Four candidates are seeking two seats on the Webster Town Board in this year’s election of town government leaders.

Four candidates are seeking two seats on the Webster Town Board in this year’s election of town government leaders.

Incumbents William Abbott, completing his sixth year on the board, is seeking reelection.

Incumbent Randy Nelson, appointed to fill a vacancy on the board earlier this year, when Mark Johns was elected a state Assemblyman is seeking to be elected to his first full term on the board.

The two current board members are facing a challenge from Democrats Rose Riefer and John LaGambino.

The Post asked each of the candidates to provide biographical information and the answers to the same three questions. Their answers, in alphabetical order, follow.


William Abbott
OCCUPATION: Superintendent of grounds, East Irondequoit School District
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Town and Planning board service; St. Rita’s basketball coach, two years; WAA softball coach, three years.
FAMILY: Wife, Diena, of 23 years; two daughters: Kristin and Katelyn
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Member, Sodus Bay Heights golf club
AGE: 59
BALLOT LINES: Republican, Conservative, Independence

What is your definition of a public servant, or your philosophy of public service?
“The definition of a public servant is an individual who serves the public, to the best of their ability, in making educated decisions that reflect the health, safety and welfare of the residents they serve.”

What specific experience, either professional or personal, do you have that would uniquely inform you as you tackle the duties of the elective office you are seeking?
“1) Six years as a Town Board member; 2) nine years as a town Planning Board member; 3) five years as a deputy commissioner of public works; 4) 20 years of working in civil engineering on highways, sewers, and water main construction, and 10 years in civil engineering design; 5) co-chairmen for development of two town of Webster master plans.”

What do you think is the single biggest issue facing Webster in the next two to four years?
“I think that would be the rising costs of health care and retirement benefits. We will need to find additional revenue, or taxes will have to increase.”


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John LaGambino
OCCUPATION: Senior systems network engineer
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Trail crew, Friends of Webster Trails; past Webster Athletic Association baseball coach; current board member, Genesee Golf Club; member, Webster Swimming Club; member, Genesee Land Trust
FAMILY: Wife, Amy; sons: Louis and Philip
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Golf, environmental conservation, bowling, camping and hiking
AGE: 51
BALLOT LINES: Democrat, Working Families

What is your definition of a public servant, or your philosophy of public service?
“A public servant must be able to release pre-conceived notions and fully consider all viewpoints presented by constituents. The ability to compromise and encourage all parties to build consensus is a necessity.”

What specific experience, either professional or personal, do you have that would uniquely inform you as you tackled the duties of the elective office you are seeking?
“As a 20-year resident of Webster, I strive to stay informed on issues facing the town. Ask anyone who knows me; many wish they could get a break from listening to me scrutinize Webster issues. I’ve seen this town change severely due to the lack of planning with the future in mind. In good conscience, I can no longer be an “armchair quarterback” and ignore the direction we’re heading. I’ve worked as a manager in corporations, leading teams of as many as 50 people. I’ve always made sure my teams were supported and that they knew their contributions were crucial and appreciated. My work involves many crisis situations that require immediate response, so I am comfortable dealing with rapidly changing priorities.”

What do you think is the single biggest issue facing Webster in the next two to four years?
“The biggest issue is assuring that residents understand the relationship between town services and taxes. Do we maintain services at the current level and raise taxes? Or, are residents comfortable reducing services to save money? Some hard decisions lie ahead for the town of Webster. Certain issues can rely on referendum votes to let an informed community decide. Other issues will demand creative leadership to either increase our revenue or identify cooperative services for savings.”
 

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Randy Nelson
OCCUPATION: Xerox retiree
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Member, Webster Presbyterian Church and its trustee organization; volunteer at fundraisers for ovarian cancer patients and research; past president, Webster Athletic Booster Organization; facilitator, Partnership Committee evaluation of the town/school partnership; 2011 member, Webster Schools Advisory Committee.
FAMILY: Married; four children; three grandchildren
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Golf, woodworking, activities with grandchildren, snowshoeing, boating, exercising
AGE: 62
BALLOT LINES: Republican, Conservative, Independence

What is your definition of a public servant, or your philosophy of public service?
“As a public servant, I will use my life and professional experience to balance the need for strong fiduciary controls with appropriate controlled investments in areas of importance to our constituency.  Maintenance of our current AA rating with Standard and Poors is a priority. Analysis of appropriate tradeoffs to balance these priorities will be challenging in these difficult times. I look forward to working hard on this topic with the board, administration and community.”

What specific experience, either professional or personal, do you have that would uniquely inform you as you tackle the duties of the elective office you are seeking?
“I was a finance manager and vice president during my 34-year career with Xerox Corp. This experience taught me many lessons relative to the importance of proactive fiduciary controls to maintain a healthy organization. Integration of the operational needs of an organization with the financial constraints is challenging for everyone in a town government, just as it is for a large corporation. I have been faced with these challenges, ongoing, during my entire career and hope to support our town in a supportive and thoughtful manner.”

What do you think is the single biggest issue facing Webster in the next two to four years?
“I believe that cost growth and flat to decreasing revenues have been issues since 2007-2008, and the coming years will offer more of the same. Our national, state and local economies fill the news daily with these challenges and the resolutions are often unclear at all levels of government. The solutions will require trade-offs and efficiencies that will be difficult for all of us in the community. I am confident that we can discuss, evaluate and move forward as a community using fact-based analysis and a set of priorities that will allow us to navigate these challenging times.”  


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Rose Riefer
OCCUPATION: Part-time employee at Visit Rochester
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Xerox Pioneer Retirees, Workers United Retirees, AFL-CIO Retirees, ITALEO, Italian Women’s Civic Club
FAMILY: Widow; four daughters; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; six step-grandchildren, five step-great-grandchildren
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS: Cooking, grandchildren, travel
AGE: 73
BALLOT LINE: Democrat

What is your definition of a public servant, or your philosophy of public service?
“Working with people and listening to them. Open door policy.”

What specific experience, either professional or personal, do you have that would uniquely inform you as you tackled the duties of the elective office you are seeking?
“I was actively involved with executive boards during my 30 years with Xerox Corp., the company and union. I am now on the executive boards of both retiree groups. I interact with people from all over the world who are coming into Rochester as visitors and for major conventions.”

What do you think is the single biggest issue facing Webster in the next two to four years?
“Keeping our beautiful town from becoming another Henrietta; maintaining our police force.”