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Hunter mayoral election features bullying and other accusations

Mar 17, 2023 1:03 am

Michael Ryan reports in the Mountain Eagle that incumbent Michael Papa and former mayor Alan Higgins are competing for the mayor job in the village of Hunter in a March 21 election. Also Jason DiLeo, Tyler Kelaher, and Abraham Stefansky are competing for one open seat on the Hunter Town Board. Higgins resigned as mayor last winter, to take a job as superintendent for the village’s Public Works Department, and Papa, a Hunter trustee took over. Higgins says it is Papa's poor performance that has drawn him back. Higgins calls Papa a bully and says, “Never have I seen a need as I have with this man.... He does everything unilaterally. He feels he is in charge and in control of every aspect of village government. Actually, everything is a board of trustees’ decision.” Papa said. “I don’t believe I have power over everything but as mayor I am head fiscal officer. Not everything is a board of trustees’ choice. Many optics I have to deal with are mayoral decisions.” Both Higgins as former mayor and Papa as current mayor accuse each other being behind with filing the Annual Update of Documents, the yearly financial reports filed with the State Comptroller’s Office. About the bullying, Papa says, “It’s not bullying if you are trying to hold someone accountable for their job. If that’s interpreted as bullying, that is their interpretation. When you start peeling back the onion, the problem is in the office.... The village clerk is trying to create a case of harassment. She, in my view, has bullied people out of that office by the way she treated them, by the behavior she imposed on them.” Read more about this story, reprinted in Porcupine Soup.

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