By Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
Grand Island Supervisor John Whitney will resign from office effective Friday, Aug. 4.
He confirmed Monday that his resignation will be effective at the close of business that day, and that he is leaving office “for personal reasons.”
“I just want to thank every one of the citizens of Grand Island for giving me the opportunity to serve the town in my many years as town engineer, and my three years and seven months as supervisor,” Whitney told the Island Dispatch.
Deputy Supervisor Pete Marson is in line to take over upon Whitney’s departure and, as such, would be the acting supervisor for the remainder of Whitney’s term.
Whitney’s resignation means the Town Board will only have four members until Dec. 31 of this year, when Whitney’s term would have expired. Whitney had decided not to run for reelection.
Marston has led the Town Board meetings in lieu of Whitney in the most recent board workshop and meeting July 17. Whitney recently married and was listed as “excused” from the meeting during roll call.
Whitney worked for the town for 31 years, retiring in 2017 as town engineer. He won the race for supervisor in 2019 on the Republican and Conservative lines over Democrat James Sharpe, town councilmember and deputy supervisor, who also had the Working Families line. Whitney’s term followed that of Democrat Nate McMurray, who didn’t seek a second term as he looked to run for Congress.
Grand Island currently has an all-Republican Town Board. The supervisor’s position and that of two councilmembers are up for election Nov. 7. Marston is running for supervisor on the Conservative line and Councilman Michael Madigan captured the Republican line for supervisor for the general election. There has been no announcement so far of any other candidates in the race for supervisor.
During Whitney’s tenure, development has been a key issue for the town, with proposals before the Town Board on a 1-million-square-foot warehouse pitched by Acquest Development for Long Road; the purchase of the former Radisson Hotel for conversion to apartments, restaurants, banquet space and retail on the 12-acre footprint along East River Road at Whitehaven Road; the long-planned Southpointe 300-acre mixed use development on the south end of the Island; and Rivertown, a 27-acre town center development planned to include single-family homes, town houses, apartments and commercial use.
When asked in an October 2022 Island Dispatch interview what he would like his legacy as supervisor to be, Whitney said, “We tried to keep Grand Island moving in the best possible direction.”