Pair vie for seat on Lee Town Board

Published Oct 22, 2018 at 4:00pm

TOWN OF LEE — The race for a partial term on the Town Board pits an interim member who is a longtime business owner and participant in community organizations versus a longtime Planning Board member who also is widely involved in the community.

Vying for a three-year partial term in the Nov. 6 election are Democrat Ronald D’Amore, who in June was appointed to the seat through yearend; and Republican L. James “Jamo” Jones Jr., who has been on the Lee Planning Board since 1996. Planning Board members are appointed.

The councilman seat on the Town Board is the only Lee town government position up for
election this year. The seat was vacated last spring by Joshua Szyper, who had been re-elected last November to a full four-year term that began in January this year but then resigned to become the town’s new water supervisor.

The Lee Town Board has five members overall, and councilmen are paid $7,950 per year.

Among the candidates’ backgrounds and goals:

• D’Amore, 72, of 122 Tuscan Way, said he is seeking to continue for the remainder of the term in order to “use my public service and business experience to pay back to my community for supporting my family retail hardware business for over 40 years.”

D’Amore is one of the owners of the Ace Hardware store in Rome. His 40-plus years of experience also included operating the True Value store.

“I believe that my managerial skills and experience are a great fit for the day-to-day maintenance of our town government,” D’Amore commented. “I am committed to focusing my efforts on improving the town infrastructure, economic development and the overall quality of life.”

A member of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce including as a past chairman, D’Amore also was president for several years of the Rome Industrial Development Corp. and had been chairman for several years of the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority.

When D’Amore was appointed as an interim councilman in June, Lee Supervisor John Urtz said he “brings a lot of value” to the board and has the experience to apply to board functions.

D’Amore added he “would like to thank all those people that I have met on my daily walks though the community for their input on the issues and problems that impact our lives in our community.” He thanked them for their “encouragement and support in my efforts to win this election and make my contribution to our community.”

• Jones, 64, of 5574 Main St. in Lee Center, said that as a 23-year Planning Board member he has been asked by several past and current Lee councilmen as well as many town residents to run for the Town Board.

A self-employed home designer/builder, cabinetmaker, and restorer of wooden boats since 1984, Jones said he previously worked with his father at Caswell Supply Co., Inc. in Rome which his father owned and operated until selling it. He noted he is a lifelong town resident other than his college years.

“To be honest, I like the way the Town Council is running our town. While I am not running to ‘rock the boat,’ so to speak, I do believe that with my historical knowledge of the Town of Lee I could add some fresh thinking and additional energy to the council....,” Jones said of his candidacy.

Jones commented his time with the Planning Board has “led me to believe that our boards, along with zoning and codes officers as well as assessors, could do better at sharing our information among the people who enforce our approvals and/or denials of proposals and appeals. I think we really need more checks and balances as we progress through our agendas. With the ease of communication these days, I think we could come up with a plan that will keep each of us on top of the others’ games.”

In the community, Jones is a 16-year Sons of the American Legion member with Lee Legion Post 1794; a Lake Delta Yacht Club member and volunteer for over 60 years; a National Ski Patrol member since 2005; and a five-year member of the Point Rock Fish and Game Club.

All five Town Board seats are currently held by Democrats. In Jones’s opinion, Democrats and Republicans “don’t really have such differing ideals at this level. We all care about the growth and prosperity of our town and its residents, and to me, that comes first.” He said his wife Rose has “all the same devotion and concerns.” She has “sacrificed plenty of time over the years to work with me by my side helping me” with his activities for the town and community, he added.