Newest Bethlehem supervisor pledges transparency and communication
About 200 people packed the auditorium of Bethlehem Town Hall on New Year's Day to ring in not only a new decade, but also a new administration.
Supervisor Sam Messina took the oath of office Friday afternoon before a standing room-only crowd. In addition to leadership from town offices, the gathering included a number of local dignitaries such as Assemblyman Tim Gordon, Albany County Legislator Richard Mendick and Albany County Comptroller Mike Connors.
Also present was Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who opened the ceremony with introductory comments. He said that despite reports that 2009 was full of bad news, as a Bethlehem resident he is optimistic about where his town has been and where it is going.
There is so much in the Town of Bethlehem to be joyous about, Soares said. "I've come to really appreciate what we have in this town."
The oath of office was administered by Appellate Court Judge Bernard Malone, who said he has the pleasure of living on the same street as the supervisor.
"The very first time that I met SamI thought after about two minutes, 'wow, this is a very special person.'"
"I've known Sam long enough and well enough to know you will do a wonderful job as our supervisor," Malone continued.
After being sworn in, Messina took an opportunity to address the capacity crowd about the future of his administration, as well as the election that brought him into office.
"I know there are hard feelings, I know this was a difficult campaign and I know human beings can overcome that," Messina said, going on to say the loss of the election must be "heartbreaking" for now-former Supervisor Jack Cunningham and his family.
"I think of them, I wish them a happy New Year. Jack and I were once friends, I hope we can still be," Messina said.