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Cunningham to seek Town Board seat; Clarkson against interim bid

Former Bethlehem supervisor Jack Cunningham (pictured in 2009)

Former Bethlehem supervisor Jack Cunningham (pictured in 2009)

Clarkson and Cunningham disagree on the issue. Clarkson said Wednesday that he has been recruiting and discussing whom to appoint to the vacant seat, but added he is looking for someone who won’t serve beyond 2012.

“I will be advocating for a true interim appointment – a well qualified but nonpolitical citizen who will serve only for the period until the voters are given this choice in November of 2012,” said Clarkson.

A special election would be held next November for candidates seeking to serve the final year of Jordan’s term. In 2013, the year Jordan’s term ends, another election would be held for a full four-year term on the board.

Two current Town Board members were reluctant to say that restrictions should be in place for determining a person to fill the seat.

“The only thing I care about is that we have a fifth member who can hit the ground running, who has the financial and policy experience to help us make difficult decisions,” said Councilman Kyle Kotary, who will become the senior member of the board in January. “If that person wants to run, that’s great. Do they have to be someone who is willing to run? I personally don’t think so.”

Kotary added that there is something to be said for bringing someone onto the board who has the historical knowledge and background on issues facing the town. He also said that the board would need to consider whether or not to appoint a fifth member before decisions are made regarding other appointed positions in town government.

Councilwoman Joann Dawson said it is unfortunate for anyone to come out quickly and say they don’t support someone interested in the position. She added that she has serious doubts about appointing someone who has no interest in running in 2012.

“To have someone come in for a year that has no accountability, that has no stake in the game, if you will, where they could perhaps come in, make whatever changes they want and walk, without any accountability to the public, doesn’t seem right to me,” said Dawson.

In 2009, Cunningham lost a reelection bid to current Supervisor Sam Messina in a race that came down to a battle over absentee ballots. Cunningham currently serves as the Commissioner of Public Works for the Town of Colonie.

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