Danby elections contested

DANBY - Three seats on the town's select board will offer voters a choice of candidates this year.

What used to be a three seat select board now has five members, with three of those seats up for grabs. Hope Blucher, who was appointed by the select board to fill the seat Mike Blair left open when he resigned is running against Steve Haines for a one year seat. Bill Gormley, an incumbent, is running against Bradley Bender for the two year seat. Byron Battease is challenging Margo Stone, the current incumbent, for the three year seat.

Blucher moved to Danby 42 years ago and raised all her sons in the area. She is currently on the select board and has previously served on the school board.

"I've always been involved in the community," she said. "I've enjoyed the past few months. . . and since I closed my law office, I've had lots of time on my hands."

If elected, Blucher said she hopes to continue putting town policies in writing. They are currently in place, but not written down. She also hopes to add more transparency to some town offices, like treasurer and clerk.

"We're been trying to relocate the town garage [currently adjacent to the town offices]," she said. "All things that need to be done to make things more fiscally efficient."

Gormley, a retired New York City fireman, moved to Danby 14 years ago. He was elected two years ago for the first time when the select board added two people to the board. Currently, he also serves as road commissioner.

"We've got a few things we're working on. . . we just had a compactor put in at the transfer station," he said. "There's an attendant there now, now you have to prove you're a resident to dump your garbage."

With the road crew, Gormley has been attending classes and workshops on everything from snow maintenance to road drainage, to help make the road crew more efficient. In the spring, he said the Rutland Regional Commission will help Danby use a GPS system to help them map out all the culverts in the area, to better respond if a storm like Irene hits the area again.

"If we put all the culverts on the GPS system, it's easier to see what needs to be replaced and repaired," he said. "We'll be able to identify the problems."

If he does not win the election, Gormley said he hopes to see the road crew continue in this work, because as a tax payer he thinks it is important for the town.

Gormley is being challenged by Bradley Bender, an art teacher in Rutland. Bender has served in multiple town positions from town moderator to cemetery commissioner, but never on the select board.

He decided to run because he said no one should run uncontested, with healthy competition being a benefit.

If elected, Bender, a self-described fiscal conservative, said he would like to see the economic vitality of Main Street revived.

"I'm concerned about the town's facilities - the town garage needs to be located in the geographic center of town, not on the far east side," he said. "There's two much congestion where it is right now [next to town hall]."

Bender has lived in Danby for 35 years and said he believes people's experiences should be respected when running for an office like select board. "It is about someone's principle's," he said. "Not their personality."

Haines, Stone and Battease could not be reached for comment at press time, but will be featured in an upcoming article.


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