New faces in powerful positions

“We are going to, regardless of party label, work to turn this into a model community,” said Kuhn. “I think the results will be something that Democrats, Republicans, and everyone can be proud of.”

Dawson echoed Kuhn’s sentiments, and said that there is a strong team moving forward.

“I believe that everyone brings to the table their energy, their intellect and their commitment to the job,” Dawson said. “We will, as a group, work together to do what’s right for Bethlehem.”

One of the board’s first decisions will be to appoint a new member to the body. Mark Jordan, whose term runs through the end of 2013, was unopposed in winning a term as Bethlehem Town Justice. No matter who is appointed to the board, Democrats will hold a majority on the five-member panel for the next two years.

When asked about party affiliation, and the new members of the town board, Republican candidate Jeremy Near, who finished fourth behind Kuhn, Dawson, and Republican Jeremy Martelle, expressed his interest in seeing the board carry out the interests of the voters.

“It’s not a matter of moving forward and getting the job done,” said Near. “It’s a matter of first and foremost understanding what the job is. So, what is it that we want our Town Board to do?”

While there’s been very little talk publicly of how the final seat will be filled, and the makeup of the board moving forward, Messina believes that the new man at the top is the right person for the job.

“John is the leader of Bethlehem for the future,” said Messina. “He has all the skills, all the enthusiasm, and the capabilities to really lead Bethlehem in wonderful ways going forward.”

Messina said he’s already working on a transition file for Clarkson, and will work with him in the upcoming weeks.

“When he (Clarkson) gets in there Jan. 2, he should be able to start to lead and build,” said Messina.

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