© 2023
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Troy Mayoral Race: Wiltshire Announces Candidacy

When Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia announced Monday that he would not seek re-election, a window of opportunity opened for a cast of mayoral hopefuls.  City Council President Rodney Wiltshire was first to officially step forward. 

Wiltshire kicked off his mayoral campaign Wednesday. Considered a "rebel" Democrat by some, Wiltshire often has clashed with first-term Mayor Lou Rosamilia and party leaders.

The two-term councilman tells WAMC he believes his experiences in local politics uniquely qualify him to lead the Collar City.  "I wanna put the party politics from the past behind, and get us into the 21st century, which is something that I think Troy desperately deserves."

Wiltshire says party leadership considers him a threat.   "I am a threat. Because I represent an open government. I represent a new style, one that includes all of the people, and everyone who wants to participate in moving our city forward."

Former city council member Carmella Mantello ran for mayor as a Republican four years ago. She issued an email Wednesday identifying herself as a “prospective” mayoral candidate and blasted Wiltshire for missing  budget votes in both 2013 and 2014, saying he opted to vacation on a Florida beach rather than fulfill his duties as a councilman.   "For someone who wants to be mayor, to a know that this is the time of year is crucial, is your responsibility as council member. Now secondly, the council president actually heads the finance committee, actually schedules these meetings.”

Wiltshire says he had planned to be there.   "The date for the budget vote had been delayed and delayed multiple times, until they planned it for a time when I was unavailable to be there. I did my best to be there, and they pushed it back to the point where I couldn't be there."

Mantello doesn't buy that argument.   "To hear that there was this purposeful effort to somehow get the council president to not be at the meeting, I just find totally inappropriate, inexcusable, and as a taxpayer, irresponsible.  Quite frankly, your job as a council member, the biggest responsibility is to vote for that budget."

Republican city councilor Jim Gordon says politicians need to put taxpayers, citizens, residents, business and neighborhoods first.   "The debacles that we've experienced over the last year and half is because solely of the leadership of the mayor's office and the leadership of the city council not getting along, and the unfortunate thing is the one-party rule that has failed the city of Troy."

Gordon is weighing his chances of making a successful run for mayor, holding off on any decision at this time. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Ernest Everett, who has already been canvasing neighborhoods, says he is confident he can assume the top leadership role:   " Myself and my team are focused on moving Troy forward. Specifically, making our public safe, decreasing the deficit and driving our economy. These are the things are important to the citizens of Troy and these are the words I continue to hear each and every day as I speak to people."

Gordon holds out a candle of hope based on city history.    "The previous two mayors, Mayor Tutunjian and Mayor Patterson, actually got through and actually found growth. It can be done if someone wants to invest themself, and then also surround themself with the right people, with the right focus."

Tutunjian says he is disheartened with what he's seen happen to his beloved Troy.  "I haven't given up hope on our city. I think there are parts of the city that are still dynamic and have room for growth. I hope to see things turn around with a new strong leader for the city of troy. (Dave Lucas: "Would you have any aspirations in that regard?") It's too soon to say, I've been asked countless times. I'm very grateful, I'm very proud of the work we did for eight years, I just don't know if I'm ready to come back. It was a tough eight years. I was constantly scrutinized by everyone, and I think Mayor Rosamailia has seen what it feels like to have that happen to you. It's not fun. It's something I've given consideration to. I'll keep thinking about it. But right now it's too soon to say."

Political observers say expect both Democratic and Republican primaries in Troy, with emphasis on the city's deteriorating finances, crime, arson fires and crumbling infrastructure peppering all campaigns. Under its relatively new strong mayor system, Troy mayors are limited to two four-year terms.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
Related Content