BETHLEHEM At its first meeting of the year, members of the Bethlehem Town Board unanimously voted to appoint former board member George Lenhardt to a vacant seat.
Lenhardt was selected from a group of nine potential candidates who had expressed interest in the position. The board was in need of a new member after Mark Jordan won his bid for Town Justice and left the Town Board at the beginning of the year. The 4-0 vote was made during the board organizational meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11.
“They were all excellent choices,” said Supervisor John Clarkson in an interview the following day. “But there was a consensus among the group concerning (Lenhardt.) He has a background with the board and his roots in the community are very deep. It came down to who folks thought would be the best fit.”
Lenhardt served on the board from 1994 to 2005 and is a lifelong resident of the town. He was commissioner of the Slingerlands Fire District for 18 years and treasurer for the fire district for more than a year, with one year of planning board experience. He currently chairs the town’s Board of Ambulance Commissioners.
"I was shocked," said Lenhardt about receiving the board’s call on Wednesday afternoon. "I'm honored and very humbled by this. I'm very happy to see that politics didn't prevail. I never expected this to happen and I'm very proud of the board that they could put politics aside for the community's well being."
The list of potential appointees included Kevin Crawford, John Hudacs, Donna Giliberto, George Lenhardt, Ted Putney, Michael Burgess, Loretta Simon, and Christina Kidera, and Jeremy Martelle, who ran for election to the board last fall.
Former supervisor Jack Cunningham had put his name on the list as well, but he ended his bid before a forum on the appointment held by the League of Women Voters, explaining, “It has become apparent that placing my name into consideration to fill the Town Board vacancy has become an impediment” to solving the town’s problems.