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All three mayoral candidates stress experience, background

The next mayor of Hamburg won't be lacking in experience.

The question for residents is which of the three candidates has the right kind of background to lead them through what promises to be four turbulent years, with the heart of the business district scheduled to be ripped up for street reconstruction.

Incumbent Curt S. Herrmann's decision not to seek a second term leaves a wide open field in the March 21 election.

Paul G. Gaughan has been a trustee for five years and says he has a proven track record.

He said he has been involved in the Route 62 reconstruction project from the start of the planning process. "I have the knowledge to make sure it gets done right," he said.

Gaughan, 48, the county's deputy commissioner of jurors, said neither of his opponents can match him in terms of experience and proven results, citing funding for a new traffic signal on Legion Drive and improvements to Memorial and Peace parks.

Both of his opponents -- Harold Johnson and Thomas Moses -- are retired and have said they can devote long hours to what is supposed to be a part-time job.

Gaughan said he has been able to manage having a family of five children, plus one full-time and two-part-time jobs -- landscaping and being a trustee.

"It's not how much time you have, but how you utilize it," he said.

Gaughan said the next few years will be both difficult and exciting for the village. But, he said, it needs someone to get it through the difficult part "or we won't be here for the exciting part."

At age 76, Johnson said he has lost 60 pounds in the past 18 months and feels "revitalized."

Now the retired college professor and U.S. Labor Department economist said he wants to help revitalize the village.

Johnson said he is a trained facilitator who can use those skills "to focus people on their task and common interest."

He said that the village should start its budget process earlier and that he can use his background to help in that area.

He also said he has the economic background to help with a needed market analysis to determine what kinds of businesses the community will support.

Moses, 58, spent 35 years with the village Recreation Department, the last 32 as director.

"I have vast experience dealing with people and working on different projects and have organized a good core of people willing to come forward" and get involved, he said.

As recreation director, he said, he developed a five-year plan for each playground, and each area of the village had a voice in how they would be run.

"I would use the same approach as mayor," he said. "There is a lot of talent in the community that we could tap" such as to serve on a budget committee.

Elected officials would make the final decision, he said.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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