2011-11-09 / Front Page / Civics and Politics
Putnam Valley: Tendy and Oliverio Prevail, Cobb Takes Highway
Town Board Race is a Squeaker
Come January Putnam Valley will have much the same government it enjoys now, but with a few key exceptions.
After the sun set on Election Day and the votes had been counted in Carmel, incumbent Supervisor Bob Tendy, incumbent Board Trustee Bob Cinque, and newcomers Steve Mackay (Town Board) and Larry Cobb (Highway Superintendent), had come up as the likely winners.
The Town Board race was about as tight as it could get, with Mackay at 1,154 votes; Cinque 1,145; and Yetter 1,142; with newcomer Jay Michaelson trailing at 1,035.
In the supervisor race Wendy Whetsel garnered 1,058 votes to Tendy’s 1,325.
The Town Board has seen a mix of trustees over the years, but in the last election, trustee Whetsel, who has now twice challenged Tendy for the top spot in town, emerged as the lone Democrat on the four-member body, along with Republicans Jackie Annabi, Robert Cinque, and Gene Yetter. Depending on the absentee ballot count, Mackay will likely take Yetter’s seat.
Adding to this year’s election story was the emergence of Dr. Allen Beals, a Republican newcomer, to challenge longtime Putnam County Legislator Sam Oliverio, Jr., in District 2 of Putnam Valley. Although Beals, a retired ob-gyn, attorney, and farmer, brought a breath of fresh air to the campaign, Oliverio won the support of Marie Zarcone, one of the Town’s most recognizable conservative leaders and a fierce tax watchdog, and ultimately prevailed by a tally of 1,142 to Beals’s 1,094.
The Highway Department race pitted appointed Deputy Highway Superintendent and Democrat, Gary Wulfhop, against Teamster Larry Cobb, a popular community member with a broad network of support from the Fire Department to the sports community. Despite a no-show at a chamber debate on Oct. 17 and a less than stellar performance at a League of Women Voters debate a week later, Cobb won election by a substantial margin, 1,338 to 1,108. It will be interesting to watch Cobb’s transition from labor to management, given his strong union support from the highway garage workers.
At Grill 151 at the far end of town, across the Taconic and right on the Mahopac border, the Republicans were gathered in the bar anxiously scanning laptops and smartphones as results began to come in. Party chair Bill Gouldman worked his cell phone to get preliminary reports from the three polling sites in town. A cheer rang out when it became clear that Tendy and Cinque had won.
Closer to the center of town the Democrats gathered at The Spruce Hill Inn, a tavern in a historic building right on the Peekskill Hollow Brook and a few miles from Town Hall. When we arrived Oliverio and Whetsel had already headed home, but Steve Mackay was there with his wife Tina—the former school board president—savoring his victory with party chair Michelle LeBlanc, friend and supporter John Cohen, and the outgoing highway superintendent, Gary Wulfhop.