Landslide: Michaels clears field, set to take office as Fulton mayor

Michaels, center, celebrates her win Tuesday night with supporters at Tavern On The Lock. 

FULTON — Republican Deana Michaels was elected Tuesday to a four-year term as mayor, receiving more than half of the ballots cast in the four-way race.

Tavern On The Lock resonated with chants of “Deana! Deana!” when it was announced that 1,331 votes, or 54 percent of mayoral votes cast, rolled in for the long-time Pathfinder Bank Branch Manager according to unofficial results from the Oswego County Board of Elections.

City of Fulton 2019 Election Results

City of Fulton office Candidate # of Votes % of Vote
Daniel T. Farfaglia (D, WOR, I) 763 31.23%
Deana Michaels (R, C) 1,331 54.48%
Ethan Parkhurst (OTH) 215 8.08%
David A Webber (OTH) 116 4.75%
First Ward Councilor
Thomas G. Kenyon (C) 307 98.08%
Second Ward Coucilor
Ernesto Garcia (D) 81 32.53%
Douglas R. Chapman (R) 91 36.55%
David Ritchie (C) 77 30.92%
Third Ward Councilor
Donald R. Patrick Jr. (D, C) 531 96.72%
Fourth Ward Councilor
Samuel A. Vono (R) 165 44%
John D. Kenyon (C, OTH) 210 56%
Fifth Ward Councilor
Dennis Merlino (D, OTH) 181 44.58%
Audrey L. Avery (R, C, OTH) 224 55.17%
Sixth Ward Councilor
Lawrence E. Macner (D, R, C) 229 97.86%

“The future of Fulton is bright,” Michaels told supporters. “And I am excited to be the one who’s going to lead us there. I am so excited to work with all of you to make Fulton the place where people want to live, work and visit.”

Michaels will assume office on Jan. 1, 2020 at a time when local government and business leaders anticipate economic revitalization for the city of Fulton. In September, the city received $10 million from state officials as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

“The city of Fulton made a statement tonight that we’re ready for change,” Michaels, reached by phone, told The Palladium-Times. “Come 2020, we’re going to make Fulton a place where people want to visit. We’re going to stimulate the economy with the help of the DRI money. We’re going to deal with the drug problem and the crime problem in our neighborhoods. It’s not going to be an easy road, but were going to do it.”

Michaels comes with the full backing of the Republican Party’s local establishment, receiving endorsements in 2019 from the Oswego County and city of Fulton GOP committees and from retiring mayor Ron Woodward Sr.

“I am so humbled by the community coming out and voting,” an elated Michaels told The Palladium-Times late Tuesday.

Democrat Dan Farfaglia received 763 votes, or 31 percent of ballots cast. Independent candidates Ethan Parkhurst and Dave Webber rounded out the field with 215 and 116 votes, respectively.

Farfaglia conceded the election to Michaels and congratulated her, insisting that he would stay active in the community in several volunteer roles, with membership on the Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club, Farnham Family Services board and the Lake Neatahwanta Revitalization Corporation.

“I’m still a member of the community, and I promised I will be 100 percent supportive in the transition and let her know I can be of help if she wants it,” Farfaglia told The Palladium-Times late Tuesday.

Parkhurst said he would stay involved in city politics.

“The people spoke tonight, and if that’s what they want, then I trust the people’s decision,” Parkhurst said.  

On her first day, Michaels plans to “go around to each of the departments” of city hall and introduce herself to each municipal employee, she told The Palladium-Times in a recent interview.

As city officials work with DRI representatives from Albany to allocate funds for the city’s revitalization projects, Michaels said she would keep the process transparent for the community.

“We’re creating a timeline so the community knows who’s involved and when they can put in their input,” said Michaels, who serves on the 27-member DRI committee.

Fulton city hall will also welcome another new Republican woman to its corridors of power after Audrey Avery unseated Democrat Dennis Merlino as Fifth Ward Councilor.

Avery received 224 votes on Tuesday, pulling ahead of Merlino’s 181. The opponents squared off two years ago when Merlino squeaked ahead with 179 votes compared to Avery’s 170.

Avery, who called Michaels an “amazing woman,” said she’s excited to collaborate with the mayor-elect at a pivotal moment in the city’s history.

 “I am numb at the fact that I won, but I’m so excited to work with [Michaels],” Avery told The Palladium-Times. “My main problem is the absentee landlords. Most of the apartment buildings in the city are a mess. We need to take care of the absentee landlords and we need to code them. It’s not acceptable for people who live next to them because it hurts their property values.” 

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