Banker elected Albion mayor in close vote

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 March 2018 at 10:16 pm

Republicans sweep in winning all 3 Village Board seats

Eileen Banker

ALBION – Village residents elected Eileen Banker today, and also picked two Republicans for trustees.

That gives the Republicans a sweep for the three positions up for election. It was a close race, however.

Banker received 250 votes, followed by 211 for Joyce Riley and 153 for Kevin Doherty. Riley was backed by the Democrats and Doherty ran under the independent “Spark Some Action” line.

Voters also elected the Republican duo of Gary Katsanis, 306 votes, and Stan Farone, 300. The put them ahead of the Democratic Party candidates, Jason Dragon with 274 votes and Sandra Walter with 264.

Banker has been on the board for eight years, including the past four as deputy mayor. She works as the chief of staff for Assemblyman Steve Hawley. Banker’s husband Dale also is a former Village Board member and fire chief, who currently is the county’s emergency management coordinator.

Eileen and Dale are Albion natives who raised their daughter in the village.

“I love this village,” Banker said after the results were announced at the Village Hall. “This is our home. We eat, sleep and live here.”

Banker is the second woman to be elected mayor in Albion. She recalled when Donna Rodden served in the role in the 1970s.

“I remember thinking how cool it was to have a woman as mayor,” Banker said.

She ran her campaign with Farone and Katsanis. They went door to door, instead of holding a meet and greet.

“We wanted to go out and see the voter instead of having them come to us,” she said.

The Republican team was elected to new four-year terms which start April 1. Banker said approving the village budget by the end of April will be the first big job for the board.

The Republicans were adamant in their support of keeping the Albion Police Department in its current staffing of at least two officers on duty at all times, including overnight shifts. The Democratic candidates said they were open to considering scaling back the overnight to one officer. They were also opening to seeing if the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and State Police would pick up policing in the village. If that happened, it would result in a big tax cut for village property owners. Riley, Walter and Dragon said the village tax rate is too high and isn’t sustainable for attracting residents and businesses.

Doherty favors looking at all village expenses and making customer service a higher priority. He said the current board hasn’t done enough to fight decline in the village and position Albion for a better future.

The village had 500 ballots printed for the election but the turnout passed expectations with 614 total. After the 500 votes, the village used paper ballots. It took nearly an hour to count the paper ballots. The results were announced just before 10 p.m.

Katsanis, who served on the board from 2014 to 2016, said he was encouraged by the turnout at the polls and seven candidates seeking three positions.

“I have to give the Democrats and Kevin Doherty credit for getting involved and making sure the issues were heard,” Katsanis said.

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