Ken Mazur is running as a challenger to incumbent Pat Russo for the first ward city council position. Mazur will appear on the Democratic, Green, and Working Families party lines on first ward ballots on election day, November 5, 2019.
Mazur was born in Amsterdam, but spent most of his childhood growing up in Tribes Hill. He moved back to the city approximately fourteen years ago in order to be close to family, and his job in the Albany area. He has approximately ten years of experience working for the NY Department of Health to certify nursing homes for Medicare and Medicaid services, making sure that buildings are safe from a fire and life safety point of view. He has previously served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, Citizen’s Review Board, and the Amsterdam Waterfront Committee. He has also served on the Democratic Executive Committee and has served as chair of the City of Amsterdam NY Democrats.
On the issues
The candidate’s answers to four questions are listed below. The answers are in their own words, with minor edits for clarity.
- Question: What specific steps must the city take to correct the problem of over-estimation of revenues and under-estimation of expenses?
Answer: The first step would be to increase transparency in the budgeting process. We need to know how the taxes are being spent. Next, to facilitate transparency, we need periodic meetings with department heads to ensure the budget is on course.
- Question: What are the next steps the city needs to take to correct the fund balance deficit problem?
Answer:We’ll take advantage of the New York State refinancing program to spread out payments and borrow judiciously. Next, maintain our workforce, but look everywhere to cut expenses and gain additional revenues. Finally, seek consolidation of services with other municipalities in Montgomery County to lower the cost of providing the needed services.
- Question: Where do you currently stand on moving forward (or not) on the KCG Development residential project?
Answer: While I think that providing affordable house is a responsibility, the site of the former Chalmers building is prime real estate; it overlooks the Mohawk River and the Gateway Overlook Bridge! An upper end development may be a better choice. Higher end apartments would add to and encourage the renaissance occurring on the Southside. The economic development would be of benefit to our entire community.
- Question: What are your top 3 qualifications from previous positions/experiences?
Answer: My work experience with understanding and explaining codes and code enforcement and the ability to explain complex issues in every-day language will bring a unique perspective to the council. I owned a small landscaping business so I have a familiarity with the concerns of business owners. My elected and appointed positions within Amsterdam City Government: Citizen’s Review Board (voted in as President) from 2014 to 2017, Amsterdam Zoning Board of Appeals from 2009 to 2015, Amsterdam Civil Service Commission from 2012 to 2014, and Amsterdam Waterfront Committee from 2008 to 2009, show that I can work well with a people regardless of political persuasion.
- Question: What are your top 3 goals if elected to the position?
Answer: My top priority is to address the budget and maintain our current city workforce. Blight is one among several issues the first ward residents expressed to me during my campaign, and resolving blight will be one of my goals. Also, I will be an effective liaison between the first ward residents and city government. I want to help people resolve whatever issues that may arise and keep them appraised of the goings on at city hall.