QUEENSBURY — The election is 11 months away, but town Supervisor John Strough is ready to run for a fourth term.
He is eager to run, pointing to many things accomplished in the last year with the town’s first Democratic majority.
He is also eager to face the Republicans who made his life miserable with an investigation last year into his 2017 petitions for the Conservative Party line.
All five seats on Town Board will be on the ballot, an unusual circumstance due to a special election. All five board members’ terms expire on Dec. 31 of this year.
Although Strough has already decided to run for re-election, there’s plenty of time for the rest of the board to declare their plans. It is so early that the state political calendar for 2019 hasn’t even been published yet. Candidates will begin collecting petition signatures in June, with independent petitions starting in July.
In explaining why he is seeking re-election, Strough pointed to his accomplishments and also to a lack of other qualified supervisor candidates.
Before he ran, he was a town councilman. He also attended Planning Board and Zoning Board meetings and served on committees.
“You can’t just go to this seat,” he said.
He also wondered if the Republican investigation had scared off potential candidates for office.
“After what the Republicans tried to do to me to win this office, what do you think it does to people who might run for election?” he said.
Republicans interviewed every person who signed his Conservative Party petitions. They wanted to know if his notary — his wife — had been present when they signed, as required by law. They discovered she had not gotten out of the car on some occasions, and filed a complaint that led to both Stroughs getting arrested early last year. In the end, the Stroughs took a plea deal in which Chris Strough pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a violation, and agreed to give up her notary license, while John Strough’s charges were dropped.
Strough said the investigation was a political attack, and criticized The Post-Star for covering his arrest and court appearance.
“People say they were out to get me, and the paper went along with it,” he said.
The publicity and the possibility of GOP attacks have discouraged potential Democratic candidates, he said.
During actual Town Board meetings, there has been little indication that the board is made up of three registered Democrats and two registered Republicans, one of whom was endorsed by the Democrats in 2017.
Board member Tony Metivier joked about that at Monday’s meeting as he looked back over the past year.
“We work very well together, even the Democrats,” he said, laughing. “It’s been a great year. Got a lot done.”
Metivier is a Republican, but was also endorsed by the Democrats for the last local election.
He and other board members said the public doesn’t realize how much work goes on at three-hour workshop meetings each month, in which board members hear presentations and work out the details of proposed legislation.
“I don’t think people understand how much work goes on — we’re not just ‘yes’ing everything,” Metivier said.
Board member and Democrat Catherine Atherden, the rawest member of the board with no political experience when she ran for office a year ago, said she too was pleased by the accomplishments of the last year.
“And I’ve enjoyed working with all of you, believe it or not,” she said.
At meetings, she has been the rare voice of dissent, disagreeing with Strough at times. Strough, for his part, has said she asks him “one thousand questions.”
But he agreed she does her homework. Atherden thanked town staff for that.
“I’m very impressed with the town staff. They’ve all been helpful with a newbie,” she said.
Board member George Ferone, often viewed as the only “true” Republican on the board, said he was also satisfied by his first full year in office. He was appointed just before the 2017 election.
“We did get a lot accomplished in 2018,” he said. “Having worked for a Fortune 500 company, this (running a town) is as complex — and more so because you have Municipal Law.”
One of the biggest accomplishments of the year was passing the long-discussed law for inspecting septic systems on waterfront properties. The law forces owners to get their septic systems tested when they sell their property, with the goal of improving water quality by locating and repairing or replacing leaky systems.