December 30, 2013 —
Saying the parties were responding to an “outcry” from the public, Bill James, chairman of the Town of Thompson Democratic Committee, announced that his party and three others registered in the town—Republican, Independence and Conservative—were, for the first time ever, all backing the same candidates running for office in the Village of Monticello.
Gorden Jenkins, the mayor of Monticello, made headlines recently with an arrest for driving while intoxicated, and a recording of Jenkins’ behavior in the police station gained national attention.
At a press conference in Monticello on December 23, James was asked if the announcement of the four parties was a reaction to Jenkins’ problems. He said, “Maybe the press conference, but the impetus for the collaboration was the outcry of people who came up to us in our day-to-day lives and felt that the Village of Monticello’s reputation is a bit tarnished at this time and feel that it could be improved.”
He also said the parties were able to agree on the candidates because they all have strong backgrounds. Judge Josephine Finn is running for another term, and has served as judge since 2002. Doug Solomon, who is the current police chief in Beacon and the former police chief of Monticello, is running for a seat on the board of trustees. Jill Weyer, the acting planning commissioner of Sullivan County, is also running for a trustee seat.
If the two trustee candidates are successful in their contests, that will shift the balance of power on the board and Jenkins would likely lose his position as village manager, though not as mayor.
The four parties who endorsed the candidates formed an ad-hoc organization called Monticello United. They said in a press release, “The goal of Monticello United and its candidates is to rebuild Monticello, improve the day-to-day operations and fiscal integrity of the village government, and to rebuild the village’s reputation and economic climate.”
In her prepared remarks, Weyer echoed that theme, saying, “I believe the village is failing and I am confident I can help. It’s great to see so many people here who will support us on this journey. It is us, both the residents and businesses that must come together to advance this village.”