City council district 5 candidate interviews


BINGHAMTON N.Y – for the second in our series profiling the competitive races for Binghamton City Council.

Tonight, we look at the campaign for the 5th council seat covering the western portion of the Southside.

It pits Republican Carman Garufi versus Democrat Joe Burns.

Both men agree that the 3 main issues facing the city and their district are taxes, public safety and code enforcement.

Garufi is an attorney who’s had his own private practice in Binghamton for 28 years.

He’s lived on the Southside for the past 16.

He and his wife Betsy have 3 teenaged children.

Garufi says that his work gives him both the perspective of having run a small business as well as developed the ability, as a lawyer, to advocate for his clients and to seek consensus to resolve issues.

He wants to continue to reduce property taxes, increase police patrols on the Southside, combat excessive speeding on Vestal, Park, Pennsylvania and Moore Avenues, adopt a code enforcement or zoning plan to address abandoned foreclosed properties and develop a plan to deal with the abundance of deer.

Garufi has an extensive background in volunteering with the Boy Scouts, B-C Humane Society, Tri-Cities Opera and various youth sports teams.

And this year, he was given the Broome County Bar Association’s Community Service Award.

“I think my community service over the years shows my commitment and dedication to the city and the residents of the city and the youth of the city. I did all of these things not with the intent of running for office or trying to build a resume to run for office. I just did them over the years because I thought it was the right thing to do and I wanted to make our community a better place to live,” says Garufi.

Joe Burns is the 5th of 12 children of the late John Burns, former Mayor of Binghamton.

Joe’s grandchildren represent the 7th generation of his family to live in the city.

Burns says he’s more following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather who ran for City Council after retiring from running a shoe store.

Burns is a retired Assistant Director for movies and television having worked on such films as “Die Hard 3,” “Quiz Show” and “JFK” and the T-V shows “Law and Order” and “Sex and the City” down in New York City.

He and his wife Sue grew up on the Westside, haved lived on the Southside for 25 years and have 3 grown children.

Burns is on the board of the Southern Tier Independence Center which he says helped him and Sue care for the elderly parents in their final years.

He says he supports further property tax cuts, wants to improve neighborhoods through stronger code enforcement and that he gained a better perspective of the challenges facing police officers during a recent ride along.

Burns says his position as an Assistant Director was to be responsible for making sure productions stayed on schedule and on budget.

He plans to bring the same approach to City Council.

“My father in his wallet always carried the prayer of St. Francis, ‘It is in giving that we receive.’ We were brought up with that philosophy. So, it’s just sort of natural for me. It was an open seat, we need somebody good and I really believe that I now have the time to really help my community and that’s what I want to do,” says Burns.

Garufi says that by having worked in Binghamton for the past 28 years, he has a better perspective on the challenges facing the city.

Burns says he would make the better councilman because he can treat the position as a full time job now that he’s retired.

The election is Tuesday November 5th although early voting starts tomorrow.

For a list of locations and schedule of times, go to

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