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Rowback wins councilman-at-large seat

GLOVERSVILLE — The release of official election results by the Fulton County Board or Elections on Tuesday revealed William Rowback Jr. as the winner of the heated race for councilman-at-large against incumbent Steven Smith by 44 votes.

Unofficial results from the Nov. 5 elections released by the county board the following day showed the race for councilman-at-large was too close to call with Rowback in the lead by 47 votes with a total of 124 absentee ballots returned as of that date out of 206 issued across the city still to be counted.

According to official results, challenger Rowback, registered as a Republican and member of the Stump City Team, captured 912 votes or 51 percent of the poll against incumbent Smith, Democrat/Gloversville Party, who received a total of 868 votes.

Rowback, currently a city fireman, plans to retire from his position on Dec. 31 at midnight after more than 30 years of service before assuming the unexpired two-year councilman-at-large seat formerly held by current Mayor Vincent DeSantis on Jan. 1.

“I can’t wait to start in January,” Rowback said today. “I would like to thank the residents of the city of Gloversville that felt confident enough in me to vote for me.”

“It’s going to be a little different. I love being a firefighter, I love protecting and serving the city of Gloversville. Now I have another avenue where I can also serve the residents of the city of Gloversville and make the city a little better,” he added.

Rowback said he plans to meet with city leaders and trusted friends before taking office to ensure a smooth transition as he learns about his new role, noting that he met with DeSantis last week and plans to meet with him again to discuss ongoing and future city business.

Once in office, Rowback said he hopes to work on issues with the other council members methodically through open discussion to reach the best solution for the city.

“We are a team and we have to work together to move the city forward, we’re not all going to agree, but if we can sit at the table to discuss every option to solve problems in the city, I think that will be great,” Rowback said. “It’s just like fighting a structure fire, you don’t go in guns a blazing, there is methodical way of putting a fire out and you have to make sure of everyone’s safety. That’s what I’m going to do as a council member, I’m going to go in with an open heart and mind to hear both sides of story. If I’m able to input something I will.”

Specific areas Rowback said he plans to focus on once in office include improving city streets and infrastructure, developing more programs and events to serve youth and senior citizens possibly through involvement with the city Recreation Commission, promoting the addition of new manufacturing jobs in the city to grow the tax base and draw in new residents and improving the morale of city employees by stepping up recognition.

Most importantly, Rowback said, he plans to gather feedback and ideas from residents.

“My job as councilman-at-large is to represent the residents of the city, I plan to go around continually to talk to residents to see what we can do to better the city,” Rowback said. “We have to listen to our residents, I would like to see a couple of town hall meetings for residents to talk about their interests or their likes and dislikes, that’s how we find out if the council, which was put in position by residents, is doing the job they were elected to do.”

Rowback said he would also be interested in hearing the ideas and ongoing efforts of Smith, thanking the former 4th Ward councilman and current councilman-at-large for his service to the city.

“I want to thank Steve for his service to the city of Gloversville and I wish him the best in whatever ventures he goes on to next. I would like to sit down with him to pick his brain on what he has been working on as councilman-at-large. There are no bad feelings, campaigns were ran very well on both sides,” Rowback said.

Smith could not immediately be reached for comment before press time today.

In other city races, the final tally shows that DeSantis, Democrat/Gloversville Party, was elected to fill the unexpired two-year term of mayor for the first time after receiving 1,263 votes, or 79 percent of the vote, against newcomer Dale Henry McGrath, Libertarian, who took 323 votes.

DeSantis was appointed mayor by the Common Council on Jan. 11 following the Jan. 9 resignation of former Mayor Dayton King as part of a plea agreement King accepted in City Court earlier that day when he pleaded guilty to official misconduct, a misdemeanor, for using the city’s postage meter to conduct personal business.

A total of 27 votes were cast for write-in candidates for the mayor’s post. Brandon Rowback, Brian Rowback and Joshua Southworth each launched write-in campaigns for the city’s top elected office on Facebook.

Final results show current 4th Ward Councilwoman Brenda Leitt, a Democrat and member of the Gloversville Party, was defeated by former Councilwoman Ellen Anadio, running as a Republican and member of the Stump City Team.

Leitt was appointed in February to the seat formerly held by Smith that was set to expire this year. Anadio was elected to the full four-year term with 154 votes, approximately 55 percent of the vote, to Leitt’s 122.

Incumbent Republican 2nd Ward Councilman Arthur Simonds and Republican 6th Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski faced no opposition in their re-election bids and will return to their seats for full four-year terms after capturing 135 and 170 votes respectively.

All incumbent city supervisors faced no opposition in their reelection bids this year. Democratic 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born was reelected with 216 votes, Democratic 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. with 145, Republican 3rd Ward Supervisor John Blackmon with 261, Republican/Stump City Team 4th Ward Supervisor Charles Potter with 195, Democratic/Working Families 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young with 309, and Republican 6th Ward Supervisor Warren Greene with 196.

Incumbent Republican city Water Board members Stephen Mauro and Gary Antonucci were each reelected with 1,093 and 1,249 votes respectively. They did not face any opposition in their reelection bids.

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