Former Albion police chief backed for mayor
Dean London gains unanimous backing at GOP caucus
ALBION – Republicans tonight gave unanimous support at the party caucus for Dean London, the retired police chief, to serve as the next village mayor.
London retired from the Police Department in April 2011 after a 20-year career, including the last seven years as police chief.
“I’m not afraid of challenges,” London said after the caucus. “I really believe in this community. There’s a lot that can be done.”
Republicans at the caucus also endorsed incumbent Trustee Eileen Banker for another four-year term. The party also backed Stan Farone for a four-year term and Gary Katsanis for a two-year term.
The Democratic Party will have its caucus on Jan. 28. The election is March 18.
London, 48, ran for town clerk in November 2011, losing to Sarah Basinait. He has been working at Baxter Healthcare in Medina in the service department. He said he is eager to return to public service.
“I took a break from that and I’ve missed it,” he said. “I’m not one to sit on the sidelines.”
London, a resident of Goodrich Street, has served a five-year term on the Albion Board of Education. He also served 14 years on the board of directors for Community Action of Orleans and Genesee, and was involved in the Albion Business Association.
As police chief he was active in the Neighborhood Watch program and worked to secure grants for the police department to outfit police cars with laptops, license plate readers, and a digital fingerprint scanning machine.
Dean Theodorakos, the current mayor, worked closely with London at the end of his career as police chief. Theodorakos said he is confident London can step in at Day 1 and do the job for the community. The village operates on a $6.3 million budget with about 50 employees.
“We had a good working relationship,” Theodorakos said. “He is a great administrator. He’s level-headed and analytical. He thinks things through.”
London and the GOP team said a priority will be working with the state Department of Transportation on a $2 million-plus replacement of the Clarendon Street bridge, a project that has been more on the drawing board for more than a decade. The village has secured 80 percent of project funds through the federal government. The state is expected to pay another 15 percent.
“The funding is there and we need to see it through,” London said.
He also wants to work towards upgrading the sewer and water plants.
Banker, 50, has served about four years on the board. She works as chief of staff for State Assemblyman Steve Hawley. She said that position shows her how many state policies hurt small communities like Albion, driving up operating costs and taxes.
“I see how it all trickles down to Albion,” said the Clarendon Street resident.
She wants to keep the Village Board committed to several big projects, including the Clarendon Street bridge and sewer plant upgrades.
Farone, 64, is making his first run for elected office. He is a long-time member of the Albion Fire Department, serving as a past president. He was a co-founder of the Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance about four decades ago and remains on the group’s board of directors.
Farone worked 33 years for Kodak. He served in the Navy for four years, and also has six years in the Army Reserve. He is a member of the Orleans County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
He would like to see the Village Board establish better working relationships with neighboring town boards. The different boards should get together often and brainstorm ways to bring more tourism dollars to the community, Farone said.
“We need to see what we can do to build up the village and the towns, working together,” he said.
Farone, an East Park Street resident, also would like to see the village push for better sidewalks.
Katsanis, 55, was endorsed to fill the last two years of Fred Miller’s term. Miller resigned last month. He is now a county legislator.
Katsanis lives on North Main Street. He worked in medical data analysis for Strong and then Blue Cross. He managed a staff that stretched from Buffalo to Utica.
“We need to look past the surface issues,” Katsanis said. “We need to be careful and put thought into all of our decisions.”
He has served on a committee helping with recent the $477,000 grant for the downtown.
Katsanis said a “scarcity of money” is a problem for the village and other local governments. He said he wants to talk to stakeholders in the community, to get their ideas and their priorities.
“There are no simple answers,” he said.