Stephen Gardner, a life-long Yorktown resident, has announced his run for the position of highway superintendent.
The position is being vacated by current Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo, who has held his position since being elected in 1996. DiBartolo has said numerous times he would not be seeking re-election this year.
Gardner previously ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2009 when DiBartolo was endorsed by both the Republican and Democratic committees. Gardner, a Democrat, along with Greg Bernard, a Republican, continued their highway bid as write-in candidates in 2009, but lost to DiBartolo.
"I've always had my mind on running," said Gardner, who first threw his hat in the ring 18 years ago when he was interviewed by the parties, but he didn't launch a campaign.
Gardner, a 1978 Yorktown High School graduate, has had a landscaping and excavating business for 33 years. He has done heavy construction, road work, drainage and paving. He has worked as a private contractor snowplowing Yorktown roads from 1978 to 1996 under five highway superintendents.
"I have a great love for the town of Yorktown," he said. "I have roots in the town and want to give back to my community. Yorktown is a great place and I've had a lot of good memories and experiences here."
Garder said he is in favor of term limits for elected officials and said he thinks 12 years should be the maximum amount of time an official should be in office.
"There [are] a lot of people who would like to get politically involved and when those offices are occupied for too long, it's not giving others a chance to get in," he said.
When a group of Yorktown residents rallied last year to eliminate the position of elected highway superintendent and transfer that function to a newly created Department of Public Works (DPW), Gardner was opposed to that. He said he thinks the highway superintendent position should remain an elected position.
"If a person is not doing a good job, he can be elected out," Gardner said.
If he is elected to office, Gardner said he has several goals he'd like to achieve, including catching up on the cutting of dead and dangerous trees over the roads, update crew equipment, improve sight distances at intersections and curbs, delineate the the darker and rural roads with reflectors.
He said he would like to experiment with jet blowers and rotary snow brooms – equipment used mainly in airports.
"Some people might laugh at me and say I'm nuts, but I would like to try to use these trucks on roads that could permit the use of it and just see how it works," Gardner said. "You're not doing damage to the asphalt, it's not scraping and digging up the pavement which does happen with conventional plowing. By using these jet blowers and rotary brooms, you can also cut down on the amount of chemical and the amount of salt that's used on the roadways."
Gardner said he has not been approached by Yorktown Democratic Party committee members, but by announcing his intentions to run, he wants voters to keep him on their radar. He said he also hopes he would get the Democratic Party endorsement.