By Hayleigh Gowans
Starting this year the village of East Syracuse will hold their village election in November along with the Onondaga County Board of Elections, rather than holding them in March as they have in the past.
Seats up for election this year include one mayor seat, two village trustee seats and one village justice seat. All of these positions have terms of four years.
Mayor Robert Tackman, in office since 2013, will run unopposed for reelection as People’s Party candidate. Two current trustee seats are up for reelection — those held by Daniel Wagner and Carol Para. Wagner will seek reelection as a People’s Party candidate but Para will not.
In the race for the trustee seats are also People’s Party candidate Liz Landry, Advance East Syracuse Party candidates Kim Liedka and Mary Albanese, and Dom Celleti, who is not running as a candidate of a village party.
Incumbent Village Justice Joe Zavaglia will seek reelection to his seat as a People’s Party candidate.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7. To look up your polling location, go to ongov.net/elections/index.html. For questions about the East Syracuse elections, call the village clerk at 315-437-3541.
The Eagle Bulletin distributed uniform candidate questionnaires for candidates for the mayoral election and village trustee candidates. Following are their responses organized by alphabetical order of last names:
Political Affiliation: The People’s Party of East Syracuse
Work experience: Currently working in a management level role at a local credit union (nine years of credit union management). Prior to working for credit unions I was working in hotel management.
Political Experience: Currently serving my first term as mayor, elected in 2013.
Why are you running for reelection as mayor? My team and I have been working very hard on lowering our tax rate and increasing services. We have more to accomplish and are forecasting more tax rate decreases in the next few years. We also been working to build relationships with our local, state and federal representatives; now is the time to keep these relationships strong and to continue building on them to assist the village on continuing to prosper.
What are your thoughts on consolidation/shared services within the village?
We as a village have been sharing services with communities for years and will continue to look at any opportunity we have to share services. Regarding consolidation we need to be here for our residents first and continue to have the ability to serve those in need. But we must not ignore opportunities to share services with others to continue providing services and saving our tax payers money.
Do you have any ideas that would promote economic development within the community?
We are currently in the process of working with business members in the community to relaunch the East Syracuse Chamber to support our business community. We are also in the process of launching a new housing committee to give residents the opportunity to rehab the exterior of their homes. This program will help those that want to do work to their home to assist them with part of the funding for it.
What will be your focus in your next term? My focus during my next term will be to continue working with our department heads on finding ways to provide our services efficiently and cheaper. I will also continue to work on building relationships with local, state and federal representatives to ensure the village has a voice among their agencies.
Political Affiliation: Advance East Syracuse Party
Work experience: Elementary teacher at East Syracuse Elementary 12 years.
Political Experience: None, President of the East Syracuse Recreation Commission.
Why are you running for a seat on the village board? My family has a long history of public service. My father Tony is a life member of the East Syracuse Fire Department and also served as the village mayor. I feel it is my time to serve as the village is my home for life, and it needs people who genuinely care about its future. I have been involved in nearly every village event over the last 10 to 15 years, and I can see that the people need representatives who are accessible and have a desire to serve.
What are your thoughts on consolidation/shared services within the village? I think if we have the opportunity where it makes sense to share services with other municipalities it makes sense. I know this already exists to some extent. I don’t think you can lump it all into one category. Any change to our Village structure needs to be decided by its people, in an open and transparent process.
Do you have any ideas that would promote economic development within the community? I think our Main Street has tremendous potential for growth; I would be very aggressive at writing grants, and getting our village in these conversations. The first thing new businesses look at it property taxes, and we need to be sure ours are lower if not stable.
What distinguishes you from the other candidates? I am immersed already in the Village and all of its social events. I can see the big disconnect between the trustees and the residents that elected them, they are rarely seen in public where people can interact. As a teacher, our kids deserve a great place to grow up that is safe and has plenty of things for them to do, and I will work tirelessly to provide them with that.
Political Affiliation: Republican, Libertarian, Independent.
Work experience: Agriculture, factory laborer die caster, kitchen helper, liquor retail. College graduate associates from Rock Valley College Rockford Illinois.
Political Experience: None
Why are you running for a seat on the village board? I always wanted to run for office, even more so when I found out our village board spent a lot of money to install facial recognition machines to monitor village employees time earned, I said that’s absurd and had to throw my hat in the race!
What are your thoughts on consolidation/shared services within the village? It would be a huge loss for the village. Two main points one being loss of representation and secondly our employees.
Do you have any Ideas that would create economic development? Changing the image of how people see the village would be the first step, getting cooperation with homeowners to be more accountable for keeping properties maintained. Secondly many see that taxes are too high for such a small village. If the tax rate is reduced at a manageable tax rate of 10/1000 it is somewhat possible to shoot for. The three things necessary to be successful are communication, cooperation and team work.
