Matthew Martin has left his Rotterdam Town Board seat to fill a vacancy in the Schenectady County Legislature, and a familiar face will take his place.
Martin was selected by Democratic county legislators to be appointed to the District 4 seat formerly held by Angelo Santabarbara, who was elected in November to represent the 111th Assembly District. Martin will be appointed during the legislature’s regular meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 12. Nicola DiLeva, a former Rotterdam councilwoman, was appointed on Saturday, Feb. 2, to Martin’s vacant seat on the Town Board.
Martin on Thursday, Jan. 31, said “it happened very quickly” and the appointment wasn’t planned, but he welcomed the opportunity. He was serving the final year of his four-year Town Board term.
“I accepted it to further my public service duties to the county,” Martin said. “I’m proud and honored to be considered for the County Legislature and I hope to continue my service to the town and now to the great towns of Princetown and Duanesburg.”
Legislature Chairwoman Judy Dagostino, D-Rotterdam, welcomed Martin to his new position.
“We are excited to bring Matt Martin and his expertise as an engineer with General Electric to the legislature,” Dagostino said in a statement. “He has served the Town of Rotterdam well as a councilmember and I’m sure he will do a great job representing all of the residents in District 4.”
DiLeva said she reached out to Supervisor Harry Buffardi once she heard about the potential vacancy and is “excited” to rejoin the Town Board.
“I spoke to the supervisor and told him I would love to come back,” DiLeva said. “This time it is very transparent and the town is headed in such a good direction and I want to be part of it.”
Buffardi said he considers DiLeva an “asset” to the board, pointing to her past experience.
“She is very bright and educated, she is familiar with public employment … she wants to continue serving the Town of Rotterdam,” Buffardi said.
Before leaving office, DiLeva worked with Democratic board members and then incoming Supervisor Harry Buffardi to craft a budget amending for Supervisor Frank Del Gallo’s spending plan to achieve no layoffs and remain below its tax cap. Councilman Robert Godlewski and Del Gallo voted against the revised spending plan.
DiLeva publicly clashed several times with Del Gallo while she was on the board.
“Last time it was an awful experience. It was very contentious,” DiLeva said.
DiLeva did not run for reelection in 2011 when her term expired because she wanted to get out of politics as she pursued her doctorate degree in behavioral sciences.
“One of my lifelong dreams is to get my doctorate, and I have an opportunity to pursue that,` DiLeva said in April 2011. `It wasn’t anything political; it is just that right now it is something that I have always dreamed of doing.`
She was a registered Conservative during her previous term, but she has switched to the Democratic Party.
The speed at which the town’s meeting occurred troubled Councilman Robert Godlewski. The Spotlight received notice from the town less than 48 hours before the Saturday meeting at 10 a.m.
“Where was the process?” Godlewski asked.
Godlewski said he has nothing against DiLeva, but voted against her appointment because of the selection process. He said there are “a lot of other people” who have ran for office who weren’t given a chance. He mentioned several Republicans.
Buffardi said the rush to hold the meeting was due to Councilman Wayne Calder’s impending vacation that would leave him absent from the board’s Feb. 13 scheduled meeting. This would have left the board with three members, enough for a quorum, but Buffardi said approving resolutions might have been troublesome.
“Between myself and Godlewski and one other board member I don’t think we would get consensus. Government would stall, it would stop,” he said. “We had a seamless transition of government. … Everyone was available and everyone responded to the special meeting.”
Godlewski questioned what the board would vote on at its next meeting.
“It is perplexing to me and I can hardly wait to see what the agenda is going to say for next Wednesday,” he said.