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AT A RALLY held March 2, at the Monticello Firehouse, Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff, right, and other notables showed up to lend support to Gordon Jenkins, left, and Carmen Rue, running for Village of Monticello Mayor and Trustee positions respectively. O March 18, voters helped Jenkins and Rue win their respective seats.

Big changes in villages

By Dan Hust
SULLIVAN COUNTY — March 28, 2008 — Three Sullivan County villages will see a significant change in the course of their governments, thanks to the March 18 elections.
On Tuesday, the county Board of Elections opened dozens of absentee ballots, and while the results remain unofficial, the outcome is clear.
Results did not change in Jeffersonville (which handles its elections independently) or Wurtsboro, but in Bloomingburg, Liberty and Monticello, there were significant upsets. (Woodridge’s elections are held in June.)
Bloomingburg’s incumbent mayor, Everett Saunders, lost his seat by one vote to write-in candidate Mark Berentsen. The tally: 46-45, in Berentsen’s favor.
Liberty will transition from a Democratic- to Republican-majority board, as Democrats Anita Parkhurst (the only incumbent running for re-election) and David LoCascio garnered 101 and 103 votes, respectively.
Republicans Richard Winters and David Simon captured the two available trustee seats with 141 and 124 votes, respectively.
Monticello proved to be the nail-biter, however – and the biggest upset.
Gordon Jenkins outpaced incumbent Mayor Jim Barnicle by a 61-vote margin, 523-462, meaning the Republican Jenkins will take over the four-year mayoral seat from the Democratic/Conservative Barnicle.
Voters also swapped incumbent Republican Brian VanDermark for Jenkins’ Republican running mate, Carmen Rue, who garnered 432 votes. VanDermark’s 312 votes and Democrat/Conservative Alvin Dumas’ 394 votes were not enough to vault them onto the board.
However, incumbent Democrat/Conservative Victor Marinello easily retained his seat with 464 votes.
Three ballots are being challenged, so the results will not be official until at least the end of this week.
Excited about the win, Jenkins confirmed that deposed Deputy Village Manager John Barbarite will be restored to village service – as village manager, no less.
“I already have my mind set – I’m going with John Barbarite,” he said on Wednesday. “… Me and John are going to jump on it and do a good job here.”
Calling Barbarite “a good man who knows what he’s doing,” Jenkins is of the mind that no deputy will be needed.
“John and I will work great together,” he promised.
So will the rest of the board and the public, he added, through an open, accessible and fiscally conservative government.
“We’re going to have a board that can work together,” he said, hoping Marinello will join fellow trustees Scott Schoonmaker and Carmen Rue in advancing a positive agenda. “We need everyone to chip in – I don’t have all the answers.”
But he is certain that Village Attorney Danielle Jose will not be reappointed, having already entertained unsolicited calls from 20 area attorneys – plus a host of other people seeking jobs with the new government.
“I’m starting another chapter,” he promised.
Barnicle – who Jenkins said is “playing like a loser now” – lamented those potential changes, praising Jose and Deputy Attorney Tim Havas for the work they did.
Admitting he is “disappointed and melancholy” in the results of the election, Barnicle said he’s “proud of the team I assembled” and plans to stay in the village – perhaps even pursue an assistant principalship in a local school, as he said he possesses the necessary certification and master’s degrees.
“I look forward to the future,” he related. “I’m not packing any bags.”

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