GLOVERSVILLE - Michael A. Ponticello declared his candidacy for mayor Saturday morning in a public announcement at the farmers market pavilion on Elm Street.
The Gloversville Republican Committee and the city's Conservative Party announced their endorsement of Ponticello, a resident of North Kingsboro Avenue.
"I am extremely honored for this very vital endorsement," Ponticello said. "I accept without hesitation and thank the committees for their confidence in me and I will work very hard in the upcoming campaign to be the next mayor of our city."
Michael Ponticello is seen Saturday at the farmers market pavilion in Gloversville, where he publicly announced his campaign for mayor. (The Leader-Herald/Greg Hitchcock)
A lifelong Gloversville resident, Ponticello first began working for the Gloversville Enlarged School District as a football and baseball coach in 1984. In 1986, he was hired as a physical education teacher and later coached baseball and football.
In 1998, Ponticello was appointed assistant principal at Gloversville Middle School and later served as the McNab-Meco Elementary School Principal from 2001 until his retirement in 2010.
He currently serves as Gloversville's 5th Ward Supervisor on the Fulton County Board of Supervisors.
"I have been a public servant my entire life as a teacher, coach, administrator, and legislator," Ponticello said Saturday morning. "I will bring all the valuable experiences that I have obtained during that time to my campaign. I was born and raised in Gloversville and have had a great career here. I truly believe because I understand all of the people of our community I will do what is best for the whole," he said.
Gloversville Republican Committee Chairwoman Karen Smith said Ponticello brings a great track record with him.
"He has the best qualities to turn this city around. Mike is truly passionate about serving Gloversville. He truly is a hometown person," Smith said.
Ponticello's bid for mayor pits him against incumbent Mayor Dayton King, who has announced plans to run for re-election. The two Republicans will meet in a primary in September. No Democratic or third-party candidates have come forward to date.
Responding to Ponticello's announcement Saturday, King questioned why the Republican Committee would want to endorse a candidate before party members have a chance to vote in the primary.
"I'm not a party boy," King said. "I'm a mayor for all the people."
The incumbent said he's been a "visible and responsible" public servant, and he thinks voters will respond to his record in office more than they would to any party endorsement.
"In 2009, I beat the party's candidate, and I'm prepared to do it again," King said. "I plan to run a positive campaign and run based on my accomplishments."
Gerard Heckler, a Republican who serves on the Gloversville Zoning Board of Appeals, said he was pleased with the committee's endorsement of Ponticello.
"He has strong ties to the community and has been a natural leader in the community as a supervisor," Heckler said. "I don't believe he has to turn this city around, just allows for greater potential for growth. He has fresh ideas."
Ponticello stressed the importance of an economic development plan for the city that will attract industry and jobs.
"Everyone should have a vision, and admittedly Gloversville won't be as it was, but it should be attractive to new people," Ponticello said.
Ponticello said he envisions more cooperation between Gloversville and Johnstown.
"It is important that Johnstown and Gloversville not be rivals, but instead should be allies and partner up," he said.
Ponticello made headlines in October when he was charged with driving while intoxicated after crashing his vehicle into a utility pole in Johnstown. After his arrest, Ponticello issued a public apology.