By Jasmine Willis
DANSVILLE – Former Dansville Police Chief, Charlie Perkins is running for village trustee in the upcoming village election.
On Feb. 27 Perkins held a meet and greet at the CB’s Bar and Grill to discuss why he is running, his plans for if he wins, and what he would like to see happen in the village.
“My first thoughts for running were due to a desire to put a higher level of politeness, good manners, and a strong sense of fair play on the village board. I feel like there needs to be some balance that isn’t there now. Those were my first thoughts on why to run,” he said. “If I am successful my thoughts are on people coming to the village board with a sense of calmness and fair play. You should be able to have good, serious, and honest discussions about the topics that matter in this village. We need to recognize our benefits and some of the negatives we have. We can deal with the obligations in the village government within those parameters.”
Perkins said in order to accomplish this he needs to get elected on March 16. He discussed the importance of not splitting your vote if you feel he is the preferred candidate. Those going up for re-election are Norm Zeh and Mike Nagle. Perkins said they are working together as a team, so a vote for one is a vote that counts for both of them.
“I thought maybe things could be done differently. I am not saying I am the first person who has thought of this, or it hasn’t been done before. If I am the first person to think of this, I hope this encourages others in the right direction. In my neighborhood and on my street not everyone is a Republican or a Democrat. Not everyone is a Conservative or an Independent. There is a mixture of people in the village. In my own family there is a mixture. With that in thought I did not want to be considered one particular party or the other,” he said. “The party process is good. It sets a foundation. I was hoping to just run as a person. From what I hear from people I have spoken to that is how people like to vote. We vote for the person before the party. With that in mind I set on a path to acquire nominations from more than one party.”
Perkins was unable to get on the Republican Caucus. He went to the Democrat Party and asked if they would be willing to cross-endorse him. They told him to get 53 signatures and he was able to get 113. He is now on several places in the ballot.
“It was an amazing step in the right direction. It was about them willing to put Dansville first. I am a Dansvillian first. I believe it is good to be part of more than one party. I believe in putting more than one head in the room at a time,” he said.”I am going to tell you how important it is for each of you to go out and vote. If you feel I am your preferred candidate I am asking you not to split your vote. You are allowed to vote for two. There are two spots open for village trustees. You can vote for any two candidates on the ballot. However, the two I am running against are on a team. A vote for each of them is two votes for the other. It all goes against me and I lose every single time. I am asking people to vote for me alone and not split the vote if they believe I am the preferred candidate.”
Perkins has believed in this village and been a member of its roots for most of his life. He has lived here, worked here, and raised a family here. He has invested in buying and restoring homes here for 35 years. He has invested in the beautification of Main Street and Paradise Alley. Perkins was a proud member of the Dansville Police Department for 34 years. He was police chief for 20 years. In all that time he was part of the village board. He has seen a lot in those decades.
“Not everyone on the village board is going to welcome me with open arms if I win, but that is okay. If anyone is discontent, I have experience with dealing with that as a Dansville Police Chief for 20 years,” he said. “I had situations when dealing with opposing points of view at the Dansville Police Department for 34 years. I want to do the research and give everyone a chance to hear one another out. I don’t believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. I believe someone did the research and we need to hear that person out. I don’t believe everything they do on the village board is wrong. We need to focus on infrastructure, crime and chaos, and not make our co-workers or employees the enemy.”
Perkins said everyone working for the village was hired for a reason. Someone believed that person was the best for the job they were given.
“I know everyone who works for the village down to the police officers, village clerks, public works, and code enforcement. They all get up every single day willing to do what is right for this village,” he said. “I think we should put our focus on what matters most. We need to focus on housing. I believe housing is a direct link to crime in this village. The conditions of our streets, homes, and neighborhoods need to be properly enforced. We need to give people a chance to comply.”
Perkins mentioned how his time at the Dansville Police Department gave him unique insight into what goes on in this community. He knows not everyone has the same economic means to handle the fallout of the budget.
“I saw 20 years worth of budgets on the village board. Everyone strives to balance it. Not every taxpayer has the means to handle it. We need to find a more comfortable and fair way to balance the budget,” he said. “I feel like maybe we can do more. I want to make sure everyone is happy to stay in Dansville. We need to work out if we have money for certain items or if it could be better used for other things.”
Perkins mentioned his time on the Dansville Police Department and different drug busts and thefts and crimes he helped solve in his 34 years.
“When you are the police chief you are always asking how can we do more. How can we do more to fight this war on drugs? What can we do better on cleaning the crime on the streets? In running for village government, I ask the same questions. What can we do more to make this community a healthy and safe place to live? I am interested in what is best for the community,” he said. “We need to hear the people out, and let them tell us their concerns and desires for the community. It is not a debate about whether or not we will hear them out. People in this village want to be respected and heard. I have always felt people need to have a chance to bring things up at the meetings outside of what is on the agenda. They need to have their compliments and criticisms heard.”
Perkins has four children who have always supported him in his ambitions to make the community a better place; Charles Perkins III, Shanna Burley, Arick Perkins, and Chase Perkins. His older sons are police officers. His daughter works at Noyes Hospital. His youngest son is majoring in Engineering at University of Buffalo.