Mayor Frank Leak at his desk in 2017 (Jim Franco/Spotlight News)
COLONIE — Longtime Village Mayor Frank Leak is stepping down from his post for health reasons.
Ed Sim, the deputy mayor, said the mayor is home, and his resignation is effective as of Friday, Nov. 1. The Village Board will appoint a replacement to serve until the March election at its Monday, Nov. 4 meeting.
“He’s doing OK,” Sim said. “His doctors want him to change his lifestyle. The stress of bring mayor can be a little overwhelming at times so the he has decided to step down from the office.”
Sim, the South Colonie Board of Education president, said he has not yet made a decision on whether he will run for a full term.
Leak, who is 92, was mayor for 24 years and served on the Village Board for 40. During his tenure a new Fire Department was constructed, the village Recreation Center was opened and extensive work was done at Cook Park, including a concert pavilion that bears his name.
“It’s bittersweet. He has been a father figure to me and he has done a tremendous amount of work for the people of the village and the employees here,” Sim said. “All of our buildings are either new or renovated and all the work is paid for. There is no money owed for any of it. He did everything in a fiscally prudent manner.”
Leak turned 90 in 2017 and at the time was one of the oldest mayors of any municipality in the country. In the middle of the Capital District with a busy Central Avenue running through the heart of it, the Navy vet and retired self-employed home builder prided himself of keeping the village of about 8,000 people, a village.
“We like things the old fashioned way,” Leak said during an interview marking his 90th birthday.
The mayor often held court at Dunkin’ Donuts across Central Avenue from the village complex and helped foster a thriving senior services. Card games, yoga classes, a choir and a daily, homemade lunch for $5 were all part of the senior program offered at the village.
Trash pickup is free and town officials load up fire engines and bring the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus to the homes of children throughout the village.
The mayor showed up to Village Hall every day for the part time, $19,000 a year job to meet with residents and take care of their concerns to the best of his ability.
“People want to talk to someone,” Leak said in 2017. “The eye-to-eye contact is better than a phone. The handwritten letter is better than an email. I’m in here every morning. I get a cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts every morning at 9 a.m. and they know where I am. And people come in and say hello and tell me what is on their mind and we try take care of them.”
This story will be updated.