Paul Ochal, candidate for second ward alderman, is a long time Amsterdam resident who graduated from SUNY Albany and worked at GE in Schenectady for 25 years. For most of that time he worked in a unit called “government instruction books” which created publications and technical manuals for generators used on U.S. Navy ships. The job entailed fact checking and coordination with engineers to make sure the information in the manuals was accurate, as well as the production of marketing materials for salespeople in the field.
Ochal said the condition of the city’s residential neighborhoods was the primary reason he decided to run. He said he supports mayoral candidate Michael Villa’s plan to do neighborhood codes sweeps and hire an attorney on a contractual basis to focus on prosecuting code enforcement cases.
He said he would also be in favor of budgeting money to do a city-wide bulk garbage pickup.
Asked whether he would be in favor of the proposed recreation center, he said, “If there’s evidence the property will get used, I think that will make the city more attractive, if we can support something like that.”
Ochal said the city would most likely have to seek grant money to pay for the project, but said the idea shouldn’t be rejected out of hand just because of questions as to how to pay for it.
In regards to the idea of creating a city-run ambulance service, Ochal said, “If it could be demonstrated that it could actually become self-supporting, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea.”
Ochal said that the fact he is not deeply involved with city politics would help him to be able to work with members of either party.
Ochal is endorsed by the CSEA and will appear on the Republican and Reform party lines. He faces incumbent candidate Valerie Beekman who is running on the Democratic and Rebuilding Amsterdam party lines.