In Clay, voters will elect a town supervisor, three town board members, a town clerk and a tax receiver. Learn more about each canddiate below. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7. To determine your polling place, visit ongov.net/elections/index.html and click on “Polling Place Locator” or call the Onondaga County Board of Elections at (315) 435-8683.
There are six candidates for three town board seats.
An Illinois native, I attended the University of Illinois, married my husband and moved into our home in Clay in 1973. Sorrowfully, my husband passed away in 1989.
I retired after serving on the staff of Senator Tarky Lombardi, and as regional representative for Gov. George Pataki. My community involvement includes serving as a former board member of the Alzheimer’s Association and as a former board member of the Syracuse Symphony Association, among other CNY organizations. I am a member of the Town of Clay Republican Committee.
I have great respect for the folks who live in Clay. The town has nearly doubled in population since I moved here, and it is very pleasing to see the cohesive community that has evolved. I take very seriously my responsibility as a town board member to carve out meaningful decisions that determine the quality of living in our town. It is satisfying to resolve issues in a manner that maintains the high standards our residents rightfully expect, and I want to continue to participate.
During my tenure on the Clay Town Board, I have chaired several influential board projects, such as the total review and updating of Clay’s Zoning Ordinance, our basic tool guiding development in our town. The ordinance subsequently received statewide recognition. I also chaired the Northern Land Use Study to guide the future development of the approximately 9,500 developable acres north of Route 31. The study examined land features, infrastructure including access to public water and sewers, the existing transportation modes and the impact of intense development on the area.
I was appointed to serve as coordinator of Clay’s activities to reclaim and develop the more than 85 acres the town has acquired beginning at the Three Rivers Point extending eastward across Route 57. The town has demolished the dilapidated and contaminated Three Rivers Motel, and, as part of the on-going Brownfield Opportunity Area grant, demolished a former asphalt plant on Maider Road. The town is now approaching the remedial phase of the project, and has begun development of the historic Three Rivers Point into a town green space for waterfront enjoyment. The entire project is massive and multi-faceted and will continue into our future.
My knowledge of the town and awareness of its needs gives me advantage as a town board member. I do not enter a new term with unrealistic or costly ideas, but have an informed and open mind toward what it takes to make our town flourish.
Budget concerns, at all of levels of government, of course rest on revenue. Although Clay has historically been cautious in its budget efforts and has been successful each year in meeting the 2 percent annual increase mandated by the state, the bottom line is always paramount in our spending. We are fortunate to have a healthy mix of industrial, commercial and retail businesses that help support our tax base, but balancing and maintaining those sites is a challenge. As the habits of residents adapt to the conveniences of the technical world, we have to be alert and be prepared for the consequences.
I currently live in Liverpool, town of Clay, and have lived there since 2013. Prior to that I lived in North Syracuse for an additional two years. I am 37 years old with a 3-year-old son. I am a Democrat. I have a bachelor’s of science in business from Providence College and a Juris Doctor for Syracuse University College of Law. I am an attorney with a practice that focuses on matrimonial and family law.
I am running for office because I think that the town of Clay needs to be more transparent. My belief is that the town councilors should work for the people and that means including and hearing the opinions, complaints and perspectives of the residents of the town of Clay. Ensuring the status quo is not an option and there needs to be more reaching out and reaching across the aisle to ensure that the decisions that are made are in the best interests of the residents, not just in the best interests of your political party.
I believe that I am the best candidate because I possess the skills and demeanor to work with all of the residents of the town of Clay and the other board members. In what I do every day as an attorney, I am put in situations in which not everyone agrees, but ones in which we need to reach a resolution that will work for everyone involved. It’s this coupled with my hardworking and positive attitude that will ensure that the residents of Clay are heard and the decisions that are made are in their best interests.
One of the biggest issues facing the Town is the lack of transparency of the current Board. As an all Republican board, the decisions that are being made don’t always take into consideration the perspectives of the actual residents of the town of Clay. I will address the same by ensuring that the residents of the town of Clay are heard and are aware of the decisions that the board is considering so that they can weigh in on the same. I mean, we all live here and we all have a stake in the decisions for our town, it only stands to reason that all residents should have an opportunity to be heard and an opportunity to be informed on the decisions before they are made.
Married to Sarah Hall, father of Andrew and Emily, and son of John and Susan Hall of North Syracuse. 37 years old. Lifelong resident of the town of Clay, lived on Partridge Way since 2006. Deputy clerk for Onondaga County and member of the Town of Clay Planning Board. I have volunteered as a coach for St. Rose CYO basketball, Liverpool Optimist Basketball, Upward Basketball, YMCA youth sports and Seneca River North Little League. Enrolled in the Republican Party. Endorsed by the Republican and Independence parties.
