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Mayor-elect hoping to score team players

December 8, 2013
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - City Mayor-elect Michael Julius likes the attitude of fellow Democrat and former three-term U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey.

But Julius wasn't referring to Bradley's approach as a politician, rather his attitude when he played as a small forward on the early 1970s New York Knicks squad that captured two NBA championships.

"[Bradley] said he liked that team because everyone played as a team," Julius said. "No one went out on their own to get all the glory and look for all the credit ... Not like today."

Article Photos

Johnstown Mayor-elect Michael Julius shows off a charcoal self-portrait of his daughter, Victoria, hanging at his home last week.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich

As Julius prepares to be sworn into office Jan. 1, he's hoping others in the city - and in the area - will be team players to benefit the region.

Julius said the area, including his city, is facing an "unemployment crisis" he would like to help alleviate as mayor. He called joblessness a "common thread" among many of the area's municipalities.

The political newcomer said he's "been doing a lot of pre-work" since the election, meeting with local politicians and businessmen. He would like to revive interest with the town of Mohawk in Montgomery County to get a revenue sharing deal done, so the proposed regional business park on Route 30A can come to fruition.

However, Julius said helping people find jobs in his city and the local area is "priority number one" for his new administration. He also wants to create more jobs for the Johnstown area.

"This is an opportunity to reach out to these high-tech corporations," he said.

The Leader-Herald caught up with the 64-year-old retired pharmacist last week at his East Montgomery Street home.

Julius co-owned the former Broadalbin Pharmacy on North Main Street in that village with his pharmacist wife, Catherine Julius, until closing it in May 2010.

While Broadalbin was where he worked, Johnstown has always been his home. He is a 1967 graduate of Johnstown High School and a 1972 graduate of the Albany College of Pharmacy.

Julius won the mayor's election Nov. 5, beating Republican Scott Jeffers and 3rd Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin, who ran as a Conservative. He will succeed two-term, retiring Republican Mayor Sarah Slingerland.

The mayor's position is a four-year term and is considered part-time. Julius will be paid more than $18,000 annually. He is due to be sworn into office at the Common Council's organizational meeting at noon Jan. 1 at City Hall.

Julius said quality of life for city residents, as well as job creation, are key issues facing the city.

Julius himself likes to tend to gardening and do lawn maintenance around his home, which lies near Glebe Street Elementary School. Julius said he wants to keep up and improve the aesthetics of Johnstown, such as its parks, and also tackle blight issues.

Julius also supports the effort under the Slingerland administration this summer to seek an application for a $200,000 state NY Main Street Grant to revitalize downtown in various ways.

Structurally, he said, he doesn't plan significant change in city government.

"I think the Common Council are a good bunch of people working for the city of Johnstown," Julius said.

Julius said he doesn't plan any major personnel changes, with one exception: He plans to appoint former Republican 3rd Ward Councilman Brett Preston as city attorney. Preston would succeed Susan Palmer Johnson, who served throughout the Slingerland administration.

Catherine Julius says her husband will be a good manager in dealing with people.

"He can work with people across the board," she said.

She has been married to the mayor-elect 35 years, adding: "I think he'll make a great mayor. He's dedicated to whatever he decides to do."

Although he said during the campaign he didn't favor full consolidation of the Glove Cities, Julius said cooperation is still a means to getting things done.

Julius said he would like to work with Gloversville Mayor Dayton King on issues influencing both cities, and wants to see some Gloversville Transit System bus services restored to Johnstown.

"I look at [transit service] as a quality-of-life issue," Julius said.



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