In the last Cortland County race to be decided from the Nov. 5 general election, John T. Banewicz, Sr., won a write-in campaign to become Cortland County’s next treasurer, filling a position that has been vacant since April.
Banewicz, of Cortland, and three other people began write-in campaigns after no candidates came forward in time to have their names placed on the ballot. He secured 416 votes, a couple of hundred more than his other write-in competitors.
Landlord and accountant Gerry Ruggiero received 173 votes. County Legislator Donnell Boyden (R-Homer, Preble, Scott) received 149 votes. Former county maintenance supervisor Brian Parker received 37 votes. Boyden will leave the Legislature later this year after deciding not to seek another term. Boyden served four two-year terms on the Legislature and was the chairman in 2016 and 2017.
“I’d just like to thank everyone that assisted me in getting the votes and the people that took time and effort to squeeze my name into the little box,” Banewicz said.
Banewicz served 36 years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as a manger for military construction in Northern Iraq and as the project manager for Blad Air Base in Ira, where he managed multi-million dollar projects. He also worked at Verizon as a communications tech for 38 years, where he did a number of jobs including analyzing reports and working on computer mainframes.
The treasurer’s positions has been vacant since April after John Tucker resigned without reason.
Tucker was hired in April 2018 to be the temporary fiscal officer until the end of the year. He then ran for the position in November and was elected.
Tucker took over the position from Ralph Canfield, who resigned because of frustrations with county government. Since then three deputy treasurers — Boyden, Ruth Stanton with the county highway department and Legislator George Wagner (R-Marathon Lapeer) — have been handling some of the duties of the treasurer.
The treasurer issues certificates of residency, handles tax installments agreements and foreclosure responsibilities. One of the biggest tasks the newly elected treasurer will get back is the handling of estates, said Andrea Herzog, the county’s finance director.
Sometimes a court will appoint a county treasurer as the administrator of an estate. County Attorney Karen Howe has been taking on those tasks.
Banewicz will also take back occupancy tax duties, which include collecting the tax and making sure quarterly payments are received on time. Herzog now has those responsibilities.
Herzog said there will be a meeting Friday with Banewicz, that will include Clerk of the Legislature Eric Mulvihill and legislator and Wagner to go over the job duties.
“We are definitely going to strongly recommend that he appoints one, if not two, deputy treasurers,” Herzog said, to assure someone can take over the duties in case something happens to Banewicz.
The position pays around $40,000 and Herzog said the position was established as part of a local law.