I have the desire to lead the town to continued prosperity and growth. Clay has been my home my most of my life and I want my children to feel like this is a town in which they could raise a family, too. I want to keep the town as an affordable and enjoyable place to live.
I bring a blend of youth and experience to the position. During the last five years I have served on the Zoning Board of Appeals followed by the planning board. During this time I have had an opportunity to learn the rules and regulations of town government. I will also bring new ideas to the board, including public wi-fi and an electronic notification system for agenda changes.
Two major issues that I believe facing the town are an aging population and the future development of Route 31. An aging population in certain sections of the town creates the potential for a large portion of the town who may be leaving their current homes. We need to encourage zoning that allows for smaller home parcels and develop a plan that allows for senior housing in appropriate areas. These areas should have easy access to multiple forms of transportation.
As the western portion of Route 31 in the town nears completion careful consideration needs to be given to the remaining lands on the eastern portion. The mega box store is close to reaching a tipping point as online retail continues to eat into their shares. I will encourage smaller neighborhood commercial development and residential development along the remaining land of Route 31 to diversify the town’s tax base.
Current: Owner/Broker of Sogno Realty LLC (real estate sales and management)
Previous employment: educator, Oswego City Schools
I am running for office because I believe the town of Clay board is in need of more compassion, kindness and transparency.
I also have noticed a disconnect between town residents and local government. I genuinely want to be the voice for the residents of the town of Clay on the board.
I feel that I am the best candidate because of my diverse background. I am a dad, a husband, a coach, a business owner and a resident in the town of Clay. I understand what it’s like to struggle from paycheck to paycheck. I know what it’s like to be a single parent. I have been the boss the employee and the owner. My life experiences have shaped who I am and how I relate to all walks of life. I understand how government impacts the every day lives of our residents.
The major issues facing the town of Clay are not really major at all. We are in a good financial position. It is the best town in Onondaga County and I believe we have so much more potential here in Clay. Some issues that need some attention are:
I grew up in the village of North Syracuse in a labor-based family that was proud of our multiethnic Italian and Irish background. My mom still lives in North Syracuse. I am 60 years old.
I married my college sweetheart, Mitchell Patterson, Sr., 37 years ago. We lived in Clay and Cicero for over 40 years, and built our retirement home in Clay two years ago. We travel extensively visiting cities and landmarks in our nation and abroad. Our son, Mitchell, Jr., and his wife, Nicole, also reside in Clay. He is an entrepreneur and business owner, and she is a special education teacher. My stepdaughter, Tonya McGregor and her husband, Scott, and two grandchildren, Maya and Ian, reside in Richmond, Virginia.
I am a proud Democrat and an advocate of the ideals of the party.
High school graduate, North Syracuse High School; bachelor’s degree in exceptional education and elementary education, SUNY College at Buffalo; master’s degree in interrelated special education, Syracuse University; Certificate of Advanced Study in educational leadership, SUNY College at Oswego; doctorate in organizational leadership, Columbia University.
Lifelong educator and leader.
Upon retirement, I embraced several professional roles to continue to contribute to my profession, and to continue my own learning.
Le Moyne College – 2009 to present
Castallo & Silky, LLC — Educational consultant: Mentor for new administrators
Now is the time for action – to build the town of Clay as an economic force and connected community in Central New York. I retired from my career as a teacher and leader, and want to apply my skill sets to the community and government.
I also want to add the voice of a Democrat to a Republican board. I believe that the town of Clay deserves a board that reflects the community and includes varied voices, backgrounds, politics and ideas, a board that engages the voices of the community, embraces the diversity of its members, allows differences in thought and ideas and considers the future for economic, education, and social/recreational development is one that will grow as a connected Clay community.
A connected community is one that is dynamic, that inspires and is responsive to Clay citizens embracing today’s positive elements — the schools and businesses as employers, the parks and access to waterways as recreation and the neighborhoods filled with diverse, productive residents, addressing the challenges of shuttered businesses, neighborhoods with empty houses and serious drainage issues, and roads in need of repair means taking charge of the realities, and framing the future. All Clay citizens become part of the solutions and reap the benefits.
As a lifelong educator and leader, I plan to use my skills in advocacy, facilitation, leadership, team development, mentorship and organization to better our community. The board should be a cohesive governing body, pooling their talents and intellects to inquire, problem-solve, make decisions and ultimately make changes that create a sustainable place for economic and environmental development.
I am an educated professional committed to the future of our Clay community. My work ethic and energy level assist me in developing relationships, facilitating conversations and projects and developing and presenting information and options. We know change is inevitable, yet I believe it is also exciting, and with change, we begin a process in Clay to create improvement from the good that already exists.
