LAKE PLACID - The upcoming village election became more intriguing as a former village police chief plans to run for one of the open seats on the Board of Trustees.
Scott Monroe told the News recently that he planned to submit an independent petition to run for village trustee. He said his petition has already surpassed the 50-signature minimum required to qualify for the ballot.
"I was approached by several people within the community asking me to run," Monroe said. "Then, after giving it some serious thought, I made the determination that, from my past background of working for the village in a department head capacity, that I understand the workings of the village. I thought there was something I could offer to the taxpayers from that experience, and in giving them a separate, independent voice on the village board."
Monroe looks to join two other candidates running for two four-year trustee seats: incumbent Trustee Art Devlin and former Trustee Dave Jones. Mayor Craig Randall is running unopposed for a second four-year term, and village Justice Bill Hulshoff is running for re-election as well.
Hulshoff is the only candidate running on a party line; he will be on the Republican line in the March 19 election. All of the others are running as independents.
Monroe, 46, retired from the village police department in August 2011 after six years as chief. Later that fall, he lost a tight race for North Elba town justice to incumbent Jim Rogers. In June 2012, he was appointed dog control officer for the town of North Elba, a position that pays $10,000 annually and does not include any benefits. Monroe said that since he's employed in that capacity as an independent contractor rather than as a town employee, running for trustee does not present a conflict of interest.
Monroe has been one of only a few residents to regularly attend village board meetings. He was critical of a July 2012 decision by the board to create a four-way stop at the intersection of Mirror Lake Drive and Parkside Drive. He questioned at the time whether the village had conducted the appropriate engineering and safety studies before approving the change.
Monroe has also been critical of budgetary decisions the board has made, including one made last year to reallocate funds for an accounting position to the village's fund balance. He has also expressed concerns that the village was waiting too long to purchase new vehicles for the police department.
"I don't have a platform or any promises at this point," Monroe said Tuesday, "other than the fact that I'll listen to every issue that comes up, research it, understand the issue as best I can and try and make the best decision for the taxpayers for each separate, independent issue."
Monroe said he plans to study the issues the village is currently facing and talk more in depth about them as the election gets closer.
Randall, Devlin and Jones are running as a team for election to the board. Randall and Devlin, along with retiring Trustee Zay Curtis, ran successfully as a team four years ago.
The other trustees are Jason Leon and Peter Holderied. Their terms expire in 2015.