Penn Yan village election: Condella unseats MacKerchar as mayor

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express

2022 Penn Yan village election official results 

Mayor

* Dan Condella, 259

Leigh MacKerchar, 256

Trustees

* Norman Koek, 323

* Daniel Irwin, 243

* Teresa Hoban, 222

Bruce Gleason, 167

Daniel Henries Jr., 145

Ralph Senese, 142

Rebecca Devine Godbee, 132

PENN YAN — In what was expected to be a village election that went to one side of the retail cannabis sales issue or the other, the result was something of a mixed bag.

By a difference of just three votes, Deputy Mayor/Trustee Dan Condella unseated the incumbent, Mayor Leigh MacKerchar. Condella had been one of the trustees who voted against the Opt Out for retail cannabis sales in Penn Yan during December's special village board meeting at Penn Yan Academy, while MacKerchar had been advocating strongly for the ban.

Penn Yan Village Trustee/Deputy Mayor Dan Condella
Leigh MacKerchar

In the three-seat Trustee race, incumbent Norm Koek won the most votes of any candidate with 323; challenger Dan Irwin had the next highest with 243; and incumbent Teresa Hoban retained her seat with 222 votes. The four other challengers were in a distant pack. Koek had voted for the opt out, while Hoban had voted against it. Irwin, a retired police officer, had expressed his opinion for the opt out.

Some have argued that far more important matters face Penn Yan that just the retail cannabis sales issue — street, sidewalk, water and sewer, and other maintenance issues, emergency services, and taxation. But it was undeniably the division over the cannabis question that motivated so many candidates to run for election to positions that are usually uncontested.

Perhaps the saddest commentary is that even with such a contentious election, the comparatively large turnout of 521 voters is just 18% of the eligible voters in the Village of Penn Yan. In the quieter year of 2020, only 76 citizens bothered to vote, and in 2018  it was just 123.

Asked to comment on his victory, Condella replied, "I would like to take this time to thank everybody who voted and supported me throughout this whole process. I am very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to giving back to the village that I grew up in. It’s time for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I am looking forward to serving you as the mayor of Penn Yan."

MacKerchar graciously conceded the race to Condella Wednesday morning. In a later interview he said, "The people got to vote and have their voice heard, and that is the most important thing, more than whoever won or lost." 

MacKerchar recalled that he returned as mayor this time in 2014, elected just 40 days before the devastating flood that struck Penn Yan that year. "I was proud of Penn Yan coming together the way we did in the flood of '14, and that it has stuck," he said. "We're in a good place now. We've accomplished a lot with a lot more yet to come, and I'm looking forward to seeing it completed. Everything I've done I've done in the best interests of the people. It's been an honor to serve the people of Penn Yan."