With more than 36 years of experience effectively guiding groups and organizations and focusing on the leadership within people, I know Clay has great potential. Together we will create the connections, communicate the changes and celebrate the successes. As an advocate for the ideals of equity and equality, I believe that embracing who we are in Clay and using what we have in talents and resources, we will grow socially, financially and economically.
Trust and communication are important and must be evident. I will:
Housing developments and building projects, roads, lighting and drainage must be carefully planned and addressed in a timely and aesthetic manner. I will:
Nurture entrepreneurs and business and educational enterprises that can educate and employ our citizens, and add financial resources to the town. I will:
My name is Ryan Pleskach and I am a Republican candidate for Clay Town Council. I grew up in northern New York in Lewis County, and am a graduate of Clarkson University in Potsdam. I also have a master’s degree in emergency management. Several years ago, my wife, Deanna, and I with our golden retriever, Nala, returned to New York. Clay is where we welcomed our daughter, Eleanor, and continue to live as a family.
I am a certified emergency manager (less than 3,000 individuals worldwide) through the International Association of Emergency Managers, and for the last eight years I have worked as a contractor supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). My team and I have been helping to fix many of the issues identified after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, particularly around public safety communications.
I am running for town council because i believe in the promise of our town. When my wife and I were looking at moving to the area in late 2010, we considered many areas. We chose Clay because of the proximity to amenities, the parks and the people in the community. Our daughter is almost 4, so I share many of the same concerns as our residents: safe roads, low taxes and smart, sustainable development for our future.
The town has seen tremendous changes in recent years and I am ready to serve as part of our community leaders that continues to deliver on the promise of Clay, “a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
I strongly believe that my fellow Republicans and I represent the best candidates to lead the town. We represent a wealth of experience that extends across all levels of government: town, county, state and federal. This experience and understanding of how the various layers of government work together is crucial to providing effective, efficient services to our residents. Moreover, this helps tremendously with securing grant money to provide benefits to the town for little or no cost to residents. Some recent examples are the solar panels at Town Hall and the highway garage, as well as the Three Rivers Point area.
I have been a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for two and a half years here in Clay, but the unique advantage I have is through my work supporting FEMA. I have traveled and worked in 51 of the 56 states and territories, and hundreds of communities. I see firsthand what other municipalities are doing across the country. I can leverage the best ideas from across the nation, and infuse them into Clay. Additionally, I am a graduate of the 2016 Leadership Greater Syracuse (LGS) program, a community leadership development program to promote civic engagement and volunteerism, and active on the LGS Alumni Committee. I am also a 2012 graduate of the CNY Political Leadership Institute.
I have several ideas that I believe could benefit the town and our residents:
Too many times residents have shown up for town meetings, only to find out on the spot, that the case they were in attendance for has been postponed. We should be more respectful of our residents’ time. We can overhaul our town website and/or adopt basic notification system that residents can sign up for and receive text message or email updates on town matters. Residents can opt out at any time; this is not a system meant to annoy or spam our residents or collect personal information other than a phone number or email address. We can also adopt a rule that requires 24-hour notification from all applicants if they wish to postpone a case.
Amazon has dramatically impacted retail stores nationwide, and the Great Northern Mall is a prime example. There are other national retailers that have locations in Clay and are also struggling financially, such as Friendly’s, GameStop and Kohl’s, among others. The town needs to adapt to match current economic trends, which means a greater focus on local, small businesses and less on national “big box” retailers or chain stores. For each proposed development that comes before the town we need to consider the long-term implications, and ensure economic diversification.
Should the Great Northern Mall fail, I would begin pursuing a partnership with Amazon to turn the facility into an Amazon Distribution Center. The mall has a great strategic location and would fit in with the adaptations and diversification I envision for Clay.
Our town is dotted with abandoned buildings, especially along the Route 31 and 57 corridors. We can entice developers to refurbish existing buildings by slightly relaxing setback requirements in our building codes to make a project more commercially viable. As a tradeoff, we can also mandate that new or remodeled buildings comply with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. This combination will help create the foundation for sustainable and environmentally friendly economic development that benefits both the Town and our residents.
As more residential neighborhoods are built, the demand for services grows. We need to balance growth with unintended consequences, such as managing increased traffic. This means more resources devoted to our highway department for road maintenance and paving, and to help better control traffic flow. I am strongly in favor of working with the county so that when they redo major thoroughfares such as Taft Road and Allen Road, we can incorporate bike lanes for the many cyclists we have in the town.
This area has seen significant redevelopment in recent years thanks to the commitment of past and current town councilors. I have experience implementing national programs focused on energy efficiencies and environmental stewardship. I will continue to advocate for and support further improvements to Three Rivers Point as well as other areas of town, and I will be a champion for Clay’s “Keep It Clean, Keep It Green” campaign.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.