CHATHAM–The Town Board has one seat open this November for a one-year term on the board. The person elected will fill remaining year of the term of Maria Lull, which she held before she was elected town supervisor last year.
The board seat vacated by Supervisor Lull has not been empty. Early this year the board appointed John Wapner to fill that seat. Mr. Wapner is now running on the Democratic and the Chatham Citizen’s Party lines to remain on the board. He faces Jody Nesbitt, running on the Republican, Conservative and Independent lines.
The new board member elected to fill the remaining year of the term will be sworn in January of 2017 and will serve through December 31 of that year.
Jody Nesbitt, 46, is a registered Republican. She has not previously held political office. She was born in Chatham and has an AA degree in business/liberal arts. She is currently employed at Columbia Memorial Hospital and volunteers as the treasurer for the Chatham High School Athletic Booster Club. She is married to Dan Nesbitt and has five children and three grandchildren.
In her candidate statement to the Columbia Paper, she wrote:
“Chatham is my home. I grew up here, and live on the same village street today that I did as a young child. I’m a married mother of five with three beautiful grandchildren. We’re a proud Panthers family, where I serve as treasurer of the High School’s Athletic Booster Club.
“I hope to bring fresh ideas and common sense solutions to the challenges we face as a community, including: sound financial budgeting and planning, promotion and growth of small businesses, nurturing residential growth and development while preserving our small town charm and atmosphere. It’s also critically important that we support our volunteer fire departments to ensure they have the equipment and personnel needed to adequately and safely protect our community.
“Our town Highway Department needs appropriate resources to maintain our roads and service the town. Our town budget and spending requires detailed scrutiny, to ensure we are focusing assets in the areas that need them most, and reducing costs and expenses where possible and appropriate. There’s much to be done. Let’s set politics aside and work together to make Chatham all that it can be!”
Ms. Nesbitt has a Facebook page with more information at “Jody Nesbitt for Chatham Town Council.”
John Wapner, 67, a registered voter who is not enrolled in any political party, is currently serving on the Town Board. He was on the Chatham Central Schools Board of Education from 2004 to 2012, and served as board president for 7 years. Born in New York City, he graduated from Southside High School in Rockville Centre; Washington University in St. Louis, MO with a BA degree in history and psychology; he earned a PhD in clinical psychology and from Northwestern University in IL. Mr. Wapner has been a clinical and consulting psychologist for 40 years. He provides services to the county Sheriff’s Office, county Department of Social Services, the county Probation Department, the state Civil Service Department, and has a private practice.
He is a member of the International Associations of Chiefs of Police–psychology section; American Psychological Association; and Psychological Association of Northeastern New York. In the community, Mr. Wapner was president of the Columbia County Mental Health Society from 1983 to 1984. He is currently a volunteer consulting psychologist for the Chatham Cares 4 U program and participates in the Columbia Pathways to Recovery (CPR).
He and his wife, Cynthia Bobseine, have two grown children, both of whom graduated from Chatham High School.
He titled is candidate statement, “My Priorities: Effective Government, Fiscal Responsibility, and Zoning.” In it he wrote:
“I believe local government works when partisan politics are set aside, town finances are managed transparently and responsibly, and town business is conducted openly. The proposed budget balances revenues with expenditures. I’ve worked diligently with the board to maintain excellent highway and fire protection services and no reduction in the Recreation Budget.
“To balance revenues with expenditures, I support the elimination of one town position, reductions in stipends for non-elected town boards, and a tax increase that is below the cap of .68 %. I advocate keeping the tax assessment process as a town function, rather than contracting it to the county.
“I will only vote for a zoning law that balances growth with protection of the town’s rural/farming character and that maintains the unique character of each hamlet. I want a zoning law with clear definitions and little room for interpretation.”
There are three polling places in the Town of Chatham, one for each of the voting districts:
• District 1, Chatham Town Hall, 488 State Rte 295
• District 2, ME Dardess Elementary School, 50 Woodbridge Ave, Village of Chatham
• District 3, Tri Village Fire Dept, 111 County Route 13, Old Chatham.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day. November 8.
For more information about where to vote, contact the Columbia County Board of Elections, 401 State Street, Hudson 12534 at 518 828-3115, or visit the Columbia County website www.columbiacountyny.com for a link to the Board of Elections website.