Yes, another installment of PoP, where we take an in-depth look at our candidates. A political colonoscopy, if you will. We''ve spun the wheel and this week:
Mantello has demonstrated the agility to climb the political ladder but appears to lack the necessary adhesiveness to stay near the top rung.
According to Carmella, her resume is as follows:
Executive Director of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council, Executive Director of the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley, Inc., Director of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, - ( stop here and catch your breath, stay hydrated, it's a long slog) - Assistant Secretary of State with the New York State Department of State’s Office of Local Government and Community Services, Project Director of the New York State Quality Communities Task Force and Program, Legislative Director to a New York State Senator, Executive Director of the New York State Senate Labor Committee. And, of course, Commodore of the New York State Canal Corporation, a client state of the New York State Thruway Authority (2005-2011).
In short, Ms. Mantello has amassed a text book curriculum vitae for the career political appointee. This is not a criticism. Many do it: Republican, Democrat, Conservative. Yet, like many, she appears to long for the validation of elected office. Except for her tweens, this has alluded her.
The Canal Corporation: What is it and what is it good for?
The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. It is responsible for the oversight, administration and maintenance of the New York State Canal System, which consists of the Erie Canal, Cayuga–Seneca Canal, Oswego Canal and Champlain Canal. It is also involved with the development and maintenance of the New York State Canalway Trail and with the general development and promotion of the Erie Canal Corridor as both a tourist attraction and a working waterway. At least that's what Wikipedia says.
In 2012, the Canal Corp. employed 529 and its spending accounted for about 10 percent of the Thruway Authority's total $1.1 billion in annual spending. In 2012 State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the canal system "contributed to the deterioration of the Authority's financial condition over the past decade", even as canal traffic had dropped nearly one-third since the period immediately before the Thruway Authority assumed control.
There was a bit of a scandal at the authority involving the sale of land, cheap, to a connected developer. That came to light prior to Ms. Mantello's reign. All in all, she appears to have been an enthusiastic and capable promoter of a somewhat moribund entity.
Her first few weeks at the Canal Corp. were rocky. Initially, Ms. Mantello believed that they were supposed to drain the canal and fill it back in with top soil. She was about 14% finished when the error was discovered. After that, smooth sailing. In 2006, Mantello pushed to expand state government by advocating for the liberation of the Canal Corp from the Thruway Authority. The administration decided that there were already too many public authorities and another one was unnecessary.
Mantello's Canal term came to an end in 2011 and Cuomo chose not to reappoint Mantello. Mantello turned her attention to winning the job she wanted more than a decade before, what she calls The Big Enchilada. At first, the prize seemed within reach. The scandal plagued Democratic Party (voter fraud) had chosen Council President Chappy Campana as their candidate. The charges against Campana would eventually be dropped but it was clear that Campana would lose. He bowed out of the race and was replaced by Lou Rosamilia. Shortly thereafter, polling showed that Mantello would likely lose another mayoral bid. She did. It was not close.
Undeterred, Mantello ran for an at-large seat in 2013. On election night she was in fourth place, just 19 votes behind Lynn Kopka. After more than 400 absentee ballots were opened, Mantello lost by a razor-thin 63 votes. Now, like a masochist that forgot her safe word, Mantello is back again for another possible dose of voter spanking.
For the record, we believe that she will win an at-large seat this time. But, we can't figure her out. Rensselaer County has always been fertile ground for young(ish), thin, female republicans. Kathy Jimino, Mary Donohue, Deb Young and, for a brief time, Trish DeAngelis, all come to mind. Mantello's resume is the equal of those women (relative to the office sought). She seems personable, she campaigns hard, she is not particularly ideological and yet, why did the Canal Corp. position feel like she was being put out to political pasture?
We think she would be a dedicated, reasonable councilwoman.