It is with excitement and humility that I submit to you my candidacy announcement for Grand Island town supervisor. I am honored that both the Republican and Independence parties have chosen me as their endorsed candidate, and I hope that in reviewing my credentials and practical experience serving Grand Island you will support me as well at the ballot box this November.
My educational background consists of a Bachelor of Science in civil and environmental engineering from Clarkson University and a Master of Engineering from SUNY Buffalo. I also possess a professional engineer’s license in New York state.
I started serving the Town of Grand Island in the Engineering Department in June of 1986 as the assistant municipal engineer and was promoted to assistant town engineer in 1996. I was again promoted to town engineer in 2002 upon the retirement of my predecessor, John Phillips. This was a department of five employees. In 2005, the Town Board consolidated the Water Department, Wastewater Department and Engineering Department into the Department of Engineering and Water Resources. Doing so reduced the number of department heads from three to one. I was placed in charge of this department at that time and the 30-plus employees that it was comprised of. This is one of the cost-saving measures I was involved in, as I received no additional monetary compensation for accepting this position. Additionally, all three of those department heads were provided a vehicle to take home. I did not accept a vehicle. I retired as town engineer in 2017.
I have been involved in all types of capital improvement projects. Obviously, several in the water and wastewater area, but also building improvements, road resurfacing and reconstruction, and recreational facilities, including the development of Veterans Park. I helped establish a five-year capital improvement plan so we could keep spending under control.
Having worked for the town for over 31 years, I feel that I am uniquely qualified for the town supervisor position. I have been involved in many different types of projects involving communication and effective collaboration with outside agencies, at the federal, state and county levels. I also worked closely with the Town Board and served on the special districts committee, bike path and sidewalk committee, chaired the safety committee and served on the Plumbing Board. I also administered private contracts for the maintenance of traffic signals, electrical and plumbing repairs, solid waste collection and HVAC work.
As town supervisor, I pledge to be accountable. I believe that this is an incredibly critical part of this position. I know how this government is supposed to run, at least when it’s running correctly and efficiently. The decisions made by the Town Board affect each and every one of us and the trust placed in me will be held in the highest regard. Fulfilling the duties of town supervisor will be my highest priority.
I will be available and will keep an open-door policy. I will be able to be contacted in person and hold regular office hours. As town supervisor, I am going to encourage everyone to communicate their thoughts, as I feel that communication is key to success.
I also believe in fiscal conservancy and will continue to work to obtain funding to alleviate the tax burden on our citizens. The key to appropriately securing grant funding is that it should be done wisely and judiciously. I must caution you that obtaining grants for the sake of getting a grant can lead to failure. All grants come with requirements that add additional time and costs to the projects. However, my experience in this area will allow us to approach needed fund opportunities successfully.
In closing, I would like to say that Grand Island is a fantastic community and I have been fortunate to be part of it for well over 30 years. I have been involved in helping it grow and want to continue along this path. I hope that you will consider me as your candidate for town supervisor.
John C. Whitney, PE