By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO March 19, 2004 Jim Barnicle coasted to a victory over Mayor Gary Sommers in the Village of Monticello elections Tuesday.
Barnicle, the Democrat, won "convincingly," as he put it, in an unofficial vote tally of 555-232.
Meanwhile, only one of the four trustees who ran is guaranteed a seat. Victor Marinello retained his seat with 500 unofficial votes recorded.
Absentee ballots will be counted by the end of March to determine the official winner of the remaining Village of Monticello Trustee seat. Unofficial tallies put first-time candidate Republican Brian Vandermark in the lead with 355 votes. Democrat Jeff Sternberg followed at 338. Incumbent Republican David Rosenberg stood at 277.
Sullivan County Board of Elections officials said that a minimum of 100 votes were yet to be counted.
Barnicle was "ecstatic." He called the vote a referendum by all of the groups throughout the community.
It speaks well of what I have done in the past, he commented. I wont let the people down."
Barnicle said that the new village government would have "open communication" and "work as a team." Barnicle said that the difference in the votes proved that the voters supported his initiatives to divide the village into quadrants and clean it up.
The mayor-elect said the new village government would form closer relationships and better communication between elected officials, department heads, the village manager, town and county officials.
"Nothing will be missed in the translations," he said.
Barnicle reiterated that his victory was far-reaching.
"It was not just a Democratic vote," he remarked.
He said his votes came from conservatives, various ethnic groups and different age brackets in order to secure his election.
The Monticello Chamber of Commerce president announced that he expected to be sworn in as mayor April 1. And hell likely be presiding over the village board meeting on April 7.
Current Mayor Gary Sommers said that the "public decided that is the way they wanted to go. . . . I will support whatever the public wants."
As to whether Sommers would remain involved in local politics, he responded, "Yes, but I dont know in what capacity yet."
In the Village of Wurtsboro Trustee race, Mickey Maher appeared to have edged out Jim Handford by an extremely slim margin. With several absentee ballots still to be counted, Maher was leading 81-75.
Maher said she "would like to thank everybody who voted." She also thanked "those who supported me.
To those who didnt, I will prove that I can do the job.
Maher said she is looking forward to a repaving project for Sullivan Street, set to begin next year, which will include new sidewalks, lighting and drainage.
Handford could not be reached for comment.
The following villages had trustee seats which were uncontested:
Thomas Sprague - 36 votes
Christopher Gozza - 30 votes
Ronald Scott - 23 votes
Joseph Gotthardt - 37 votes
William Thony - 14 votes
Peggy Johansen - 11 votes
Jacqueline Oliver - 14 votes