By CRISTINE MEIXNER
LAKE PLEASANT - Lake Pleasant voters will see two races in the Nov. 5 General Election, for town supervisor and superintendent of highways.
Political newcomer Kimberly Parslow Byrne is challenging incumbent Supervisor Neil P. McGovern; and two Republicans want to be the next superintendent of highways: Randolph La Varnway and Wayne J. Lucas. Incumbent Leo Desrochers is not running for a second two-year term.
Incumbent councilpersons Betsy A. Bain and Nancy Germain and Town Clerk Deborah O'Rourke are all running uncontested for re-election. All are four-year terms and all three are Republicans.
BYRNE, 41, is running as an independent on the An Independent Voice For The People line. She holds an associate's degree in Human Services. She is currently Hamilton County's personnel officer.
She believes she has a good grasp of the town's policies, "as they usually mirror the county policies. As personnel officer, the town supervisors look to me for guidance regarding personnel policies and procedures."
Byrne "would like to be an advocate for all the residents of the town, whether it is regarding taxes, health insurance, personnel issues, Civil Service, job security or just a common concern they may have.
"I want everyone to feel that whatever question they may have, big or small, they can approach me or the town board and it will be addressed. I feel hard work and dedication on my part will help accomplish this for our community."
As qualifications, Byrne says, "I currently have over 10 years in county government. I have more than 20 years of administrative experience, which includes budgeting, contracts, rules and regulations, health insurance including Medicaid and Medicare, Civil Service, human resources, and policies and procedures. During those years, I have always worked with the public in some capacity."
If elected Byrne "would like to apply for more capital projects and grants. The town needs to access these available funds versus spending more taxpayer dollars. I would like to see more shared services to eliminate the need for excessive spending. If we need to bid a project, look at all the possible scenarios before writing that check."
Byrne says the top two issues in Lake Pleasant are high taxes and jobs.
"I've heard numerous complaints regarding taxes (town, village -- which includes sewer and water -- and school). It has become apparent that it is near impossible for people to remain residents here, based on this.
"I will work with the town and village boards to come up with some solutions to address this issue. I know we need to look at ways to bring people and business to Hamilton County, but my ultimate goal is an affordable place to live that will allow current residents to remain here.
"This leads to my second concern, jobs. We need to create job opportunities within the county, as we want our younger citizens to stay here versus leaving after graduation from high school. If we cannot accomplish this in some form or another, we will not be able to live and raise our families here, as we have in years past, as a community where we all consider each person part of our family."
Byrne has been married to Barrie Byrne since 2011. He is employed by the State of New York. She has one stepson.
McGOVERN, 57, will appear on both the Republican and The Unity Party line. He holds an associate's degree in Business Administration from Nassau Community College and is co-owner of The Inn at Speculator. He has been supervisor since Jan. 1, 2010.
He was mayor of the Village of Speculator from April 2007 through December 2009 and served as a trustee for nine years before that. He has also served on the village planning board and zoning board of appeals.
McGovern has been involved in quality of life issues, negotiations with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Assembly testimony on unit management plans and snowmobile trails, Adirondack Park Agency testimony on economic development and tourism, and beautification / revitalization committee work.
He has served on since 1993 and is a past president of the Nathan Littauer Hospital Board of Directors, the regional Fish & Wildlife Board since 2009, the regional Workforce Investment Board (1990-1999 and 2009- ) and the regional Community Action Agency board since 2009.
As a member of the county Board of Supervisors he chairs its Publicity, Tourism and Economic Development Committee and is a member of its Health and Human Services, Internal Management and Finance committees.
He has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 1979, Lions Club since 1988, Pleasant Riders since 1985, Speculator - Lake Pleasant Fish & Game Club since 1990, Lake Pleasant - Sacandaga Assoc. since 1995, Friends of Oak Mt. since 2007 (a founder) and Friends of Lake Pleasant Library since 2009.
Accomplishments in office include controlling the budget. "Despite unprecedented upward pressures from fuel prices, pension contributions and health premium costs, our last three budgets had no increase," McGovern says.
Other major accomplishments include a new bus garage, lift and lease; completing the Bulk Petroleum Storage Project, repurposing Highway Dept. buildings and construction of a new storage facility to protect town equipment.
If re-elected McGovern wants to "determine the best town-wide benefit of moderate growth in homes, business and job opportunities here and fight for those objectives" as well as "better, safer state highways for both pedestrians and drivers."
McGovern also wants to "improve our recreation / snowmobile trails and public spaces, work with the new highway superintendent to achieve continued quality of life improvements at moderate costs and creatively fund and implement our Community Main Street Revitalization Plan."
Neil and wife Linda have been married since 1977. She is a bookkeeper. They have three sons and two grandchildren.
LA VARNWAY, 41, will appear on both the Republican and the Fair Deal lines. He holds an associate's degree in science from the State University of New York College of Technology at Alfred. He is currently the town's senior mechanic.
He has been an EMT with Speculator Volunteer Ambulance Corps since 2000 and served Speculator Volunteer Fire Department for five years (2002-07).
He is related to Fred Slack, the town's zoning officer.
La Varnway says, "I can offer a lot of experience and improve the quality of work being done with planning."
As qualifications he cites leadership skills developed with SVAC, experience of town policies and practices, and knowledge of the employees' capabilities.
If elected he would like to see "better supervisor / worker relations, better budgeting practices and more shared services with other government agencies."
Regarding highway issues, La Varnway says cheaper ways need to be found to collect and sort recyclables. Also, he says if snowmobile clubs can properly groom trails the town should let them, and pay them what the state pays the town. Trails not handled by the clubs should be groomed according to conditions and use and improved so they can be used longer in the spring.
Snowplowing of roads should be done in a fashion that makes them safe with minimal expense and time.
La Varnway has been married to wife Eileen since 2010. She is employed by Casey's Corner in Piseco. He has two stepchildren.
LUCAS, 55, is running as an independent on the Labrador line. He is currently a foreman and heavy equipment operator for the Village of Speculator.
"I have the experience, the time and the dedication" to be highway superintendent, he says. "I spent over 25 years as a excavating job site supervisor and the past seven years working for the village highway department."
If elected Lucas says he would "continue to maintain the town roads for the safety of the public" as well as "continue to work on the snowmobile trail along the river."
He said highway superintendent would be his sole occupation.
Regarding highway issues, Lucas says large projects should be put on hold to ensure that older equipment can be updated. "Equipment must start being replaced, updated and better maintained for the safety of both employees and the public," he says.
Also, he wants the snowmobile trails maintained, and he "would like to see the snowmobile clubs groom more trails if possible."
Lucas has two grown daughters.