The Putnam Examiner

Nelsonville Elects New Mayor, Two New Trustees

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It was a clean sweep for three Nelsonville challengers last Tuesday when voters selected a new mayor and two new trustees to serve on the village board after an ugly campaign season.

Current Trustee Chris Caccamise narrowly topped incumbent Mayor Bill O’Neill and Dove Pedlosky and Lisa Mechaley were able to beat out current Trustee Alan Potts. Caccamise, who was appointed to the village board in August, garnered 110 votes while O’Neill collected 95. Pedlosky led the three trustee candidates with 117 votes and Mechaley received 116 votes, 13 more votes than Potts, who came up short with 103.

The trio ran as a team calling for more open communication and transparency from the board, which they felt was lacking under O’Neill, who served as mayor for one term. Caccamise, Pedlosky and Mechaley will be sworn in at the beginning of April. Caccamise, who is Mexican-American, is the first minority to become mayor and Pedlosky and Mechaley are the second and third woman ever to sit on the board.

In an interview, Caccamise said he was honored to be elected and excited to start his mayoral term. He admitted the race got ugly, but the three winning candidates tried to run a positive race “and I think the voters realized that.” Rumors even spread during the course of the campaign that the three candidates wanted to eliminate the village and join the Town of Philipstown, which Caccamise called “complete nonsense.”

“We just want to improve our village and not the hurt the village as much as we can,” he said.

Caccamise and O’Neill both bickered throughout the past several weeks, with Caccamse arguing O’Neill was not allowing the appropriate flow of information to the public and O’Neill calling Caccamise a “disappointment.”

Now with the race over, Caccamise called O’Neill and Potts “wonderful men.” “I just hope that we can remain positive and we can run the village in a positive way,” Caccamise said, adding he hopes residents become more engaged with village government.

But there was still some lingering resentment with O’Neill complaining about the actions of two residents that supported Caccamise’s ticket. O’Neill claimed Trustee Michael Bowman and resident David McCarthy got voter rolls from the village clerk that election inspectors are given and with that information, the two called in “friends” to come and vote that hadn’t yet.

O’Neill said he spoke with GOP election commissioner Tony Scannapieco about the issue. When reached for comment, Scannapieco said he spoke with O’Neill and that it was legal to give a voter list to anyone that requests it and only poll workers should not call people to come and vote.

O’Neill stressed his complaints aren’t meant to be viewed as sour grapes and called the election loss “small potatoes” compared to the success he’s had over the course of his life.

“I feel privileged to have served this village over the past two years and I do want to express gratitude to be able to achieve some important things for the village,” O’Neill said. He said the contentious cell tower proposal and ensuing lawsuit connected to them distracted people in the village of the good work that was done.

He has already put his house up for sale, noting, “I don’t even want to stay here after this” and is ready to go overseas on vacation. He hated the tenor of the entire campaign season.

“This is a pretty bad show that took place,” O’Neill added.

Bowman, when reached for comment, said the three winning candidates requested poll watcher information, including who had voted and compared it against their voting list to call supporters that hadn’t voted yet “like you do in every election.”

“I just think the mayor is a little bent out of shape that he lost,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he and O’Neill started off with a good relationship, but when he started to be challenged, tensions rose. Bowman is now optimistic the new board in place will get along better.

“It’s going to be night and day,” he said.

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