Forum set on open Town Board seat

— The Albany County chapter of the League of Women Voters will be holding an “educational forum” on the topic of the Bethlehem Town Board seat recently vacated by Mark Jordan.

The forum will be held Thursday, Jan. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. At the Delmar Presbyterian Church on Delaware Avenue.

According to a release from the League, the forum will consist of “opening remarks including an explanation of the process used to fill an interim seat on the town board, an opportunity for the public to speak to that process and then an opportunity for each of the nine applicants to make a statement of between 2-3 minutes describing their experience and education and how they would approach the position of interim board member for the year 2012.”

Supervisor John Clarkson has named eight people he would like to see considered for the job, and former supervisor Jack Cunningham has also announced his intent to seek the office (Clarkson has said he would not support Cunningham's bid). Read more on that story here.

The League's Mary Berry said some of the details of the forum are still being hashed out. The group regularly holds candidate forums in a debate format around election season.

“This is very different from how the League usually operates, it's much more free form,” Berry said. “The point is to introduce the public to the method of filling a vacancy, and also introduce the public to those people who have officially declared they're interested.”

She said the League would have to decide what to do if, say, a resident announces their interest in the seat at the forum itself.

The interim replacement for the seat will eventually be selected by the remaining four members of the board. Whomever is selected will serve until the end of 2012, and a special election will be held in November to decide who will fill the seat until the end of Jordan's term, which is to the end of 2013.

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