remodeled and repurposed. Live music can be enjoyed in a number of venues such as Levon Helm Studios, the Station Bar and Curio and Colony, a building that sat vacant for years. We all watch in anticipation as life is breathed back into the Bearsville Center…for the first time in years many shop owners are responding that they are have had good seasons.”

It’s a full-time job

Jeff Moran, who was supervisor from 2008 through 2011, is seeking the job again as a write-in candidate. Moran is a 30-year resident of Woodstock and is married to photographer Dion Ogust. He has done work in commercials, silversmithing and the construction industry.

Moran, who pledged not to say anything negative about McKenna, said being supervisor is a full-time job and he can devote the time to do it. McKenna also runs a construction business. “I found it very difficult if not impossible to do anything but devote my time to being supervisor,” he said.
Moran recalled asking Wilber if it was possible to do the job part-time.

“He said you can try but you’ll find it’s a full-time job,” Moran said. “I don’t see that the job would’ve changed so much that it wouldn’t require full-time.”

Moran said the work of a supervisor involves meetings during the day with citizens and department heads.

McKenna has said he puts in a 40-hour week conducting town business, working at least four to five hours per weekday and also comes in on the weekends.

“I don’t say the town is a disaster because Bill is a full-time contractor, but things have slipped through the cracks,” Moran said, questioning why it took the Town Board two years to respond to a package of zoning changes recommended by the Planning Board.

He said depending on board members, who are part-time, to do much of the heavy lifting is not responsible.

“I think you could accelerate that process with a little more focus and attention,” he said.

Moran cites successful projects undertaken during his administration by the various Supervisor’s Task Forces, including Comeau Trails, Beautification, Dog Park, Economic Development as well as refinancing the municipal bond at more favorable rates and renegotiating a sale of California Quarry land to the Open Space Institute.

While Moran touts his ability to manage a municipal budget, a significant shortfall happened under his watch in 2011. It was discovered the highway fund was short $250,000 and the general fund was missing $150,000. Nobody was able to determine exactly where the money went. Those shortfalls, combined with other math errors turned a proposed 2012 budget that was under the state cap into one that increased taxes almost 8 percent. Moran had proposed unpopular fixes that included eliminating police dispatch and utilizing the county 911 system instead. Cuts were made elsewhere.

Moran has blamed the town’s accounting software but McKenna points out it is still in use and no problems have surfaced since then.


Councilwoman Laura Ricci and Councilman Reggie Earls are running unopposed for two Town Board seats, as are Town Clerk Jackie Earley and Highway Superintendent Mike Reynolds for their positions. Ulster County Legislature Majority Leader Jonathan Heppner, who represents Woodstock and part of Hurley, is also running unopposed.

There are 4 comments

  1. Patricia Shifrin

    This article is so full of misrepresentations and outright mistakes it’s appalling that it has been published (or republished, as it initially appeared in an earlier edition of your paper several weeks ago.) The fact that you would actually publish this the week of the election, with no recourse for people to write and correct the record prior to Tuesday, is not only irresponsible, it’s unethical. I’ve read sloppy reporting in your papers in the past but this goes beyond that. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. Questiun Asquer

      Patricia, could you please just come out and say what it is that you’re talking about? I can’t stand it when people do this stuff.

      You didn’t just bury the lede, you cremated it. Nobody has any idea what you’re saying, or what they’re not saying, or what they are saying wrong. You’re just upset with the paper, so far. I recently met a person who was upset over cheese. No “why”, they were just very upset, and it shook me dearly. They never told me what was wrong with cheese, and now I look at cheese with suspicion and fear. That just isn’t right at all. I used to enjoy cheese so much, and now I’m not sure if it’s plotting to ruin me. Life would be simpler if I was just lactose intolerant, but I reject intolerance. Now I’m just scared and alone here without Gouda or Brie, and that makes me feel awful.

      What are we missing here? Did one of the candidates eat a baby or something, and nobody heard? What’s up? Should I vote for Mickey Mouse instead? Why is politics so complicated? Do I need a Ouija board to figure this out? Please spell it out for us because the Ouija board ghosts don’t work for like a week or two after Halloween, and I hope you’d be more sensitive to them; They may be dead, but they have after-lives and they need their down time like we all do.

      Come on, don’t just tease us. We’re all grown ups here, we can take it. What are they ashamed of? What are you talking about? Is there a dark-web podcast I missed somewhere? Please just make a complete assertion other than ostensibly implying that the editorial staff are all Illuminati Lizard People or whatever, and let us figure out if we’re at risk for brain worms.

      Maybe I just shouldn’t vote at all? Now that you have inexplicably shaken my faith in journalism, which is/was yet another pillar of democracy, and as I have previously given up on cheese, all I have left is chunky soy products, anxiety, and spite for whatever vague shadow some random commenter decides is wrong without specifying in any concrete terms…

      Dasvidanya, tovarich!

    2. Just the facts ma'am, just the facts

      Wait a minute, you can not make such a statement without facts. If it is so full of misrepresentation and “outright mistakes”, what and where are these, so-called misrepresentations and outright mistakes? Please, if you are going to make such a statement condemning something or someone, then you must show why, you did not. Too me, you are the one who is full of it, you made unfounded statements without any fact to back those statements up, so close to Election Day, no one can rebuff your inaccurate tactless diatribe in time. Yet you attack the paper for reporting the news, virtually calling the kettle black, with baseless innuendo.

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