Before a new highway superintendent in Yorktown is chosen in November, Democratic and Republican voters will have a chance to narrow down the field in September primaries.
Steve Gardner, who ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign four years ago after incumbent Eric DiBartolo was cross endorsed by the Republican and Democratic parties, said recently he’s plowing ahead “full speed” to try to wrestle away the Democratic endorsement from retired police officer and local business owner Thomas Diana, who received 80 percent of the committee’s vote in May.
“I wasn’t surprised at all by the outcome. I thought it was already slighted and slanted to the people that were pushing Tom Diana,” said Gardner, noting Diana was nominated by former Supervisor Don Peters. “I wasn’t expecting really to be given a fair shot. Four years ago I wasn’t even allowed to speak at my own caucus. At least this time I was given a three minute speech. They’re trying to keep me out.”
Gardner, owner of a landscaping and excavation business for 33 years, finished third in committee voting behind Diana and Virgil Borrelli. Four years ago he lost a Democratic primary to DiBartolo by 87 votes.
“My message to the rest of the Democratic population is I hope they would remember me from four years ago,” Gardner said. “I was one of the proponents of having greater accountability and transparency when it came to the Highway Department. I feel I know the lay of the land of the town much better than any of the others.”
Diana, whose 25-year law enforcement career included stints in Yorktown, Cortlandt and WestchesterCounty, has owned and operated Comfort Heating, a full service fuel oil delivery company, since 2003. He said he expected Gardner to force a primary.
“He’s done it every time he’s run,” Diana said. “You’re always gearing up to go on to the next step. He’s basically got to do what he’s got to do. I think my chances are very good of winning the primary. It just causes a major distraction in the party. That’s just part of politics.”
Diane has also locked up the Independence and Working Families party lines. Gardner is considering trying to secure a minor party line to ensure he’s on the ballot in November.
In the Republican Party, Councilman Dave Paganelli has already announced his intentions to primary former Councilman Greg Bernard for highway superintendent after finishing one vote short in committee balloting.
“I’m confident that I have a real good shot at getting this and I’m going to work hard to get this,” Diana said. “Everyone thinks they’re the right man for the job. Come November, the people will decide that.”
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/