JAMESTOWN – With the news that Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi won’t seek reelection, the face of city politics is changing, but Jamestown City Democratic Committee Chairman Jim Walton told WNYNewsNow that Teresi’s legacy will be hard to match.
Teresi, who took office in 2000, is the longest sitting Mayor in the city’s history, tied with Samuel A. Carlson, a Republican who served from 1908 to 1928. The second longest tenured mayor is Steven B. Carlson, who served from 1976 to 1990. Progressive Samuel A. Stroth served from 1942 to 1952.
“Sam served us faithfully for 20 years, and before that as the Director of Development, so he’s probably got close to 40 tears in public service,” Walton said. “I think he wants to spend more time with his family and after 40 years, I think he just thinks its time to move on.”
Teresi’s legacy is one of stewardship and sheparding, Walton said.
“Sam has shepherded us through good times and bad times and these are not necessarily the best of times, but he has been a good steward of the people’s money and some of the things he has been dealing with budgetarily and staffing wise were not of his making. They were established 20 years ago,” he said.
There has been speculation Teresi might be interested in higher office, like Mayor Stan Lundine before him, who served in Congress and as Lt. Governor.
But Walton said it is unlikely.
“I had lunch with the Mayor on Tuesday and I think he’s ready to slow down and see what’s next. As far as another campaign, I would be surprised if he was part of another campaign,” Walton said.
Asked what Teresi’s greatest accomplishment as Mayor has been, Walton gave an answer some might not initially expect.
“My guess is that Sam’s greatest accomplishment is endurance, it’s 20 years of being there. I try not to focus on what didn’t get done and try to focus on what did get done. I think we’re, through the help of the city and the foundations, we’re looking pretty good downtown,” he said.