Eight file petitions for four trustee seats in Penn Yan

Gwen Chamberlain

Let the race begin.

Eight individuals have filed petitions to seek election to four seats on the Penn Yan Village Board. And petitions filed by the four incumbents are being challenged by one of the other candidates.

The incumbents seeking re-election are Michael Christensen, Nancy Taylor, Robert Church and Michael D’Abbracci.

Those who have filed petitions seeking to unseat the incumbents are Richard Stewart, Kenneth Kamholtz, Matt Mitchell and Michael Carmel Jr.

Last week Stewart notified Penn Yan Village Clerk Shawna Wilber he intended to challenge the petitions of the “Positive Party.”

Stewart explained his reason for challenging the petitions for the four incumbents in a recent email, “When I was passing my own petition around people would tell me,’Oh, I’ve already signed for Bob Church.’ I told them that they could sign for up to four people. They again told me they only signed for Bob and then signed mine. I later heard the ‘Positive Party’ team was passing a petition with all four candidates on it.

That’s perfectly legal, but confusing, and more confusing when they are told they are signing for one person, when in reality they are signing for all four.”

Stewart says over a dozen people signed the Positive Party petitions more than once because they thought they were signing for two different individuals.

Stewart is also questioning the terms listed on the petitions. He says some petitions say D’Abbracci is running for a two year term, and others say he’s running for a four year term.

Stewart had until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 to notify Wilber of the specific items he is challenging. At that point, Wilber must turn the petitions and his challenging document over to the Yates County Board of Elections. The Board of Elections must take steps immediately to review the petitions and make a decision.

Three of the four seats carry four year terms, and normally this election would be for just those three seats, held by Christensen, Taylor and Church.

The seat currently held by D’Abbracci carries a two year term. That’s because D’Abbracci was appointed by Mayor Douglas Marchionda Jr. to fill the vacancy left when Ronald Dailey resigned from the board last year.

Now, the seat is up for election again.

According to the village section of New York State Election law, the person who receives the fourth lowest number of votes in the March 18 election will win the two year term and the three candidates earning the most votes will take the seats with four year terms, currently held by Christensen, Taylor and Church.

Then, during the 2010 election, the seat with the two year term will be up for election to a four year term to keep it in the election rotation.

The annual trustee salary in Penn Yan is $3,500. Trustees are eligible for medical benefits, including dental benefits and a flex benefit. The trustee pays a portion of the premiums for couples or family coverage.

Penn Yan Village Justice Danny Hibbard is running unopposed for re-election to his post.

The election will be held Tuesday, March 18 in the lower level of the Penn Yan Village Hall from noon to 9 p.m.

Penn Yan Village residents wishing to vote in the election must be registered to vote by March 7.

Registered village voters who will be outside the village on March 18 may apply for an absentee ballot at the village office through March 17. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by March 18.

The Chronicle-Express is planning a meet-the-candidate forum for the public to learn more about the candidates. This free event will be held in the the Penn Yan Middle School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on March 4, 2008.

The forum will include opportunities for each of the candidates to introduce themselves, followed by a question and answer session.