2007-11-08 / Front Page

Former administrator Bob Sutton takes top council seat

Democrats keep four seats to Republican's one

Robert W. Sutton, Jamestown's first Town Administrator, who served the island for 17 years, was the top vote-getting candidate for Town Council in Tuesday's election.

Sutton, a recent retiree from the state's Department of Environmental Management, and known for spearheading volunteer operations at the Jamestown Community Farm, received 1,032 votes for the council spot. Traditionally, the highest vote getter in the majority party becomes the council president, but that will be determined later this month when the new council organizes.

Sutton said, "It's a very positive feeling that number of people would vote for me. It gives me a very positive sense." He said he saw his role as being a consensus builder. His first goal is "to come together as a council to agree on what to work on."

Julio DiGiando, currently the council vice president, took second place in balloting, receiving 1,014 votes. DiGiando said after the polls closed, "I think things have been going well. We'll just continue to carry on...I think we'll work well together," as a new council.

William Kelly, with 932 votes, also an incumbent, took the third spot. "I'm delighted with my own re-election," Kelly said, adding, "I'm extremely disappointed Mi- chael Schnack didn't get elected... It's a night of mixed emotions." He struck a positive chord, saying, "The dynamics of the council are going to work."

In fourth place was Michael G. White, a member of the Planning Commission, who retired recently from a post with the U.S. Veterans Administration. White received 865 votes. White said that his initial reaction was being "thrilled." White looked forward to getting underway and said, "The make-up of the new town council will work well together. In the long run, everyone who was elected are folks who care a lot about the island."

The last of the five candidates to gain a council spot was the sole Republican, Barbara A. Szepatowski, who retained her seat with 802 votes.

The political makeup of the council, at four Democrats to one Republican, is unchanged from the previous council. Democratic Town Committee chairwoman Deb Ruggeiro said "it was a good showing," for her team, but added that "Barbara Szepatowski works for the underdog...and its great to have a woman on the council."

Donna Perry, chairwoman of the Republican Town Committee said, "I'm glad to see Barbara Szepatowski maintain her seat on the council. She lends an important voice and we need her there. I am disappointed for the other candidates who worked very hard and raised important issues in this campaign."

"The contract with the bridge authority and future direction of the island are important concerns that our candidates contributed to the discussion, and I hope those issues stay in the forefront," Perry said.

The only incumbent not reelected to a second term was Democrat Michael Schnack, in sixth place, who trailed Szepatowski by 28 votes, with 774. Schnack said he was "shocked," that he was not re-elected. "I thought I was doing a good job," Schnack said, adding, "I wish the new council good luck."

Independent candidates, Ellen Winsor and Sav Rebecchi, finished in seventh and eighth place with 654 votes going to Winsor and 580 to Rebecchi.

Rebecchi, who has run for council previously, said "I'm disappointed. I thought I'd do a lot better, but the voters made their choices and I was not one of them. I wish the council well and I will continue to help where I can in the best interests of the town that I love."

Winsor, a first-time candidate for office, said, "Of course I'm disappointed, but I wish the town and the new council success for the future."

The two first-time Republican candidates, Frederich Glomb and David DeAngelis, took the nine and ten spots with 510 and 481 votes respectively.

Glomb commented, "This was my first time as a political candidate. Although the outcome was disappointing, I learned a lot. I don't think I did enough to get my name recognized. Next time I'll do better." DeAngelis, who came in last was upset. He said, "My message to the average, working-class families is that it's over - pack your bags, because you have no voice in the government. You will continue to be squeezed out. That was proven in tonight's election."

In the race for School Committee, Democrat Julie Kallfelz held on to her seat with 1,173 votes and popular choral director and former pyrotechnics ace Bruce "B.J." Whitehouse came in second place in his first run for office, with 1,086 votes. Kallfelz escaped reporters when she ran home to tuck her daughters into bed, but Whitehouse was delighted by his win, saying "Yey!" He said about what's to come, "I want to make sure kids in town have access to the resources they need and it can't be all on the backs of Jamestown taxpayers."

The only other candidate for the two available slots, Republican Melissa Burrows, received 607 votes. Burrows was upbeat despite the loss. She said, "I'm not really disappointed. It was my first time running for office and I got votes."

Town Moderator James A. Donnelly, who ran unopposed, retained his seat for two more years, garnering 1,173 votes. In that race, there were some 36 write-in candidates for the post, including Gov. Bruce Sundlun, former Town Solicitor Bill Harsch and Donald Duck.

In all, nearly 38 percent of eligible voters turned out for the election, despite a cold, miserable day. Of the 4,498 voters on the island, 1,694 went to the polls on Tuesday.

Board of Canvassers chairwoman Alcina Blair read the final tallies near 10 p.m. to a crowd of about 30 at the new Town Hall. The comfortable chairs set in perfect rows and the new-paint smell were a far cry from the last town elections, where only a handful got to take mis-matched seats, or sit on desks and countertops, while those who exceeded the fire marshal's capacity had to stand outside in the dark to listen as the results were read in the close quarters. With reports from Donna Drago, Sam Bari and Tom Shevlin.

How Jamestown voted
Straight ticket
Republican 49
Democrat 134
Town Moderator
James A. Donnelly-D 1,173
School Committee
Bruce J. Whitehouse-D 1,086
Melissa W. Burrows-R 607
Julie A. Kallfelz-D 1,173
Town Council
Michael G. White-D 865
Frederich W. Glomb-R 510
Julio J. DiGiando-D 1,014
David J. DeAngelis-R 481
William A. Kelly-D 932
Barbara A. Szepatowski-R 802
Robert W. Sutton Jr.-D 1,032
Michael F. Schnack-D 774
Sav Rebecchi-I 580
Ellen Winsor-I 654

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