Coventry sees the most action in town office races

COVENTRY – Town of Coventry voters will have more choices for who leads their small town in the coming years than any other voters in Chenango County.

Starting at the top, a surprise upset after the Republican Party Primary election in September finds three-term incumbent Janice O’Shea, despite the endorsement of the Chenango County Republican Party, on the November ballot as a Democrat and on an independent line entitled, “For Coventry.”

Her opponent, Republican John Phelan, 56, is also registered to run on the independent line, “Liberty.” He is returning to politics after a 12-year hiatus. He was town supervisor from 1989 to 1997 and served as chairman of the county’s Finance Committee from 1993 to 1995.

A third candidate for Coventry Supervisor is also in the mix: Independence Party member Larry G. Clark, 53, who declared his candidacy in July.

O’Shea, 71, who has been supervisor since 2004 when she was appointed to fill out her late husband Donal O’Shea’s term, said she hoped her record spoke for itself and that voters would remember the progressive actions taken by the town board under her leadership. The supervisor points to much-needed highway equipment procured for the town as well as a 5-year roads plan and reserve account created for future purchases. She noted quick action taken back in 2006 when floods wiped out 75 percent of the roads, and that the repairs were accomplished without any cost to taxpayers.

Since 2007, the property tax rate has decreased and the budget for 2010 will result in a tax rate decrease as well, she said, all despite rising annual health insurance costs, retirement contributions and higher fuel prices.

At the county level, O’Shea is the Acting Chairman of the Safety & Rules Committee, Vice Chairman of Ag, Buildings & Grounds and a board member of the Chenango County Soil & Water Conservation District and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

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