Court says Cunningham can keep his job

Court rules that Cunningham does not have to be an engineer as Commissioner of DPW

— It appears the issue as to whether Colonie Commissioner of Public Works Jack Cunningham can legally keep his job or not has been settled.

A ruling was handed down by Acting State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara that said Cunningham does not have to be a licensed engineer to be commissioner of DPW and that the town’s decision to extend residency requirements to Albany County for his position was legal.

The state Supreme Court originally ruled that Cunningham must be a resident in the Town of Colonie. The town then passed a resolution on April 7 to adopt a local law that would amend Chapter 34, Section 3 of the town code. The law expanded the residency requirements for both Cunningham’s position, and Richard Naylor’s, who is the director of the William K. Sanford library.

McNamara dismissed the petitions made by Theodore Ricket, who filed the suit. It said the town had given eight days worth of notice about the public hearing in April, said the town did not need to go through a SEQRA review to appoint Cunningham to the position and that the local law could legally be enacted retroactively.

There is also a section in the document that explains the town has engineers that work within DPW, which means Cunningham was not performing any engineering work in his position.

Cunningham is happy that the situation is over and that he can get back to focusing on his position and helping Supervisor Paula Mahan to get re-elected.

“I’m please the court recognized the claims by Mr. Ricket were pretty baseless,” he said. “I felt all along the town was right in their approach… I think it’s working well with the town and I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue. I enjoy it immensely.”

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