A new ‘Dawn’: St. Johnsville elects political newcomer mayor over longtime supervisor

A woman seated in a chair

Dawn White

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ST. JOHNSVILLE — Political newcomer Dawn White on Tuesday night effectively brought to an end Dominick Stagliano’s decades-long ride in the St. Johnsville political arena.

The 68-year-old travel nurse defeated the seasoned politician on an independent line by 64 votes in a race for mayor of St. Johnsville village. Both candidates are registered Democrats.

“I think they were looking for someone who has new ideas and someone who is willing to network,” White said about voters.

The position has been open since Charlie Staney resigned early last year, putting deputy mayor Arthur Dockerty provisionally in charge. Her first term begins on Apr. 3.

“Everybody’s time ends,” said Stagliano, 74. “It’s a new generation, new thoughts and I wish her well.”

Since 1973, Stagliano has run in a bevy of races and has held several posts in local government. He stepped down from a 24-year tenure as town supervisor last year to take time off for multiple surgeries.

Martha Mancini, a decade-long local Democratic lawmaker, filled his space in an acting capacity, but was handily defeated for a permanent role by Republican retired teacher Phoebe Sitterly.

Neophytes and political allies White and Sitterly plan to work closely together and share services. The two, along with Public Works Superintendent Jarrod Walrath, plan to travel to a water infrastructure conference next week in Syracuse.

“We work very well together and I think there’s a momentum in St. Johnsville of care and concern that we both want to harness in order to move our little community forward,” said Sitterly.

Both White and Sitterly joined the local political scene out of concern with BlueTrition Brands’ interest in buying some of the village’s drinking water supply in the town of Ephratah. Before last spring, White wasn’t involved.

“I’m as guilty as anybody,” White said. “I really talked about things that were happening in the town, but I never did anything about it and never really volunteered.”

White initially planned to run for village trustee. Dissatisfied with the mayoral candidate field and unable to find anyone else to step to the plate, White decided to run for mayor.

“I agreed to do it and I have plans, I have goals,” White said. “Nothing earth shattering probably in the first six months.”

Running on a ticket with two winning trustee candidates Steve Elwood and Dockerty, White has a voting majority should current trustees Kathy Smith-Buckley and James Castrucci block any votes down the road.

While White is in the process of assessing the budget needs, she’s confident that the village needs to fish for more grants and improve multi-government communication. In the long-term, she hopes to establish an economic development board, increase village police patrolling and expand programming at the Mohawk River marina.

Here are the full election results:


White: 164
Stagliano: 100


Arthur Dockerty: 172
Steve Elwood: 220
John Lewandowski: 108
Jacob Snell (write-in): 1
Robert Snell (write-in): 1

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil

By Tyler A. McNeil

Tyler A. McNeil is a nine-year multimedia journalist and southern Saratoga County native. Currently, McNeil covers the southern Adirondacks and northern Mohawk Valley with the Daily Gazette and Leader-Herald. He also specializes in political, investigative and transit-related coverage. The University at Albany graduate's reporting has appeared in a variety of outlets, including Buzzfeed, New Food, Saratoga Today and the Times Union.

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