By EJ Conzola II and Doug LaRocque
The current policy of offering appointments for people doing business with any of the five departments that fall under the authority of the county clerk will be terminated when new clerk Lisa J. Boyce takes office in January, her campaign manager promised.
Boyce, who currently serves as the Town of Easton assessor, unseated two-term incumbent Stephanie C. Cronin in the Nov. 7 general election.
Boyce, who ran on the Republican line that Cronin had held in her previous elections, outpolled Cronin, who ended up running on the independent ESCAPE Party line, 4,800 to 3,950, according to unofficial results posted on the county Board of Elections website.
A number of absentee ballots remained to be counted at press time, but the total is not enough to reverse Boyce’s victory, said Boyce campaign manager Sam Hall, who served as Boyce’s spokesman throughout the race.
Ending the appointment policy had been the key issue in the campaign. Appointments had been instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to slow the spread of the virus while keeping vital government functions available, but Cronin opted to keep the policy in place as the virus waned, saying it improved the efficiency of her office.
Cronin argued the appointment policy reduced wait times for the clerk’s services, particularly in the Department of Motor Vehicles, one of the departments that fall under the clerk’s authority. She also noted that walk-ins were accepted on a limited basis, based on staff availability.
But the Boyce campaign, through Hall, had criticized the continuation of the policy after the effects of the pandemic receded, claiming it made it virtually impossible for citizens and county employees to access the clerk’s services in a timely manner.
Continuation of the policy was what led the Washington County Republican Committee to back Boyce over Cronin, Hall said.
Boyce’s selection by the GOP committee angered several county Republican leaders, who criticized the decision to turn away from the two-term incumbent. Cronin received the backing of the county Democratic Committee, but the GOP decision came too late for Cronin to seek the Democratic line on the ballot.
Cronin’s campaign had centered on her experience and what she described as her accomplishments in her eight years as clerk and 18 years overall with the County Clerk’s Office. Boyce’s campaign had criticized Cronin’s use of appointments for citizens with business with the clerk’s office.
Hall also said the county clerk’s post was largely managerial and, while Boyce did not have direct experience in the clerk’s office, she had held management positions in several other areas, including in her current job with the county Department of Social Services.
The county clerk’s position was the only county-level office being contested this year. County Treasurer Albert B. Nolette, Sheriff Jeffrey J. Murphy and coroners Vicky J. Campbell, James M. Gariepy, Robert D. Lemieux and Thomas J. Vincent, all ran without opposition.
Local election contests
Of the 19 towns in the county, there were only three contested town supervisor’s races. In Putnam, Darryl Wilson is in the middle of a four-year term.
In Hartford, it was a redux of the Republican primary race, with Scott Hahn, who won that primary, again defeating Barbara Beecher, who ran on the Conservative line. Hahn received 362 votes to Beecher’s 135. Current supervisor Dana Haff is retiring.
In Greenwich, incumbent supervisor James Nolan was opposed by former supervisor Don Ward. Nolan, the Democrat, won the contest 773 to 637 over the Republican Ward.
In White Creek, Supervisor James Griffith did not seek re-election. Town Councilmember Lance Allen Wang, an independent running with the Democratic endorsement, defeated Republican Renee McEvilly 546 to 287.
Town justice results
In Cambridge, Dan Perlman defeated Republican Geoffrey Bullock 309-216. In Dresden, Darin Eggleston, running on the WLP party line, bested Democrat Gail Vander Plaat 107-73. Dane Clark Sr. was unopposed in Fort Ann. Likewise for Granville’s Roger Forando.
In Argyle, Republicans Stephen Bonhote and Patrick Sullivan were elected without opposition. In Cambridge, Democrat Bruce Bailey and Republican Grethen Wilmot were unchallenged.
In Dresden, Marilyn Borden and Allen Wilbur won a four-way contest with John Barber Jr. and Jack Eggleston. Also in Dresden, Christine Diekel was unopposed in her attempt to fill a two-year unexpired term.
Republicans Scott Brownell and Aindrea Lunsdberg were unopposed for the two council seats in Easton. In Fort Ann, Republicans George Smith and Grethen Stark had no challengers for the two council there. In Fort Edward, Democrats Jeannie Mullen and Mitchell Suprenant were unopposed.
In Granville, Republican incumbents Jim Bradt and Matthew Rathbun faced no opposition. There was a four-way race in Greenwich for two council seats. Democrats Reed Anderson and Partrick Donahue defeated Republicans Jeff Duxbury and Dawn Sharts.
In Hampton, Republicans Michael Pietryka and Tamme Taran were unopposed. In Hartford, Darwin Casey Arlen and Kevin Eastman won a three-way contest over Keith Harrington. In Hebron, Sanford Craig and Jill Nadolski defeated Matthew Bushman. In Jackson, Timothy Grogan and Carol Rich faced no opposition. In Kingsbury, Republicans Sean Akins and James Lindsay defeated Democrat Jeffrey Zappieri. In Putnam, Charles Bain Sr. and Kayla Bennett faced no opposition.
Four people vied for two seats on the Salem Town Council. Republicans Brenda Levey and Thomas McMorris bested Democrats Nathaniel Kindel and Steven Ladas. Wyeth Coburn was unopposed for a two-year unexpired term. In White Creek, Carey Murphy and Tammy Taber were unchallenged for the two four-year terms.
In Whitehall, Republicans Christropher Dudley Jr. and Stephanie Safka were also unopposed.
There were no contested town clerk or assessor races. In Fort Edward, Brian Brockway defeated Darcy Miller for Highway Superintendent.