By Jasmine Willis
DANSVILLE — Republican candidates Norm Zeh, Mike Nagle, and Scott Kenney are all seeking a second term in the upcoming village election.
On March 6 the three candidates seeking re-election sat down with this local reporter to talk about why they chose to serve, and what they want to do in their second term if elected on March 16.
Nagle is a lifelong resident of Dansville who wanted to create a better environment for his grandchildren to grow up in. Past Governor of Loyal Order of the Moose and original member of Union Hose Drill Team. Life member of Union Hose Fire Co and former truck captain.
“I saw an opening on the village board, and I was freshly retired. I have learned a lot being part of the village board. I believe I have accomplished a lot in the four years I have been on the village board. I originally wanted to help build a better community for my grandchildren and many more generations to come. I wanted to make it a safer place for everyone. I spent my entire life in this village,” he said. “My parents are both gone now. I believe they would be proud of me carrying on. We are all part of the village. We have all lived in the village. I knew the people on the village board and the important things that had done. I wanted to be part of that.”
Zeh has lived in Dansville since 1995. He raised his children Brandon and Lauren in this village he believes in with all his heart. Currently a part-time Livingston County Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy, served 13 years as Dansville Police Department, served Mount Morris Police Department, and former Forensic Identification Unit Sergeant at Livingston County Sheriff’s Office.
“I started out at the Dansville Police Department in 1993 and quickly rose to being a sergeant in 1995. In 2006 I left the police department to join the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office. I approached retirement as my kids were grown and wasn’t coaching sports anymore. I was looking do something important for the village. I missed being part of helping the village. I wanted to find a way to give back,” he said. “We have done a good job with this village board. We have pushed to make things happen in the four years that we have been on the village board. We have replaced fire trucks and ambulances. We did all this trying to do our best not to increase the tax rate.”
Kenney is a lifelong resident of Dansville. He has invested over 30 years into law enforcement. He served the SUNY Geneseo University Police, Assistant Chief and Emergency Operations Manager, Dansville Police Department, Mount Morris Police Department and NYS Parks Police. Dansville Post 87 Commander, Sons of American Legion, and on Dansville Gliders Baseball Team board of directors.
“I was recently retired from 30 plus years of law enforcement. I thought about what the best way would be to keep my mind active. I always wanted to get involved with the Dansville or County courts. I always had an interest in that side of the law. People would ask me if I wanted to run for the village board. I would be willing to assist folks on what they needed. When I retired, I had a strong desire to want to run for village justice, “he said. “I found out in the last four years how completely different it has been. There is always something new to learn. There are a lot of changes in local and state government happening at once over the years. Since I have been on as justice there has been a raise in youth offender ages twice. The bail reform has changed and the new Criminal Justice Reform Act. We are doing arraignments all over the county.”
“We have seen a lot of changes over four years; some good and bad. I love the new job. It is always an uphill climb. I am still learning something new every time. You can’t make everyone happy, but I have always tried to be fair. My job is to do justice. It is not about always putting people in jail,” Kenney added. “Covid changed the way we do everything. Covid shut us down in various steps. It caused a lot of madidates for court procedures. We had to focus on number of people we could bring in, and having proper requirements for everyone, and had the police departments still bringing us cases in the shutdown. We couldn’t do certain things anymore and had to learn to think on our feet. I am still in it when a lot of other town and village justices quit, because I still believe in what we are doing. I still want to give back to the village. You are held accountable for every decision you make. There is a lot of work that you need to keep track of that changes all of the time.”
Zeh said he is proud to have worked at the Dansville Police Department and continues to support everyone. He is proud of what Shannon Griese has done to take over being police chief.
“We have to continue to show guidance to those who seek to work in the Dansville Police Department. We had rules that needed to be redone for 20 years. We were way behind in the times at that department. Shannon has really taken the bull by the horns in his new role, and has done a lot with the department. I have strongly supported what he has done there. He has done a lot to protect the people in this community,” he said.
Nagle said his heart and soul is always with the parks and playgrounds in the community. He wants to continue to provide a safe environment for the children to play.
“We live across the street from one of the parks and I see what goes on around there. I want to get more use out of these parks. I want to see picnic areas set up for families to enjoy. People had no place to go. Now we are doing more for the playgrounds. I am there to see what is being done at these parks. We have provided nicer equipment for the children. In the future we would like to provide a walking bridge at Washington Park,” he said. “Babcock Park has come a long way. That was one of the biggest projects I helped work on. We made it a family friendly and drug free park. We have done a lot in four years to make this a nice place to live.”
Zeh added that part of his contributions was to help on the Seward Street Project. He is proud of what the Dansville Department of Public Works did to restore the bridge.
Kenney said that the village board continues to save the village taxpayers money by using the skills of the village employees to maintain the village. The work done on Seward Street, Park Avenue and Chestnut Avenue made for a better improvement in the community.
Zeh said the most expensive project they foresee down the pipeline is restoring most of the water and sewer pipes in the village that are over 100 years old.
“The water and sewer project are going to be huge and very expensive. As always, we work on saving the taxpayers money. We are looking into amazing grants and seeing what we have in the budget. We have to replace a lot of 100-year-old water lines. Pipes are not designed to last that long. Many of them are wooden still,” he said. “We strongly support Scott Tracy and the guys down at the Department of Public Works. Those guys are out there every single day working hard to keep up with the village. Scott is a great leader and sets an example for all the employees.”
Zeh and Nagle agree they are the best candidates for the upcoming election.
“There are two spots open for village trustee. You can vote for two candidates. I believe the two best candidates are myself and Mike. I want to say a vote for Mike is a vote for Mike. It does not count for me. It is up to people who are voting to vote for who they feel are the best two people for the job,” Zeh said. “I will tell you right now no one loves this village more than Mike.”
Zeh said anyone who wishes to comment on the agenda or outside of the agenda has that opportunity in the community comments section at the end of the meeting. If they want to talk about something specific, they can call into the office to be added to the agenda.
Nagle said if elected a second term he wants to continue to improve the parks and sidewalks in the village. He wants to make it so the business owners don’t need to maintain the sidewalks on Main Street, but have the village employees work on them instead.
Zeh said if elected a second term he wants to continue his focus on public safety since that has always been his background. He wants to push forward with improving the Dansville Police Department.
Kenney is running unopposed and will continue to work on the new madidates and challenges he faces to be a fair judge.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer for the better of the community can do so in many different avenues. The village board is always willing to listen to anyone’s ideas and concerns on the village.