COLONIE It appears the issue of whether Colonie Commissioner of Public Works Jack Cunningham can legally keep his job or not has been settled, at least for the time being.
A ruling has been handed down by Acting State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara that said Cunningham does not have to be a licensed engineer to be DPW commissioner and that the town’s decision to extend residency requirements for his position to all of Albany County 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 for 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 gave eight days worth of notice about the public hearing in April, said the town did not need to go through an environmental 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 explaining how the town has engineers that work within the DPW, which means Cunningham was not performing any engineering work in his position.
Bill Keniry, of Tabner, Ryan and Keniry, LLP and the attorney representing Ricket, said his client was “upset and hurt” by the court’s decision. He said Rickert does plan to appeal the decision with confidence, as he said the appellate court did not side with Cunningham last time.
“I believe at the end of the day, when the panel of the appellate division reviews the case, our position is the correct position on the law and it best serves the residents of the town,” Keniry said. “I can tell that with respect to Mr. Ricket, he is terribly upset with the dumbing down of the public service position and the necessary qualification for the highway superintendent [DPW commissioner]. He believes the residents deserve and can have a better service, a more attentive service and a more informed service than that delivered at the hands of a non-resident, politician from Bethlehem.”