Voters chose to keep Blasdell Mayor Michael Petrie in office for a second term, but Depew Mayor Steven P. Hoffman did not enjoy the same good fortune during Wednesday’s village elections, nor did the two incumbent trustees closely aligned with him.
As Petrie goes on to a second term in Blasdell, he is joined by newcomers Bobby Pirowski, who garnered 220 votes, and Nicholas Cirocco, who received 194 votes, as the village’s new trustees. All three were backed by the Democratic and Families First parties.
Petrie beat challenger Patrick D. Castiglia, who ran on A Brighter Blasdell Party line, by 256 to 139 votes, according to unofficial results.
For Depew, the vote means a monumental shift in Village Board majority power. Voters booted out the Village Preservation Party candidates’ slate, made up of Hoffman and Trustees Michael C. Nolder and Juliano S. Pecora, who also is the deputy mayor, giving the Renew Depew Party team a clean sweep.
In their places at the board table will be Mayor-elect Jesse C. Nikonowicz, a former trustee, along with newcomers Karl T. Bukowiecki and Kevin J. Peterson, as new trustees. All three represent the face of the Renew Depew Party.
Nikonowicz trounced Hoffman with 715 votes to Hoffman’s 463. Bukowiecki was the top vote-getter for the trustees, with 713, followed by Peterson, with 711 votes. Losing their bids for a second term were Pecora, with 441 votes; and Nolder, with 464 votes.
The Renew Depew Party slate championed a message of transparency and more responsiveness to the people, and also was viewed as more empathetic to the village Fire Department, which Hoffman tangled with over equipment purchases. Nikonowicz and Peterson are firefighters.
Depew Trustee Robert M. Kucewicz, who founded the Renew Depew Party, was ecstatic with the news.
“I thought we had a good message that we want to run responsive government and give people answers,” Kucewicz said. “We’re going to listen and we’ll listen courteously.”
By electing Pirowski and Cirocco as Blasdell’s two new trustees, voters defeated candidates Laura Grant Errington, who received 174 votes; and Dennis Fox, who garnered 127 votes. Outgoing Trustees Lou McDonald and Matt Chandler did not seek re-election, paving the way for two new board members in a four-way race.
Depew’s election story was telling, as voters chose to bounce incumbents whose critics had characterized them as arrogant and tight-lipped.
Blasdell Mayor Petrie credited his victory to his record. “I’ve done a good job over the past four years and there have been some difficult challenges we’ve worked through,” Petrie said. “We’ve kept our tax rate low and services high.”
Hoffman, a retired village police officer, also was criticized with Pecora and Nolder for not being forthcoming with information to the public.