Three candidates vie for two seats on Hilton Village Board Residents can vote Tuesday, March 18 at the Hilton Community Center from 12 to 9 p.m.

By on March 9, 2014
Mike Clark

Mike Clark

Three candidates are running in the Village of Hilton election on March 18 for two seats on the four-member Board of Trustees – Mike Clark, incumbent Larry W. Speer and Shannon E. Zabelny.

Clark, who is running for the Community First Party, is a licensed stationary engineer third class for Monroe County Department of Human Services. The Hilton High School graduate and long-time resident attended Rochester Institute of Technology before taking a job with Eastman Kodak Company. He is also a licensed notary public. Married to Kelly Carter Clark, the daughter of former mayors Bill Carter and Henry Carter, Clark has two children – Carter, age nine, and Ella, age seven, along with three grown children.

Speer, whose party line is the Citizens Party, has served on the Village Board since 2006. A lifelong resident of Hilton, Speer graduated from Hilton High School and went on to earn an electrical technician degree. He’s currently employed as an engineering technician at Harris RF Communications. Speer and his wife, Barb, have two grown daughters.

Zabelny and her husband, Rob, moved to Hilton in 2008. With an associate’s degree in accounting from Monroe Community College and a bachelor’s degree in business from Rochester Institute of Technology, she is employed as an administrator for Hanna Properties LLC. She is also a licensed notary public. Zabelny is running for the People’s Party. She and her husband have two grown children – a daughter and son.

Clark’s volunteer work includes serving more than 20 years coaching area youth at the recreation, club and high school levels, and serving as Hilton Parma Recreation Commission Village Representative from 2007-2009.

If elected, Clark said his goals include bringing his Republican/Conservative values to the Board by keeping taxes level and spending in check. “Ultimately, I would like to get behind a joint venture with the Town of Parma and the Hilton School District for a new senior/community/athletic center within the village,” he said. “This would be a monumental task involving grants and inter-municipal cooperation.”  In addition to providing recreation space, Clark said he believes the center would attract businesses to the village.

Larry W. Speer

Larry W. Speer

In addition to serving on the Village Board, Speer has assisted as adjunct coach and volunteer in various roles for the Hilton School District over the past 30 years. He is a life member and trustee of the Hilton Fire Department, and most recently was elected as vice president. Speer has also volunteered with the Hilton Rotary and Foodlink.

“I have decided to run for another term as village trustee because I have a deeply rooted and demonstrated passion to help Hilton continue to maintain strong community values,” he said. Speer’s goals, if re-elected, are to continue to support and provide leadership to the village offices, to keep the tax rate at an acceptable level for all residents, to enhance the Community Center building, and to expand Jennejahn Lodge.

Zabelny also would like to encourage more businesses to move to Hilton, while still maintaining a “small village feeling.” In addition, she would encourage structure safety improvements to the Community Center, such as paint stripes leading to fire exits and security measures within the building, and would promote Neighborhood Watch programs.

A volunteer for various community activities, Zabelny said she’d also like to see more family-based activities, “all the time keeping the village purse strings in mind.” She has volunteered for Hilton-Parma Recreation events, the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, Mobile Christmas Wagon, Foodlink, Apple Fest, the Veterans’ Wall of Honor and the Village Memorial Day ceremony. Zabelny currently serves on the Village Zoning Board of Appeals and is president of the Unionville Station Condominium Board of Managers.

Shannon E. Zabelny

Shannon E. Zabelny

Clark said he believes one of the major challenges facing the village is the lack of communication between the Village and Town of Parma Boards. “I strongly feel the need for village and town officials to go back to having two joint meetings between them annually,” he said. Clark also pointed out the challenge of dealing with never-ending increases in employee health benefit costs.
Speer agrees that increases in employee benefit costs, along with equipment and materials, while keeping the tax rate at a level that provides a high value to residents is the biggest challenge ahead for the village.

“I believe the village is facing the challenges common to every municipality, the economy and safety and security for its citizens,” said Zabelny.

The three candidates are getting the word out about their campaigns in both traditional ways and by using social media. Clark has both Facebook and Twitter pages, but is also relying on lawn signs. He said his campaign is based on a sensible businessman approach. “Running a private company for over 25 years teaches one to be frugal when needed, but astute enough to know when to cut your losses,” he said. “That’s good business.”

Speer said he believes in going door-to-door to campaign because it gives him the opportunity to interact directly with the residents. “I believe my unique blend of experiences, including running a family business as a young man, being involved in the school for many years, my current career in a large, private Rochester-based company, as well as my local volunteer involvement provides me with leadership tools and experiences that can continue to help positively direct the village,” he said.

Zabelny said she brings to the table the ability to see problems from different perspectives in order to make well rounded decisions. Her campaigning consists of going door-to-door, using Facebook, lawn signs and paid ads to present herself to village residents. “While I appreciate the value of electronic media, I also enjoy personally meeting residents and allowing them to express their opinions and concerns,” she said.

The Village of Hilton elections will be held Tuesday, March 18 at the Hilton Community Center, 59 Henry Street, from 12 to 9 p.m. in the Board Room.