MILTON – Three members of the Town Board said Wednesday they are planning to seek the Republican nomination for supervisor, after incumbent town Supervisor Dan Lewza announced this week that he will not seek re-election this year.
Councilmen Benny Zlotnick and Scott Ostrander, and Councilwoman Barbara Kerr, all said after Wednesday’s Town Board meeting that they plan to run for supervisor.
Frank Blaisdell, the remaining Town Board member and the deputy supervisor, said he would not run for supervisor, but would support Ostrander for the job. Kerr, who was re-elected to her board seat in a primary after being denied support from the town Republican Committee, said she is prepared to wage another primary campaign if necessary. Zlotnick said he does not like primaries, but still might run in one even if he does not win the committee endorsement. Kerr said she had been planning to challenge Lewza, had he sought re-election.
Lewza declined to state a preference for his successor, saying he would likely support the candidate endorsed by the Republican Committee. Lewza, who is aged 47, married, with children aged 14 and 12, also declined to say what job he plans to do after he leaves office. He worked for the state Assembly Republican Conference before becoming supervisor, and said “I’ve been in politics for 20 years. … I do not see myself continuing in the political field. … This is a tough trade.” Lewza cited the impossibility of helping everyone, and the resulting hurt feelings5, of some constituents. “I want my private life back,” he said.
The Democratic Committee is slated to meet on April 25, but is not expected to pick candidates until a caucus in the fall.
Lewza is in his third two-year term as supervisor. Earlier this week he issued a statement citing accomplishments including building sidewalks on Geyser Road east to the Saratoga Springs line, and building a playground in Burgess-Kimball Park “for children of all abilities which was dedicated in remembrance of Milton resident Suzanne Lyall.”
Lewza also said in the statement that the town’s financial reserves were only $100,000 when he took office, “whereas we now have over a $2 million fund balance to help meet unexpected expenses.”
One of those unexpected expenses came up at Wednesday’s meeting, when the board transferred $316,000 from the reserves to a Highway Department account, to plug a budget gap. David Forbes, the highway superintendent, said the gap in the tentative budget had been over $800,000. The town’s comptroller, Julie Pratt, resigned not long ago, and a new one, Darlene M. Allen, was hired Wednesday at a salary of $68,000. Lewza said Forbes’ department was not responsible for the budget problem.
Ostrander, who was only recently appointed to fill a vacancy on the board, and did not participate in the budget process, voted against the fund transfer.