GENESEO — It may seem off-season, but elections are coming up on Tuesday, March 18, for Geneseo Village Board. Absentee ballots are still available, but are only valid if received by March 17th. We spoke with three of the four candidates, and received an informational email from the fourth. By way of a voting guide, those interactions are summarized below.
Of the four seats on the board, two are being contested this election cycle. Area elections have traditionally been dominated by the Republican party, but in recent years Democrats have made inroads, and won two seats on the Village Board. Those two seats are now up for election, and county Republicans want them. It’s an “at-large” election, meaning that four candidates are running for two seats, and the top two get the seats — in contrast to two traditional one-on-one contests. Two Republicans are running for the two seats currently held by Democrats, both of whom are running for reelection.
Among Village officials at present, the imbalance of party representation seems high, with only Mayor Hathaway being a Republican. In the Village of Geneseo the voter affiliation is fairly close, with 802 registered democrats and 761 registered republicans. The balance is different than Livingston County affiliations as a whole, where there are 16,366 Republicans and only 9,842 Democrats, a nearly 2-to-1 advantage.
The incumbent Trustees up for re-election are Democrats Sandy Brennan, who is currently the Village Deputy Mayor and has served as a Village Trustee on the Board since 2006; and Margaret Duff, who has been serving as a Trustee since 2010. The two challengers are Republicans Bob Meyers, a member of the Village Zoning Board and trustee at the Wadsworth Library; and Guy Ferraro, Negotiator and Executive Committee member of CSEA local 608, and former locksmith. As we discovered in our interviews, each of these four candidates bring something different to the table.
Deputy Mayor Sandy Brennan
Sandy Brennan, a Democrat, has been on the board since 2006, and was appointed as Deputy Mayor in 2010, and has been reappointed every year since then. The Deputy Mayor is appointed by the Mayor every year to serve in a role with additional responsibilities. Trustee Brennan will attend events that Mayor Hathaway cannot attend, and is present at additional budgeting meetings with department heads.
While serving on the board, her favorite project has been working on Highland Park. She enjoyed being able to talk with nearby landowners, and see the park transform into a Village treasure. The perimeter park and dog park areas are two of her favorite features, but she remembers, “I just really enjoyed that whole project.”
Past experiences and skills that Deputy Mayor Brennan brings to her position as a Trustee is her Master’s Degree in Public Administration, seven years as the Village Planning board Chair. She is retired from the position of Senior Administrator of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and is a former math teacher and Girl Scout Leader.
Trustee Margaret Duff
Margaret Duff, also a Democrat, has been on the board since 2010. Having grown up in Geneseo, Duff has a heart to see Geneseo grow and change in new ways. “Geneseo is evolving, it shouldn’t stay in the 50s and 60s,” she said. “I love that it is evolving and the cooperative nature.”
While on the board, her favorite project has been working to improve the infrastructure of the Village. Although she feels like this was a ‘boring’ answer, it shows her commitment to all the aspects of the town.
The experiences and skills Trustee Duff brings to the board include 5 years on the Geneseo School Board, including one year serving as Chair, an experience that has given her background in working with municipal law and budgeting. Additionally, she is currently program director for Supportive Home and Parent Enrichment (SHAPE), Kinship Family and Youth Services in Steuben, Allegany, and Yates Counties, as well as Bath Community Child Day Care Center. She brings over 20 years of experience in different government roles dealing with budgets, contracts, and grants. Her current job in Human Resources gives her an advantage when talking with different branches of the government.
Republican Bob Meyers, challenging the incumbents, has lived in the Village for 11 years with his wife, who is an active member in APOG and the Not Dot Shop co-op, and two of his four children. He has 35 years of business experience at Xerox and GE as the Vice President of Marketing and Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Currently, he is a Village of Geneseo Zoning Board Member, and a Trustee for the Wadsworth Library.
According to Mr. Meyers, One of the most meaningful ways he has given back to Geneseo is sitting on the board for the Wadsworth Library. His position as Treasurer, and his experience at Xerox has taught him how to balance a budget, and to see clearly where an organization’s money can be best used. He admits, however “The reason I want to get involved with the village is I’ve never done this before. I don’t know how it’s run…I thought I’d give it a shot.”
The three areas he feels the most qualified in are Marketing, Information Technology and Computer sciences, and Financial Analysis. He understands “having a diverse group is very beneficial” and he has “seen the benefits of diversity”. He hopes to offer the different points of view that the board needs going forward.
Challenger Guy Ferrero, also a Republican, is a 45 year resident of Geneseo. He has been married to his wife Betsy for almost 44 years, is the father of 2 and grandfather of 4. He has been a self-employed business owner since 1977, and is one of only 10 Certified Master Locksmiths in New York. Currently, he is a Negotiator and Executive Committee member of CSEA local 608 Former member of Kiwanis of Geneseo.
Mr. Ferrero said that it’s hard for him to choose just one important or favorite memory in Geneso, because he has spent so much of his time here, but all his most dear memories include an aspect of family or community.
One of his favorite ways of giving back to Geneseo has been his time in Kiwanis. He was a member of the Boys and Girls committee, then eventually became the Chair of the committee. The committee was responsible for The Easter egg hunt, the Halloween Parade, food baskets at Thanksgiving and food and Gifts (Toys for Tots) at Christmas. The Kiwanis of Geneseo have been active in the community. They helped in the creation of Highland park through volunteering time and donating playground equipment.
“I believe that I have much to bring to the Village Board as a long time resident, as a small business owner, and as a grandfather to four granddaughters. I believe that with careful stewardship, the Village of Geneseo can be a place where my grandchildren will want to and be able to stay and work and raise their families. I am up to that task.”