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Published: Thursday, 10/11/2001

Monroe mayor faces challenge

MONROE - Longtime Monroe Mayor C.D. “Al” Cappuccilli will face an electoral challenge from the brother of a county commissioner in what promises to be the highlight of a relatively quiet election season in Monroe County.

Mr. Cappuccilli will square off on the Nov. 6 ballot against former city employee John Iacoangeli for the two-year term as mayor that begins Jan. 1.

“I've been four years without an opponent, so I guess I'm due,” the 71-year-old incumbent joked.

Mr. Cappuccilli has been mayor for five consecutive terms since he retired from the United Way of Monroe County in 1992. The mayor's job is technically considered part-time, and pays $12,000 per year. In January, the pay will rise to $15,000.

Mr. Iacoangeli, 49, said he chose to make his first run at public office because of his concern for the direction of the city.

“I'm pretty passionate about Monroe, and I'm pretty concerned about the absence of any vision for the community,” Mr. Iacoangeli said. “[The current administration is] lacking in a definable public policy and programs to revitalize the downtown, and they're doing very little to preserve our neighborhoods. Those are the only two things you're going to hear me talk about.”

Mr. Cappuccilli said he intends to run a positive campaign focusing on his record in office as well as on his plans for Monroe.

He said his status as a retiree has helped him meet the time commitments that go with the mayor's office.

“It's 40, 50, 60 hours a week between the time you put in here and the time you put in at home and with travel. It's a part-time position, but if you did it part-time, you couldn't do the job, or at least do it well,” Mr. Cappuccilli said.

Mr. Iacoangeli last worked for the city in 1985, when he finished a 10-year stint as planning and community development director. He now is a planner and community development consultant for an Ann Arbor, Mich., firm, where he is a partner.

Mr. Iacoangeli said he is keenly aware that there is only so much power vested in the mayor's office under Monroe's city manager form of government, but he said he believes he can have an impact on his hometown.

“It's a matter of management style. The mayor's position has always been part-time position. I don't believe the mayor needs to be involved in the day-to-day operation of city hall, but he needs to be involved in setting the vision and providing the leadership for the community,” Mr. Iacoangeli said.

All seven members of Monroe's city council - including the mayor - have filed petitions seeking a return to their council seats, but only three of those incumbent council members have challengers.

Council members William Burkett, Dorothy Edwards, Lloyd Conner, and Mark Worrell, who represent the first, third, fifth, and sixth council precincts respectively, are running unopposed.

In the second precinct, Sue Gartz, who has served on council for six years, is challenged by C. James Sabo.

In the fourth district, councilwoman Betty Hall, who has served a total of 14 years on city council is facing an electoral challenge from Jean Guyor.

Voters in Luna Pier will have the only other contested race in the county on Nov. 6, when they must choose among six candidates to fill three positions on city council.

Incumbent Luna Pier city councilmen Walid Bally, Kenneth Derbeck, and Kenneth Kruzel are seeking to retain their seats in the face of challenges from former city council members Chris Heid and Clarence King and newcomer Dean Ansel.

The top three vote-getters in the race will win the at-large seats.

Incumbent Luna Pier Mayor Gary Smotherman is stepping down after finishing his current term, and will be replaced by Jerry Welton, who is running unopposed for the position.

In Petersburg, Mayor LeRoy Burguard and city council members Dawn Cilley, John McFellin, and Eric Weber are running unopposed to return to their respective elected offices.



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