Schenectady County

Eidens replacement to be named

The Schenectady County Legislature will appoint a successor to Legislator Michael Eidens, whose r

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The Schenectady County Legislature will appoint a successor to Legislator Michael Eidens, whose resignation was effective Tuesday, during a special meeting this month, said Chairwoman Susan Savage.

The meeting requires a 10-day notice.

Three candidates told Savage they are interested in completing the remaining two years of Eidens’ four-year term in District 3, and others are expected to come forward, she said. Eidens left the Legislature to become a state judicial hearing officer.

District 3 consists of Glenville and Niskayuna and is the largest of the four county Legislature districts. Any replacement would have to seek re-election in 2009 for a full four-year term. The seat carries an annual salary of just over $14,000.

Eidens, D-Niskayuna, was elected for the first time to the county Legislature in 2005 after deciding not to seek a second 10-year term as a Schenectady County Court judge.

Two names mentioned as possible replacements are Democrats William Chapman, 56, and Martin Finn, 49. Savage would not confirm they were candidates.

“Several people, all former candidates, have expressed interest and we will be talking to people,” Savage said.

Chapman ran for the Legislature for the first time last November, coming in third among four candidates. He received the most votes of the Democratic challengers, but not enough to overcome Republican incumbents Robert Farley, R-Glenville, and James Buhrmaster, R-Glenville, who kept the two open seats.

Chapman said he received more Niskayuna votes than did Farley and Burhmaster. He is a former Niskayuna council member.

Finn is an attorney who ran for elected office in District 3 in 2001. He came in last among four candidates, losing by 237 votes to Republican Mona Golub. He is immediate past president of the Chamber of Schenectady County.

Both Chapman and Finn said they would be honored if asked to serve on the county Legislature.

Under a revision to the county charter adopted in 2007, the Legislature as a whole now selects a replacement for an outgoing legislator. The revision replaced language that allowed a legislator or legislators solely from the affected district to select a replacement.

Before the change, legislators with the most votes from a previous election made the selection. The rule would have allowed either party to select the replacement. Now, the revision guarantees the majority party in the Legislature, in this case Democrats, will select a replacement.

Democrats hold 10 of the 15 seats; one less with Eidens’ resignation. They still would have been able to select Eidens’ replacement under the old language, as they out-polled Republicans in previous elections.

Eidens, 57, said he resigned from the county Legislature because the state job represents a conflict of interest. He will serve as a judicial hearing officer for the New York State Unified Court System.

“It seemed to me I could be more productive in a different role,” Eidens said Monday. “I will be using all the experience I developed over the years through criminal trials and hearings, and I am sure I will be helpful in drug court and mental health court. I also will be doing felony hearings.”

He said one of his most satisfactory accomplishments as a county legislator was working to develop a comprehensive plan to deliver mental health services in Schenectady County.

“We worked very hard to fundamentally change how the mental health system works in the county,” Eidens said. The plan is expected to go into effect this year.

Categories: Schenectady County

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