CATTARAUGUS - Candidates for this year's three village board of Cattaraugus vacancies are apparent shoo-ins. Eric Pritchard, Angela Hogan and John Bronneberg are running unopposed in today's referendum.
Pritchard was nominated for William Myers' position, as the mayor has decided to step down after four years of service to the village. Myers was elected as a village trustee in 2007; then, having been named deputy mayor, he advanced to the mayoral position when then-Mayor David Rivet resigned shortly after the 2009 election.
Hogan and Bronneberg are already sitting village trustees. They were nominated for repeat terms, having served since 2009. Bronneberg gained his position through the elective process, while Mrs. Hogan was appointed to Myers' seat when he took on the mayorship.
If Pritchard's name is familiar, it's probably because he has for eight years been a Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School Board member (most recently, president, and this year, vice president). He's also a councilman for the town of New Albion, having been appointed to fill Patrick Murphy's seat after Murphy was elected as a Cattaraugus County District 2 legislator about three years ago.
Pritchard says that before the caucuses, he checked with Commissioner Sue Fries at the Cattaraugus County Board of Elections, to determine whether it would be legal for him to serve on both municipal boards. He found there was nothing to prohibit such a practice. In fact there are several instances of people holding two political offices in this area and in other places.
Pritchard's motivation for seeking the mayoral position actually stems from his work on the school and town boards. He's become all too well acquainted with the twin threats of upward-spiraling expenses and shrinking resources that menace communities, large and small, throughout the state. He feels these problems need to be addressed head-on.
Pritchard said that by sitting on both boards, he hopes to help find better ways of providing residents of the two overlapping municipalities with more efficient services, and of avoiding unnecessary duplication.
In recent years, the village of Cattaraugus and the Town of New Albion have taken a few steps in the direction of shared services. The building of the salt and sand storage building at the "town barn" site on Route 353 is one case in point. There have also been a few reciprocal agreements regarding the usage of certain machinery. Pritchard said he'd like to build on that start, with the goal of saving additional taxpayer dollars, or at least holding the line on future increases.
The election will be today at the Cattaraugus Firemen's Club.