COLONIE — Two well-known candidates are vying for the right to take over for a popular town clerk who is opting to retire after 20 years.
Republican Julie Gansle, the town’s clerk of the court, and Democrat Alison McLean Lane, a county legislator, are running to take over for Elizabeth DelTorto, who announced in March she would not seek another two-year term.
“I’ve been with the town for nearly 18 years as the clerk of the court and with Liz retiring, it is a perfect opportunity to expand my experience,” Gansle said. “I’ve dealt with one of the busiest courts in the state and much of what I do now will translate to the clerks position.”
Gansle was appointed to clerk in one of the busiest courts in the state in 2000 by the Town Board on the recommendation of the town judges. She oversees a staff of between eight and ten and handles about $2 million a year in fines, court fees and other monetary transactions in criminal and civil proceedings.
McLean Lane ran for the spot in 2007, one of the few times DelTorto has had an opponent. She is currently a legislative director for Assemblyman Phil Steck and used to work in Town Hall in constituent services for Supervisor Paula Mahan.
“I experience in the private sector and have a long standing career in constituent services and communications and this is an opportunity to put both of those skills to work,” she said. The clerk has face time with most residents at one point or another and I want to make that contact as easy and friendly as possible.”
The clerk’s office handles the nuts and bolts of being a resident of the town and state. It handles everything from issuing licenses for dogs, marriage and hunting to keeping track of death and birth certificates to issuing permits for bingo,
games of chance and block parties.
Both candidates agree DelTorto has done a fine job as clerk and her shoes would be tough to fill, they do have ideas to make the office better.
Gansle said, given the town’s aged population that is growing by the day, she would attempt to make the services offered by clerk’s office – like being a notary – more mobile and get out into the community on a more regular basis. She would also make more services available online.
McLean Lane said she would change the office hours to better reflect the modern day working day that more often than not includes both adults in any given household holding down at least a 40-hour a week job. She too would attempt to bring the services to the public like off-site dog licensing.
Gansle is a lifelong resident of the town, and with her husband, who recently retired from the Colonie Police Department, has three children in the South Colonie School District.
“The transition from court clerk to town clerk is a natural progression that would allow me to continue to serve the residents of the town in a new and exciting way.”
McLean Lane’s family moved to Colonie in the early 1980s and lives in the Village of Menands with her husband and a pair of twins.
“I have worked with the general public throughout my professional career,” she said. “I also have experience in keeping statistics, and that’s a very important aspect of the job because it directly impacts block grant funding from the federal government.”
The clerk’s race generally flies under the radar but this year was contentious only because of a challenge McLean Lane filed against Gansle and the Republicans about the number of absentee ballots filed in the Independence Party primary.
The challenge was thrown out on a technicality and Gansle won a write in campaign to get the Independence Party line.
Gansle will also have the Republican, Green, Conservative and Reform party lines while McLean Lane will appear on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
The Town Clerk’s position pays $88,995 a year and the term if for two years.