December 2, 2021

Half of Cortland’s Common Council new

Four new members of Cortland’s Common Council were elected Tuesday, joining incumbents Katie Silliman, William Carpenter, Troy Beckwith and Thomas J. Michales.
Incumbents stepped down in four of the eight seats. In another, the incumbent was appointed just in September. Three other seats were uncontested.

Ward 1
Republican and Conservative Wayne Schutt II defeated incumbent Democrat Samantha Adams, 303-257.

“We worked so hard as a team this year, it’s really bittersweet not to have the whole team make it through,” Schutt said. “I’m really excited for Ward 1, really excited for the city with Scott (Steve) being elected. (mayor) I think we can make some really positive changes.”

Schutt is a project consultant at Crown Construction and serves as a member of the Disabled American Veterans Cortland Memorial Chapter 153.

Adams is a project coordinator with Cortland Prevention Resources’ LGBT Resource Center.and served as councilperson for the 1st Ward since September when Kat McCarthy resigned to move out of the ward.

Ward 2
Incumbent Democrat Kathryn Silliman was unchallenged and got 170 votes.

Ward 3
William “Bud” Diescher, a Republican and Conservative lost to Democrat Mary Clare Pennello to replace Democrat Bruce Tytler, who ran for mayor. The tally was 164-109. Diescher works at Gator’s Tavern and was active in 2020 in Cortland’s Back the Blue movement.

Pennello, a former teacher, works in the urology department at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, is treasurer for the Cortland YWCA, serves the St. Mary’s School committee and is a member of the Zonta Club.

“We want to continue to work together for a peaceful, collaborative manner and build concensus,” she said.

Ward 4
Democrat Pat Lane defeated Republican and Conservative Francis Endler in a campaign to succeed John Bennett. The tally was 74-59.

Lane, a retired teacher, is a tutor in Homer helping support at-risk students.

Endler owns Fran Endler Professional Service, a home appliance repair business and maintains service contracts with major appliance manufacturers for warranty work, according to the Cortland County Republican Committee.

Ward 5
Republican and Conservative Wayne Rivers lost to Democrat Seth Thompson in the race to succeed Democrat Jacki Chapman. The tally was 150-139.

Thompson is associate vice president for student services and senior diversity officer at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Rivers is a self-employed general contractor and an assistant coach with the girls varsity basketball team at Cortland High.

Ward 6
Democrat William Carpenter won the uncontested race after Republican Thomas Guido dropped out. He got 196 votes.

Carpenter is a police officer with the Cornell University Police Department, retired from the Cortland Police Department in 2008 after 21 years and represented the 6th Ward since 2019. Carpenter was a 5th Ward councilperson from 2015 to 2019.

Guido withdrew too late to remove his name from the ballot, and still got 146 votes.

Ward 7
Incumbent Democrat Troy Beckwith was unopposed for a seat to which he was first elected in 2017. He got 162 votes.

Ward 8
Democrat Melissa Kiser lost to incumbent Thomas Michales, the Republican and Conservative nominee, 138-93.

Michales has represented the 8th Ward since 2003. He retired in April from Intertek after 34 years as a senior safety project engineer.

Kiser owns a business that ensures people with disabilities get state funding to which they’re entitled. She is a lead organizer of Cortland’s Black Lives Matter group.