Town councilor Jack Dooling, newly-elected councilor Joey Chiarenza and Chuck LaDue, who helped on the campaign, hold signs in East Syracuse on Tuesday morning, Nov. 5. Chiarenza and fellow Democrats Kerin Rigney and Jamie Frank swept the town board elections by a large margin.
DeWitt Democrats in the town of DeWitt finally have the majority they’ve sought for years.
On Tuesday, DeWitt voters made it a clean sweep for the Democratic Party, re-electing Supervisor Ed Michalenko, who was uncontested, and electing Jamie Frank, Joey Chiarenza Jr., and Kerin Rigney to town councilor positions, all by wide margins.
The only Republicans to win in DeWitt were Highway Superintendent Rocco Conte and Town Justice Robert Jokl, who ran unopposed. Democrat Barbara Klim was also re-elected as town clerk in an uncontested race.
“We did it the old-fashioned way,” said Pam Dooling, who along with her husband, Jack, served as campaign co-chair for the three town councilor candidates. “We went to meet and greets. We went door to door. We talked to the people and we listened to what they had to say.”
About 40 people gathered at Barbagallo’s on Molloy Road to celebrate the victory. When the results became official, Pam Dooling found a push broom and began sweeping the dance floor with it, representing the clean sweep for the Democrats.
Michalenko thanked the voters for the support, and indicated he was relieved to be working with a predominantly Democrat board during the next term. “The feedback seemed to be positive – that the things we’re trying to do are important to [voters],” he said.
The make up of the board now consists of five Democrats, one Republican and one Conservative.
Michalenko said he has been impeded in pursuing several initiatives by the current Republican majority, as well as by legal counsel appointed by that majority. With a more favorable board, he intends to further study the feasibility of a DeWitt utility company as well as a storm water management program to reduce flooding and drainage issues. He would also like the town to expand its sidewalks and bike trails initiative.
The town is likely to change its legal counsel as well, Michalenko said. Currently, the town is represented by Frank Scicchitano.
In the days leading up to election, Democrats were angered by the campaign tactics of their opponents, who put up signs throughout the town suggesting that Democrats were interested in outsourcing brush pickup and potentially disbanding the town’s police force.
“They’re non issues,” Pam Dooling said. “Our DeWitt police are wonderful. They didn’t have any issues, so they made up issues.”