Democrat Meg Stevens promised to donate half of her salary to non-profits, Republican candidate John Olenik detailed his 10-year growth plan and GOP-endorsed candidate John Frolish highlighted the need for communication in town government at a League of Women Voters debate for supervisor candidates in the Town of Milton on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Stevens will appear on the Democrat, Independence and Working Families line in November, while three Republicans will face off in a Sept. 15 for their party's nod. Also running is incumbent Supervisor Frank Thompson, who had a placard at the table on Wednesday but was not present.
Moderator Therese Lowenthall read a statement from Thompson she said was dropped off by his campaign manager just before the start of the debate.
In the statement, Thompson said he was honored to be invited to the debate but "respectfully declines," and invited any questions "concerning policy, record or budget" to be directed to his office.
Lowenthall said that Thompson's last-minute abstention came as a surprise.
"We did think that he was going to be here," she said.
The three candidates present gave opening and closing remarks and fielded questions from the crowd that filled the Milton Community Center. All took the opportunity to rail against what they said was the town's unwillingness to save for capital projects, alleged nepotism and favoritism in town hiring practices and a lack of transparency in government.
They were asked about their stance of public comment periods at meetings, which has become a topic of concern for some since the Town Board and Planning Board have imposed time limits for speakers in the past year.
Frolish proposed establishing a half-hour period before Town Board meetings for residents to voice their opinion on the evening's agenda items.
"I think that would be a good way of allowing people to get their voice across," he said. Frolish sits on the town's Planning Board and owns and operates Saratoga Sign Pros along with his wife. He was also involved with the Milton Fire District for 35 years.