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There is no justice in St. Johnsville

Monday, March 17, 2014 - Updated: 8:20 AM

If ever there has been a reason to wonder why we still pay for the duplicity of village government, it has to come in the form of Tuesday's village elections.

Across the board -- From St. Johnsville to Hagaman, Fultonville to Northville and points hither and yon, the level of apathy when it comes to interest in holding elected office in our villages is staggering.

Yet, for some reason, we still have villages. And elections.

A few examples:

* No one is running for village justice in St. Johnsville Tuesday. The winner will be decided by write-in. If, indeed, that person wants the job.

* In Fonda, no candidate petitions were filed for two open seats on the board of trustees. One incumbent is running a write-in campaign, while the other completely ignored seat will also be filled by write-in.

* In Northville, for the first time in 19 years, the incumbent mayor is not running for re-election. One would think the floodgates would open for the chance to govern this quaint lake community. One would need to think again. The lone candidate is a gentleman who has been a village trustee for 12 years. And two positions on the board of trustees are being filled by current or former trustees, who face no opposition. So, no new faces; no contested races.

* In Fultonville, two incumbent trustees are bowing out; two newcomers are stepping in, and both are running unopposed.

* In Fort Johnson, a mayor and two trustees are running unopposed for re-election.

* Three incumbent trustees and an incumbent justice are running unopposed in Broadalbin.

For years we have been calling for the consolidation of the numerous levels of government in Montgomery County, and for years these calls have been met with deafening silence. Give up our sense of community? Our minuscule fiefdoms? Our over-abundance of self-aggrandizing?

We're not blaming the people who are standing up to represent their communities. Where is the political leadership in this county and why isn't it whipping up candidates to fill these positions? Or taking a stand to restructure our current system.

This situation is as pained as the 'Nos' on the electorate's face. The interest in the village election is near death. And every year it gets closer. How much longer must this go on? Village governments can be absorbed into towns (as our hamlets now comfortably exist). The village and town highway departments can be combined into one. The same with the tax bill.

It's time to seriously consider how our grass roots system of governing has digressed into a game of hot potato in which there is no one on the other end to catch the thing. An outdated exercise taken seriously by so few does not need to continue simply because it always has. There should be a reason. Judging by Tuesday's outlook, none is being given.

     

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