GERMANTOWN—As one Democrat (Donald Westmore) and one Republican (Michael Mortenson) go off the Town Board this year, they leave a Republican supervisor, Joel Craig and two Republican Town Board members, Matthew Phelan and Andrea Foley. Both major parties are fielding candidates to fill the two open board seats. The term for all offices is four years; there is no supervisor race this year.
Justice Robert W. Beaury is running unopposed for his third term, endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties.
On the reverse side of the ballot is the Library Referendum, asking voters to approve an annual increase of $30,000 in the town’s contribution to the Germantown Library, for a total of $88,000 annually.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Republicans Brittany Bohnsack-DuFresne and Ronald E. Moore II are running for Town Board against Democrats Joe Guida and Arthur Schiff. Statements by all the candidates appear below.
Brittany Bohnsack-DuFresne, 31, is endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. She is a graduate of Germantown High School, holds a BS in education from SUNY at Oneonta and an MS in education from the College of Saint Rose. She served one four-year term on the district’s Board of Education and declined to run again last spring. She works for GTel Teleconnections. “I have been working for my family’s company, GTel (Germantown Telephone Co.) part-time from the age of 15,” Ms. Bohnsack-DuFresne wrote in her Candidate Questionnaire.
“After completing my education and teaching for two years at Germantown Central School, I decided to come back to the phone company. I now oversee daily activities as the installation and repair supervisor and the marketing manager. I have worked full time here for the last six years.”
She and her husband, William DuFresne, an officer with the State Police, are the parents of two boys, ages 5 and 3.
In addition to her term on the school board, Ms. Bohnsack-DuFresne chairs the Germantown Parks Commission and is a member of the Germantown Republican Committee and the Germantown School PTSA.
In her Candidate Statement, Ms. Bohnsack-DuFresne touched on sidewalks, parks and economic development. “The initial sidewalk replacement program has still not broken ground. The initial plan should be completed before expansion is considered.
“Our park facilities are in a state of deterioration. The ball fields are unplayable, an effort to build a new soccer field commenced but was never brought to fruition, and attempts to clean up the lake have not been effective. It is unfortunate that residents must go elsewhere for swimming, ice-skating and fishing. The board must enlist the services of other experts in finding a solution.
“Germantown has been discovered. With that comes increased economic development. The board needs to continually gain community input in revising the zoning ordinances to reflect the community’s vision for the scope of desired development. Modifying these ordinances cannot be spontaneous reactions to pending applications by developers, but adjusting through our Comprehensive Planning initiative.”
Joe Guida, 66, is a Democratic candidate for Town Board. He reports that “I grew up in a blue-collar family in Queens. I moved to Rockland County,” where he married Nancy and they raised their son, Anthony. Mr. Guida became a carpenter and then a general contractor. He joined the Rockland County Builders Association, chaired its Remodeling Committee and served as president of the association in 2001-02. In 2002 he was voted Rockland County Builder of the Year.
Mr. Guida delivered Meals on Wheels for four years and served three years on that organization’s board of directors in Rockland County.
In 2006 the Guidas moved to Germantown. Mr. Guida was a member of the Germantown School Advisory Committee. “We were responsible for reviewing items at the school to be built or repaired and giving our opinion to the school board for a referendum on a bond issue, which passed this past June.”
Mr. Guida now serves on the Zoning Board of Appeals and is active with the Germantown Democratic Organization.
“Among the things I stand for are a review of the nine-year-old Comprehensive Plan that refines and better reflects the desire to preserve and protect the small-town rural nature of our community,” he wrote. “Additional public parking close to the Germantown hamlet, a pro-business policy that encourages and streamlines the process for small businesses to locate in Germantown and completion of the sidewalk project” are also on his list. “We have a quaint and charming community that is worth protecting, and I wish to have a hand in protecting it and helping to shape its future.”
Party balance is also on Mr. Guida’s mind. “I became concerned that the only Democrat on the Town Board was stepping down. I strongly believe that in a two-party system both parties need to be represented, so I decided to run for town board in order to maintain a Democratic presence on the board.”
Ronald E. Moore II, 41, endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties, is a graduate of Dutchess County Community College. He works for Key Bank N.A. in Red Hook. He and his wife, Michelle L. Moore (RN, BSN), who is director of nursing at Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Valatie, have three children, ages 13, 12 and 9.
Mr. Moore graduated from Germantown High School. He served one four-year term on the district’s Board of Education and did not seek reelection last spring.
Mr. Moore has led BSA Cub Scout Pack 115 for eight years, as assistant cub master and committee chairman. He served two years on the Red Hook Economic Development Committee. In his four years on the Board of Education, he was elected vice president (two years) and president (two years).
Mr. Moore served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a behavioral science specialist with the 364th General Hospital Albany. He received a national defense service medal and a medical discharge on October 1993.
In his candidate statement, Mr. Moore promised to focus on and support “the strengths and gifts that already exist in Germantown.”
“I will question hard what needs to be questioned, learn what needs to be learned and care what residents’ opinions are before I vote. I will set up a separate new email so residents can give elected officials their opinions before voting takes place. We can always improve communication and obtain more citizen input if we want that input. I want that input and will work hard to obtain it.
“Together (citizen input/elected officials listening) we will set priorities, determine what is needed and find the grant money to pay for it. Working together respectfully, we can improve our community development ideas and plans. We also can create a citizen group to help us review our Police Department. I will serve on that committee because I need to hear both sides of this issue, to learn the pros and cons of increasing the department, decreasing the department, or doing nothing at all.”
Arthur Schiff, 75, a Democratic candidate, holds a B.A. from New York University and is retired from the human services field. He and his wife, Virginia Sibbison, have two grown children.
Mr. Schiff served on the Comprehensive Plan Committee.
“Our town’s Comprehensive Plan and zoning laws should reflect the community’s goal of keeping Germantown a friendly small town,” he wrote. “We have to improve Germantown’s physical plant, including parks and ball fields. We have to get the sidewalks built so that we can attract stores and jobs that contribute to the hamlet’s well-being.”