SARANAC LAKE - There were no surprises at Wednesday night's village Democratic caucus, unless you count the party's decision to back a Conservative Party candidate for one of two trustee seats on the ballot.
Clyde Rabideau, a Democrat, was endorsed for another four-years as village mayor. The same was true for incumbent trustees Tom Catillaz, a Democrat, and Elias "Allie" Pelletieri, a Conservative. Roughly 25 Democrats showed up for the caucus in the village offices on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall.
When caucus chairman Paul Van Cott, who's also on the village board, asked for nominations for the two trustee seats, Paul Herrmann nominated Catillaz. He called him "a man of great integrity and experience" who deserves another four-year term.
From left, Saranac Lake trustees Tom Catillaz and Allie Pelletieri and Mayor Clyde Rabideau are all smiles after winning Democratic Party nominations Wednesday night for the March 18 village election.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
Rich Shapiro nominated Pelletieri, describing him as "the most pleasant surprise" from the election four years ago, and "the core of integrity on the board.
"He acts in the best interest of the people of the village," Shapiro said. "He's always prepared for meetings. He asks the tough questions of the board."
Party members had previewed the potential for the cross-endorsement of Pelletieri earlier in the week.
There were no other trustee nominations. The endorsements of Catillaz and Pelletieri were approved by a unanimous voice vote. Catillaz then spoke, thanking the group for its support.
"We have a fine board that works together well," he said. "We get things done. It makes the job very easy, and it makes it personally fulfilling to be able to do some of these things."
Pelletieri said it was an "honor and a privilege" to get the Democratic endorsement.
"We've worked together as a team," he said. "We've put away personal things. We look at the community as a whole and get down to the issues. I think it's mainly because we have a fine mayor who's a true leader and keeps us going in the right direction."
Van Cott asked for nominations for mayor, and Jason Brill nominated Rabideau. No other names were offered, and the caucus unanimously approved the endorsement of Rabideau.
When he ran for the village's top office four years ago, the former Plattsburgh mayor admitted he was "probably an unknown quantity" to a lot of Saranac Lakers. Since then, he said, the board has gotten a lot done, naming the two biotech companies the village brought to Main Street, a $1 million sidewalk replacement project, the completion of a major water system upgrade, new special events downtown and the Saranac Lake 6er hiking program.
"We've done a lot of great things, not to mention the Hotel Saranac, not so bad at all, and the proposed hotel on Lake Flower, pretty darn good," Rabideau said. "We've got much to do. I'm looking forward to the next four years. The future is bright."
Whether Rabideau, Catillaz or Pelletieri will face any opposition remains to be seen. The village Republican Party caucus is set for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in the town hall. Only registered Republicans living in the village can participate in the caucus, but anyone seeking the party's nomination is encouraged to send a letter of intent to Joe Spadaro, Caucus Chair, 462 Lake St., Saranac Lake, NY 12983.
Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman Ray Scollin said earlier this month that one person had expressed interest in running for mayor. He said it is a "familiar name" but declined to say who that person is.
The village election is March 18. The last day to register to vote is March 7. Absentee ballots, available from village Clerk Kareen Tyler, have be mailed by March 11.