What distinguishes you from the other candidates? I am the youngest one running being 26. My family and I run the Golden Spike Pub in the village, by being an active business owner I would run the village no different than my own business! Having stated that I will be dedicated to the position, devote my time and fight for matters that need to be fought for including renter concerns. I will not turn my back on this small town. “Trust me for Trustee!”
Elizabeth “Liz” Landry
Political Affiliation: People’s Party of East Syracuse, Republican party.
Work experience: two years at PEACE Inc. as a community aide in housing relocation, 10 years at the Village of East Syracuse, Rental Assistance Director and 30 years at Christopher Community Inc. as a housing specialist.
Political Experience: Attend East Syracuse Village Board meetings, member of East Syracuse Housing Authority and member of East Syracuse Planning Board.
Why are you running for a seat on the village board? I feel as a trustee I can make a difference in the village. Having attended most village board meeting and living in the community has heightened my awareness of the needs.
What are your thoughts on consolidation/shared services within the village? I think some consideration is necessary. However each mode of service should be looked at individually with people and budget in mind.
Do you have any Ideas that would create economic development? I was a founding member of the East Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. I feel the chamber should be resurrected in order to become a catalyst for promoting more input from businesses. I would explore grant options with community development and other areas for development in East Syracuse. Perhaps create a brochure of our locations, population and services we offer.
What distinguishes you from the other candidates? I have several years of housing experience, which is much needed in the village. I’m retired and can put forth more effort and time in areas of need.
Political Affiliation: Advance East Syracuse Party
Work experience: Elementary school teacher for 20 years.
Political Experience: None, serve as vice president East Syracuse Recreation Commission.
Why are you running for a seat on the village board? Like my running mate Mary Albanese, because I genuinely care about the village and its people. Our park needs to be safer for our children, and I have ideas to address that. I am also adamant about being more aggressive on the code issues that seem to be getting worse as time goes on. Our residents pay a lot in property taxes, they deserve better. Along with my husband Danny, we will raise our three children here. The village deserves representation by people that are passionate about moving it forward, not accepting status quo.
What are your thoughts on consolidation/shared services within the village? This is an issue you can’t paint with a broad brush. I know that shared services already exists between the village and other entities. If we can identify things that make sense, and help lower taxes in regards to shared services we should take a look at it, and have open and honest discussions in a public forum. In regards to a consolidation of the village, I would be hesitant as this is the form of government closest to the people, I would not want to take their voice away.
Do you have any ideas that would promote economic development within the community? Lower taxes is the easy answer to get things started. The village needs to aggressively market itself constantly to our elected officials. If Solvay who is considered a sister village can get millions of dollars from New York state, why not us? We need to be in Albany at least bi-monthly pleading our case, and exploring all of the grants and initiatives that exist. It takes representatives who care and will actually take the time and do the job. Without economic development, the village can’t move forward.
What distinguishes you from the other candidates? Work ethic. Currently, the majority of the village trustees think attending a monthly board meeting is all they have to do. One hour a month from a trustee will not get us anywhere, in fact it has hurt the village. The job is much more than that, and I am motivated to put in the time needed to make East Syracuse a great place to raise a family, or run a business. I will always have an open line of communication with our residents and business owners to hear their concerns, and advocate for them.
Political Affiliation: The People’s Party of East Syracuse
Work experience: Computer analysis and programming for business accounting and control systems. I have installed and customized programs for various towns and county governments over the years for accounting, tax collections, permits, fixed assets, budgeting, water billing and assessments.
Political Experience: Village Trustee four years. 10 years as a poll inspector. I have worked with town, county boards on automation of their accounting systems. Member of the Onondaga Mayors Association.
Why are you running for a seat on the village board? I was asked to run in 2013 as village had serious fiscal problems and very high taxes rates. Working with the board and employees of the village we have reduced taxes by 22 percent. As a village property owner I am concerned not only about my own taxes but the village my children and grand children live in.
What are your thoughts on consolidation/shared services within the village? Consolidation/shared services can be of great value to the taxpayer if proven to be economical. The current board has already used shared services with the DeWitt Police Department. Our DPW share special equipment with DeWitt. The village purchases fuel from DeWitt. Our fire department provides fire protection for half of DeWitt. Studies were done in 2011 with the county on the benefits of each departments consolidation available from our clerk for anyone’s review.
Do you have any ideas that would promote economic development within the community? High property taxes can prevent people and business from moving into a community as well as drive them out. Concentrating on improving our sidewalk, curbing, promoting property aesthetics and further reduction of village property taxes will assist significantly.
What distinguishes you from the other candidates? Being a trustee requires knowledge and experience to weed through the many fiscal and management decisions a board member has to make for their residents and employees. One has to review each subject carefully, listen to all involved and compromise in the best interests of the tax payers. I have served for four years and will continue to serve with integrity if elected again.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features.
I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.