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Field for Mechanicville mayor’s race may be set

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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— The field to replace Mayor Anthony Sylvester in Mechanicville is almost complete.

Former police officer Dennis Baker is running as a Republican, while the likely Democratic candidate is former city Finance Commissioner Jim Peluso, who hasn’t made a final decision yet.

Sylvester, 69, is limited to two terms in office and can’t run for re-election this fall.

Baker, who recently filed campaign paperwork with the state Board of Elections, has lived in the city since 1975 and retired from the police force in 1991. Earlier this month, he said, the city’s Republican Committee endorsed his candidacy.

His main reason for running is the city’s financial condition, which he said was “poor.”

“My goal is to aggressively evaluate the city’s budget and look to find ways to save money without impacting the important services we currently enjoy,” he said in an email.

Baker served 15 years on the Mechanicville Central School District Board of Education and eight years on the Mechanicville-Stillwater Industrial Development Agency. For almost 20 years, Baker worked at Hannaford as divisional manager for loss prevention, and since 2008, he has been employed part-time at Devito-Salvadore Funeral Home.

The city’s Democratic Committee is supposed to meet next week to endorse a candidate, and Sylvester expects Peluso will get the party’s support.

“I think he will be the candidate, if no one else challenges,” he said.

Peluso, who served two separate stints as finance commissioner, said he has been encouraged to run by many in the community.

“I’m seriously considering it,” he said.

He has been working on the implementation of a grant program since retiring about 18 months ago from the federal Veteran’s Administration.

“It’s one of those callings,” Peluso said of the mayoral post. “I’m in a tough spot.”

He didn’t want to talk about why he might run, but said there were a “long list” of issues to deal with in the city.

 
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