GERMANTOWN–Joel Craig, a councilman and deputy supervisor, is running for supervisor this fall. Mr. Craig, an enrolled Republican, announced his candidacy Tuesday in a press release. He will seek the endorsement of Republican voters at the party’s spring caucus.
Mr. Craig, 51, may be the only candidate for the post. Current supervisor Roy Brown announced last month that he would not run again this year.
The Germantown Democratic Committee welcomed Mr. Craig’s decision to run, said GDC Chair Kay Abraham. “He will be the recommended candidate put before Germantown Democrats at their caucus,” she said. Mr. Craig has twice run successfully for Town Board on the Democratic as well Republican line and “we welcome him again,” said Ms. Abraham. “We’re happy he decided to run. It’s good news for Germantown.”
Mr. Craig’s decision came recently. On January 23 he told The Columbia Paper that “despite speculation, I am not running for supervisor.” What made him change his mind, he wrote in an email Tuesday, was “the enormous amount of support I’ve received from residents. I was constantly being asked if I would run.”
When no clear candidate emerged, he said, “I felt that I was one of the few with the experience to insure a smooth transition and to keep the town moving forward. I spoke with some of the other Town Board members and elected officials, and they were in agreement that it would be best for the town if I ran.”
Mr. Craig has wide experience with the town. Prior to joining the Town Board in 2008, he was a member of the Planning Board from 1993 to 2007, serving as chairman from 1996. He also served as vice chairman of the Germantown Park Commission for seven years. He was previously a member of the Germantown Committee for Business, Agriculture and the Environment; Germantown Central School Facilities Planning Committee; and Independence Day Fireworks Committee.
He has coached youth baseball and softball for many years and has held numerous administrative positions within the Southern Columbia Little League. He has served as a volunteer with Boy Scout Troop 122 and at Germantown’s Independence Day, Oktoberfest, Haunted Hayride and 300th anniversary events.
Mr. Craig looks forward to continuing the many projects and initiatives the town board has underway, as well as looking at new ways to reshape and redefine town government, according to his press release.
“In this difficult economic climate, we must look at everything we do and decide what needs to be continued, what needs to be changed and what needs to be discontinued,” he said in the release. “We need to be innovative and to explore better and more cost-effective ways to provide services to our residents.”
Asked to be more specific, Mr. Craig said, “We will be talking specifics in the coming months. For now I’ll just say that we’ll be looking at everything that town government does to try and find efficiencies and long-term savings for our taxpayers.”
Mr. Craig, a native of Ulster County, moved to Germantown in 1988. He lives on County Route 8 with his three children, who range in age from 11 to 24. He holds an A.A.S. degree in data processing from Ulster County Community College and is pursuing a bachelor of science degree in business, management and economics from Empire State College.
Mr. Craig has worked for the Dutchess County Office of Central and Information Systems in Poughkeepsie for the past 26 years. Since 1994 he has held the position of project leader, responsible for “numerous mission critical computer applications” within Dutchess County government.
Mr. Craig acknowledged that the time commitment required of the supervisor had been a concern. But, he said, “by nature I’m a very busy person, used to multitasking and lots of evening meetings.” He would give up some activities and organizations, he said, but “the key will be in putting together a good team to handle the day-to-day duties, and spreading the workload among all members of the town board. I already have commitments from a number of key players whom I have confidence in.”
The Columbia County Board of Elections reports that 115 offices are up for election within the county this year, including seven in Germantown, each with a four-year term: supervisor, two Town Board members, clerk, highway superintendent, justice and tax collector. The current annual budget for supervisor is $7,200, for councilman $2,600.
Mr. Craig’s term as councilman ends this year in any case. The town will be looking for someone to replace him in that seat, and to replace Joan Snyder, who has said she will not run for town board this year.