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Local News

August 22, 2013

Two town board members won't seek re-election

Two Oneonta board members not seeking re-election cited the fracking debate among disappointments during their tenure.

However, four candidates will vie for the two Oneonta Town Board vacancies created by Republican board members Scott Gravelin and William “Bill” Mirabito.

Candidates running for town board seats are Patricia Jacob and Andrew Stammel on the Democratic and independent party lines, and Republicans Brett Daniel Holleran and Fred Volpe.

Meanwhile, incumbents Supervisor Robert Wood, a Democrat, Town Clerk Cheryl Shackelton, a Republican, and Highway Superintendent James Hurtubise, a Democrat, are running unopposed for re-election.

Mirabito said he was pleased that the board was able to keep taxes down. But the fracking debate grew personal and pitted neighbors against each other, he said.

“It’s not good for our community,” said Mirabito, vice president of Mirabito Holdings Inc. The debate was the main reason for his decision not to seek another term, he said.

“It’s time to give someone else a chance,” he said.

Gravelin said he was disappointed about the time the town board had to spend on the fracking debate and issues about constable coverage. But he decided not to seek another four-year term because with New York’s high taxes and struggling economy, he cannot afford to retire in the state.

“I don’t want to make a commitment and then break it,” said Gravelin, owner of West Side Storage.

In March, the board approved a 12-month extension of a moratorium on natural gas drilling by a 3-2 vote. Mirabito and Gravelin voted against the measure.

The two vacancies on the town board will be filled by the top two vote-getters in the Nov. 5 election, Lori Lehenbauer, Republican deputy election commissioner at the Otsego County Board of Elections, said.

Councilman Janet Hurley-Quackenbush, a Republican who has served 14 years on the board with her current term expiring Dec. 31, 2015, is running for the District No. 4 seat on the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

Wood said if Hurley-Quackenbush wins a county board seat, the Oneonta Town Board will appoint someone to fill her vacancy.

With four candidates, the councilman race will be interesting, he said.

“I’m glad people have a choice,” he said.

The term of board member David Jones, a Democrat, expires Dec. 31, 2015.

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