Charles Houghtaling, the county legislator representing the Town of Westerlo, and part of New Scotland has officially stepped aside as Chairman of the Albany County Legislature.
Houghtaling served the 38th district in the Albany County Legislature since 1984, serving as chairman of the legislature from 1994 until a vote was taken on Monday Jan. 4 to elect Daniel McCoy to the position.
Houghtaling said the decision to replace him as chairman came in November when he wrote a letter to his colleagues asking for their support to elect him to an additional two year term as chairman.
At that time there was a vote taken, and there was one vote short, said Houghtaling. The vote was 15 members in favor of electing McCoy, with 14 members in favor of Houghtaling. Two democratic members were not present for the vote.
Houghtaling said he respected the decision his colleagues made in November, and removed himself from consideration for the position.
Frank Commisso, the current Majority Leader of the Albany County Legislature praised the decades-spanning service of Houghtaling. "Charley has certainly been the longest serving chairman, serving over 15 years," said Commisso.
Commisso credited Houghtaling with expanding the democratic majority in the legislature from 22 to at one point 32 members. "That kind of majority hasn't been seen in the legislature in the history of the legislature," said Commisso, "that certainly was due to the chairmanship of Charley."
Commisso also said that the election of McCoy as chairman was not due to failings on the part of Houghtaling. He felt the McCoy was elected to the position to "bring in youth we have attracted to the legislature in the past several years."
"There are no hard feelings," said Houghtaling. He expressed his appreciation for a plaque with a gavel on it presented to him by the legislature's leaders at Monday's meeting.
While know longer serving as chairman, Houghtaling will still retain his seat as a legislator. "I told people in the 38th district that I would like to finish my term," said Houghtaling, adding that he would not be seeking an additional term