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New day dawns for Monticello

By Dan Hust
MMONTICELLO — Marcg 26, 2010 — With final (albeit still unofficial) election results in, the Monticello Village Board will soon have a new dynamic – and village government may have a slew of new leaders.
Yesterday, the Sullivan County Board of Elections counted all remaining absentee and affidavit ballots in the race for two village board seats, and incumbent Trustee TC Hutchins and his running mate, Rev. James Matthews, emerged victorious.
Hutchins, a Democrat, gained nearly 160 absentee votes to earn a total of 584 votes. Matthews, also a Democrat, gained almost as much to stand at 553 votes total.
Hutchins was not available for comment, and Matthews could not be reached.
Incumbent Trustee Scott Schoonmaker, a Republican, fared the worst, picking up close to 100 absentee votes but clocking in last with 421 total votes.
His running mate, Republican Brian Soller, rallied with 84 absentee votes to a total of 446, still well under Matthews and Hutchins.
“I am very proud of my campaign,” Soller said yesterday afternoon. “I knew from the start it was going to be an uphill battle, and my team worked very hard to run a positive campaign that remained focused on the issues of the village. I hope that Rev. Matthews maintains his promise to be a peacemaker and the board can work together to change the direction of the Village of Monticello.”
“I’m just happy it’s over,” Schoonmaker remarked yesterday. “I wish them the best. I just hope they do the right thing for the whole village, or else the village is doomed.”
He indicated he may run again for trustee in two years, but for now, “I leave with my head held high, because I know I’ve done what’s right for the people.”
But in two months, let alone two years, the village leadership may look very different.
Village Manager Ray Nargizian has already tendered his resignation and will be gone by April 6. Treasurer Brenda Galligan is retiring, and there’s talk that both Village Clerk John LiGreci and Village Attorney Bob Gaiman will be replaced.
LiGreci is being considered for village manager, but rumors have swirled that John Barbarite may return to that position, thanks to a board that likely will be far more favorable to Mayor Gordon Jenkins’ agenda than in the past.
When reached yesterday, Jenkins said a new plan was being worked out, but he was not yet ready to divulge it.
The reconstituted board will next officially meet on Monday, April 5 at 7 p.m.

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