When it comes to picking out a president, assemblyperson or town supervisor, most voters know what matters to them. Whether that’s stance on particular issues, character, political affiliation or just a good, firm handshake, we know how we pick policymakers, for good or for ill.
But what makes a good highway superintendent? Despite being an important position, the job is not like that of a legislator or crafter of policy. How we measure the worth of a candidate for this office is a simple question, but fascinatingly it is one Bethlehem residents have simply not had to ask themselves for many years. Gregg Sagendorph, who retired at the end of April, was the town’s highway superintendent for 22 years. In his 11 elections, he faced a challenger but thrice.
That was by all accounts a fine state of affairs, but now voters must make a new selection. And now that there’s no well-liked and experienced incumbent, there’s also a great deal of interest.
Members of the Democratic, Republican and Independence parties will be able to choose a candidate in the upcoming September primary. Dems will choose between Brent Meredith and Frank Zeoli; Republicans from Terry Ritz or Howard Hyer; and Independence Party members from between Ritz and Zeoli. So, one way or another, the vast majority of Bethlehem voters will be able to go to the polls on Sept. 10 and pull a lever to shape this race. We encourage them to do so.
We also encourage them to take an opportunity to meet the candidates face to face on Thursday, Aug. 22, when Spotlight News, in partnership with the Albany County League of Women Voters, will hold a candidate forum. As in our past events, questions to the candidates will be provided by the audience, so there will be a chance to ask the questions you feel are pertinent during the session, or to individual candidates immediately following the forum.