Van Genderen announces run for Broadalbin supervisor

BROADALBIN — Bruce Van Genderen, the former Gloversville finance commissioner, has announced his intension to run for town supervisor as an independent.

Van Genderen, a 45-year resident of the town, said he decided to run for supervisor after discussions with current supervisor Thomas Christopher, who is not seeking re-election.

“I think there is a need for someone with a strong financial background,” Van Genderen said. “I really care about the town, and so I figured I’d take a stab at this. The fact of the matter is there is only person on the ballot right now, and I don’t think that’s a good thing for the town. I know I could do a good job for the town, so I’m very much excited and enthralled by this.”

Former Town Clerk Sheila Perry in July submitted a petition with 143 signatures to run on the Republican Party line for town supervisor. Perry has cited her record of having served under three prior supervisors: Christine Brooker, Lee Hollenbeck and George Walters, as well as her experience working as a bookkeeper for her family’s commercial dairy.

Van Genderen cites his record of having worked as a private sector accountant for 45 years, his 11 and a-half-year tenure as Gloversville finance commissioner and recent municipal finance consulting work he has down for Gloversville and the towns of Johnstown and Gloversville.

Van Genderen was deeply involved in a financial turnaround of Gloversville under Mayor Dayton King and Mayor Tim Hughes during which the city went from having a $1.5 million deficit to having a $6.5 million reserve of unspent tax revenues.

If he is able to get onto the November ballot as an independent, this will be the first time Van Genderen has sought public office. He said he first considered running for town council in Broadalbin in 2005, but he determined he could not legally serve elected office while having an appointed position in Gloversville. He said he needs to determine the legality of whether he can continue his municipal consulting business while also serving as town supervisor. He said, if it isn’t allowed by law, he’ll stop the consulting business; but, if it is allowed, he’d like to continue doing it because he has received interest from “about 20 towns” for his services.

To get on the ballot as an independent Van Genderen will need about 74 signatures.

“After discussing this with Tom Christopher [Aug. 4] I went down to the Board of Elections, got all of the proper paperwork done there, and Saturday morning I went out in front of the post office and garnered about 102 signatures, and I still want to continue getting signatures. I have until Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. to get everything in, so my goal is to get another 100 signatures,” he said.

One issue Van Genderen thinks is important for the Town of Broadalbin is the former Broadalbin Town Beach.

A committee of concerned town residents has circulated a petition asking residents to support the town “resuming talks” with the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation to reopen the beach.

The Town of Broadalbin had traditionally operated a summer beach with lifeguards at the site, until DEC took control in 2011. In recent years the beach has not allowed legal swimming, but people continue to use it without supervision, often creating a mess of garbage at the beach.

Van Genderen said he has worked with Supervisor Christopher to put a $50,000 budget to operate the beach into drafts of the 2018 town budget.

“When my kids were young we used to go to the town beach every weekend. And when they got a little older my kids used to take the “beach bus” that picked them up right near the house. We have a long history of very enjoyable times at that beach, and I think it’s great for the kids and for the town of Broadalbin, and also it’s great for the adults by the way,” Van Genderen said. “I’m very much in favor of the town beach being restored.”