Crofton association to choose president today

May 22, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

The contentious campaign for the presidency of the Crofton Civic Association will be over tomorrow when voters choose between two of the current officers.

Edwin F. Dosek, the incumbent president, and Martin Szostek, the secretary, have battled over budgets, pensions and personnel.

The civic association administers the Crofton special tax benefit district. It collects property taxes, maintains common areas and oversees the five-member Crofton Police Department.

After a forum for candidates Monday, Mr. Dosek labeled Mr. Szostek's claim that the association budget has risen 25 percent in the past four years "incomplete and misleading."

A review of figures shows an increase of about 14 percent over the last four budgets, from the $507,101 proposed budget for 1992 to the $579,445 proposed for fiscal 1995.

Mr. Szostek says he meant the budget had increased by 25 percent since 1990.

James C. Overmier Jr., the association's comptroller, said the budget has grown 28.5 percent since the start of fiscal 1990.

Mr. Szostek also has said that association officers spend money unnecessarily.

For example, he said, the association should rely on free opinions from the county attorney rather than pay for outside legal advice.

It also should not pay for "visioning" studies of Crofton's future and should not pay pension benefits for part-time employees, he said.

Mr. Overmier defended the part-timers' pensions, saying the arrangement is the cheapest available to the association under its tax status. He said the part-timers' pension benefits cost the average Crofton homeowner 31 cents a year or less.

Then there's the matter of the community counselor program. The civic association has funded the $29,000 position so that tax district residents can receive free professional counseling.

Some residents challenged the position and the authority of the association to pay for it. The issue has become a focal point of the campaign.

Mr. Dosek said at the candidates' night that he supports the program because he knows people it has helped.

Mr. Szostek, an opponent of the counselor, told the audience, "That's an issue that you will decide."

In an interview Friday, Mr. Szostek said that if he is elected, he will abide by a vote of the residents on retaining the counselor position. But he added, "I do not feel that a community counselor increases property values, and I will not be voting for the community counselor program."

At Monday's forum, candidates for some of the other elected positions tried to distance themselves from the conflict.

"I say let's let the community vote on this [counselor] issue, and move on," said Mark Hagerty, a candidate for board member from District 4.

"Some of the infighting that I've heard about, some of the one-upmanship, some of the character assassination has to go away," said Thomas Neal, a candidate for treasurer.

In the balloting, which ends tomorrow at 9 p.m., incumbent board member Kenneth B. Folstein is competing for the vice presidency against John F. Curtis III.

Sharon Titcomb is unopposed for secretary.

A three-way race for treasurer pits incumbent board member Edward Ganning against incumbent vice president John Maloney and challenger Thomas Neal.

In District 1, Michael Canning is unopposed.

Incumbent board members Arlo "Pete" Pedersen and Catherine Trebelhorn are seeking the District 2 seat.

Candidate Shannon Garden withdrew from the District 2 race for medical reasons, said Ed Reilly, chairman of the elections committee.

Katherine Puhak is running unopposed in District 3.

Mark Hagerty is competing with Sheila Schneider in District 4.

The District 5 race pits Richard Trunnell against Linda VanSickel. Mr. Reilly said Thomas A. Wolf withdrew from the race because he and Mr. Trunnell, both newcomers from the same neighborhood, decided not to compete against each other.

The new board will take office June 1.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow in the town hall and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the lobby of Crofton Elementary School.

The annual general membership meeting of the association will begin at 8 p.m. tomorrow at Crofton Elementary School.

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