DelRossi and Locke take board seats, changing balance of power
CHATHAM — Tom Curran was elected mayor Tuesday, unseating 20-year incumbent Paul Boehme. Mr. Curran ran on the Chatham United Party line along with Joanne Del Rossi who was the highest vote getter in the race for the two open seats on the Village Board. She and incumbent Lael Locke will serve on the board. Patrick Wemitt failed to retain his seat on the board.
There were 665 ballots were cast in the election, 613 voted on the day of the election and 52 absentee ballots, according to the Village Clerk’s Office. This was the biggest voter turnout since 1997, said village Deputy Clerk Barbara Fischer.
Mr. Curran received 423 votes to Mr. Boehme’s 231.
Ms. Del Rossi received 422 votes, Ms. Locke 324 and Mr. Wemitt 252.
Village Clerk/Treasurer Carol Simmons said that she will send letters to newly elected board members advising them they can be sworn at any time. She did say the current mayor gets to hold his position until the first Monday in April and then the job is Mr. Curran’s.
All terms are on the board are for two years, and elections have generally been quiet.
Down the road in Valatie, the incumbent mayor and two trustees ran unopposed, and at 7 p.m. only 43 people had turned out to vote.
But at the Tracy Memorial, the brick building that serves as Chatham’s Town Hall, lines were out the door for most of the non-to9 p.m. voting hours. Ernie Reis, the village Democratic Committee chairman, said he was at the polls from noon to 4 p.m. and saw between 60 and 70 people waiting to vote at times. “I’ve never witnessed a turnout like today,” he said.
Mr. Curran and Ms. Del Rossi celebrated their victory at the Blue Plate Restaurant across the roundabout from the Tracy Memorial. They both praised the many volunteers and community members who helped them get elected. The candidates, accompanied by volunteers, went door to door during the campaign, talking to voters. Mr. Curran said that the election result “speaks for the community coming out.”
“Now the real work begins,” said Ms. Del Rossi.
In an email to the Columbia Paper, Ms. Locke said “I’m grateful to the voters of Chatham for their confidence in me. I thank Mayor Boehme and Pat Wemitt for their years of service on the board and I am excited to be part of the new administration.”
Mr. Curran said that he’s looking forward to getting involved in the budget process, while Ms. Del Rossi said they will be organizing community forums to get input from villagers on the process.
The current board, which includes Trustees George Grant, who serves a water and sewer commissioner, Dave Chapman, the DPW commissioner, and Ms. Locke, the fire commissioner, were part of a board budget workshop Monday, March 7, but did not ask for community impute. They planned to hold another workshop, which is for board members to report on their department budgets before the next water and sewer meeting Thursday, March 24.
Patrick Wemitt served on the board for 12 years and for most of time was the police commissioner, helping prepare the police budget. Board members are traditionally assigned as commissioners at the organization annual meeting in June.
Phone calls and emails made to Mr. Wemitt and Mr. Boehme were not returned by press deadline.
The village budget is due May 1. Last year, debate delayed the final budget until the end of May. The village’s fiscal year is June through May.