COLONIE — George Scaringe, the Republican candidate for town supervisor, said he would only serve two, two-year terms and “professionalize the town’s workforce” as part of what he is calling a “comprehensive reform package.”
“Change begins at the top,” Scaringe said in a statement outlining his focus for the first 100 days in office should he get elected on Nov. 5. “Improving Colonie starts with cleaning up Town Hall and empowering local residents. For too long, Town Hall has put the needs of developers before those of Colonie residents.”
The incumbent, Supervisor Paula Mahan, said Scaringe has a “hard time with the facts and he should know what condition the place was in when I got here because he was part of it.”
“Change does begin at the top and it began when I got here,” she said. “He should know he was the political boss and chair of the party and he continues to work with the same people who brought us to near financial devastation.”
She took particular exception to his slight of town employees.
“We have qualified people in all the jobs throughout the entire town. It is a fair process when we hire people and we do so regardless of their party affiliation. When his party was in charge it was all one sided,” she said. “It is unfortunate he tries to take jabs at these people who are out there doing a great job. I can go into any department and see professional people working hard on behalf of the residents.”
Scaringe’s agenda for the first 100 days includes:
• Changing the Town Board from at large districts to councilmatic districts to ensure every part of the town has a voice in town government.
• Enacting term limits for the Town Board and supervisor
• Changing the town’s development review process to require community input throughout the process
• Expanding the powers of the town’s Ethics Board and increasing it to seven members;
• Bringing in new development management and infrastructure management staff to reform the development process and institute new infrastructure maintenance and improvement programs; and
• Requiring all Planning and Zoning board applications, including all town designated engineering documents, be posted and maintained on the town websites.
Mahan said the idea of a ward system, or having each member of the Town Board run in individual districts, had been discussed but never gained much traction. Having all six members of the Town Board represent the entire town works well as “all of our board members are here for everybody.”
To his other points, she said her administration has put more money than any previous into infrastructure and pointed to the “highway tax” implemented when the Republicans were in office that was misspent forcing her to repay the highway fund some $20 million over three years out of the general fund.
“He didn’t have any complaints about the roads then,” she said. “And he has always advocated for the developer. Even now he is in real estate so he must like to see development. He was a political boss for many, many years and I don’t think a political boss makes a good candidate for these positions because they work in the political world while we work in the real world.”
Scaringe is making his first run at public office but has been involved in politics for some five decades both as a town and county Republican Party chairman.
Mahan, a Democrat, is seeking her seventh term in office.