By Matt Youngfrau
SULLIVAN COUNTY March 22, 2002 On Tuesday, March 19, five out of the six villages in the county held elections. While the results will not be official until next week, four out of the five seem to be settled. The other race has many questions, and a clear-cut winner will not be decided until all the absentee and affidavit ballots have been counted.
The race in question is in the Village of Monticello. Five candidates were vying for two four-year Trustee seats. It appears that Democrat and Working Families candidate Scott Schoonmaker won the race with 383 votes.
In second place were three candidates separated by 11 votes. Incumbent board member, Republican and Conservative candidate Jim Barnicle garnered 354 votes. Democrat and Equal Justice candidate Mary Jo Oppenheim got 347 votes. Incumbent board member, Republican and Wise Government candidate Michael Levinson received 343 votes. Conservative candidate Alvin Dumas garnered 203 votes. With about 60 absentee and affidavit ballots, the race is still too close to call for the second seat.
The other race in Monticello was for Village Justice. Democrat and Equal Justice candidate Josephine Finn seems to have won the election with 520 votes. Finn beat incumbent Republican and Working Families candidate Philip Conaty, who earned 434 votes.
(On the night of the election at the Town of Thompson Board meeting, Supervisor Tony Cellini announced that, effective April 1, Finn will resign as Town Attorney. No reason was cited nor was a replacement named.)
Another tight race took place in the Village of Liberty. Four candidates were vying for two two-year trustee seats. The top vote-getter appears to be Democrat William Rube Smith, who earned 236 votes. The next top vote-getter was incumbent Republican and Conservative candidate Stephen Lavelle with 209 votes. Democrat Dennis Dainack had 161 votes and incumbent Republican and Conservative candidate Susan DeStefano had 113 votes.
The only other contested race in the county took place in the Village of Wurtsboro. Incumbent Democrat and People's Choice candidate Mickey Maher retained the seat with 96 votes. Republican and Good Government candidate Dinesh Shah received 83 votes.
The other two races were in the villages of Bloomingburg and Jeffersonville, and all were unopposed. In Bloomingburg, all three candidates were incumbents and ran on the Progressive Party Line. Ronald Scott won a two-year term with 25 votes. Mark Berentson received 28 votes to earn another four-year term as Village Justice. Trustee Joseph Gotthardt earned another two-year term with 27 votes.
In Jeffersonville, two trustee seats for two two-year terms were decided. The two incumbents, Edward Justus and William Thony, both received 26 votes each.
All results are still unofficial. Hearings to finalize the results and count the absentee ballots will take place at the Board of Elections Office in Monticello on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Winners will begin serving their terms after April 1.
The other incorporated village in the county, Woodridge, will hold its elections in June.