West Seneca Councilman William P. Hanley Jr. and Dave Monolopolus have known each other 30 years, but that didn't mean that Monolopolus would not challenge him for his Town Board seat in the Democratic primary election Tuesday.
"Nobody should be given a free pass. Now I'm giving people a choice," Monolopolus said.
There is no Republican candidate running for the office, and Democrats have an enrollment edge of nearly two to one over Republicans in West Seneca, so it is expected whoever wins Tuesday will win the general election in November. No matter what happens Tuesday, Hanley's name also will appear on the Conservative and Working Families ballot lines in November.
Monolopolus thinks his chances are good, since he lost the Democratic primary race for councilman two years ago by just 59 votes.
Hanley is concerned about turnout.
"My biggest concern is people are not going to come out and vote," he said.
Hanley said Town Board meetings — which have drawn dozens of angry residents in the past — have become relatively quiet in recent months.
"I was one of those disgruntled visitors to all the meetings, not happy with way things have been going," Hanley said. "I think we’ve made some big improvements in West Seneca."
A retired National Fuel Gas manager, Hanley said his accomplishments include rebidding gas and electric contracts to save thousands of dollars, converting every streetlight in town to LED lights, decreasing taxpayers' contribution to employee health care in new union contracts, instituting new procedures addressing sewer department call-outs and reducing overtime costs. He also said he has never voted for a tax increase in his nearly four years on the board.
Monolopolus acknowledges Hanley never voted for a tax increase, but he said the only way to control taxes is to control spending.
"We're on a needs and wants assessment. We can't be everything to everybody," Monolopolus said.
Monolopolus, a meat cutter and manager for 35 years, said he would have an open door policy and would host a bimonthly meeting.
Monolopolus said his treasurer has not filed campaign financial disclosure reports as required by law, but plans to after the primary. He said his campaign has a tight budget. He held a fundraiser which netted $2,531, and he probably will contribute $1,000 to his campaign, he said.
Hanley has spent $3,400 and has $5,800 on hand in his campaign fund, according to his filings on the state Board of Elections website.