4 vie for Clarendon highway superintendent in GOP Primary
CLARENDON – Primary Day on Sept. 10 will see no less than four candidates vying for the Republican line for Clarendon highway superintendent.
Incumbent Larry Swanger is facing a challenge by Tracy Bruce Chalker, Frederick Seeman III, and Craig Nicosia.
Swanger is in his 26th year as highway superintendent.
“I thought about it and realized I’m not really ready for retirement,” Swanger said. He points out that he also serves as water superintendent.
“I’ve been here since day one for water,” he added.
Swanger says the town has created 10 water districts during his years in office and, “we’re working to get more water in. We’re always looking to do more.”
He still enjoys his job as highway/water superintendent, and said he will continue to work to improve the roads in the town despite the challenges.
“It’s hard with costs going up, there’s only so much money to do road repairs,” he said. “I’m always looking to find more revenue for the town. I enjoy being with the residents and taking care of the town.”
“I don’t think people realize how much responsibility there is to this job,” he continued, noting administrative duties of the post. “The majority of the time, I’m in the office … I would like to get out more.”
Tracy Bruce Chalker has lived in Clarendon for 28 years and has 20 years of experience in highway construction trades including working as foreman and lead person on construction and repair of roads, bridges, water lines, and other municipal projects.
He is also a life member and 17-year active member of the Clarendon Fire Department. He has served as a sportsman’s education instructor for 16 years and served seven years on the Clarendon Planning Board.
“I’ve been involved in the community over the years,” Chalker said. “I like the community. I feel very experienced and knowledgeable.”
Chalker said his experience would benefit the town as it continues to grow. It’s time for a change in the leadership of the Highway Department, he said.
“The Superintendent has run for so many years unopposed,” Chalker said.
He asked voters to look at, “the knowledge and experience in the field behind the candidates running.”
If elected, Chalker said he would continue in the same direction the town is already going and will work to “get taxes in check as much as possible.”
Fred Seeman III is a former Kodak employee. He currently owns his own landscaping business and drives a school bus for the Holley Central School District.
He said his work at Kodak gave him experience with “taking care of budgets.” His other jobs have “touched on construction, excavating and building … I’m a jack-of-all-trades.”
Seeman said he believes Swanger has done a good job, but “It’s time for a change. It’s time to do things differently.”
If elected highway superintendent, Seeman said he would work to “change things up in the department … change the way we take care of snow plowing and road maintenance … see things with a fresh pair of eyes … be more open-ended, let people know they can come in and talk, that the door is open. If there is a problem, they can come on down.”
No matter the results of the voting on Primary Day, Seeman says he expects the November race to be close.
“There’s a lot of people out there who don’t have a party affiliation,” he said.
Craig Nicosia has owned and operated his own business for 23 years and said his work involves construction and snow plowing.
“I have experience in commercial and residential snow plowing since 1988,” he said. “Everything I do, I would be doing the same thing in the Highway Department, but on a bigger scale.”
In the summer, Nicosia said he works construction jobs and road projects with his 10-wheeler dump truck.
“I reconstruct roads, do water mains, water lines,” he said. “I’ve done hook-ups, I’ve done a lot of blacktopping.”
“Everything I’ve done could be put to good use in Clarendon,” Nicosia said. “Running a business, I’m used to budgeting. Everything I do is seasonal.”
He explained he has to be prepared for gaps in his work in the spring and fall.
“I know what’s important to spend money on,” he said.
Swanger is doing a good job, Nicosia said. However, the challenger said he has ideas for ways to do things differently.
“I believe in teamwork,” he said, adding he’s not afraid to jump in a truck to help get the job done.
Nicosia said he would like the opportunity to serve his town and neighbors.
“I love living in the Town of Clarendon,” he said. “I have made this my home. I’ve made a lot of friends. I would love to serve the people I know.”
Polls will be open Sept. 10 from noon to 9 p.m. at the Clarendon Town Hall, 16385 Church St.