Gerald Albrigo's election to the Geddes Town Board Nov. 6 could be considered one of the bigger upsets among local races in the area this year.
Albrigo, 50, who has never held an elected position, finished second in the councilor race - sandwiched between established board members Manny Falcone and Vincent Palerino -- and knocked three-term incumbent and Deputy Supervisor Helen Bruzdzinski, who finished fourth, out of the seat she had held for eight years.
Albrigo says his decision to run for town councilor came from his knowledge of Geddes and the village of Solvay, and a desire to make a difference.
"Being a life-long Geddes resident, I had this feeling that I wanted to become more involved in town government," Albrigo said. "I wanted a better understanding on how we legislate and act on policies that effect people in the town. I've always believed Geddes is a great town, and a great place to raise a family, and if I could make a difference it would be a great civic duty for the community."
Albrigo will begin his two-year term on January 1 of next year. His focus will be on taxes and oversight of expenditures as the New Year begins.
"I think the ever-increasing tax burden in a very important issue," Albrigo said. "I'd like to bring some review, scrutiny and continued oversight into town expenditures. Looking out for the taxpayer is an important goal of mine. I think there has been a good sense of cooperation among the town board, and I'd like to enhance that."
On the topic of consolidating the town of Geddes and the village of Solvay, Albrigo agrees with the board and says that consolidating is a viable option.
"I think that [consolidation] can be accomplished," he said. "It leads to savings through attrition. It's not popular for any town government to start laying off employees. If we're able to do it with a process where we don't have to lay people off, it would be an easier sell to the other towns and villages. We can look around and use other precedents that have been set that were successful. Consolidation would decrease the burden for taxpayers and small businesses alike."
Even without holding an elected office, Albrigo's says his experience with the community is an asset that will be beneficial to his new position.
"Living within the town of Geddes in the village of Solvay, I'm familiar with both the town and village's services and what they provide," he said. "Not being a politician or ever holding an elected office, I'm especially looking forward to cooperating with the town board towards making decisions that are fair decisions."