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Spotlight on Clifton Park candidates

— Candidates for supervisor and Town Board in the Town of Clifton Park were put on the spot at a Candidate Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Current Republican Supervisor Phil Barrett has held office for 12 years and is running against Democrat Marty O’Connor. Three candidates are running for two open seats on the Town Board: Wanda Zygmuntowicz, democrat; James Whalen, republican; Scott Hughes, republican.

The first question out of the gates was what each candidate thought about the idea of abolishing all local elected officials and instead have the county run the town.

O’Connor said he was in favor of that decision.

“That is a position I openly stated I support. I think it’s a long range vision and I think it would take awhile to get there but I think that local government officials are a luxury we can no longer afford,” said O’Connor.

Hughes was confused by O’Connor’s statement.

“I’m a bit puzzled because when you’re running for local office yet want to abolish the position is a little unusual,” said Hughes.

Hughes and Barrett said they don’t want “nameless bureaucrats” running Clifton Park. Whalen said the problem isn’t with local government but with state and federal government. Zygmuntowicz said exploring ways to smartly consolidate within the county would be an avenue to pursue.

Clifton Park currently doesn’t have its own police force and audience members wanted to know if candidates thought establishing one was necessary.

Zygmuntowicz said she didn’t have an answer.

“I see at this point we seem to be doing fine in terms of the way law enforcement is carried out in this town,” said Zygmuntowicz. “I think the right thing to do would be to talk to residents and fine out what the needs really are.”

Whalen, Hughes, Barrett and O’Connor all said a police force in Clifton Park was unnecessary at this time.

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