COLONIE — Thomas Tobin, a village trustee and 40-year resident, is circulating petitions to become the next mayor.
This year, village elections across the state will be held on Wednesday, March 18, rather than the traditional third Tuesday of the month because March 17 is Saint Patrick’s Day.
Frank Leak was the village mayor for 24 years before stepping down in October for health reasons. Ed Sim, the deputy mayor under Leak, has been acting mayor and was contemplating a run for a full term as mayor. He instead will run for another term as trustee on Tobin’s ticket along with incumbent Trustee Jack Murphy.
“I’ve been a trustee for 21 years and I’ve been deputy mayor for 15 years on and off and I want to continue what Frank started many years ago and keeping it going,” Tobin said outside the annual State of the Town address at the Red Roof Inn on Wolf Road.
He is currently serving as deputy mayor under Sim, who in November the board appointed to serve out Leak’s term, which expires after the March election.
Right now, Tobin said, about 50 people are out gathering signatures for the three candidates under the Your Village Party line, an independent political party not affiliated with Democrats or Republicans.
“We don’t break down by Republican and Democrat at all,” he said. “The Your Village Party is an independent party, and The Village of Colonie has been run by the same party since I think the 1970s.”
He said as of now there is no indication of any activity by any opponent but there is still time since petitions are not due until the beginning of February and “anything is possible.”
Tobin, a retired state computer analyst, was elected as a Trustee in 1998 and was deputy mayor from 2001 to 2015. The UAlbany grad and U.S. Marine who served in the Vietnam War has spent time on the Master Plan Committee, as liaison to the Planning Commission and Fire Department and spearheaded the formation of the Village Concert Series in Cook Park.
The mayor serves a two-year term, and is paid $19,000 for the part time job.
The village is an odd-shaped, 3.3-square-mile independent municipality located within the Town of Colonie that has its own government. The population of about 8,000 pays on average an extra $700 to $800 in village taxes for things like snow removal, fire protection and garbage pickup. It has an annual budget of about $7.5 million.
Leak was elected trustee in 1979 and was appointed mayor in 1995 before being elected to his first full term a year later. When he stepped down, he 92 years old and one of the oldest mayors in the nation. He left a legacy that includes a renovated Cook Park complete with a concert pavilion that bears his name, increased services for seniors and youth, a new fire department and a new village recreation center.
Poll are open on March 20 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Village Hall on Central Avenue behind the Fire Department.