Four candidates for Saratoga Springs finance commissioner – Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – A quartet of candidates are looking to become the spa town’s next finance commissioner in the Nov. 2 election.

Minita Sanghvi, appearing on the democratic and resilient lines of Saratoga; JoAnne Kiernan, appearing on the Republican and Conservative United Saratoga lines; Sierra Hunt, appearing on the Working Families line; and Adam Israel, appearing on the Saratoga Stronger Together line, are running to replace Michele Madigan, who announced in 2020 that she would not be running for a sixth term.

The Saratogian has contacted the running candidates to get their responses on their nominations. Here are the answers from Sanghvi and Kiernan. The other two candidates on the ballot, Hunt and Israel, could not be reached to participate.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Sanghvi: “I moved to the United States in 2001 to live my truth as a gay woman. My wife and I moved to Saratoga Springs in 2014 and our son was born here. He goes to school here, plays baseball and Little League soccer at the YMCA. We have established our roots here. I am a full business professor and have been serving our community since 2015. ”

Kiernan: “I am a CPA with over 26 years of experience working with companies creating and managing budgets as well as providing financial and accounting services. I served on the Saratoga Springs City School Board for 9 years, served as President for 2.5 years, and served on the Finance Committee for 9 years as well as other committees as needed. I am the former treasurer of our homeowners association and Caroline Streets PTSO, as well as serving on other various community committees. I have lived in Saratoga for 18 years with my husband Todd and my 2 sons. ”

2. Why did you want to run for this job?

Sanghvi: “I’m running because I saw how COVID exposed the loopholes in our city’s finances, and I knew I had the skills to tackle the challenges we face after the pandemic. The city is recovering, but we are not prepared for what the future holds. We need to complete the new EMS / Fire Station, create greener infrastructure to deal with climate change, and replenish our fund balances. We also need to rebuild the relationships between our city leaders and the community, so that we can work together to build a better Saratoga Springs for all. “

Kiernan: “I believe in giving back to our community. After serving on the school board for the past nine years, I wanted to continue giving back to our city. When I was approached to run for the position of Finance Commissioner, I thought it would be a great opportunity to continue serving the city I love and giving back to our community.

3. Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?

Sanghvi: “I am the most qualified candidate in this race, with an undergraduate degree in accounting, an MBA and a doctorate in commerce. I have worked in Fortune 500 companies and come from a family of entrepreneurs. I got involved in public service and worked on the City of Greensboro Human Relations Commission, Saratoga Springs Human Rights Task Force, and currently am responsible for finance for the council Saratoga Springs Public Library Administration.

Kiernan: “I am the only candidate with a CPA and have worked in accounting and finance my entire career. I have the real world, practical experience and the knowledge to run the finance department in our city. While serving on the school board, I’ve learned that we have a lot more in common than we don’t and that’s the common ground I want to build on. So much can be accomplished with respectful dialogue and active listening.

4. What do you think are the biggest problems the community is currently facing?

Sangvhi: “Saratoga Springs was not prepared for the challenges of the past two years. We have seen our finances shrink, public confidence eroded, our infrastructure and public services compromised. We need a city council that not only has the skills to work with budgets and manage services, but that has the ability to work with others and community members to tackle difficult issues. The Board must prioritize rebuilding trust and improving communication. The protests and related incidents have not been handled in a way that eases tensions, and that must change. The current situation benefits no one – not public safety workers, our residents or our visitors. We need to build and fully equip the third EMS station – a long overdue safety measure. We need financial resources to deal with emergencies and to prepare for climate change as well. “

Kiernan: “There is a rift between community members, city officials and our police department. I believe we all want to have a community where everyone feels welcome, safe and heard. We need to have better communication and more open dialogue. Effective communication is hard work and an ongoing process. We need to stay focused on the issues so that we can make the best decisions for our city. “

5. What do you hope to accomplish in your first 100 days on the job?

Sangvhi: “During the first 100 days, I will conduct a thorough review of our city’s finances to assess the city’s needs, identify savings opportunities and develop plans to generate additional income. I will launch a city-wide climate and resilience action plan that would create long-term savings, prepare for climate change, and identify opportunities for smart and responsible economic growth. I will work with the council to create a municipal government that respects every Saratogian and finds solutions that create a greener, more prosperous and inclusive community.

Kiernan: “I will work with staff in the finance department to understand the operations of the office and how it works with other departments and commissioners. I will work with the other Commissioners to do a thorough review of their finances and understand their priorities, concerns and what will be needed in the future. I will gain an understanding of the work going on at the council table, so that I can continue and contribute to the work of the city. I will also continue to meet with community organizations and business leaders to understand the relationship with the city and how we can continue to work together and make improvements. I will be working with the other Commissioners to help bridge the divide in the city that many are now feeling. “

Candidates for the Saratoga Springs Finance Committee, left to right, JoAnne Kiernan and Minita Sanghvi (Photos provided)

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