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Lenhardt appointed newest Town Board member

Unanimous vote comes after weeks of debate

Newly appointed town board member George Lenhardt is sworn in at Wednesday's meeting.

Newly appointed town board member George Lenhardt is sworn in at Wednesday's meeting. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— Lenhardt will serve for one year, and a special election will be held in November.

The newly appointed board member is currently a registered Independent, but was a member of the Republican Party while previously serving on the board.

Clarkson said he thinks it’s good to have diversity on the board. “I think the approach should be non-partisan and if the appointment helps enforce that point, I’m glad.”

Lenhardt has stated he will not be seeking reelection in the fall, so the public will have the opportunity to select who they wish to fill the position for the remaining year of the four-year term.

“That was part of the agreement to serve and my word is my bond,” he said.

The issue of seeking reelection was a matter of contention among some.

Bethlehem Republican Chairman Fred Di Maggio said making it known that someone who intended to run for re-election would not be chosen for the position “set up artificial barriers to prohibit someone from running.”

Both Cunningham and Martelle intend on running for the vacant seat in the special election.

The board thanked all of the candidates for their willingness to participate in the process and held the potential appointees in high regard for their qualified backgrounds.

Clarkson said some candidates have volunteered their services to the town in the future. With backgrounds in government policy, the supervisor has asked both Crawford and Hudacs to help craft the town’s new ethics law and they have agreed. Clarkson would also like to create various citizen’s groups in the future, which he envisions several of the candidates will be asked to help form.

In addition, Lenhardt has volunteered to help with the negotiation of several police and public safety contracts that will need to be agreed on this year, since he has served as the board’s representative at previous contract negotiations.

Clarkson said the more help, the better.

“I can only speak for myself, but that may have been an important issue for others on the board when making this decision,” he said.

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