Candidates to run for new county executive position

Two candidates so far have announced they will vie to be Montgomery County’s first executive.

Dominick Stagliano of St. Johnsville, a Democrat, and Matt Ossenfort of Amsterdam, a Republican, will compete for the position.

A new charter for Montgomery County was created and approved in November. The charter is changing the county’s government from a Board of Supervisors to a county Legislature, and also adds an elected county executive.

Some of the county executive’s duties will include: executing and enforcing all laws and resolutions of the county legislature, exercising supervision and control over all administrative departments, offices and agencies of the county government, taking on the role of chief budget officer of the county, having the ability to approve or veto any votes by the legislature and being able to appoint officials for some county departments.

The county executive will make $85,000.

Stagliano, who is the St. Johnsville supervisor, said his experience makes him a prime candidate for this election.

“In ’91 to ’95, I was the mayor of St. Johnsville, I’ve been on the Board of Supervisors since ’98, I chaired the budget committee in ’99, I made finance committees in 2001, 2002, and 2003, I was chairman of the board in 2004 and was the budget officer in 2004 and I’m currently the finance chairman here in 2013,” he said. “I have had the interest to serve the public since the day I entered the political circle. I know the departments. I know the finances inside and out. So I think it makes me uniquely qualified.”

Ossenfort – who works with the New York State Senate as a senior legislative analyst – also thinks his experience in politics is important for this election.

“I’ve worked in government ever since I got out of college. I’ve worked in the New York State Assembly for various Assembly members, I’ve worked for three different Republican leaders in the assembly, and I was chief of staff for [former] Assemblyman George Amedore for a period of about five years,” he said.

Ossenfort – who is a founding member of Montgomery?County’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity – also thinks his leadership skills will help the county.

“I think the best qualification for me is my leadership skills, as far as being someone who is a team player and wants to create an environment of collaboration, cooperation and bring people together; that’s what gets you results,” he said.

Both candidates also believe the change in government systems is necessary for Montgomery County’s government to be successful.

Stagliano says the old system is ineffective. Stagliano said he believes he can make the transition work.

“I operated under the old system and saw that it didn’t work to our benefit. Knowing the old system and its issues and knowing the new system, because I supported the change in government, I think I can make the transition successful,” Stagliano said.

Ossenfort -who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University at?Albany – is optimistic about the transition in government, but also thinks it won’t be possible without the help of county residents.

“We have to make the transition from our old charter that we’ve had for 200 plus years to this new form of government, and that is going to take hard work and the talents of many people that are in the county already,” he said. “We need to bring together everyone and have leadership so we can successfully move forward with the business of making Montgomery County a better place to live.”

Montgomery?County voters choose their new county executive in the general election Nov. 5.