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Republican primary looms in Malta town justice race

Thursday, June 6, 2013
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— In addition to an anticipated primary for town supervisor, it looks like Malta Republicans may be deciding in a primary between two candidates for town justice.

The town Republican Committee, in a close vote last week, endorsed attorney Steve Gottman for the judgeship over retired state trooper Ellwood Sloat Jr. Sloat said he plans to circulate petitions to force a Sept. 10 primary for the part-time position, which pays about $25,000 annually.

“I feel strongly about a judge being available around the clock,” he said. “At a minute’s notice, I will be there.”

Gottman and Sloat would be vying for the position currently held by James McKevitt, who has decided not to seek re-election.

Sloat, 60, retired in January after 35 years with the state police, rising to the rank of major, one of the top ranks. He is a former commander of the State Police Academy in Albany and also was part of the Internal Affairs Bureau, investigating complaints against the police force. He said over the years he gained extensive experience working in the court system.

He has lived in Malta 23 years, raising two daughters in town.

Gottman, 44, is an attorney with a private practice in Saratoga Springs who has lived in Malta since 2000. He is currently president of the Malta Business & Professional Association, a position he would have to give up if elected. Gottman is a graduate of Syracuse University Law School and also has an advanced degree in tax law from the University of Denver. He worked at the financial services firm Ayco before starting his own law firm with a partner in 1999. He is married, with three children.

“I’m familiar with the legal system and believe in the importance of independent and impartial judges who believe in the rule of law,” he said.

Gottman said he believes the operations of the court would also benefit from his business background operating a small law practice.

The candidates are currently circulating petitions to get on the ballot. If proper petitions are filed by the July 11 deadline, there will be a primary Sept. 10.

The Independence Party has endorsed both men.

There is already expected to be a primary for town supervisor between incumbent Paul Sausville and town Councilman Peter Klotz. The town Republican Committee last week endorsed Sausville, who has been supervisor since 2006.

 
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