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Ex-Bethlehem super to see action in Colonie

Ex-Bethlehem Supervisor Jack Cunningham is expected to be appointed at the Thursday, Jan. 7, organizational meeting as Colonie's department of public works commissioner, according to officials.

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan said she sought out Cunningham because of his experience in administration considering the size of the department.

He served short of three years as Bethlehem's supervisor.

I approached him in exploring this option that was before us, she said. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience."

She said he oversaw a reorganization of Bethlehem's department of public works, and combined with his financial background he was an ideal candidate.

Mahan said cutting costs is a priority included in the town's 10 year financial plan and Cunningham can help do so.

Mahan said the appointment was not a case of patronage, and she was not approached by anyone in the Democratic Party who influenced her decision.

"This has nothing to do with politics," she said. "He's an excellent candidate for residents and taxpayers."

Mahan wished outgoing commissioner Bob Mitchell well, and said he has done an admirable job for the town. She said his two-year term was up, though, and it was time for the town to move on.

She said when she won her first term two years ago she kept him on along with many other employees already working in the town, something that many new administrators might not have done.

"Most people that started here are still here," she said.

Her administration is only interested in keeping and hiring the most qualified candidates to perform their public service well, she said.

Cunningham said since losing the Bethlehem supervisor election to Independence Party member Sam Messina in November, he has maintained an interest in public service although he considered returning to work privately in information technology.

"My preference would be to work in government," Cunningham said.

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