MASSENA — A former St. Lawrence County legislator who has also served on the Massena Town Council will be on the ticket for one of two Massena village trustee seats up for election in November.
During the party’s caucus on Monday night, Massena Democrats nominated Gregory M. Paquin to fill a seat currently held by long-time trustee Albert (Herb) Deshaies. Mr. Deshaies is stepping down after serving as trustee since 1996.
The party also nominated Francis J. Carvel for another term as village trustee, and Diana Dufresne as village justice to fill out Patrick Serguson’s term following his retirement. Trustees had appointed Ms. Dufresne as village justice in December following Mr. Serguson’s retirement. His term was set to expire in 2022.
Former Village Trustee Timothy J. Ahlfeld nominated Mr. Paquin for the seat, noting he had been active in the political scene for several years — three years on the Massena Town Council and 12 years as a St. Lawrence County legislator. Mr. Paquin did not seek reelection to the county Legislature in 2018.
In addition, he has served as president of the Massena Federation of Teachers.
“We negotiated against each other when I was on the school board and he was the MFT president,” Mr. Ahlfeld said.
He said Mr. Paquin’s thoughts and actions are “well thought out,” he looks at both sides of every issue and acts in the best interest of those he represents.
Mr. Paquin said he would like to be involved in dealing with the challenges facing the village short-term, such as a decrease in sales tax revenue and a shortage in state aid. He said he faced a similar situation while he was serving as a legislator during the recession and needed to prioritize essential services provided by the county.
“That’s something that we’re going to have to do. Having that experience, I feel as though I can be an asset short-term,” he said.
Long-term, Mr. Paquin said they should continue to focus on economic development in the village. He noted that several agencies handled economic development and “it might be time to take a look at streamlining that.”
Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire nominated Mr. Carvel for another term as trustee. He was first elected to the board in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2016 after serving for more than 30 years as a village employee.
“He is knowledgeable. His experience combined with his connections to our community provide him with a wealth of information to draw upon when considering village issues,” Mr. LeBire said.
In addition, he said, Mr. Carvel “communicates with and listens to the community and is not shy about sharing his thoughts and opinions. He is thoughtful and deliberate. He will ask meaningful questions and respectfully debate issues, which makes the board as a whole more effective and successful with our goals and operations.”
Most important, Mr. LeBire said, “Francis truly cares about Massena. Yes, he is knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience, which are very important traits. But it is his commitment to our community that makes him a great trustee.”
Mr. Carvel said he was seeking another term to finish what the board had started during his tenure, while remaining cognizant of the village’s taxpayers.
“I’ve always looked out for the interest of the taxpayers,” he said.
A 1970 graduate of Massena schools, he worked for the village for 37 years before retiring in 2007 and running for village trustee. That gave him the knowledge of “what goes on in government,” Mr. Carvel said.
Mayor Timmy J. Currier nominated Ms. Dufresne for village justice, citing 16 examples of her extensive law experience — from her role as civil practice judge and state attorney general lemon law arbitrator, to landlord/tenant law specialist and certified community facilitator, to director of the Justice and Law Center for the Unified Court System and supreme court fee dispute adjudicator.
“Last year, I had the opportunity to appoint her to a vacancy on the court. She brought an impressive resume and an incredible amount of experience,” Mr. Currier said. “As Massena’s first woman justice, she offers her real world experience, years of practical work resolving disputes and a high level of skill in mediating cases to successful resolutions. She did that in her work, and now she is doing it from the bench.”
“Thank you very much for your confidence in me,” Ms. Dufresne said. “It’s really a pleasure to work with the community here. I’ve been working with the community for a long time.”