FONDA – Montgomery County chose Republican Matthew Ossenfort for county executive Tuesday as the county prepares to change its form of government.
Ossenfort, 32, overwhelmingly defeated Democrat Dominick Stagliano, 65, by a vote of 7,012 to 2,714, according to unofficial results Tuesday.
Ossenfort had the Republican, Conservative and independent lines, while Stagliano was running on the Democratic line.
“I think the reason people responded [to me] was because they were ready for someone who is new, a fresh face, and someone who emphasizes teamwork in the working environment,” Ossenfort said. “Working together is what people want to see.”
Stagliano also said voters wanted someone new in office.
“I think [the election] was a defeat for the Democrats in general,” Stagliano said. “I think it had to do with the bad audit that the county received and the audit the city [of Amsterdam] received. I also think the change in form of government led these people to believe that they should throw the baby out with the bath water. So they wanted a clean sweep and they did it.”
The county previously decided to change its form of government from a board of supervisors to a county legislature with a paid county executive. In addition to electing the county executive Tuesday, county voters also elected legislators for the new county legislature.
Ossenfort said his collaborative approach was key to his victory.
“I think with the new form of government, people wanted someone to help lead us forward in a positive direction, and I think the collaborative approach emphasizes professionalism and cooperation, which is what people responded to,” he said.
Stagliano said retirement is next for him.
“That was my last stand,” Stagliano said. “So now I can clean off my dining room table [of all my political papers and information] and my wife will be happy.”
Ossenfort said he plans to enjoy the victory this week and get down to business next week.
“I’m going to enjoy this victory, we’re going to rest up this week, and then next week we’ll start having discussions with the legislature about what we need to do to make this transition successful. We’ll get into that next week.”
“Mr. Stagliano was a gentleman throughout the whole process,” Ossenfort said. “I think we’ve established a good relationship and it’s one that I’m looking forward to continuing.”
Stagliano said Ossenfort is “a charming young man, and in time, he will get that experience that I gained over the years.”
Some of the county executive’s duties will include executing and enforcing all laws and resolutions of the new county legislature, exercising supervision and control over all administrative departments, offices and agencies of the county government, taking on the role of chief budget officer of the county, approving or vetoing any votes by the legislature and appointing officials for some county departments.
The annual salary is $85,000.