New Westfield Mayor To Take Office Monday

WESTFIELD – Westfield’s mayor-elect was confident he would win some days before the balloting took place.

“About a week to 10 days before the election I knew we had the numbers,” Mike Vandevelde said in a post-election interview.

In a brief comment made about two-and-a-half hours before the polls closed March 19, the Democrat Party’s standard bearer predicted a 200-vote margin of victory based on the turnout up to that time. In fact, 297 more voters chose Vandevelde than voted for incumbent Dave Carr, who was seeking a fifth term.

The official result, according to the Chautauqua County Board of Elections, was 519 to 227 in favor of Vandevelde.

Asked what he thought moved seven of every 10 voters to put the little dark circle beside his name, Vandevelde responded with a variety of reasons.

“Part of it was our message,” he said. The message was, he added, “Community and economic development.”

Another factor, according to the mayor-elect, was old-fashioned campaigning, albeit with some 21st century tweaks.

“We worked hard, shook hands, knocked on doors,” he explained.

In addition, he described concentrated efforts to make sure registered Democrats went to Eason Hall to vote. On top of phone call reminders, local Democrats used emails and social media like Facebook to augment traditional methods.

Vandevelde also believes the injuries any long-time office holder bears hurt Carr. While Vandevelde did not quantify the damage to the incumbent caused by tensions with village firefighters, the mayor-elect felt Carr was politically wounded by recent issues.

Carr left a message of congratulations on Vandevelde’s telephone message recorder the morning after the election. The mayor-elect later called Carr and said the two had a cordial conversation.

The new mayor will take office Monday, with a swearing in scheduled for 7 p.m. at Eason Hall.

Following the swearing-in, a public hearing on the village of Westfield proposed general fund budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1, 2013, and ending May 31, 2014, will be held in the north room of Eason Hall at 7:30 p.m. The purpose of this hearing is to receive and hear comments about the proposed general fund budget.

A copy of the proposed budget is available for inspection in the village clerk’s office during regular office hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Because both of his party’s trustee candidates also were elected, the new mayor will command a majority on the village board where only two Republicans remain.

Asked about changes in appointed positions, Vandevelde said he has not yet made any firm decisions.