Republican Bill Kindel, a longtime political fixture in Amherst politics, announced Friday he is running for town supervisor.
Kindel, 67, a Town Board member for the past 14 years, said Amherst needs new leadership, and blasted Democratic Supervisor Susan J. Grelick, saying she has mismanaged the town.
"Every day that goes by gets worse," Kindel said. "The evidence is mounting up. There is something radically wrong with the management of this town."
Kindel blamed Grelick's "lack of leadership," for a list of problems he says the town has confronted in the past years, including inadequate liability insurance, failure to sell the former St. Mary of the Angels Motherhouse property, funds missing from the Audubon Golf Course, unpaid rent at the Amherst Pepsi Center and operational troubles at the pellet plant.
Kindel also criticized the tax increase in the town's 2001 budget, and said that, as supervisor, he would work to reduce the cost of government and increase the town's cooperation with neighboring communities.
Kindel also said he wants to maintain green space, improve property values, redevelop older parts of town and ban alcohol from the Pepsi Center.
Grelick, who was first elected supervisor in 1996 and is expected to seek re-election this year, defended her tenure.
"Since 1997, we've been working hard to institute internal reforms that have been successful in (our) better controlling how we run town hall and spend taxpayer dollars," Grelick said. "We've made great strides in expanding green space, offering recreation to residents. We have a new senior center. The Pepsi Center. Expanding trailways.
"I think we've made real gains in the town," she said.
This will be Kindel's third run for supervisor since 1993, when he was defeated by Republican Supervisor Thomas J. Ahern.
In 1997, Kindel ran unsuccessfully against Grelick, who beat Kindel that year by more than a 2-1 margin, 24,524 to 11,815.
Grelick also beat Kindel in the 1991 town clerk race by a vote of 20,345 to 13,224.
But Kindel said he's matured over the years, and considers himself a stronger challenger to Grelick than in the past. Kindel noted in the 1999 Council race, he was top vote getter among the three candidates seeking four-year Council terms.
Kindel acknowledged he is not close with GOP leaders and does not want to be indebted to Republican party leadership, so will not seek party endorsement during this campaign.
Instead, Kindel said, he'll run as an independent in the September primary in hopes of getting the Republican Party line from voters.
The Republican Party has not yet announced a supervisor candidate.
Kindel is, however, seeking Conservative, Independence, and Right-to Life party endorsements.
Kindel says he hopes to raise $50,000 to run a viable campaign against Grelick, and is starting with a fund-raiser on March 7.